2004 Chevrolet Cavalier : auto. trans. shifter cable bushing repair


2004 Chevrolet Cavalier : automatic transmission shifter cable bushing repair

Details of the vehicle:

2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

4 door

2.2L ecotec engine

4 speed automatic transmission ( 1995-2005 models / Hydramatic 4T40E / electronically-controlled transmission )

The Problem

The shifter cable on this car did a common thing for this model/body style… the end of the shifter cable broke off of the metal linkage on the transmission side of the operation where the actual gear selector is.

Luckily tho’, it seems it is not broken all the way through the black plastic end as is often the case.

Upon examination, the center plastic bushing has dried out/degraded and come all apart in a big crumbly mess. If you have ever seen worn out, dried up plastic, you understand what I mean.

If your cable is all the way broken through on the end, you will need to do an alternate repair or replace the entire cable, which is possible but looks to be a real pain to accomplish.

Automatic transmission information for Chevy Cavaliers:

1995-2005 model / j-body(cavalier) years, 4 speed automatic cars all used the Hydramatic 4T40E transmission. It is easy to tell, if your shifter reads “PRND321” then this is the transmission you have. It is an electronically-controlled transmission, and as such can use electronic hacks such as the B&M Shiftplus or Autotrans Interceptor to adjust line pressure.

source article: transmissions for cavaliers

This forum seems to be a rather informative place about these types of cars. If you have one and wander in here… go check ‘em out.

J-Body organization 

This website is dedicated to the General Motors J-platform vehicles. These include the Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire, Sunbird and J2000, Olds Firenza, Buick SkyHawk and Cadillac Cimarron. The purpose of this site is to educate and inform others about these cars, as well as to put j-body owners in contact with other owners and resources.

The Research

2005 Chevy cavalier broken shifter [you tube video link]

This bouncy video shows where the gear selector is on the transmission. When your shifter cable comes loose, you cannot change gears from within the car. If it was in gear when it came loose or broke and the car was turned off, then the car will not restart unless it is in Park or Neutral. This is the safety feature of the neutral safety switch. It is supposed to not start in that situation. However, as you can see in the video, if you have to, in order to get home, you can move the selector by hand.

This fella did a junkyard repair… this video shows the little plastic bushing and the end of the shifter cable, the actual metal end of the gear selector, etc.. Essentially he found a cable in a junkyard, snipped off the end, boiled the plastic loop end to get the bushing out.

Very good thinking really…

This is an older 1996 Cavalier, but the part is very similar, if not exact:

Shift Cable Repair (GM front wheel drive) [you tube video link]

Also, it is the same automatic transmission, according to the information above.

Possible Fixes

Dorman Help! package part number 14041

5 piece kit for the little plastic piece/bushing that fits inside the hole of the plastic loop on the end of the steel shifter cable at the transmission gear selector end.

dorman help!

parts # 74039 and #74040

found this post that reads :

I found parts # 74039 and #74040 – two different size bushings that weren’t flagged as a non-fit.

source thread for above parts numbers

The parts store had no information in their system at all about packages #74039 & #74040.

They did have information in their system about package 140141 as well as having it in stock.

These plastic bushings breaking on all model vehicles is such an issue, this company makes an after market replacement part to fit your specific model. Their design is made out of metal and gets rid of the plastic piece.

Something to consider if you are planning on keeping the vehicle until it dies!

They have a video showing the basic idea of how to install it, you will need a bench grinder to do a slight modification.

Automatic Transmission Factory

Shifter Cable Repair Kits


2051 SW 70th Ave # E12
Davie, FL 33317

Phone:(954) 916-1155

The Fix

I used this box of plastic bushings :

Dorman Help! package part number 14041

contents of the Dorman HELP! 14041 package

contents of the Dorman HELP! 14041 package

5 piece kit for the little plastic piece/bushing that fits inside the hole of the plastic loop on the end of the steel shifter cable at the transmission gear selector end.

It was only a few dollars for the kit, but you only need one of the 5… however, it is still a lot cheaper than a new automatic shifter cable.

The below only applies if the end of your shifter cable is still in good shape. If it is broken completely through, you will need a new cable, as far as I know.

NOTE / Disclaimer (09/2013): according the linked Dorman site above, the aforementioned 14041 kit will not fit this application for a 2004ish Chevy Cavalier, however that is the kit I used as it was in stock at the parts store that day… and it worked for me. You may wish to research their site or your local parts store computer for a different numbered kit that is listed as fitting your specific application. 

The Wrenching

I had to take the cable shifter bracket loose on the transmission end, two bolts, one on the top, one on the back, firewall side.

There is a electrical plug snapped into the bottom of the bracket, it’s a pain, but unsnap it from the bracket.

Once you have that loose you can carefully “wiggle, wiggle” the bracket up through the lines and wire bundles, to where you can check it out.

Clean out the inside of the shifter cable end, where the black plastic round hole is. Look in the box of bushings and size ’em up.

I used a small c-clamp to gently/firmly push the bushing into the hole.

I wound up taking the V shaped/boomerang shaped metal gear selector off the top of the transmission, it is one 15 mm bolt… then using the c-clamp again, I pressed it on into the cable end. There is a bit of play between the cable and the selector when it is pressed on. This makes sense as it is supposed to move.

Then the fun was fishing it all back down through the wires and lines and what not. I put the bracket back in place, put that electrical connector back into the hole on the bracket… snugged up the bolts for the bracket.

Then I lined up the end of the shifter cable with that metal V/boomerang shaped part on it, then wiggled it around to sit back down on the transmission where it goes. Then snugged down the 15 mm bolt.

Then I eyeballed it while someone else sat in the car and shifted it through all the gears.

This project is a pain & it is quite aggravating. It takes longer to get to the end of the shifter cable to clean it up and put it back together than it does to fix the problem of the worn out bushing.

However, it can be fixed!

Good luck,

House of Woogero