Saturn 5-speed manual transaxle shift cable bushing repair

The Problem:

A 30-cent bushing on a $375 cable

Fixed the problem on my 1998 SL1 5-speed by drilling and tapping a small hole into the exposed end of the bell crank steel ball. (I removed the shift lever assembly to do this, although it might be possible to accomplish in vehicle by using a portable drill and hand tap -- the steel ball is made of comparably soft steel.)

I then placed the original rubber bushing (both pieces, as it had broken in half) into the cable end, and placed the cable end back in place on the steel ball. Then, through a hole I had punched in the exposed end of the bushing, I secured the assembly with a #6 screw through a large diameter metal washer into the tapped hole. Later, I reassembled and added a garden hose plastic washer at the opposite end to remove lateral play.

 Now, even if the bushing further deteriorates, the shifter cable won't come loose!

The "before" and "after" photos below illustrate the repair.

Before: Cable is placed in normal position for this photo; plastic bushing (not shown) had broken in half, allowing cable to fall off bell crank steel ball.


After: Plastic bushing is retained by large metal washer and not visible in this photo. Red washer visible in background is plastic garden hose washer, providing a snug fit.