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Old 07-31-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
jonnycube
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1997 SL2
Default '97 SL2 won't shift

I backed my manual '97 SL2 into a driveway today to turn around. The gears made a loud grinding sound when I put it in reverse and then the shifter flopped about uselessly - I can't shift at all.

The car has over 200,000 miles with the original clutch. I've known for a while that I'm due for a clutch replacement, because it's been getting harder to shift all the time, particularly with the lower gears. Does it sound obvious that I need a new clutch, or is there anything else I should consider? Thanks in advance for your help, guys, because I'm stranded in Phoenix and trying to get home to LA.
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

It sounds like the shifter bushing may have broken loose.

Can you see if the shift levers on the top of the tranny move when you move the shifter around?
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
jonnycube
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1997 SL2
Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

I could check that, but I can feel the shifter has zero resistance. It can flop around forward and backward between third and fourth gears, but I can't move it sideways to any other gear. All my tools are in LA so I'll try and take a look with what I've got here.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:07 PM   #4
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

If the shifter is floppy and moves just back and forth, but NOT side to side, then the shifter loop is broken from the shifter cable.

You will need a pair of needle nose pliers, a set of hex keys, phillips head screwdriver, a C-Clamp and some long length cable ties in order to get the shifter cable reattached to the shifter bushing.

Been there, done this- many times.
...
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94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

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94SC1 340,501 Miles
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

You really only need a phillips screwdriver to remove the console and check to see if the shifter bushing has broken.

If that is the case, search around here for the process of using a zip tie as a temp fix to get you home. As a second option, you can pick the pack of assorted Toyota shifter bushings from the 'HELP' section at AAP. There is a single bushing in that set that will work. It is the 'hollow' one that is the only one like it in the pack. My '02 SL1 has been running with that bushing for a couple months now without any issues. FWIW
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

I found some tools and took a look, and you're absolutely right. I don't know all the terminology, but whatever the shifter attaches to has simply broken clean apart. Not as serious of a problem as I thought. I'll check the how-to section to see if there's a more thorough description of how to do this - most of my car repairs have been under the hood.
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

Glad you figured it out!

I was not able to get the zip-tie method to work well enough to feel comfortable driving around. Although I did not actually see the picture of the proper way, until I had given up. It also may have just been the crappy HF zip ties I was using.

The Toyota bushing maybe your best option if you need it fixed right away. Be prepared to use some type of lube (prefereably dry lube) or it will feel stiff.

If you go that route, it took me a while to figure out which of the asst bushings to use, and what orientation. There is only one in that 'HELP' pack that worked for me. Its the odd one that is open from both sides. Eventually, I snaped it in place in the shifter-eye-loop from behind. (that is comming from the passenger side). Then it will snap onto the shifter ball joint without any issue.

I subsequenly ordered the $20 bushing from ebay, but did not install it. The Toyota fells great and very secure. When I started to swap them out, It felt like I would like cause more trouble than leaving it in there.

My observation only! Your experience may vary!
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnycube View Post
I found some tools and took a look, and you're absolutely right. I don't know all the terminology, but whatever the shifter attaches to has simply broken clean apart. Not as serious of a problem as I thought. I'll check the how-to section to see if there's a more thorough description of how to do this - most of my car repairs have been under the hood.
Order this replacement from Saturn Bushing Man (Jerry Borschard). He also makes the Shifter Bushing (Delron and Stainless Steel bushings.)

You need the Shifter Loop. It fits on the end of the Shifter Cable and attaches to the Bushing. If you look at the ebay ad, you will see what I mean...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Satur...ht_1745wt_1166
...
Bryan

94SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

99 SL

94SL2 260K Miles
1/15

97SW2 266K Miles
2/15

Always
94SC1 340,501 Miles
Org. Engine/Auto Trans
2/97-10/08
Gone 3/12

92SL1
05VUE
91SC
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

Quote:
Order this replacement from Saturn Bushing Man
OP, make sure that is what you need before placing your order! You stated that it has "broken clean apart", but that does not clearly define what has broken.

The link in the above note, is for a part that will repair your shifter cable if the end loop has broken off.

More common, is the bushing that hold the end loop onto the shifter ball joint breaks of just wears out, letting the shifter cable separate from the ball joint.

It the end look has broken off, you probably need both the loop repair and a new bushing.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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2000 SW2
Default Re: '97 SL2 won't shift

Another, cheaper, option is to go with a used set of OEM shifter cables from the junkyard. These go for ~$10 at most yards.

Here's a how-to for replacing them:

http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=160664
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