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A loose hold down in the middle of the cable will not harm anything. As long as the cable housing is secure at the shifter end and at the transmission end, this should be okay. A common problem is the rubber bushing coming out of the end of the cable where the cable attaches at the transmission. Check this carefully and let me know if you need additional assistance.
The cable (just replaced 11 months ago BTW) looks from below like it's "frayed" in a way. While the white plastic center is intact, the metal wires surounding (protecting?) the center are exposed. could this be the problem?
Can I send you a photo somehow?
You can click on the tree icon above the dialog box that you type in to attach a picture.
OK. Here is the pic. Sorry it took a while...
Upon further review, the white plastic you see is just a sheath over the steel cable in the center. Here you can see the steel "wires" that I spoke of before. Can this be repaired in the car, or must the cable be removed first?
I "just happen" to have the old cable set that was replaced last year when the bushing came loose under the console. (Nothing wrong with them, but it cost me almost $600 for the parts and labor at an AAMCO place, because they said the bushing was not available as a single part from Saturn.) I noticed that the place where the wires go into in the cable is hexagonally shaped like it might be tightened with a wrench. But when I tried this on the old cable, it just spun in my vise.
I also noticed that the Holddown point I referred to before is sitting about 6 inches forward of the firewall, and there's nothing to tighten it to. My thinking is the AAMCO guy who "fixed" this for me last year found it difficult to put the holddown back where it belongs, so he jibbered some tarlike schmutz in the hole and called it a day. Any chance this could have caused the cable failure I'm trying to fix?
After looking at the picture, the cable is definitely bad. The cable housing has pulled out of the crimp at the end of the cable. This does not appear to be an installation error. You will need to replace the cable. You may be able to use one of the old cables if you can repair the bushing end. Check the link below for replacement bushings for the Saturn shift cables.
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