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Old 11-23-2016, 05:50 PM   #1
VII
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Shifting issue - Cables look ok, sort of shifts

Hello! I recently picked up a 1998 Boxster. It needs a lot of attention but the main issue right now is that it is having shifting issues.

I was able to drive it home in second gear but the previous owner said he had 1st and 2nd gear days before I took it off his hands. With fiddling and such I have 2nd gear consistently and sometimes 3rd gear. The problem seems to be that the left/right shift cable does not want to move like it is binding on something or there is some internal transmission issue. I can move the shift lever about but it just doesn't really want to go into any gears other than 2nd and 3rd. If I try to put it into 1st it grinds.

I removed the center console and found that the cables and linkages look good. The shift lever moves freely without the left/right cable attached. Jacking the car up I can see the cables and linages attached and there doesn't seem to be any issues. Trying to move the linkage that is the left/right inside the car and it moves some but seems hung up. I tried to remove the linkage from the transmission to see if it is the cable but had a hard time doing so.

Any ideas? Crossing my digits I don't have to replace the transmission.
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Old 11-23-2016, 05:57 PM   #2
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Check the Pelican diy instructions.That will get you started.
I presume you have a 5 speed+ 2.5L ?
Inspect the entire cable for signs of being crimped/damaged.
Detach the cables from the gearbox. Get an assistant to operate the gear lever while you hold the cable ends at the gearbox. Can you feel a problem ? Had one of the 2 cables poped off? Common problem.
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Old 11-23-2016, 06:13 PM   #3
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Correct, a 2.5L 5 speed. I'll inspect the full cable length and see what I find. The cables/linkages are all intact, nothing has popped off. I'll check the DIY section.

Thanks for your response.
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Old 11-23-2016, 07:06 PM   #4
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You say 1st gear grinds! Does it grind when you have the clutch depressed? Or is it when you release the clutch that you get the grinds?

If it is the former you have a problem with the clutch, as well as having linkage problems. The latter confirms that the linkages are screwed up.

I have read that a badly worn motor mount also will cause shifting problems because it pushes everything out of alignment.
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Old 11-23-2016, 10:59 PM   #5
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It only grinds when I release the clutch pedal so it's probably safe to assume the clutch is doing its job. I was just looking at motor mounts and will order one in the morning.

How do you disconnect the linkages from the transmission? Just pop 'em off? I was having a hard time getting enough leverage to separate them earlier.
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Old 11-24-2016, 04:16 AM   #6
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They pop off with a prying tool. At the shifter end its a bit more complicated, the connectors have to be slid forward and rotated clockwise for removal.

I recommend you purchase "101 Projects" and the Bentley Service manual. Both books are a mine of information for DYIers. You can purchase both of them used from Amazon at very reasonable prices. You can also purchase a CD with the Boxster shop manuals on eBay. The latter has complete instructions, but specifies tools that are specific to Porsche. But even without these tools there's a ton of information that will help you out.

Good luck with the project!
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Old 11-26-2016, 02:59 PM   #7
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So a quick update. I got the rear linkage off and found that the shift lever and cables move freely without issues. All the linkages look good and are in their appropriate brackets so I think there is something internal going on. What should my next steps be?

I see a leak at the rear of the transmission from one of the shift arms so it could be low on fluid. Right now it looks like I can get into 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear but anything to the far shift edges (1st, 5th and reverse) are a no go. If I get it where 1st should be the transmission grinds. The transmission mounts have no obvious issues and the front engine bracket looks new as it is considerably more shiny than all other metal nearby.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:15 PM   #8
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I sent you a PM a couple of days ago.

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Old 11-26-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
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I sent you a PM a couple of days ago.

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I replied not long ago.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:25 PM   #10
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You have a car that you have no idea what has been done to it. Does the shifter look stock or feel odd? The first thing I'd do is see if you can find a shifter adjustment tool and go through the process of setting it up correctly. My thoughts are the shifter is completely out of adjustment and is attempting to shift into 2 gears simultaneously. Good Luck.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:39 PM   #11
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You have a car that you have no idea what has been done to it. Does the shifter look stock or feel odd? The first thing I'd do is see if you can find a shifter adjustment tool and go through the process of setting it up correctly. My thoughts are the shifter is completely out of adjustment and is attempting to shift into 2 gears simultaneously. Good Luck.

Shift knob and lever are stock and everything looks normal. How necessary is the alignment tool? I watched videos and it just seems to center the shift lever then the cables are attached. I marked the locations of the shift cables before moving them about and from my getting it close enough to center, they align just about perfectly with the marks I made. A quick google/ebay search and they don't seem available for purchase?
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Old 11-26-2016, 04:24 PM   #12
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VII, why don't you first try engaging the gears manually, by disconnecting both cables from the transmission and pushing/rotating the lever using your hands.

Recently I lost 5th and 6th gears and tried to engage the gears without the cables and was able to determine pretty quick that the problem was inside of the gearbox.

On my case, the issue ended being the pin that holds the selector fork into the shift rod.

Good luck!
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Old 11-26-2016, 05:58 PM   #13
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Tool is not necessary in my opinion, it just helps get the cable ends on in a position that is intended to give you full range of motion with the shifter handle. It can help prevent you from setting up the cables in such a way that the shifter runs out of room. If you have full range of motion and were able to successfully engage the gears before I don't think the tool would help.
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Old 11-27-2016, 08:05 AM   #14
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Sorry for late reply. Anyway as SteveOx has said the alignment tool is not necessary. The linkage adjustment process attached below is from the service manual. You can go through the process and check the intermediate shaft but as indicated if it is incorrect you will have to purchase the threaded linkage. Search transmission linkage adjustment, there are a couple threads that may help.











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Old 11-30-2016, 08:31 AM   #15
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Another update. I was under the car again double checking that the shift pin bolts were not backed out and in general just poking at things. I took the car for a drive and while it was difficult to shift, there were a couple times I was able to shift from 1st all the way to 5th. Sometimes I would be able to go from 1st to 2nd but then couldn't find 3/4 so I would skip to 5th. I did prove though that I can get the car into every gear.

Right now I can get into 2nd easily and 1st usually. If I can't get into first then shifting into 2nd and then to first usually works well. Going from 2nd to 3rd usually doesn't work but if I skip to 5th I can then shift to 4th and then to 3rd easily. I still have no reverse whatsoever but I can see my reverse light turning on when I'm shifting into 4th and 5th sometimes. I end up grinding a lot of gears while trying to shift too sometimes, mainly into 2nd.

I'm thinking it may actually be a gear alignment or fluid issue. Any other ideas? I'm going to go ahead and just order the shifter alignment tool just to eliminate that entirely.
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Old 11-30-2016, 01:33 PM   #16
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Had the same sort of feelings on a 996 that got progressively worse. Turned out the pressure plate spring cracked.
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Old 11-30-2016, 05:14 PM   #17
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There is some conflicting information here with what it is doing, at times seems like shifter related but now I am suspecting your clutch or slave cylinder. Just to be certain, have you ever shifted without using the clutch using rpm matching? If you have, do it and this will eliminate one of the things that could be causing your problem which is clutch or pressure plate. If you haven't, basically accelerate in 1st gear, nothing crazy just to like 2500rpm, while still on the accelerator slightly pull the shift lever back but just out of first gear (it will be hard to pull if you let off the gas hence why you have to be gently accelerating) then wait just a half second or so and ease it back into 2nd gear. If you let the rpms drop too low it will not engage so you will slightly bleep the gas to match rpm and then it should pop right into gear. Repeat this in every gear and by not using the clutch you will know if that is what is causing the problem. I ran a trucking company for years and we never use clutches with 13 or 18 gears (because our transmissions are not synchronized so it would do nothing, you have to match rpm for each up or down shift) Anyway, I hardly ever use the clutch in any of my cars, just for taking off most of the time.
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