A couple of years ago I was winding out first gear and just before I was going to shift into 2nd, it popped out of gear and refused to go back in. Ultimately, I took it into the mechanic. He kept it a long time and had to replace the 1st and 2nd gear synchros. After paying the $2700 bill, I decided to start doing all of the work on the car myself like I do on my truck.
After fewer then 5K miles on the fix but about a year into it, the gear box was feeling a little sloppy and I suddenly found that I could no longer get it into 2nd gear. Not being able to go without the car long enough to properly fix the problem, I hobbled around shifting from 1st to 3rd when I had to drive the car. The other day when I tried to back it out of the garage to take my son to little league practice it did not want to go into reverse. I read up on some related forums and came to the conclusion that I needed to look at the shift bushings. One guy even had a problem where reverse made his car go forward, and this project fixed his problem, so I was hopeful that I might even get 2nd gear back without needing to get into the transmission.
My shift coupler bushings were indeed cracked and it was a very loose coupler because of it. I replaced that shift coupler bushing, the ball cup shifter bushing, and the shift rod bushing. When I got it all back together, it was definitely MUCH tighter but I am having a very hard time getting it adjusted and still cannot get it back into 2nd. It can finesse it into reverse but can hear and feel a real clunk from the shifter area when it does go into reverse.
When it comes to adjusting the linkage after reassembling, I have seen mention here of having the shifter in neutral position, then pushing it to the left while turning the transmission rod (to which the shift coupler attaches with that needle screw) all the way to the right, one guy even suggested using rubber bands to hold the shifter to the left in the neutral area. This is not working for me and I have a couple of questions.
First, should my shifter be pointing upright? While it sounds like others have to pull their shifter to the left when doing this adjustment, mine seems to lean up against the left side of its boundary - I do not have to push it to the left - and I only feel any springy resistance when I push the shifter all the way to the right. Given the problems that I am having getting the shift coupling adjusted, I am starting to wonder if I have a problem in the shifter itself.
Second, if I can manually put it into gears independent of the shift rod (with the pinch clamp loose) then the problems are likely in the shifter and shift coupler area, right? Should I be able to manhandle that shaft that the coupler attaches to and put it into all gears? So the left rear of the car is first, left front is 2nd, middle rear is third, etc? Should I be able to feel it click into every gear like that?
I am dreading having to pull the engine and get into the transmission and am still hoping that my problems are not that deep.
Thanks very much in advance for any advice,