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Old 03-02-2016, 08:19 AM   #1
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excessive shifter play

i installed a 997 shifter this weekend and locked the cables in the same position they were on with the previous shifter.

there seems to be an excessive amount of play in the cables although it shifts perfectly. is this normal or am i tripping?

see this video to understand what i'm talking about:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySyCS2FUkl4

is there a way to adjust the cables to eliminate that play or is it normal with a shifter that doesnt sit on top of the transmission?

thanks,

Cristian

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Old 03-02-2016, 08:47 AM   #2
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If someone else doesn't chime in I'll check my 997 shifter tomorrow and let you know. Perhaps you're just paying way more attention to the shifter now that you've put a new one in? Assuming you put the cables exactly where they were before, it should be functioning the same as your old one did, albeit with a small reduction in throw.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:26 AM   #3
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There was play before, maybe not as much but i am just curious if this is normal or too much and if there is a way to improve it. at the moment i am pretty happy with everything on the car but this shifter just lets it down a bit..
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:27 AM   #4
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In the video the cables were moving underneath in conjunction with the shift lever moving. I would consider it play if you could move the shift lever with no corresponding movement in the cable ends underneath. Probably normal. Was your transmission cold or warmed up from driving when you made the video? If cold I would be surprised to see wiggling like that, but with it warmed up, I would not be surprised.

I can check mine cold this evening, I have that same shifter in there now.
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Old 03-02-2016, 09:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrisZenithBlue View Post
at the moment i am pretty happy with everything on the car but this shifter just lets it down a bit..
I felt the same way about the stock shifter. Way too long and ropey. Worse than my mini and total crap if you've ever driven an s2000. For me the 997 shifter didn't transform the driving experience or anything, it just changed the shifting from something I was pretty unimpressed with to something that I could make do with.
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxxster View Post
I felt the same way about the stock shifter. Way too long and ropey. Worse than my mini and total crap if you've ever driven an s2000. For me the 997 shifter didn't transform the driving experience or anything, it just changed the shifting from something I was pretty unimpressed with to something that I could make do with.
well that's the issue.. my previous car was an S2000

i am hard to impress after that experience. the S kinda ruined all other shifters for me so it's hard to accept.
but it's like finding a woman with small breasts if you're an a$$ man. you want to improve it if possible but you can live with it if nothing can be done. and the Boxster has a fine a$$ indeed!
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Old 03-02-2016, 10:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by steved0x View Post
In the video the cables were moving underneath in conjunction with the shift lever moving. I would consider it play if you could move the shift lever with no corresponding movement in the cable ends underneath. Probably normal. Was your transmission cold or warmed up from driving when you made the video? If cold I would be surprised to see wiggling like that, but with it warmed up, I would not be surprised.

I can check mine cold this evening, I have that same shifter in there now.
Steve you have a point, but those cables moving didnt actually engage or disengage gears at all.. so what is the point of that movement exactly?

transmission was cold in that one and its the same with it warmed up.
but again.. that movement in cables you see there doesnt affect the gearbox at all, at least i think it doesnt. only when i move the lever all the way back or forth does it engage.
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Old 03-02-2016, 05:57 PM   #8
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I have the same thing going on in my 2001 boxster base (5-speed) with about 113k miles, also noticed it after removing the center console and upgrading to the 997 shifter, and looking down at the relative motion of the shift knob to the cables, just as you are showing in your video.

I haven't poked around in the shift linkage back by the transmission yet, but suspect there is play back where the shift linkage connects to the transmission. There are surely some bushings back there which can get worn out with lots of miles. Have not been able to find replacement bushings advertised for sale separately, but if you throw lots of parts at it replacing things like the whole cable assembly, it will come with new bushings. Maybe someone else can chime in.

I did identify some sources of play in the 997 shifter which also bug me a bit, but we're talking about .004-.005" here and there (and although they do amplify to more than that at the knob, were still talking about a relative small portion of the overall play in the system). The play going on back at the shift cables to transmission seems to be by far the sloppiest link in the chain now. Now the factory 986 style shift console with 110k miles had *really* worn out plastic shift bushings, so replacing those with 997.2gt3 style aluminum bushings (and a relatively low-mile 997 console) was a really good move in the right direction for helping to tighten things up. Basically no play measured with those.
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Old 03-02-2016, 07:48 PM   #9
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Tomorrow I'll post a video of my 997 shifter with new trans cables. That is about as tight as its going to get using stock components.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:33 AM   #10
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looking forward to seeing how a setup with new cables performs, maybe its something to add on the TO DO list.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:25 PM   #11
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Back where the cables connect to the transmission, I wonder if we should also be looking at parts 15, 17, and 18 also (as referenced in the attached picture from the Porsche 986 parts listing), as it seems like they could potentially be sources of play, especially for left-right slop at the shift knob. I found an aftermarket replacement for part 17, here.

(I also found some pictures of this overall contraption in jcslocum's post, here. )
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Old 03-04-2016, 03:38 AM   #12
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That whole contraption that translates the linear motion of the cable in the gear changing motion has a lot of places for wear. I did all I could to make it tighter as I worked on the IMS. This pin was loose and was maybe about 30% of the overall sloppiness:



It was moving about because the staking was now worn and not holding it. I restaked it and then threw a spot of weld on it. After dressing the weld it was immoveable.



The red arrows are the 4 ball/socket ends on the cable and the other linkage. This is where the rest of the wear and slop is occurring and unfortunately, are not replaceable. You need new cables which gives you new ends. I'm trying to find a way to re-crimp a heim type joint onto the ends to replace them. It's low priority as I'm still trying to get the Box on the road!!

So inspect you ends on the cables, lube them and look for a fix.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:17 AM   #13
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so much good info thanks guys!
tomorrow i'll have the car up on a lift and will have a look at the cables and mechanism, i'm sure i'll find a lot of play. if i have to spend a few bucks to make it better i probably will.
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Old 03-04-2016, 05:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrisZenithBlue View Post
Steve you have a point, but those cables moving didnt actually engage or disengage gears at all.. so what is the point of that movement exactly?

transmission was cold in that one and its the same with it warmed up.
but again.. that movement in cables you see there doesnt affect the gearbox at all, at least i think it doesnt. only when i move the lever all the way back or forth does it engage.
I figured maybe it was a "neutral zone" or something like that, but the other posts about the cable ends sound like a good possibility.

I think Numeric just finished a special offer for 987/987 cables ($50 off I think) but even with this sale they are around $450 or so, and I think a new set of the OEM cables is about that much too. I had a Miata before the Boxster and that shifter was sweet! I guess for us with the transmission in the back and all the cabling gives lots of opportunities for play outside of the shifter.
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Old 03-04-2016, 08:10 AM   #15
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I found a video showing the looseness in the contraption. This is on our car.

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Old 03-04-2016, 03:31 PM   #16
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Here is a video of my 997 shifter with new transmission cables.

There is still a good amount of play in the shifter. With a new shifter and new cables, this is about as good as its going to get.

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Old 03-05-2016, 03:37 AM   #17
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My video has better music!!!

Now we just need to put the 2 ends together to see if that wasted movement is in the shifter or the contraption at the back.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:08 AM   #18
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I just checked mine, 2000S with 9x7 shifter, it was just like yours with the play/neutral zone.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:11 AM   #19
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i had a look at the linkage on the right side of the transmission this weekend and i have the same play in that contraption.

it really looks like it's the linkage/cables not the shifter.
when i installed the 997 shifter i followed the below video to get the shifter itself nice and tight but that play you could see in my original video clearly comes from the cables and really from the mechanism on the gearbox.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJv0wI72aRg


is there any way to adjust the cables themselves? I noticed this end of the cables, the part that sits right under the arm rest tray. is that something one can play with to get the cables tighter?


or are we doomed and just have to accept there is little improvement you can do on a shifter that's not on top of the transmission and this will always be a letdown of the Boxster?

if Thom has a new shifter and cables and there is still play (less than in mine true..) i'm not gonna throw money at it, just not worth it.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:45 AM   #20
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I tore into my shift linkage "contraption" yesterday. (It was easily accessible from the rear of the car after removing a heat shield). Although I didn't find the loose-fitting ball stud that jcslocum showed in his video, I did find some "racking" play in the bellcrank pivot bushing. (You can also see this play in jcslocum's video if you look closely.)

I removed the contraption from the car and disassembled it, and found an undersized bronze bushing and/or worn components in the bellcrank pivot were causing the play. (Also, I noticed that any original grease that must have been there was long gone, and all that might have once been grease there was now dry and crumbly.)

After refurbishing the bushing and regreasing it, all of its play has been removed, and it should operate well.
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