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Loose gear shifter

2970 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  msmit62
My wife was parked on a hill and when she went to put in Drive it got stuck in 4th. She jammed it into Drive and heard a sound like plastic breaking and something dropping. Now the shifter is loose and there isn't much resistance, especially in Park, Fourth and Drive, and 2nd and Low. It drives normally and doesn't actually fall out of Drive into 4th, but it won't stay in 4th or 2nd unless held there by hand. I read the post about the plastic shaft that holds the spring and bullet, which is probably the problem, but what are some of the downsides and/or consequences if I do nothing? Can I ruin anything major and cause a safety concern?
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Well, if it's loose, even in Park, I would say there's a real risk of it slipping out of Park when you don't want/expect it. It seems like that would be a safety concern. This is especially true if you have something like small children or a dog that could potentially bump the van out of Park on that same hill your wife was parked on.
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I'm with Bill, I'd get that fixed. You won't ruin anything leaving it that way but not knowing what gear it's in isn't safe.

2004 XLE Limited Shifter moves, Trans never leaves park
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Thanks for the replies and you guys are right, it needs to be properly taken care of. It's a 2006 so it is in between the years that were recalled and I'm fairly certain it's not the linkage bushing, although that seems like an easy replacement if I expose everything anyway.
If I get a functioning gear shifter assembly, once it's exposed, it's just the four 12mm bolts and the electrical connectors, right?
I know this is an older thread but I just had the same problem as Aguywithavan happen to my 2010 Sienna over the weekend. I tried to shift from 4th into 5th but the shifter wouldn't move so I pushed harder and then I heard a cracking noise and now the shifter handle is loose and floppy. I'd rather buy new parts to fix the problem, so can anyone tell me what parts I need? Maybe I need an entire new shifter assembly? My van has had the shift lock solenoid recall taken care of...
I had the same thing happen on my '05 LE AWD. General driving was no problem at all, but if I wanted to use 4th gear, I had to hold the lever there, as the detent was gone. Had a guy stop by my place to get some motorcycle work done, I mentioned the problem to him, in passing. Turns out he is one of the Master Technician Trainers for Toyota, so he checked on my recall status. Turns out my serial number was about 20 or 30 outside the range of affected vehicles, but he had it changed for me anyway.

I encountered no problems in normal use, and did not feel that it would slip out of Park, but it's still a good idea to get it fixed.

datsa noydb, thanks for your response. I do all my own work and am planning on fixing it but I was hoping someone who already went down this path would chime in and say what part(s) I need to purchase. That would save me the time from taking it all apart twice (once to diagnose it and then once again to repair it. My wife drives it every day so I can't take it off the road for a few days.
Update: I repaired the shifter last weekend and would like to give a special thanks to spacecoast321 for the video he made which greatly helped me. The video can be found in this post: broken shifter 05 XLE The only thing I did differently was I reamed out the 3/8 hole to the tube was not a press fit. I didn't want to risk cracking the plastic so I reamed it out and put some 5 minute epoxy on the tube before I installed it.
Hi! I just had this same thing happen to me! 2010 Sienna. Wouldn't shift from 4th to Drive, so pushed a little harder, and POP! Now there is a lot of lateral slop. Not vertical slop, so I'm not afraid of it coming out of PARK or going from Neutral into Reverse. But I still want to fix it and soon - my van is due for PA state inspection, and I'm concerned it will fail for this. Is this something that a slightly-above-average home mechanic can do? What parts need purchased? Are there any special tools/sockets/wrenches that need made/purchased/modified?

Thanks in advance.
Look at the video , post #6. Also Ref post # 10 as well for broken shifter.
In addition this one as well should give you some insight. By the way , thats why I travel with a spare shifter assembly obtained from a junk yard. The grommet is bad enough but the shifter assembly cracking is an ouch!!
Springoflife, if you are fairly mechanically inclined and have a fair amount of patience then I think you'll be fine tackling this. You'll need mechanical ability to remove the interior panels and patience so as to not hurry and break clip(s) which will lead to rattles. Follow the procedure as shown in the video to disassemble and reassemble the shifter. The highest risk of this procedure is the risk of drilling too deep into the plastic shifter body, so drill carefully and pull back on the drill while drilling to prevent the bit from plunging too fast. If possible work your way up from smaller bits to larger in increments of 1/64" because this will prevent the drill from plunging too fast. Measure the hole depth so you can install the new tube at a height such that the spring plunger is at the original height. If the spring plunger is too low then you'll lose the nice detent feel of shifting. If it's too high then it'll be more difficult to shift because the spring will be too compressed. You want to keep it at the same height (or very close to the original height). If you look at my post, I used either a grinding bit or some sandpaper on a drill bit to open up the hole so I could SLIP the tube in and GLUE the tube in place rather than TAP it in. Others have tapped it in place but I was concerned that the plastic might split. As I type this, my glued-in tube is still holding strong and I don't anticipate having any problems with it in the future. For tools, I'm going off memory so I'll probably miss something but you'll mostly need a 10mm socket and ratchet (1/4" drive ratchet is very handy), a small phillips screwdriver to remove a few clips and a flathead screwdriver to remove the push-on nuts which are on the shifter assembly bolts. Also a drill with a few drill bits and some five or 10 minute epoxy. The SS tube can be purchased locally at a hardware store or just get it off Amazon. I scuffed up the OD of my tube to give the epoxy a good rough surface to bond with.
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Thank you, msmit62. I will report back after I find the time to attempt this.
Good morning,
I have reviewed the video and understand the concept. Simple, yet genius. However, there is one key piece of information that I can't find:
What is the OD and ID of the Stainless Steel tubing?

I want to have a piece of it ready to go before I tear-down the console. I don't have another vehicle/means of getting to the hardware store.

Thank you!
The stainless steel tubing is made by K&S Precision Metals, the P/N is 87119 and it measure 3/8" outside diameter. This is what you want: Round Stainless Steel Tube: 3/8" OD x 22 Gauge x 12" Long (1 Piece)

You can find it on Amazon or get it at a local hardware store.
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From previous posts it seems KS precision metals part number 87119 is what you need. OD .37 approx inches ID .31 approx. Under 7 bucks Amazon. Be careful when you disassemble the mechanism . Don't lose the bullet!
Thank you very much for the part number! I placed an order just now.
I hope the bullet isn't lost already. When the shifter broke, I heard something fall behind the console. I hope I find it!
Thanks again.
My bullet did the same thing and I was able to locate it. It's greasy so it doesn't get too far.
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