How to eliminate the rough engagement into 1st, and chatter in 1st-3rd-5th:

Est. Time: 1hr

Tools Required:

Philips #4 Screwdriver
10mm Socket and 6" extension
Drill
1/4" bit
Sandpaper (500 grit unless you have rust)
Clearcoat spray paint for metals

How To:

Remove 2 #4 Philips screws in center console convenience pocket, unclip front retainer fasteners.

Unscrew shift knob, or if you have an aftermarket knob, you may have Allen key screws 2.5mm, 3mm or 4mm. Remove knob.

Lift up on center console/shifter boot assembly and remove.

Remove (4x) 10mm bolts and rubber Pittman arm cover.

Remove (4x) 10mm bolts and steel transmission support frame (looks like a modified rectangle w/ screw ears).

Drill w/ 1/4" bit the tack welds which hold the boot retainer ears. With the weld gone, they should fall off. This rubber piece does little other than catch dirt. The ears would prevent you from turning the plate around, and installing it backwards, as we are doing.

Sand the plate until all corrosion is gone.

Clearcoat and allow to dry.

Trim rubber placeholders (little nubs/nipples-black rubber gasket under support plate) on trans plate silencer bushing only on the left and right. Forward and aft placeholders can be reused. This will prevent the rubber silencer gasket/bushing from distorting.

With plate rotated 180 degrees, reinstall w/10mm bolts. You may discard the rubber boot and mounting ears/bolts.

Reinstall center console and shift boot/ knob.

Now you can shift into 1st without the fork joint smashing the support plate. For those with short shifters, I am sure this is a useful mod. I did this out of necessity, my fork was loudly impacting the plate after installing a bushing kit in the upper and lower shifter linkages.

Pics:
Shifter Plate after removal of boot retainer bolt ears:



The plate out of the car... should be easy to see what to do to your own when compared side by side. Take yours out and peep the difference. This installs very easily, just upside down and backwards, and really quiets down 1st gear, especially when engine braking on steep inclines.