DIY Regrease Shifter

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PhotoShifter feeling notchy? It may be time to lubricate the shifter. We wish to thank Saki GT for sharing this detailed DIY with great instructions and photos.

First, use the TSB for the 2002 5th gear lockout for detailed instructions on the process.

Step one – remove the shift knob and center console. If the shift knob is OEM, it has a counter-nut you need to loosen before you can take the knob off, otherwise just unscrew it and remove. (See here for details: Shift boot replacement DIY). On an AP2 there are four clips you need to pop by pulling up on the sides of the console. Two in front of the shifter, and two behind the cubby.

Pull from the side to pop them.


Pull the console up and over the emergency brake – the higher you can get the brake, the easier this is. You can disconnect the wiring harness to completely remove the center console, or just lay it over on the driver’s seat so its out of the way.

Next look down in the shifter compartment and pull out the foam insulation.


Now for the second hardest part of this process – getting the rubber shifter boot off. Its held on with a plastic ring with four clips at each corner – there are little arrows on the ring that show you where they are. You need to use a flathead screwdriver to pry them off from inside the ring. Major PITA and I still managed to break two of the clips getting it off for some reason.



Once you snap the ring loose at all four corners, just lift it out, and then pull the rubber boot up and off the shifter.


Now you’ll see where the shifter is bolted to the car, under the rubber protective cover. Use needle nose pliers to grab the tab toward the front of the car and pop it off.


Now you can access the three 10mm bolts and loosen them. Note that the shifter is spring loaded, so it will pop a bit when you get the last one off. The bolt closest to the steering wheel seems to do the most to hold the shifter in place – I recommend you remove that bolt last.


Pull the shifter out, be mindful of the spring – it may stay in the hole, or come with the shifter, but its covered in grease, so don’t let it drop in the car!

Take a peak down the shifter – don’t drop anything in there! Clean up the old grease with a rag, and do the same with the shifter and spring. If you see water, your seal under the car may be bad – you’ll need to reseat it or replace it if there’s a lot of water, if it just looks kind of damp, regreasing should be fine.


The shifter, quickly cleaned up. You can be more thorough with solvent, but I just wanted to get fresh grease in so I just got what I could with a rag. Inspect the ball cap for any cracks or chips – if its bad, replace it.


Grab the Urea grease and start greasing – get as much as you can in the shifter assembly, under the bolt plate, and in the pivot cap. I put about a third of my grease into the shifter linkage and on the shifter itself.


Now that everything is greased, the hardest part of the project – getting the spring-loaded shifter back in. You have to get the shifter ball back into the linkage as you install or you won’t be able to shift gears. The shifter only goes in one way, so that part at least is simple.

Push the shifter down once its aligned (don’t forget the spring) and realign the bolt plate that holds the shifter in. The shifter should easily slide into place – if it seems caught, rotate it 180° and try again – you probably have it in backwards.

Note that the metal plate that holds the shifter down is convex in front, concave for each side as it goes to the rear bolt. I found it easiest to install the front left bolt first – you need one hand to hold the shifter in and down, the other to hold the rubber cover out of the way and insert the bolt, all while trying not to get grease on your hands.


Once you get one bolt in to keep the shifter from springing up, insert the other two and keep realigning the bolt plate. Once all three are in, tighten them down. Test the shifter and make sure you can get into gears! If all is good reapply the rubber seal over the three bolts.


Now reinstall the rubber boot. This is where you apply Shin Etsu to the shifter column – below the lip where the rubber will rest – this is to keep it from squeaking. Reinstall the plastic ring on the rubber boot, apply the grease to the shifter, then slide the boot down over the shifter and snap the plastic ring back in.

Replace the foam, replace the center console, and replace the shift knob.

Now, this is a good time to adjust the parking brake, since the center console is off. Otherwise, replace the console.

When replacing the center console, be sure to push down at all four corners and in the middle of the arm rest – this spot like to stick up and a telltale sign that it isn’t down all the way is that the (AP2) sliding door will not slide if its not properly secured.


S2000 Forums -> DIY Regrease Shifter

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