Twisted gear lever

Grateful for advice, apologies if this has already been covered, could not see it in a search – the gear leaver on my XK120 OTS Moss GB (bent leaver not straight) has started twisting a little when changing gear. Mainly noticeable when moving from second over to third, lever rotates clockwise a bit, then as it is pulled down to 4th it rotates a bit further clockwise, hope this makes sense. Not sure whether the shaft has splines or is smooth.
This is the second time this issue has developed in about 7 years. Was fixed last time about 4 years ago by replacing the bushings the lever mounts into. Understand this was a straightforward inexpensive fix. Happy to fit new bushings myself this time but keen for advice on:

  1. Is this normal?
  2. Whether the bushings can be replaced without removing the transmission tunnel?
  3. Can anyone recommend a supplier where their bushings have lasted?
  4. Has anyone come up with a more permanent fix, eg any product (perhaps something like loctite) that might encourage the bushings to grip the shaft?

Many thanks


The shaft is smooth. There should be flat washers both above and below the rubber bushings. There is a slotted nut (looks like a crenelated castle) on the bottom end. It is simply not tight enough. There is supposed to be a split cotter pin holding it to keep it from working loose. The cotter pin fits through the slots and a hole in the shaft.
shift lever bushings
It is NOT normal for this to fail in 3 years. Somebody didn’t do it right before.
Mine has been in place 30 years and is still good.

The other possibility is the rear seal on the box is leaking and throwing oil all over the shifter and melting the bushings.

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Interesting… my 140’s gearlever has coarse splines to grip the rubber. Don’t know when that came in, but both the original (bent) and the replacement (straight) have them. But yes, Rob’s right, it shouldn’t start moving so soon. I’d check that the correct parts were used - I had to use rubber lubricant and a fair bit of force to fit the rebushing kit to my gearchange mechanism. You would need to remove the tunnel to get to this properly on a 140, can’t comment on a 120. I used a kit from Barratt’s.

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Same as my 150 and MKII, which I believe are largely similar to the previous models.
The shifter for the 150 has splines and looks just like the photo Rob posted.
I bought my bits from Welsh in the US, and as Roger states it was a very snug assembly.

The MKII hasn’t budged since its overhaul in 1998.

Thanks very much for the advice everyone. Will have to remove the cover and sort it out. From a quick look last night from underneath the car I could see a cotter pin through the end of the shaft, then a large washer, presume the nut is on the other side of the washer but I could not see it from a quick look. So there did not appear to be anything, ie the slotted nut to engage with the pin, so nothing stopping the nut from working itself loose. I guess the only thing the pin would do at the moment might be to stop the washer and nut working right down the shaft and dropping off, and the whole shaft coming out for me to wave at the overtaking traffic :crazy_face:

Sounds like all I need to do might be to change the order - washer against bushing, then slotted nut tightened, then pin engaged with slots to stop the nut rotating.

Not required for the XK120. You need only remove the shift knob then lift the carpeting to expose the entire shift mechanism. I had the same issue a few months back. All it took was to tighten the castellated nut.

Brilliant, thank you!

Amazing, it’s my day to learn something. I’ve never seen one with splines. I have 3 or 4 around here and all are smooth.
BTW it would appear from these part numbers that the C2462 cranked one is for those 120s without a radio.



While you’re at it, inspect the reverse selector plunger and spring and if indicated give it a thorough cleaning and re-lube. You don’t need to take it apart. Aerosol WD40 and shop towels work well. If crud accumulates in that groove it can make finding first and second gear more difficult. Was in my case anyway.

Dave, if you do have to fit new bushings use isopropyl alcohol to assemble it makes rubber very slippery and when it evaporates the rubber will have excellent grip on the surrounding components. Silicone or petroleum products remain slippery which you don’t want.