Putting the rod back in, it's best to start with two people. One in the front trunk area with the simple wooden tool i sent you the email of, and one person in the passenger compartment. Take a foot or so of electrical wire and bend it in a loop. The person in the passenger compartment uses it to support the rod as soon as they can see it, and help guide it into the hole in the bracket. Be sure the shift rod is well cleaned, with rust removed, then a fresh light coat of grease.
Yesterday I marked out the hole in the boot and drilled the access hole. I found out that someone patched the area with fibreglass and random bits of sheet metal. However got that sorted. Removed the cover plate and removed the rod without drama. The rod hanger however was broken, so I removed the hanger and rewelded it and put it through the tunnel... Painful but ready to weld it back up. I bought the empi coupling kit from the UK and I compared it with the original and found that the V cutout for the rod end is a few millimetres too small and won't fit...absolute rubbish then fitted the original coupling with the new bushes and seems ok. I was looking on the net and found a brass shift rod bushing that replaces that flimsy plastic one and I'm considering buying the brass one before I weld up the hanger. Don't really feel like changing the plastic one anytime soon. Apparently for about $40 you get the kit which has the brass bush, retaining clip and the offer a lifetime guarantee.
I'll let everyone know how this pans out.
Happy holidays to everyone