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Master Gearshift Bushing Replacement Guide

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Thought I would post a guide to how I did this on my 1993 US version Esprit. This is a 'transition year' so some of the parts are S4 parts, and some are SE. Your car will likely have very small variations.

Ok, let's get started..........

1. First open the center console storage and remove the two phillips screws within:


The top assembly is really only held in place by these two screws and some velcro at the base of the a/c controls.

Then remove your storage cubby, if applicable....


This is usually either just push fit in, or there may be a screw in its "roof" that may need to be removed.

After the cubby is removed you can remove the top leather cover that includes the shift gaiter boot and console storage. First pull up at the very front, in front of the shifter boot. I actually pulled on the shifter boot and the velcro strip released. At this point several things will hang it up from removal.

1. The leather shifter boot. This is either kept in place with a zip tie, string, or stretchy fabric. Undo this tie so the shift lever knob can be pulled through.

2. The fuel release door switch. Unplug this switch connector.

3. Window switches. If you have an S4 of later. Disconnect switches.

At this point you should be able to remove the center console piece with shifter gaiter boot. Carefully put aside.

Next the shifter lever needs to be removed. You will see the rubber boot (if it isn't completely shredded already) with a metal ring around it. I believe it is held in place with 6 phillips screws.....


Remove these screws with the metal trim ring.

You will then see what you're after, the master assembly. Now remove the shift lever. There is a single large bolt that holds it in at the base. It is on the opposite side of the reverse baulk (this picture is slightly out of sequence, with the bolt already removed and the lever slightly pulled up)....


The bolt needs to be completely removed as it provides interference to removal of the lever. Once the bolt is removed, twist the lever up, and right / left till it pulls out.

Should look like this then (just the master assembly part)


Ok, now for the removal of the dashboard center console assembly. I don't believe there is a way to avoid this step if you want to remove the master gearshift assembly.

First, remove you radio. Each set up is different as to how it is held in. Some need special tools that allow it to be released from a 'cage'. But you're on your own on this.

After the radio is out, it is time to remove the A/C controls.

First remove the knobs. The smaller ones should just pull off. The larger ones have small holes on the sides that you need to insert either a very small screw driver or awl pick. Push into the hole to release the holding mechanism, and pull the knobs off.

Once the knobs are off there are two small phillips screws that hold the pictogram panel on. Carefully remove and remove the pictogram panel off and set aside in a safe easily scratches.

You will then see this....


You will need to remove the three light bulb socket holders. They turn and pop out the back. Then remove the four nuts and washers that hold the a/c controls to the white metal panel. Note their location for reassembly. Once the nuts are removed, push the various shafts back through the white panel. It might be good to take a picture(or mark with tape) of where each respective shaft goes, as I guess you could get the temp and direction controls mixed up.

Now remove the bolt that hold the assembly in front of the master gearshift assembly.....


It is on the plastic and has a nut. (This may be attached a different way, but this bolt removal involves a small plastic spacer and washers, so take care that it does not drop down into the transmission tunnel and roll out of view (That would be very bad :) )

Also remove the two phillips screws that are ahead of the shifter as seen in the above photo.

Now it is time to remove the radio console assembly. It is held to the dashboard by two nuts above the airbag control module (if so equipped). In my photo I have mounted my stereo crossovers on top of it with double stick tape. Do not touch the wing nuts, as that holds the metal to the leather. You want to remove it all as an assembly for simplicity purposes....and loosening the nuts almost all the way off will be enough. There are slots, and once the nuts are loosened you should be able to pull the assembly back and out. It may be tight so wiggling may be in order especially if it has never been removed before....


Once the console is removed you should be looking at a mess similar to this.....


Ok, all obstructions to removing the shifter should be mostly out of the way....

There is a mounting plate just behind the shifter assembly, that will need removing. It has 4 screws holding it down and it has a slot cut in it. The sound deadening will have to be peeled upward to get access to it...this photo shows the part partially covered by the radio center console assembly(which was previously removed). It is a zinc coated color.


Edited by Paul93Lotus
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Now you are ready to remove the master gearshift assembly.....remove the four bolts holding it down.....


Now that it is free, lift the assembly up to get at the cables. For cars with the cables all on the right side of the car, you may have to disconnect the cables as there may not be any slack. Since on my 93 the translator is on the left side, there is some slack to the cables where you can pull the gearshift assembly up without disconnecting the cables. Pull it up like this....


once it is up, get access to the 2 cotter pins and remove them with needle nose pliers. That will give you some more slack. To remove the rebuildable part there is a single long bolt with a nut (as seen in photo) holding the rebuildable part in the assembly. Carefully remove this bolt and then lift the mechanism can see the mentioned bolt in this photo.


Then rebuild as per:

which show the exploded diagram of the assembly. For peening the brass washer on the lever bushing, a ball bearing a little bit larger than the bushing hole worked fine. I placed the assembly on concrete, and then placed the ball bearing on top of the bushing/washer assembly. A couple of strikes with a small hand held sledge worked well.


Edited by Paul93Lotus
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  • 1 year later...

I used wheel bearing grease sparingly. On my 93, the only parts that seemed to have wear were the rubber bushings.....the plastic parts seemed ok after 38K miles.

I can't give any long term feedback as I totaled the car over a year ago and is gone....

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I seem to remember another another obstacle to removing the gear shift assembly... There are some phillips head screws, unremoveable unless you drill holes in the fibreglass shroud either side of the cutout for the gearshift assembly (even the Lotus service manual recommends this). The screws are hidden by the foam rubber, if I remember correctly. I tried to remove the screws with a variety of home made tools without drilling holes, but gave up in the end. I see yours has already been modified with home-made cutouts (was this before you bought the car?). I see there are two cutouts in the black plastic forward of the assembly on your car. Mine didn't have these, further impeding the removal. I have an 89SE



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