Cavalier stuck in 4th! help!

Home  \  Repairs & Maintenance  \  Cavalier stuck in 4th! help!

Hi everyone, im new here but i would really appreciate some help. i posted this in repairs/maintenance section also but thought it might belong here? sorry?

I have a 2001 cavalier coup standard transmission.

Today on my way home, I came to a set of lights and popped from 4th to neutral.... but i have this habit of keeping the clutch in anyways... so the light turns green and throw it into first and begin to take off... at first i thought i was in 3rd so i tried again to go into first.. stalled... oops... so now traffic is building up so i say F*CK it, my clutch can take a little burn.. got going no problem and surprisingly didnt have to stop all the way home..... now im screwed though.

Shifter moves freely up and down.I have checked the shift cables and all linkages... seems good to me... moves the levers on the transaxle anyways..... i have no idea whats going on and im scared its something serious. my question is....... the lever that is moving freely appears to be rotating on the shaft that reciprocates in and out with the side to side movement of the shifter. So, should that lever be fixed to that shaft and cause it rotate?? it doesnt appear to do anything but rotate on its own... so my assumption is that it is supposed to be fixed to that shaft?? am i on to something or can someone give me an informed opinion?

thanks in advance!


posted by  PotGod

I'm not sure I understand from your description what the levers are doing. A few pictures might help.

Another suggestion would be to get a good repair manual such as a Haynes ad flip to the transmission section to see if it shows anything.

Does reverse work?

Also, you shouldn't double post. your questions will not get answered any faster. And will ultimately upset the very people that can offer the most help.

There are others here that may have more intimate knowledge of your problem. Just wait and they will answer if they have useful input.

posted by  corbett_auto

first let me address the double post. i apologized.. i wasnt sure where things went... again sorry. if people are going to be upset about such a silly thing in this community then maybe its not for me.

Second, sure pictures would be great... it just happened earlier in the evening and i was out friggin around with it til dark.. not sure pictures would turn out when its dark... ill get some tomorrow first thing though.

I have a hayne's manual there zip on tranny issues.

does reverse work? I thought i was pretty clear but ill try to explain this again;

the car is stuck in 4th... i cannot change gears at all... not to neutral, not to reverse. its a Getrag 5-speed not sure which one. There are 2 cables coming from the shifter, one moves with side to side movement of the shifter and pulls the shaft in and out on the transaxle under hood.

The other cable is the one moving freely, its moves with up and down (forwards and backwards?) movement of the shifter and moves a lever that is on the same shaft as the other cable under the hood. This second lever rotates on the shaft that is moving in and out of the transaxle.

posted by  PotGod

cable C responds to to left and right movements of shifter. this pulls shaft A in and out.

cable B is the one that appears to move freely... the up and down throw on the shifter. the lever you can see in the picture appears to rotate freely on the shaft A. should this make the shaft turn or what?? someone that has seen these getrags must know... or someone that has a standard cavalier or sunfire could easily see what im talking about with a quick look under the hood.

posted by  PotGod

I agree and think that the shaft should turn. But this is a guess. Can you see a set screw or some other sort of attachment that may have come loose? Have you tried to remove the cables and look at the shaft? Does the manual discuss cable replacement or adjustment (this may give some insight)

posted by  corbett_auto

hmm yes this what i have been thinking but i wanted someone that knew for certain... i cant get a good look to see if theres a set screw or anything... it does seem very loose though and wobbles around on that shaft rather precariously.... i dont have a mirror or anything to take a good look.... i suppose ill just start ripping things out tomorrow to take a better look.. rained all day today so it didnt happen already.... thanks for your response... ill check the manaul.. it does mention cable removal so maybe i can get a idea as how the linkages are supposed to move.... again thanks...

still open to some input from anyone, thanks!

posted by  PotGod


after an extensive search... and i do mean extensive... i was able to find very valuable information from a not-so-conventional source.... after googling the sh*t out of this transmission i came across an ebay link to this tranny for sale... well the pictures were great as you can see... that sure looks like a set screw on the bottom of that lever... must be underneath ang out of my view... ill have to rip the air box and junk out to get at that for sure... alright i think im set for tomorrow.

posted by  PotGod

well got to the lever... its not a set screw.. its a sheared spring pin.. got a new one today but its a b*tch to get in... the hole through the shaft seems smaller than the one on the lever which is making lining it up a pain... well im gonna get back out there and work on it

posted by  PotGod

Good luck! let us know how it all works out.

posted by  corbett_auto

the hole in the shaft isnt smaller... theres still the center piece of the spring pin stuck in there! i spent hours trying to get it out.... cant get in there good enough to get a pin punch on it square.... and not much room to give it a good whack..... any ideas???

posted by  PotGod

drill it out and put a bolt through it

posted by  glagon1979

i wish you would have read the rest of the post before offering suggestions. If i could get a drill on it i would be able to drive it out with a punch.

anyways i figured it out a couple of days ago. Went to drill a hole through wheel well to get at it. took off my wheel and saw that a hole was already there. problem solved. she came out first smack.

posted by  PotGod

Your Message