Our 98 Saturn SL automatic will not go into gear. It seems that the button on the side of gear shift handle does not go all the way in. It will eventually work after much manhandling/banging it. I don't know if it makes a difference because the car has warmed up or why it suddenly works.
It also appears to be worse now than ever. Not sure if this is due to cold Winter weather or not. A friend said he thought it sounded like a linkage problem, not a transmission problem. It's very stiff and feels as though it's locked.
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Your shifter cables snapped (more specifically the connectors at the end of the cables, they are made out of nylon). Not good news 1) the cables are not made anymore you will have to find a place that might have some still in stock or go to a junk yard; 2) it requires dropping the ******; if your not able to do this yourself, you are looking at about $600 if you can even find the cables. I know what I'm talking about because mine snapped about 4 years ago and luckily some were still able to be found and I have a 98 Saturn SL. Good Luck!!! - Stu
Does your check engine light come on when this happens? It's probably when your tranny goes into limp home mode. You should have 1st gear ( only if you shift it there manually) 3rd and reverse. You are probably experiencing the 3rd gear thing and are probably burning up all of the clutches when you accelerate and should probably take it into the shop before something worse happens. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
Ms Derry ,I would check the pair of shift cables and shifter itself before suspecting internal transmission problems.The cables attach to the shifter then runs to the linkage on the transmission.One cable is responsible for side to side movement as the other is for moving front to back(like 1st to second) Center console removal is fairly simple which requires mounting screw(4) removal on the front sides and in the rear cup holder.This gives you an opportunity to view the shifter and cable operation from above while this movement should also be appreciated at the transmission linkage meaning someone shifts the vehicle as another inspects proper movement at the transmission.If all this is actuating properly,you may need to tear down and inspect transmission but hopefully it can be rectified with external repairs mentioned...good luck