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Loose gear shifter on 2002 Subaru Forester, manual transmission

I’ve a 2002 Subaru Forester, manual transmission. The gear shifter is very loose. While in any gear, the shifter can move to anywhere. For example, when in second gear making a left turn, the gear shifter will flop to the right side near where third or fourth gear are. This doesn’t change the gear of operation that the car is in. It just makes it a bit of a challenge to find where the gears are. Sometimes it is a challenge to find reverse.

We’ve had the shifter bushings replaced and that helped tightened things somewhat. But it is still very loose.

Mechanics have said that there is nothing wrong with the motion or the way the linkage operates the transmission. So the problem seems to be in the gear shifter.

Is this common on this car?
Is it a sign of a bigger problem?
What can be done about it?


This is not right. Find another mechanic, hopefully someone familiar with Subarus.

I’d also want someone to check the engine/transmission mounts to make sure things that shouldn’t be moving are not moving.