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Old 08-30-2006, 09:54 AM   #1
MrMatthew
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Default Shifting Problems

I was hoping someone could shed some light or maybe offer up some advice on what my next step should be for this problem.
I have a 2004 Saturn Ion 2, 5 speed manual transmission. It has approxiametly 116,000 miles. I have been having a hard time getting my shifter into gears. It's not with just one certain gear...it's with all of them. Funny thing is, this doesn't happen ALL the time. Sometimes it will shift fine but when it decides to act up, I can't get it to hardly go in any of the gears. The transmission runs great. (No misses or anything) I just can't hardly get it to shift. Does anyone else have this problem? Does anyone have any advice. It is so frustrating because I drive my car for a living. It is no longer under warranty and I don't want to take it somewhere where I'll get ripped off and end up spending a fortune to fix it. Any help?

Thanks,
Matt

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Old 08-30-2006, 10:22 AM   #2
liubhs02
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Heart Re: Shifting Problems

I'm not a transmission expert, but I think your synchros might be messed up. When it doesn't "act up," are you rev matching? I think with bad synchros, you can get it in to gear if you rev match, but other wise it'll be hard to get in gear.

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Old 08-30-2006, 11:37 AM   #3
MrMatthew
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Question Re: Shifting Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by liubhs02
I'm not a transmission expert, but I think your synchros might be messed up. When it doesn't "act up," are you rev matching? I think with bad synchros, you can get it in to gear if you rev match, but other wise it'll be hard to get in gear.
I am not sure what you mean when you say "rev matching." I have read that before in the forums but don't know what that is. Also, what are synchros? Are they expensive to fix?

Thanks,
Matt

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Old 08-30-2006, 04:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

It's done by using the gas pedal to match the engine speed to the transmission speed when you are ready to shift. If you rev-match properly, you don't even need to use the clutch to shift gears and the function (to help engage the clutch when the transmission and engine aren't rev matched) of your syncros is bypassed entirely.

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Old 08-30-2006, 06:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

This sounds like an advanced case of the difficult shifts others with the 2004 models had at earlier points in the cars' lives. Mine was difficult to engage first and second at times but I wouldn't have thought the synchros would fail at <35,000 miles. Buried somewhere in the Ion forum is at least one thread about the hard shifting nature of earlier models.

In any case, Matthew, I would start looking around for a local, dependable transmission shop since you're out of warranty and probably don't want to pay retailer labor rates.

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Old 08-30-2006, 06:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Are you saying that it is hard to put in first ,and that with the engine off
you can put it in any gear easily ?
If this is the case you might only need to put fluid into the clutch master cylinder.

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Old 08-30-2006, 08:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Matt, Dr. B has a point. It could be something as simple as a lack of fluid. Definitely worth checking into.

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Old 08-31-2006, 08:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Thanks for all the great advice so far. I have read up on rev matching and double clutching and tried it today while I was driving. You know what...it did seem to shift a little easier. But I find it kind of hard to do when your going to turn somewhere and your shifting down into second gear because you have to hit the break and gas almost at the same time.

As far as the clutch master cylinder needing fluid...I looked and looked tonight for the place to put the clutch master cylinder fluid and couldn't find it. I read that it was behind the brake reservoir but was still unable to find it. Can anyone point me in the right location for this?

I use to have a 1998 Saturn SL1 and it did the same exact thing but not until I had 250,000 miles on it. I didn't even mess with it because I traded it in for this 2004 Saturn Ion. Now I am shocked that this one is doing the exact same thing but only at 116,000.

By the way, are synchros very expensive to have fixed or does anyone know.

Thanks everyone,
Matt

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Old 09-03-2006, 09:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMatthew
By the way, are synchros very expensive to have fixed or does anyone know.

considering you'd need to remove the trans, yes. they are internal on the gear shafts. It may almost be more economical to find a rebuilt trans depending on labor rates.

also a question; is it also hard to get into fifth? I know you said all gears but i'm asking specifically. if so, how are you shifting? I've noticed when people fist or force the shifter into gear it wears heavier on the synchronizers.

[edit]
if nothing else, there is always ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/04-Sa...spagenameZWD1V
[/edit]

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Old 09-04-2006, 08:01 AM   #10
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSLaBuda
considering you'd need to remove the trans, yes. they are internal on the gear shafts. It may almost be more economical to find a rebuilt trans depending on labor rates.

also a question; is it also hard to get into fifth? I know you said all gears but i'm asking specifically. if so, how are you shifting? I've noticed when people fist or force the shifter into gear it wears heavier on the synchronizers.

[edit]
if nothing else, there is always ebay http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/04-Sa...spagenameZWD1V
[/edit]
I was afraid that they might be expensive. As far as fifth gear, I generally don't have much of a problem with fifth; or fourth for that matter. I mostly have have problems with first, second and third. When I shift and it doesn't want to go into gear, I never force it. I will either clutch again or just keep trying with little force until it slides in. Sort of like sex at the beginning; don't jam it in but work it in.

I know a very dependable and reputable guy who owns a transmission shop and he has done some transmissions for me in the past. I think I am going to take it up to him and see what he thinks. Still it will cost me a good penny if he has to replace it. I am going to ask him if he would install it if I bought one off eBay like you said. eBay sounds kind of risky to me though.

By the way, do you know where the clutch master cylinder is so I can check the fluid. I can't find it.

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Old 09-04-2006, 11:08 AM   #11
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

MrMatthew,

I'd have your trans shop try and "price match" a reasonable price for a replacement... If it's own price is way more expensive. Shops usually don't want to install outside parts... As you've said Ebay could be risky. They probably want your business so try and work out a reasonable price for a part they will backup if it goes bad. If the "ebay" parts go bad... you'll just be spending MEGA $$ to replace it...

Better to have the shop backup the repair with a warranty then saving a few bucks early on... then pay it all back and then some later.

A recent discussion on "Car Talk" about installing outside parts, informed my opinion.

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Old 09-05-2006, 11:43 AM   #12
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by lgodave
MrMatthew,

I'd have your trans shop try and "price match" a reasonable price for a replacement... If it's own price is way more expensive. Shops usually don't want to install outside parts... As you've said Ebay could be risky. They probably want your business so try and work out a reasonable price for a part they will backup if it goes bad. If the "ebay" parts go bad... you'll just be spending MEGA $$ to replace it...

Better to have the shop backup the repair with a warranty then saving a few bucks early on... then pay it all back and then some later.

A recent discussion on "Car Talk" about installing outside parts, informed my opinion.
Thanks for the info. I hadn't thought about the shop warranting it if it was an outside part. What you say makes a lot of sense. I am going up next week. I'll let everyone know what he finds if anyone is interested.

Matt

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Old 09-05-2006, 07:47 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Yep,

I'd be interested. I'm all for getting shops to install outside parts... But (as discussed on Car Talk) many shops don't like dealing with it... If the part fails, Nobody wants to have to go back and fix it again. (Bad for the Customer, Bad for the shop.) If you can get a good deal on the part... best bet is to see if they can price match or beat the price with their own parts.

Good luck,

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Old 09-11-2006, 02:15 PM   #14
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSLaBuda
also a question; is it also hard to get into fifth? I know you said all gears but i'm asking specifically. if so, how are you shifting? I've noticed when people fist or force the shifter into gear it wears heavier on the synchronizers.
DSL, I am having the problem where I grind every time I go into fifth...all the other gears work fine. Do you know why this might happen? I only have 13K on the car...

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Old 09-12-2006, 12:11 AM   #15
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

ygpm

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Old 09-12-2006, 09:04 PM   #16
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

I would try changing the trans fluid as a first inexpensive step. Sounds like the blocker rings are not doing their job 100%. This transmission can be a pain to disassemble because gears need a very high pressure press to get pressed off of the shafts in order to get to the blockers. So anything that you can do to avoid having to go into the trans is better for you.

The clutch master cylinder fluid reservoir is part of the brake master cylinder. Look for hose coming off of the front drivers side of the brake master. There is a seperate reservoir inside the brake master reservoir for the clutch system.

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Old 09-13-2006, 07:37 PM   #17
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

Clutch master cylinder fluid = transmission fluid?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman

The clutch master cylinder fluid reservoir is part of the brake master cylinder. Look for hose coming off of the front drivers side of the brake master. There is a seperate reservoir inside the brake master reservoir for the clutch system.

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:32 AM   #18
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Default Re: Shifting Problems

No.

Clutch master cylinder fluid = Brake fluid

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