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Old 01-31-2015, 08:48 AM   #1
AndyFromWI
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Default 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Greeting, I'm the proud mechanic of my son's 1996 SC2.

On 1/27/2015 the car started slipping out of third gear.

Symptoms:
Shift into third, if you accelerate, it will pop out of third.
If you hold on to the shifter, and keep the shifter into third, it will stay in third, but you can feel a few pounds of force pushing against you.
You can stay in third gear if you are level and not accelerating, so basically not putting pressure on the transmission.

Shifting into all gears works fine.

The shifter moves freely, no issue shifting except for popping out of third gear.

The car has 210K miles.
I replaced the clutch and slave cylinder 15 months ago.
The shifter bushing looks good, I do not feel any play in it.
The shifter cables are a bit worn, the rubber boots are ripped.

From what I have read on other posts, it sounds like it could be the cables or a problem in the transmission.

Iím wondering if there is a definitive test so I can confirm it is the shift cables.

Note: If this is a shift cable issue, any suggestion on where to buy a good set of replacement cables.
I have read online horror stories about ATP cables, and I have not been able to locate a set of OEM cables.

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you.
-andy

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Old 01-31-2015, 08:55 AM   #2
Signmaster
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1995 SL1
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

An easy way to confirm whether it's a cable/linkage problem vs tranny problem would be to disconnect the cables with the car in third gear and see what happens.

These are light cars, and a third gear start could be done without much clutch abuse. If you could find the right open area with possibly a hill to get to rolling, you could save even more on the clutch wear.

Plus you would also have an open place to safely pull over if it pops out of gear.

If you can't find a big parking lot with a hill, a couple people pushing and just a little speed should give the clutch a break, or maybe even a push from another car if you can protect the bumper.




I would think if anything in the linkage side, that you are just not fully engaging the gear.

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Old 01-31-2015, 09:04 AM   #3
AndyFromWI
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by Signmaster View Post
An easy way to confirm whether it's a cable/linkage problem vs tranny problem would be to disconnect the cables with the car in third gear and see what happens.

These are light cars, and a third gear start could be done without much clutch abuse. If you could find the right open area with possibly a hill to get to rolling, you could save even more on the clutch wear.

Plus you would also have an open place to safely pull over if it pops out of gear.

If you can't find a big parking lot with a hill, a couple people pushing and just a little speed should give the clutch a break, or maybe even a push from another car if you can protect the bumper.




I would think if anything in the linkage side, that you are just not fully engaging the gear.

I will give that a shot and see what happens. Ah the Northern WI winter, wouldn't you know it is 5 degrees this morning...

Assuming that the car stays in gear, any suggestions a brand of replacement cables?

Thanks
-andy

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Old 01-31-2015, 09:16 AM   #4
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Find out if it stays in gear first as there are several possible causes.

Get a can of brake cleaner and open hood, remove air intake hose and clean all the crud off the shift linkage on the transmission as your first step. If you start fiddling with the cable clips you can get one replaced incorrectly very easily and it will fall off and then several gears are gone until replaced. They are a discontinued part as well.

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Old 01-31-2015, 09:55 AM   #5
Signmaster
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1995 SL1
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyFromWI View Post
I will give that a shot and see what happens. Ah the Northern WI winter, wouldn't you know it is 5 degrees this morning...

Assuming that the car stays in gear, any suggestions a brand of replacement cables?

Thanks
-andy
If you disconnect the cables, you should be able to test the cables and linkage going into the car for smooth and consistent operation. Hopefully that will point you in the right direction.

I remember at least one post here on the forums where an owner used a longer than stock cable boot and created an issue similar to yours. Even if your boots are ripped that is a possibility on the linkage side.

And in hindsight, for that reason, it might make sense to use the selector on the transmission side to make sure the tranny is fully in gear before doing the rolling test. Wish I would have thought about that sooner...

Often the trouble area is in the selector on the top of the transmission. Cleaning and/or lube if it works for you is often the fix.

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Old 01-31-2015, 10:41 AM   #6
AndyFromWI
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Performed the disconnect shift cable test: Still popped out of gear.
(Signmaster, not to worry, I was planning on disconnecting from the transmission side )

From my driveway, I put the car in 3rd gear, disconnected the small clip that holds the shift cable to the lower shift fork, removed the lower shift cable.

Tried forcing the lower shift lever farther into gear (towards the passenger side of the engine). It seemed like it was already as far as it could go.

I started the car, slowly let out the clutch, went about 10' and it popped out of third.

Went under the hood, again pushed the lower shift lever fully to the passenger side, I could feel it click into place. Started, let out the clutch, went 10' and it slipped out of gear.

I reattached the shift cable, reattached the clip, went back into reverse, other gears still worked and the car is now resting in the my little shop.

I have not yet tried OldNuc's suggestion about cleaning around the shifter area (what are the specific name for the two shift levers on the transmission?).

Any further thoughts, suggestions?
Thanks you.
-andy

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Old 01-31-2015, 10:57 AM   #7
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

They do not have names other than function. Top lever select the gear groups, 1-2, 3-4. 5-R and the lower lever selects a specific gear. As you can not get locked into 3rd then your issue is with the selector tower internals and the actual gear selection. Remove the selector tower after removing the surrounding dirt, 4 bolts. Pay attention to which set of forks is which, they are marked on the top of the selector tower. take a screwdriver and push it into 3rd and see if it actually completely engages. There are no detent balls and springs on the selector fork rods. What you will feel is the synchro selector snapping into place. There is a bit of lockout and guide mechanism in the selector tower and if the pin in the gear group lever is worn finding 1st or reverse can be difficult. There is a single rod and multiple forks. You can run the trans with the shift tower off but throwing oil is highly likely so set it back in place after manually selecting 3rd and test roll again. A single bolt will hold it sufficiently for a low speed test. If it pops out after a direct manual select then you have an internal trans issue to deal with.

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Old 01-31-2015, 02:09 PM   #8
AndyFromWI
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Popped out of gear after manual shift fork test:
Looks like I have an internal Transmission issue

I pulled the shift tower, moved the middle shift for up so the car was in third.
To keep from spraying transmission fluid, I placed a plastic bag over the opening, and then made a wooden frame to hold it in place.
This also gave me access to the shifter for when it popped out of third...

The car popped out of third at the end of my driveway, used a screwdriver to reset the forks and shifted into first and put the car back in my little shop.

See attached pictures for reference.



OK so now same issue, pops out of third, looks like a internal transmission issue... Suggestions?

Thank you.
-andy
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Saturn-SC2-Trans-Check-2.jpg (159.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg Saturn-SC2-Trans-Check-1.jpg (189.9 KB, 10 views)

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Old 01-31-2015, 03:43 PM   #9
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Remove transmission to bench and follow these instructions to get to the innards. There are clips that hold the forks on the rod and they can break or the fork pads may be worn out or the selector assembly is finished. The selector is an assembly and you really do not want to separate the 3 parts when you slide them off. The clips are position specific. The clips can be had.

http://www.differentracing.com/tech_...sassembly.html

This is also a very good time to replace the front seal and bearing and it is glued into the housing so incorrectly supporting the housing breaks it.

There are several transmission threads here but this one has the better pix. http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=190919

This is an easy transmission to work on.

The 5th gear shaft nuts are one time use only.

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Old 01-31-2015, 04:04 PM   #10
AndyFromWI
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Thanks Oldnuc...

OK, well I will probably have to hold off on tearing down the transmission for a while...

Any concerns about just not using third gear for the next month or so?
My son can certainly live without it, but I don't want to damage the transmission further.

-andy

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Old 01-31-2015, 04:22 PM   #11
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1998 SC2
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

There is no issue unless it figures out how to get into 2 gears at once and then the wheels just quit turning and actually selecting 2 gears at once would require being stopped so I would not worry about it.

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Old 11-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Update 11/9/2015
I thought I would post an update. We have been running without using third for the past 11 months 10K miles. The transmission has worked fine, and you can use third gear once in a while, but we just skip using third and have not noticed any problems.

Currently the tranny has 238K on it and going.

-andy

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Old 08-27-2016, 07:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission (SOLVED)

Update: 8/27/2016 ** Add manual transmission fluid ***

I sold the car about 11 months ago to a neighbors kid for $400, I told him ahead of time about all issues including the issue with Third gear.

Last night I happen to run into Chris and asked him how the car was running.
He said it runs good and they fixed third gear. He and his dad first looked at it: They could not figure out anything. They took the car into a local shop and the mechanic thought it was a little low on manual transmission fluid.
They added more fluid in, and the problem stopped.
The SC2 now stays in third gear.

-andy

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Old 08-27-2016, 10:43 AM   #14
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1995 SC2
Default Re: 96 SC2 slips out of third Gear Manual Transmission

Checking the fluid levels should be the very first thing one does, during the TS steps.

By the way, I have just started restoring a 1995 Saturn SC2, with auto. If you get another Saturn or you need OEM replacements for the current ones you may still own(or any other vehicle for that matter), I highly recommend this website.

www.partsgeek.com

They sell the same parts you would find at your big chain auto parts stores, such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O'Rielly's, etc. You just don't have to pay the markup. Only shipping.

I have ceramic brakes on front and rear of my Saturn, and for 4 pads, 4 shoes, 2 drums, 2 rotors, and the brake hardware kit: $145.56

AC Delco Transmission OEM Oil Cooler Lines(both): $28.06

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1991 Pontiac Grand Am @ 142k - Iron Duke w/auto
1995 Saturn SC2 @ 183k - DOHC w/auto 1qt/100mi

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