Cable shifter out of adjustment

Jim Craik

Lifetime Supporter
Howdy folks, we recently had to pull the RBT ZF out of our SPF MKI for a slave cylinder leak. After reassembly it will no longer stay in third. It’s a cable shifter and we removed only the cable mounting plates and did not touch the adjustment threads. All the other gears are there but third feels like it does not fully engage, any thoughts?
Hey Jim,
Maybe something moved 'just' enough to cause an 'on the edge' adjustment to now fall to the dark side :). A thought - Note the throw position of the arm on the gearbox for third gear while connected to the cable. Disconnect cable and see if the arm can be moved further into a 'fully' engaged position.

Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
Are all the cable restraints in place, exactly where they were?
In my experience, when you move the cable housing, you also move the cable inside. For this very reason, a properly restrained cable housing is of utmost importance in transmitting the movement accurately and repeatedly..

Jim Craik

Lifetime Supporter
Hi Rob, Randy, thanks for the tips. We were careful to remove the retaining clip, pop the ball and carefully pull the mounting plates. Everything went back together fairly easily. Now that I think about it the first few times third did engage, now the gears rub but to not engage. I’m thinking a minor adjustment is all that’s needed. I’ll go back and check all the brackets and mounts.

Chris Kouba

Yeah- what Randy and Mesa said. I've helped a few people with trans shift issues and it's always been the fine adjustments that fix it, not any great leaps. Make sure you have full range of motion within the shifter box in the cabin and you're not now bumping the housing trying to get it into gear. Make sure all your linkages are tight as well. If that's all good, you may have been just good enough (like Mesa said) but when you disassembled, it got changed.

Take a little time with it and it will come back to you.
^ gear shift lever is hitting a limit, due to slight change in neutral position, or lost motion in the cable run somewhere. Ensure cable housing is properly fastened along its length, especially before, during, and after bends, and bell cranks/ball ends are securely fastened. Next, look to make a small adjustment at the gear lever, either changing the number of threads the ball has on the rod, or moving the housing anchor point, seeking to move lever neutral position towards 4th gear a few mm.
If you never touched the cable anchor at the shifter, you can probably leave that alone as it is buried under the console etc. make a cable end adjustment at the back end. Not being intimately familiar with ZF, if 3rd gear engages with a "push" motion, adjust cable housing towards the ball ie. make the housing come through the mount a little further. If 3rd engages with a "pull", do the opposite. Work in small increments.