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George H.
George H., ASE Certified
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 18696
Experience:  Transmission expert
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Saturn SL: I have a Saturn 2002 SL with a 5-speed manual transmission.

Customer Question

I have a Saturn 2002 SL with a 5-speed manual transmission. I lost 2nd, 4th, and Reverse. Connections of the shifter cables to the shift lever are ok. Looking under the hood, the jacket of the shifter cable that transmits the forward/backwards motion of the sift lever to the transmission is broken. I ordered replacement cables, and started pulling the old cables. I've disconnected the old cables from the shift lever and transmission, but am having trouble with the firewall grommet. It is hard to reach, and it doesn't seem to be as described in the Haynes manual,
Haynes says older SLs mounted the grommet with two bolts, while the 2002 supposedly has a grommet that is push-fitted into the firewall and can be released by popping it with a screwdriver from the driver's side of the passenger compartment. There are two obstacles to the Haynes approach. One, on the engine side of the firewall I see two threaded studs with nuts that appear to be holding the grommet in place, as if this was an older model year vehicle. Two, from the passenger compartment side of the firewall, it seems unlikely that I will be able to thread a screwdriver into this cramped space given the obstructions of the pedals, the soundproofing, and the other physical obstructions above the grommet.
So I am looking for someone who is familiar with this model year and has replaced shifter cables who can advise me on how I can remove the grommet from the firewall and replace the old cables with new ones.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Transmissions
Expert:  George H. replied 2 years ago.
Hello I will help you with your question,
This job is a pain if you don't have a lift. You need to be able to work the cables through the hole from under the car.
Remove the nuts and free the cable ends then peel back the carpet from the center tunnel. You will have to cut it in front of the console to get it back from the hole.
Copy and paste that link into a new browser tab, it should be better than what you are using
Please let me know how I can help you with this, I have done a few
Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi George,Yeah, a lot of stuff is a pain without a lift - and some is still a pain with one!When you say "cut IT", is it the carpet? Or sound absorbing material? You don't mean the cable itself, I hope!Any hints on tools/techniques for working in the tight space at the firewall under the dash etc.?Jim
Expert:  George H. replied 2 years ago.
Sorry, yes if the carpet is not already cut you need to do that so you can fold it back out of your way. I use long screwdrivers to get the boot through and get the nuts started on the clamp part that holds the cables as they go through the hole. Keep everything loose until you get the cable ends on then you can tighten the nuts to clamp the cables in the firewall.
I don't know if you have seen the write up of this procedure but copy and paste the link into a new browser tab and let me know how I can help
Thank you