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Old 02-28-2016, 09:02 AM   #1
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SAAB Savior -> GenuineSAAB short shifter, No reverse :-/

I've had the SAAB Savior short shifter for many years now and although it's always been a bit finicky and tough to adjust, it's worked fairly well. I just had a new clutch put in and after getting the car back it won't go into reverse. After numerous attempts to adjust to no avail, I decided to upgrade to the Genuinesaab version since it gets positive reviews for the most part.

After installing this, same issue.

When you attempt to put it into reverse there is an awful scraping, which is the U-bracket/captive nut assembly of the shifter scraping on the inside of the aluminum shifter housing. I actually filed down a bit to see if that would help and it didn't.

The only method allows access to all gears is this: loosening the pinch bolt, putting the car into reverse and tightening down the pinch bolt. At this point the gears are somewhat accessible, albeit very notchy and not really driveable from a practical perspective. Add to that that the shifter rod is pointing about 20 degrees too far right, which is ridiculous. If anything it should point towards the driver.

My local indy (Tom Townsend - SAAB Master Mechanic) did a complete engine rebuild on the car along with the clutch, and he couldn't get it adjusted either. He's more of a purist, and suggested to go back to the stock shifter :-/

I'm at my wits end with this, so I wanted to see if anyone has had similar experience.

Cheers
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Old 03-02-2016, 08:06 AM   #2
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Have you followed the actual shifter adjustment procedure?
http://www.genuinesaab.com/psi/files...Adjustment.pdf

Are your engine and trans mounts in good shape?
Hows the shift linkage look?
Are you using the stock knob and boot?
At the bottom of the plastic knob is support tube, at the bottom of that is a nub that is meant to ride on the 5th gear/reverse gate. Is that piece still there?
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Old 03-03-2016, 10:30 AM   #3
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Have you followed the actual shifter adjustment procedure?
http://www.genuinesaab.com/psi/files...Adjustment.pdf

Are your engine and trans mounts in good shape?
Hows the shift linkage look?
Are you using the stock knob and boot?
At the bottom of the plastic knob is support tube, at the bottom of that is a nub that is meant to ride on the 5th gear/reverse gate. Is that piece still there?
Over the past 10 years, I have had the pleasure of adjusting this numerous times. I have the WIS and follow that (albeit simple) adjustment procedure.

Both I and my SAAB indy that the linkage looks fine, as does the linkage bushing.

I'm using the stock knob and boot,though neither are installed right now as I am still troubleshooting this issue. The whole console is removed.

I have completely removed the reverse lockout guts from the shifter. It hasn't been in either shifter since I obtained the car.

The black plastic tube with the guide nub for 5th/5th->4th reverse prevention is not installed at the moment, again because I am troubleshooting..

UPDATE:

I thought I was able to get into reverse with the pinch bolt loose, but that's not the case. What I thought was reverse was merely 4th, or some in-between version. When I let up off the clutch in what I thought was reverse, the car inches forward.
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:09 AM   #4
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Seems odd, for sure. Are you sure there's not a heater-core hose preventing the linkage from twisting/moving appropriately?

I know that my "euro" heater core hoses come in contact with the linkage occasionally and can make shifts clunky. Aren't the arms on the linkage adjustable? would it make sense to adjust them so that the linkage is moving to where you need it to? It sounds pretty off if what you think is R, is actually 4th.
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:56 PM   #5
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My mind is where Craig's is and I would be looking at the shift linkage itself. It could be easy for one of the small ball end linkage to come off. Sorry I don't have any other ideas.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:08 AM   #6
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It's an odd problem for sure. All the linkage joints are attached and fine. Maybe something is bent juuuuust enough...weird because I feel like the shift linkage and rod are very stout so I don't see how this could happen.

I also replaced the subframe bushings with poly which are a different height that the worn factory ones. I'm wondering if the slight change could have also affected the geometry.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:46 AM   #7
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Try not using the locating pins and have someone pull back lightly but continuously into where 4th should be, while you keep the linkage in position and tighten the jam nut, then if not good loosen and have the inside guy tweak left/right based on the results.

Edit: when you loosen, to adjust left/right and originally, be sure to spread the grips open a little, slip a flat screwdriver in gap and twist a little, so that knurled shift rod end is truly free floating inside so that the minor adjustments aren't just taking slack out of the linkage.

Besides possibly being slightly tweaked, the little plastic socket and sliding/rotating stuff can wear so the pins aren't sufficient to align everything so there can be unaccounted for slop, my experience. I don't use them at all and just put things where they need to be on both sides as a two person job
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
Try not using the locating pins and have someone pull back lightly but continuously into where 4th should be, while you keep the linkage in position and tighten the jam nut, then if not good loosen and have the inside guy tweak left/right based on the results.
First off I want to thank you for your responses. It seems like I'm getting nowhere with this and you understand exactly the issue I'm troubleshooting. With that said, I've tried this method numerous times, with the disclaimer that the person holding inside the cabin is my girlfriend who is quite petite

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Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
Edit: when you loosen, to adjust left/right and originally, be sure to spread the grips open a little, slip a flat screwdriver in gap and twist a little, so that knurled shift rod end is truly free floating inside so that the minor adjustments aren't just taking slack out of the linkage.
I need to definitely try doing this. I'm not sure what I can use to spread the receiver end open but I'm going to try. It's pretty stout! What you are describing though is exactly what I had thought about doing. I tried locking the transmission in 4th with the pin and then shoving the gearshift in 3rd to get the linkage rod to completely back out of the clamp, but it's really stuck in there...I need to try harder this weekend, but I was afraid something would break :-/

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Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
Besides possibly being slightly tweaked, the little plastic socket and sliding/rotating stuff can wear so the pins aren't sufficient to align everything so there can be unaccounted for slop, my experience. I don't use them at all and just put things where they need to be on both sides as a two person job
yeah, way back when I installed the SAAB Savior short shift, I found the aligning pins to be pretty useless for alignment, particularly since that shifter was so aggressive in the throw reduction. I was hoping that with the Taliaferro short shift I would be able to use the WIS method, but it doesn't look like it..

Only other things I can think of are to get hold of a used shift linkage rod and/or linkage assembly, if nothing more than just to swap in and see what I've got for comparison. The linkage assembly new is almost $400 so I would like to avoid purchasing that if possible, obviously..

Cheers again for the time to respond!
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Old 03-09-2016, 12:04 PM   #9
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i noticed my heater core delete hoses also did contact the linkage
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Old 03-10-2016, 03:07 AM   #10
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Is there really that much of a difference with the short shifter? I have a friend that installed the GS shifter in his car and he really doesn't like it at all. He highly advised me against installing one in either of my cars.

At this point I would have just sourced an oem shifter assembly and just used that.
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:25 AM   #11
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I tried locking the transmission in 4th with the pin and then shoving the gearshift in 3rd to get the linkage rod to completely back out of the clamp, but it's really stuck in there...I need to try harder this weekend, but I was afraid something would break :-/
I don't know if you fixed things by now or not, but it sounds like that's your problem for sure.

If the rod isn't free to move inside the pinch collar when the bolt's loose, then you're just loosening and re-tightening the bolt while the rod is still in the exact same position in relation to the shift linkage---the rod position in relation to that collar (both rotation and in-out) is exactly what needs to be set correctly, and if those pieces aren't free to move independently from one another when the bolt is loosened, then nothing is being adjusted. Don't be a afraid to pull the rod completely out by moving the linkage all the way forward and holding it there and then getting someone to move the shifter the opposite way up into 3rd.

Then with the rod out it's easier to slide a large flat-blade screwdriver in there and gently twist to spread things open.
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Old 03-12-2016, 06:27 AM   #12
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Is there really that much of a difference with the short shifter? I have a friend that installed the GS shifter in his car and he really doesn't like it at all. He highly advised me against installing one in either of my cars.

At this point I would have just sourced an oem shifter assembly and just used that.
I really like the GS shifter in my Viggen and have never had any issues with it; the movement is shorter, and the effort is a little higher and the feeling is more direct. I don't have one in my 9-5 but likely will someday if I pull everything out for a refresh. It depends what you like I think.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:40 AM   #13
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Still ongoing believe it or not.

I'm waiting on a used linkage (part with the ball and sockets) that should be in tomorrow. I removed the linkage that was on the car, and although I understand how it is attached and how it works 10x better now, I still can't really tell if there is enough wear to cause my issue. The rubber bushing is a slightly worn, but nothing to cause this IMO. The clamp was stuck in one of the slots, which could be an contributing factor, but we will see when I throw the new linkage in.

The socket joints were improved on the 2004+ and are metal now. I think this is a major area of improvement from the plastic ones with the clips that tend to pop off. I saw a post where a guy ordered stainless steel sockets and threaded rods from McMaster-Carr to update, which I am very much considering doing, especially since they are cheap!



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Old 03-16-2016, 07:06 PM   #14
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Share some part numbers if you decide to replace the ends!
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:12 PM   #15
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Oooo. Very interested in the metal replacements. I had this exact same problem in my old '00 aero. I couldn't get reverse when I 'properly' aligned the shifter. When I adjusted to find reverse, second became fourth and first became third. It was screwy. I spent a shit load of time trying to wrap my brain around it while everyone told me the trans was trashed. I didn't believe it. And it did all go south after I installed the GS short throw..

I never replaced my linkage, but I never saw how that could have been the problem.
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Old 03-16-2016, 08:17 PM   #16
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I'm assuming your trans hasn't been touched?
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:11 AM   #17
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It could be what you guys are seeing is the result of the shifter, but that's not the shifter's fault or a build quality issue. If you think of it like gear ratios, the reason it's "short" is because the modified geometry makes it so that less movement of the shifter causes more movement of shift linkage--which is a trade that increases the overall shift effort. With respect to adjustment, that means that smaller changes in the positioning of the shift rod end to the coupling magnify any mis-alignment.

I'm very interested in metal ends as well, in addition to the ends I think the whole thing flexes too. I've contemplated making a jig and welding together a stiffer all metal linkage assembly...watching it work I think there's a lot of deflection. There's just no time
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:59 AM   #18
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I thought someone was making a metal replacement linkage at some point. Possibly [email protected]?
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:27 AM   #19
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Oooo. Very interested in the metal replacements. I had this exact same problem in my old '00 aero. I couldn't get reverse when I 'properly' aligned the shifter. When I adjusted to find reverse, second became fourth and first became third. It was screwy. I spent a shit load of time trying to wrap my brain around it while everyone told me the trans was trashed. I didn't believe it. And it did all go south after I installed the GS short throw..

I never replaced my linkage, but I never saw how that could have been the problem.
I didn't see how the linkage could contribute either, unless there was abnormal wear and tear on it or the linkage rod (highly unlikely - that thing is beefy) due to the short shifter installed for years before. At this point I'm replacing cheapest parts first trying to isolate :-/

Did you ever get your issue resolved? I should be able to shift through the gears from under the hood with the linkage removed, but I swear I can't. Last time the car was at my SAAB indy he indeed was able to do it because he backed it out of the garage. This is why he thinks it's not the transmission. While that makes sense, something could have changed in a few weeks; reverse worked ok(ish) for a day or so, but after about an hour drive I got back home and it was inaccessible

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I'm assuming your trans hasn't been touched?
It hasn't specifically, though the clutch was replaced with all the recent work. I also noticed that when the clutch is not engaged (clutch pedal up) there is a definite whirring of some sort. It makes a sound similar to when a bearing goes bad. Also, driving around in third makes a more pronounced version of the noise. To me, this is pointing more and more towards a transmission issue - perhaps exacerbated by years of having the SAAB Savior short shift installed...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew in Houston View Post
It could be what you guys are seeing is the result of the shifter, but that's not the shifter's fault or a build quality issue. If you think of it like gear ratios, the reason it's "short" is because the modified geometry makes it so that less movement of the shifter causes more movement of shift linkage--which is a trade that increases the overall shift effort. With respect to adjustment, that means that smaller changes in the positioning of the shift rod end to the coupling magnify any mis-alignment.

I'm very interested in metal ends as well, in addition to the ends I think the whole thing flexes too. I've contemplated making a jig and welding together a stiffer all metal linkage assembly...watching it work I think there's a lot of deflection. There's just no time
I'm totally following you, but no matter how minute the changes I try to make with adjusting, I just can't grab reverse. It is extremely frustrating.

As far as the linkage, I think going the McMaster-Carr route might be the cheapest and easiest at this point. Shouldn't be difficult at all to rig up. Just some good measurements on the lengths of the rods really.


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I thought someone was making a metal replacement linkage at some point. Possibly [email protected]?
Not that I'm aware, but these metal ones should do the trick nicely!
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Old 03-18-2016, 09:53 AM   #20
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I just briefly skimmed over this thread again. forgive me if it's already been answered, but did you make sure that all of your mounts were in good operating condition? if either left or right mount are worn enough I'm sure it could create enough slop to make this very difficult to align.
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