Shifter loose-Not the infamous bushing maybe broken cable
2001 Saturn SC1/5 speed manual - 125,000 mi: I purchased this car 1 week ago and the shifter is now loose and the trans is stuck in first. I removed the center console in hopes that the bushing was crumbling like so many others but it is still intact. I then inspected where the cable enters the transmission. It appears that the housing of the cable is the only thing moving when the gear-shift is moved. (pictures here: http://picasaweb.google.com/dhdouglass/2001SaturnSC1#5308327443061135586) The cable on the inside of the housing is still firmly attached inside the transmission. By all indications the cable must be broken at some point within the cable housing. I can be termed as a "novice" gearhead. Is the replacement of a shifter cable something that can be done relatively easy?
Re: Shifter loose-Not the infamous bushing maybe broken...
I have been suffering from the infamous deteriorated bushing for about 18 months now. Until now, have fixed it with tape. But I want to sell it now and need something more permanent. Anyway, I went to a junkyard today and managed to pull off the entire shift cable in about 1 hour. I'm a novice as well. A few clips at the transmission, pulling the bushing off at the gear shift. Hardest part was getting it through the firewall without totally destroying the rubber. If you have questions, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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take the console out and look under the shifter, if the shifter cables are disconnected from the shifter go to a parts store or ebay and get yourself a Saturn shifter bushing repair kit. happens all the time to S Saturns and maybe the Ls look on youtube for instructions to remove console and put on the bushing kit.
if the shifter cables are still connected you may have to be looking around for a lower mileage used transmission. 96-98 saturn will fit so long as the donor car has the same head, being DOHC or SOHC. so if you have an SL1 you can use a transmission out of another SL1, or an SC1, or an SW1. do not mix a 2 with a 1, bad mojo.
pull the console out and take a good look at the bushings which connect the shifter to the cables. before you buy a shift cable kit take a look at a saturn shifter bushing repair kit at a parts store or on ebay, this is a very common problem on saturn S's 91-02 and often can be fixed with the 20 dollar repair kit. look on youtube for instructions on pulling the console, there are only 4 screws, and the boots to deal with.
The problem is the bushing that attaches the cable to the shifter has failed. This is a plastic bushing and can be reattached if the tabs are not broken. You need to remove the console to access the cable end, the bushing goes through the plastic cable end and snaps on the ball attached to the shifter. There is a stainless replacement part available on line for $29.00 check satarnshifterbushing.blogspot.com
It sounds to me like the linkage between the gear shift handle and the transmission case. You'll have to get under the car to see if that's the case so take an adjustable spanner under there with you. You may also need to find a a bolt or nut to put it back together. If that's the problem, put some "thread locker" on the bolt threads and it won't happen again. Jim Hart
This is a common problem with the shifter bushing. If you search on ebay for "Saturn shifter bushing" and look for the Delrin one, it's about $15 that will fix the problem permanently. It's a tad expensive for a small part but I'm running it in my manual and I've had zero problem in over 2 years.
The bushings on ebay work from what I understand, but a bit pricey. The bushing in question is a P.O.S. for sure. Easy fix though if you have tools and time. First I drilled out the ball that the end of the linkage,the one your faithfull broken bushing use to ride on. popped a 3/8 inch bolt thru the drilled hole, put a piece of 3/8 inch heater hose "cut to length desired" over the bolt ( this is what the linkage ring rides on ) put a rubber gromet or rubber washer that has a hole big enough to fit over the heater hose on each side of the linkage ring ( oh and dont forget the lube - regular grease will eat rubber so use good judgement). put a washer big enough to keep your gromet or rubber washer from falling off, and then a lock nut, and I cannot stress the fact that it has to be a lock nut. DO NOT tighten the living **** out of everything, that little linkage ring is plastic after all just tighten it "lightly snugish" and just make sure your lock nut can't be un-tightened by hand. I hope all of this makes sense, anyway total repair cost- one hour of my time, about $4 of parts at the local auto parts store. best of all, it should outlast the car. Oh fyi, I used rubber parts because that is less likely to break the plastic linkage ring. Showed what I did to a mechanic in town, said now he actually knows what to do next time one of those f-ing saturns comes in with busted linkage. Good luck fellow "manual" saturn owners!