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Fixing Shifter Cables

Ed Kelly contributed this guide:

Introduction

This repair is for the A-523, 543, and 568 transmissions. These transmissions have a rubber bushing at either end of the cable. The transmission end of the cable is exposed to a lot of heat and engine fluids, as a result it often decays before the cable goes bad... New cables run around $80-100 each. With this repair you can fix those cable ends for around $6 for both and in less time and effort than replacing the cable!

The same basic procedure is applicable to the shifter end of the cables, but some of the sizes may be different.

Indications that the cable bushing is going bad

  • Significant amount of play in the shifter (some play is "normal" and will exist even after this fix)
  • When you attempt to go into a gear and there is nothing (and the shifter feels "lighter" and freer than normal. This is an indication that the selector cable end has fallen off!
  • Visually you can look at the cable end and see if the rubber "bushing" is present and its condition... It is difficult to see the selector cable (closest one to the fire wall) but this is the most important one to check. The crossover cable will stay on because it is mounted on top of the transmisson, the selector cable will be prone to falling off.

Parts needed (to do the tranny end of both cables)

  • Shower door stops (smaller is generally better) (I bought a "kit" to get the two pieces needed. The "kit" had four of these stops. ) - cost: $5.50
  • 2 washers w/~5/16" hole - cost: ~$0.04
  • 2 E-clips size: ? - cost: ~$0.45

Procedure

The plastic door stops will have to be cut down in diameter to fit in the metal cable ends. The way I did this was to mount the two stops on a bolt (using a nut to secure them) and mount that in my drill press. Then I used some sandpaper mounted on a sanding block to to trim the stops down. I checked my progress several times before I arrived at the correct diameter.

Next you will need to enlarge the center hole to match the post it will be mounted on (~5/16). If you get it a little small it will over the top end of the post with a little effort, but will require a lot of effort to get it past the groove. Too big of a hole means more play in the shifter...

Once the new bushing (formerly a shower door stop) is on the post and pushed down past the groove, fit the cable end over the bushing. On top of all that place the washer and then secure the works with an E-clip. And you are done.

Feedback

We heard: “I did a similar fix using a candy dispenser size "Super Ball" cut down to fit and held in place by a washer and cotter pin. Works great!!”

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