I noticed on the way home a couple of shifts felt funny. My shifter was suddenly able to rotate about shift lever axis (ie if I grab the shift knob I can rotate it left and right). So when I got home I removed the leather shifter cover to see what was happening. I noticed that the point of rotation was not at the shift knob, but where the level comes out of the rubber boot (the one under the leather one). To do any work I'd need further access so I decided to remove the shift knob so I could remove the leather boot. I know how hard everyone says it is to remove the knob so I expected the worst. Well, the knob came off real easy...along with the actual shift lever! It appears that there is a rubber bushing that connects 2 pieces of the lever. The bushing has failed leaving the inner part of it on the lower shift lever, the outer part on the upper. See the attached photos. For the record this shift knob is still firmly attached to the shift lever with no free play.
So my question is how do I fix this? It looks like the bushing is part of the upper lever, so I assume I need to order a new one. But how do I remove the remains from the lower level and install the new one? The service manual does not seem to address this.