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Old 06-28-2009, 07:28 PM   #1
therog
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2003 VUE 3.0L
2004 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Wrench shift linkage

When attempting to leave the pool today, I pushed in the clutch, started the car, and attempted to put the car in reverse. The problem is, the shifter wouldn't go to reverse. It didn't seem like it was attached to anything at all. I knew that I wasn't going to find a gear, so I didn't bother releasing the clutch to see if it was still in 1st or 2nd. We just walked home.
Is a broken linkage a common problem for a 99 SL-1? Has anyone repaired a broken linkage on their own? Do I need to call a tow truck in the morning and have my $90 per hour guy do the repair?

Rog
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03 Vue

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Old 06-28-2009, 08:32 PM   #2
therog
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Default Re: shift linkage

I just drove it home from the pool in reverse. Thank goodness it was stuck in a gear. So I must have successfully gone from a forward gear to reverse before something slipped. Any ideas?

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Old 06-28-2009, 09:00 PM   #3
Col.FUBAR
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Default Re: shift linkage

Yes, your shifter cable bushing has broken. Saturn used a cheap piece of plastic that is prone to break to connect the shifter to the shift cables. It is pretty easy to fix so I would expect that you would be able to do it yourself

In this picture it is the black bushing with the arrow pointing to it


To get to the bushing you must remove the console around the shifter, although I am not sure if it is the same procedure as mine because my car is a 94' and has a slightly different interior. To remove the shift knob just sit in the driver seat and pull towards you (and watch out because it will pop off when you least expect it) then remove the shift boot. Mine had 2 screws holding the console around the shifter in on the front and then 2 more in the back under the change tray (I don't have a center console)

You can order a stainless steel replacement which will never break from eBay motors by searching for "Saturn shifter bushing". In the meantime you can temporarily fix it with high strength zip ties or a Toyota wiper arm bushing so that you can at least get it in and out of gear.

Hope this helps

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Old 06-28-2009, 10:05 PM   #4
therog
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Default Re: shift linkage

Thanks FUBAR, I suspected it might be something that easy. I will pull the car in the garage in the morning and remove the console to make sure that is indeed the broken part before I make the E-bay order. I knew someone on this board would have had this problem before.

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Old 06-28-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
Col.FUBAR
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by therog View Post
Thanks FUBAR, I suspected it might be something that easy. I will pull the car in the garage in the morning and remove the console to make sure that is indeed the broken part before I make the E-bay order. I knew someone on this board would have had this problem before.
Yeah no problem, I haven't had the issue yet but I have only had my car for a few days now but other forum members advised me to check mine so I just did it the other day. It is unfortunate that Saturn decided to use plastic for such a vital part but you were lucky that your bushing decided to go in a parking lot and not merging in traffic or driving during rush hour. Many other forum members have switched to the steel bushing and have had no issues and I'm sure some of them will post their experiences with the newer design here

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Old 06-29-2009, 08:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: shift linkage

An order has been placed from SaturnBushingMan on E-bay. Of course, the Saturn dealer will only sell you a new cable for $230. I think I'll be much happier with my "bulletproof" stainless steel bushing for $32. Funny, this is the same reason I bought a 9" rear axle for my modified 63 Falcon rather than rebuild a Granada 8.8" to handle the 302 / C-4 combo.

Rog

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Old 07-05-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: shift linkage

Once again Col. FUBAR, thank you. I ordered the bushing Monday, it arrived Wednesday, I was driving again on Thursday. 2nd gear feels a little different, but I never miss reverse anymore like I sometimes used to. I highly recommend the stainless steel replacement.

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Old 07-05-2009, 09:59 PM   #8
mr18436572
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Default Re: shift linkage

The end loop that goes around that bushing is also prone to failing.

Edit: Nevermind, didnt realize you had already fixed the problem.

...
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:09 AM   #9
SW2 Driver
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Default Re: shift linkage

Is there a fix for that "End Loop" or is that a cable change when it breaks? Is the Stainless bushing just for one cable or both (do you need two)? Just curious...

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Old 09-03-2011, 09:48 AM   #10
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Default Re: shift linkage

saturnbushingman also sells a loop end that has two screws (one on each side) to bite down into the end of the cable and is fully compatible with his delrin and or SS bushings.

...
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW2 Driver View Post
Is there a fix for that "End Loop" or is that a cable change when it breaks? Is the Stainless bushing just for one cable or both (do you need two)? Just curious...
If the end loop has broken, you just need to buy a replacement shifter loop. However, if the *Cables* themselves have broken somewhere between the shifter tower and the transmission, then that is a little more involved because you have to remove the old cables and install new ones.

The bushing itself attaches JUST to the Shifter tower... you just need 1 Shifter Bushing.

I have attached a drawing to help explain...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 5 Speed Shifter Interior Parts.jpg (41.2 KB, 49 views)

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
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02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


92 SL1
05 VUE
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:47 AM   #12
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Default Re: shift linkage

Cool. Thanks for the diagram and all of the information. I haven't pulled this stuff apart so it's hard to visualize it in my head. One last thing: Aren't there TWO cables? If there are, won't you need TWO bushings and cable loops? Thanks!

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Old 09-04-2011, 09:00 AM   #13
bendorfold
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW2 Driver View Post
... One last thing: Aren't there TWO cables? If there are, won't you need TWO bushings and cable loops? Thanks!
One gives trouble.
http://www.saturnfans.com/photos/sho...hp?photo=53021

...
1996 SL2, 5-speed, 155,638 miles (149,600 when purchased), Nationwide Emission

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW2 Driver View Post
Cool. Thanks for the diagram and all of the information. I haven't pulled this stuff apart so it's hard to visualize it in my head. One last thing: Aren't there TWO cables? If there are, won't you need TWO bushings and cable loops? Thanks!
While there are two cables, the one that has the issue of breaking is the Interior Shifter cable. When you look at it, you'll see what I mean. The Interior cable controls 3rd,4th,5th and Reverse; while the Exterior Cable that is closer to the driver side of the car operates 1st and 2nd gear, but is attached to a "gate".. it's hard to describe, but when you take off the console, you'll see what I mean. There is actually a really good photo that is posted earlier in this thread by member Col.Fubar. Look at Post #3 in this thread for the photo.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
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Gone 03/12


92 SL1
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91 SC

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Old 09-04-2011, 11:57 AM   #15
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Default Re: shift linkage

OK, thanks. So the outboard cable doesn't seem to have a problem and is of a different design. The inboard cable has the "faulty" end loop and "questionable" plastic bushing. Think I got it now. Thanks!

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Old 09-04-2011, 04:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: shift linkage

Without looking at it, whats the removal process for the original plastic bushing i.e. what holds it on..a clip, a screw, pin and cotter key, etc.?

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Old 09-04-2011, 06:36 PM   #17
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Default Re: shift linkage

The plastic bushing just snaps in place over the small metal ball on the shift tower.

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

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Never Forget
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Gone 03/12


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Old 09-04-2011, 08:25 PM   #18
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
The plastic bushing just snaps in place over the small metal ball on the shift tower.
Does the replacement metal bushing (ebay) snap over the same small metal ball...

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Old 09-04-2011, 08:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW2 Driver View Post
Does the replacement metal bushing (ebay) snap over the same small metal ball...
Yep. Some say you may need the assistance of a c-clamp.

...
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: shift linkage

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW2 Driver View Post
Does the replacement metal bushing (ebay) snap over the same small metal ball...
The way that you affix the stainless steel bushing is with JB Weld 2 part epoxy, which you can buy from any hardware store.



The process for the stainless steel bushing kit from SaturnBushingman (Jerry Borschard) goes like this:

1. Clean off the metal ball at the end of the shifter tower.
2. Mix the two part JB Weld epoxy.
3. With a Cotton Swab, apply a generous amount of the JB Weld mix to the inside of the Stainless Steel Bushing.
4. With your C-Clamp, apply pressure on the top of the bushing so that it will permanently be mounted to the metal ball at the end of the shifter tower. It will need approx. 6 hours to set... 15 hours for a full cure time.
5. Put full plastic washer over stainless bushing.
6. Re-attach Shifter loop over stainless bushing on shifter tower at bushing point.
7. Put second plastic washer over top of shifter loop.
8. Apply E-Clip with needle nose pliers.

I have this setup on both my 94 SL2 (since 2007), and in my 1997 SW2 (installed earlier this year)...

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
94 SL2 HCE, "Pearl"

Never Forget
94 SC1 340,501 Miles
Original Engine/Auto Trans
02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


92 SL1
05 VUE
91 SC

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