Skunk2 & Blox Shift Lever bearing upgrade - D-series.org

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Old 04-23-2015, 02:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Skunk2 & Blox Shift Lever bearing upgrade

This DIY describes how to replace the crappy shielded bearings on Skunk2 & Blox billet steel shift levers.

Both market their shifter bearings as sealed, but they're not - they're double-shielded which have a tiny gap that water can get into. The reason I upgraded to REAL sealed bearings is because my Skunk2 lever's bearings rusted solid when the car sat in the snow for 3 months. One bearing was also a bit gritty on the Blox. This is great for the people who actually drive their car in rain & snow or store their race car outside in crappy weather.



First you'll need to double-check your bearing size. My original Skunk2 lever from 4-5 yrs back used a 8x22x7mm bearing (608-ZZ) and current Blox and Skunk2 use a 10x22x6mm bearing (6900-ZZ). I replaced both with a 608-2RS rubber-shielded bearing since I had bought 10, but a 6900-2RS would replace the newer bearing better. The 608-2RS makes the Blox 2mm wider, but the shims would need modding anyways. I've actually convinced myself to get the 6900-2RS while writing this (FastEddy brand), which are just a few bucks on ebay. You can get rubber- or teflon-sealed bearings, but teflon is overkill for this app IMO.



The original skunk2 lever had spacers that simply slid onto the bolt (and fell off easily when lining it all up), the new levers have stepped shims that press-fit inside the larger ID of the new bearings. If you're not putting in the 6900-2RS bearings, you can shave the thin section off the spacers, stack two pairs of 8mm washers, or make your own if you have a lathe. You just don't want the metal on the linkage to rub the shift lever or shield of the bearings.




The old Skunk2 lever's bearings were easy to remove - stick a screwdriver into the hole and tap out the far bearing. The new Blox shift lever was a PAIN because the space between the bearings is a few MM tighter (~8mm) than the bearing ID (10mm). A small bearing puller might work, but I don't have anything for a bearing this small. First I drilled the ID out slowly with a letter "W" drill bit, which is just under 10mm. Then I took a 1/8" carbide Dremel bit and made two notches behind both bearings to get a screwdriver on the backside of each bearing.

One thing you'll want to do us use a step drillbit or dremel grinding bit to remove a hair of material around the through-hole, about 5/8" in diameter. Otherwise the material may rub on the side of the inner bearing race. I recently bought a counterbore set with interchangable pilots, so this was easy. This picture was taken before I removed material & shows the jagged edge that will catch in the inner race.



I like the double-bend steel levers because they don't break like the aluminum junk and they're not shorter than stock. I like the angle better than OEM, but I actually alter the linkage to move to closer. I shorten it by about 1/4" and add a ~15 degree angle, but that may put it too close to the leg for some people. Regardless, this lever should now stand the test of time. My modded Skunk2 has been in the car for years w/o any issues.



Note: the B&M shifter & it's knockoffs use either a bushing or a roller bearing, so you can't perform the same mod. They can be packed with axle grease to resist rust better than a shielded bearing, but I prefer the rock-solid feel & absolute protection a sealed bearing affords.
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Last edited by HiProfile; 05-02-2015 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 04-23-2015, 04:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
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had a cheap shifter with bearings. it sucked. fodo gave me an oem one in trade with the oem bushings. butter.
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Old 04-23-2015, 05:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I had a shifter with the bearings and it kinda sucks.
Now i got a B&M shifter and it uses the oem clyinder with orings.
Shifting is so much smoother and there is no free play.

But great Diy.
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Both of you two live where it doesn't snow. If you live in WI or anywhere up north, that style really isn't an option. I actually didn't realize the OEM shift lever HAD a seperate inner bushing until last year! That's because I haven't seen a single lever around here that wasn't rusted solid from winter road salt. I was able to get a spare integra lever bushing moving, but only when I clamped it into a vice as tight as possible and leaned on it like I was trying to push over a tree.

I think the problem with this type of lever is most people CRANK the nut/bolt too tight, which ruins the bearings. If you crank it too tight, you're distorting the bearing & squeezing the balls into the inner & outer races. In other words greatly exceeding the thrust capacity of the bearings. It just have to be slightly snug, enough to remove any gaps.

The only bearing that would work with excessive clamping loads would be a roller thrust bearing, similar to the design of wheel bearing:

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Old 04-25-2015, 06:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Yea true. It doesnt snow alot here.
And whenni frist install my ebay shifter i over tigthen it. But then i remember ilmy skateboard days and put some washers in there.
It was good for a while but over time the bearing went out and it just got a lot of freeplay doing shifting.
I was going to change the bearings and everything but saw it better to just get the b&m since i wanted one for a while.


Also if you live in the snowy areas. Those bearings will rust up to over time.
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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One thing I'd like to add - make sure you get some decent bearings. I've never had issues with ebay bearings til now. All 10 "sealed" bearings I got had a 0.15mm gap between the seal & inner race. Obviously these will allow water & salt into them. I'm hoping it was just this particular ebay seller.
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Old 04-28-2015, 02:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Buy real NTN bearings?

Same design as input shaft bearings....
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Old 04-28-2015, 07:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I might have to. The 3 other sellers I've contacted can't even guarantee a full seal. The guy I bought from is saying they're "low contact" seals to reduce friction. If they made crank seals there'd be oil streaks all over the roads.
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Old 05-02-2015, 12:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I got a shipment of FastEddy bearings lightning-fast, so I tossed a set in & updated the 1st post. Weather is perfect today I'm off to change the shifter while the oil drains.

Edit: shifter install is done and it feels like a gated shifter now. The trans itself has a slight bit of slop, enough for <1/8" of knob movement. Before I had >1" movement to either side, all caused by a very loose bushing inside the OEM shift lever.
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Last edited by HiProfile; 05-02-2015 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 10-29-2016, 07:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I was googling about looking for the bearing sizes in the Skunk2 shifter (mine are toast and shifting has gotten sloppy again) and I just found this thread. Nice job!
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