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So I was letting my buddy drive my 88 Sammy. He's a little stronger than me and when he went to shift to first I think he put too much pressure on the shift lever and it seemed to just break off. It was real wobbly, the range was probably twice or three times the original. I jiggled it around and managed to get it in first and drove it two blocks to his driveway. I removed the boot and the first circular round piece that has three bolts, but couldn't really see anything wrong, the lever wasn't broken as far as I could tell. Upon further inspection I realized that the lever wouldn't come out of first, it could only rotate about.

Any insight into what may have gone wrong would be greatly appreciated. My mechanic (not a transmission specialist) said that the tranny was bad and he would have to send it out for rebuilding. I don't really trust this shop from past experiences and I couldn't see destroying a whole tranny with the shift lever alone (the clutch was disengaged at the time).

Thanks in advance for your help,
Jay
 

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J, It sounds like your shifter sheet gave up. Very simple and easy cheap fix. Just get a replacement one and install. They can be found on most parts sites or E-Bay, also most Samurai sites have a detailed descripion on how to remove and replace it. No need to pull trans either. Aftermarket ones seem to be made out of a longer lastng material. Hope this helps some.
 

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Thanks for the insight. I looked around on the forum and all other posts about the sheet are referring the one in for the 4wd lever. Is this analogous to the one for the standard gear shift as well? If so, where could I find the sheet and some installation instructions?

Thanks,
Jay
 

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transmission!

Actually, the most common part failure relating to that symptom is the breaking of the guide bolt (shifter bolt) in the shifter tower. A worn shifter sheet would cause the shifter to rise out of position and possibly disengage from or jam the shifting linkage inside the transmission.

The shifter bolt holds the shifter in place so that it does not rotate in it's socket when the shift lever is pushed from side-to-side. Most likely, your enthusiastic friend broke the tip off the end of this bolt. It probably fell down into the bottom of the case out of harms way.

If you remove the shifter boot and look at the top of the shift tower, you will see a bolt head on the rear of the tower assembly with the head facing the rear of the truck. This is the problem bolt.

There are two sizes of bolts - one for the pre-'89 transmission and one for the 89 and newer transmission (My model year might be off by one, but you get the idea...). The main differences between the two bolts is the diameter of the tip that fits into the shifter lever. The newer bolt is thicker so it does not break off easily! Unfortunately, if you buy the thicker-tipped bolt, it will not work with your shifter lever because the groove it fits into on the shift lever will be too narrow! You would need to machine the existing lever's groove wider or get the newer shift lever.

You can get a replacement bolt at your local Suzuki dealer or you can buy one for many of the aftermarket suzuki vendors. You can also find a replacement down at the salvage yard or pick-n-pull.

I think that both versions of shifter bolts can be removed with a 10mm box wrench but a 12mm might come in handy, too. I replaced my transmission two months ago and had to deal with the differences between the older and newer type of transmissions - and those bolts!

While you are at it, it might be a good idea to replace the shifter sheet as zooki4x4 suggested. Zuks Offroad (ZOR Zuks Off Road) has a rugged brass unit that'll outlast the rest of the truck.

For more info on the transmission, download the '88 Samurai Factory Service Manual (FSM) at Ack's FAQ (link in signature, below). Do a search for fsm.

UPDATE: There are two shifter sheets: one for the transmission and one for the transfer case (4x4 shifter). They are two non-interchangable components with the same basic function and name.

I hope that this helps!
 

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I was unaware that there were two different size bolts for the shifter. Thanks Ack. Do you know if you can just replace the shifter with a later model? or is the shift lever non-transferable between the two models?

Oh and to the original poster... don't be too hard on your friend. I snap one of these guys off about every 4 or 5 years. One of the most comon and easiest repairs to do on a samurai.
 

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I was unaware that there were two different size bolts for the shifter. Thanks Ack. Do you know if you can just replace the shifter with a later model? or is the shift lever non-transferable between the two models?
Yes, you can swap the bolt and shifter lever as a pair.

You can also swap out the entire tower.

The only parts difference is the shifter lever and the bolt.
 
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