OutRun Restoration Part 2: Gear Shifter

I chose to tackle one of the smaller parts of my newly acquired OutRun US upright first – the gear shifter. This was in a pretty bad way. The shifter plate had been bent and it had 3 massive bolts pushed through it to keep it together. Something had obviously broken and the bolts were needed to keep the whole shifter assembly from falling apart…

outrun gear shifter before picture
outrun gear shifter before restoration

After taking it out of the cab, as I expected I could see that the 3 bolts were used to hold the top parts of the shifter together. It looked like the shifter plate was supposed to have 4 threaded legs, but only had 1 remaining. The other 3 must have broken off, so someone had drilled 3 holes through the top of the shifter plate and put some replacement bolts in. It did the job, but it was ugly as heck, and it didn’t solve the bent part…

outrun shifter bent plate
outrun shifter hacked bolts
needs cleaning!
bolts keeping it together

I found a really helpful diagram of the OutRun shifter unit on the Reassembler blog. This was a godsend and helped enormously. I started taking the shifter apart and soon came across the first tricky bit… the dreaded spring pin…

evil roll pin

This little bugger (part 045-0018) was really stuck in there, and I needed to get it out so that I could fully take the shifter apart. It had been stuck in there for so many years, it was just not budging. I had some advice from previous OutRun owners on ukvac (thanks Eddie) and I bought a set of pin punches and tried at first to just whack it out…

pin punch to the rescue

This worked to some degree, but it was really slow going and not really moving much at all…

half way there

In the end, I used a combination of penetrating oil, pin punch, heat gun, and, well… brute force. It took a while and when it finally came out the pin was broken into 3 small bits. I needed another one, so I carefully measured and ordered a 5 pack of 3mm x 20mm roll pins online.

Once the shifter was in bits, I could finally see which parts were causing the problems. I had a bent Shift Lever Plate (part KR-1311) with 3 missing legs. Luckily in the US had a NOS one in stock, so it wasn’t long before I had a replacement… with no bend… and all 4 legs…

nos shifter plate

I also needed a new Hi – Lo Plate (part KR-1317). Unfortunately I couldn’t find a NOS one, or even a nice condition used one anywhere. Luckily there’s a guy called Wim Outrun who does really nice reproduction parts for OutRun cabinets… so I ordered one of his repro plates. It’s beautiful! Wim’s a really helpful guy and has given me lots of advice during this project. I think he loves OutRun even more than me…

nos hi-lo plate from wim outrun

Now I had the gear stick out, I could finally see the full condition of it: rusty and scratched!

rusty gear stick shaft

First I used some rust remover to get the rust off the shaft. After that I started with some 40 grit sandpaper, then went to 80, 120, 240, 320 and 400 grit. Then I went on to some wet sanding with 600, 800, 1200, 1500 and 2000 grit. Following that I buffed it up for about 10 minutes with Maguire’s Ultimate Compound. It came up pretty nice. It’s not perfect, and here you can see a couple of dents in the shaft that will have to stay. Luckily you can’t really see them under the gear stick knob. I’m pretty happy how well this came out though…

dented gear stick shaft

Next I scrubbed all the remaining metalwork with some Autoglym Engine Cleaner and a toothbrush, and carefully reassembled them, remembering to grease up the bearings in the shaft holder. Came out really nice…

fully restored shifter underside view
fully restored shifter top view

Mounted on the dash it really looks the part 🙂

fully restored shifter in-situ

So that’s the first part restored, and a success I think!

And it still works!

Next up I decided to attack the dirty and grimy pedal assembly. See you in Part 3.

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