How to adjust the six speed shifter in your C5

Shifting my recently acquired 2003 coupe just did not “feel right”. There was a vagueness to the shifts. Though it did actually not grind the gears, there was also a feel of resistance and having to “hunt” for the right slot for each gear position. Performing the adjustment described below, solved the problem and gave a positive feel to the shifts.

A search of “” (great website by the way) revealed the method to adjust the shifter on a C5. Some more searching provided a step by step of how to get to the adjustment bolts from “”. The following, then, is a composite of the instructions from the two websites, plus my own narrative and additional pictures to complete the specific instructions on performing this adjustment:

Tools Required

  1. Start by using a small screwdriver to pry the appliqué from the shift knob.



  1. Next, use vise grips to lock onto the metal "T" retainer.

3. Use the block of wood in conjunction with the large screwdriver to easily pry the retainer up and out. Unscrew and remove the shift knob.




  1. Open the console and carefully remove the two plastic covers with a small screwdriver. Remove the two 10mm nuts.

  1. Gently pry out the center module housing the traction control button. (As an optional recommended step, disconnect the negative battery cable before proceeding.) Disconnect the connectors to the air bag indicator light, traction control button and accessory power receptacle and remove module. Then remove the two 10mm nuts that retain the rear and front consoles to the floor tunnel.

  1. Next carefully remove the cover of the inside air temp sensor beside the ignition switch. Remove the Torx screw.

  1. Locate and remove the two other Torx screws located beside the cig lighter and behind the ashtray.

  1. Slide the rear portion of the console back and tilt up to locate and disconnect the fuel door switch connector.




  1. Remove the console and set aside.

  1. Carefully remove the front/dash portion of the console -- don’t forget to reach behind and disconnect the cig lighter connector. This reveals the closeout boot covering the shifter. Remove the four 10mm nuts that secure the boot and lift off the boot.

  1.  Put the shifter in neutral. Use the T 40 Torx bit, ratchet and extension to loosen the two mounting bolts and the shifter rod clamp bolt.

  1. With all three bolts loosened, slide the positioning pin at the front of the shifter down into the hole at the front of the rod housing. This may take some jiggling of the mechanism and use of the 3/8” dowel to push down on the pin – don’t force it as it will slide into place easily when you find the correct position. Do make certain that the pin is fully seated down to the small cutout you’ll see at the front of the shifter base. (If you don’t fully seat it the first time, use the vise grips to pull the pin back up and start again.)

  1. Once pin is fully seated, torque all three Torx bolts to 22 ft. lbs. IMPORTANT: Torque the two mounting bolts first and then the clamp bolt. Withdraw the pin.

At this point you may want to temporarily re-install the shifter knob only and road test. If you do suggest you also reconnect the traction control switch to avoid setting any codes. I simply rested the module on the center tunnel with appropriate padding.

Once satisfied with the adjustment, reassemble in reverse order of the above instructions. Some additional notes on reassembly: Do not over tighten any of the fasteners --- you don’t want to crack any plastic components; use the dowel and plastic mallet to tap the metal “T” retainer back into the shifter knob.