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Old 04-03-2009, 12:06 AM   #1
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Default Six-Speed Shifters (MSM vs. Non-MSM)

I bought a 6-speed shifter from PartsGroup a while back and they told me it was from an MSM. I went to test fit it in the transmission (non-MSM) tonight and the bushing seems to be just a tad too large for the turret. I didn't really want to use any extreme force to get it in there and risk damaging the bushing, but I did put some force on it, and it refused to budge. I even tried taking the bushing off the shifter and seeing if it would just slide into the turret, that didn't work either, although the shifter without the bushing fit.

Can anyone confirm if the MSM and the non-MSM shifter bushings are different? Or does this thing have to be really forced into place?

After knocking the forward pin down, my old 5-speed shifter fit, but it seemed loose, like the bushing was too small for the turret and it was allowing some play, so I'd like to get the correct shifter working.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:27 AM   #2
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are you talking about the little "cap" that goes on the very end of the shift lever? If so, it's supposed to be tight and take a good shove to get into place. Or are you talking about the bushings that the pins slide into on the fulcrum point of the lever?

Either way.. Any time i've installed a fresh shifter, it's always taken a good push down to get it to "pop" into place.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:36 AM   #3
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Yeah, the bushing on the end of the lever. However, a "good push" isn't doing the trick.

When I put a new bushing on my '95 lever it snapped right into place, I didn't have to give it all that much force. Even with the bushing off the 6-speed lever, the bushing doesn't fit into the turret. I'm stumped. Only theory I can come up with is that they're different...

Last edited by RotorNutFD3S; 04-03-2009 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:02 AM   #4
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If they are different, maybe you can just get a new bushing?
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saml01 View Post
If they are different, maybe you can just get a new bushing?
I just talked to Tommy at Rosenthal. He said that everything 6-speed related, either turbo or non-turbo, is the same. So now I'm back at square one.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:21 AM   #6
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That was a thought I had. I'm going to make a call to Rosenthal this morning to see if someone knows something.
You can also very gently shim the bushing. Its plastic after all. If you can compare it to one made for your transmission and see its smaller, save yourself money and shave it down a bit.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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lol Ninja post edit.

I might try something like that or it could very well be that it takes more force than I was giving it as Mike said. I've just never had a shifter give that much resistance.
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Old 04-03-2009, 12:45 PM   #8
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This is why I always have a 3lb sledge handy, if it cant fix it then it cant be fixed.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:01 PM   #9
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Haha! Good point. I'll figure something out.
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Old 04-06-2009, 06:12 PM   #10
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Update to this, found out with some help that 99-00 6-speed levers and 01-05 levers have a different bottom ball/bushing. That would be helpful, but IIRC, the 6-speed trans. I got from fmowry was his original '01 trans. Going to check the VIN plate later tonight, even though it doesn't make a difference because of my following point.

After making a call and having someone set them side by side, I found out that the MSM and non-MSM levers do indeed have a different bottom ball, and the bushing on the MSM lever is larger, even though the shift levers have the same part number!

When I installed the lever without the bushing, it fit snugly. I assume that the bushing is there for a reason, but what's the cons of running a lever with no bushing? I'm only considering that route because it's a royal pain in the *** to find a 6-speed lever in the first place.

Ideas?
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Old 04-06-2009, 08:41 PM   #11
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Shave down the bushing.
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Old 04-06-2009, 10:33 PM   #12
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Shave down the bushing.
Won't work. The metal ball is practically the same size as the turret. I'd have a paper thin bushing at the end of it all. I'd really just like to find the right lever but I'll run it without a bushing until I find one if I have to. I've read of people doing it, I just don't want to damage anything.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:21 PM   #13
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FYI, just got a new OEM shifter lever from Rosenthal. After some more research, Tommy found that the levers changed on production date August 1, 2001 from the smaller bottom ball to the larger bottom ball.
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:44 PM   #14
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thread resurrection...

I have a MSM 6-speed that will not take the shift lever that fit fine in my previous 6-speed. The small lower bushing on the end of the ball fits snugly in the shifter mechanism. But overall the shifter is too tall. I cannot tighten the three-bolt flange down far enough to seal it against the trans face before the upper bushing set (the large pivot ball) binds up. In other words, there is too much preload on the large ball.
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:27 PM   #15
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ZX, I have the same problem with mine. The fulcrum appears to be a little too long or something. Who knows where the shifter came from, but when I first got it it was binding up and not returning to neutral from the 1-2 gate. I ended up machining a small spacer to go between the tranny and lower shift boot and it works perfectly.
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
ZX, I have the same problem with mine. The fulcrum appears to be a little too long or something. Who knows where the shifter came from, but when I first got it it was binding up and not returning to neutral from the 1-2 gate. I ended up machining a small spacer to go between the tranny and lower shift boot and it works perfectly.
You sir are awesome! I was wondering if a spacer would work. I think I will try the same thing. If you can remember, about how thick (tall) was the spacer?
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:15 PM   #17
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Well I came up with an easy temporary fix. I shaved about 0.090" off of the height (bottom side) of the bottom shifter ball bushing, the part that interfaces with the shift linkage. This let the shifter drop farther down into the transmission and allowed the large pivot ball to locate properly. It works. I figured out the amount to shave off of the bushing by trial and error.

I think I will eventually make a spacer plate and replace that bottom ball bushing with a new one. Based on the above mod I believe the spacer plate needs to be about 0.090"- 0.100" thick.
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
ZX, I have the same problem with mine. The fulcrum appears to be a little too long or something. Who knows where the shifter came from, but when I first got it it was binding up and not returning to neutral from the 1-2 gate. I ended up machining a small spacer to go between the tranny and lower shift boot and it works perfectly.

I suspect the Mazdaspeed has a shorter throw with a longer fulcrum might need a spacer to fit right.

I have also had the shifters out of a couple of 6 speeds and the lower ball and bushing was a different diameter between them.

FWIW I’m running an Ebay long fulcrum 5 speed shifter like the Fidanza one in my 6 speed. I also added a extension to it to make the **** higher. It required making a shim for the lower bushing. The result is it has about the same throw as stock but the **** is in much closer proximity to the steering wheel making the driver controls more ergonomic and natural feeling. I like it.

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Old 05-20-2010, 05:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZX-Tex View Post
You sir are awesome! I was wondering if a spacer would work. I think I will try the same thing. If you can remember, about how thick (tall) was the spacer?
It will vary, my problem could have been solved by leaving the bolts a little loose too. An extra gasket could have solved it. I just made the spacer as thin as I could, I had an old eBay 5-speed shortshift spacer laying around and I borrowed my HS autoshop's lathe to turn it down a little. I think I ended up with like 1/8" thick.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:17 AM   #20
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1/8" thick is consistent with my shaved down bushing test so that sounds about right.
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