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NG900 & OG9-3 Workshop NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 18th April 2007
fuselet fuselet is offline
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Default Reverse Is Gone - Time to Throw in the Towel?

Ugh.. so nevermind the piddling little problems with headlight wiper motors and annoying noises. Monday night, my reverse just went away. I mean no forewarning, no noise, no thunking no grinding.. it was just there and then it was not.
It goes into gear smoothly, but when I let the clutch out, nothing happens - nothing even tries to engage. And I am in the middle of moving. Ugh again.
I took it to the mechanic who said it was a problem inside the transmission (which had just been replaced when I bought it) and to just give up - not worth fixing. Fortunately, I have all forward going gears - they're totally unaffected.

Just wanted to see if anyone has a second opinion here. In the mean time, I'm getting good at driving at going without it - one foot pushing, one foot for braking, and one arm for driving - just have to make sure that I've got at least a little bit of an incline on my side. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 18th April 2007
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Have you checked your linkage alignment?
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  #3  
Old 18th April 2007
132417SAAB 132417SAAB is offline
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Have you recently hit any big bumps? Possibly the gear linkage is loose now - http://photo.platonoff.com/Auto/2005...ter_Alignment/

When I got my new tranny installed the mech didn't do the linkage and I didn't have 5th and reverse was impossible to use but after I aligned it myself (15 min first time around) the gear shift was like butter.
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  #4  
Old 18th April 2007
fuselet fuselet is offline
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*** oops - didn't see the link before I replied - I'll have to give this a try but I'm known for making certain mechanical situations worse****

Nope... I don't know how to check it, and I thought that if it was the shift linkage, I'd have trouble actually getting the stick into gear (had linkage problems on an old 900 and that's how it acted) - am I wrong? Is there hope?

Last edited by fuselet; 18th April 2007 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 19th April 2007
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Default Gearbox plug is gone - is this the problem???

So, I go to adjust the shift linkage and find that the gearbox plug is gone - is this the problem??? I'd love it if the answer was this simple...
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  #6  
Old 19th April 2007
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Gearbox plug ?

This could be many things?

When these things happen, as they are prone to do ,after the car ages enough... A diagnostic procedure must be used - step by step... the manuals are not strong in this area....

Usually start with the cheapest item, then go from there...

Apparently, the Saab GM900 shifter mechanism is a maintenance item - usually every 60K miles ???
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  #7  
Old 19th April 2007
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[QUOTE=earthworm]Gearbox plug ?

This could be many things?

the gearbox plug that is referenced in the link that i was sent to (above) for instructions on realigning the shift linkage.

so... I followed the instructions for realigning the shift linkage. the good news is that first through fifith shift better than ever. bad news - now i can't even get the stick in reverse (i used to be able to - it just didn't engage when i let the clutch out ) - fourth gear now lives where reverse used to. I tried aligning it again by starting with the stick in second gear instead of fourth gear (instructions say to start in fourth) and nothing was any different in the end. There is only one hole to align with only one other hole so i am totally confused as to how i could have gone wrong. is NOW the time to give in to the reality of a bad tranny?

Last edited by fuselet; 19th April 2007 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 19th April 2007
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Okay.. one more message... sorry.. i redid the alignment one more time, all gears back where they're supposed to be.. but back to the same original problem. stick goes into reverse, but nothing happens at clutch release. (sorry for the redundancy) I just noticed too that the reverse lights aren't lighting up when its in reverse gear.

any other advice??
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  #9  
Old 19th April 2007
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Try to tush it backward a little while trying to get into reverse...
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Old 19th April 2007
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its not that it won't go into reverse - its that once there nothing happens.
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  #11  
Old 19th April 2007
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Are you sure? There's about 3/4 of an inch where it feels like it has engaged, but really isn't...if your reverse lights aren't lighting up I'd say it isn't engaged...
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  #12  
Old 19th April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuselet
Okay.. one more message... sorry.. i redid the alignment one more time, all gears back where they're supposed to be.. but back to the same original problem. stick goes into reverse, but nothing happens at clutch release. ..(sorry for the redundancy)

I just noticed too that the reverse lights aren't lighting up when its in reverse gear. This is the best, I believe , possible news..
The car MUST be in reverse for the switch to be engaged...

any other advice??
Not advice, but a statement and a question. The statement : If reverse gear was stripped or broken, you would know it - this cannot be a silent event.
The question : Did you hear or see anything(In the draining of the MTF, the metal from the reverse gear set would be in the oil)..
Thus, what may be necessary is another try at adjusting/alignmentrebuilding the shift control, if the question is answered in the negative.....That is the advice..
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  #13  
Old 19th April 2007
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Could he have a messed up linkage?
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  #14  
Old 19th April 2007
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If reverse gear was stripped or broken, you would know it - this cannot be a silent event.
The question : Did you hear or see anything(In the draining of the MTF, the metal from the reverse gear set would be in the oil)..
Thus, what may be necessary is another try at adjusting/alignmentrebuilding the shift control, if the question is answered in the negative.....That is the advice..
[/QUOTE]

This is why I've been so perplexed and not willing to give up just yet. I've read through as many pertinent posts I can find on here and all of them indicating similar problems also reference some kind of noise - be it grinding , shimying or whatever. This was a 100% silent event. the reverse gear (since I've had this car -13 months) has never shifted like anything but butter, never a grind, never a complaint of any kind. And it still does - it just doesn't get me anywhere. Its like being in neutral. I checked the transmission fluid and found no metal. Could it be that I need new linkage not just an adjustment? I redid the adjustment 5 times - end result being back where I started from. Also, as of an hour ago, the reverse lights started working again. I'm so baffled.

Also, I did a little research and I found that many a BMW suffers this exact scenario - no symptoms - just no reverse one day for seemingly no reason. Just can't find any accounts of the same thing with a Saab. For all the Bimmers though, a new transmission is the necessary fix.

Thanks for reading all this!
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Old 20th April 2007
132417SAAB 132417SAAB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuselet
If reverse gear was stripped or broken, you would know it - this cannot be a silent event.
The question : Did you hear or see anything(In the draining of the MTF, the metal from the reverse gear set would be in the oil)..
Thus, what may be necessary is another try at adjusting/alignmentrebuilding the shift control, if the question is answered in the negative.....That is the advice..
This is why I've been so perplexed and not willing to give up just yet. I've read through as many pertinent posts I can find on here and all of them indicating similar problems also reference some kind of noise - be it grinding , shimying or whatever. This was a 100% silent event. the reverse gear (since I've had this car -13 months) has never shifted like anything but butter, never a grind, never a complaint of any kind. And it still does - it just doesn't get me anywhere. Its like being in neutral. I checked the transmission fluid and found no metal. Could it be that I need new linkage not just an adjustment? I redid the adjustment 5 times - end result being back where I started from. Also, as of an hour ago, the reverse lights started working again. I'm so baffled.

Also, I did a little research and I found that many a BMW suffers this exact scenario - no symptoms - just no reverse one day for seemingly no reason. Just can't find any accounts of the same thing with a Saab. For all the Bimmers though, a new transmission is the necessary fix.

Thanks for reading all this![/QUOTE]

Okay this what you do. Try and get your car to nice flat ground. Put the car in reverse and try and use the gear. Let the clutch out and gas it up like nothing is wrong. On the third time just let the clutch out all the way while still having your foot on the gas...if the transmission explodes you'll know you need a new one!
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Old 20th April 2007
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If this were me, I would remove the linkage and engage reverse manually, at the transmission, so I knew it was there. I would then start the car and try to back up. If the car moved, the problem would be the linkage. If not, the problem would be internal (broken shift fork, something like that)

To manually engage reverse, remove the linkage (remove the two 13 mm headed bolts and pull the linkage out). Grasp the shift rod at the transmission and rotate it all the way to the right (clockwise as far as it will go) and then push it in. It will slide and you will hear the synchronizers mesh. If it doesn't go right in, shift into other gears and try again (to realign the synchronizers).

Once you know it's in reverse, see if it'll move. If it does, begin to look at the linkage, both at the transmission and at the transmission.
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  #17  
Old 20th April 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radare
If this were me, I would remove the linkage and engage reverse manually, at the transmission, so I knew it was there. I would then start the car and try to back up. If the car moved, the problem would be the linkage. If not, the problem would be internal (broken shift fork, something like that)

To manually engage reverse, remove the linkage (remove the two 13 mm headed bolts and pull the linkage out). Grasp the shift rod at the transmission and rotate it all the way to the right (clockwise as far as it will go) and then push it in. It will slide and you will hear the synchronizers mesh. If it doesn't go right in, shift into other gears and try again (to realign the synchronizers).

Once you know it's in reverse, see if it'll move. If it does, begin to look at the linkage, both at the transmission and at the transmission.
This is excellent advice..
Sadly, if a shift fork breaks internally, one may not hear this....I think..
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  #18  
Old 20th April 2007
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Fuselet, have you checked the condition of the white bushing that the rod of the linkage goes through? It's under the rubber boot. If it was bad, it would probably effect more than just reverse, but still worth checking, IMO. Here's the one I'm referring to.
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  #19  
Old 20th April 2007
fuselet fuselet is offline
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this sounds like a fairly simple diagnostic procedure - something i could probably handle, but if there is something delicate that i could screw up along the way, i should know about it because chances are that i would.

so it's safe to manually engage it into reverse from the rod and then turn it on and try to make it go?

I am thinking about buying my brothers '98 volvo S70 despite the fact that it is, of all awful colors, turquiose. at least i know he's been extremely meticulous about the maintenance but with pre 2000 model cars i am thinking that it can become a bit of a crap shoot in terms of big things going wrong.

i just don't know how much more i can go through with this car. Earthworm, you've seen my endless posts about endless problems and you've been such a great help.. i'd hate to end my 8 year relationship with saabs.
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  #20  
Old 20th April 2007
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You can do no harm to the transmission by shifting it at the control shaft, its not easy as there is little or no leverage, that the driver has with the shift lever.. I "cheat" a little and use either visegrips or a little screwdriver..

I've had very, very little trouble with the '79 or the '96, but they do have some weaknesses.
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