Fix Your Loose Shifter With Booger Bushings

I have a 2005 PT Cruiser that I bought used about 4 years ago.  (http://www.leucht.com/blog/2009/06/kurts-new-car-pt-cruiser/)  The manual 5-speed shifter was fairly loose compared to any of my previous vehicles, but it seemed to work fine so I didn’t worry about it.  Over the past couple years I feel like the shifter has been getting looser over time, so I knew that something was going to give someday.  Then suddenly I could not get it to go into reverse.

My brother in law pointed me to a website, http://www.boogerracing.com/ where they sell transmission bushings called Booger Bushings that were advertised to fix me right up.  A set of replacement bushings cost only $22, including shipping.  According to the website, these bushings are “injection molded polyurethane with a proprietary molded-in lubricant”.  They claim to be significantly stiffer than the stock bushings but are not a “solid” bushing.  Before I bought these on the Internet, I checked with my local auto parts store and they did not sell the bushings separately from the shifter cables, which ran a couple hundred bucks.

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The shifter cables attach to the transmission underneath the air filter housing in the PT Cruiser.  Luckily, they are very easy to get to.  Just remove the air filter lid and disconnect the big hose exiting the air filter housing.  There is also a small hose that needs to be removed from the air filter housing.  Then just lift the whole air filter housing up, rocking it as you tug.  It’s held down only by the friction of some feet sticking through some rubber grommets.  Very simple.

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Now, to get the metal bracket out of the way a bit, just remove the two bolts holding it down.  It’s easiest to use a ratchet with a long extension for this.  This allows you to slide the bracket to the left a few inches to reveal the shifter cable underneath.  Now you should be able to clearly see both shifter cable ends along with the bad or missing bushings.  In my case, both of the old bushings were completely gone.  That explains how I suddenly lost the ability to shift into reverse.  Remove the old bushings if they are still there.

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The Booger Bushings are designed with a lip at the top that snaps very solidly onto the slot of the transmission shaft.  As a matter of fact, they are so tight to snap on, that the manufacturer suggests that you put a dab of grease inside to assist in the installation.  This photo is looking at the lip from the bottom of the bushing.

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Simply slide the bushing onto the cable end.  The white in the next few photos is a bit of white lithium grease that I added to help with the installation of the bushing onto the slot of the transmission shaft.

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And pop it onto the transmission shaft.  Use both thumbs and push down hard until it snaps into place.

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It’s as easy as that.  There are also two bushings under the shifter in the cabin.  But I did not change those out yet, since these two bushings seems to have tightened it right up and it is a bit more work to get to those bushings under the center console.  I will definitely tear into it and change those out if I feel the stick getting loose, though.

After installing Booger Bushings, it will feel like you have a brand new car if you’ve been driving around with a loose shifter for a while, like I had been doing.  Now my transmission feels tight like I’m driving a race car.  And it only cost me about 20 bucks and less than an hour’s worth of work!  Thanks Booger Racing!

Kurt

 

11 thoughts on “Fix Your Loose Shifter With Booger Bushings”

  1. Thank you for the pics – Just installed new bushings in my wife car after she lost reverse. Unbelievable how less then $20 turn her PT into a like new car again. Plus now she thinks I’m a genius…so honestly whats better then that.

  2. many thanks, that helps me a lot, I have the same problems since yesterday,
    the price for the bushings at ebay Germany is over 60$

  3. Thank you very much for the pic and explanations. I changed all 4 bushings in 2 h. The bushings under the shifter in the car was a bit more work. Just a pain to get the cover off. Probably better when you take the front seats out but I was too lasy doing this. With a bit of force it works as well.
    Best $30 I invested for a long time. Gears shift now like in a racing car.
    My dealer would have charged me for the repair $1000 plus…..

  4. Dear Kurt,

    I live in the Netherlands – Amsterdam, and my choice of car is just like yours.
    I love my Blue PT Cruiser 2001, big time!

    Can you please please please help me, with a set of these bushings, which called Booger Bushings. These are not available in The Netherlands.
    The bushings cost only $22, can we arrange it, cash on delivery, so not, what is the other options. I will do anything to get these Bushings here, to fix my car. I will save some Euros.

    Thanks you in advance,
    Marva Richards

  5. Thank you so much for your efforts to save us all time. We were on a trip when the shifting problem happened. I was able to go to a hardware store in a small town, found some rubber plumbing washers for a sink faucet that worked temporarily by filling in the space that was left after the original disappeared.

  6. At a bout 32,000 miles I had problems shifting and the shift lever was sloppy. I took the car into the dealership where I bought it. They looked at it and told me the shifter bushings were worn to the point where it was effecting shifting. I asked how much the repair would be the dealership write up guy said about $1,800. I said how can you produce a car that requires an $1,800 repair at 3,200 miles. He said well it might be the way you use the car. I left the dealership.

    For the next 36,000 miles I’ve been careful to shift very slowly and I’ve only had minor problems. Twp days ago I took my car in to an independent mechanic for the 60,000 mile maintenance. He called me yesterday and said he noticed my shifter cable bushings are shot. I asked how much the parts would cost. He said they only come in a kit with the shifter cables and the kit is $289.00.

    Check the Booger website they mention that such kits go for over $200.00.

  7. Thanks for your thorough post! Saved a lot of time and money. Looking forward to using the new bushing. The NAPA bushing last a year or two.

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