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Old 12-05-2006, 02:52 PM   #1
bcravens
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Default Hard shifting

Hello there,
New to the Saturn world. I purchased a 94 SC1 manual transmission from a guy in the paper, my Diesel truck was eating me alive at the pump so I use this as my main runner now. It got real cold here last week--in the teens and I noticed that shifting gears was real hard now. The clutch seems to disegage fine but shifting into gear is real hard (all gears), it will finally pop in after some force applied. It ran fine all summer without a problem. It seems to get easier to shift if it has been running for awhile or it's warmer outside like it has been this week, any thoughts please?

BC
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Old 12-05-2006, 03:25 PM   #2
DonP
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1995 SL2
Default Re: Hard shifting

Shifting hard to all gears, engine on or off, when cold? Shifts OK after driven a bit so it is warmed up?

Wonder the condition of the transmission lubricant? Do you have maint records? Someone may have change/replaced the fluid with the wrong stuff. Check it.

See this recent thread:
http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...smission+fluid
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Old 12-05-2006, 04:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Shifts smooth when off, shifts hard when running. It shifts better when running for awhile but still not 100%. Don't have any records, this car is just a beater used for better MPG, it looks kinda rough but runs good. Is that clutch manual or hydralic? I went out durning my break and played around with it. I noticed it now with the clutch dpressed all the way if I try to put it into gear the car will move forward a bit, if I keep trying to do this the car will start to rock a bit forward everytime, does this mean a new clutch? Last weekend I was checking the back break shoes and noticed the rear passenger brake solenoid was leaking so I changed that out when I put on new shoes, do you think maybe it's a bleeding issue, does the clutch cyclinder run off the same fluid if it's hydralic?
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:04 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hard shifting

It's hydraulic, and your problem is that it's not disengaging all the way. If you want to double check that, get the car on a flat surface, put it in first, and leave the clutch in all the way. If it rolls at all, or the engine starts idling roughly, that confirms it (although it's pretty obvious already). If you search around here you'll find plenty of info on what causes that... nothing comes to mind for me at the moment, but I think it's a hydraulic problem, not the clutch itself. This has nothing to do with your brakes, by the way.
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Old 12-05-2006, 05:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hard shifting

It does not lurch forward or move forward while in gear just while attempting to put it into first or second with the clutch pressed all the way in. The clutch disengages real close to the floor. I read everything I could find in here about hard shifting and I'm really no closer to an answer than when I started. Possible the cable clips? Really no clue all I can say is than it creeps while trying to put into gear but not after and that it takes quite a bit of force to get it in gear. I'll try pumping the clutch 10 times or so to see if that helps. Getting ready to leave work so I should know soon and post findings when I'm home.

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Old 12-05-2006, 06:15 PM   #6
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1995 SL2
Default Re: Hard shifting

Yes, shifting OK with engine off, and hard to get into gear with engine on, even if no moving is a typical symptom of hydraulics, as is engement very close to the floor.

Check cluch fluid level too, if low that cold be part of the problem, and adding fluid can help. However, if you have a leak it will only be a temporaty fix. Leaks can be tiny and hard to spot.

If you need new hydraulics, the best way to go is to get a pre-bled kit, most likely from Saturn. BTW: some dealers do Internet mail order (e.g., Saturnparts.com) at better prices.

It is a fairly eassy do-it-yeurself repair, see more in the "How-To Library" forum.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcravens View Post
It does not lurch forward or move forward while in gear just while attempting to put it into first or second with the clutch pressed all the way in. The clutch disengages real close to the floor. I read everything I could find in here about hard shifting and I'm really no closer to an answer than when I started. Possible the cable clips? Really no clue all I can say is than it creeps while trying to put into gear but not after and that it takes quite a bit of force to get it in gear. I'll try pumping the clutch 10 times or so to see if that helps. Getting ready to leave work so I should know soon and post findings when I'm home.

BC
Well, with the power of the engine idling, it's probably just slipping. Evidently it's not sticking very much -- it's close to disengaging all the way, but not quite there. I'm sure it will get worse over time. It's probably rolling when you change gears because the engine is holding the crankshaft in place, so the gear movement caused by the teeth meshing is transferred to the wheels instead of the (normally) freely spinning clutch.
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:39 PM   #8
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Hard shifting

One "nail in the coffin" test - when you're experiencing the problem, try pumping the clutch pedal up and down several times, then leave it floored. If that eases tranny engagement, that pretty-much pins it on the hydraulics. This is similar to what happens when your brake master cylinder goes; multiple pumping creates a "cumulative" movement of the hydraulic fluid, which compensates (temporarily, of course) for a shot master cylinder. It's a complete, sealed system, about $150 from the dealer, not difficult to install; I'm sure our How-To Library has at least one thread on the topic.
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Old 12-05-2006, 10:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hard shifting

I trieded the pumping thing and I did not see a difference. The only thing that seems to help is a longer running time. I live 25 miles from work, mostly highway @ 70mph, that seems to ease it somewhat. I noticed that 1st, 2nd and 3rd seem to be the worst, 4th and 5th are better but not 100% by any means. I filled the clutch res as it was a little low but that did no good. My buddy seems to think there is a clutch adjustment but I could not locate it, in the car or under the hood. I'm going over there this weekend to see if we can figure it out. Gonna change the tranny fluid to see if that helps and if all else fails I guess take it in to the shop with lots of vasoline for me, gonna need it after their done with my wallet I'm afraid.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hard shifting

[QUOTE=bcravens;955289]I trieded the pumping thing and I did not see a difference. The only thing that seems to help is a longer running time. I live 25 miles from work, mostly highway @ 70mph, that seems to ease it somewhat. I noticed that 1st, 2nd and 3rd seem to be the worst, 4th and 5th are better but not 100% by any means. I filled the clutch res as it was a little low but that did no good. My buddy seems to think there is a clutch adjustment but I could not locate it, in the car or under the hood. I'm going over there this weekend to see if we can figure it out. Gonna change the tranny fluid to see if that helps and if all else fails I guess take it in to the shop with lots of vasoline for me, gonna need it after their done with my wallet I'm afraid. Does this car have a trans axle dipstick??? I could not locate it if there was one.
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Old 12-05-2006, 11:39 PM   #11
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Default Re: Hard shifting

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Originally Posted by bcravens View Post
Does this car have a trans axle dipstick??? I could not locate it if there was one.
It's the red one to the right of and a little behind the oil dipstick (at least on an auto, probably the same place on a manual... it definitely has to be somewhere over the transaxle). If you've got a beater, it might be missing. Look for a hole. That's something you should probably replace if it is

This still sounds like a hydraulic problem to me (but I'll admit I'm no expert). It might be getting better over time because the fluid is heating up and expanding.
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:15 AM   #12
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Hard shifting

The tranny fluid dipstick is right on top of the tranny, near the back, driver's side, pretty-much directly below the two master cylinders. It's a red handle (though it may be covered with gook and not appear red); you flip it up, then pull it out of the tranny. The tranny uses ATF. This information is in your owner's manual.

There is no adjustment to the clutch hydraulics.
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Went back out for somemore looking. Finally found the dipstick, it wasn't red anymore since there was so much grease on it so it blended in with everything else. Took it out and checked it. Fluid was in the middle right where it should be and looked bottle fresh red. Oh also cleaned the top of the dipstick so it's now red and easy to see. The hydraulic thingy on top of the tranny looks pretty easy to change, just disconnect the two cables, few bolts and sensor on the top and that looks like it.
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcravens View Post
Went back out for somemore looking. Finally found the dipstick, it wasn't red anymore since there was so much grease on it so it blended in with everything else. Took it out and checked it. Fluid was in the middle right where it should be and looked bottle fresh red. Oh also cleaned the top of the dipstick so it's now red and easy to see.
Okay, sounds like the fluid is good, and no one got Neanderthal and put gear oil in it (whew!).

Quote:
The hydraulic thingy on top of the tranny looks pretty easy to change, just disconnect the two cables, few bolts and sensor on the top and that looks like it.
That's not the hydraulics; not even close. That's the shift tower; the cables come from the shifter, that "sensor" is the reverse light switch (there are no sensors in the manual tranny). The clutch hydraulic system is the master cylinder (bolted to the firewall), the slave cylinder (on the tranny housing up by the front), and the hydraulic line between them.

It sounds like you're trying this without a manual or printed procedures. Don't. This is not like changing a thermostat (which, actually, is not a "generic" procedure in the case of our S-cars, but I digress); you need to know exactly what you're removing, and what not to remove. Don't make any assumptions. Visit our How-To Library; there are threads covering a number of commonly-done procedures, written specifically to cover our S-cars.
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:53 AM   #15
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Yes you are right, no manual. As stated it's a beater and I need to go out and buy a book, only had the car 2 months now paid 900.00 for it. I'll go for the master and slave first to see if that does it and move on to the clutch from there. Would hate for it to be that as it will cost 75% of what I paid for it to fix.
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Old 12-06-2006, 12:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Id bet my left nut its the slave cylinder

I had that exact problem you describe, came out of nowhere.....

It will steadily get worse over the next few months, until your wrenching the ****ing Shifter into each gear with BOTH hands...

May be something else, but my 1995 Saturn SC2, it ended up being the slave cylinder... my cousin is a mechanic, and he figured that out because it could shift fine when the car was off, but when it was on, it was hard to shift (it was also way super harder to shift into first gear compared to any of the other gears)

~Jason
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: Hard shifting

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Originally Posted by SDJASON View Post
Id bet my left nut its the slave cylinder

I had that exact problem you describe, came out of nowhere.....

It will steadily get worse over the next few months, until your wrenching the ****ing Shifter into each gear with BOTH hands...

May be something else, but my 1995 Saturn SC2, it ended up being the slave cylinder... my cousin is a mechanic, and he figured that out because it could shift fine when the car was off, but when it was on, it was hard to shift (it was also way super harder to shift into first gear compared to any of the other gears)

~Jason
Thank you Jason!!
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:35 AM   #18
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Have some more problems if anyone has any ideas. Went out tonight to look at the slave cylinder and found on top towards the right where the line goes into the unit a allen bolt to bleed, I thought this was not possible?? Anyway I bleed it a little to see if it would help and it made things worse!! Now can't get it in gear and the clutch will not engage. Shifting while car is off and then starting it will lurch forward bad!! Is this still tied to the slave or am I screwed. I can't imagine it could go from bad to really suckin just by turning that allen bolt but who knows. Can anyone please give me somemore advise other than I'm an idiot. Is it still hydraulic related or are we talkin clutch replacement now. Also when changing the hydraulics is it best to change the master and slave at the same time or can you just change the salve? I was thinking since they are seperate you could change one or the other.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:40 AM   #19
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Quote:
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Have some more problems if anyone has any ideas. Went out tonight to look at the slave cylinder and found on top towards the right where the line goes into the unit a allen bolt to bleed, I thought this was not possible?? Anyway I bleed it a little to see if it would help and it made things worse!! Now can't get it in gear and the clutch will not engage. Shifting while car is off and then starting it will lurch forward bad!! Is this still tied to the slave or am I screwed. I can't imagine it could go from bad to really suckin just by turning that allen bolt but who knows. Can anyone please give me somemore advise other than I'm an idiot. Is it still hydraulic related or are we talkin clutch replacement now. Also when changing the hydraulics is it best to change the master and slave at the same time or can you just change the salve? I was thinking since they are seperate you could change one or the other.
Sounds like your clutch is staying engaged, and failing to disengage. You probably introduced (more) air into the hydraulic system trying to bleed it (how could you bleed it solo?). About the replacement, DonP hinted at it, but to be more emphatic, the only really "orthodox" repair is replacement of the hydraulic system. You buy it as an assembly (master, line, slave), pre-filled and pre-bled. $150-ish at the dealer. As you so painfully found out this evening, any other attempted repair, involving a single component and/or opening the hydraulics, yields ...er... sub-obtimal results.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:11 AM   #20
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Default Re: Hard shifting

Ok I'll give them a call today. Forgot to add I had the wife in the car on the clutch when attempting the bleed.

P.S. $178.77 with tax for the whole assembly.

Last edited by bcravens; 12-07-2006 at 10:21 AM.
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