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Thread: Never Seen This Before - Shifter Knob

  1. #1

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    Salem, CT
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    1995 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
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    4G64

    Never Seen This Before - Shifter Knob

    So yesterday, I took Maximilian on a whopping 2.2 mile trip, and when backing into my driveway, I heard a sound that wasn't quite right. My initial thought was perhaps I didn't shift fully into Reverse (R5M21 5-sp tranny). Once I parked, I checked the movement of the shifter, and next thing I know, a mushy clunk and then my shift knob would virtually go anywhere, and I was stuck in some gear instead of neutral...

    I had to go to work last night, so I took my '87 LeSabre, and this morning I dug out my Chilton's and started scratching my head. I originally thought the issue was a defective shift cable (had the exact same problem in my '94 Cavalier some years back) but then I discovered there was no shift cable. Mmmmkay, let's get into the shift selector...

    I popped off the shift boot, and immediately saw the issue. The shift selector bolts had loosened up, one bolt was missing completely, one barely had the threads engaged, and the third was simply loose. I pulled the bolts, cleaned up the mounting plates, and reassembled it to check that I didn't need to search for another transmission... And voila! The transmission shifts in and out of every gear perfectly, and what I thought was average play in the shift mechanism is completely gone! So basically, in the 25K miles I've put on this little guy since he was gifted to me, and for who knows how long beforehand, the shift lever has been loose.

    Two questions for you experts here. I have not much experience with these vehicles, as I have been a loyal GM guy for 20 years. Either I can order a full tranny gasket set (just to replace the ruined gasket where the shift selector bolts to the top of the tranny) and, while the gasket set is cheap enough, the shipping is not. Is it possible that I can do the cheap fix, using gear oil-specific RTV? I originally bought the RTV to solve the slight rear end leak, so I already have it on hand.

    Also: obviously I need the third missing bolt, well I could get by without it probably, but I'd rather fix it the right way once than have to come back and do it all over again. I have been unable to locate the bolts through any search of anything I find on the 'Net. Should I go to a Mitsu dealership and try to source them that way? Or would it be OK to pull a bolt out and try to match it at the local hardware store? Should I just torque them to specs when I change them, or would you guys recommend using Loctite on the bolts?

    The truck is totally worth fixing the "Right Way." The previous two owners lived in a coastal town in CT and, amazingly, the frame has not rotted out. The first owner was your stereotypical elderly man, the second owner used the truck for scrapping (which is where all the body dents came from), and as of two years ago it only had 110,000 miles. It's in remarkably good condition, runs very well (despite that darned expensive idle speed control that's bad). I drive primarily back roads and secondary roads, and I average about 24 mpg. This truck continues to amaze and impress me, I brought home a loaded bed of wet mulch two weeks ago and could barely tell the weight was back there. But I don't need to tell you guys how amazing these little trucks are...

  2. #2



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    1980 Dodge D-50
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    Get some gasket paper and make a new gasket - the RTV may work, but it could also end up in the gearbox and cause issues. Those should 10 mm bolts - match them up at a good auto parts store with real auto grade bolts, not hardware store chinese ones. Use blue or green locktite, not the red - red requires more torque to remove than the bolts are rated for. Don't overtorque them either -I snapped one off years ago and had to get it removed - luckily, a drillbit spun in reverse did the trick.
    Pennyman1
    The best Dodge that Dodge never made
    Living the D-50 lifestyle since 1980

  3. #3

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    1995 Mitsubishi Mighty Max
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    4G64
    OK, thanks for the advice. Good thinking on the gasket material, I forgot all about that possibility.

    You're right about the bolts being 10mm. As far as hardware bolts go, I'd actually be using a reputable hardware store... But since I'll be heading to Advance for the gasket material, might as well get the bolts there too. Hopefully, one of the intelligent guys are working (there are only 2 that have any clue what they're doing, 1 is my cousin and his father taught me a lot about cars when I was his age). Even the manager is kinda dippy, and he's at his 3rd Advance store.

    Don't sweat me over-torquing bolts. I have OCD, I spec just about everything, I even check spark plug gap 3 times before I install them. ;-) Thanks for all the advice, I'll be getting right to it tomorrow. Nice and easy fix. My Chilton shows sealant being applied on both sides of the gasket, but all the exploded diagrams are for the 4WD transmission. Should be ok without it, I don't see a problem.

  4. #4

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    I've been remiss in giving an update, so I figured I would stop forgetting about it and get my fanny in gear.

    Reassembly went fantastically well, Advance didn't have the proper bolt length, but they had a slightly longer bolt and I spaced it out with some washers. Only one issue occurred: one of the OEM bolts snapped while I was threading it in BY HAND with only a socket and extension! I couldn't believe it, I know I didn't put any crazy torque with one hand, and it sure didn't bottom out...

    So right now I have only the bottom two bolts holding the shift assembly in place. I don't yank on the shifter at all, I actually drive the truck fairly gently (the less I break, the less I have to fix ) so with the rearmost two bolts in place, torqued to spec, should be ok. And now that everything is nice and tight, the shifting is INCREDIBLY light and with no play whatsoever. It almost shifts gears like a sportier car would. It completely shocked me!

    Since I was in there and mucking about, I decided to drain the tranny and replace the gear oil (which was original). I put in Valvoline SynPower Fully Synthetic 75W-90, and I can state here that in real-world experience, my fuel economy has improved (estimated 3 mpg) just from that simple change. I can't wait to change the fluid in the rear end and see if I get another small boost.

    Don't want to start another thread over a noob-with-Mitsu question... I have the 4G64 and I really need to do my water pump. I currently lose anywhere from no coolant to a full gallon (depending on Maximilian's mood) in a 32-mile roundtrip commute. It doesn't leak too badly when running, I tend to leave a small lake in the parking lot at work. My question is actually this: I know the water pump is belt-driven, and I know I need to remove the timing belt cover to access bolts (as far as I could tell just from poking around). Do I need to mess with the timing belt at all? Will it be in the way? I sure don't want to mess with a timing belt, considering it's something I've never attempted, and my Mitsu/Nissan guru buddy isn't available to help me with it (I have a new timing belt in a box, ready for him when he can help).

    I've done water pumps - gawd I've done quite a few - and I'll never understand why some manufacturers would make a timing-belt driven water pump (seized water pumps have blown up one friend's Stratus and another friend's Alero). That aside - can the one in my Mighty Max be changed without touching the timing belt?

    Thanks everyone! :-) Can't tell you how out-of-my-element I am under the hood of these little guys.

  5. #5

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    1985 Mitsubishi L200
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    You're going to have to remove the timing belt I'm afraid as the water pump is partially covered by a timing belt tensioner. It's still a pretty straight forward deal to install the timing belt afterwards (there are pulley alignment marks to set the timing correctly - just make sure the belt goes back on the same rotational way you removed it by painting an arrow on it unless you're replacing the belt at the same time) The RWD engines in Mitsubishis are fairly forgiving to work on (well, most of the time)
    Yeah, I hear you when you talk about the stupid stuff manufacturers do when they design an engine. I have a beautiful () 1988 "Holden Astra" (it's basically a N13 Nissan) where GM have, in their boundless wisdom, decided to not only make the water pump timing belt driven but also incorporate it as the belt tensioner mechanism as well. When you replace the belt and attempt to retension it, the water pump body must be loosened off and rotated with some ginormous spanner thing. Once you disturb it, the thing pisses coolant in 17 different directions. Next thing you know, you're up for a new water pump - and replacing this thing with the engine still installed is a freaking nightmare...

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