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MG Car Repair/1980 MGB 4 Speed Transmission


I'm having troublr getting into 3rd and 4th gear on my 1980 MGB.  I have to push the shift very hard to the right.  I've been told there is a bushing that may be my problem.  Is that true and cana I accesss the bushing without droping the transmission?

Hi Bill,

It can be many things but it does sound like it could be in the shift tower and not in the transmission. The shift lever bushing (plastic) can do what you are experiencing. It is usually noted by a loose shift lever.

Remove the chrome shift boot retainer and the three screws in the shift lever retainer. You can then lift the shift lever up out of it's socket. (WARNING !!!) Remove it slowly so as to not allow the small spring loaded plunger to fall out. It is on the right side and it applies pressure on the right side of the shift lever ball. A guide pin in on the left side that fits into a grove in the shift lever ball.

A small knob on the very bottom of the shift lever retains the plastic bushing. The plastic bushing fits down into the cup in the end of the shift rail. Some times when the bushing is either broken or worn out it will stay down in the cup when You lift the shift lever out.

I have found many bushings that were broken into small pieces and most of it was gone. If this is your case you can use a large screw driver to shift the shift rail into a position where you can better see the cup and with a suitable tool fish out the broken pieces because they all must be removed to accept a new bushing. When the bushing is good it will come up and out with the shift lever.

If that is not what is wrong you will have to remove the engine and transmission to gain access to the insides of the gearbox. The older MGB's had a removable plate over the gearbox that could be removed from the gearbox tunnel to gain access to the top of the gearbox but I don't think the 80 model had that. Pull the tunnel carpet up and look though.

Let me know,


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Howard M. Fitzcharles III


MG from 1956 (USA versions only) up and Engine theory.


Dealership line mechanic on MG, Triumph, Jaguar for 15 years, Instructor in commercial mechanics school 2 yr. Product information manager for piston and valve manufacture, Instructor & hotline answer man for import car parts importer 15 yrs.

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