Upon returning home after the WOF check, I felt it was time to sort the bucket of porridge shifting.
When the car was in for its WOF check I had a quick poke around under the car and confirmed my suspicions that there are no shifter bushes in place. There is a lot of oil all over the gearbox, and the rubber bushes just gave up and crumbled away. Obviously I couldn’t do anything about it at the time, so as soon as I got home I got stuck in.
First issue, was how do I get my jack under the car? My usual trick is to just drive up on a few bits of wood and then the low profile jack clears the spoiler, but the Vitesse spoiler is just so low that even that didn’t work. I ended up driving onto bits of wood, then jacking the car from the side lifting point (sill behind the front wheel), putting MORE wood under the wheel, and then the jack would clear the front spoiler. Phew.
Of course I popped a couple of axle stands under the car, and then had a poke around. Before I start on the shifter bushings I had to have a quick look at the steering rack issue I failed the WOF for. I was shown that the rubber boot was full of oil and sure enough, I gave it a squeeze and more oil poured out. I snipped the Zip-Tie and had a closer look.
There was a lot of oil on the innards too, so I gave it all a wipe down, and then fired the car up. I swung the steering lock to lock a couple of times, and then had a look to see how bad the leak was.
Yep, she’s leaking alright.
Anyway, nothing else I can do to that, so I reinstalled the old boot with a new zip-tie and moved onto the bushes.
This job wasnt anywhere near as hard as I was expecting. I read some horror stories about not being able to access the top bolts, but using a 3/4″ ratchet, a really long extension and a 1/2″ socket it was a doddle.
With some wiggling and bashing of knuckles I managed to sort it. The trick I found, was to do one bush at a time (one bush = two halves, a metal sleeve, bolt and washer) and leave the bolts in the others until it’s their turn. I started with the hardest to access which is top RH side, doing it mostly by feel. Once the sleeve was in both halves of the bush I slipped the bolt in and spun it a few threads so it wouldn’t come out. DO NOT tighten fully though, you need the remote to move so you can get the other bushes in. I did the same to the top LH bush, and then moved onto the lower side ones.
These were actually a bit harder to do. With one side in I needed to use a small pry bar to give me enough space between the bracket and trans for the other bush, and then it was just a case of wiggling and strategically tightening the bolts to align all the bushes. If you have trouble getting the side bolts into place, I found that tightening the top bolts can help align it all.
I should probably find out where that leak is coming from. I swear it appears that some of it is coming from the fill plug.
I haven’t driven the car more than just out of the garage, because I also did an engine oil and filter change (and im 1L low on oil and haven’t bought more yet) but already the shifter feels so much more direct. There is still a little movement in side to side in gear, but I believe there is an adjustment for that. It’s not a major.
Just as a reminder of how bad the shifter was
And this is what its like now
Huge improvement, well worth the money and effort to install the bushes.
Now to top the oil up and work out what to do about the steering rack.