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Shifter Rod Seal Replacement
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Pelican Technical Article:

Shifter Rod Seal Replacement

Joe Wolfgang



Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)
If your transmission is leaking fluid from the transmission rod seal, then you can easily replace it with the engine in the car. Joe Wolfgang sent me this procedure actually a day after I had just replaced the seal in the car, and had taken some pictures. The pictures are of my 356, so there might be a few differences in the look and feel, but the procedure is basically the same for both the 356 and the 911. Here is the procedure coupled with a few useful pictures:

Jack up the car and support it with jack stands. I usually like to place the jack stands under the ends of the torsion bars. The weight of the engine in the rear causes the car to somewhat balance on the torsion bar. You can then jack up the front very easily, and place jack stands under the chassis near the front suspension. Make sure that you use jack stands - hydraulic jacks are not safe enough for supporting the car permanently.

Disconnect the shifter coupler from the transmission. Depending on the car that you have (356 or 911), you may need a hex key to remove the cone screw in the coupler, as shown in Figure 1. Once you have disconnected the coupler from the transmission, you need to remove the coupler from the shift linkage.

Remove the shift coupler inspection plate. This is the rear coupler plate that is located inside the car behind the seats. Figure 2 and Figure 3 show this plate and the coupler mount.

Mark the location of the shift coupler relative to the shift rod. This is so that you can restore your shift linkage position to where it was previously. If you forget about this step, then you might have to use trial and error to figure it out later. If you are not happy with the location of your shifter rod, or the performance of your shift linkage, then you might want to adjust this when you reconnect it.

Remove the shift coupler by loosening the pinch bolt, and sliding it off the linkage bar. When the coupler is disconnected from both the linkage and the transmission, you can slide it off, as shown in Figure 4. Now would be a good time to replace the shift coupler bushings inside the coupler if they are looking worn.

Get a Craftsman cotter pin extractor, which looks like a screwdriver with a very sharp tip, bent at a right angle. You may find you need to play with the angle of the tip in the following step. Figure 5 shows a similar tool that you might use to remove the seal.

Proceed to jam the cotter pin extractor into the shifter shaft seal, which of course surrounds the shifter shaft. Once you start, you are committed, as you will wreck the seal. It may take 5-10 minutes to really work the tool through the seal, but keep at it. "Set the hook", and pull the seal off the shifter shaft. You might also want to use a small screwdriver to gouge and remove the seal if the pin extractor tool is not beefy enough to remove the seal. The selector shaft with the seal removed is shown in Figure 6. You might want to drain the oil from the transmission before you start this process. I thought that I would have a flood of oil coming out of the seal, but in fact none came out.

Make sure that you clean the inside of the shaft area to remove any bits of rubber or metal (the seal has a rubber inner part supported by a metal sheath) prior to installing the new seal.

Prepare the new seal by coating the OD with a non hardening gasket sealer. Slide the new seal over the shifter shaft. Make sure that the metal ring is facing outwards. Refer to Figure 7 if you are not sure which way the seal goes on the shaft.

Drive the seal home with a piece of pipe that fits over the shifter shaft. I used a handle from a small hydraulic bottle jack. Best way to check progress is from beneath the car, but thanks to your old leaky seal, this is a dirty, greasy place! You can also use a large crescent wrench and a hammer if you can't fit a piece of pipe over the transmission shaft. Tapping from both sides of the car evenly will seat the seal. You can (carefully) use a large screwdriver to tap the seal flush to the surface of the transmission case, as shown in Figure 7.

Re-assemble the shift coupler using the marks that you made previously.

Check the oil level in the transmission!

Well, that's about all there is to it. It's really not that difficult if you follow the steps carefully, and make sure that you double-check your work. This technical article, and the others like it on this site are made possible by your purchases of parts and accessories through Pelican Parts. If you like this article, and would like to see some more offered on this site, free of charge, then please support us with your purchases. We think you'll find good prices mixed with great technical customer support. Please help to keep the site growing by letting us earn your business.

Shift Coupler Cone Screw
Figure 1

Shift Coupler Cone Screw

Rear Coupler Access Plate
Figure 2

Rear Coupler Access Plate

Rear Coupler Access Plate Removed
Figure 3

Rear Coupler Access Plate Removed

Shift Coupler Disconnected
Figure 4

Shift Coupler Disconnected

Seal Removal Tool
Figure 5

Seal Removal Tool

Shift Seal Removed
Figure 6

Shift Seal Removed

Shift Rod Seal Installed
Figure 7

Shift Rod Seal Installed

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Comments and Suggestions:
Craig Comments: My 66 912 had a metal ringed seal that was hard to remove. But if you grind down a paint lid opener see picture and slip it under the inside diameter of the seal, it's easier to remove. Soak the seal with PB blaster overnight before removal. I used an old strut bushing to slip over the shift shaft to install the new seal. Thanks Pelican for the tech articles and parts!
October 22, 2016
Steve Comments: Great article. It appears that this process will not work on my 1966 912 porsche as the configuration is different. Do you have a process for removing and installing the shift rod seal on my 1966 912. I have enclosed a picture of the leak.
July 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
AJ Comments: Unbelievable pain to get the old one out. Tried the nail set technique like Bryant described, but to no avail. I am thinking his seal had some flexibility. Tight quarters under the car. and a seal that was just shy of petrified really had me questioning what I got myself into. I was already composing the don't do this job article in my head. Then I got an idea, took a mini torch and heated the old seal for about a minute. It slipped out of the recess and off the shaft in 5 seconds. Save yourself an hour and try this way first, I wish I had.
November 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
AJ Comments: So just to be absolutely sure, you do NOT have to remove the transmission from the car to complete this job. I read the article but can't picture how to get the seal over the shaft even with the shift coupler disconnected. Thank You.
September 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article shows the repair with the transmission installed. You can leave it installed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bryant4 Comments: 30 second method:
You will need a hammer and a nail set.
That's all. Start by tapping the point of the nail set along the radius of the shaft angling inwards about 45degrees.
The tip of the too will easily slip between the seal and the shaft and you can simply lever it out. Literally 30 seconds!
November 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
fadler Comments: The old seal was a bugger. Tried the cotter pin puller and only got pieces. Still trying to clean out the old one probably because the last guy used a lot of Permatex. The hard part is seeing down the shaft to determine when you have all the old stuff out. The spring on the seal came out in one piece which is reassuring. I figure now I will us a mirror and a light to see down the shaft. The place where the seal goes seems to have thin metal fragments still in the hole. One what a pain, but I will get it. I bought a couple more seals to get past screw ups.
October 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Rick in MI Comments: The new shaft seal P/N 900-112-001-50for my '69 911T 901 transmission does not have a metal edge as described in the article. Before I remove the old one I want to be sure it is correct, can you help? If it is correct, which side faces out, the flat surface or the channel side where one can see the wire wound spring down inside?
August 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should look like the part shown here. The lip of the seal faces out.- Nick at Pelican Parts
Rich in RI Comments: I was about to remove the trans in my '63 356 in order to repair this seal, and then found this article! I may still remove it as the engine is already out and I want to address other details, but this is a great help. Thank you!
February 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Gary Comments: Is this the replacement I should be installing for my 1985 911 915 transmission? 999-113-185-40-M30. Also what metal ring are you referring too?
February 8, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, that is the proper seal for your shifter selector. If you look at the inside of the seal, there is a little metal band in there that is integral to the seal - you want to make sure that this band comes out with the seal when you remove it. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
sam Comments: great article, very helpfull, however, are you sure the ring on the seal should be facing out? i thought the ring in the grove serves the purpose of stopping the oil...
just a thought, regards,
September 14, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On other applications, yes. But there's no oil involved here. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
sam Comments: great article, actually one of a kind. i have been searching for a while on 'how to change the shift rod seal', and not only pelican parts explains it, but they also have the parts. love this pelican parts business...
i will purchase my seals from here, and everything else from now on...good job!
August 27, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts

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