1999 Saturn Shifter

Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 SATURN SL1
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • MANUAL
  • 125,000 MILES
I have 1999 Saturn SL1 with a 5 speed manual. A year ago I was downshifting from 4 to 3 or 3 to 2 and it bucked and shuddered and I haven't been able to get it to shift since. This is not the famous bushing problem. I get under the car and look at the cables and the outside of the bottom of the two cables is frayed and loose. The cable is still attached to the interior, but is ineffectual. Will replacing the cable fix this issue and is that something I can do myself without specialized tools?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 6:51 PM

18 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So what happens when you shift the car?Does the arm's on the transmission shift tower not move?I would unhook the cable from the transmission that look's bad and see if the shifter move's and have someone watch what that cable does. There is no special tool's needed to replace the cable's.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 7:04 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
The shifter moves front and back (like from 3rd to 4th) but will not move side to side (like from 1st to 5th).
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 7:19 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So are the cable's moving and arms on the shifter tower of the transmission moving to go into gear?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 7:43 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
I don't think it is actually going into (or out of gear). I think that the cable is moving without really doing anything. I think that the cable is just bending.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 7:57 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Those cable's are pretty stiff to be bending. Did the cable end come uncrimped?If the cable's are not moving the arm's on the shifter housing on the transmission but you can move them with your hand's without the cable's on them then I would be looking at the shifter linkage.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:16 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Ok, let's say that I wanted to replace the shifter cables. What is involved? Once I got them out, what is involved in getting the new ones in correctly. I am assuming that the new ones down just "plug in" to the transmission, everything has to be right or else nothing will work. Is that correct?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:33 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
To replace the cable's you remove the center console and I recommend using a razor blade to split the carpet/sound deadner to help get the old cables out thru the firewall and the new one's back in. Then it's just a matter of unhooking the cable's and routing the new one's back in. It's going to be a little tougher doing it without a lift though.I have heard bad thing's about the aftermarket cable's so it's up to you if you want to go aftermarket or factory cable's. Yes everything has to correct with the new one's or it isn't going to shift correctly.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
So how do I make sure that everything is correct? Also, I was able to twist the end of the cable that is attached to the transmission with my fingers (at least it felt like it). How is that attached?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:44 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The cable housing is attached to the transmission with a big H shaped clip that pulls straight up to remove it. The cable end on the transmission has a similar clip that holds it on. To make sure you have the cable's correctly when installing them to the transmission you want the black cable end in the bottom position and the white cable end in the top position. On the inside of the car the black caped end goes towards the drivers seat. While installing the cable's make sure those end's will line up properly so you won't have any problem's. Pretty much that's it.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:53 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Those cables run about $250, right?
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 9:55 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
The information I have is Shift Cable part number 21120125 is $133.41. That's suggested list price doesn't mean that's what there going to charge you. You need to call the dealer for the right price.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 10:16 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
Thanks for all your help
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 10:17 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Your welcome that's what were here for.
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Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 AT 10:18 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
I'm back. Just got around to trying to fix this. I have attached a picture of the problem. I do not know how to detach the cable. Can you guide me?
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Thursday, January 20th, 2011 AT 10:13 PM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
I got the cables detached from the transmission, and the white one detached from the shifter. I can not get the black one detached from the shifter. Is there some trick? Or a tool?
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Thursday, January 20th, 2011 AT 11:15 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
No trick or tool they both come out the same way there is a big H shaped clip holding the cable to the transmission housing then a smaller clip holding the cable end on the shifter arm.
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Friday, January 21st, 2011 AT 3:50 AM
Tiny
SCOTTPJOHNSON
  • MEMBER
I got it out. Thanks. Now I just have to get the replacement and put it in.
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Friday, January 21st, 2011 AT 11:05 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
That's good let me know how it goes.
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Friday, January 21st, 2011 AT 11:07 PM

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