View Full Version : Replacing Shift Cables

07-26-2015, 02:23 AM
Have 93 5sfe manual couple with a bad shift cable (no 2,4,reverse). Will be pulling a set off of a 92 5sfe. May change out the shifter as well (orginal is gummed up).

With a normal cable change - do i pull these out through the engine bay or through the interior? If I keep the shifter from the parts car - I'm contemplating pulling the shifter with the cables attached through the interior - possible?

07-26-2015, 12:59 PM
Removing the shift cables is a miserable job the first time you do it because of the small spaces you have to work in and how much stuff is in the way. The cables should pull into the car once everything is disconnected. There is a rubber gasket holding the cables at firewall right next to the steering rack in the engine bay. The gasket is held by a metal cover with two nuts that have to be removed. Inside the car, there is another rubber gasket under the ECU held by a metal plate and two screws. Both will be difficult to get to and I was lucky enough to have my engine out and the lower half of my dash apart when I did the swap, which made the job a lot easier.

07-26-2015, 04:10 PM
I gotta agree with Fusselllbug.

I had my st162 stripped out when I was doing the GTE swap. I pulled out the cables to install another set only to realize I didn't need them and had to reinstall them. It sucked even with the motor and interior out. I had to move the power steering rack slightly to get the grommet off the firewall and then get a stubby screwdriver in the interior to get the plate off the other side.

I would suggest trying to clean everything first and re-lube the cables and shifter. Shooting a bit of white lithium grease into either end of the cables and then moving the cables back & forth will work it in the cable. You can then do the same on the shifter. Disassemble it, clean it with a good degreaser (Purple Power), re-assemble it with new bushings and some grease.

07-28-2015, 10:51 PM
Thanks all. Spent some time investigating more.

1) found the firewall access is easier than thought as the prior owner had destroyed the ECM mounting bracket (When replacing it). . .

2) . . . But, I looked into greasing the cables and that led me to investigate actual cable movement etc. Found that the Tranny is working fine as I can complete the shift into 2,4,R by moving the shift arm the final 3/4-1 inch (clockwise when looking from the back). That led me to investigate the cable and shifter more. IT appears that:
- The cable is solid metal and is fitted in a sleeve which is mounted using the clips.
- The cable has shrunk 3/4-1". The shifter bottoms out before it is able to move the final 3/4-1". I have a spare transmission in the garage and confirmed the final shift arm position.
- This shortness had apparently being going on for some time as the last 3/4-1" of the cable that is supposed to go into the sleeve (at the shifter end) is somewhat corroded as it hasn't been pushed into the greased sleeve.
- The cable appears to be intact. I tried spinning the ball cup end (under the shifter) and could only get it to turn 90-120deg and then it would bounce back.
- If the cable had broken, I would expect that I could pull the cable out of the sleeve. An I would not have 1,3,5 (As these are the gears engaged when the shifter pulls the cable - moving the shift lever counterclockwise).
- I have followed the sleeve and could not find breaks in the sleeve or bulges

So. any ideas on why the cable might have shrunk? Did it shrink or did something move? Nothing appears to be loose on the tranny.

07-28-2015, 11:05 PM
Are you sure the shifter cables have shrunk (which I don't think is possible) or is your shifter rod striking the body under your shifter base assembly because the washers holding the shifter rod cup to the base are missing?

The reason I ask this is due to experience. I once installed a homemade short shifter into Mudhoney, a 4th Gen GT. The lower rod had been extended. However when it was extended, without the addition of spacers under the assembly, it would bottom out when trying to shift into any gear on the lower channel. After the addition of several washers to raise the entire assembly a quarter of an inch, I was able to shift freely into any gear other than reverse, which still had some contact. When I installed my TWM short shifter into Chaos, a 5th Gen ST auto to manual conversion, it shipped with raised spacers to account for the extended throw of the bottom of the shifter.

If it helps, all 4th and 5th Gen shifter assemblies are very similar, and I am fairly confident that 6th through 7th are interchangeable as well with minimal effort.

The other problem may be that the corrosion on the cable is preventing it from moving freely. Which would be solved with replacement cables.

07-29-2015, 12:06 AM
Hhmm, thought we were onto something with the shims. However, this shifter does not appear to have an adjustment feature. It's a split cup design where the stop for the shifter is part of the cup. (I'd load pictures, but hit some limit of somesort)

Which gets us back to - did the cables shrink move etc? I'm picking another Celica in a yard and may pull the shifter.

Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk

07-29-2015, 01:30 AM
Are you using the stock shifter? I think what Murgy is referring to is if you've swapped the shifter maybe you need to make room on the mount (ie: the shifter is hitting the assembly).

Here's some pictures from when I put a ST18x short shifter into my ST162. I used the TWM short throw shifter. The kit came with 16 washers to use as spacers. When I had mine installed 3/4 were difficult to get into and 5/R were impossible. Turned out I had to knock down a part of the assembly to let the bottom of the shiter move around.

I'm just gonna link them here since I didn't resize them.

Here's the spacers

Here's the part i had to knock down.

07-29-2015, 03:51 AM
Tim FTW! That is exactly what I was talking about. The part that he knocked down is what still contacts on Mudhoney. Or did. I don't know if Matt ever corrected that.

08-09-2015, 08:06 AM

Thanks for the feedback.

I have acquired a second set of cables and then pulled everything apart to figure out what might be the problem. I followed the current cables and found no breaks, bends, slips, tweaks or whatever. I measured the exposure of the cable to the spare set (and to my 91 GT) and found they were all the same - suggesting the cable did not shrink or grow. I did find that the bushing is well worn (1/16-2/16" exposure) but clearly not enough to be the missing 3/8-1/2" needed to complete the push of the shift lever. I tried another shifter (stock - not short throw) and there was no change. I tried loosening the ball catch on the shift lever on the transmission to see if the resistance had any impact - no luck.

Sooo, I can't explain what happened. But here's what I'm going to try. I'll put the original shifter on (three bolt mount to the center plate). I'll elongate the holes on the center plate and the shifter to allow it to be moved forward the missing distance.

I'm also looking for a replacement shift cable bushing. It appears that speedsource and TWM no longer stock the bushings. Anyone know were I can get a set (or two for my 91)? Anyone know the specific sizes of the bushings?

Also - I've come to the conclusion that the car was run up on a rock/boulder etc at some point (bought used). It's missing the undercovers, the center support mounting bolts are messed up, the exhaust mounts are wrecked and the pipe into the resonator is disconnected. Inside the car, the center plate that is welded to the floor (for the shift plate and center column mount) is snapped in a couple of places suggesting a big smack of some sort. The body of the car meets all of the measurement specs and fenders all line up - so something happened underneath. I thought about the impact this might have on the shifter cables and decided it would have no impact as the shift cable design and mounting already allows for movement of the motor.

08-10-2015, 05:19 AM
Well, I spoke too soon.

Elongated holes on shifter and got within 1/16-1/8 needed. Looked at the bushing which had a lot of play. Rotated it to get the greatest effect on the push stroke - and achieving the ability to get 2,4,R back.

I started looking around at bushings, bearings that I might use to insert into existing or replace the existing. FIgured i'd machine something so started knocking out the old one. In doing so, the sheath that cable slides into broke away from the transmission mount.

Low and behold, I found out why the cable had "shortened". I thought the cable was solid from end to end. Turns out the middle section is a twisted cable. On mine, 2-3 of the strands had broken and been pulled back to either end. The result, the cable was hard to push/pull (Something I neglected to mention) and on tyhe push stroke, the section of cable missing the strands was now thinner and would snake back and forth inside the sheath instead of remaining straight. Once freed from the confines, the thinner cable straightened out giving and additional 1" and easily completing the push to get 2,4,R

Obviously, I can't continue with exposed cable and will be replacing the cable (with the set from junyard I had pulled).

I'm going to continue looking at doing something with the cable bushing. If I can't find an after market - I'm looking at getting some common bushing/bearings - starting with 8mm ID and building up to the size of the cable end. i.e. 8mm id x 12mm od sleeve inside a 12mm id x 16mm od inside a ? x? etc.


08-10-2015, 12:42 PM
I replaced my bushings with solid brass ones from Speed Source, like these:http://speed-source.net/?wpsc-product=toyotascion-bushing-combo-pack

I'v thought about someday upgrading to the spherical bearing type that was sold by Chico Race Works but haven't driven the car enough to make it worthwhile. http://www.mr2oc.com/showthread.php?t=450009 (may need to be a member to read this thread)

08-24-2015, 05:24 AM

Replaced the cables with original shifter - everything is working.

Lessons learned:
- The grommet design for sealing the cables on the firewall requires the cables to be pulled from the inside of the car.
- To removed the engine side grommet/shield - the steering rack will have to be unbolted from the firewall. I removed the lower bolts and loosened the upper nuts to get a good inch of separation.
- The cable design is not all twisted wire. Its made up of a smaller solid wire of about 2mm diameter with twisted wire around the outside. The twisted wire is bulky enough to keep the cable from snaking in the cable shield.

I spoke with chico about the spherical replacements. They stated that the ones they are making for MR2's do work on the 5th gens. They will ask if you have 2 small ones or 1small and 1large.