When I first bought my Redline the shift knob kept coming off in my hand. Actually it flew off and would end up on the floor somewhere.
When I complained about this, they fixed the problem, and they told me that they drilled a hole through the shifter shaft up to the knob end and inserted a long bolt. They said this was the procedure to resolve this issue.
If you are having a problem removing the knob, its probably because they repaired this issue before the dealer delivered the car. Judging by their remarks to me it was not an easy repair and I'm assuming to change the shift knob would be a very difficult task.
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I believe this is almost the same engine and transmission as my 2002 Saturn LW200. We had problems with lurching, jerky shifting and occasional stalling. I was worried that the transmission was going out. Got a transmission service for $150 which they need after 125k miles anyway. Turned out to be the throttle position sensor (TPS). I was able to fix it by cleaning the TPS with WD-40 but your engine has drive-by-wire if I'm not mistaken which makes it more complicated. What this means is that your gas pedal is not directly connected to the throttle body with a cable. it works something similar to a volume knob and tells the computer how much to open the throttle body butterfly. A drive-by-wire throttle system is best left to someone with skills in that area. A shop should be able to read the codes and determine if your drive-by-wire system is working well. That will be much less expensive that a transmission rebuild.
This is normal down shift, if it is slight. If it is harsh then it could be a software problem or a seal problem. ie.. sticking solenoid piston. You can get some transmission additive that helps with the seals. But again if it is slight and not throwing you threw the windshield I wouldn't worry about it.
The problem is most likely on the transmission range selector switch, this is on th top of the transmission and has a multi-wire connector going to it, a shaft goes through it and the trans shift cable is connected there.
I had the same problem with my 2004 VUE 2wd. There were also some electrical issues like the turn signals randomly not working. I replaced the battery and now the tranny shifts smoothly and the acceleration is much improved. Also, no more electrical problems.