Why is my shifter so hard to put into gear?

Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • 1999 SATURN SL2
  • 260,000 MILES

My transmission runs fine. No slippage or hesitation BUT actually putting it into gear with the shifter has become increasingly difficult. I almost feel like I'm going to break it sometimes trying to put it into first and second gear. Theres also a lot of play in the shifter. For example, when its in first gear it can wiggle as far as third gear. It doesnt go into third gear but I hope you understand what I mean. Please help.

Do you
have the same problem?
Yes
No
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 AT 9:19 PM

65 Replies

Tiny
RASMATAZ
  • MEMBER

Could be the pilot bearing or synchronizer/s

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 AT 9:26 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

I didn't even bother to think about the synchronizers. Completely forgot about those. Does that have to do with the play in the shifter as well?

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 AT 9:29 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

Just to add to this one that car doesnt have a pilot bearing. As far as the syncros that wont make excesive play in the shifter.I would fix the excessive play first and see how it shifts then. Play the console out and look at the shifter assembly it could be broken or just worn out. Before you do that make sure the cables are properly attached to this transmission.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Friday, June 29th, 2012 AT 5:13 AM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

Ok, so before I could respond to the replies. My car broke down. Not really broke down but the car won't shift into any gear now. The shifter kinda just droops around everywhere even without touching. For example, the shifter on a normal car in neutral stands straight up and mine doesn't. It either falls backwards or forwards. I can't "feel" any gears to even try to put the shifter into a gear. I had to get the car towed. PLEASE HELP. Thanks.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Saturday, June 30th, 2012 AT 7:55 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

Sounds like the cable end broke where it attaches to the inside shifter really common issue on those cars they sell a repair kit to fix the cable end.I wouldnt use the dorman repair end they never stay on. The plastic one piece is the best repair. They sell them on ebay. First make sure one of the cables didnt come loose from where it attaches to the transmission?If it didnt the look and see if it came at the inside shifter?Let me know what you find.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
+1
Saturday, June 30th, 2012 AT 11:08 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

The shift linkage that comes from the transmission slightly behind the back-up light switch looks still intact. Although I'm a mechanic, I just became one by graduating school so I'm still fairly new at this and don't know how to fix certain things yet so I brought it to another mechanic and hes gonna take a look at it. I'll keep you updated. Thanks for your help.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, July 1st, 2012 AT 9:25 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

Why didnt you pull the console like I told you to see if the cable end broke?If that cable end broke they sell a repair kit for it instead of replacing the cables. These cars are my speciality iam a factory trained saturn tech Have been for many years. The S model saturns are super easy to work on and very prediable when they brake.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, July 1st, 2012 AT 9:41 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

If its a broken cable end its a 20 min fix I have even just loosened the console to fix it. The repair kit on ebay even comes with complete instructions and how to repair it. Also on the ebay listing it tells you how to temp fix untill the part comes.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Sunday, July 1st, 2012 AT 10:16 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

Ihad already brought the car to him before I saw your reply. And hes willing to fix it for free since I bought the car from him. Do you whats the name of the part/parts we need so we can order it?

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Monday, July 2nd, 2012 AT 3:11 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

Heres the the link to repair the cable end that attaches to the inside shifter if thats what happened.Let me know how you make out when its all done.

http://item.mobileweb.ebay.com/viewitem?itemId=180730225715&index=0&nav=SEARCH&nid=36173252489

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
-1
Monday, July 2nd, 2012 AT 4:06 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

So I havnet had a chance to take a look at the car yet but the guy I brought it to said I need a passenger side shift cable. I'm not exactly sure what that is. Is that somewhere along the lines as to what you were telling me?

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 3:40 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

You better look at those cable ends the one closest to the drivers seat is the one that always breaks.I have never seen the one closest to the passenger seat break. The repair I gave you the link for is for the cable end closest to the drivers seat. Also the cables come as a pair you cant just replace one.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:17 AM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

So where would I get this kit at and does it include the cable ends? He told me I need to get it at the dealer and he can get it for $123 but I'm not sure if thats for the kit or just that one cable.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 2:06 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

I already told you have to get the cables as a pair from the dealer or aftermarket.I used to work for the dealer for many years and the cables only come as a pair. Also is the cable end closest to the drivers seat inside the car broken where the cable attaches to the base of the shifter?Have you looked yet?Iam getting second hand info here and I need you to get me this info.I also I already gave you the link to the repair on ebay. The ebay listing also tells you how to temp fix it till thr part arrives. This is the fix that I used and it works great I used the dorman repair what a mistake that was it poped back off after a short time.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:00 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

Its hard for me to answer all your questions because I'm not physically at my car. I dont have a ride anywhere right now so I'm relying strictly on the guy I brought it to to give me answers. He ssaid he order the cable that was broken. He said it has 2 connection ends and 2 hold downs. I asked him what the drivers side looked like so I'm waiting for a response. When I physically have my car I can give you more details.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:11 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

Now you know how I feel when you said its hard to answer my questions without being physicially at the car. Also I dont know how he got just one cable if you saw the cables out of the car you would see why they come as a pair.I also dont see how he could change just one dont see how its possible. You said you wernt paying for this repair?

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:19 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

No Im not paying. But I am installing it once I can get a ride over there. And ill try the temporary fix as well that way I dont need to get it towed again. He paid $123 and that was with a discount. Do you think that price is the kit? Maybe hes just mistaken.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:41 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
  • 31,194 POSTS

The cables from the dealer should be way more the repair kit if you looked at it is under 20. If your replacing the cables its easier having someone help you guide the cables thru the firewall.I would keep the cables and fix the cable end if possible.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 4:53 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

So getting it from the dealer would give me everything I need to fix the job right? But when I get the parts, based on what you told me to do, I'll try to fix it the way you told me to and if it works, I'll just save the cables like you said just in case down the road it happens again.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 5:02 PM
Tiny
EDWEEZY21
  • MEMBER

Just to add to I asked the guy how did he just order one cable since you said it always comes at a pair and he said hes not sure if its coming as a set because Balise didnt specify.

Was this
answer
helpful?
Yes
No
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 AT 5:03 PM

Please login or register to post a reply.

Recommended Guides