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Old 10-31-2012, 09:39 AM   #1
puertoricanpete
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Default Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

All,
I have been battling with my Saturn Vue shifter for a couple of weeks now and really want to get things fixed. There have been many excellent posts on this site, that seem to indicate my troubles lie with the shifter cables. I can't remember which post, but one mentioned detaching the cables from the transmission and looking for graphite dust and testing the stiffness of the shifter.
I detached the cables, didn't see any dust, but did notice the shift still being somewhat stiff. The shifting (with the detached cables) wasn't nearly as bad as the shifting when the cables were attached, but still a little stiff.
Then I lubricated the cables, as another post suggested and after a while that seemed to make a big difference (with the cables still detached). We lubricated the end of the cable like crazy, from the transmission end, while holding it up as high as possible. The hope was to allow as much lubricant as possible to "flow" towards the shifter end of the cable. The results were pretty dramatic and the shifting (again not attached to the transmission) was smoother than it has ever been.
However, when I reattached the cables to the transmission, I really had to fight to do any shifting at all. I double checked the cable and made sure there weren't any kinks in it and tried to weave it back through the engine compartment the way it was before.
Long story short, I am resigned to purchasing a new set of cables. However, is there something more I should be looking into? Is there something with the transmission that could be causing problems? I thank you in advance for any input you can pass my way. Have a great and most blessed day!

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Hi Pete. Welcome aboard!

Does the clutch make any difference with the engine turned off? How does the clutch feel with the engine running?

The slave cylinder may be something to look at.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Quote:
Originally Posted by puertoricanpete View Post
All,
I have been battling with my Saturn Vue shifter for a couple of weeks now and really want to get things fixed. There have been many excellent posts on this site, that seem to indicate my troubles lie with the shifter cables. I can't remember which post, but one mentioned detaching the cables from the transmission and looking for graphite dust and testing the stiffness of the shifter.
I detached the cables, didn't see any dust, but did notice the shift still being somewhat stiff. The shifting (with the detached cables) wasn't nearly as bad as the shifting when the cables were attached, but still a little stiff.
Then I lubricated the cables, as another post suggested and after a while that seemed to make a big difference (with the cables still detached). We lubricated the end of the cable like crazy, from the transmission end, while holding it up as high as possible. The hope was to allow as much lubricant as possible to "flow" towards the shifter end of the cable. The results were pretty dramatic and the shifting (again not attached to the transmission) was smoother than it has ever been.
However, when I reattached the cables to the transmission, I really had to fight to do any shifting at all. I double checked the cable and made sure there weren't any kinks in it and tried to weave it back through the engine compartment the way it was before.
Long story short, I am resigned to purchasing a new set of cables. However, is there something more I should be looking into? Is there something with the transmission that could be causing problems? I thank you in advance for any input you can pass my way. Have a great and most blessed day!

Thanks,
Pete
Pete ... I've never shifted a Vue with manual transmission.

I found and attached one service manual extract for hard shift.

I've not found a suggested schedule for fluid change. I did find the trans was originally filled with DEXRON III, which was replaced with DEXRON VI, and there is a service bulletin to NOT USE DEXRON VI in the manual trans.

See post #7 of following thread if interested in changing transmission fluid:

http://saturnfans3.saturnfans.com/~s...d.php?t=183866

Also, let me know if you'd like any of the docs referenced in the "hard shifting" extract.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf MT Shifts Hard.pdf (20.7 KB, 170 views)
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:39 AM   #4
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

How many miles on the Vue?
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Pete, I would drain out the old fluid and install new before any further work.

My manual transmission is hard to shift only when cold and the oil hasn't sloshed around yet. I'm thinking about changing it out( again) for some TOrque-Drive or TranSynd.
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Old 10-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

All,
Thanks for the input. Here is what I know. Vue has roughly 73-74,000 miles on it. The problem doesn't seem to matter if the engine has been running a while or not.

For example, last Saturday, I started out to my brother-in-law's to work on the Vue and the shifter was stiff, but better than it had been. After some driving it shifted just fine (at least just as stiff as it had always been). However, after we monkeyed with the shifter cable (see my original post), the darn thing was really tough to shift again, even after the car had been running for 15 minutes or so.

The clutch seems to be working fine. No issues with the pedal depressing with engine on or off. Is there something else I should be looking at with the clutch?

I will take a look at that attachment when I get a chance. If the shifting doesn't seem to matter after the engine running, could this be an issue with the transmission (fluid or otherwise)?

Thanks,
Pete
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Is shifting (difficulty) the same with engine off as on?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

As I recall the shifting was difficult with the engine on or off.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Replace those cables and you'll be much better off.

I did that and then swapped to Redline D4 for fluid and the fluid change made very little difference cold/hot/whatever. Its the cables that account for 99% of the hard shifting. Its still a piss poor design - even with new cables it lacks a nice smooth and solid feel that a proper mechanical connection has.
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Old 11-15-2012, 04:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

My 2005 shifted hard when I got it..in 2007 eventually the ends of the shift cables broke off.. I had the cables replaced at the dealer, and the mechanic told me the root cause of the problem was a zip tie, that tied the cables together for easy installation at the factory.. the replacement cables had the same zip tie..new cables with zip tie removed have worked flawlessly for 125.000 miles,,
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: Saturn Vue 2005 - Hard to Shift Manual Transmission

Just got done replacing the shifter cables on my 06 Vue with 126k miles last night. The shifter base was covered with graphite dust. The black cable, which moves with the fore/aft movement of the shifter, was in much worse shape than the white cable (side-to-side movement). New cables moved smoother than the old ones, but lubricating them with PB blaster made them even smoother. The drop in shift effort is dramatic. I can now shift with one finger!
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