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HELP! - Shifter issue 2003 base w/5spd; B&M SS


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This JUST started tonight on the way home. I was downshifting from 5th to 4th( nice and easy) coming down an off ramp, and the shifter suddenly felt stiff - like the cable was binding. Before that it had felt perfectly normal. There was no big road pothole or bump I hit. Nothing in the road that I ran over or that flew up and hit the trans....it just all of the sudden felt stiff.

At first all forward/backward shifting felt like cables were binding. Side-to-side movement is fine. Then I tried getting the shifter in the neutral gate and moving it back and forth and checking all the gears. I realized that If I shift to 1st, or third, or 5th from the neutral gate it feels fine...normal even. But as soon as I try to shift into 2nd, 4th, or put it in Reverse, it feels like the cable is dragging badly.

This is a B&M short shifter that has been in the car for about 3 years now. It does not feel like a shifter issue, it feels like cable(s) or linkage binding, but it onset in a single easy downshift. Before I start tearing console apart or crawling underneath, has anyone experienced anything like this before, or heard of it ? Any wisdom anyone can share ?

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Is this the B&M interior shifter mod or the under car mod?

I have heard of problems with the under car mod.

This is the interior shifter mod. Has worked great for the better part of 3 years. I was just now reading posts where apparently sometimes the cables came out of the supports on the older Boxsters Loren, they even zip tied them as I recall. Is that still an issue with an '03 ?

Edited by Andy_M
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Unless something fell down into the console shifter there is no reason for it to tighten up. So either something broke or something under the car is damaged.

I would check the shifter arms under the car first as that is primarily visual.

Does reverse work? That is a separate cable.

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First check under the car, this is a common problem area. Also below the console, check the small plastic ball that snaps on to the shifter (it can crack or split), also check the cable mounts to see if they have come loose.

Edited by JFP in PA
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Unless something fell down into the console shifter there is no reason for it to tighten up. So either something broke or something under the car is damaged.

I would check the shifter arms under the car first as that is primarily visual.

Does reverse work? That is a separate cable.

Update: Just had a look underneath. Didn't take the heat guard off, but checked out the cables an linkage with a light looking up through an opening by the heat plate. Everything looks pretty normal. Cables are in their supports and arms and brackets all look fine as far as I can tell. Nothing looks bent or broke and I don't see any indications of parts wearing against one another or any other surface.

With the car off, I can not engage 2,4 or reverse. 1,3,and 5 are normal as can be. There has been absolutely no indication of any type of trans issue whatsoever. No grinding, popping out of gear, rough feel, or any noise at all. Really hard to believe it would be internal. Next would be to pull the console and look upstairs I guess.

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I've rarely seen problems with the b&m shifters...

More often than not I've seen the cables pop out of the housing behind the shifter under the center consol.

If your in there to check I recommend securing them with zip ties regardless.

I usually drill a tinyhole on each side of the cable through the base plate and then you can get a tie wrap around each cable and eliminate ever having that issue.

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I've rarely seen problems with the b&m shifters...

More often than not I've seen the cables pop out of the housing behind the shifter under the center consol.

If your in there to check I recommend securing them with zip ties regardless.

I usually drill a tinyhole on each side of the cable through the base plate and then you can get a tie wrap around each cable and eliminate ever having that issue.

This sounds like a distinct possibility. I am going to take the console out this weekend and take a look. I also just put a new head unit in and unplugged an iPod cable needed for the old unit that runs down through the console to the storage box at the rear. I left it sitting in there loose, so that may have moved and caused a problem as well. I'll let everyone know what I found when I'm done.

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Well, its nothing up top. Everything under the console looks fine. After working the shifter around a little I can get it to engage 2nd,4th,and reverse, with some difficulty because I feel a lot of resistance. But it doesn't feel like it is moving "all the way in" for lack of a better way to describe it. You can't feel the "notch" if you will. However if I let the clutch out it is in gear, so it is engaging.......

Have to get back underneath and take a better look. Starting to get worried. I still have a hard time believing it could be internal, but it feels like it could be a bent shifting fork or something.....but I really don't see how that could have happened. I do not beat the trans and I don't drive like a drag racer (bang gears, power shift,etc..)

Edited by Andy_M
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So here is what I can see underneath. Not sure what is normal. I can tell you that there appears to be a bolt missing in one spot, and a shaft which appears to move in and out of the trans casing as you shift. This rod does not go all the way in. The lower end of that linkage tops out in the slotted plate before that happens.

Would appreciate it if someone could confirm this all looks normal or not.

post-9469-0-38095100-1311510352_thumb.jp

post-9469-0-08167600-1311510364_thumb.jp

Someone over on the Boxster & Boxster S forum offered this:

".... there are two pins that put tension on the shift rods inside the transmission. I believe that when one fails you lose 1, 3, & 5 and when the other fails you lose 2, 4, & R. One is located on the drivers side of the tranny, just to the rear of the slave cylinder and the other in on the passenger side behind the axle at about the 10 o'clock position. I don't recall which pin would affect your loss of 2, 4, & R but hopefully some else here does. These pins were typically aluminum (although a few were steel) and we have seen them both fail in Spec Boxsters. Steel replacements are available. Please note that the tranny must be in neutral before removing either pin! "

However I have not lost the gears, I can still engage them, the shifter just does not feel like it goes all the way in to those idents and there is a great deal of mechanical resistance to moving the shift lever far enough in that direction. That being the case, I'm not sure that this applies.

Any comments on this one ?

Edited by Andy_M
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Mystery solved. The pivot pin in the shifter is either bent (doubtful) or has worn eccentric(more likely) and it has turned into a position where it is jammed up solid and will not allow the shifter handle to move rearward hardly at all. The pin will not come out, even with a hammer and center punch. I have to replace the shifter.....and this is not a B&M, it is a knockoff. I was duped 4 years ago when I didn't know better.

So here are my options:

  • Porsche Factory Short Shift Kit $430 Suncoast
  • Porsche 997 Shift Console Upgrade $199 Suncoast
  • B&M Short Shifter $229 Bumper Plugs or $230 at Power Tech (local to me)
  • Agency Power Billet Short Shifter $250 (Agency Shifter)

Porsche SS kit is way too expensive. 997 update is genuine Porsche part but is only 15% shorter than stock. B&M seems the logical route as it is cheaper and 35% throw reduction (like I had) However the Agency shifter is interesting - it uses needle bearings instead of bushings.

Anyone know anything about this Agency shifter ?

Edited by Andy_M
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