I am having great difficulty replacing the top vertical shift rod linkage bushing at the firewall. I was finally able to get the bushing in the hole by removing the carburetor and making a wooden jig to hold the bushing in place in the metal firewall bracket, and then using a large C-clamp to force the bushing in the hole from the rear. But now when I try to install the shift linkage ball into the bushing socket with a C-clamp, it forces the bushing out of the metal firewall bracket before it engages into the bushing.

So my questions are:

1) Do you normally insert the bushing into the firewall bracket from the front towards the back, or from the back towards the front?
2) Should I insert the shift linkage ball into the bushing before inserting that assembly into firewall bracket?
3) Am I missing something here, and is there an easier way, such as possibly removing some other section of the shift linkage to make the alignment of the this assembly into the firewall bracket easier?

Thanks for any help that you can give me because I have been working on this every weekend for the past month, and I am not making any progress. And once I get this fixed I will have to address my next problem, which is that the clutch plate is "welded" by rust to the flywheel. I have had this problem before when I don't use the car for months, and it is a pain to break it free.