Join Date: May 2016
Location: Green Bay WI
Year/Make/Model: 2003 Vulcan VN1600 Classic
Color: Pearl Ivory
If the shift lever shaft is sloppy in the engine case, at best, you "might" be able to cut strips of shim stock to fit around the shaft and push it into the engine case (back side of the outer cover). The outer case that you see the shaft pass through is just a clearance hole and does nothing to support the lever shaft. The only way to get the lever shaft out and repaired, is to take the engine out of the frame, strip the engine down to the cases and access the clip that retains the lever shaft inside the engine case. This is one of the design faults of the VN1600 engine, the shift lever shaft cannot be repaired/replaced with the engine intact in the frame.
A possible rigged up fix; get a split bushing made to a sliding fit on the lever shaft, and the bushing OD lightly press fits into the outer engine cover. Then you may be able to push each bushing half into the outer engine cover to give the lever shaft more support. If the split bushing works you'd have to use Permatex or Loctite to bond the bushing into the outer cover.
The shift lever shaft on my VN1600 is sloppier than I think is right, and my 1600 has 31,500 miles on it. This winter when I pull the engine out and apart to fix the failed 2nd gear shift fork. But the shift lever shaft is another item I will fix when the engine is out.
When life throws you a curve, lean into it!