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1996 Outback shifter linkage or bad Trans?

10665 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  stangman69

I just was given a 1996 with 330,000 miles! Hard to believe anything works but it does...the previous owner said that second gear and fourth gear "went out", currently I'm going from first gear to third and then fifth. The shifter is pretty sloppy. I felt around for second and could not find it nor fourth. But today I happened to pull back from third and found fourth....I'm thinking second is still there as well and I need to replace the shifter linkage. It looks like I can do it without dropping the engine or transmission, but it looks terribly tight. Has anyone experience with this challenge?


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· Registered
1996 Legacy Outback 2.2 5spd
32 Posts
The hardest part is getting the ujoint piece off the trans,thats where most of your slop comes from.It is held on with a roll pin.The bushings are held in with a bolt.Look into a ebay short throw while your in there watch which one you get though,I found one,got it and it was the later style shifter.Yours should be like the one in the pic above.

· Registered
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Roll Pin

Yeah, I saw that roll pin on a you-tube the heck do you press/pound it out from above??? What a nightmare....turns out I do indeed have second gear as well. It seems that anxious teen-agers were driving it and jamming the shifter all around...I find that driving and shifting normal (with two fingers) is the right touch. All gears present and accounted for!!!


· Registered
1996 Legacy Outback | EJ22 | 400k miles | Dylan
29 Posts
Look into a ebay short throw while your in there watch which one you get though,I found one,got it and it was the later style shifter.Yours should be like the one in the pic above.
Yes, 100% this. I ordered a short throw shifter for my '96 Outback and it came with the later shifter.
You need the one like the one in the diagram.

· Registered
2004 Outback H4 5Mt X 2
19 Posts
Replace shifter bushings and pivot...

2004 Outback BH 5MT...

I just replaced my shifter bushing and pivot assembly last week. DID not require dropping the trans or exhaust.

I put the front wheels up on ramps and then I put a floor jack under the trans and put slight pressure on it, just enough to hold it in place.

I disconnected the trans cross member that runs front to rear and the crossmember that the actual transmission mount bolts to. I loosened the cross member that connects to the frame/body with a single large bolt at each end as well. I was replacing the transmission mount bushings and filling my stock transmission mount with polyurethane caulk while i had the car up on ramps. Having the three crossmembers out helps a bit if you're replacing or modifying the stock transmission mount and gives you a bit more room to work on the shifter bushing and pivot assembly.

I ended up disconnecting the heat shield above the exhaust in the shifter area and pushed it backwards to give me a bit more clearance.

The pins can be driven out from below. Put the shifter in 5th and you have pretty good access. I used a 1/4" punch for the inner pin and a 5/16" for the outer pin. When I reinstalled I only used the outer pin. Didn't feel like fooling with the inner pin. :) The outer pin was a tad tough to get started enough for it to stay in place without protruding into the area where the pivot must slide onto the stub coming from the transmission. Took a few tries but finally got it stuck in enough.

I used the one-piece Energy Suspension shifter bushing and got hacked off trying to smash it in so I chopped it in half like every other vendor provides. Just use a two piece went together fine and despite naysayers, i don't notice any slop having a two piece part vs. a one piece part. Those guys that heated it in hot water and got it to fit...yeah, they're lying dogs. :)

I used the Energy Suspension transmission mount isolater pads too. Those worked fine.

I also replaced the block mount that the tail end of the shifter arm plugs into. Bolts on the Energy Suspension mount were a bit a booger to get started but other than that it went in fine and works fine.

I'd consider using the Torque Solutions pivot assembly if I had to do it again. It was a bit more $ but comes with polyurethane bushings instead of the stiff rubber looking ones the OEM unit comes with. I used the OEM replacement and it feels fine.

The shifter feels great and very tight. I'd recommend this mod to anyone, whether you install a short shifter or not.

Don't...don't...remove the C clip that holds the cup that the shifter ball at the bottom of the stick itself pops into. I had to pull the whole dang shifter mechanism out of the car to reinstall that little bugger. Wished I'd gone ahead and bought an eBay short shifter handle since I had the stocker already out. You'll have enough clearance under there to work without taking the shifter support arm completely off. Especially if you use the two piece shifter bushing and not that stupid one piece Energy Suspension part.

Filling the transmission mount with polyurethane was a wild hair idea. I used a concrete crack sealant. It worked ok but was a bit messy. I rushed it a bit and didn't duct tape the bottom side up tight enough so one side looks great and the back side looks like well, "back side." I'm sure I picked up like, 15 horsepower with this mod. (sarcasm) Feels like an improvement but maybe just mental. Minor increase in noise and vibration I would say. This could also be due to the stiffer isolater bushings I installed too though.

I know you're car is the older version but I would think they're similar enough that this might be helpful.

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