Well, after 174,000 miles of in-town delivery driving my shifter had become quite sloppy. There was a good inch of lateral play at the shift knob in every gear, and about half an inch of fore-and-aft play. It had gotten so bad that I was occasionally missing shifts! I decided it was time to replace some parts, but I didn't exactly know which parts I needed to replace.
As I mentioned in another thread, I was able to find a wrecked 2015 Mirage at a P&P yard about half an hour away from me. I went to get the rear drums, but since the car was a manual I decided to also get the shifter, shift cables, clutch cable, and pedal pads. Tonight I decided to take things apart and see what was worn out, and I started in the interior.
I didn't have to look for long...
I thought it might be the shift cables...which would have been a lot more work...but it turned out to be the shifter itself. The shifter on these cars is made of plastic. The metal shift lever is attached to a plastic ball which moves in a plastic cage that is bolted to the floor. The plastic ball and cage on my car had worn quite badly. The new shifter on the right has fresh white lithium grease on it. My old shifter on the left has thick, dried out grease which has been contaminated with black plastic shavings.
Fortunately, replacing the shifters on these cars is incredibly easy. Seriously, it takes like 15 minutes. Just remove the center console (two clips, one 10mm bolt) and there are four 12mm bolts holding it to the floor. The shift cables snap into the base of the shifter, and the ends of the cables each attach to the shift rod with a clip. There is also a pair of clips that holds a wiring harness to the base of the shifter assembly.
The car shifts soooooooooo much better now!