How To Adjust The Shift Linkage On An Automatic Transmission

Have you started to hear humming, whining, or buzzing noise coming from your vehicle? Is the car transmission responding in the unexpected timely manner? If your answers are yes to these two questions, then you require doing some changes on the vehicle’s shift linkage. You are required you identify the issue as soon as possible since it can affect the working of the car’s transmission. This article elaborates on details on how to adjust the shift linkage on an automatic transmission. This method will mostly help those with cars that have a lever assembly and a mechanical shift linkage.

Shift Linkage Bushing

Maintaining your shift linkage together with its components in the right condition are vital. If you want to have a smooth and efficient shifting always, you have to maintain the shift linkage properly.

Every time you decide to service the transmission, you are required to inspect on your shift linkage bushing. The bushing is always meant to protect the linkage components.

The bushing also offers a bearing surface on some car’s moving parts. If it gets damaged or worn out, you will require to replace it with a new one to let the shifter perform at its best.

What You Will Need

1. Wrench


The wrench will help in opening and tighten the nuts and bolts.

2. Jack Stands

Jack Stands

The jack stands will be used to lift the car from the ground level for you to easily access the various parts of the shift linkage.

3. Screwdriver


The screwdriver will help you loosening the screws as well as tightening them.

4. Nuts And Bolts

The nuts and bolts will be used to tighten some of the components at the shift linkage.

Steps On Adjusting Shift Linkage

All the automatic transmissions have similar shift linkage. However, the shift linkage between the cabin and the transmission differs between different cars, but function in a similar way.

There is a column shift as well as a floor shift which are both operated by a cable. The transmission issues are resolved by making some changes on the shift linkage. Here are the simple and easy steps in adjusting the shift linkage.

Step One: Length Adjustment

Follow the following simple steps in adjusting the length of the shift linkage:

  • Set the transmission in neutral and with the help of the adjustment nuts that you will get at the center of your shift tube.
  • While the nuts are loose, you have to screw out or in your adjustment threads till you get the correct length.
  • It is essential that your shift tube is adjusted for the shift socket to be in the center of the mounting hole when you attach your shift tube to the transaxle shaft using the tightened set-bolts.
  • After properly adjusting the length, avoid tightening the jam nut at the shift tube.
  • Then install the cockpit shifter mechanism. Fasten the shifter base at the little slope located at mounting holes of your stick base. By doing this, the chassis shifter mounts at the center of the adjustment bolts. This process will permit fine tuning when needed, front to back.
  • Attune the shift tube clocking.
  • Temporarily tighten the shift tube and locate the first gear. Utilize the stick shift in positioning the vehicle in gear.

Step Two: Clocking The Shift Shaft

After getting the transaxle in 1st gear, make the final adjustment, that is fine tune clocking of your shift shaft. The fine tuning allows the shifter to function correctly, smoothly changing gear.

For you to achieve a perfect adjustment, you need to be patient. You can do an error and trial change.

Here is the process:

  • Loosen your shift shaft adjustment nut when your transaxle is still on the 1st gear.
  • Move forward your stick shifter lever. Turn to the left by holding it tight in the 1st gear.
  • Strengthen your shift tube jam nuts by the use of two wrenches.

Step Three: Check The Gears

Check all the gears to ensure they can be accessed. In locating the gears, avoid forcing the shifter. Push in the clutch to find it easily. If the gears are located when your engine is off, do the test reverse.

Most shifters consist of a reverse lockout lever; hence, the accidental shift cannot happen.

  • Pull the reverse lockout and set your transmission in reverse then test. You are good if you are on the reverse.
  • Drive test your vehicle to inspect the gears. If you cannot locate all gears, you require to look at the steps above again and repeat the procedure. You can as well perform a trial and error.
  • Only a few people get it correct on their initial try. You require having patience when you decide to adjust your shift linkage. Once you familiarize yourself with the above steps, it will be easy for you the next time.

How To Adjust The Shift Linkage On An Automatic Transmission: Conclusion

Proper shift linkage adjustment together with your transmission range sensor is essential. Incorrect adjustment of the shift linkage may result in issues with the transmission such as shaking, strange and grinding noise transmission, leakage clutch, slipping low-level fluid problems, and much more.

If you experience such issues, it is good you check the shift linkage. Inspect it to see if it requires replacement or just an adjustment. With the above-detailed steps, you can be in a position of knowing how to adjust the shift linkage on an automatic transmission.

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