Repair of Broken Shifter Cables

Alan Betts has replacement Elan gear cables for sale here:

See Dimitri's innovative solution below as well!

Repair and Replacement with Isuzu Cables

Alas, we have a revision of the fine original "Shifter Cable Repair" listed below. This revision was done by Ryan R. Moos and will be invaluable to anyone with a broken cable!

Click HERE to download/view the Adobe Acrobat file

You can get the Adobe Acrobat Reader free online to view this document

This (original) write-up comes to us courtesy of Derek Heaton

Click thumbnails below for full-size pages.


Here are some more comments/tips from Robert Small about the shifter fix:

"I had to replace the crossgate cable on my Lotus and did not need to redrill any holes.  I am not sure why this would be necessary.

"The original lotus cable has an adjustment on  the transmission side of the cable.  How to adjust this is shown in the General Service manual in the Transmission section FF under Gearchange Cable Adjustment.  Note:  The adjusters only need to turn 1/4 turn to unlock and lock.  The adjusters get stiff and I broken mine moving it with a ply bar and hammer (My philosophy is tap things gently with a small hammer and if that doesn't work, get a big

"The replacement cable was for a Geo Storm because I could get this from the local Chevy dealer overnight from the GM warehouse.  This cable was slightly shorter than the original and the adjustment was on the shifter side of the cable.

"I did as instructed on the excellent write up except I adjusted the replacement cable to match the transmission side throw (amount the cable went in and out from the clip in point) of the original cable.  Basically, you just put the new cable in the shifter and hold the old cable next to it and try to move the adjustment so the transmission end cable movement is the same as on the old cable.   This is assuming the old cable was correctly adjusted.  If it wasn't, then I would start with the crossgate cable adjusted at the end closest to the shifter, install it and see if there was adjustment possible before I drilled the bracket.  I think it would be easier to back the shifter out several times just enough to adjust it rather than drill the bracket.  You will have to release the clips on the transmission end but will not need to rethread the cables through the tunnel.

"I think this would work on the fore/aft cable also.

"A couple of other notes:

1. I could not get the shifter to adjust to the specified 10 degree slant to the driver in third gear using either the original or replacement cable.  I don't think this can be done on LHD cars due to the design of the gearshift.

2. I flipped the coolant tank out of the way without removing the hoses.

3. I used the original transmission bracket.  I ground out enough of the flat spot in the bracket with a Dremel with a flexible shaft without removing the bracket.  The fitting on the end of the Storm cable was slightly smaller than the original fitting and did not have a flat lock-in. I would order a new clip when I got the cable.  I didn't and had to get
clips from Sears Hardware.

4. I got the cable for the 90 to 93 Storm "with grommet" Part Number 97038058 4047 F-Cable.  I think they called this the "range selector cable." The word 'crossgate' only confused them.  I looked at the picture to pick it

Good luck!"

Bob Small

Here is the solution to the "Shift Cable" problem.

You have to machine a plate, preferably made by hard aluminum, as shown in the drawings below.  Part 15 is the bracket under the shifter, as shown in the Elan's drawing (page 345 of the transmission section) above, and is located right under the shifter. It is extremely easy to reach, by detouching the shifter's rubber surrounding. Then you can unscrew it to work as you wish. You must then use 6 cylinders to make sure that the distance from the gearshift's bracket (part 15 in the diagram) stays at 16.5 mm, which is the length of each plastic part of the shift cable. Of course we have to drill the holes into "15", but it is easy when we remove the screws. We also have to remove the cables as well and put them back when we finish. With the plate installed this way, it "locks" at the bracket and thus the plastic parts cannot break or separate !!!

Click for full-size picture     Click for full-size picture
Even better, this solution also works with already broken shift cables (they always break at the same point - the edge of the plastic).

This can be done for much cheaper than replacing the cables and can be done at home.
I hope that it will help us all save some $.

Best Regards,
  Dimitris Selas

Send any more helpful hints to me and I will add them here. --Doug