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Old 10-08-2007, 04:49 PM   #1
kgilb11771
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Default 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

This weekend I replaced my starter. Only 2 bolts, but the top one was one of the hardest things I've done in recent memory.

Anyway, the new starter is in and working great. Yesterday morning I finished the job, tested the starter, drove several places, and all was well.

This morning on my way to work, as soon I got off my 5-mile freeway trip and stopped, the airbag light started blinking dimly, and then when I hit the gas to go, it felt as if I was starting off in 3rd (or even 4th) gear.

I'm sure it's possible that I knocked a wire or sensor loose while working on the starter, but I thought I put everything back into place. I've seen mentions in this forum about shift-linkage cables, but they're referenced in terms of manual transmissions. I have the Hayne's manual at home, and am going to try to limp home to double-check my handiwork, but...

Any thoughts are appreciated. I'm a VERY amateur do-it-myselfer - this was my first starter, and previously only worked a bit on my '88 camaro "back in the day" changing the thermo, alternator, and cat converter. (amateur...)

Help, and thanks!

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Old 10-08-2007, 04:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

Check the plug that goes to the shift selector or backup light switch on the transmission, that can cause that. It goes on the transmission close to the firewall, some cars have 2 plugs other 1 plug.

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Old 10-08-2007, 05:47 PM   #3
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

When you replaced the starter did you reinstall the power out wire from the alt back onto the starter solenoid. It goes on the same stud as the main piower wire from the battery to the starter. It is the wire that gives the electrical system power from the alt when the car is running. If it is not connected you will not get the battery charged.
Never mind that if it grounds out while tha engine is running it will burn out (it is like a large fuse as well).

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Old 10-08-2007, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

Get a voltmeter. Check the voltage at the battery with the engine off, the engine idling and the engine revved up. It's sounding like a charging system problem. That "wire" to which ssicarman refers is actually a fusible link. It's possible it's blown.

Is the charging system warning light (battery icon) on? Does it go on when you turn the key to RUN, before starting the engine?

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Old 10-09-2007, 01:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
When you replaced the starter did you reinstall the power out wire from the alt back onto the starter solenoid. It goes on the same stud as the main piower wire from the battery to the starter. It is the wire that gives the electrical system power from the alt when the car is running. If it is not connected you will not get the battery charged.
Never mind that if it grounds out while tha engine is running it will burn out (it is like a large fuse as well).


This was the issue. Thanks to Geronimo's original post I was back under there quadruple-checking the wiring, and yes, I had indeed wired the alternator to the solonoid's post instead of the same post as the battery-lead. Thank you all very much!

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Old 10-09-2007, 01:31 PM   #6
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Get a voltmeter. Check the voltage at the battery with the engine off, the engine idling and the engine revved up. It's sounding like a charging system problem. That "wire" to which ssicarman refers is actually a fusible link. It's possible it's blown.

Is the charging system warning light (battery icon) on? Does it go on when you turn the key to RUN, before starting the engine?
Now that you mention it I will double-check that I didnt' blow the link during my "diagnosis" - thanks for the suggestion. At least now I can drive to buy a voltimeter!

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Old 10-09-2007, 03:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

Well, if you're charging now, after having reconnected that fusible link in the right place, it must be good. Still, a cheapo multimeter is one of the handiest tools a DIYer can have.

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Old 10-09-2007, 08:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

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Originally Posted by kgilb11771 View Post
I'm a VERY amateur do-it-myselfer
you're initiated into the club now buddy..........

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Old 10-10-2007, 10:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: 1st and 2nd gears gone (Automatic) 98 SL2

Thanks, Bill. I'll try to keep my questions concise and my subject-lines informative

Keith

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