Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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Do I have linkage problems, or something more serious? I have a 1997, Saturn SL, manual transmission. The gear shift is completely loose, and will not go into any gear. However, we can drive the car, in reverse.

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  • Saturn Master
  • 715 Answers

Ok, remove the console so you can look at the shifter, there is a plastic piece that attaches the cable to the shifter knob, this breakes, you can go to Saturn ,but they want almost $200 for both cables (they don't sell the plastic piece) BUT THERE IS GOOD NEWS, Napa sells the plastic replacement part at a cost of $20 I am assuming that your car is a manual, part is fairly easy to install,(remove the shifter without removing the cables)
Good luck

Posted on Jun 26, 2009

  • geet1962
    geet1962 Jul 13, 2013

    you have been a tremendous help!! thank you!

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  • Master
  • 520 Answers

That model has shifter cables which could be the problem

Posted on Jun 25, 2009

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  • Master
  • 534 Answers

The problem is most likely the gearshift linkages (as you suggest), external to the gearbox.
Get the linkages checked before looking further.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009

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Related Questions:

1 Answer

On my 1997 Saturn the transmission is stuck in drive when out into reverse and neutral what could cause that problem?


This is for a manual transmission, where the bushing in the stick shift tends to fall out making the vehicle stay in gear. You will need a bushing to access it you will have to remove the stick shift cover and remove the middle dash to access the linkage there you should see how the linkage has disconnected10_13_2011_3_42_43_am.gif

Oct 12, 2011 | 1997 Saturn SL

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I have a saturn sl2 with a 5 speed transmission. i was driving and heard a ping and now 2nd 4th and reverse are gone but i still have 1st 3rd and 5th. i have no idea where to start fixing the problem


If you have inspected the shift linkage and found no missing or loose parts, then unfortunately an internal shift mode fork, syncro assembly,shift rail or possibly a snap ring has been damaged. This is not an easy fix on any vehicle and will require transmission removal to diagnose. Before the trans is removed, inspect the shift linkage while someone moves the gear selector to all gears. This would be the best case scenario, internal damage, of course, would be the worst.

Feb 06, 2011 | 1997 Saturn SL

1 Answer

1997 manual transmission will not shift properly. It started by kicking out of 5th gear on the highway and now it is shifts correctly sometimes and sometimes it wont go into any gear at all. Does this...


I think you need to call around to junkyards and find a used transmission to fit your car. You can find sites by googling it as well. Most likely any saturn manual transmission 91-98 will fit, possibly even up to 2002 if you stay with the S series cars. They have an interchange which will tell you.
Take this time to replace the clutch too. The big caveat here is that the DOHC cars SL2 SW2 SC2, transmissions have a different final gear ratio than the SOHC cars Sl1, SC1 SW1 so you have to know which type you have and get one from a donor vehicle which is the same.

Oct 19, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

1 Answer

The manual transmission gear shift is loose and stuck in first gear. The shifter is wobbly and appears to be loose. The gear shifter linkage bad/broke? How do I get to it?


take out the console, look on youtube for videos of others doing this. most likely you are going to need a saturn shifter bushing repair kit which you can get on ebay for less than 20 bucks.

Sep 15, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

2 Answers

Need help fixing 1997 saturn SL gear shift on manual transmission


well probably the only place that would have shifter parts like that available would be the dealer. i would go there in person and they will pull up a picture of your entire shifter assembly and you can pick out what part it is you need. i still dont have a clear picture of what exact part of the shift linkage you need but they will be able to tell you exactly what it is. a lot of times you cant buy parts singularly you have to buy an assembly also so you'd probably be better off looking at a salvage yard. try www.car-part.com

Mar 23, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

2 Answers

No the saturn limkage problem can not go into any gear and can not be driven in reverse,the gear shift is completely loose


there is a ball socket attatchment for the linkage on the side of the transmission. The linkage breaks the clip and falls off the ball attatchment point. Common to saturn stick shifts of the era. You can order the whole linkage assembly with the clip but its expensive(300ish if I remember right), or you can try and get them to sell you JUST the clip (If your ball and socket are intact) if they package it seperately AND your socket and/or ball didnt break. Assuming they are intact, TEMPORARILY you could use multiple tie wraps or steel wire to tie/hold the ball and socket together but it would likely not last long and have the risk of breaking while driving. Wouldnt do damage if it broke while driving, but you will lose the ability to shift when it goes...and will be restricted to coasting down with clutch depressed or driving in whatever gear you were last in till you can reach a service location.

Oct 11, 2009 | 1997 Saturn SL

2 Answers

The shifter/transmission on my manual 5 spd 1999 Saturn SL1


This just happen to me a few weeks ago. If you take out the center piece in the car you should be able to see that the actual shifter is no longer connected to the rod which goes into the transmission. It is an easy problem to fix, however it is not cheap. I was told that you have to buy a complete new kit($250.00) for the shifter, however my dad gave me a different solution. He took some wire, and made a spider web type thing to keep it connected. On my car it was a small round plastic piece that broke, but I cannot remember what it was actually called. This little piece is not available through Saturn by itself, only through a complete kit. Please ask questions if this is not clear enough. Thanks :)

Sep 26, 2009 | 1999 Saturn SL

3 Answers

95 saturn sl 2 5 speed manual transmission, clutch pedal is fine. shifter wont go into gear


This vehicle has a pair of shift cables which attatches to the shifter and runs to the transmission shift housing.To diagnose,removal of the center console is in order so you can inspect and verify the shifter/cable connections and movement,then verify the cables move the linkages properly at the transmission . These cables are a fairly common failed part and sold as the set,these are a dealer item and no aftermarket cables are available .

Sep 10, 2009 | 1995 Saturn Sl

4 Answers

2001 Saturn SL Manual Transmission stuck in 2nd Gear


I had this same problem with my 1998 SL2 after about 170,000 miles. There is a plastic bushing at the end of the shifter cable that holds the cable to the shifter - it probably broke. Remove the center console inside the car to access the bottom of the shifter. I checked my local Saturn dealer to find the replacement cables (come as a set) are more than $200. So I went to Lowes and bought a beam clamp and a large washer to hold the cable to the shifter. It has been working fine for more than 28,000 miles and cost less than $3

Aug 29, 2009 | 2001 Saturn SL

1 Answer

1999 Saturn sl with shifting problems first gear and reverse


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

Aug 25, 2009 | 1999 Saturn SL

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