Question about 1997 Pontiac Sunfire

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My sunfire is not shifting properly....

My car will only shift into first third and fifth gears (manual by the way). the gears it goes into are lower on the selector than they should be, and the neutral position is where second fourth and reverse should be. We figured out after a few hours of playing around with it that we can manually (from under the hood) make it go into the missing gears. With this being a cable driven manual transmission, could this be bad cables or the linkage assembly? according to my parts guy at the local pontiac dealership it has both cables and a linkage assembly. Im thinking I will try replacing the cables first but I really dont know anything about transmissions. Will this be as easy as putting everything back the way I found it, or will I have to worry about making adjustments? My last question is : Is this a job that I will be able to do without having the car off the ground?

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  • The_Todd Aug 30, 2008

    Problem solved, it was the cables... got a few other small problems fixxed in the process. very successful day!

  • Anonymous Nov 13, 2008

    My car only has third and fourth gears and when i shift into first of fifth it stays in third and same with second and reverse with fourth

  • norm43 Jan 23, 2009

    I have a similar shifting problem with my 1997 Pontiac Sunfire GT 2.4L. It will go into 1st, 2nd, and 5th gears easily at all times, engine running or engine off. On rare occassions, it will go into 3rd gear. It never goes into 4th gear. This happens while driving the car, or when it is parked with the engine off. It will just not go into 3rd or 4th gears. It feels like something is blocking the shifter when trying to put it in 3rd or 4th gear. I recently had the clutch master cylinder replaced, but the clutch seems to work fine, shifting good in 1st, 2nd, and 5th gears. Any and all help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Norman

  • valles_c Apr 21, 2009

    have the same problem as you but i found out what it was



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I had a similar problem except i could shift to first and third and fifth but not 2nd or 4th or reverse. the only thing that came to my mind was new transmission but that is not the case. It was a way i could but it was so frustrated. I am certain it is the shifting cables. The name of the part you need to get is TRANSMISSION SHIFTING CABLES. Only the dealership has them, about $200.00 got them and installed but a certified mechanic. I have no problems shifting into any gear at all. Hope this information helps. Any info contact me at

Posted on Jan 26, 2009

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By engaging the gears manually under the hood and bypassing the shifter,and shifter cables,you have diagnosed the problem correctly,and the next step would be to remove the center console and get down to the shifter where you can visually see the cables,and where the cables attach to the shifter.The cables should be hooked up at the transmission,but removed from the shifter.One cable is the neutral gate position,and the other is the actual gear selector cable.Manually operate the cables and see if the gears will engage using the cables.If the cables work,you have narrowed it down to the shifter itself.If the cables don't work and gears can't be engaged using the cables,then the cables are bad.Also look over the shifter assembly visually,look for cracks or broken metal while shifting it through the gears.

Posted on Aug 27, 2008



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