2003 Pontiac Montana van won't shift into reverse

Tiny
DROPKICK66
  • MEMBER
  • 2003 PONTIAC MONTANA
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 126,000 MILES
First of all, I sent this question through yesterday but I'm not sure it went through because I had made a contribution from PayPal that didn't show up on that account. Well, I'll try again.

I've been having trouble trying to shift from park into reverse when starting the engine. GOing into Drive or neutral is fine, but I can't back up. WHen I try this, it's almost like the emergency brake is on (even when I didn't set it). The van lurches back a few inches and then stops. The engine keeps running but I can't back up. If I shift into drive and then go forward a few inches, usually I could then shift into reverse and it would work, but even yesterday I was having trouble with this.

I've already had it to the mechanic once but they couldn't find anything wrong, but I'm not sure they understood the problem since if I shift into drive (and there's room to actually go forward), it'll work fine. But this doesn't happen all the time, and it's not limited to the engine being cold or warm. It can happen any time, but doesn't happen every time.

After about 10 minutes, I actually forced the van to go back far enough that I could roll into drive, and then promptly took it back to the mechanic, where it is now.

Any suggestions?
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Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 4:20 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
Check the shift linkage. Have someone move shifter back and forth from park to drive and watch shift lever on trans. You may have a loose cable bracket or a cable out of adjustment, or the shift linkage in the console.
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Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 10:17 AM
Tiny
DROPKICK66
  • MEMBER
Thank you for an interesting reply, because other people I know mentioned checking the shift linkage as well. I can't tell you if that was the solution, because basically what happened was that my dealer (where I took the van back to) said the transmission has to be reibuilt for about $3,000. Considering they told me 2 weeks ago that they could find nothing wrong when I came in with the same problem, what I decided to do was have the van towed to a place that actually specializes in transmissions (AAMCO). I'll see what they have to say, and I'll make sure to mention your note as well. I appreciate your prompt reply to my earlier message! --- Jim
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Thursday, April 9th, 2009 AT 12:46 PM
Tiny
MMPRINCE4000
  • EXPERT
Honestly, I prefer local owned family trans shops that have been in business for years as opposed to a chain. We have one here where I live, absolutely honest and top notch work.

If the linkage is the problem (although it could very well be an internal trans problem), I would hate to see you spend a load of money on what COULD be a simple fix.

I think AAMCO is offering a free diagnosis, so have them check it but get a second opinion, If both shops give you the same diagnosis, then I would go with best warranty and lowest price.
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Friday, April 10th, 2009 AT 10:20 AM

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