I appreciate the moral support. I'm pretty discouraged at this point. I changed the other bushing by the shift knob about a year ago and that one was difficult even when I had it right in front of me after dissassembling the center console and pulling it up to get easy access. Shifted great afterward, nice and tight!
Now, with this other bushing, it looks like if I can't get out the gear selector assembly (see pic, item #27) to work in front of me, the limited access precludes me from getting this bushing in while it is still in place. I really wonder how the dealer mechanics do it... MUST be a special tool. Anyone know, for posterity?
Anyway if any of you guys can take one last look at item #27 and confirm that it cannot be removed from the outside, I will officially wave the white flag.....and have the dealer do the work. Nothing against the dealers but I like to do things myself. Regardless, thanks for the tips.