DIY gear shift removal and lube (short video) - Smart Car Forums
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post #1 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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DIY gear shift removal and lube (short video)

OK, let's see if we can get this right this time. Thanks to a2Jack for his very valuable input, and to the local smart dealer for the information on what to lubricate in the shift knob mechanism.

Some owners are finding the shift knob button getting difficult to move, and are getting stuck in Park, Reverse or unable to get to those positions. Forcing the mechanism can result in breaking plastic parts inside the shifter, and of course getting stuck and towed. Not good.

Your dealer should be able to do this for you, or, if you live too distant, this is pretty easy.

Apparently some shifters have little or no lubrication in the button mechanism, and this is an easy 5 minute way to apply some lube.

First, put the parking brake on and put the gearshift in Neutral to make it easier to work on. Then, with a pair of pliers padded with cloth or whatever you think works best, twist the plastic collar under the knob counter clockwise. It seems to require only a small turn, perhaps 1/8th or so.


Then the knob should slide easily off the shaft, straight up.


Use a little bit of silicone spray lubricant to coat this top part of the plunger. I just sprayed a little on my fingertip and applied it.


Also, spray a little up inside the knob. Slide the knob back on the shaft and turn the collar clockwise to latch the knob.

Done.
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post #2 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 06:44 PM
 
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Dave,
Thanks for the post and the pictures. Knock on wood, I haven't had a problem thus far but feel a lot better about what to do if I do have an issue thanks to your post.
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post #3 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-12-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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Dave, Thank you very much. So far no problem but I'll be ready should it occure.
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post #4 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-16-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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Hey Dave, No problem yet, but will check our shift now! Thanks for the great info and pics
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post #5 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-16-2008, 01:21 PM
 
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I tried this, my "plastic collar" wouldn't move clockwise or counterclockwise and even with a terry cloth towel it left marks. Then I tried yanking and pulling up to no avail. Then I tried the screwdriver wedge and just left scars at the joint - phooey on this so I sprayed Triflow teflon lube in the cracks and can feel it moves easier.
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post #6 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-16-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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It works wonders

I wrapped the collar with tape, turned it about 1/4 turn counter-clock-wise ( viewed from the top) and the knop came off with no effort. I also took the sharp edges off the plunger with an emery board before lubing the plunger and re-assembling. It is as smooth as silk.
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post #7 of 123 (permalink) Old 04-21-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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A few days ago, I started to notice the shifting getting a little sticky. The next morning, it took a while to engage. A few hours later - almost impossible to get out of Park. If able to get out of Park & drive - then not possible to get back into Park.

Brought it to the dealer. Mechanic said (in front of me) that it needed a new shifter. Just spoke to the Service dept & they said they fixed a couple of cables & greased it & it's working just fine.

Back up: 6 weeks ago, I would turn the car on, but the transmission wouldn't engage. So - I had to wait 2 weeks while they got a new "modulator" from overseas.

Now - this is twice my new Smart Car has become suddenly & completely inoperable. What gives?? I LOVE IT - but dependable? I think not.

What are my options?
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post #8 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-07-2008, 07:56 AM
 
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Dave- Thanks for the post! After waiting for 2 hours for the tow truck to arrive to pickup my car stuck in park-I found your post and fixed it. Now it works better than new. The button on my shifter would not depress and the silicone spray was the answer.
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post #9 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-07-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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I noticed this afternoon and evening that it was difficult to shift from N into P. Just 30 minutes ago, I could not get R or from N into P. I have read your thread and will jump to your solution tomorrow morning. Sounds like everyone has a good fix regarding lubing the shifter release button. I am in Cincinnati and my dealer until this summer is in Columbus, Oh.....90 miles away. Thanks for the posting to all. Joe

Well the next day, I couldn't remove the gearshift knob but I sprayed some lubricant into the "release button" of the shifter, worked in a few times and all is well. Thank you all.

Last edited by JLSmart; 05-18-2008 at 08:56 AM.
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post #10 of 123 (permalink) Old 05-08-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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I got my car April 17th and by May 3 I was having problems shifting. I was scheduled to take it to the dealer today but I could not get it to shift out of park. (The little yellow release lever under the shift console would not release the car from park so they could load it onto the towtruck.) I found this forum today, followed the directions, and the car is shifting fine.

Note: I was able to reach around the lower plastic collar using one finger, grip tightly, and turn it 1/4 turn counter clockwise without using any tools. I takes a fairly good grip but many people may be able to get as solid of a grip and turn it by hand like I did. No chance of scratching or scaring the surface using your hands. If you are having trouble gripping it might help to use a dishwashing glove or a rubber jar opener pad. Anyway - the collar turns easy enough by hand that you should not need plyers.

I used a light oil. Not sure what is best. Also - I can not see up inside the knob. So I used a qtip to put a little oil up there but really not clear what to lub there. I was able to get a good lub on the top of the plunger.
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