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Question about gear shift [Jan. 12th, 2011|01:51 am]
Car Help

car_help

[jeski]
Apologies in advance if this sounds noobish, and for my lack of knowledge of technical terms (I'll probably use 'thing' a lot). I'm actually a learner driver, but I own a car ('96 Holden Astra, automatic) and am going for my provisional license in a couple of weeks.

I have a problem with my car's gear shift. Often the gear shift will just slide back and forth, and not lock into any gears. I've discovered under the hood that this is controlled by an arm with a round plastic thing on the end, which clicks onto a nub on a metal arm which changes placement according to what gear the car is in. Often the round plastic bit will detach from the metal nub, and I'll have to click it back in place myself. This has been really annoying because it will seemingly do this at random, I've had to put on my hazards and click the thing back into place in parking lots, in the middle of the street after reversing out of a parking spot, at intersections, etc.

I've been to a mechanic about this problem, and he told me that all they could do to fix the problem would be to replace the entire arm, which would cost me about AU$500. Since I can still drive the car okay and all that's required to get it going again is to click the arm back into place, I opted not to spend the money. I'm reconsidering now though, as I will be doing my provisional license test in this car and I don't know what my testing officer's reaction would be if my car decides to do its annoying thing during my test.

My question is - is there a way I could fix this myself for cheaper? It's been suggested to me that I could duct tape the arm to the metal nub. I'm not sure if this would work/be safe though? Could anyone give me some advice?

Here's a (bad) diagram of the part of the car I'm describing. Fig. A is how the gear shift part should look when the arm is hooked on properly to the metal nub. Fig. B is how it looks when the round plastic bit pops off (the black dot is the metal nub). Sometimes I will have to play around moving the gear stick to get the bar with the nub into a position so I can get the plastic bit to hook onto it again.



Also, I almost always have to start my car in neutral because it doesn't lock into park properly. Obviously this is related to the gear shift problem in some way. It'd probably look bad if I had to start the car in neutral for my test. -_-

edit: picture of the actual bits
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: togglehead
2011-01-11 03:55 pm (UTC)
I know the type of thing youre talking about, and let me start by saying the SAFEST thing is to get this repaired professional and properly....but, if we could all afford that there wouldnt be much of a car help forum then would there be...

My question...is there a way to get some strong wire and coil it around both arms to keep them together, or...does the diagram above act as a hinge also...therefore not giving you a place of overlap?
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[User Picture]From: jeski
2011-01-11 04:05 pm (UTC)
Wire would probably be a much safer option than duct tape, heh. :) The hinges on both arms would be at the open ends I've drawn above (the arm with the round plastic piece on the end is much longer than the wider arm with the metal nub). I don't see why I couldn't wrap some wire around to keep the plastic bit down on the nub, thanks for the advice :)

(and rest assured, I will be getting these bits replaced as soon as I have the money to spare ^_^)
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[User Picture]From: togglehead
2011-01-11 04:07 pm (UTC)
Oh god, yeah, as tempting as it may be...resist all urges to use duct tape!

Just get a good few winds of the wire around there and then keep the spool in the car in case it ever pops off again. You can even figure 8 it btw to the two pieces for extra strength.

This is one of those "temp fixes" that if done right (and the situation allows)...might just last for the life of the car...
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[User Picture]From: jeski
2011-01-11 04:23 pm (UTC)
This sounds like an excellent plan. If it saves me $500 it will be awesome. It's a little crowded in there (see my edit with picture of the actual bits), so it will take some careful work, but it sounds doable. As far as I can tell, the arm with the plastic bit moves back and forth with the metal arm underneath to change the gears, so wrapping wire around to keep them together should hopefully be ok.
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[User Picture]From: edgar_suit
2011-01-11 04:26 pm (UTC)
O.o That is an excellent diagram.

Togglehead's wire idea is usually what folks do. The socket (arm) has just worn out or broken on the inside that the ball will not stay inside. It's a ball & socket joint like your shoulder and it's just "dislocating" every now and again.

A figure 8 wrapping of wire would probably work great although I'm not sure if I can legally recommend it. ;)

I wonder if the black portion of the arm is threaded onto that silver, metal rod or glued on. If it was just threaded on, you could find a good one in a junk yard or something and just swap out that socket piece. Hm.
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[User Picture]From: jeski
2011-01-11 04:37 pm (UTC)
See, that is what I was thinking, that just the plastic bit on the end was worn and would need replacing. But then this mechanic told me the whole arm would need to be replaced for more moneys than I can afford right now. :( Maybe I should go to different mechanics for opinions.
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[User Picture]From: togglehead
2011-01-13 03:52 pm (UTC)
Thats always an option. Or like edgar_suit said....find out the actual name (and number) of the part from the dealer, and call local Junkyards to see if they have one. I bet it'll be super cheap in comparison to a dealer part...then you can fiddle with it off the car to see if you can just get the plastic ball socket replaced.

What im worried about, is that thing hinging on the larger bolt lower in the actual pic...and the wire you figure 8 around the parts being too tight and keeping the car from shifting. And, if you wrap it loose enough to let it stretch, it may be too loose to keep the parts held together.

Let us know how you make out!
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From: (Anonymous)
2012-03-03 06:21 am (UTC)
my nissan altima has no lock on its shift it is an atomatic gear but it go's from park to reverse to drive and back to reverse without breaking or cliking the botten plz help
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[User Picture]From: jeski
2012-03-03 09:38 am (UTC)
I no longer have the car I had this original problem with, but take a look under the bonnet for the arm that hooks onto the metal nub as in the pics above. If you can find it, hook the arm back onto the nub and the gears should lock normally. I can't help anymore than that I'm afraid :(
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[User Picture]From: jeski
2012-03-03 09:41 am (UTC)
also, I ended up getting the arm to stay hooked onto the nub by wrapping wire around it. A car smashed into the back of me and wrote off my car a week after I got my license though >< lol
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[User Picture]From: tommy50702
2014-10-31 03:31 pm (UTC)
The replies are really helpful for me.
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