A $.30 bushing on a $375 cable

Posted by Nick Chase on September 5, 2003 in Personal, Rants |

My car is in the shop today, and will likely stay there until at least Monday. It may stay there longer than that. Oh, it’s not that the parts aren’t available, or that the shop doesn’t have time to fix it. The problem is that my beloved 1996 Saturn, which has given me very little trouble in the 150,000 plus miles that I’ve driven it, has a bad bushing in the shifter. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with cars, or with bushings (as I was when the day began) a bushing is typically a small, round, piece of plastic that goes around a piece metal that rotates, filling some of the same function that ball bearings might.

At first I was relieved to find out that the reason I couldn’t shift my car out of third was not the linkage inside the transmission after all, but rather a problem with the shifter itself. After all, it’s got to be cheaper to take apart the center console than the transmission, right?

Well, yes, that’s true. But apparently Saturn has seen fit to take this small piece of plastic and provide it only attached to the clutch cable. Price for the clutch cable? $375. Oh, and another hour or four to install it, since it’s got to be threaded up through the dashboard and over to the transmission.

Total cost to repair the one inch piece of plastic? $750.

I have no light in my radio for the same reason: a $600 job to replace the entire wiring harness. I decided I can live without the light. And it’s not just cars, either. I once had to replace an entire laptop motherboard because the power supply jack got loose. (Thankfully, it was a warranty repair, but still…)

Why do companies DO this? And why do we let them?!?

An open request to Saturn: Why, oh, why, would you design something like this so that a simple repair becomes so darn complicated?

[Update: This entry has more comments than any other post on this blog, with lots of great information on how to fix this problem without spending an arm and a leg.]

[Update to the update: In the 8 years (OMG, really?!?) since I wrote this, it has become possible to get a replacement for the Saturn shifter bushing on eBay.]

154 Comments

  • Jake says:

    Wow.. I hear ya. I was looking for some info on the net about what happened to my 96 SC2 yesterday and I found this. Feels a bit comforting knowing I’m not the only one. I thought the dealership I went to was trying to take advantage of me, because at first he said the cable costs $60 Canadian.. after a couple hours of waiting for them to get around to my car and another half hour to look at, I was told that it would cost over roughly $560 C , $237 for the cable and 3 hours of labor, at $99 an hour (do doctors even make that much?) The service advisor told me that was the same price for the cable in the Saab.. .. I was like ‘YEAH.. but my car is NOT a Saab!’
    I was stunned, told them to take my car down. I was stuck in first, I asked them to put it in second for me if it didn’t make a difference to them. He did.. I drove about 2 – 2.5 hours home in second gear.. not fun. Especially in rush hour and when stopped at a light going up hill.
    I’ve found a couple other similar stories.. maybe we should do something about it.

    • Carson Silkey says:

      I found the same problem with my Saturn. Here was my fix. A phillips screw driver and some pliers. Found the broken part 1st hour, installed a rubber busing from a bicycle mirror and found a plastic bottle cap then duck taped it to the face of the shifter plate where the cable linkage ball come through. zippy tied everything together and more ducktape. Now looking for a replacement before I have to do the same thing over again. Thus dodging a $700 mechanic bill. God Bless Duck Tape!

      • Meagan says:

        Did you find a replacement bushing? I read a lot of people found them at Napa but most of the comments I saw were from before Saturn went under. You can’t even select Saturn ad the type of vehicle you have on their website. I guess zip tires will have to work for now!

    • James Mckinzie says:

      My linkage bushing on my ’93 Saturn went two months ago. I need to fix my brake lines and worry about my clutch,$500 for a fifty cent piece of plastic? I have been riding my bike. That is Bicycle. Personally believed w/ a little thought I could resolve this, despite my belief the best way to screw up my car is to work on it. Took the time to think about it the other day and I prayed. That was two days ago. $1.50 and an hours time my car is fixed and my mechanic is impressed. Plan to patent this solution.

      Or just post it on the internet. I have ID’s and OD’s. We should not have to pay a fortune for simple solutions. This is a reasonable and reliable fix for under a $100. If I can figure this out you want to tell me they can’t.

      July 25th ’11. Let us see how long this lasts. Stay tuned and stay involved. We shall overcome.

    • Dan in Orlando says:

      Save time! I just read through everyone’s solutions in this blog, and took a lot of time, but the best answer is found on Ebay. Why? Most solutions here are risky (using wire-ties that can slip off while driving) or need special equipment (drilling out metal). The best solution in my opinion is to go to Ebay.com and search for “saturn shifter”. There are several sellers with the part for about $20, and I am going to buy from the one who has 1800 sales and a high rating. This, in my opinion, is a time-saver and least-risky deal.

    • Black says:

      Hey, I have the same problem with my 97 Saturn Sc2. At first the bushing was defective so I had it replaced. Now the shifter cable has come apart… I found the part at Auto Zone for $63.00 dollars, and the bushing (metal) on ebay for $29.00 and had my mechanic replace them. I hope the other bushing is good, if not, I may have to go through this again. Good luck to you all because Saturn is wrong for how they designed these things…

  • Nick says:

    I agree. I sent a note to Saturn asking them to respond, but they aren’t allowed to open links in emails, and they want the VIN number before they’ll answer a question. As you might imagine, I’ve been a little busy to take care of that. :)
    But I do think we should do something. What do you think, an e-petition? A letter-writing drive? An e-petition is probably moe effective in this case, because we would want to submit it to lots of different companies, I would think.

  • Dave says:

    Having the same problem,(My 96′SC2),left Me stuck in 1st. gear. I tie wrapped the cable to the shiter lever to get me home. Shocked at the price of repair! I drilled out the ball at the base of the shifter lever, and put a 3/8 bolt with fender washers on both sides of the cable back in place of the ball. To take up any play between the bolt and shifter rod, I used rubber grommets. A half hour later I was back on the road. Hope this helps somebody from being ripped off!!!!!!

  • brian says:

    My girlfriend has a 97 SL2 and she backed out of the parking lot the other day and went to put the car in first and “snap” went the little .30 cent bushing attached to the $400 cable (parts and labor). A quick trip to Wal-mart after finding out the replacement cost, (2) 75lb. zip straps, and about 15 minutes later, she’s back on the road without feeling any difference. I like the drilling and bolt idea. I’ll try that next once these straps break.

  • aleks says:

    Having the same problem with my 99 SL1. I’m using duct tape at the moment. I have an intact bushing that I carefully removed from a junkyard saturn, but I’m not sure I can install the thing without damaging it. I’m tool limited so the drill and rig is too much for me. Hurray for tie wraps. WalMart here I come. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Gordner says:

    Same problem.Went to the Saturn dealership and was offered the cable assembly for $165. I guess it’s the law of supply and demand. As word gets out as to how common this problem actually is the cost of that “.30″ cent part will go down.My nephew was successful in getting a salvage grommet with a couple of needle nose pliers and put it in using the same tools. I am planning to try the same. Thought about drilling the ball and using washers myself. That will be my backup plan. Please notify Saturn if you have this problem. Voice your displeasure.If enough “squeaky wheels” contact them, they may do something about it. It’s an extremely poor design.

  • Andrew says:

    Well I felt like a good husband last night when I removed the console from my 1998 SL saturn to find that the little piece of plastic had broken. No problem I told my wife, only going to cost about $2.00 or so (dealer price). Can’t be that much, only a small piece of rubber. I just called her at work, 190 here in Florida for the cable. The parts guy didn’t even have to look it up on the computer. Scary, must have a lot of calls on that part. I like the cable ties for the quick fix. I suggest filing a complaint with the transportation safety commission. https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/Consumer.cfm

  • Andrew says:

    Update,
    Just called a few parts places, one guy gets (no joking) 10 calls a day on this freaking part.

  • Billy says:

    Thanks guys for the advice. My 91 SC had the same problem. I took out the shifter, drilled a hole in the end of the ball and tapped threads into it.
    I also drilled a hole in the center of what was left of the plastic bushing. Then I put it all back together using a washer and screw to hold the cable in place. It’s pretty easy if you have the right tools.

  • anon says:

    MP6258 plastic snap in bushing from Ace Hardware works as a temporary fix. So far been working for 3 weeks.

  • jennifer hall says:

    thank god someone else knows about this. i just called the dealer(ripoffs) 185.86 to replace a plastic part that dry rotted. why do i need to replace a cable thats working just fine to get a .30 cent piece of plastic.

  • Anna says:

    I have been rigging mine up for some time, 94 SC1 which has been a great car up untill the $200 part for a .30 piece of plastic. Thanks for all the great advice.

  • john says:

    Couldn’t get the suggested MP6258 bushing from Ace Hardware (actually a 5/8″ nylon hole plug) to work very well. Fixed the problem by drilling and tapping a small hole into the exposed end of the bell crank steel ball. Placed the original rubber bushing (both pieces, as it had broken in half) back into the cable end and snapped it back in place on the steel ball. Then, through a hole I had punched in the exposed end of the bushing, I secured the assembly with a #6 screw through a large diameter metal washer into the tapped hole. Now, even if the bushing further deterioates, the shifter cable won’t come loose.

  • Chris says:

    http://www.saturnsurplus.com/m151/m151.htm
    Is this the part needed?
    A-1 Clutch Socket Bushing 2ea. 7377468 N/A $3.50 Y2-6
    A-2 Clutch Socket Bushing Kit 2ea 11639714 & 1ea. 11639715 Kit $4.00 Y2-6
    A-2 Clutch Socket Bushing-Each 11639714 2520-00-176-8931 $6.00 Y2-

  • Alexis says:

    I think this is exactly what just happened to my 99 SL1. The shifter itself is really loose, but it seems to be stuck in 1st. Any suggestions? It’s only got about 95K, and the clutch pedal itself seems fine. (I didn’t hear any snap, but the radio may have been up too loud).
    Help would be welcome!

  • Jerry says:

    Same thing happened to me [is there an echo in here?] with the wife’s ’96 SL1 at 55K miles. Basic problem is that the original plastic shifter cable bushing is too thin to last, which any plastic replacement will be too. Fixed ours permanently with a stainless steel bushing. Now offering a bushing kit for $29 + $3 S&H, details on eBay, item #7931658348. Jerry

  • Rodney says:

    Wow this is like a support group for Saturn owners. Maybe we should call it “Broken Shifter Anonymous”…or “Smart Saturn Owners who don’t want to pay $700 to fix a $.30 freak’n problem”
    Looks like Jerry has got a great solution. I’m gonna buy one and I’ll let you know how it works out.
    BTW…great minds must think a like because I was thinking about trying the tie wraps and washer idea myself before I found this blog.
    Rodney

  • Nick says:

    >Wow this is like a support group for Saturn owners. >Maybe we should call it “Broken Shifter >Anonymous”…or “Smart Saturn Owners who don’t want >to pay $700 to fix a $.30 freak’n problem”
    Well, I’m glad my ordeal accomplished something. :)
    —- Nick

  • Alexis says:

    This site really helped me! I fixed my car last weekend, and it shifts better than it did BEFORE the repair. My husband, on the other hand, has yet to say “Good Job Honey” – mind you, this is HIS car and he broke it – I drive the old Honda!
    Thanks again for this, it was REALLY helpful!! I’m going to look into that set on EBay and see if I should get it as “back up” in case my repair fails, or my cable goes….. Does anyone have any ideas on the plastic O at the end of the clutch cable? What if this starts to go?….

  • Thomas says:

    Ditto the problem…96 SC1. Shifter broke and left me in 1st gear. I limped on home because I was close. Mine is the same story as the other guys. I went to the dealer happily because it would cost me under a dollar in parts. What a surprise I was in for. Just like someone else said, the parts guy had the cable assembly right under the counter. No need to look it up? He even knew the price for parts and labor from memory.
    Disgusted, I went home and then tried a 66 cent radiator hose clamp, which I thought would be better than the plastic ties because it is made of metal and would last indefinitely. However, just as I was about to go with the radiator hose clamp as a permanent solution, it slipped off. Darn! So now, I’ve drilled out the ball just like so many others on this site said to. I used a #6, 1″ machine bolt, with a large fender washer (1″) on one side, and a lock washer and nut on the other. Works great! Probably should have used 1.25″ bolt though. Thanks a bunch for the idea to drill the ball. I had not thought of it until I found this site. If anyone needs any pictures of my success, just email me.
    Anyway, I was once a loyal Saturn customer, now I’m no so sure. Sure, I love my Saturn…and have had NO trouble with it since new, and it now has 76k miles on it. But I believe Saturn could have manufactured and sold us that 30 cent part rather than the entire stupid cable for $175, and then charge us another $200 for labor. WHAT A RACKET! As much as I like Saturn, I might not ever buy another one just because of that. I wish they knew how I felt, or we could get word to them that their stupid little $400 clear profit is going cost them a future sale of a $15000+ car.
    I believe Saturn should have an official “recall” for standard transmission cars using that use this stupid engineering disaster. What kind of idiot engineer would use a plastic bushing on a shifter that is going to see probably 100′s of thousands of shifts during the cars lifetime? I’m not an engineer and I could have told you it would fail. Is Saturn so afraid to admin their mistake, or what?
    The jerks!

    • devon baker says:

      hello. i know your posting is very old. however. i was wondering would u still have those pics of your work on the saturn? im having this problem now in a 1998 SC2 5speed and basically need a little assistance so i can get around. ive messed two weeks of work because of this situation.

    • Dawn J. says:

      I read your post about the broken shift linkage bushing and you said to email you if photos were wanted to see how you repaited this. Could you please send pictures to me? Are they step by step pictures of the procedure to fix this? My husband will be doing this for me, but he tends to try to do things “his way” all the time because he thinks his way is better than anyone else’s, but only tends to make things worse 80% of the time!!!! Any step-by-step info you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you very much!!!

  • Jerry says:

    UPDATE ON STAINLESS BUSHING — Over a dozen Saturns have had their broken plastic bushings permanently fixed with one of my stainless steel bushings. The $29 kit [+$3 S&H] includes a precision machined and polished stainless bushing, inner and outer nylon guide washers, E-clip, Teflon powder and applicator, and instructions. On eBay [search current or completed for "Saturn shifter bushing" and check feedback for user reports] or direct–email for picture and installation instructions. Thanks! Jerry

    • Joe says:

      I recently bought an ’01′ SL and not even 40miles later 151k on the car the shifter did not want to shift so I took it to a mechanic and low and behold he said I need a cable assembly and it was goining to cost about $700.oo well I can’t afford that so I looked online for alternatives and thank god I found this site. If anyone can email me pictures of how they did there fix I would really appreciate it. I could not find jerry’s ebay store. and don’t be fooled I made this email to avoid spam while i was searching for a car. joesautotrader@gmail

  • Uriel says:

    I Bought a kit from Jerry’s EBay store. I will tell how it work.

  • Russr42 says:

    Thank you all! I’ve got mine patched up with zip ties right now, I’m going to drill it out and fit it with a bolt or something next week. (Got to get some metal drill bits).

  • Peter says:

    I came out of work this afternoon to discover that my ’96 SL2 had lost 2nd, 4th and reverse. I managed to limp home in 1st and 3rd and found this blog with a little searching.
    My symptoms seem very different from what others are describing here. Before I remove the center console to take a look (it is -30 celcius and the closest Saturn dealer is a two and half hour drive) would any of you care to comment? Are there two mechanisms – one for the upper and the other for the lower- gears?

  • Peter says:

    A little more information. I managed to wrangle the console out today to have a look. The bushing is actually completely intact! However, the bolted cap that holds down the cables is not securing the cable – it, and its surrounding sheath slide freely. Is this normal?
    I also found a mysterious U shaped clip on a cross-member under the transmission. I suspect that this clip secures the cable at the transmission end. Any ideas?

  • Maggie says:

    I got lucky that my 2002 is still under warrenty- towed to the dealer, and they’ll replace the whole shebang.
    I’ve only had this puppy for 32 months
    (I’m the 1st owner)
    It’s weird that such an (otherwise) good car has such an expensive and fragile Achille’s Heel.
    I like Saturn, but wasn’t thrilled that something has broken already. Found you all through this website http://www.coolgoose.com/sites/flemco/car/car.html
    Great article, and good step-by-step with images. Thanks whoever you are!!

  • HA-Y-N Saturn says:

    UUUGGGHHHH!!! I just got through swapping engines on this otherwise very nice 93 SC-2. I took it out for a test drive. Brought it back to the garage, and “POP”, it would not get out of reverse. I stripped the console out and found the shift linkage seperated from the shifter. I called the local Saturn dealer the next morning and got the bad news. THE FIX: Using PERMATEX CLEAR SILICONE ADHESIVE, I glued the 4 pieces of the bushing together. I placed the “bonding” bushing onto the ball on the shifter, slipped the linkage over the bushing, and clamped it there overnight. The next day, I got a universal post-type battery terminal and strapped it to the shifter with the “post” end of the terminal “hugging” the bushing/linkage connection. It worked very well and cost about $0.90 — email me @ dad43hawaii@aol.com, and I’ll email you a photo. Aloha!!! BTW, All in all, I give Saturn an A+ for their engineering. It is a simple DIY car. If you wanna bitch about engineering, try working on a FORD >:-)

  • JV says:

    The loss of 2nd 4th and reverse is related to a thin metal clip that holds in the bottom arm of the shifter linkage. It can be seen near the firewall behind the engine if you look from the drivers side. The clip is cheap and when it breaks you loose the bottom gears. This has happened to me twice now. It is easy to fix, but good luck finding a part. If you have the correct thickness of metal you could probable make one to work that would be better. Otherwise…Salvage yard.

  • Nick says:

    Well, Chris, to be fair, to take a hammer to it, they’d have had to have dissassembled your center console, which I’m sure you would have noticed…
    —- Nick

  • carla says:

    Hey, The 2nd, 4th, and reverse on my 95 sc1 are getting hard to get into and they’re telling me that it’ll be $475 US! So can anyone walk me through the metal clip thing? I know enough about cars to find my way around, so please PLEASE PLEASE write me and let me know before Monday when I have to fork over the $! Thanks all!

  • Nick says:

    I don’t know if there’s anybody (besides me :) ) actually checking this page for new entries, so I don’t know if you’ll get a response, but let me ask you this: 1) Are you sure that this is the problem? IE, did they tell you that they were going to replace the shift cable because of a bad bushing? If so, then 2) Check out the coolgoose.com link earlier on this page, because there’s a lot of info there. And 3) there are Haines manuals that tell you a lot about taking apart your car and putting it back together. But if you’re a complete novice, replacing this cable is probably NOT a good first project! (Replacing the bushing functionality, though, MIGHT be doable.) Proceed at your own risk!

  • anon says:

    I just experienced the same problem as Peter – lost 2nd, 4th and reverse… the problem, as I am sure he discovered, was a U shaped metal retaining clip that secures one of the two shift cables to the transmission housing… the retaining clip costs $7 at the Saturn dealership… very easy to replace…

  • Mike says:

    This site saved me at least $500. Dealership kept trying to tell me the cable had snapped, luckily, I found this site before I returned to schedule the ‘fix’. I paid my $85 diagnostic fee and proceeded to take up the cup holder console, and there it was… a small piece of the bushing still intact. I got home with the help of some heavy duty thread I had in the trunk (luckily I live about 10 miles away from the dealership). I plan on calling a couple of salvage yards, and if that doesnt work, it’s to the local hardware store. Thanks to all the people who have posted their experiences!!!!

  • Misty says:

    Tonite my car battery died in my 94 SL1. The underneath was ticking the whole time, unless I turned on the inside light (which was barely dim). I had it jumped, let it warm up and drove it home. Now the freaking clutch (pedal) doesn’t go down like it used to, it’s stopping like a good break pedal does. I’ve also can’t shift into first w/o putting it into second before (had this problem for awhile) and fifth is a bit tough to shove into as well.

  • gail says:

    Just had the bushing on my ’97 SC2 wear through leaving my gear shift flopping around….a friend twist-tied the joint together but found a rubberband worked better…until we could find something cheaper than the $200 fix that Saturn suggested. Love my Saturn but somebody needs to get it right…

  • quiznoserf says:

    Just had the same problem. 5-speed shifter flopping around. Talked to my mechanic, he said Saturn typically screws people on parts. I hope I can find my bushing pieces. Otherwise, I may be having to purchase a $100 replacement cable assembly from an auto parts store. Saturn should be required to recall this part.

  • jim says:

    Same thing happened to me tonight. Shifter is just flopping around. I will take the console apart tomorrow and try the suggested fix.

  • kevin says:

    Wow, the internet is amazing.
    Y’all know the story: Busted shifter bushing, poor me stuck in REVERSE! Thought about the tie wrap trick, hadn’t thought of drilling out the ball (but I like it!)
    I’m an engineer, and I think I can say with a certain degree of authority, this is crappy engineering. But the funny thing is: The console came out so easily! That was some GOOD engineering.
    Did every one of you visit the nearest dealership and personally tell the manager that you are thoroughly disgusted? That’s where I’m headed tomorrow, even if I have to ride my bike to get there.
    Has anyone contacted the BBB? I guess I’ll do that tomorrow too. Did you all tell all your friends your story?
    But there’s more to it than just telling Saturn that you will never buy another Saturn. You need to tell them what they can do to KEEP you as a customer. If I don’t buy from Saturn next time, I’ll have to buy from someone else; what if none of the other choices are any better? If I tell Saturn that there is nothing they can do, why should they do anything? On the other hand, if I go in with a complaint and they take care of me, I will gladly do business with them in the future, and I will gladly tell my friends what a GOOD company they are. Or maybe they won’t, and then I’ll take my business elsewhere. But I’ll make sure they know they lost a future customer, and why.
    Maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned from this fiasco is to check the internet BEFORE I buy my next car.

  • sherry says:

    WOW.. THIS IS AMAZING!! I’VE HAD MY SATURN BRAND NEW SINCE ’98. I WAS AT TACO BELL LAST NIGHT, BACKED OUT OF THE PRKING SPOT, AND NOTHING.. I LOOKED AT MY HUSBAND AND SAID.. I DON’T HAVE A TRANSMISSION, HE SAID WHAT? I SAID FEEL… HE MOVES AROUND MY NON-EXISTANT SHIFTER AND WE PUSHED IT BACK IN TO A PARKING SPOT. I CALLED AROUND TO PARTS HOUSES AND CHECKED ON LINE.. THE ONLY PLACE YOU CAN BUY SAID PART IS AT A SATURN DEALERSHIP.. HERE IN FLORIDA THEY QUOTED $188. I SAID HOW STUPID IS THAT, YOU CAN’T JUST REPLACE THE LITTLE BUSHING, HE SAID NO, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU COULD, BUT YOU CAN’T.. I’M WAITING FOR MY HUSBAND TO CALL FROM WORK THIS MORNING, TO MAKE SURE IT’S ALRIGHT WITH HIM WE TRY EITHER THE DRILLINGOUT, OR THE KIT THE ONE GUY SELLS ON EBAY.. MEANWHILE.. I’M DRIVING IT WITH NO CONSOLE, AND TIE STRAPS TO HOLD IT TOGETHER.. I’VE GOT A WHOLE BAG IN CASE IT BREAKS WHILE I’M DRIVING SOMEWHERE.. MY SATURN HAS BEEN GREAT, I’VE GOT OVER 113,000 MILES.. I’VE HAD TO REPLACE THE RADIATOR, THE BATTERY, AND THE BRAIN(WHICH THAT PROBLEM ENDED UP NOT BEING THE BRAIN, BUT A SENSOR), REGULAR MAINTENANCE AND THAT’S BEEN IT! I THINK THAT’S PRETTY GOOD! I DON’T THINK I NEED TO SPEND THE $188 ON GETTING THE NEW PART EITHER.. WHAT A PAIN THAT WOULD BE TO INSTALL.. THANKS EVERYBODY!

  • Candace says:

    I NEED HELP!!!! I dont know if the problem I am having is the same as most of you, it sounds like it could be but I need to know for sure. My car will not shift into 1st or 2nd gear, the shifter knob sits cock-eyed towards the left. My husband took the console off and there is this arm type part underneath the ball bearing that the actual shifter is attached to, and it looks like this > instead of this | and I was wondering if anyone can tell me what it is. I have been told by quite a few people that it’s the cable, I cant afford a $375 part. I dont really understand how the cable could make the shifter sit sideways and that part under the ball be the way it is. Anyone able to explain??? I could really use the help!

  • Candace says:

    I have a 97 Saturn SC2 and I am not sure if my problem is the same as others here on this board. I will try and explain to best of ability. Ok, First….My car WILL NOT Shift into 1st OR 2nd Gears at all…when you are starting off, you are in 3rd. It happened in what seems to be overnight. My husband and a neighbor took the console off and the gear shift goes into this ball bearing inside the plastic casing, and then to this “Arm” that moves and pivots, well the shift knob is sitting to the left cockeyed instead of straight like it is supposed to be. I have mentioned the problem to several different people that work on cars and they all have the same answer…IT’s THE SHIFTER CABLE!! Well, I cannot afford this $375+ part I need to know if What is going on with my car is the same problem as a few others here. Someone please help me!! I am a young female that looks like bait to the dealership…If anyone has answers, please HELP ME! GeorgiaBrat@gmail.com

  • Trent Blanchard says:

    yeah this shits just happened to my 5SPD 94 SC1…. it pops out of third all the time and has trouble sometimes going into 1st third and reverse….. startin to piss me off…. anyone else haveing similar problems to mine?
    Getting a bit pissed.. bought the car last week….

  • Jon Scotto says:

    Yeah, same thing happened to my 97 SC2 just today. Was driving along ok, then popped it back into 1st and it just came loose. Fortunately I had a screwdriver in the car. So I ripped apart the center console and found the plastic bushing deteriorated. Called up Saturn and got told I need a $200 cable kit. Sooo… I drove the car to Auto Zone! how did I do this? I basically stuck my hand underneath and manipulated the loose cable and shift lever from the bottom!! ^_^ Auto Zone had an assortment of bushings but none of them fit. In the end, I just tied the whole damn thing together with plastic ties. I’m gonna hit around some junk yards or maybe find one online… I’ll post back once I get this fixed! :)

  • Jon Scotto says:

    I ended up drilling out the ball at the bottom of the shifter and installed some stuff from Ace Hardware. My setup is 10 times better that what Saturn designed and it only cost $3.50 in parts.

  • tom mueller says:

    Is Jerry’s Saturn shift cable repair still available? I’d like to purchase one, can’t find it on eBay anymore.
    Thanks,
    Tom

  • Juan Delgato says:

    Mine popped loose about two years ago. I trimmed and drilled out a 60 cent rubber stopper to make another. That worked fine until it too fell apart last week. I’ve made another and I’m hoping for another two years.
    Much better than the repair costs noted above!

  • Van says:

    Thanks for the info guys. The above mentioned kit on ebay gave me an idea.
    The ‘precision machined bushing’ can be substituted by a $3 socket. I used a Craftsman 1/4″ drive 1/2″ 12-point deep well socket with about 1″ cut off the drive end.
    Total cost of project: ~$10 bucks. Cost does not include tools and equipment I already had, namely a Sawzall and carbide blade for hacking the socket down. You WILL need some sort power tool to cut off the socket. Attempting this with a hack saw is futile.
    Good luck.
    Van

  • Dave Parish says:

    Don’t feel alone. I had a stick shift Caravan and Dodge had the same cheesy bushing in an expensive shift cable. On the Caravan, there was a groove at the top of the shifter shaft which is where said cheesy bushing snapped into place. I measured the inside of where the bushing had been in the end of the cable, measured the diameter of the center shaft, and used a hole saw to cut out a round piece of walnut about the right thickness. I filed the outside dimensions to fit, and through trial and error found out you need to put a hose clamp around the outside when you drill the inner hole (to keep the new wood bushing from splitting.) I put the cable in place, worked the new bushing into place, put a fender washer over it, and a spring E-clip the right size on to lock it in place. Total cost about $0.65 at Lowe’s. Later I had a friend with access to plastic make me the same bushing in Delrin, and swapped it in. This lasted until the cable itself broke a couple of years later. I’m not sure the walnut “bushing” wouldn’t have lasted the same length of time! Probably would have left it there but I could just imagine being stranded by Dutch Elm disease….

  • Sage Rogers says:

    This is all so annoying . I just bought a used Saturn, it’s in great shape but the Shift Cable just broke. Same thing that you guys have described, I was backing up, heard a pop and was stuck in reverse. My mechanic is great…he’s only charging 75 for labor but what a rip off from Saturn. I can’t believe they haven’t fixed this problem yet. With so many people having the same problem for sosoooo long you’d think they have a special deal or some easy cheap way to fix it. arg. Has anyone sent this series of post to Saturn?

  • Dave Smith says:

    I now join the Angry Saturn owners club. The plastic bushing left me with only first gear to limp home. A $195.00 set of cables for a $1.00 bushing. Where do I sign the petition for the recall.

  • Dan says:

    This post is getting HUGE!
    So, I have just fixed the other problem that has been described here (on my car).
    The shifter in my Saturn made a pop noise and then it wouldn’t go into 1st or 2nd gear anymore.
    The problem here is a U-shaped spring clip that is located inside the engine compartment sitting on the outside of the transmission housing (between the engine and firewall below the brake master cylinder). It can fall out at any time and I recommend when you replace it to secure the new one with zip ties the same as the other problem. A couple of large ties wrapped in a X shape is the best fit that sould do.
    The funniest part about this problem is the bottom clip will probably NEVER fall out. It isn’t allowed to spin like the upper clip is because there is a bit of the aluminum housing stopping it from rotating like the upper one.

  • Lisa says:

    Well it’s nice to see I’m not alone with the gimpy shift stick in my 1992 Saturn. I pulled out of a parking spot yesterday and “BAM” out goes my stick shift between 1st and 2nd gear. After being towed 80 miles to my mechanic he tells me that I need a new bushing on my shift cable. He proceedst to tell me that the only place to get this part is from the Saturn dealership which won’t just sell the bushing individually but you have to buy the entire shift cable kit for $196.00. I told him to have a nice weekend and keep my car. I’m glad I found this website because it gives me some brilliant ideas on how to remedy my problem. My car has 142,000 miles on it and has been a great car for the most part, but the cost to repair a saturn is a SIN. I think we should all send a mass petition to all of the saturn dealerships, the corporate office and to one of those T.V. news shows which expose companies that take advantage of consumers. If you are interested in stopping saturn from ripping customers off on the back end please let me know. One more thing does anyone know where I can get the shift bushing kit? Have a great day.

  • Ryan says:

    I must say, after 2 weeks of trying to find a part on the net for the problem we have all experienced, I am so pleased to have found this post. I was about to the point to resort to paying the money for the whole cable assembly but now I won’t have to. Thank you to everyone for your brainstorms for the inexpensive fixes on this seemingly all to common repair. There sould be a site just for those of us that have repairs that shops want to charge big $$$, and the more resorceful can fix for $10 if they have the right information. It is also amazing that the first post is almost 2 years ago. I’ll be back to post my results.

  • Bill says:

    A friend called me up with this same issue. I did some research and found that MotorMite Products, Help division, has a part to fix this problem. None of the Auto Parts stores had the part in stock so I called Motormite from their webpage http://www.rbinc.com/ and it was backordered. They recommended LBC Autoparts http://www.lbcautoparts.com/default.htm and they were able to ship me one when they became available. The Motormite Help part number is 14043 and several parts stores quoted around $16 but didn’t have it and LBC quoted $21 plus shipping. I didn’t want to leave her driving with a jerry-rig fix for long so we bit the bullet. If you check Motormite’s webpage the picture looks different from the actual part I received and it fits tight so it took a pair of channel lock pliers to install it. I hope this helps somebody. I didn’t want to post my email address but had to to post. I dont’ want a lot of emails from this.
    (Owner’s note: Email address removed due to above request.)

  • Deborah Canales says:

    Hello! My name is Deborah and I am a Saturn owner. I just walked home in 90+ degree heat/100% humidity. Why? Because I put my Saturn in reverse and then my gear shift just flopped around like it was no longer attached to anything! I am so glad to have found that I am not alone and that there are others who have this problem. I haven’t the ability or knowledge to fix it myself but atleast now I know what is wrong and have an idea of how much it will cost to fix it! Angry but informed! Thanks! dc

  • Deborah Canales says:

    Hello! My name is Deborah and I am a Saturn owner. I just walked home in 90+ degree heat/100% humidity. Why? Because I put my Saturn in reverse and then my gear shift just flopped around like it was no longer attached to anything! I am so glad to have found that I am not alone and that there are others who have this problem. I haven’t the ability or knowledge to fix it myself but atleast now I know what is wrong and have an idea of how much it will cost to fix it! Angry but informed! Thanks! dc

  • brian says:

    replacing the cables is pretty easy. it took me about an hour to figure it all out and replace it. just disconect the cable from the trans. and the shifter and from the inside of the car you just pull the cables out. and do the reverse to get the new one back in. i called the saturn dealership and thats how they do it.
    and the price for the cables $175. wish i would have read this but i was off to college in 2 days and didnt have time to research alternate solutions.

  • Cheri says:

    Sent to this blog by some wonderful person who read my question at 10w40. Like everyone else, my daughter’s 95 Saturn has a gear shift flopping around in reverse. This single Mom has spent a week trying to find a way to fix a very small(?) problem other than the $350 the dealer wants – talk about your highway robbery. Would you believe the parts manager gave us the first clue at looking on the web for the solution. Add us to the list of happy yet mortified Saturn owners.

  • Robert says:

    I am soo glad I found this website!! I lent my car to my Dad and he told me that the stick was moving around and not catching the gears. After I opened the center console I noticed that that stupid plastic bushing was cracked. And I was going to take it in for repair until I searched the web and found I am not the only one this happened too! I went to Home Depot and baught a 1 1/4 carriage bolt and a bag of 5/16 washers and 2 3/4 in washers. I drilled out the old bushing ind installed my modified connector and it is NOT coming off this time!! Good luck everyone…By the way it only cost me $2.75 to fix.

  • Sean says:

    Well, same thing happened to my son’s 96 Saturn SL2 today. Thank God he was only a block from the house. Pushed it back home, took apart the console and figured out that the damn bushing had dry rotted. Went to all the parts stores in town and everyone kept telling us we had to go to the dealer.
    Started looking around the web as the nearest dealer is an hour away. Couldn’t find said bushing anywhere. Couldn’t find the linkage parts or the cable parts either. Was going to resign myself to blowing a butt load of money at the dealer when I came across this site.
    Love the fixes that have been posted. Thank you soooooo much for the advice. Rest assured that my son and I will drill this bad boy tomorrow and not have to spend 300 or so bucks to get it fixed.
    You have saved a dad and a son money and time and frustration. Thanks again.

  • Kevin Dietrich says:

    I have a 1998 SC2 had this shifter bushing problem. I originally pulled it apart thinking it would be a 25 cent fix from the parts store. As you all know this is not the case, since the bushing is not made or sold by any dealer or parts store. Saturn gave me a quote of $465.00 to correct the problem…which involves replacing the whole shifter cable from the transmission back. RIGHT……….so naturally I looked online and was pleasantly supprised to find a replacement on ebay for 16.00. The part can be easily installed and I would highly recomment it to anyone with this problem. All I needed was a C-clamp to press the new teflon bushing together with the balljoint. I removed the 4 shift assembly bolts and flipped the unit sideways to access it more easily. I think the whole process took me 15 mins. Well worth my time. For those interested search ebay for “saturn shifter bushing”.

  • Zack says:

    A new ’96 SC2 owner here. We’ve had the car all of 3 days when my daughter was driving it and had the shifter parts separate on her. The nearest Saturn dealer quoted $169 for the replacement cable. Instead of shelling out that kind of $$$ I’m heading to the nearest Ace hardware store instead.

  • Dustin Wray says:

    Heh, a month an a half ago, I had this problem. Reversing into a parallel-parking space and it snapped. First off, parallel-parking is incredibly difficult with no forward-moving gears, but driving half a mile to the nearest parking lot while in reverse and simultanesously obeying all traffic laws is actually kind of fun, I won’t lie.
    I fixed it with a ton of electrical tape. Well, not literally a ton, because 2,000 pounds of tape would be ridiculous, but I used half a roll. It held for a month and a half, but the Texas heat got the better of it and it snapped again last night. Taped it together again, and went to the dealer. Same story as everyone else, needed the entire $200 cable… blah blah blah. Screw that, $200 will buy a whole lot of electrical tape. I’ll tape the damn doors shut with that extreme plethora of black-tape goodness.
    Then I ventured upon this website. Alot of good fixes, but I’m not sure I want to take a drill to anything other than the engineer’s skull, so I’m gonna order this nylon replacement I found on eBay while searching for “Saturn shifter bushing”…
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Saturn-shifter-bushing_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQcategoryZ46104QQitemZ7991686374QQrdZ1QQsspagenameZWDVW
    I’ll let y’all know how it works.

  • J3RRY says:

    Yesterday I got beat too. I now have it temporarily fixed w/ 50 lb test fishing line, spool beside me on the seat, console off. I’m going to drill & screw it tomorrow after work. If any of you are lawyers or friends, family with lawyers I have two words class action.

  • Brandon B says:

    I ordered the nylon replacement found on eBay by searching “Saturn Shifter Bushing” and it arrived yesterday. I went out and bought a C-Clamp, thinking it would just be a few minutes until my problems were finally solved. Unfortunately, I can’t get the clamp to tighten all of the pieces into place without either slipping off or rolling one piece or the other so much that they slip apart. Does anyone have any suggestions? I heard from some eBay feedback that maybe vise grips would do the trick. In one of the posts above, it says to remove bolts and flip it sideways. Unfortunately, I’m pretty much terrible when it comes to stuff like this. This is the most in depth auto repair work I’ve attempted. If anyone can give me a “Dummies Guide” to the best/easiest way to get this stuff working, I’d really appreciate it. I’m almost there…just need to get all the pieces together…
    Thanks!
    Brandon

  • raymond says:

    Well I can’t tell anyone here anything they don’t already know. LOL SATURN PLASTIC SUCKS!! I’m ordering my kit from jerry on ebay, he has them back on.

  • Alexis says:

    Hello again! Just wanted to pop in and tell you that the fix suggested here (drill through, washers, wrap with wire, ta da!) is still working in the FL heat. We did the fix in October of 2004, and my husband’s 80 mile a day commute has been no match for my engineering skills! I am waiting for the weather to cool off so I can pop the console off to make sure my fix is holding up well. Good Luck to everyone!

  • Richard says:

    This blog is incredible. I’m sure I would have towed my wife’s ’92 Saturn SL1 for repair had it not been for this site. I don’t even know how to change my oil, so if I can do this fix, anyone can. I believe my issue was a little bit different from everyone else’s. My bushing wasn’t broken or dry rotted. The gearshift cable socket connection seemed to have just slipped off the bushing toward the driver’s side. In my case, breaking open the bushing and drilling through the steel ball would have been over engineering. All I needed to do was figure out how to prevent this connection from slipping off to the left again. The solution – you guessed it – zip ties. The socket was put in place over the bushing. I used one zip tie on the cable just before the socket connector. I used another zip tie just above the bushing on the gearshifter. These two zip ties are only looping one part, not tying anything together yet. The third zip tie was strung through the each of the first two zip ties in a diagonal manner looping around the entire socket and bushing. This is the main zip tie that is preventing the socket from falling off the bushing again. The first two zip ties are now preventing the third zip tie from slipping from its position. All the ties are as tight as they can go, and there is no lateral play in the socket-bushing connection. I am very confident that the strength of the zip ties are more than enough to prevent the lateral movement of the socket connection.
    I was thumping my chest in pride when I had fixed the problem and reassembled everything. To my surprise, my wife said she was very disappointed when she walked out to the garage to find her car missing when I was taking it out for a test drive. Apparently she had already picked out a new car for herself. A big thanks goes out to Alexis for sending me her engineering pics.
    This isn’t the only issue I’ve had with the Saturn:
    - Ceiling cloth falls on head
    - Rolling seatbelt mechanism does not roll
    - Driver side window does not roll down
    - Annonying beeping occurs WHENEVER door is open
    - Clutch pedal annonying b/c it is not tight
    - Gas meter indicator broke 6 yrs ago (using odometer as new gas meter)
    - Odometer broke at 150,000 4 yrs ago. Fixed gas meter b/c it was cheaper than odometer.
    Come to think of it, I am a bad husband.

  • Nick says:

    Heck no, that doesn’t make you a bad husband. Think of all the time she could take her out to dinner for the money it would take to buy a new car. Or, if you spend the time you would normally spend working to get that money with her.

  • Chad says:

    Thanks a ton for this blog. Saved me lots of money. Same issue, broken bushing. Drilled steel ball, too bad broke off tapper trying to thread it. Replaced steel ball with 5/16 bolt, grommets, and washer. Works like a charm.

  • Jerrod says:

    Just wanted to add mine to the growing list: 1995 SL2, only 81k miles and the shifter linkage bushing disintegrated. It’s in too many pieces to try and glue together. I’m going to bandage it with zip ties or duct tape until I can get one of Jerry’s stainless bushings.
    BTW, the local Saturn dealership quoted me $177 for just the cable assy. I talked to the parts manager and he said they get complaints about this all the time but they still sell about 30 a week. With those numbers, it’s no wonder why Saturn refuses to offer a reasonable fix. However, this is just the latest in a saga of issues with my Saturn, starting with the clutch failing at 23k miles.
    Plastic is a great material for certain applications but I think the engineers at Saturn went too far with this. The drive train of my car should not depend on a “$.30 piece of plastic.”
    Needless to say, I will not be buying another Saturn. They should melt them all and recycle the plastic for parts on real cars.

  • Michael says:

    I used the drill out method and it worked fine for about a month when the “o” end connected to the cable broke, may have had the assembly to tight. Anyone have any idea on how to replace the “o” end without buying a new cable it was molded to the cable?

  • Michael says:

    I read on and found where the “o” end was replaced with a side mount battery terminal. I immediately went to Advance Auto and picked up one for $1.82. It was easy to install, that is once you get all the old plastic off the cable end, and seems like it will last at least the rest of the life of this 96sl, PS told the wife not to buy another frickin Saturn.

  • Emily says:

    UGH!!! I’m happy that we have this support group here but unfortunately I found it after already giving the “OK” for the $420 fix. He told me my “cable snapped.” LIAR!!! Just like everyone else has said, shifting it to neutral (like no pressure!) gave me a gimpy shifter (and in Austin TX rush hour traffic no less!!!). SATURN WHY DON’T YOU FREAKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS??? You can bet I will think twice and then some before ever considering a Saturn in the future! Haha, and I only googled “shift cable broken, how much repair cost” and it sent me to this site all about Saturns (mine’s a 95 Saturn SL). I’m so frustrated… and poor now :( Anyway, thanks for the good advice! You guys rock.

  • Does anyone have pictures of the repair?
    I have not opened it up yet.

  • Julie says:

    I would appreciate some pictures, too! Ditto on all the greatness of this site and related frustration. Next search – why my Saturn eats batteries every 9-12 months….

  • Mohammed Islam says:

    People do what I did. Tape it up! I did that to my brother’s Saturn and he is been driving that for about year and a half. I am about to do that to my ’97 SL1 and I am not paying $500 for a car that has 208000 miles in it.

  • chuck says:

    Well well well. Dammit, why didnt I bother to look online first. Anyway, I was deployed to the desert when my wife emailed me and said her brother broke my car!!! Its stuck in reverse and the shifter is loose..DAMMIT.
    So, I get home a month later and take a look at it, and see the ball and see the cable, no bushing. Walk into advanced auto parts and say I need a bushing for a gear shifter, the clerk goes “Saturn?? Manual?” I said yes, and he replies, yea, we sell a lot of those. But he said he was sorry, he had to sell the whole assembly, saturn doesnt make the bushing for sale. “I’ll be back”. $96 for the cable made me wanna shop around. Autozone didnt have it listed, neither did a few other places. I stopped by a transmission place and talked to the tech there and he said with some manuevering, the cable assembly could be swapped without too much headache. “You’ll be unconfortable” was the gist of the instructions. But I figure, cant be much worse than working on airplanes that are not designed to be maintenance friendly. I go back, order the cable and it came in yesterday.
    I look online to see if there are any pointers to change the assembly, make life easier and what do I find?? THIS WONDERFUL BLOG!! I call the parts store and they will accept the return of the cable no problem. You could almost hear it in his voice that he knew I found this online and was sad to loose the sale..lol. So, I’ll review what I need to go pickup at walmart or hardware store to do the Sanford & Son repair of this annoying problem and save $90+ in cost.
    THANKS a million for posting all your stories and instructions. This has been my only problem with the saturn..and it does make me wary to buy another in the future…You would think they could make a bushing or substitute part for it and even if they charged 15-20 bucks for it, it would be worth it. WHOLE CABLE??? Yeah..right…

  • Chuck says:

    Oh, ’97 SL, with about 120k miles on it, for the above post.

  • Craig says:

    I have to say this page breaks my heart. I actually fought to get a job at Saturn in 1991 when they were first started because as a Certified mechanic, I was flabbergast at the amazing concept of actually designing a car that was built and designed to be worked on IN AMERICA…when all other (even American brands) were being built overseas with the engineering motto of ‘it fits at the factory…not my problem if it ever needs service’. It took 13 years before I could buy the 92’ loaded SC2 I now drive. Though I bought it in great condition, with in 1 month I had too swap the gauge cluster twice (from busted odometers) and as of yesterday…this stupid bushing thing. I asked the dealer to see a factory shop manual for a break down of the parts too figure out what I needed since it disintegrated. He said no one has EVER asked to buy a factory manual (WHAT!) and he knew right away what I needed…and now that I read this post…not so strangely, he had a number of the cables in stock.
    All I can say is SHAME ON YOU SATURN!
    You were a car company founded to be different…and you use to even advertise that to death. Refusing to sell a .30 replacement to a part that is defective due to your poor planning…makes you the same as every other company all over. Shame on you!
    As for the odometer…it (like everything else I have found of Saturn) is caused by a disintegrating plastic gear that you can buy on Ebay…like everything else Saturn should sell and doesn’t. A Speedo shop will tell you it can’t be fixed unless you replace the whole thing for $200…shock! Cost me $20.
    Saturn…I hope you read this…that’s why I am taking the time to type it. And when you do…please realize that as an American that truly looked up to your company and mission statement in a time when we are over run by foreign competition because of poor engineering and over priced parts and services…today I feel ashamed for thinking you guys were different.

  • Jerry B says:

    can someone please explain to me how the tie-straps are to be put on? need a temp fix as i have already bought a part on e-bay. thanks

  • india nicole says:

    thanks so much for all the great ideas. i have a 94 sl with a broken bushing. u guys have put me back on the road after 2 months trying to save up to get the cable assembly replaced. can anyone comment on the ticking and dead batteries? i noticed only one other person in this blog that mentioned that problem. i think it may have something to do with the emerg. brake. when i put it down, the ticking stops. also, i too had my odom. stop working. i plan to contact help me howard in florida (ch. 7 news). its one thing to have to make pricing inquiries for car repairs. but when you tell the people on the phone what you drive and they start laughing while they tell you the cost of repair, its sad. im very disappointed in saturn. im definitely on board for the recall petition. we should distribute this blog to our local mechanics (everyone knows at least one). if they know of a cheaper way to repair this problem, they could still turn a profit putting in the less expensive e-bay kit, cutting the profits saturn earns for the cable assembly kit. maybe then they’ll give a damn!!!
    _

  • jgouge says:

    Same story shame on SATURN. There ought to be a law!!! Got shocked by Saturn at the cost of the cable. Found two individuals selling an aftermarket shift bushing. Bought the neoprene bushing and installed. Worked great.

  • phil says:

    Are there any pictures explaining how to fix the bushing on the saturn?

  • KENen says:

    SAME STORY….PANIC HIT WHEN THE SHIFTER STOPPED WORKING…RELIEF SET WHEN WHEN I SAW IT WAS A NYLON BUSHING…OVERWHELMING DISGUST WHEN I WENT TO SATURN..THE PARTS GUY SAYS, OH ITS THE CABLE BUSHING..BUT YOU’RE NOT GONNA LIKE THE FIX AS IT DOESN’T COME ALONE…I THOUGHT MAYBE I HAD TO BUY A KIT WITH UNNEEDED PARTS…WHOA…WHEN HE COMES OUT WITH THE WHOLE CABLE ASSEMBLY..$198.00. AND HE EVEN KNEW THE PART NUMBER WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP. SHAME ON SATURN..I JUST BOUGHT THE METAL BUSHING KIT ON E-BAY (SEARCH SATURN SHIFTER BUSHING–TWO CHOICES). I JUST PURCHASED ONE.. I’LL LET YA KNOW HOW IT WORKED…(I JUST SOLD THE 93 SATURN TO A REAL NEEDY GUY FOR CHEAP AND BEFORE HE PICKED IT UP THE BUSHING WENT OUT..AND I REALLY DON’T WANT TO LOSE MORE MONEY).

  • KENnn says:

    CRAIG POSTED ON OCT 6 AND SAID HE BOUGHT THE ODOMETER GEAR ON EBAY…SURPRRISE I NEED IT ALSO.,,BUT I CAN’T FIND IT LISTED…. CAN ANYONE HELP ME OUT????

  • David Bunin says:

    Part two, guys.
    My wife’s shifter broke as described this past summer. I was luck enough to find this blog first, before even going to the dealer. I did the temporary McGuyver fix like everybody else and then bought the stainless steel bushing solution. That lasted a week or so. I had substituted two-ton epoxy for the recommended JB Weld (with the blessing of the designer) but the bushing came loose anyway. So then I went out and got some JB Weld and also a smaller clamp so that I could get a better angle on the bushing this time.
    That lasted five months.
    Now, the bushing is solidly in place, but the rod end has snapped off the cable. Seems like maybe with the stainless steel bushing there may be a sideload on the rod end. I’ll go try the battery terminal solution before I buy a replacement cable, but it sure is frustrating to be back here AGAIN.
    David Bunin

  • David Bunin says:

    Part two, guys.
    My wife’s shifter broke as described this past summer. I was luck enough to find this blog first, before even going to the dealer. I did the temporary McGuyver fix like everybody else and then bought the stainless steel bushing solution. That lasted a week or so. I had substituted two-ton epoxy for the recommended JB Weld (with the blessing of the designer) but the bushing came loose anyway. So then I went out and got some JB Weld and also a smaller clamp so that I could get a better angle on the bushing this time.
    That lasted five months.
    Now, the bushing is solidly in place, but the rod end has snapped off the cable. Seems like maybe with the stainless steel bushing there may be a sideload on the rod end. I’ll go try the battery terminal solution before I buy a replacement cable, but it sure is frustrating to be back here AGAIN.
    David Bunin

  • mike says:

    I had this same problem two days ago. When I found this site all I could think was “sweet” 10 bucks tops and im back on the road…so I take all my tools out to the car and take the center console out and….the bushing is *gasp* intact?? So I think to myself, mabey its that clippie thingie. So under the hood I go and I think I’m the only one ever to have actually snapped the CABLE…goodbye $250. (im doin the work myself) Anyone know where to get a cheap cable?

  • C.J. Engel says:

    I have a 1997 SL1 that has lost its 2nd gear when I downshift, and occasionally when I upshift. My mechanic is sending me to the tranny shop, but I’m wondering if my problem is the 2nd gear syncro blocker ring, or the $.30 plastic ball that several people above have mentioned. With the engine off, I can easily shift into all gears, even downshift into 2nd.
    I am not a mechanic, but would like to bring your suggestions to mine. Thank you!

  • KENnn says:

    AS I PREVIOUSLY SAID I BOUGHT THE METAL BUSHING KIT ON E-BAY…JB WELDED TO THE BALL,,,INSTALLED THE REST THE FOLLOWING MORNING….WORKED GREAT..LESS THAN $35.00 FIX…THANKS FOR THE BLOGGING HELP…AGAIN S H A M E ON YOU SATURN

  • nick says:

    wow im really surprised to see so many people are having this problem, i have a 94 saturn sc1 and today i was driving and i parked it and when i went to backout of my parking spot i find out i only have first gear, so we drove it back to my friend’s dad’s place (he’s a mechanic) and he said he thought the linkage snapped.. so were going to check this all out tomorrow

  • nick says:

    wow im really surprised to see so many people are having this problem, i have a 94 saturn sc1 and today i was driving and i parked it and when i went to backout of my parking spot i find out i only have first gear, so we drove it back to my friend’s dad’s place (he’s a mechanic) and he said he thought the linkage snapped.. so were going to check this all out tomorrow

  • nick says:

    wow im really surprised to see so many people are having this problem, i have a 94 saturn sc1 and today i was driving and i parked it and when i went to backout of my parking spot i find out i only have first gear, so we drove it back to my friend’s dad’s place (he’s a mechanic) and he said he thought the linkage snapped.. so were going to check this all out tomorrow

  • David In NC says:

    Same Same for me. I took a wrong turn down a dead-end road, was in the middle of executing a perfect three-point turn, when I tried to go back to first, the aforemention gear-flop occured. My damage? Two tow trucks, $85.00 (one to get it out of the road to my brother’s shop, and one to get it from my brother’s shop to the used-car dealership that I got it from since he doesn’t work on anything but tires) $185 for the cable and $120 labor (3 hrs at $40.00 per hr) It’s a 98 model with 102k miles, Notice that 100k+ seems to be the common theme here. Had I seen this post before I okayed the work, I might be saving mself a bundle now *sigh*

  • Amy says:

    I have a 1998 Saturn SC2 and it has been a great car, but I got in the car this morning, put it in reverse and it felt like something popped (almost like a spring) and then the gear shift was just flopping around and the car was stuck in reverse. I had it towed in with the fear that it was my transmission. I am glad it was not, but I do have to replace the shifter cables for around $400 total. I hate paying out the money, but it feels better that others have gone through the same thing. Is there anyway to prevent this? My sister drives a 2000 Saturn SC and I thought maybe she could prevent this from happening to her.
    Also, my car revs up to 3000 RPM’s periodically for no apparent reason and has for the past 5 years. I will be in neutral at a stop light and it will just start reving. I have taken it to Saturn and to other mechanics and no one can tell me what it is. Has anyone ever had this problem? Saturn’s solution…cut off the car if it revs over 3000 RPM’s, another words, before it blows (haha). But if anyone has ever experienced this, please let me know if you found a solultion. My email is blondie21881@triad.rr.com.
    Thanks – Amy

  • Amy says:

    I have a 1998 Saturn SC2 and it has been a great car, but I got in the car this morning, put it in reverse and it felt like something popped (almost like a spring) and then the gear shift was just flopping around and the car was stuck in reverse. I had it towed in with the fear that it was my transmission. I am glad it was not, but I do have to replace the shifter cables for around $400 total. I hate paying out the money, but it feels better that others have gone through the same thing. Is there anyway to prevent this? My sister drives a 2000 Saturn SC and I thought maybe she could prevent this from happening to her.
    Also, my car revs up to 3000 RPM’s periodically for no apparent reason and has for the past 5 years. I will be in neutral at a stop light and it will just start reving. I have taken it to Saturn and to other mechanics and no one can tell me what it is. Has anyone ever had this problem? Saturn’s solution…cut off the car if it revs over 3000 RPM’s, another words, before it blows (haha). But if anyone has ever experienced this, please let me know if you found a solultion. My email is blondie21881@triad.rr.com.
    Thanks – Amy

  • Sharon K says:

    About to make a left turn after stopping at a light and shifted from first to second, then nothing. My mechanic told me I needed two gear shift cables $245 (for the set for the dealer) plus $125 – $150 for labor. He never told me anything about the bushing until I asked him. Found this Blog while searching for cheaper cables. I’m going to try the drill fix. Thanks so much to the Poster!

  • Russell says:

    1997 Saturn SL2 w/ 165K miles…pulled out of the driveway, went to first gear from reverse and the gearshift flopped around. I am hoping when I pull off the console tomorrow I find that all I have to do is tie it down with zip-ties as mentioned above. I have limited tools and I am not a gearhead, but I am willing to give it a try and post the results tomorrow. I have treated this car very well and have had all major regular maintenance at the dealership, besides oil changes, but I cannot believe how many repairs I have had to make: O2 sensors (3), alternators (2), spark plug wires (2) water pump burst on the highway causing serpentine belt to pop off, radiator (1), driver window doesn’t go down, keyless entry doesn’t work, rear seat handles pulled out of roof, fuel pump is bad and takes forever to crank…what a mess!

  • Matt says:

    In response to Amy’s RPM problem:
    I’m not sure if you found a solution yet, but my 99 SL1 was doing the same thing not too long ago. The problem with mine was a crack in the vacuum hose connected to the PCV valve. The hose is only a few inches long and you should be able to buy a decent vacuum hose pretty cheap at any auto parts store and then cut it to fit. If you don’t know where the hose is on your engine, have the guys at the oil change place show you. They are always trying to get you to buy a new PCV valve anyway. You probably don’t need a valve but at least then you’ll know where the hose is. My car only needed about a 4 inch length of hose. My mechanic told me that the original hose Saturn uses is cheap and thin. No trouble with mine since then (and not more embarrassment with a racing engine at a stop light).
    Also ditto on the bushing problem. It is what brought me here in the first place. Jerry on e-Bay is now selling a plastic-ish bushing in addition to the stainless steel one. Ordered mine yesterday. Hope it works!

  • Ron Weiss says:

    I’m so glad I found this blog! I have a 1996 SL1 with 237,000 miles (I bought it new!). Yesterday I went to a McDonald’s a little over a mile from home. When I backed out the parking space, that was it. I had to back all the way home, mostly uphill. After looking under the car while my wife fiddled with the shifter, I dedided the problem must be inside. I took off the console, and found our common problem. I had decided that I had to replace the cables until I found you guys. Thanks. I’m now torn between Jerry’s steel bushing, and the plastic one from MotorMite. The plastic one Saturn put in lasted me a LONG time.

  • Larry says:

    Yeah Matt, I have 3 of them on order from motormite(I have 2 Saturns). I rig a lot of stuff, but the metal washers and JB weld will cause the plastic clevis to wear and then the battery clamp solution has to be tried. Tape it temporarily and order the plastic part.

  • Noah J Tackette says:

    Hello, I gots me a 93 SLl with a broken bushing. We drilled the ball on the end of the shifter, put ran a bolt through it, put some lock-washers on it, and sealed the deal with a wing-nut…worked like a charm for over a month…and then…SNAP the damned SHIFTER CABLE ITSELF BROKE at the end where it goes into that black loop thing that sits on the steel ball on the end of the shifter arm. So now I may HAVE to buy another shifter cable…unless…industrial strength adhesive…hmm…I’m going to try it…it says it has strength up to 2,500lbs…but who knows with all that moving of the shifter. Just thought I’d post this as a warning…all these solutions work, but be sure that you don’t put excess stress on the shifter cable in implementing your fix.

  • Noah J Tackette says:

    Hello, I gots me a 93 SLl with a broken bushing. We drilled the ball on the end of the shifter, put ran a bolt through it, put some lock-washers on it, and sealed the deal with a wing-nut…worked like a charm for over a month…and then…SNAP the damned SHIFTER CABLE ITSELF BROKE at the end where it goes into that black loop thing that sits on the steel ball on the end of the shifter arm. So now I may HAVE to buy another shifter cable…unless…industrial strength adhesive…hmm…I’m going to try it…it says it has strength up to 2,500lbs…but who knows with all that moving of the shifter. Just thought I’d post this as a warning…all these solutions work, but be sure that you don’t put excess stress on the shifter cable in implementing your fix.

  • Tommy C says:

    Same thing happened to my 96 SC2 (only 117k!) with the bushing. I just called the dealership and asked about it and they told me i had to get the gear cable which runs about 200 bucks. I just spent $1400 last december to get a whole new clutch! I am going to try the drilling fix.

  • haughty says:

    wow I feel like a member of an elite club now- i just bought this car from my sister to give to my son, gasa mileage ya know- the car runs great- but the — you know- the shifter cable snapped off the bushing- and I went looking- and here it is- I will use the methods I have found to fix it and use the rubber bushing to keep it from being in too much of a bind- it just need to freely work without binding or sideloading the cable- I can do that—- thanks everyone!!!

  • Tommy C says:

    I bought a new and better bushing than the one that comes with the car from eBay.com and it works great! it only cost me 20 bucks and the guy got it to me in like 4 days. I highly recommend this because it is real easy to put in, all you need is some pliers to get the little metal ball into the bushing. Just search for “Saturn Shifter Bushing” and it will be available. It works better than the original(probably because the original is in a hundred pieces!)!

  • eldritch says:

    First: Many thanks for this site! It saved me a couple hundred dollars!
    As you can guess, the shifter bushing on my 1994 SL2 just gave out. Luckily, only a mile or so from home. A couple cable ties later and I’m mobile again and waiting for my new part from Plano to arrive.

  • Armadillo says:

    Plano? That’s where I bought my Saturn…. oh well…. I live in CA now, I went to jump in my car to go to the dentist this morning and BOOM all of a sudden my shifter is loose (I always park it in first gear) and I can’t seem to shift at all…. it just goes back and forth loosely but not from side to side…. so is it stuck in first gear?? Am I having the same prob as everyone else? Luckily I don’t NEED my car to get to work or anywhere else for that matter, is it worth taking the time to see if I can fix it myself? The car has around 122,000 miles and is a ’98. I have had no probs with the stick shift until now… this happened overnight.

  • Armadillo says:

    This blog is off the chain! I am totally going to do this myself, I am so relieved, I was all ready to tow the sucker in…

  • Ryan says:

    When my gear shifter snapped as I was trying to get home from work. I ripped the console cover off right there in the parking lot and quickly discovered the bushing had disintergrated. “Heck, this is an easy fix! Cant be more’n a couple bucks for a new bushing.” I thought to myself.
    I was oblivious to the impending debacle that Saturn had in store for me:
    I walk into the local dealership and presented the bits of broken plastic that was my bushing. The parts guy looks down at them and without a word and, worse yet, without touching his computer to look the part up, he dissappeared to get what I thought would be a $2 part, only to return and plunk down the ENTIRE CABLE ASSEMBLY.
    “That’ll be $170, plus tax.”. I think I had a miny-stroke and a heart attack.
    I recommend to all Saturn owners who experience this problem to go onto ebay and buy Jerry’s fix kit. This fix kit is easily found on ebay by searching “saturn shifter bushing”. Jerry charges $19.99 for the part that Saturn was prepared to sell me for $180 + $309 installation.
    To Jerry, whoever and whereever you are: way to go, man…you found a problem and invented a better mouse-trap. The world is beating a path to your door. I only hope that Saturn keeps on charging what they do for THEIR stupid part so that you can continue selling YOUR part…and “sticking it in their eye”. Thanks for reminding me that common sense usually prevails.

  • Ryan says:

    Happened to me and thank God I found this website.
    Jerry’s part to fix the gear shifter: go to ebay and search for “saturn shifter bushing”. Only $19.99 for the SIMPLE do-it-yourself kit instead of $170(plus tax) + $300 labor at the saturn dealership.
    Jerry: thank you for providing a common sense alternative to an otherwise ridiculus and SHAMEFULL standard fix from Saturn. You built a better mouse-trap and my $20 is beating a path to your door!

  • Ryan says:

    Happened to me and thank God I found this website.
    Any saturn owner who experiences this problem should definitely consider getting Jerry’s part to fix the gear shifter.
    To find this part easily, go to ebay and search for “saturn shifter bushing”. Only $19.99 for the SIMPLE do-it-yourself kit instead of $170(plus tax) + $300 labor at the saturn dealership.
    To Jerry: thank you for providing a common sense alternative to an otherwise ridiculus and SHAMEFULL standard fix from Saturn. You built a better mouse-trap and my $20 is beating a path to your door!

  • Jerry says:

    Thanks to Ryan, Tommy, and others for their kind words about my improved replacement bushing made of Delrin. Over a hundred are now in service with zero problems. As said above, just search eBay for Saturn Shifter Bushing. For more information on this as well as on the origins of my stainless steel bushing, check http://www.saturnshifterbushing.blogspot.com .
    Thanks! Jerry Plano, TX

  • Tommy C says:

    Dealership repairs for a broken piece of plastic: $300+
    searching and purchasing ebay for “Saturn Shifter Bushing” solution instead: $19.99
    Knowing you “Stuck it to the Man”: PRICELESS!!

  • Tommy C says:

    Dealership repairs for a broken piece of plastic: $300+
    searching and purchasing ebay for “Saturn Shifter Bushing” solution instead: $19.99
    Knowing you “Stuck it to the Man”: PRICELESS!!

  • Jeff Hendricks says:

    I did the same thing Nick did… replaced the balljoint with a 3/8″ machine bolt and some washers. It’s been working with no problems for about a year, over 15,000 miles now.

  • Dawn says:

    I sit here reading this blog after the hubby found it and go, “You have got to be kidding right?”
    It’s funny, I was always under the impression Saturn had great customer service. Man was I wrong, in the meantime he has ordered the 20 dollar fix after binding up the sucker with twine.
    I am just happy it was a little part versus the transmission linkage going. Thought for sure I had broke the car!
    *comfort* to all those that paid the multitudes of dollars to get this problem fixed!

  • karyn says:

    Well, my car has over 226,000 miles on it and has been sitting in the garage the last week while I tried to decide whether or not the repair was worth it. Considering I also burn alot of oil I was leaning towards no. Just like so many others in this posting my gear shift is just flopping around. I got in my car to go to work one morning and oops I can’t get into gear. But for $20, I think I have an assignment for my husband this weekend. Even if it only last another six months its a good investment.

  • Ryan says:

    I drive my 91 SL1. it costs $40 every two months to fill with gas. I parked my 97 Chevy Z-71 P/U because it costs $40 a week. So I am bragging to my mother-in law about this great car. Not so pretty, but saves money. I back out of the drive, go to put it in 1st and nothing. The shifter goes limp. O S@#$T. I am in traffic and I have no gear selection. I am a mechanic. It is very hard to make a car undriveable for me. I put the car in 3rd gear by hand at the trans and ride the clutch to speed. Anyways I take it apart. A DAMN rubber gromet. OK I’ll buy one from Saturn. HA HA! Not avaliable. Must buy a cable for $165 plus installation. Here is the fix. All of the 1.9 SOHC engines and trans are the same from ’91 thru 05 are the same. Two ways to fix it. Call the salvane yard and get the gromet. It justs pop off. OR Drill the ball socket, use the old rubber piece, small 5/16 flat washer. Get a small metal hinge pin and a cotter pin. Works great. Any questions Email me. I am thinking of making a repair kit and selling it online. My e-mail is ryan.atwater@insightbb.com Good Luck and screw saturn Engeneers

  • Glen says:

    Sounds like my saturn and I just experienced a pretty common problem. I was planning on going to the dealership tomorrow but just happened upon this website first. It’s a good thing cuz I’m fairly certain I would have had a serious meltdown if some parts joker told me it was going to be $100-$300 dollar fix. I’m on my way to ebay to pick up the part right now. Thanks for all the info. Later

  • clos says:

    I own a 92 saturn with the 5 speed and I just went down to pick up my fiance for the weekend and on the way back home on an hour and half trip. I go into first gear at the redlight and boom. No transmission whatsoever. A couple of good ole boys from kershaw stopped and helped me get it out of the road. Thanks for the help bro. I pull the center console to see my shifter flopping around freely. I took the console out of the way and had to drive home by using my left hand to slightly hold pressure on it to keep it from falling off, but made it back home safely. I looked on ebay and saw the bushing fixes. I will try the drill and 3/8 bolt idea. Sounds like a more perm. fix to me. What the H$&# was saturn thinking when they did this. There had to be an idiot working the design table that day. One thing is for sure, all these people pissed off and saturn hasnt done anything to fix this over the years. Carmakers care about money, not the customer. Thats the way it has always beena nd will continue to be as long as we trade our cars in. LOL.

  • Derick says:

    I have a ’97 Saturn SC1 5-speed and I was driving on the freeway when I hear a pop and then something metal falling on the ground. I thought, “That’s funny, sounds like somebody is throwing shit at me.” Well at the next stop light I was displeased when I could not shift my car into 1st or 2nd gear and had to start every light in 3rd. I have not fixed the problem yet but I think I will have to replace the U-shaped spring clip located inside the engine compartment sitting on the outside of the transmission housing (between the engine and firewall below the brake master cylinder). It sounds like the floppy shifter is a more common problem but I figured I should add another comment regarding this problem. Good Luck all!

  • RobHancock says:

    I was on my way to a repair shop yesterday when the shift cable “popped”. Just darn!
    After opening up the console I saw that the black loop had broken off of the cable. I replaced the cables today instead of trying one of the fixes mentioned here and, since Chiltons manual doesn’t cover the cable replacement to post notes here.
    1. Pull Airbage fuse.
    2. disconnect negative battery wire.
    3. open console and take wifes crap out of it. you know, the 10 years worth of lipstick and matches.
    4. remove the single screw from the bottom of the arm rest.
    5. remove scres from the front of the console and lift up gently the rear of the console.
    6. slide forward the power window module and lift up from the rear of the module to expose the electrical connectors.
    7. Use flatblade to press in on tabs and remove the three connectors. Remember that the grey one goes back on the passenger side.
    8. pull up and to the rear the console. Remove the clips for the stinking cigarette lighter and the light bulb.
    9. lift up on the cup holder and pull forward on the light clip while twisting it clockwise.
    10. now you can remove the console and inspect the damage.
    11. To replace the cables you start by removing the bolt on the rusty cable retaining device.
    12. open the hood and reach down past the brake fluid resevoir and remove the U shapped clip from the white cable end.
    13. Reach further down and remove the U shaped clip from the black cable end.
    14. Scream as you retract your arm. Go get bandaids and neosporen.
    15. Forgot to mention that you should have your car up on jack stands by now.
    16. Crawl under the car and unthread the cables from the side of the engine and make the ends point towards the front of the car.
    17. Go inside the car and pull back the carpet. You will expose a rubber pad that lies on the body front. This is held in by 4 hex nut shaped clips. These unscrew but you need to be left handed to remove the one up under the glove box.
    18. there is another rubber pad that overlaps the floor pad and goes up under the dash. Flip the edges of this upper pad so that you can pull the floor pad out from under it and away from the body. You should be able now to see where the cables go through the body to the engine compartment.
    19. The original equipment cable assembly has a rubber gromet where it goes through the body. You will see that the replacement assembly has a rubber thing with 2 screws and a metal thing screwed to it. remove the retaining nuts and put them somewhere safe.
    20. to remove the old assembly go back inside the car. It will be necessary to pull one of the cables at a time through the hole in the body. I pulled the black one through first. The rubber gromet will pop out. The whole in the body IS large enough for the large metal retaining things to go through.
    21. You will make several trips under the car to make sure that the cables do not get caught on other components during the removal.
    22. The white cable end in the shifter can be removed with a wide blade scredriver. forgot to mention that.
    23. pull the white cable through the body whole.
    24. by now you will be 3 1/2 hours into the repair.
    25. carefully thread the black cable through the whole from the drivers side.
    26. thread the white cable through next. The metal things prevent you from doing both at once.
    27. The metal retainer thing on the screws goes through the whole if you cock it slanted. Go back under the car and make sure you can see it. I added the nuts at this point finger tight just to make sure that the clamp assembly stayed oriented properly.
    28. go under the car and thread the cables so that they are roughly where they need to go on the transmission.
    29. go to the console area and thread the black cable through the slot and under the shifter.
    30. the white cable doesn’t have a slot but bring it up to the shifter thing on the drivers side of the lever.
    31. Forgot this too. If you purchased the metal bushing fix from ebay you will have to cut out the plastic busing from your brand new cable. before installation clamp your black console cable to a vise and hack saw the bushing out of your brand new $200 part.
    32. Continuing on the ebay metal bushing repair. There are 2 white plastic washers and a C clip. You will drop the C clip and it will end up under one of the heater vent pips unless you put a paper towel under the shift lever assembly to catch the parts. You will waste 1 hour looking for the parts and need more bandaids if you don’t put down paper towels.
    33. If you have the two white washers and the C clip put the washer with the side cut off on the metal busing first. Then the black cable end then the whole washer. Clip in the C clip to retain the part.
    34. orient the white cable end so that the busing will slide over the metal nub on the shift lever and push it on the nub.
    35. go back to the engine compartment and reach down to thread the metal round thing on the black cable into its retainer. the retaining clip snaps on to secure the metal retaining round thing. Next pull the black end to the lower of the transmission levers and replace the u shaped clip.
    36. thread the white cable metal thing through its retainer and replace the clip there. replace the u shaped clip.
    37. go under the car and with a 10 mm box wrench tighten the nuts on the clamp that holds the cables in the body.
    38. You are done with the cable replacement. go back inside the car and force the rubber mat back up under the rubber mat that goes up under the dash. replace the hex shaped clips.
    39. push your carpet back into place.
    40. place the console back into position. leave the rear end up and orient the front end down over the shift lever.
    41. attach the light to the cup holder by inserting the light and twist counter clockwise.
    42. attache the light to the stinking cigarette lighter and clip the lighter wire back onto the lighter.
    43. maneuver the console into place. pull the wire harnes up through the power window assembly whole and clip the grey plug to the passenger side, the black plug to the drivers side and the little white plug to the window controls.
    44. place the assembly into the hole and push back on it.
    45. replace the console arm rest and retain with the single screw that someone didn’t lose.
    46. reconnect the negative battery cable.
    47. replace the airbag fuse.
    48. replace the trim panels.
    49. tell your wife to go buy you a 12 pack.
    50. vow never, ever, to buy a Saturn again. EVER!

  • judy harvey says:

    i went to my daughters day before yesterday never had problems with my saturn sl i put it in reverse and heard a pop noise and there i was in a bad neighbor hood and could only go in reverse we fianlly got it home then used windshield bushings to fix it sence saturn wants 169.00 you have to buy the hole cable to get a .30 bushing someone needs to do something with this

  • Fynn chi says:

    Hi guys!
    I love how the internet can bring people together to help echother while at the same time take a staand against a corrupt system. My SL1 is stuck in the mall parking lot as we speak and befoer i made any financial move, I logged on to see what a big problem this stick shift bushing epidemic this has been! I will try the zip ties when i get back up there today so that i can drive my car until the bushings come here from my ebay purchase. Thanks again. Does anyone have a step-by-step instruction on how to do that? Anyways im so full of pride how people can be so brotherly and sisterly regardless of our differnces. I will return the favor.

  • Karen says:

    Ok, I bought this car 2 weeks ago. It is 9 degrees out side and my car will only go into reverse. I have most of the console off but the window switches are in the way of taking it all the way off (assistance please) then once that is off, will I be able to see the area that needs repair? Is the repair with the zip ties (best invention ever) easy to be seen as to how to do it, If I use by brain?

  • Joe says:

    01 SL 151k miles, So when it was hard for me to shift into any gear even when the car is off I took it to the mechanic and he said I needed a new cable set and it would be about $700 “$314 for the shift cable set” he said the cables were just worn and probably frayed on the inside because eveything else looked good. I am very poor so I looked online for a cheaper shift cable set and found this site which I am so glad I found so I know what to expect of my saturn in the near future. Once I read that it could be just the bushing and that jerry has a permanent fix for $20 bucks I was as happy as a pig in the mud. After taking the console off and looking at the still intact bushing and everything else I have to say darn it, I actually have to have the cables replaced. This was the 1st time I actually wished the mechanic was lying; but to my dismay he was actually telling the truth… They Do Exist! Well anyway I am still going to buy the better bushing from jerry to avoid any future problems but does anyone know where I can get the Shift cable set new for less then $314 I would try a junk yard but my mechanic said that would be crazy to spend $400 in labor only to install something that could be just as worn that could break sooner rather than later. they don’t usually install parts that they don’t order but if i can prove it’s new he said he would consider it. but i wont get there sweet warranty “36 months 36000 miles if they order the part and install it. So can anyone tell me If this is a job best left to the professionals or can I do it without to much trouble. I am used to working an my wrangler and have had 100% success rate but I have never worked on clutches. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • 96 Sc2 says:

      You could take out ur old cables and measure them. goto autozone and get their universal set and then wrap them on the bushings from jerry. maybe need a little modification but nothing ur average adult who has general mechanical knowledge cant do. mine went out this morning and I found this site right away. ty ty ty saved me my job and my money.

  • Danielle says:

    Well do what I did a year ago, use a zip tie to fasten them back together…if a 10 cent piece of plastic will work for a year, im in!

  • E Wyatt says:

    I just want to chime in with the same problem everyone else here had had. After church services, I backed my 1994 Saturn SL out of the parking spot, went to first gear, shifted to 2d, then….. nothing! Long story, short: we drove home in 1st gear, 17 miles. Since it was Saturday evening, there were no repair places open and the towing company said they were too busy to help me out.
    Thanks Saturn. This happened after my car’s odometer gearing recently broke due to the plastic crumbling in the gear-case. There’s more, but you get the picture. The car was VERY well taken care of, has only 85500 miles. But I’m done with it. Trading it in (for pennies) for a new Hyundai!

    • Nick says:

      To be fair, your car may have only 85500 miles on it, but it IS 17-18 years old. if it were a person, it’d be old enough to vote.

      I do agree that cars today have way too much plastic in them, though.

  • Jesse says:

    Bill from above mentioned the MotorMite or Dorman Part #14043 as an appropriate replacement part. Just thought I’d let everyone know that I managed to find one at the local O’Rileys for $22. It’s not the original part, but I’ve read everywhere that it works fine.

    Good Luck!

  • Jim says:

    Shifter stopped working on your Saturn? For $20. you can fix the problem, more then likley it’s just a cheap plactic bushing. Remove the center console and go to Napa and ask for part #BK6201411 (shifter cable bushing) follow the simple instructions, replace the center console and no that has nothing to do with the console around stereo only the plastic that covers your shifter between the two front seats should be touched. Drive safe.

  • Douglas says:

    When my bushing went out I twist tied it for a week until I could get a part from AutoZone at $30. Unfortunately getting the “teeth” of the bushing through the circle was more than I was capable after 2 hours of trying. I ended up tearing half of them off and putting it on and twist tying it again together half-a**ed as before. Now, I’ll try the ebay bushing solution.

    What a bad design for the coupling. You could just see the two engineering departments (Body and Motor) coming up with this bushing solution when a simple treaded nut and bolt would have been perfect.

  • SdSun says:

    Thank you all for the wealth of information posted. My car only goes into 1st and 2nd gear, may be the metal clips. Does anyone know where to go for good quality clips? Should I try Napa or Advanced Auto Parts?

    My car is a 2001 Saturn SL–I just hit 200,000 miles. Car runs good, I keep up on maintenance on it-no major problems, except for this mishap. I love my car.

    Thank you :)

  • admin says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t think I ever had the photos. But I recommend this: find the Haynes manual for your car. It’ll tell you how to take apart the center console. Once you’re there, the zip-ties idea seems to be pretty popular. (But it’s unclear to me whether you need to do any drilling to make it work.) Unfortunately, I’m the guy who wound up spending the $750 to fix it, because it was already done by the time all of these great comments came in! :)

    Anyway, the takeaway here seems to be that if you can find a way to put those two pieces of metal together, you’re in business. And if you’re already stuck, let’s face it; you’re not going to make it worse!

    Does anybody have photos of how to fix this?

  • Ce-Ce says:

    Im not sure that my issue is the same as everyone elses….i have a 93 saturn sl1 my bushing is fine but the cable that actually switches the gear bends and doesnt allow the car to go into any gear…it has left me stranded not being able to get it out of gear at all. Ive been using zip ties for months now but that isnt working anymore…it seems like the shifter has too much play and doesnt stay straight enough to shift it into gear…im at my wits end with this thing and dont have a bunch of money to spend to fix it. Help please

  • Chelley says:

    Hi! Since the majority of this website is about the shifter bushing (which is my unfortunate demise of today, I think), I figured I would share. I am about to tear it apart, because when my husband tried to leave for work today, she (my car–Amelia–01 sc1) “felt like there was a brick under the tires, then she wouldn’t move at all”. I tried to move her, and of course, I got nothin.

    Anyway, to the people with the rev-up problem. Mine did the same thing. No check engine light until the very end, which said it was a misfire. Ended up being the intake manifold gasket (faulty design–go figure). Talked to the Saturn guy (as I am a jill-of-most-brands master tech at a shop in VA), he said it was common problem, but diags were very difficult, and usually incorrect. Installed new gasket. Worked well for quite a long time…started noticing the problem again recently. Gonna tear her down later this spring and change it again, this time though, gonna use some gasket glue to help the “trouble” spot.

    I love my car. She is my “daughter”, since we have two sons! =0)

  • jonathin green says:

    I’m not all that smart with something’s, I was wondering if you could send me a picture of the bushing that goes on the shifter linkage. That way I can see that’s what problem I’m havning.

  • Harold D. says:

    In the process of replacing my shifter cable bushing. I founf it for less than $12.00 @ AWD Motorsports. Found a site with easy installation instructions on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI3h7uSTvAI, G.L.

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