Question about 2004 Saturn VUE

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2004 Saturn Vue shifting problem

My 5-speed is suddenly very hard to shift. Sometimes I have to actually use 2 hands to get it in gear.

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  • 04redVue Sep 09, 2008

    Thank you! That sounds like my issue exactly. I will check that out. I called Saturn and it is going to cost almost $600 for parts and labor to replace the shifter cable. Is this something someone not very mechanically inclined should attempt on their own?

  • Anonymous Sep 30, 2008

    Same shifting prolem. The dealership is charging me the $600 plus they are discounting the charge for the linkage diagnostic and replacement (what great guys they are to do that) The engineers that figured out how to make a part that delicate AND place it in an area that requires 8 hours to replace, I stand in awe.

    Matt in Mount Vernon

  • johnkpiersol Oct 22, 2008

    I have a 2005 vue which has suddenly became very difficult to shift. Not been to a shop yet, but sounds like the same problem.

  • Prophet1115 Nov 13, 2008

    My problem seems more when the car is cold, or not driven for a few days the shifting is hard to get into gear. Once you seem to get it in then all is fine for the rest of the travel. Stop for many hours and the inital engaging is hard to get in gear.

    I am concerned that it could be a slave cyclinder or a binding cable. I've done a quick look and did not see anything out of sorts, no leaking and no cables bent or misaligned.

    Could this be a issue of lubrication?

  • HoustonC Nov 20, 2008

    Same here 2004 5-Speed Vue...first real below 32 degree night here in NC and the next morning it was really difficult to shift gears until after the car gets warmed up.

    It will go into gear, but there is alot of resistance when trying to push/pull the stick.

  • tinajero Jan 10, 2009

    I have the same problem. It initially started when it got below 32 degrees. I was told to let it warm up for about 15 minutes. I tried that and it still is a problem. It does get a little bit better when it is warm but not much better.

  • Bamber8932 Jan 17, 2009

    I have a 2004 Saturn Vue that it very hard to shift into 2,4 and reverse. It has gotten to the point that I can not really drive my car now:(

  • Anonymous Mar 16, 2014

    How to ajustment shifting cables on a Saturn Vue

  • Anonymous Mar 16, 2014

    How to ajustment shifting cables on a Saturn Vue

  • Anonymous Mar 18, 2014

    code PO717

  • Donald Turlington
    Donald Turlington Jun 01, 2014

    WOW! Have the same problem at the moment! I bought the parts ( Cable & Plastic Shift Piece ) on line. Plastic part (IF BROKE ) was 44.00 Cable were 140.00. And yes, you can get it done on your own IF...IF you have a little bit of knowledge.. I regular shop should be able to do this for alot cheaper the a GM shop.


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You should probably check the shifter cable. I had the same thing happen and then I couldn't shift into 2nd, 4th, and reverse gears. Then the cable snapped and I had to replace it. Be careful "man-handling" the shifter. If you break the shift linkage at the base of the shifter it's about $45 from the dealership. It's cheap plastic and doesn't take much to break. If you really want to know if it's the shift cable and not the gearbox crank the engine, have someone hold the clutch, disconnect the shift cables from the box, and manually shift the gears. If they move smooth, it's probably your cable which would mean there's a kink in it somewhere. You can't fix that. Depending on the VIN you're looking at anywhere from $189 (what mine cost with tax) to a little over $200 (from the dealership brand new). Talk to the parts desk at a Saturn dealership and they can tell you which one you need. Hope this helps

Posted on Sep 09, 2008

  • 2vuejim Oct 25, 2010

    I have a 2003 Vue with the 2.2 4 cylinder and 5-speed standard shift. I have been unable for the most part to get 1st and 3rd gears engaged; it seems that the shift cable might have stretched out too far? I disassembled the linkage at the console inside the car and it seems that everything there is okay, no broken or worn plastic parts at the ends of the cables or the gearshift. The other ends at the transmission also look to be okay as well. Any ideas?

    I also have a similarly-equipped 2006 Vue, and am wondering if it too will soon come to the same point as well? The '03 has 115K on it, and there is 67K on the '06.


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I have a Saturn Vue 2002 with 5 speed manual transmission and I can't get it to go into any gear position from neutral when the car is turned on. With the car turned off I can use the clutch and get it to shift into any of the gear positions and if I put it in a gear position with the engine off and then turn it on with the clutch depressed it tries to take off meaning it is then in gear but I cant take it out until I turn the car off.
Is there some kind of relay or something electrical that has gone bad.
It seems like the linkage and everything is ok because with the car off I can go through all of the gears without difficulty but of course I don't know if I am really getting it into gear because the car is turned off.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012

  • Paul Terrell
    Paul Terrell Jan 23, 2013

    Turns out the problem was the fact that the egineers thought it would be a great idea to make the manual shifting in the Saturn hydrolic!!!! STUPID when springs are a simple solution and always have been. The fluid in the reservior was low so I filled it with break fluid and pumped the clutch 100 times and problem fixed.... Until the next time fluid goes low which means I have a slow leak somewhere but I'll live with the ocational pumping of the clutch and refilling of fluid until I unload this problem for a model T which was designed for simplicity.


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I hope everyone had repaired their leaking Clutch slave cylinders by now on these Saturn Vue 5 speeds. That is the problem. The Clutch slave cylinder leaks causing the fluid level to get low and the then make the clutch not fully release to the point of some people breaking there shifter cables trying to overcome the resistance and make the trans shift.

Posted on Dec 04, 2014

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Ive got the same problem ,i just replaced the piece that connects to the stickshift,junk yard 10 bucks ,now it takes an act of congress to shift,the cable costs 200 bucks,come on gm i bought the vehicle to drive ,not to replace parts and have you guys act like you got no idea wy its doing that.plastic parts what the hell were ya thinking,when you desighn parts leave a door open and get some fresh air!!!!!

Posted on Jan 23, 2013

  • Jack Harlequin
    Jack Harlequin Feb 10, 2015

    No kidding. Using plastic for such an integral part of a vehicle is a joke. Luckily I know how to repair everything on my 2007 Saturn now.


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