Toyota Tacoma manual transmission pop out of gear? Here's the simple fix!

Step 2: Removing the shifter lever retainer cap.

Picture of removing the shifter lever retainer cap.
Then next step is to remove the shift lever retainer cap. The cap is spring loaded and the spring presses it into interlocking pins. Use a shop rag and press down and twist the cap counter-clockwise. Once twisted far enough, the cap will clear the pins and pop up as shown below.

The entire shift lever assembly will come out in one piece.On the very end is the shift lever cap made of nylon. This too will be replaced. Above that is the shifter ball. Inspect it for burrs and rough edges. If there are any, gently file or sand them down smooth. Otherwise, you'll damage the new seat.
tom.berry.3910 months ago

I followed this process with my 98 Tacoma pushing 162,000 miles. It took a few choice words, along with my so having the proper tools to remove the retainer cap. Shifting is very smooth and no longer pops out of third or fifth gears. This is definitely a two person job. Don't remember when I was so happy to spend $31.33. Thanks for the great info.

F1shermark13 years ago
Removing the retainer cap is best accompjished using a short 1/2" x 18" bar clamp, a notched piece of wood about 12" long, a fine tipped chisel and hammer. Unfortunately I did not take pics of the clamp rig I had in place BUT place the clamp on the upper left of the shifter.Tthe screw end is upwards. The bottom has just enough space to finagle into the area between the shifter and body. Place the notched piece of wood on the retainer cap and screw down enough so that the tabs are clear of their retainer of the TABS. Look in there with your light and you will see what I'm talking about. With the hammer and chisel GENTLY TAP the bottom right towards the passenger / front of the vehicle. Tap gently is does not take much and you will see the retainer cap moving in a counter clockwise fashion. From there you are home free.
artybear4 years ago
Totally awesome. I did this on my 1993 Toyota Pickup, and it worked great. It's such a relief that it doesn't require an expensive transmission overhaul.
gknakamura4 years ago
Any tips on removing the retainer cap? The top of the cap sits flush with the surrounding area so I can't get any grip. It also does not push down easily. Looking forward to seeing if this repair solves my issue.
mowerracer (author)  gknakamura4 years ago
You kind of have to push down AND turn it at the same time. There's a sort of L-shaped slot that is on the sides of the cap. Its not super easy to do. You need to either wear gloves or use a rag because the cap has some sharp edges. Hope this helps!
thartranft4 years ago
This "instructable" empowered me to take my truck into my own hands. I successfully completed the operation and the truck (a 1994 Toyota SR5 4WD V6) runs like new. I think I may tackle my brakes next, but maybe not.
dougclark4 years ago
were could i get the spring thats below the retainer cap
mowerracer (author)  dougclark4 years ago
I'm going to imagine you'd probably have to get that at the dealer. Either that or check Napa auto parts.
truckindave4 years ago
If you cannot push down the cap to twist and remove as instructed, the seat is probably so badly disintegrated that it is preventing the motion. In this case, you have to remove the top assembly (on my '99 4x4--4 bolts, using a 12mm socket). Take it off and thoroughly clean around the spring with aerosol parts cleaner. It will take some persistence, but once you've cleaned out the old seat material, you should be able to push down and twist off the cap and continue with the rest of the steps.
ttac965 years ago
Many thanks...i know i saved some money for sure! I have a 96 tacoma and this took care of my problem. The day before the gears were popping out 1st 3rd and 5th.VERY IRRITATING! So, once again, thank you. My truck's gears are better than when i first bought it! Yey! I'm a happy camper!