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Automatic Transmission Gear Selector Bushing Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Automatic Transmission Gear Selector Bushing Replacement

Tom Morr

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$6

Talent:

**

Tools:

Shift Shaft Bushing Installer Tool, flatblade screwdrivers, long needle-nose pliers, flashlight

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R170 (1998-04)

Parts Required:

Replacement bushings

Hot Tip:

Soak the bushings in hot water to improve pliability

Performance Gain:

Easier shifting

Complementary Modification:

Replace driveshaft flex discs

The shifter linkage levers use rubber bushings where the shift rod couples to them. These bushings absorb slop and vibration. If a clunk is heard when shifting gears or the gearshift lever rattles over rough roads, the bushings could be bad. The intermediate lever (attached to the gear shift lever) sits above the catalytic converter, so its bushing is particularly prone to degradation. The bushings are inexpensive, so also replacing the one in the range selector lever can't hurt while you're under the car. The general process is the same for many Mercedes-Benz cars that have the 722 automatic transmission.

The car will need to be raised and secured to create enough room to crawl under and reach the range selector lever (on the left side, near the transmission cross member) and the intermediate lever, above the catalytic converter in the R170 SLK.

The front bushing is the easiest. Pry off the lock clip with a screwdriver and then push the shift rod's pin inboard, out of the bushing. Using a screwdriver, poke the old bushing out of the lever's eye.

Installation isn't quite as easy as removal. The new bushing needs to be pushed into the lever's eye so that its center groove seats on the lever. Carefully pushing the bushing with long needle-nose pliers or screwdrivers will eventually get it into the groove. A hot tip (literally) is to soak the bushing in hot water, making it more pliable for installation. If attempting this, obviously take care to not burn yourself on a hot bushing.

The intermediate lever end isn't as easy. With the key in the ignition, shifting the transmission into "1" will move the lever forward for better access. Then pull off the lock clip, push the shift rod out of the bushing and remove/replace the bushing.

Because access is tight, a special installation tool is available (BM-7200) to expedite the job. It squeezes the bushing into the lever's eye.

The bushing on the range selector lever, the one at the front of the shift rod, normally lasts longer than the rear bushing since it isn't subjected to exhaust heat.
Figure 1

The bushing on the range selector lever, the one at the front of the shift rod, normally lasts longer than the rear bushing since it isn't subjected to exhaust heat. The front bushing is comparatively easy to replace: pull the lock clip (red arrow) with a screwdriver, push the rod (yellow arrow) out of the lever, then push out the old bushing and squeeze in the new one. Silicone lube and long needle-nose pliers help the new bushing go into the range selector lever.

The shift lever end sits above the exhaust and is harder to reach than the front bushing.
Figure 2

The shift lever end sits above the exhaust and is harder to reach than the front bushing. As with the other end, a lock clip (green arrow) holds the shift linkage rod (purple arrow) on the lever, buffered by a bushing (yellow arrow).

A screwdriver or similar tool can be used to push the bushing (arrow) out of the lever's eye.
Figure 3

A screwdriver or similar tool can be used to push the bushing (arrow) out of the lever's eye.

The replacement bushing (arrow) is pressed in so that its center groove seats on the lever.
Figure 4

The replacement bushing (arrow) is pressed in so that its center groove seats on the lever.

Here's an example of a worn bushing.
Figure 5

Here's an example of a worn bushing. The shoulders should be round and symmetrical.

A special tool makes installation easier.
Figure 6

A special tool makes installation easier. It holds the new bushing (arrow) on a pin.

Squeezing the tool together and wiggling it up and down and side to side seats the new bushing in the lever.
Figure 7

Squeezing the tool together and wiggling it up and down and side to side seats the new bushing in the lever.

Removed from the car for clarity, the shift linkage rod's rear pin attaches to the intermediate lever through the bushing, secured by a lock clip (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Removed from the car for clarity, the shift linkage rod's rear pin attaches to the intermediate lever through the bushing, secured by a lock clip (yellow arrow). The rod's front pin (red arrow) attaches similarly to the range selector lever.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mark Messier Comments: I had this busing replaced recently. I had all those you have described before the replacement. Excellent advice.
May 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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