Tag Archives: auto

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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



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!



Safety tip: Portable Air Compressor For Your Vehicle

My initial safety tip would be to notice as soon as one of your tires starts to get low and do not ignore it or think to yourself that you will fix it later.  For me, when I do that I tend to forget for a couple of days and then I’m in real trouble the next time I notice that my tire is low.  By then it is really really low.  Lucky for me, I have a mini air compressor in my trunk that plugs into my cars 12 volt jack.


The mini air compressor I use is a Slime brand tire inflater with LED light.  I bought it from my local auto parts store (Auto Zone).  The LED light comes in quite handy in a dark parking lot and is probably even more handy on a dark country road.  You definitely need to get one of these little babies for each of your vehicles.  This particular model is only 10 bucks, which is very cheap for the peace of mind that it buys you.



Update 1: This particular device will only save you if you have a very slow leak.  If you end up with a puncture or something like that, then you will also need a can of tire sealant handy.

Update 2: It’s not shown in the photo above, but since I permanently keep one of these babies in each of my cars, I went ahead and used a permanent marker to place an arrow on the gauge telling me the air pressure of that car’s tires.  This saves me the time and trouble of having to figure that out late at night in the dark while possibly also being eaten by mosquitoes.