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Old 07-26-2013, 04:36 PM   #1
Petroleum
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2008 Astra XE
Dizzy Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is on.

2008 Saturn Astra, ~89K miles

1) Automatic transmission shifter is very loose through gears and sometimes doesn't fully engage Park. Really sucks, because my powertrain warranty expires in 4 days.

2) Check engine light is on and Check coolant level comes on too on the radio display (coolant level is not low after several checks - so may be a sensor issue)

3) Acceleration feels underpowered and gas mileage has taken a hit. Mostly city driving in Austin, TX and getting 20-22 mi per gallon

My main concern is the first one due to the warranty expiring so soon. I guess I'm fortunate I still have the 4 days to get it serviced. I'm taking it to the dealer tomorrow to have it looked at. I'll update the thread with the progress.

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Old 07-26-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
Petroleum
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

To further elaborate on my shifter (?) for my automatic transmission, I can put it into gear, but it has a ton of play in the movement. For example, when in Reverse the shifter can actually be moved back and forth without it popping out of the gear.

Sometimes a noticeable 'pop' is heard when putting it into or taking it out of park. Sometimes park won't fully engange even thought the shifter is in the park position, so the car won't turn back on. I will push the shifter "up" to get it to turn on or worse have to turn the key, put the shifter in neutral then turn the car on.

Shifting while driving does seem sluggish, but nothing too major. The only other noticeable thing is that acceleration feels pretty sluggish when moving from a full stop or getting up to highway speeds.

I have not changed the transimission fluid. I was going to do that at the 100k mi mark.

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Old 07-26-2013, 06:02 PM   #3
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

I would have a look under your shifter boot and in the console at the mechanism in the shifter lever. there are plenty of plastic parts in there that can go wrong.

None of that will be covered by the powertrain warranty.

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Old 07-26-2013, 07:42 PM   #4
Petroleum
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2008 Astra XE
Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Thank you for responding.

I've taken all the plastic coverings off the shifter itself and the plastic console directly beneath the shifter. None of that seems to be the issue. It's either at the linkage or with in the transmission itself -- pretty sure it's the linkage.

Also, the linkage on these cars is not accessible either through the top (through the interior of the car after removing the console) or through the bottom when lifting the car up.

I doubt the linkage is covered under warranty too, but might as well have them have a look.

I'll post the codes I get back for the check engine light and report as I go through the repairs.

If it's not covered under powertrain warranty, I'll repair what I can myself and have a different mechanic do the linkage since I don't have the workspace or equipment to get at the linkage myself; I live in an apartment complex.

Last time I took my car to a dealer they quoted me a $600 fix for a replacement coil pack. I just ordered the part off ebay and changed it myself in 15 minutes along with the spark plugs for less than a $100 total.

Last edited by Petroleum; 07-26-2013 at 07:50 PM..

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Old 07-28-2013, 02:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Just updating:

I spoke to the service adviser at the authorized Saturn Service center in Austin and explained the issue with the shift-lever. He said it wouldn't be covered under warranty.

They are also running a couple days behind schedule, so the soonest they'd be able to check it out would be Monday evening or Tuesday. Morning.

Thoughts? Should I take it on Monday morning or just go with a trusted, reliable mechanic in Austin.

I have no intentions of paying dealer prices for work not covered under warranty. I guess I could take it in and just pay for the diagnostic.

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Old 07-28-2013, 03:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Just go with your local guy that is going to end up fixing it. The GM dealership will not have any advantage to solving the issue over him unless there was some TSB issued for the problem. And this is the first I have ever hear of shifter problems on this board anyway.

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Old 09-20-2014, 02:56 AM   #7
Spaztrick
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2008 Astra XR
2006 ION-3 Quad Coupe
Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Petroleum, what was the outcome on this? I just started having the exact same issues with my Astra. And today the car has no pickup until D3.

...
1999 SL2 / 2004 ION-2 Quad Coupe / 2006 Relay / 2006 ION-3 Quad Coupe / 2008 Astra XR

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Old 10-08-2017, 11:11 PM   #8
Sanna
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2008 Astra XR
Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Hello, I have the exact same issues with the only difference that I cannot start in P at all anymore. I have to start my car in N. The dealership tells me I need a new transmission cable and wants to charge $600 including labor.
How did you guys solve this?

Thanks!!

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Old 10-09-2017, 09:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission shifter is loose through the gears, check engine light is

Sanna not being able to start in park could be a few diffrent issues so you may want to get a second opinion. Did they say specifically what was wrong with the cable?

As for the cable what has helped many people is replacing the bushing at the end of the cable at the transmission as that is the location it usually wears, GM does not offer the bushing by it's self so all they can really offer you is to replace the whole cable. You may need the entire cable and not just the end, so the next place you go to get an opinion ask them to take pictures of where it is worn so you can see if you could just replace the bushing to fix it. You can obtain a bushing for it from this website:

http://www.bushingfix.com/saturn-ast...ng-repair-kit/

Other than that it really hard to give you any advise not knowing what exactly is wrong with the cable specifically.

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