"No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushings)
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushings) in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; No reverse? Sloppy shifter? This could very well be the fix you have been looking for! My shifter was a ...
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    sx54dx's Avatar
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    "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushings)

    No reverse? Sloppy shifter? This could very well be the fix you have been looking for!

    My shifter was a little sloppy when I bought the car with 50k miles on it. It was progressively becoming harder to find reverse. Then at 80k it finally broke and I lost reverse completely.

    The local Cadillac dealer wanted $425 for a whole new shifter assembly and no one sells just the bushings.
    So, I pulled my center console to allow my shifter to move enough to reach reverse so that I could continue to drive and I went looking for a solution.
    What I came up with worked very well for my car and the symptoms that I was having (2005 3.6L VVT w/6spd manual).

    I went to Autozone and purchased a pack of generic heavy duty sway bar link bushings made by Energy Suspension (part # 9.8105R). The cost was $14 w/tax for 8 of them.
    CTS Bushing 025.jpg

    I then took measurements from the one good factory bushing that I had left and began modifying the new ones to fit.

    I will try to cover all the bases and needed measurements. If something is missing please let me know...

    Tools that I remember using.
    Removal:
    Long flat blade screw driver (magnetic tip)
    3/8" wratchet
    13mm socket
    10mm socket
    4mm allen wrench
    Right-angle Hook tool
    Long needle nosed pliers
    WD-40
    Brake grease

    Bushing Modification:
    Air saw/Hack saw with a fine tooth blade. (air saw available from Harbor Freight for $9.99)
    Dial Caliper (for accurate measurment: .000")
    Vice
    Bench grinder
    Coarse flat file
    Fine flat file
    Electrical tape

    To start you need to remove only the shift arm from the transmission and the shifter assembly.
    I started by pulling the shift knob/boot so that I could access the two gold 10mm bolts that hold the shifter plate to the shifter assembly (do not loosen yet, you may not have to loosen them at all)
    First loosen the boot and boot trim by simply pulling up gently on the sides and it will pop up so that it is not damaged when pulling the shift knob off. To remove the shift knob all you have to do is firmly grab the knob and pull directly up on it and with enough force it will pop off with the boot intact. I found it easiest to have the shifter in second gear.

    Jack all four corners of your car up at least 18" off of the ground to allow proper clearance to get under and still be able to extend your arms.
    Locate the bottom of the shifter and you will see a 13mm nut that holds the shift arm to the shift knob rod. The nut is a 13mm and the bolt head is an allen which was a 4mm if I remember correctly. Loosen and remove the nut and bolt so that the shift arm is hanging loose from the shifter.
    Shifter Bolt w-notes.JPG
    If you follow the shift arm up you will find where the broken bushings are located. The next pictures will show the shift arm with the new bushings installed for reference to help with getting your bearings as to where the parts are located.
    Shifter arm: (I am not the artist of this drawing, credit given to: thewebdevil)
    Shifter Arm Drawing.JPG
    View from drivers side.
    Driver side bushing installed w-notes.JPG
    With arm removed. View from passenger side.
    Bushing Installed w-notes.JPG

    To remove the "bolt" that is securing the arm to the transmission input shaft you must remove the C-clip/retaining clip that is at the end of the "bolt" on the drivers side. I simply used a long magnetic flat blade screw driver. Spin it around so that the clip will be removed by upward force. Make sure you have a magnet of some sort attached to it so that it does not go flying off. Apply proper pressure until it pops off. Next you will want to remove the "bolt". I used the same screw driver to get it started moving then switched to a right angle hook tool as well as a pair of long needle nosed pliers to remove it the rest of the way.
    Hook Tool that I used.
    Attachment 78324
    The first removal took some effort so I had to use some WD-40 to help it slide out. I used the right angle tool to push from the drivers side and the needle nose pliers to pull from the passenger side and it popped out. I did have to wiggle the shift arm in order for the "bolt" to clear the shifter rod that mounts to the transmission. It'll take some patience and finesse but it should come out.
    If it does not come out you can hop back in your car and remove those two gold 10mm bolts that sit in front of the shifter. This will allow the whole unit to drop down and the rod that was just mounted solid and in the way will now be loose and a little easier to navigate around.
    Once the "bolt" is out, simply pull straight back on the shifter arm and it should come loose. Now that it is free you just have to wiggle it out of its home.

    Let the bushing modifications begin!
    All of these measurements came from my old factory bushing which was a bit worn so I took a few measurements along the piece and used the average. They should work for yours as well.
    Use these as a guide and get them as close to the given measurements as possible or your bushing may not fit or have some excess play when finished.
    Cut as close as you feel comfortable getting to the given thickness and then slowly file down to precise thickness for accuracy.

    Measurements based off of my slightly deteriorated factory bushing. Use these if you like but I strongly recommend double checking your own bushing for measurements.
    Measurement Drawing.JPG

    First I took the bushing and marked the thickness of the base and wrapped it with electrical tape as a guide.
    CTS Bushing 011.jpg
    CTS Bushing 013.jpg

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    sx54dx's Avatar
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    "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushings)

    Next, you will want to use the air saw to cut along the edge of the tape guideline. Remember, cut thick - file skinny!
    An important note here is do not cut very deep into the bushing yet. Cut just deep enough to have a good reference line all the way around the bushing. If you cut too deep it will ruin the bushing for the next steps.
    CTS Bushing 014.jpg
    The bushing has a flat bottom and a slightly raised area on the top.
    Once you have cut all the way around, set the bushing flat and use the air saw to cut around the center raised area. Make sure to cut as straight down and perpendicular as possible. Cut staight down until you hit the line that you cut around the base. Once that vertical line reaches the bottom horizontal line you should be able to chip off the peice that you just cut.
    If it does not come off you may need to deepen the horizontal base cut a little deeper.
    The more cuts you make, the more rounded the piece will be and the less shaving/filing you will have to do to make it round.
    Bushing How-to w-notes.JPG

    Once it is cut and rounded enough you should end up with something like this:
    CTS Bushing 018.jpg

    Next, I took it to the bench grinder. I used a small metal bar and slid the bushing over it to allow it to spin while it was against the grinder wheel.
    Let it spin freely so that it will automatically true itself and become round. I slowed it occasionally by applying very light pressure with my thumb to the left flat side of the bottom. Do not allow it to ever stop spinning while it is against the grinder wheel.
    Also, do not let the grinder wheel eat into the base (pictured left side near my thumb). This would mess up the thickness of the base.
    CTS Bushing 019.jpg
    Let is spin, measure, let it spin, measure. Keep measuring it frequently so that you do not make it too small/thin.
    CTS Bushing 020.jpg

    Once you are close to the desired thickness you'll need to get the coarse file and start filing away!
    File it round to the desired diameter then lay it flat and file it to the desired thickness. When you are filing make sure to keep rotating it so that you keep the thickness uniform all the way around.
    File with the coarse and finish it with the fine file if needed.
    File, file, file, file until you get to this point.
    CTS Bushing 021.jpg

    The above photo also shows that the length needs to be cut off some as well. If you are making two bushing I suggest only cutting the one to length at first that way you can make the second one to the exact length of the retaining clips notch in the "bolt" so that the retaining clip fits very tightly.
    I found that the factory beveled edge was not all that important but the new bushings outer diameter was large enough that it kept the arm from sliding up far enough on the transmissions input shaft far enough to allow the "bolt" to line up and slide in.
    A part of the new bushings will need to be trimmed off of both bushings. Use your best judgement as to how much to trim off. It does not need to be a whole lot. I took off more than I needed to. Luckily, it had no ill effects...
    When reinstalling the arm make sure that the new trimmed edges are lined up properly and facing the front of the car.
    CTS Bushing 007.jpg
    CTS Bushing 026.jpg

    Also, I chose not to enlarge the center "bolt" hole on the new bushings even though the factory bushings opening was slightly larger. You can drill it out ever so slightly if you need to in order to help the "bolt" slide in easier during the reinstall. I left it alone and it made for a tight fit which helped with the shifters feel.
    Finished product (photo taken prior to cutting the notches which are pictured above)
    CTS Bushing 002.jpg

    Three different stages. Unmodified - Factory - Modified.
    CTS Bushing 004.jpg


    When reinstalling the arm with the new bushings I found that using brake caliper grease liberally on the holes and on the "bolt" helped ease the "bolt" into place. I was able to get both hands up into the transmission tunnel to guide the "bolt" into it's home. Once it was lined up I used the flat blade screwdriver to push it back into place. It did take some effort but it went in snug.
    Reinstall the retaining clip and reattach the rear of the arm to the actual shifter. It helps to have someone up in the car to hold/twist/push the shifter around to help you line up the arm.
    Test for reverse before dropping your car off of the jackstands then reinstall the gold 10mm bolts if you had to take them out. Replace the shifter boot and pop the knob back in place and call it a job well done!

    I was able to fix the problem without removing anything other than the shift arm.
    The exhaust, driveshaft and transmission all stayed where they started at and the shifter now feels very firm and has very little unnecessary movement. Feels better than when I purchased the car.

    All in all, this was a pretty easy fix and sure beats buying a new shifter assembly or paying a transmission shop a fortune to "make" something.

    This is my first how-to write up so let me know if I left anything out.

    Also, I am willing to make some more of these if there is anyone out there that would need them. I know they are reasonably cheap to buy but they seem to take about an hour a piece for me to make. If interested we could work out a price. Hopefully this post has enough info to make a set on your own.
    Good luck!

    Glad I could contribute to the community!
    ~Tony
    concorso, concorso, CTSM and 1 others like this.

  4. #3
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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    looks like another great write up...jimmy could you add this one too

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    hey, awesome job dude

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    BlackCadillac91 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    Awesome write up man! Looks like you really thought that out.

  7. #6
    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    excellent write up. Added to the faq.
    concorso and concorso like this.

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    EXACTLY what I was looking for. I have access to a lathe and CNC mill - I could probably make them from some rigid urethane stock I have around the shop.

    Thanks a million for this, I'll let you know how it turns out.
    sx54dx, sx54dx, vmarks and 1 others like this.

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    Double post. Dang, iPad!

    Deleted...

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    No problem, the manual trans guys have to stick together!

    Thanks for the compliments too. Makes me feel good for my first write up!

    Looks like I missed the base diameter measurements though.
    The factory bushing diameter is 1.040"
    The new Energy Suspension bushing is 1.130"

    So, if you are making one with your own stock just turn it to the 1.040" diameter.
    If you are using the Energy bushing the notched part needs to be at least .090" deep on just one side to compensate for the diameter difference.

    Then when installing it make sure the notched section is facing the front of the car and lined up correctly to the input shaft.

    Good luck and definitely let us know how it turns out for ya w3jn!

    ~Tony

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    Excellent writeup!

    I don't -think- I have this problem yet, although I do feel like there's a some vague-ness to my shifter. If I were to do this, would it be hard to take down the whole linkage and measure the diameter off the linkage rather than the worn bushings?

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    That would be the best option as for getting the diameter of the actual opening just to make sure that it is as tight of a fit as possible.

    The linkage is not hard to get out as long as you have patience and the right length tools. (long screwdriver, long needle nose pliers)

    I have the measurements of the stock linkage at home if you'd like me to post them?

    As for the thickness (or length, depending on your perspective) of the new bushing, that is almost exact because I adjusted the final measurement to the length of the "bolt's" indent for the retaining clip when I made mine.

    I believe the opening diameter was right around .650"/.651". I made my new bushing to .649"/.650" and it was very snug especially after the bolt went in and expanded the bushing a hair...
    ~Tony

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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    Tony, how stiff are those polyurethane bushings you bought? The stock I have is pretty hard - like a skateboard wheel. I presume one of the reasons for it being rubber is to isolate drivetrain vibration from the shifter and passenger compartment. Not sure if I can get those bushings locally here in Greece, although there are a lot of 4X4 shops that seem to do modifications and use those things on their suspensions.

    And last, what's on the bottom of the shifter itself? Looks like there is a white plastic washer in that assembly?

    Thanks again, now it's just a matter of getting the thing up in the air and doing it!

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    concorso is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: "No Reverse" fix for Aisin 6 speed manual (3.6L) - HOW-TO w/pics - (Shifter bushi

    Nice writeup~!

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    BlackCadillac91 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Quote Originally Posted by w3jn View Post
    I have access to a lathe and CNC mill - I could probably make them from some rigid urethane stock I have around the shop.
    TL;DR the rest of the posts, but if someone else didn't say it already it might be cool if you could make them for others. Might even be an opportunity for some profit.

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    JimmyH is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    Rigid urethane ftw

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