The fill tube is on the right side, the shift linkage is all on the left side. There is no connection between them. I don't see how messing with the fill tube could do what you're describing. Follow the linkage down from the column, check the pivot points and lube them. Some of the plastic/nylon bushings are probably trashed, too.
'81 Scrambler w/ FI 360 AMC, 33x12.50 BFG M/T's, 5" of lift, ARB'd Dana 44's F & R, Dana 300 clocked & twin sticked w/4:1, Warn XD9000i, etc...
2002 Grand Cherokee Limited, 2008 Overland Grand Cherokee, a 1976 CJ-7 in pieces and 3 more off-brand 4x4s...............