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Old 07-20-2008, 02:30 AM   #1
delsydsoftware
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Default Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I ran into the notorious shift bushing problem with my 1996 SL2 about a year ago, and I ended up installing one of the steel bushing kits from eBay. Just a few days ago, the eyelet popped off of my shift cable, leaving me stuck in the parking deck where I work. Since it happened a few days before payday and I was dead broke, I decided to improvise a solution by drilling a hole in the cable and reattaching the eyelet with a bolt and JBWeld. As it turns out, it worked really well.

What you need:

A Dremel tool, with a steel cutting bit and a heavy-duty cutoff wheel
JBWeld
A nut and bolt that match the size of the Dremel's cutting bit (4/16th inch machine screw, in my case)

First off, I removed the center console. I then removed the four bolts that hold the shifter in place. I removed the e-clip from the steel bushing and popped out the eyelet.

Next, I drilled a hole into the side of the shifter cable, about 1cm from the end of the cable:

http://www.delsydsoft.com/cable_hole.jpg

I located the hole a bit far back, but I was afraid that the already-weakend end of the cable might crack if the hole was too close to the end. Now, it was time to modify the eyelet.

The eyelet still had some bits of cable left in the end. I drilled out the metal that was still there and extended the hole until it broke through to the inside ring of the eyelet. I had to do this to allow the hole in the shift cable to attach to the eyelet well. You can see this (to a certain extent) in the last picture in this post.

Next, I drilled a hole through the end of the eyelet, so that I could attach a nut and bolt:

http://www.delsydsoft.com/eyelet_angle.jpg

I had to cut down the bolt with my Dremel to make it fit perfectly. I also used the Dremel tool to dull the ridges in the screw, to keep them from cutting into the eyelet. In this picture, you can see two things:

1. I cut it at an angle on accident---I was doing this in a parking deck at night, so it wasn't really perfect.
2. The hole in the end is cut all of the way through.

http://www.delsydsoft.com/eyelet_top.jpg

I lightly sanded all of the edges of the holes with 440 grit sandpaper, and I used very fine sandpaper to smooth out the inside ring of the eyelet. I also cleaned and sanded the end of the shift cable with 440 grit sandpaper, to provide a good surface for the JBWeld that I would be applying.

I dry-fitted the eyelet using the bolt and nut. When it looked like everything was going to work okay, I took everything apart and gave it a final cleaning. I applied JBWeld to the threads of the screw, as well as the hole in the end of the shift eyelet. I used a fairly generous amount, so that some would come out of the holes that I had cut for the bolt. I then bolted everything together, making sure that the nut had a bit of JBWeld on it as well.

A little JBWeld came out of the hole in the eyelet's inner ring. I ran an old rag through the center of the eyelet a few times to make sure that it was completely clean---We don't want to JBWeld the cable to the shifter, after all.

Once this was done, I put the notched nylon washer from the steel bushing kit back on the shifter. I attached the shift cable eyelet to the steel bushing, and then I attached the e-clip. Normally, the steel bushing kit uses 2 nylon washers---a notched washer for one side of the eyelet, and a normal nylon washer for the other side. Since I suspect that this was squeezing the eyelet and putting stress on it, I opted to skip the second washer.

I then reattached the 4 shift bolts and gave it a shot. Everything feels absolutely solid---The shifter moves freely, and it doesn't get hung up on gears. In fact, it's probably the best that the shifter has ever felt. I've inspected it a couple times since I did the repair, and everything appears to be holding up just fine. I seriously recommend using the steel bushing set without the second washer. I can't feel any difference with or without it, and the shift cable has a bit of play, so it isn't stressed all the time.

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Old 07-20-2008, 09:00 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Good job. – Let us know if it holds up.

The steel bushing does apply torque to the cable, but the cable has a lot of length to it so the twisting force is low (knowwhatImean?)

I was concerned that leaving off 1 of the washers would put splitting force on the Cable’s plastic end loop. – I even made another thin washer out of circuit board material to add to the 2 Nylon washers in the kit. Then, I remembered Nylon swells with humidity and did not want to make the fit too tight.

It is odd that the cable manufacturer did not make a better connection between the plastic loop and the steel cable. The entire Engineering World needs to recognize that plastic shrinks and creeps over time.

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Old 07-21-2008, 05:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I've seen a couple posts from people that have had this problem after using one of those stainless steel kits. I really think that they cause this problem over time. So, I tend to recommend the other solutions.

...
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpdraft View Post
Good job. – Let us know if it holds up.
It's been a few weeks, and it's holding up great, actually. I think this fix actually works long term. I've inspected the cable, and i can't see any evidence of wear on the plastic eyelet. I did reinstall the 2nd nylon bushing on from the steel bushing kit---the shifter is just too loose without it, unfortunately.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:12 PM   #5
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Happy Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I made a PTFE (Teflon) bushing for mine when it failed recently. So far so good, and it will "give" before the other parts do. I suppose the eyelet will be the next thing to let go now.

You can buy a bushing almost like the one I made from McMaster-Carr for about $3.50. It is part number 2639T18 and is 0.50" ID. 0.50" length and 0.625 OD.

The ideal OD is around 0.680, but it is close enough to work with a wrap or two of tape or a layer of heat shrink tubing around it..

Hold the whole thing in place with a fender washer and screw tapped into the shifter arm ball and you should have it made.

2706T32 is a shouldered PTFE version that would be even better, but you'd have to shave the OD down a little bit. It is all of $4 and change.

Since both are PTFE, both are self lubricating.

I also endorse JB weld which is WONDERFUL stuff. It is fantastic to fix flexible bumpers, by the way.

FWIW.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

The SS kit is really not necessary, IMHO. If u look at Ebay, it's dubbed "ultimate solution", lmao.

I bought the Toyota bushing from AZ. Didn't have to wait for it to be shipped and costs only a 1/3 of the SS. I really doubt mine will fail in a year or 2, even if it does, I can replace it in 30 minutes next time.

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Old 01-12-2010, 07:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Quote:
Originally Posted by delsydsoftware View Post
I ran into the notorious shift bushing problem with my 1996 SL2 about a year ago, and I ended up installing one of the steel bushing kits from eBay. Just a few days ago, the eyelet popped off of my shift cable, leaving me stuck in the parking deck where I work. Since it happened a few days before payday and I was dead broke, I decided to improvise a solution by drilling a hole in the cable and reattaching the eyelet with a bolt and JBWeld. As it turns out, it worked really well.

What you need:

A Dremel tool, with a steel cutting bit and a heavy-duty cutoff wheel
JBWeld
A nut and bolt that match the size of the Dremel's cutting bit (4/16th inch machine screw, in my case)

First off, I removed the center console. I then removed the four bolts that hold the shifter in place. I removed the e-clip from the steel bushing and popped out the eyelet.

Next, I drilled a hole into the side of the shifter cable, about 1cm from the end of the cable:

http://www.delsydsoft.com/cable_hole.jpg

I located the hole a bit far back, but I was afraid that the already-weakend end of the cable might crack if the hole was too close to the end. Now, it was time to modify the eyelet.

The eyelet still had some bits of cable left in the end. I drilled out the metal that was still there and extended the hole until it broke through to the inside ring of the eyelet. I had to do this to allow the hole in the shift cable to attach to the eyelet well. You can see this (to a certain extent) in the last picture in this post.

Next, I drilled a hole through the end of the eyelet, so that I could attach a nut and bolt:

http://www.delsydsoft.com/eyelet_angle.jpg

I had to cut down the bolt with my Dremel to make it fit perfectly. I also used the Dremel tool to dull the ridges in the screw, to keep them from cutting into the eyelet. In this picture, you can see two things:

1. I cut it at an angle on accident---I was doing this in a parking deck at night, so it wasn't really perfect.
2. The hole in the end is cut all of the way through.

http://www.delsydsoft.com/eyelet_top.jpg

I lightly sanded all of the edges of the holes with 440 grit sandpaper, and I used very fine sandpaper to smooth out the inside ring of the eyelet. I also cleaned and sanded the end of the shift cable with 440 grit sandpaper, to provide a good surface for the JBWeld that I would be applying.

I dry-fitted the eyelet using the bolt and nut. When it looked like everything was going to work okay, I took everything apart and gave it a final cleaning. I applied JBWeld to the threads of the screw, as well as the hole in the end of the shift eyelet. I used a fairly generous amount, so that some would come out of the holes that I had cut for the bolt. I then bolted everything together, making sure that the nut had a bit of JBWeld on it as well.

A little JBWeld came out of the hole in the eyelet's inner ring. I ran an old rag through the center of the eyelet a few times to make sure that it was completely clean---We don't want to JBWeld the cable to the shifter, after all.

Once this was done, I put the notched nylon washer from the steel bushing kit back on the shifter. I attached the shift cable eyelet to the steel bushing, and then I attached the e-clip. Normally, the steel bushing kit uses 2 nylon washers---a notched washer for one side of the eyelet, and a normal nylon washer for the other side. Since I suspect that this was squeezing the eyelet and putting stress on it, I opted to skip the second washer.

I then reattached the 4 shift bolts and gave it a shot. Everything feels absolutely solid---The shifter moves freely, and it doesn't get hung up on gears. In fact, it's probably the best that the shifter has ever felt. I've inspected it a couple times since I did the repair, and everything appears to be holding up just fine. I seriously recommend using the steel bushing set without the second washer. I can't feel any difference with or without it, and the shift cable has a bit of play, so it isn't stressed all the time.
What A great idea! My eyelet broke off last night in an intersection. Looked all day for a new cable..Saturn wants $247.08..I think not..Think I will try your fix!

Thanks!
w-in-ga

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Old 01-13-2010, 12:22 PM   #8
hholbein
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

The same guy who sells the Stainless and Delrin replacement bushings on ebay also has a replacement cable end-loop that essentially does what you've shown here (great pics, BTW).

Search for "Saturn Shifter Bushing Cable Replacement End Loop" and you should see one listed for $29 or so. I would certainly give the ebay solution a try before I undertook the horrible job of replacing the shifter cables.

Given my car's age (although low mileage), my glovebox is stocked with a few zip ties and cable retaining clips (the ones on the shift tower on the transmission itself) to deal with the most common causes of failure/stranding.

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Old 10-05-2010, 12:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I just wanted to let you guys know that I haven't had any problems with this fix for the past 2 years. I had a chance to take a look at it a couple days ago, and it still looks solid.

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Old 10-05-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Wow, great to see a long term followup! Great photos, too.

...
...Wait, what, I actually won that eBay auction? Guess I now (12/2008) own a 1998 SL2, silver, 5 spd :p 102k @ purchase, now 169k
And now (7/2010), a Craigslist 1997 SC2, white, 5 spd

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Old 10-09-2010, 08:10 PM   #11
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Default

I can not seem to get the factory bushing off. Mine has not failed, but I am attempting to remove the factory one. Any suggestions as how to remove it?

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Old 10-11-2010, 12:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Quote:
Originally Posted by moresaturn View Post
I can not seem to get the factory bushing off. Mine has not failed, but I am attempting to remove the factory one. Any suggestions as how to remove it?
For the old shifter bushing, you may need to carefully trim the old 'cap' off with a sharp knife - be careful of the cable eyelet. That was the hardest and most time consuming part of the job - my bushing hadn't failed and I did not want to wait for it, so I went ahead and replaced it.

...
...Wait, what, I actually won that eBay auction? Guess I now (12/2008) own a 1998 SL2, silver, 5 spd :p 102k @ purchase, now 169k
And now (7/2010), a Craigslist 1997 SC2, white, 5 spd

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Old 10-14-2010, 01:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I just had to replace the entire shifter cable as it was coming apart where it connects under the battery. Cost $215 for the cable from GM but I saw other brands advertised for $50. Does it matter which type of shifter cable you use? Does anyone know if there is a reliable or non-reliable brand of cable to watch out for?

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Old 12-17-2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

So, this fix ended up working for 4 years, until the shift cable failed at a different location. I bought new shift cables, installed them, and the end popped off again within a week. So, I designed a replacement part that is much stronger and printed it out on my 3d printer. If anyone needs one or two, let me know at the link below.

If you have a 3d printer, I put the design on this page:

thingiverse.com/delsydsoftware

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Old 10-18-2013, 01:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

delsydsoft,,, i just had the same problem you had happen to me, and i would like to see about getting one of your 3d fabbed eye sockets,, how can i reach you to discuss this? you want my email address? or? Thanks for a great post and info,, rsvp

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Old 10-18-2013, 04:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

Quote:
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delsydsoft,,, i just had the same problem you had happen to me, and i would like to see about getting one of your 3d fabbed eye sockets,, how can i reach you to discuss this? you want my email address? or? Thanks for a great post and info,, rsvp
This: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1996-96-Satu...item1c348fd790

And if you're really worried about it sliding off, measure how far onto the end the set screws are and use a file to create flats with an edge for the screws to catch.

...
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:24 AM   #17
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Default Re: Fixing a broken shift cable eyelet

I actually had the same problem on my 96 sl1. did practically the same thing and it worked perfectly until i got rid of the car nearly a year later.

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