Last week the gear shifter started acting up after a road trip.
I found it hard to shift from park into drive, after the car was ran for a while, then I stopped the car for a few mins, and then when I went to go again.
Tonight, I got home from a trip, and could not move the shifter (on the floor) out of drive, and into park. it would only move down from Drive to 1st gear.
I finally managed to move it into park, but something snapped when I did it. I might have broken something.
Any one have any idea what this might be? Now I cannot even push in the shift button on the side of the shift lever.
This car is the 4 cyl version, 4 door. Its been a great little car..
Update: The car is fixed. WOW. what a pain. Heres what we did.
First, we found a junkyard with a simular car. All 1988 to 92 Tempos and mercury topaz's used the same shift cable assembly. they are 200 brand new. WHy bother?
The shifter mounting plate is one of those Die Cast pig iron things, that breaks quite easily. Well, I removed the center console, and associated stuff right down to the shifter itself. I removed the park lock cable, and unlatched the transmission cable from the shifter point, as the sleeve lock was busted.
The transmission cable sleeve anchor point sits in a U, with a clip over it holding it in place in the front of the shifter plate. Thats what I broke off.
Now on the end of the cable where it attaches to the shifter is a round eyelet. My chiltons auto repair manual says there is a little clip there to hold it on a pin but there was none. The cable sits on a pin, with a plastic nipple on it, and it sits on that retainer nipple. I use a pry bar in the shape of a fork, and it came off rather easy, once I did it the correct way.
Next I tried to remove the 4 sheet metal screws that held the plate down. The heads busted off, due to the rust, and I had to drill out the 4 screws, which were very much over 1 inch long and went thru the floor. The sheet metal on the floor was kinda thin, but it did its job. The original screws were set in 4 holes, and held in place by retainer clips which long ago rusted out. The plate also sits on a rubber gasket between the floor and the plate.
With the 4 screwes drilled out, we proceded to remove the shifter cable.
Going thru the driverside front wheel well, and using a combination of wobble sockets and universal sockets, we removed the 2 screws holding the shifter cable bracket from the transmission. I removed the linkage nut that held the other end of the cable from the transmissions transaxle lever.
We then put the lever into park, (all the way down, and Put in the new cable. We then put in a new shifter plate, and this time used bolts and nuts with lock washers and some lock tight, to hold it in place, as there was plenty of room.
We attached both cables, and tested it out. It shifts with barly a touch, once you have the side shift button pushed in.
We decided to find out what went wrong with the cable. Taking a cut off wheel we cut the cable in 3 places.
At one end you have a flat adjustment peice, and the other a round mount, that goes on the shifter. it was neer there that we had the problem. The cable is a bascialy a flat peice of steel, wound or coiled into a cable. Imagine a spring that is made out of square steel instead of round wire and you will get the idea.
Well, at both ends of this cable, a terminal end is crimped on it. One end has the flat, oblong adjustment for the transaxle lever, the other the round connecting point for the shifter. Over that for all but about 10 inches, is a sleeve.
The point where the cable leaves the shifter, goes into the sleeve, is where the problem occured. The cable began unraveling. I.E. It expanded, thus putting pressure on the sleeve, to the point where it could no longer move.
When moving the shifter from drive to park, the cable pulls from the engine, causing the cable to come out from the sleeve. The unraveling inside the sleeve, prevented it from comming out, and that is why when I forced it
into park, it broke the mount on the shifter plate.
Since the unraveling part was just inside the sleeve, going from park to drive, resulted in pushing the cable that was already inside the sleeve, so it worked fine. It was the reverse that was the problem because the unraveling stopped the cable from moving further out of the sleeve.
So thats how we repaired it, and what was wrong. I hope this helps someone in the future.