Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; Hello all, I'm new to this forum. About two weeks now. I recently purchased my first Cadillac, a 2003 CTS ...
  1. #1
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum. About two weeks now. I recently purchased my first Cadillac, a 2003 CTS 100k. I can't be more happy with my purchase. I know I'm new here but I thought I would share my problem, which I found is common and my solution to fix it. After the first week of owning my CTS i noticed a metal clanking noise coming from the Automatic shifter when selecting gears. I searched the forum and found that it most likely was the shift linkage. Apparently there are plastic bushings that fall off or disintegrate after time making the shifter sound like metal clanking around every time you shift. I didn't feel like purchasing a new shift linkage kit to fix it so I fixed it myself. All I used was a small piece of 3/8 in fuel hose. It has worked so far, no noise, and has made the shifting really solid and smooth.
    I will list the procedure I used in case anyone want's to try it. I don't claim that this is the right way to do it, but it has worked for me.

    1. Stat by pulling the chrome plastic cover on the shifter knob forward. It will stick a little because of the leather cover.
    2. There are four small screws that need to be removed from behind that chrome cover that once removed allow the shift knob to be
    separated into two pieces.
    3. Next is to remove both shift knob pieces(front piece takes a little work to remove) Then use a flat screw driver or trim removal tool to
    lift up the shifter boot cover. (the cover is the whole thing that has the sport button, and all the gear selector Letters, P N D etc.)
    4. Once pulled up, there is a small wire harness connector attached to the bottom of the cover that needs to be disconnected.
    then remove the small crew on the shifter rod holding the boot on.
    5. Once the boot and cover are removed, you need to remove the screws holding the center console down. There are two screws on the
    front of the console on each side. You will need to pull the carpet down a little to find them. There also four screws on the back of the console on either side. You will need to pull both front seats forward to see them. They have little plastic round covers on them.
    6. Once the console if free to move all you need to do is just slide it back a few inches. There are four nuts holding down the shifter
    mechanism. The two nuts in front are hard to get to, this the reason for sliding the console back a little.
    7. After removing the four screws holding down the shifter mechanism you will need to remove a couple of other big connectors to free the shift mechanism in order to pull it out. Now it's time to go under the car. You want to look under the
    passenger side right next to the transmission pan and you will notice the shift lever bolted to the side of the transmission. The nut is a
    13mm and is facing the passenger side. If you can't see it at first, have a friend move the shifter from inside the car and you will see it
    move around from underneath the car.
    8. You need to remove this nut which will free the shift rod mechanism in order to pull it out from inside the car. IMPORTANT! You need to
    put the shifter in park and hold the shifter rod under the car when removing the nut. The shift rod moves very easily and loosening
    the nut will move the shifter. This is fine as long as you index where the shift rod connects to the tranny.
    9. Once you remove the shifter mechanism you will clearly see where the plastic bushings used to be. This is where the 3/8 in fuel hose
    comes into play. You will need to cut a piece of fuel hose to fit where the bushing used to be. about a 1/2 inch or so.
    10. Once you have a piece cut, push it into the spot where the bushing used to be. You need to work it in there, it will fit, just be
    patient.
    11. Your done! now just do the reverse and your shift clunking sound is gone.

    I know many will say that the hose will make it hard to move the shift rods, but it does not. The hose is just the right size. The hole that the pieces of hose goes in are just a tad bigger than the diameter of the hose. The shifter rods rotates very smoothly and free from binding. The hose does not fall out either because it just fits in the hole making it unable to just fall out. I used fuel hose because of it's construction, metal reinforced and solvent resistant. I have added a link to the pictures I took of the fix. I know this shifter mechanism is not the most expensive part in the world, but once I got it out and looked at it, I could not justify paying for a replacement when there is a way to fix it for a $1 or 2 and in an hour.

    Hope this helps anyone looking for information about this problem. This forum and it's members post's sure led me in the right direction.


    Link:

    http://s1176.photobucket.com/user/ro...ry/Caddy%20CTS

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  3. #2
    DavidBoren's Avatar
    DavidBoren is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Holy crap. My 2005 CTS made that noise, and I paid the $135 to have it fixed at the dealership. Your way is much cheaper.

  4. #3
    Pwayne is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Great timing. My 2005 3.6 just started doing this same thing a couple of weeks ago.

    I guess there is no way to remove the worn bushing from under the car without having to do all the center console loosening etc.? If the dealer charged "only" $135 to fix DBoren's, then they didnt spend much time on it.

    I wonder if I can do the 2005 3.6 auto tranny without all of the inside car removal and loosening?

    Anyway, thanks for posting your instructions, very helpful.

  5. #4
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Thread Starter

    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Hello Pwayne,

    I'm not sure if you need to move the console or not. It doesn't take long at all. That's probably why they are not charging that much to replace it. The reason for sliding the console back is because the two nuts holding down the shift mechanism in the front are hard to get to. It takes a 10mm socket, deep not short. There's no room to fit a deep socket even if you have swivel extensions. Or you could use a ratcheting wrench and take forever to loosen them. Also, there is a big connector mounted to the front of that mechanism that needs to be removed in order to lift up the shifter. It took me about 15 min to loosen bolts and slide the console back, and remove all four nuts. Another 5 to 10 unbolting the shift rod from underneath. I don't think it can be done without working on the console. If it can, then it's a real pain! Hope that helps.

  6. #5
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Sorry to hear that David. I know how expensive these repairs can get. I had to look at it first before taking it in to the dealer. Glad I did. Pass it on if anyone has this same problem, even if someone just wants to know how to remove the shifter knob.

  7. #6
    Byen65 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    I had a 2003 cadillac cts and I was having problem with the shifter lever that was making clanking noise
    every time I shift from P to R,D and so on. What is wrong with it. What is that part look like ? Where do I
    buy it ? Please someone help me.

  8. #7
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Hello Byen65,
    Most likely the problem is with your shift lever bushings. The automatic shift lever that connects your shifter to the lever mechanism that is attached to the side of your transmission has a plastic bushing that tends to disintegrate and fall off. This leaves your shift lever mechanism with no bushing, causing the metal clanking sound you are hearing. The car will not breakdown, it will just sound like crap!! As far as the part is concerned, It's called shift lever bushing or something like that not sure. I learned from other members that to have it replaced by a mechanic is about $150 or something like that, don't quote me. The fix I did only cost $1.00. It isn't hard, just need to look at the pictures I posted and follow them and you should be able to fix it in about an hour or so. If you want to find out for sure, then just go under your car on the passenger side and look at the lever on the side of your transmission you will see if the bushings are there or not, just wiggle the shift lever and you will hear it clank. Hope this helps.

  9. #8
    ou8mynookie is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    I used the authors method to fix using the 3/8 fuel line on my 2005 3.6 cts EXCEPT WITHOUT ANY DISASSEMBLE, or COST. ITs was FREE.

    I got the Fuel Hose ( 3 inches ) free from Auto Store. Then cut about 5/8's and INSTALLED from UNDER CAR. I had to jack up car, and reach up between muffler to Shifter where old Bushing was ( BTW, the other Bushing was fine, there are a total of 2 ) AFTER removing the 8mm screw to move to metal connector out of way.

    Hardest part was manipulating the 5/8 fuel tube with one hand and pressing onto screw, then through hole ( FYI, the Bushing I replaced was the First one right below where come out of Console. ). BTW, the 2nd bushing is much easier to replace, same method, but easier access.

    Now it works like NEW. But from a engineer standpoint??? The Shifter assembly SHOULD NEVER HAVE PLASTIC ANYTHING in a critical redundant system. Suffice, nothing like a 1 cent Plastic bushing to cause a breakdown!

    Thanks to the author....
    Tlorenzen and Ikera like this.

  10. #9
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Glad to hear you were able to fix the shifter. Boy it gets really loud without those bushings right? I wish I would have thought about fixing it on the car, but I originally removed the shifter in order to buy a new one not thinking it could be fixed. In or out of the car, I'm glad I took a look at it before dropping a lot of money on a new one. Anyways, It's good to know others can use this to fix and save a lot of money.

  11. #10
    wantboost is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    i changed mine i still get the noise???

  12. #11
    robio361 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Hello wantboost, I have had several members and a couple of friends use this fix with great results and I'm sorry to hear you are not. This write up was to repair the noise that occurs when the shifter bushings go bad or rot out completely like mine. I'm not exactly sure why you're still having the noise. If you were having the noise when shifting and the bushings were gone then this should fix the problem. Make sure that when you cut the hose to size that it is wide enough so that the metal shift linkage does not get on the side of it and still rub against the metal rod. I suggest you try and have someone slowly move the shifter in and out of gear while you are under the car (safely) and see if you can pinpoint where the noise is coming from. It should be real obvious where the noise is once under the car. If the hose inserts are in the correct place and there is no metal-on-metal contact then there should not be any noise. This fix is for the external linkage, but if the noise is not coming from the linkage while you are under the car then it might be something internal. I know internal sounds bad and I'm no expert, just need you to be sure before looking elsewhere for the problem. Let me know how it goes.
    Tom's Caddy likes this.

  13. #12
    Ikera's Avatar
    Ikera is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    fixed mine, one of the shifter linkage bushing was clearly gone when I took a look. Installed a piece of rubber hose in place of the bushings, no more clunking

  14. #13
    MikeMetz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    This answers my question!!! I started having this problem yesterday! I was thinking the worst glad it isn't going to be too expensive of a fix. I'll try and give it a go tomorrow!!!

    THANKS!!!

  15. #14
    h2oman is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    I just did this fix with the fuel tubing. It was the 3/8 inch fuel (trans oil) line from the local auto store... I did not to anything with the shifter from inside the car, only from underneath the car on ramps and stands, with chucks on the rear tires incase it popped out of gear somehow (paranoid). I didn't have to unbolt anything or take anything apart... The length of tubing i used was between 1/2 inch and 5/8 inch, so around 9/16 inch, and it was perfect... The longest part of the process was waiting for the stuff to cool down and working that tubing in place. Split the hose down the side just like he has in the photos, or it will never be able to go over the t-shaped thing... start with one corner where the tubing is split and slowly work it in to place while moving the linkages a bit. It seemed really hard to get that tubing in place but eventually it went in. I took for a test drive and it feels new again. Thanks to the original poster!! (oh and don't forget to wear eye protection... don't ask...)
    Ikera likes this.

  16. #15
    bobbys99 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Cheap Fix For Automatic Shifter Clanking Metal Noise

    Hi, looking for some help here. I just tried Robio's method here and messed up.
    I unhooked the console OK, shifted into park, removed the nut from the shifter rod mechanism to the transmission, but also moved the shifter rod in the process. So I moved it back, tightened the nut and decided to do the rest from underneath because the bushings nearest the console looked OK.
    I went on to fix the second bushing, furthest from the console, which was totally gone. My big hands had a bitch of a time getting the ½” piece of hose on, so I removed the 10mm nut holding the shifter rod in place, so I could wiggle it around to help. Of course, I moved the shifter rod back and forth a few times.
    Now, my key is stuck in the ignition, the car won’t start and I’m not sure what gear I’m in. I haven't started putting the console back together again, but I can not shift either.
    Any suggestions for how to start getting out of this mess?
    Thanks.

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