My son has a 97 Ford Ranger, 4 cyl & 5 speed. His shifter is very loose with a 2 foot range of motion when in gear! It still shifts without problem unless you happen to be sitting in the passenger seat and get a bruised knee. Any thoughts as to what this is and cost of repair??
Lift the rubber boot at the base of the shifter and check the housing isn’t loose, it’s secured by 4 bolts, if these are loose and the housing is moving even a small amount this will translate into a large movement at the shift knob end.
Other than that the remote shift could be worn - do you by any chance rest your hand on the shifter ?
Had simular problem on a 87 ranger. The problem was that there was a white plastic ball at the end of the shifter that had broken. If it like mine was this part is replaceable. As mentioned above if bolts arn’t loose that holds the shifter mount in place then remove these bolts and remove the shifter to see if this part is broke or missing.
Possibly a junkyard shifter will work.
Yes, I think you hit it on the nose. Broken isolator bushing!