These bushings wear out somewhat frequently. Replacement is not hard, and only requires a few tools. Symptoms are simply a very sloppy shift lever.

“Top” bushing set — #17-481B-M508 for 79-95
This is the infamous “bottom” set, that contains the bushing Mazda (according to them) swears does not exist. #17-481A-M501 for 84-95
These are the parts from the bushing kits that you will use. We don’t use the shims. (you can if you want)
We always replace the inner boot (shown later) which comes with the gasket on it.
Start by removing the shift knob and chrome threaded lock below it.
The panel is removed by just pulling up on the backside as shown.
This is a bottom view of the shifter panel. It shows the plastic pins that are part of the upper panel. these pins go through the flexible boot, and stick through holes in the bottom part. When they are broken, there is nothing to hold the boot to the outer panel all the way around. We showed this so you’ll know why we recommend buying a new panel WITH boot when the boot won’t stay in place.
After the panel is pulled off, pull off the two round sealing boots by pulling them up over the shift lever.
This is about what you will be looking at.
This is a “typical” looking job – the inner boot is badly ripped (which is why we always replace them), and there are pieces of one of the springs coming out. (It also had the bottom bushing completely gone – which is almost normal)
The car we used for this shoot has had the bottom part of the middle boot cut away a lot – this is OK, but we don’t cut them. See the following pics for an explanation.
This is what a new “middle” boot “kit” looks like –#64-490B-FB01 for 86-92. If the centers of the two round boots on your car do not fit the lever shaft tight, you need to get this kit.
If you compare the center of the rectangular bottom boot, you can see how much the one in the customers’ car has been cut away. We rarely have to replace the bottom part, but you have to buy the 3-piece “kit” to get the upper two round ones. (not our fault – talk to Mazda)
If you are lucky enough to have an uncut boot, just push the rubber down around the tower, as shown in the picture, so you can get to the three bolts.
Remove the 3 bolts (10mm socket) that hold the round plate (inner boot 17-480A-M513) to the shift tower.
Pull the shift lever out of the shift tower.
Fish out whatever is left of the shims and bushings — we have found remnants of many bushings down there!
After cleaning the shifter hole, this is a good time to put the oil in the shift tower. We use 90W trans/diff oil. Fill to around middle of shift rod.
Just an illustration of where you are heading – spring, white bushing, ball of shifter, blue bushing, then spring.
Working from the top, snap a spring onto the blue bushing, then slip it over the lever (tapered side down). We then lube the lever shaft so the new inner boot can be slid down easier.
Snap a spring onto the white bushing, then slip the white bushing into the tower by starting the front of it under the locator pin first.
Put the lever back into the hole, being SURE the grooves in both bushings are lined up with the locator pin.
Then bolt the inner boot back down with the 3 bolts removed earlier.
The middle boots slip down over the lever, and are pulled onto/around the lower boot. They are two sizes, so be sure to put the slightly smaller one on first.
Put the top panel, knob lock nut, and knob back on, and you are done.
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