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Old 09-10-2013, 10:43 PM   #1
DJCorey01
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2004 VUE Red Line
Default Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

This thread will provide details on installing a Pilot Automotive PM-135S shift handle.


This is the original, unmodified handle out of the box. The trigger button is even with the top part of the shifter cap. The unmodified trigger button will not travel far enough to release the lock and allow you to change gears. The black spacers included are too small for the Vue.


After removing the top cap you will have an unmodified trigger button where the base of the button is slightly recessed in the white plastic housing.


The trigger button is held in place by a small screw and washer. After you remove the screw you will have the chrome trigger, spring, flat washer, white plastic body and a small 1/4" screw. You will not reuse the original 1/4" screw. The split-lock washers and screw in the photo will need to be obtained by you and are needed to increase the travel of the trigger.


You will need a 8-32 x 1/2" screw and a few washers. The goal is to increase the distance the trigger travels when depressed. The pic below shows three split washers and the original flat washer. In the final assembly I actually used four split washers which increased the travel by 0.30"



The small washers you choose will need to fit through the hole in the white housing as you reassemble the trigger assembly. The washers I used had the same OD as the thin part of the chrome trigger.



After the trigger button is reassembled the button will no longer be recessed in the white housing. Make sure the trigger moves freely throughout the entire length of travel.



Once the shifter handle is reassembled you will notice that the trigger is now extended above the top part of the shifter cap.



The second challenge we need to overcome is the difference between the OD of the shifter shaft (1/2") in relation to the ID of the new shifter handle (3/4"). The plastic inserts included with my handle were all too small for the Vue.

I picked up the two spacers below from a local speed shop. They measure 0.55" ID, 0.625" OD with a 0.75" length. A hardware store may have tubing you could use but I found these on my first try. The speed shop charged me $3.00 each.



The spacers still left a little too much wiggle room for me to be comfortable. The entire handle assembly is held in place by three small set screws located at the bottom of the handle. The set screws are threaded directly into the aluminum body of the shift handle. I'm sure it would be relatively easy to strip out the aluminum by trying to over tighten the set screws. To increase the OD of the spacers slightly I used some oversized heat shrink. The piece I used started as 0.75". The photo below shows the expanded tube and the two spacers end-to-end inside the smaller, collapsed piece. The shrink increased the OD of the spacers to 0.68" and took out almost all of the play. I cut one side of the shrink flush with the spacer and left a small overhang on the other.



Final assembly time. Remember to slide the bottom cap onto the shaft before the spacers.


Slide the spacer assembly over the shifter shaft. Leave the side with the shrink overhang facing up.


To make the handle a little more snug on the shaft I used two small pieces of electric tape. The tolerance is very close so I cut each piece to keep it from stretching and made certain the ends did not overlap. This increased the OD of my homemade spacer to 0.705". This was probably overkill


Before you install the handle experiment with the ignition key and shifter trigger (the skinny trigger in the shaft). With the key removed press the trigger down. After a small amount of travel it will stop. Before you reach the mechanical stop you will hear a click noise from the key cylinder. You will need to position the handle so that there is a small amount of preload on the trigger, but keep it small enough to not cause the ignition cylinder lock to keep you from removing your key. This is trial and error.
My Vue has about 85K miles and there seems to be a small amount of play between the mechanical stop of the trigger and the ignition cylinder lock (this is probably normal though). Now for the set screws. The handle should be very snug so the set screws are really only keeping the handle from moving up or down on the shifter shaft. Make sure to keep alternating the set screws and not just tighten one down all the way. I would also recommend against fully tightening the lower cap keeping the allen wrench for the set screws in the car in case you have any issues. I also left my original handle with the corresponding allen wrench in the glove box just in case.


Since the shifter was discontinued a while ago, it may be harder to find one than it is to install. Amazon sold out last week. There are still some on ebay.
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:53 PM   #2
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Two extra pics...



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Old 09-13-2013, 09:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Not a fan of the lime green but nice work either way.
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Old 09-13-2013, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Looks good. How hard is it to take off the stock knob?
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Routs View Post
Looks good. How hard is it to take off the stock knob?
It's relatively easy. You just need to push down on the chrome cap at the base of the handle (or pry it with a flathead but it's plastic so be careful) to expose the allen head set screw. You don't need to remove the screw completely - just back it of a few turns and the handle will slide right off.

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Old 09-13-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Quote:
Originally Posted by PortugalFocus View Post
Not a fan of the lime green but nice work either way.
Haha - Thanks. I'm sure the green isn't for everybody but I wanted to carry the outside color to the interior ever since the day I purchased this car. Changing to black was always on my "to do" list but I never really felt motivated until after I found this board a few months ago

First, Gene helped me out with bunch of diagrams for mechanical issues I had been struggling with. Then, I read through all 50+ pages of mods and a few really stood out: Two of them were Burnout's LED thread and YOUR thread with the steering wheel mod. I always wanted to change the color of the v-shaped part of my wheel but never knew how easy it was to take apart. Everything in my head came together and I got started. I didn't see any threads for changing out the baseball size shift handle so I figured I would contribute.

Anyway, thanks for taking time post a comment. You are part of the reason I am excited about my 9+ year old car again.
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJCorey01 View Post
It's relatively easy. You just need to push down on the chrome cap at the base of the handle (or pry it with a flathead but it's plastic so be careful) to expose the allen head set screw. You don't need to remove the screw completely - just back it of a few turns and the handle will slide right off.

Thanks man. +rep

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Old 12-23-2015, 01:26 PM   #8
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2005 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

I don't like the original "bulb" knob. Is it possible to install a T-shaped knob? Just like this one...
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

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Originally Posted by HorheZBig View Post
I don't like the original "bulb" knob. Is it possible to install a T-shaped knob? Just like this one...
A little late, but yes. A "T" shift lever would work just fine. It just takes the top loaded button and moves it to the side. That's an L-Series in your picture, and there's a pretty good chance that it works in the VUE with little to no effort.

(L series lever for reference)

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Old 01-11-2016, 01:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

Thx, I found universal T-knob in market and try to change the original one. Will post when done!
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:52 AM   #11
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

So, here is the result.









Looks cool for me!
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:52 AM   #12
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Default Re: Automatic trans shifter handle mod in 04 Vue RL

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Looks cool for me!
Looks awesome! Nice job on it!
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