Eunos / MX-5 shift boot and turret oil replacement

7 04 2010

My 94 mk1 has had a stiffish shift since I’ve had it. Perfectly serviceable, but not all that exciting, and I thought it should probably be a bit slicker.

I’ve just fitted an mx5parts upper and lower boot kit, and replaced the turret oil with MTL Redline and *wow*. It’s like a bolt-action rifle now.

Quick guide:

Center console out: two screws at the front on either side, two screws under the ashtray, and two screws in the rear locker. Remove gearknob, and lift out the console. Disconnect the ashtray light and the electric window connectors and it’ll lift straight off: you need to wiggle the back of it out from the boot release.

You’ll be left with some underlay-like sound/heat insulation which lifts off, and the upper shift boot which *will* have holes in it. There’s a 10mm bolt on each corner – unscrew, and lift off the gearshaft. Use a stanley knife to cut the boot off if it doesn’t want to slide up and off the shaft.

Underneath, you’ll see the top of the lower shift boot. There are 3 10mm bolts to remove this, after which the entire gearlever will lift out. MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN NEUTRAL FIRST! There is a notch in the 12 o’clock that lines up with a peg in the turret.

Lift gear lever out, try not to drip oil everywhere and take it inside and clean it up. To remove the lower shift boot, again a stanley knife makes this easier. Make sure you retain the nylon/metal disk around the ball of the gearlever: metal side goes to the top. Remove this and the boot, and clean up with a rag. If you’ve got the mx5parts kit, then you’ll have a replacement nylon bush for the bottom of the gearlever – I nearly chickened out of replacing this but in the end found the easiest way to remove was to stand the lever vertically on a block of wood (kitchen chopping board in my case!), tilt the lever to 45 degrees and then hit the outer edge of the nylon bush with a blunt screwdriver. Clean up the ball on the end, and fit the new one by placing it under the gearlever and giving it a tap with a hammer.

Whilst it was out, as I’ve an 8 ball gearknob I wanted to polish the visible section of the gearlever between knob and gaiter to a mirror shine – out came the Dremel and some Autosol – looks lovely.

To fit the new bottom boot: spray the gearlever with silicone spray or oil. Push bottom boot on first, it goes top down as far as you can get it – over the thickest bit of the gearlever until it snaps to form a tight seal against the thinner bit near the base.

Next, clean out the old oil from the turret. To do this, I used a turkey baster. The kitchen features quite heavily in my DIY.

Suck the old oil out and dispose of. I replaced mine with some MTL Redline which is cracking stuff, but standard gearbox oil is probably fine. If anyone’s doing this and wants 100cc of Redline to do it with then give me a shout and I’ll post some out in a bottle or something – it’ll save you spending 18 quid on a litre, like I did.

Top up to about an inch from top of turret, and carefully refit the gearlever. Make sure the boot is rotated round carefully so that when the gearlever goes back in it’s not twisted. I panicked slightly when it didn’t go back in very readily – don’t worry, just be aware that the nylon bush on the end is a very tight fit and has to go in exactly straight otherwise it sticks. Make sure you’ve a light wipe of oil on the bottom boot seal and bolt it in with the three bolts. Check the gearbox selects gears correctly at this point.

Now take your new top boot and slide it over and down the lubricated gearlever, again making sure it’s not twisted. Push it down until the white nylon captive washer is flush with the slightly flared bit at the bottom of the gearlever’s thickest part. Do up the 4 10mm bolts, replace the insulation over the top, and replace center console.

In my case I took the opportunity to fit a new gear gaiter whilst I was at it, which looks great and took all of a minute to fit.

All in all this took about half an hour. The difference was immediately apparent – much less effort to shift, much more satisfying changes, and generally a brand-new feel to the gearchange. Best mod to date, I think.