Gearshift cable replacement

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A known weak point on the Elan are the gear shift cables that run from the gearstick to the gearbox, the original design included a plastic insert and cotter pin to connect the cables to the end of the gearstick, and it's often this plastic insert which gives up and crumbles.

Symptoms are that the gearstick becomes 'loose or floppy' in either the side-to-side or forward-backward directions.

Fortunately, there's a very good re-engineered replacement from the quality guys at AB Motorsport. Their preferred sales channel for the UK is WillB on

Replacing the cables

There's a good write up in the ServiceManual on how to do this, but here's a summary.

Before you start

Info non-talk.png Once you've disconnected the old cables from the gearbox, you may want to use a cable tie to connect the gear-lever-end of the replacement gear cables to the gearbox-end of the old cables, this way you will pull the new cables through as you take the old cables out and save yourself the headache of trying to push the new cables back through later on!

Taking the old cables out

  1. Remove the pins holding the old cables to the gearbox arms in the engine bay, Don't lose them unless you have replacements !
  2. Remove the gearstick knob (it's held on by a grub screw at the bottom, tucked under the gaiter)
  3. Remove the centre console:
    1. Remove the little panel between the centre console and the rear cabin wall
    2. Pull out and disconnect the mirror control switch and window switches
    3. Pull out the oddments tray to allow access to more centre console screws
  4. Remove the gaiter
  5. Remove the gearlever assembly:
    1. Remove the 4 bolts holding the assembly to the chassis (Don't lose the 4 aluminium spacers !)
    2. Pull the lower gaiter (rubber covering) up over the gear stick
    3. Pull the gearlever assembly up through the hole and continue to pull the old cables all the way out
  6. Remove the old cables from the gear lever.

Putting the new cables in

Inside the centre tunnel
Gear cables selector
Gear cables mounting bracket
  1. Fit the replacement cables to the gearlever assembly
  2. Pass the cables down through the centre aperture and through to the engine bay
  3. If you're fitting AB cables you'll need to remove and replace the cable brackets mounted on the engine block with the new ones which came with the cables.
  4. Refit the gearlever assembly (and lower gaiter) into the aperture (don't forget the 4 spacers !), and tighten the 4 bolts to 22.5 Nm (17 lbf.ft)
  5. Settle the cable adjustment threads/nuts into the mounting brackets on the back of the engine block
  6. Connect the cross-gate cable (with the smaller eye) to the cross-gate bellcrank on the gearbox (vertical pin)
  7. Connect the cross-shaft cable to the cross-shaft level on the gearbox (horizontal pin)
  8. Adjust the cables using the nuts/mounting brackets so that with the gearbox in neutral the gearstick is tilting forwards by 5° and towards the driver's side by 10°
  9. Put the gaiter back on
  10. Put the centre console back in
  11. Replace the gear knob