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Strange Shifting Problem

586 Views 10 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  '97 Saab SE Turbo
My 99 5-speed manual has been operating perfectly. But the other day while my wife was driving it, my car stranded her. It wouldn't engage any gears.
With the engine running you can shift through all gears (including R) without using the clutch, and the shifter feels normal - like it is actually going into each gear - but the car won't move, there's no change in the sound (i.e. no rubbing of any parts).
The clutch pedal isn't limp either. The car will not move at all.
Is this a symptom of the CMC or CSC ? I have never known a clutch or trans to go from operating perfectly to non-functioning instantly without warning.
Any ideas?:roll:
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Did you have any work done lately, like axles, bearings, struts? If so and they pulled the axles out, they may not have reseated them all the way and one may have popped out. Since most of us don't have an LSD, one slipping axle will leave you stranded.

Also, I had a problem like that with my '66 Mustang. In that case, I was running slicks and popped the clutch at around 5-k rpms. which sheared the output shaft in the transmission right at the driveshaft yoke... Ron
Not to me, but it did happen to a poster just after they had some suspension work done. It's just a guess, but since we don't have positraction, or a limited slip differential, the wheel with the least amount of traction is going to spin. If the drive shaft is disconnected, then there's no traction on that axle.

Otherwise, it could be something in the transmission, but your wife would have heard some sort of noise when it let go. And since the car can't be driven, it can even be put up on ramps for an inspection, unless you push it or tow it onto the ramps... Ron
More than likely, it will be the driver side axle since the passenger side has the stub axle and I can't see that popping out. You might try jacking and supporting the drivers side, and see if the wheel turns freely with the transmisson in gear. If you can, my guess is that the axle needs to be tapped back in to the transmission. I used a 2x4 and small sledge to tap the hub while the lower ball joint was still loose... Ron
This did not happen to my Saab; it was another poster on IIRC. And maybe last year.

If your clutch feels ok, and the engine is running, but you can shift normally, the worst case would be the splined area on the clutch disk coming loose from the transmission input shaft. You might be able to look in the bell housing by removing the black access cover, but the access hole is not very big, and you will need a high intensity light to see anything... Ron
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