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Removing Shifter Rattles

Comments by Searl Tate

For anyone that is experiencing vibrating noises from the shifter/housing area, I have a fix for you. It should be noted that the original idea for this comes from someone here on the list (I spoke to someone about this three months ago- just can't remember who!). My method requires access to a Dremel MotoTool with flex shaft attachment.

The sound is caused by the shifter touching the hole below the billet housing (Stillen) and at certain RPMs will resonate (on mine it was 3-3.5k RPM). I initially thought the sound was from the heat shield, but after removing it, I found out otherwise.

From the bottom side of the shifter (car is on stands, wheels are chocked, brake set, in gear, etc...) near the cat, loosen the heat shield and move it half-way over. You might want to wait a while for the cat to cool off! With the shield off, you have a clear view of the bottom side of the shifter. Removing the cat is unnecessary (unless you don't have a flex shaft).

I used the conical stone bit @ 5k RPM to easily widen the hole. Take your time and widen one side at a time. Move the shifter from a top gear to a bottom gear to switch sides (I.E. from 5th to 4th). As you are working, make sure that you don't get a really tight radius bend on the shaft (will overheat).

While you are there, you may want to add some "DynaMat" or other similar sound deadening material to the heat shield (inner side). This also helps reduce the road noise. Good luck!

Comments by Brian Porter

The rattle is from the boot. The OEM shifter had a notch that sandwiched the boot with the shift knob. The Stillen doesn't have one so this thing rattles like crazy. Hold the top portion of the boot while revving the S**T out of your car and the sound will go away. Should be an easy fix try tape.

Comments by Gary W. Mahan

... if the noise is coming from the ball socket (as someone else described), try putting/forcing a heavy grease into the ball socket and then working the grease into the socket. The best results would be obtained with the shifter out of the car so you can hove the shifter to all extremes of travel and distribute the grease better. I did this to my shifter before installing it and it has never buzzed. BTW, my new shifter had a small (very small) amount of play also.

Comments by Rick Zotz

  1. Acquire a Dremel or similar grinder and enlarge the hole in the mounting bracket. This prevents the lower shaft from contacting the bracket when in gear.
  2. Wrap two or three cable ties around the shaft below the plastic ring that secures the top of the boot, and slide the whole bunch up against the knob.
  3. Pack the ball with heavy, general-purpose grease.

My shifter has worked flawlessly for well over a year.

Comments by Mike Kojima

As some of us are plagued by rattling short shifters, I have found yet another cause for shifter rattle.

Because my car has the height adjustable GC springs, I was messing around trying to find how low I could go and still maintain a decent ride with no excessive bottoming out.

A little lower ride height adjustment and my normally quite SMC shifter started to rattle. Pulling my hair I spent the next hour bending the heat shield creatively to try to stop the rattle. I was just about ready to pull the shifter apart when I noticed that the shift linkage contacted the top of my ST front swaybar in 5th gear! This is because of the bars bushings shifting while I was fiddling with the ride height. I never made the mental connection to check this. Duh.

So I re-adjusted the shifter to run a slightly less aggressive motion ratio to give the bar more clearance and no more rattle!

So if you have tried greasing, bending or removing the heat shield and other fiddles and you shifter still rattles make sure your shift rods don't hit anything in any gear position! Look for witness marks on the rods as deflection in the motor mounts under load can move things in different places while you are driving.

I bet this can solve even the most stubborn cases of shifter rattle.