Re: removing the shift lever
When I did my clutch, I ran into the same problem. I ended up just removing the whole shifter from the trans. Once you take the boot off, you should see three hex nuts holding the shifter to the trans. take them out, and the shifter should come right out. be careful though when removing the trans this way. fluid will get all over the place if you turn it on its side. I know this from personal experience.
1999 2wd 2.5 4 banger reg cab
Just a few mods. Pioneer head unit, upgraded to 15 inch explorer wheels, diamond plate tool box.