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Old 02-22-2018, 07:41 AM   #1
2NDSOUT
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1994 SL2
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Wrench Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Hello everyone,

And it's time for another fun filled thread about the dreaded 5 speed manual shifter Cable Loop Breaking.

I'm kind of in a bind. Need some ideas and help. My 99 SL Daily Driver, is currently stuck in my parking garage at work.

The interior shifter cable loop has separated where it joins to the shifter bushing on the shifting tower.

99 SL, 5 Speed Manual, 194K miles.

When I bought this car back in 2015- I had to almost immediately purchase the replacement shifter bushing. I went with the stainless steel setup.

Flash forward to Tuesday evening (02/20/18) and I was going to leave from work. In our parking garage, I backed up and put the car in first, going to drive up to go out and then I heard a little pop, and the bing- floppy shifter.

I am no stranger to this dilemma. However, I am now getting desperate because the multiple attempts that I have made to reattach the shifter cable loop to the end of the shifter cable itself with JB Weld- 2 attempts at reattaching have both failed. I applied a third coat of JB Weld last night and will be checking it today to see if it held up. But at this point- I think I may need to get the car out of the parking garage. I'm parked in a parking space.

Does Anyone have any ideas of how I can jerry rig this thing to work so that I can at least get the car out of the parking garage and work to either get it towed home, or attempt to get it to be driveable on the highway? I'm really at a loss. My wife has already had to take me to work early for the past 2 days, and if I can't get this fixed by tonight, I am going to either have to get a rental, or do something to get it out of the Parking Garage.

Please help with any and all suggestions. I've already tried plastic zip ties, but those have failed miserably.... any other suggestions?

...
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 02-22-2018, 08:33 AM   #2
BV22
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

It is possible to at least get it into first gear two ways:
1. Grab the cable with a pair of vice grips (presuming there is enough bare cable exposed to grab), move the lever all the way to the left, and pull the cable.
2. Move the shifter all the way to the left and rotate the lever on top of the transaxle counterclockwise as far as it will go. The lever you need to rotate is the one that does not now move when the shifter is moved around.

Either should put you in first so you can get out of the parking spot.

...
BV22
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RIP Sept 1 2018
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by BV22 View Post
It is possible to at least get it into first gear two ways:
1. Grab the cable with a pair of vice grips (presuming there is enough bare cable exposed to grab), move the lever all the way to the left, and pull the cable.
2. Move the shifter all the way to the left and rotate the lever on top of the transaxle counterclockwise as far as it will go. The lever you need to rotate is the one that does not now move when the shifter is moved around.

Either should put you in first so you can get out of the parking spot.
I would try that- but- my car is parked headend in first... so I need to get the car either in Neutral, or Reverse so that I can get it backed out of the parking space...

...
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 02-22-2018, 08:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

I'd stick it in third shifting the arms on the transmission with my hands. Except for big hill starts you would be fine. Then you can get it home anyway.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 02-22-2018, 09:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Can anyone show me via the shifting cables at the transmission; the specific positions for each gear?

I know how they connect there- but I have never had to try manually "switch" a manual transmission.

Any diagrams that anyone can post to help me out?

...
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
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Gone 3/12

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05VUE
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

JB Weld never works unless you can get the surface's super clean and give it 24+ hours to fully cure. I've tried using it many times to "weld" a nut to a stud to get the stud out which only worked about half as often as actually welding the nut to the stud.

I'd check out where the set screw hits the cable, then file a flat spot into the cable (deep enough flat spot to leave a good sized ridge for the screw to hit) in that location.
If that doesn't work for some reason, then if there's room I'd take out the set screw and use it to guide a drill bit through the cable and out the other side of the bushing then push a rod of some sort through it (coat hanger might work, paper clip is probably too weak).

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Old 02-22-2018, 10:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetchitfido View Post
JB Weld never works unless you can get the surface's super clean and give it 24+ hours to fully cure. I've tried using it many times to "weld" a nut to a stud to get the stud out which only worked about half as often as actually welding the nut to the stud.

I'd check out where the set screw hits the cable, then file a flat spot into the cable (deep enough flat spot to leave a good sized ridge for the screw to hit) in that location.
If that doesn't work for some reason, then if there's room I'd take out the set screw and use it to guide a drill bit through the cable and out the other side of the bushing then push a rod of some sort through it (coat hanger might work, paper clip is probably too weak).
I beg to differ. On my previous 94 SL2- with a replacement Shifter Loop to Shifter Cable; I JB Welded the replacement loop that I had bought from Saturn Bushing Man; and that loop lasted me 8 Years from the time I bought the car, to the time when I got rid of the car, with no issues.

The current shifter loop is the original with no set screws in it- so I am thinking it is the original set of shifter cables, because when I replaced the shifter bushing back in 2015, I replaced the original bushing when it broke and separated.

The problem lies in that I have now ordered a replacement loop and now have to wait for it to arrive, but I would like to try to see if I can at least get my car out of the parking garage at work.

...
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 02-22-2018, 12:10 PM   #8
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

The top horizontal lever selects gear groups: 5-R, 3-4, 1-2. Pushing and holding it to the car left side selects 5th, neutral,reverse by moving the lower lever, pushing the lower lever to the left side of the car selects reverse. It takes some speed on the shift to reverse to actually flip the idler into position. There is a little diagram cast into the top of the transmission.

The horizontal lever spring returns to the 3-4 position. The lower lever that lost the in-car loop is the one that actually selects gears.

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Old 02-22-2018, 04:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

I don't know if this is the replacement part that you want, but I bought one of these several years ago and store it in my glovebox so I'll have it when I might otherwise be stranded.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1991-2002-S...ku4dww&vxp=mtr

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Old 02-22-2018, 04:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Some pictures: http://www.saturnfans.com/classified...p?product=2492

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Old 02-22-2018, 05:27 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

The stainless bushing seems to eventually cause this due the fact that it puts all the rotational force on the endloop attachment. I ditched all that and found a nearby new j/y cable set that greatly improved shifting. The oem style set up allows the bushing to rotate at the attach ball point and doesn’t put the rotational force on the end loop.
Been shifting better for 2 years since I made the switch

-Robert

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Old 02-23-2018, 08:03 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hholbein View Post
I don't know if this is the replacement part that you want, but I bought one of these several years ago and store it in my glovebox so I'll have it when I might otherwise be stranded.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1991-2002-S...ku4dww&vxp=mtr
Yep- that is the part that I bought. Since most of the S-Series cars I have owned have been Manuals- I have bought my fair share of shifter bushings and shifter cable loops.

In the meantime; I have ordered a replacement loop, so it is on the way. I wound up getting a rental car for the weekend, at least to get me around until the part comes in the mail and I can get back to the parking garage to fix the car.

As much as I hate to say this- and even though these cars are dirt cheap to own and drive; I feel that my current 99 SL- may in fact; be my last Saturn.

I'm at 194K miles right now; I've owned it for the last 50k miles...

I had talked with my friend mechanic yesterday; who I hadn't talked with in a long time. He was a Saturn Mechanic for 20+ years; and up until a few years ago was driving a few of them. He told me that he got rid of all of them and just has a few misc. parts laying around now. I was a bit shocked, but not surprised.

I'm really torn, honestly. It's not so much working on the car; because the S-Series is an easy car to work on. But I'm at a point now in my life, in my mid 40s; where I would rather be driving my car, rather then working on it. Now I haven't had to do a lot to this car- but it's more of aggravation, then anything else. Those of you who have a family can relate to this- "What's Daddy doing on the weekend. Working on his car to fix it."

It's life and the nature of the beast....

...
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 02-23-2018, 10:51 AM   #13
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
- "What's Daddy doing on the weekend. Working on his car to fix it."
This is why you need a rebuild project with your kids.

What is a hassle in your 40s becomes therapy in your 50s.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 02-23-2018, 11:06 AM   #14
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waiex191 View Post
This is why you need a rebuild project with your kids.

What is a hassle in your 40s becomes therapy in your 50s.
There is truth to this statement.

And I do have my 94 Homecoming Edition project. And I have had that car since 2009. Currently it is sitting in the Driveway- waiting to be restored. I was going to start that project last year, with my 10 year old son- but Life happened.... mother in-law passed away, and our van transmission took a dump; and a bunch of other life related things... so- the plan to get it rolling and restored will hopefully happen this year. Just in time to have Historical plates put on the car in 2019.

...
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 02-27-2018, 12:04 PM   #15
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Well- this afternoon; we will see if everything is working well.

I got my replacement shift cable loop end in the mail. I worked on getting it installed yesterday afternoon, but I ran out of time to get it re-attached to the shifter bushing; as I had to pick up my son from school. Yeah- working on cars outside of your house in a parking garage... not so much fun.

So; once I get out of work today, I will be re-attaching the shifter cable to the stainless steel bushing and I should be good to go.

...
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 02-27-2018, 01:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Did you note that post about the SS bushings aggravating stress on the cable? Let's hope this cable end lasts fairly well...

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Old 02-27-2018, 01:32 PM   #17
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Any cylindrical bushing will slowly cause problems is you wind up the cable the wrong way. Generally you can tell what to do as you turn it in the direction that tightens the lay of the cable. This will be the top side of the loop towards the right side of the car in most cases.

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Old 02-27-2018, 01:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Well- I can say that the cables in the car, are the original cables- because the end that split off looks like all of the other pictures on the internet.

In this car's history, before I bought the car- it was a second vehicle to a semi-retired guy that was a bit loopy to begin with; who thought he knew stuff about cars... the car was his backup to a lease vehicle, if that makes any sense.

I had bought the car for $1100, and it only had 143K on it when I bought it.

In all honesty- I have only had to put a new radiator, Stainless steel shifter bushing, and new brakes on the car, along with a few tires over the past couple of years; and oil changes. So overall- the maintenance on this car has been roughly about $300 +/- with all of the costs listed above. And I have put 50K miles on it in 3 years just driving back and forth to work.


As I mentioned in a previous post here; in my 94 SL2 that I owned for 8 years, I had installed the stainless bushing and the shift loop end, and that setup lasted me the entire time that I owned that car, and that car had the original shifter cables in it as well- all the way up to 266K miles when the engine failed on me.

...
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 02-28-2018, 11:21 AM   #19
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

So far- So Good.


I got the Cable Loop back on the Stainless Steel Bushing last night, along with the plastic washer and the E-Clip.

Drove the car home last night and to work this morning. Everything seems to be functioning properly.

...
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 03-03-2018, 12:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: Dread Shifter Cable Loop Breakage... UGH! NEED HELP!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
I would try that- but- my car is parked headend in first... so I need to get the car either in Neutral, or Reverse so that I can get it backed out of the parking space...
Glad you were able to make the repair and are back on the road. Had I read this post last week when you first had the problem, I would have suggested just depressing the clutch as that gets you into "neutral" for backing out. Of course, a second person makes this a bit easier.

I can also vouch from experience that getting it into third gear, if you can, makes for a much better drive home unless you have some steep hills.

..

...
Current
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1999 SL2 - 198,000 miles

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