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911 Shifting Improvements
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

911 Shifting Improvements

Dennis Kalma

Bob Tindel

Time:

2-4 hours

Tab:

$0

Talent:

****

Tools:

Metric socket and metric wrench set, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

 
Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)

Performance Gain:

Better and faster shifting

Complementary Modification:

Replace the gear oil in your transmissio
Foreward by Wayne:

     Here is some information on improving your shifting and shift linkage in your 911.  Thanks to Dennis Kalma and Bob Tindel for donating their tips on adjustment and tweaking.


     So for those who have trouble with type 915 transmissions and shifting, based on a broad statistical sample of 1....I conclude the following which is of no validity nor supportability.

     Given that the synchro's are in good shape and they are adjusted right....the suckers are not hard to shift at all. Yes they balk on forced shifts....but that is what they are supposed to do. If you shift smoothly and crisply there are no problems...no need to run it through other gears at stop lights etc. The key is proper shift linkage adjustment.

So for those who are having problems, here is the "trick"

1. Check the bushings in your shift linkage. This includes the 2 at the coupler between the rear seats, the one under the housing which is in the hoop retained by the 2 smaller bolts on the shift housing and the cup at the bottom of the shift rod. Make sure they are in good shape, they are cheap and easy to replace.

2. Make sure that if you have a later housing, that the longitudinal pivot pin is nicely snug, not too loose. You can tell if you have this housing as it will have a lock nut on the front (visible when you peel back the rubber boot around the shift lever. Consider upgrading to the later (post '78) housing and factory short shift kit if you haven't already.

3. Make sure your clutch is adjusted right. It should engage about ' to 1/3 up from the floor board (IMHO) and have about 20mm of free play, measured by pulling the clutch pedal back...as there is a spring which is pressing it towards the floor board, hence the bit of tension.

4. Follow the factory shifter adjustment procedure. It is as follows:

a) Take off the cover between the rear seats which exposes the shift coupler. Pull up the shifter boot, particularly so you can see the lower part of the shifter lever where it bends from "angled back" to more vertical.

b) Loosen the retaining bolt which pinches the shift rod on to the spline on the shift coupler. Let it be very loose.

c) WITH THE TRANSMISSION IN NEUTRAL, rotate the shift coupler clockwise when viewed towards the front of the car. You should be able to feel the coupler rub against the various shift stops as you rotate it back and forth. Rotate it to the furthest clockwise position, as seen when you are facing forward. Don't pretend you are Tarzan and turn it with huge force....lightly is all that is necessary..

d) Keep your hand on it and hold it there. Don't let it wiggle, if it does, turn it back to the furthest clockwise position.

e) Move the shift lever so that the more vertical part of the lever is vertical (ie 90 degrees to the level...sticking straight up so to speak). Move it so that it lightly touches the side of the shifter housing which is on the 1 st/2 ndgear side.....closest to the driver. Again, gently.

f) They should now be properly aligned.....lever closest to the driver with bottom part vertical, coupler clockwise in the neutral plane.

g) Carefully tighten the pinch bolt. Make sure it is quite tight.

h) Check things out. You must be able to engage reverse clash free (give the gear a little bit of time to stop after you stomp on the clutch), shifting should get to all the gears easily when driving.....things don't work as smoothly when stopped and lastly, there must be a little bit of rotational play when 5 thgear is selected. This is checked by shifting into 5 th, and feeling whether you can wiggle the shift coupler with your hand. It should just click back and forth slightly...not much, but clearly discernable play.

i) Assuming all is well, put all the covers back. If it is not well....my fervent suggestion is that you START OVER at b. ....I have never had any luck fiddling with the linkage.

Drive and be happy.

Dennis Kalma 
kalmad@cadvision.com 
'75 911S with Kremer 3.2


Shift Linkage - Adjustment

1. Remove the cover plate on the tunnel, behind the front seats.

2. Place gearshift in neutral.

3. Loosen the shift rod clamp. Turn the shift rod (by grasping the coupler) to the right, as seen in the direction of driving.

4. Move gearshift lever to the left until it touches the stop, and move it fore-and-aft until the lower section is vertical when viewed from the side (the fore-and-aft adjustment can be modified to suit the driver, provided sufficient length of the shifter rod remains inside the clamp).

5. Lightly tighten the clamp.

6. Check if equally long travel is evident in gears 1-4, and that 5 thand reverse can be easily engaged. Correct as necessary.

7. Tighten the clamp securely.

8. Shift into 5 thgear, and check the shift rod for rotational play.

A definite (slight) amount of play must be evident.

This is also a good time to inspect the shift coupler bushings. Be aware that some fore-and-aft play in the coupler bushings is required.

Bob Tindel 
    btindel@gte.net 

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Comments and Suggestions:
Jonboy69 Comments: Hi I have a 2002 911 carrera 2 with 103000 miles.It had a new clutch at 93000 but 1st and 3rd have become hard to locate even with the engine off.If I shift up and back they are there.Any idea's as it is becoming a struggle? Thanks
June 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would bet that the transmission mount is worn out. You can easily tell if the mount is bad by going on and off the throttle at about 30 MPH. When the mount is bad you will feel a thump on the floor when going back to throttle. This works best for completely worn out mounts, if yours is on it's way out you will have to visually inspect it. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
harryh Comments: Having problems getting into third gear. not sure if this is the linkage or the actual gearbox
Help 1985 911 carrera with 5 speed box
May 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The first step is to check the shift bushings. We have a write up on the 915 equipped transmissions, and the bushings are very similar labor wise. Your car has an early G50 and does not use the coupler at the shift rod, but the article will give you a pretty good idea what to do. I'll give you the links below.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/101_Projects_Porsche_911/37-Shifting_Improvements/37-Shifting_Improvements.htm

http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/101_Projects_Porsche_911/37-Shifting_Improvements/37-Shifting_Improvements.htm #

Scroll down and purchase shift bushing kit... That will have all the necessary bushings to make sure the shift linkage is not to blame.

- Casey at Pelican Parts
 
Robert Comments: 1978 Targa. I think this is not a “deep” gearshift problem -
just that the normal shifting H-pattern straight ahead to straight back, etc.
gradually slides toward the passenger and turns maybe 45 degrees. Shifting then works, but it is awkward.
I am not a mechanic.
Is this something I can straighten up or tighten up?

April 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the bushings are worn. I recommend replacing the bushings and examining the coupler, if the bushings in the coupler are damaged replace that as well. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
smoot Comments: I am helping a friend work on a 1973 Porsche 911E with an autostick transmission. He replaced the shift selector and was having issues getting the gears lined up correctly. I have been messing with the car using the steps above and we can get reverse, 1st, 2nd and fourth but when you put the car in 3rd it will act like it is going to roll forward but then kicks out of third, any thoughts?
April 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you hold the shifter does it stay in 3rd gear? - Casey at Pelican Parts  
PD23none Comments: My 1999 Boxter was joy driven for two days and now I barely have a clutch and can't get forth gear. Any thoughts? And I hear gear noise
February 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: CLutch may be at the end of it's life. Try a stall test on the clutch. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pezqc Comments: Hi, I have a 1984, 911 with 155000 miles on. Last winter I replaced all the bushings shift rod bushing, Ball cup shift bushing and shift coupler bushings from the shifter to shifter coupler. I still have some hesitation from 1st o 2nd and light rattilng in shift lever at 60mph.
Any idéal what should be my next steps?

Thank you.
October 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is there still play in the shift rod? The rattling may be a bad engine / trans mount. I would start by inspecting them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bachmann Comments: I have just bought a 1977 projekt.
I can not find the reverse Down Right
What should I look at ?
September 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure what you are asking. Reverse in the transmission? It may be misadjusted or worn (shifter). - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chasrb Comments: Okay, an update. I have not done my fine tuning on the linkage yet, but here is what I wanted to post. I took a "is it plugged in" approach to my reverse situation and I simply rocked the car from above the rear wheels to see if I could reinstate the pin or what ever caused my initial prob.

Well I am amazed to say that when I rocked the car from the passenger side I heard a slight "click" I rocked it a couple more times and another "click". Hopped in the car started it up put it reverse and WOW it went backwards!! Then the true test 1st gear.. it went forward!

I am thankful to the OP who mentioned shake the car!
August 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad you got it solved, Also, thanks for sharing the info and updating us. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
chasrb Comments: I did this adjustment and replaced all the busing and install a new coupler. Drove the car found all the gears, 3rd had a bit of a grind on occasion. Well took the car out for a spin last evening and when pulling into the garage, I went from 1st to Reverse at full stop backed up then when going back to first no movement. The engine bogged down as well with the clutch released.

With the help of my wife I was able to have her depress the clutch which freed reverse, and got the car into the garage.

I can go thru all the gear positions, but only in neutral will reverse work.

So is it wise to re adjust the linkage before going for the reverse pin under the reverse light switch?

I also read about rocking the car or running thru the gears hard could free the reverse in neutral prob.

Pointers, tips and solutions welcomed. I have only had the car for a few weeks...

Thanks
August 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here is your fix:Okay, an update. I have not done my fine tuning on the linkage yet, but here is what I wanted to post. I took a "is it plugged in" approach to my reverse situation and I simply rocked the car from above the rear wheels to see if I could reinstate the pin or what ever caused my initial prob.

Well I am amazed to say that when I rocked the car from the passenger side I heard a slight "click" I rocked it a couple more times and another "click". Hopped in the car started it up put it reverse and WOW it went backwards!! Then the true test 1st gear.. it went forward!

I am thankful to the OP who mentioned shake the car!
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rob Comments: Thats a great detailed procedure. Thank you much.. One more question, Ive worked on lots of mechanical things but never interiors, sorry but how do I access the tunnel or remove the consol?
May 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a cover between the rear seats. If I remember correctly, pull it up to remove it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: I have. 97 c4S that has been modified a few years back. When I push the clutch pedal down I feel a drag or a friction of some kind. Is there anything I could lube or adjust? Appreciate the help. It was built by a company power haus racing which is now turbo-Kraft.
May 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Nothing to lube, other than the small amount applied to the throwout bearing guide tube. You're going to have to inspect the clutch components to see what is binding. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Walt Comments: My 1972 911T has a severe case of shifter looseness. I can move the lever 4 or 5 inches in any direction. I can find the gears my wife can't - she is currently banned! and it appears that the transmission is fine. Is there a set of bushings that i can buy? Is this a do it yourself project for a reasonably proficient hacker? Thanks for your help
December 12, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can replace the shifter parts. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
aw Comments: have a porscha 5 speed need to see what shifter look like from both ends
October 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What year and model is the shifter from? Also, describe which parts you want to see. I may be some help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roger Comments: Well, went into this project with 2nd, 4th and 5th gears gone. I found that the bushing were completely gone. Replaced all bushings front to back and have tinkered with the alignment as stated but now have 2nd, 4th, 5th, and REV but no 1st or 3rd. Should I lift the shifter from touching left to a more centered approach?
July 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes it needs to be centered to have the proper throw - Nick at Pelican Parts  
donnie Comments: i have a 68 912 targa,it shifts good but i have to hesitate going into 2nd and the gear shift rattles in 3rd gear. what's up thanks don sartwell
May 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shift linkage bushings could be worn. especially if it is rattling.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
gamin Comments: Found the answer to my question on my own. Found in the factory workshop manual. Place trans in neutral. Remove cover rear floor for access to coupler area. Loosen clamp 13mm wrenches. Looking forward turn coupler left counter clockwise and move shift lever right to stop. Tighten clamp, maintaining distance between end of shift rod and coupler face. Simple.
April 30, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
gamin Comments: I have a 70T with the 911901 trans. I am about to change the worn out shift coupler. All the instructions and comments appear to apply to the 915 trans. What is the procedure for adjusting the coupler/shifter on the 911901 trans?
April 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I pasted your answer here to help others:

Found the answer to my question on my own. Found in the factory workshop manual. Place trans in neutral. Remove cover rear floor for access to coupler area. Loosen clamp 13mm wrenches. Looking forward turn coupler left counter clockwise and move shift lever right to stop. Tighten clamp, maintaining distance between end of shift rod and coupler face. Simple. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Bill C. Comments: I have a 1987 911 Carrera with a G50 transmission. The transmission is fine, but the linkage has gotten sloppy over the last 2 weeks. I have all the covers off and it appears the "shifter coupler" shown as part #26 in the Bentley Manual is sloppy. Do you have the part or a kit for my vehicle. These are original parts. It reminds me of the shifter on a 71 914.
March 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check here: https://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/911M/POR_911M_Tshift_pg1.htm


or give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Breeang Comments: Having replaced all the linkage bushings I then used Bob Tindel's method of adjustment. It worked perfectly 1st attempt
"I'd rather be lucky than good"!
March 11, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
SIDESLIDE Comments: I HAVE A 1985 911 WITH 137 THOUSAND MILES ON IT. JUST BOUGHT THE CAR. I KNOW THAT THE CAR SAT FOR A LONG TIME WHILE THE OWNER OF 27 YEARS THOUGHT ABOUT SELLING IT. IT SHIFTED FINE AT FIRST. A LITTLE STIFF BUT MANAGEBLE. AFTER ABOUT 300 MILES ON THE CAR THE CLUTCH ENGAGES ONLY AN INCH OR SO FROM THE FLOOR. DID I DISENTEGRATE AN OLD CLUTCH? I ORDERED A NEW ONE. PLUS CABLE. YOUR THOUGHTS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
February 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the clutch isn't slipping, it may need a cable adjustment. I would try that first. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fsquad Comments: 82 911 with 140,000 miles. i installed a short shift kit and new bushings in the coupler. With the inspection door open I hear a noise like a throw out bearing on a standard trans that I do not hear with the door closed. Bad things on the way?
Thanks, Tom
July 1, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have some noise, but if it is a grinding or noisy bearing, i would prepare to deal with it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mnwgilbert Comments: I have a 1985 911 Carerra - when I shift from 4th to 5th gear, I am shifting in the same spot as always, but now it goes into 3rd gear instead of 5th. I have to really thread it through a narrow path right to get into 5th. Any quick fix suggestions?
June 22, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No quick fix. I would inspect the linkage and replace any worn parts. Some good info here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/911_shifting_improvements/911_shifting_improvements.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Gary Comments: Shifting can be hard going into 1st and 3rd. Sometime I have to double clutch first. Is this a linkage problem?
December 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I typically like to start with the things that are easiest to fix. In this case, yes, that would be shift linkage. Go through the linkage and replace all of the bushings that may be worn, including the coupler underneath the car in front of the rear seats. Then, you can accurately evaluate the shifting, and focus on the transmission if the problem still persists. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Gary Comments: What type of oil do you recommend for an 85" carrera 3.2L with 132,000 miles? Should I use a synthetic?
December 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is an age-old question. I like to recommend *not* using synthetic in older cars, as it tends to increase the chances that the car will start leaking oil. If you try to switch back from synthetic after a leak has begun, then it tends to continue to leak. I like running heavier oils in the summer, and lighter-weight formulas in the winter. Recently, the oil formulations were changed and a lot of zinc has been removed from the oil (due to the theory that the zinc residue in the exhaust was harming and shortening the life of the catalytic converter). As a result, the absence of zinc (which is an anti-wear component) has been causing more wear in these cars. So, I recommend either adding a zinc-based additive, or use an older formulated oil. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
jr Comments: I will give that a shot and with any luck that will be all that needs to be done. When I have repaired that I have a few driveability questions I think I got my hand spanked on this purchase
September 18, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Let us know how it works out.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jr Comments: Hello I have a 1986 930 and it's my first porsche. The vehicle is equipped with a 4 speed and I can not for the life of me get it to go in reverse no matter what I do HELP ?
September 17, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There's a lockout mechanism on the shifter that may be stuck. I would pull up the boot and take a closer look at it as you try to shift between the gears. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Pmancat Comments: I have an 87 turbo-look cab that has a problem when the car has been driven in heavy traffic. The clutch seems to disengage and once it cools it engages as if there is nothing wrong until it heats up again. The clutch has been recently replaced and has had a major tuneup. Any suggestions as to what may be causing this? Thanks,
Raul
August 28, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is somewhat standard behavior for a clutch that is getting hot and overheated. I would hazard to guess that you're probably riding your clutch a bit too much in traffic and need to use the clutch a bit less? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
W Bergman Comments: I applied Bob Tindel's procedure for "911 Shifting Improvements" and now suspect it was written for later post '71 911's?
Step 3 & 4 "turn the shift rod to the right," which moves the gearshift lever to the left, before tightening the clamp under the tunnel cover plate in the rear.
My 1st and reverse now could not be engaged.
The solution was reverse things: turn the shift rod to the LEFT, and thus the gearshift lever to the RIGHT before tightening the clamp.
Now all gears engage, and a test drive confirmed the adjustment.
May 17, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's correct, on the early 901 cars, the shift pattern is different than the 915s, so the procedure would be backwards. Thanks for the helpful followup! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Dabo Comments: How do I get new bushings in the shift coupler? It looks like its molded together.
May 9, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The pin on the inside is pressed in to the coupler. This is documented in the 101 Projects book. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Jef Comments: Eureka, made up one out of a wall fitting for a cloth hanging bar. Fitted it to a drill are ground it down to fit the shift rod bracket.
The material revealing itself as brass or bronze, i cant tell.
Has about 2-3mm clearance total.
The longer construction gave it more stability. Better shifting consistency finally.
November 1, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jef Comments: The Shift Rod Bushing in the Tunnel Behind the Shifter fails easiest in my car. 4 years after replacement, and it has gone to bits. Hardened and brittle. Wondering if a bronze or other metal type would be better.
October 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I've tried bronze ones before - I don't like them too much, as they have looser clearances than the rubber / plastic ones. Be sure that you install the bushing with some white lithium grease, and it should last a bit longer. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
geigez Comments: Wayne,

my guess is the coupler would be the same I just wanted to know if there was a chance it could be the wrong part. It's a RUF transmission in this 930 but from the shifter to the back plate I'm guessing it's the same.

thanks much
September 15, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would assume it is the same, the linkage etc would likely be be left original. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Geigez Comments: I have a 5 speed RUF. Reverse on the left up position. My nylon bushing is shot and need to be replaced can't get Reverse or 1st does this method still apply? where can I view a diagram for replacing the bushings under the plate?
September 14, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not familiar with that particular car and whether or not it has a stock shifter? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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