2001 chevy cavalier will not shift into 1st, 3rd, or 5th

06-28-2012, 05:45 PM

I have a 2001 chevy cavalier, the base 2.2 model with a 5 speed manual transmission.

I can't shift into 1st, 3rd, or 5th gear. On occasion I can get into 1st but it pops out almost instantly. I have the shift boot up, it looks like the shifter won't go far enough to click into gear for the top 3 gears.

2nd and 4th don't have any issues, reverse works as well though can sometimes be more difficult than usual.

Any advice on what to do, how to further diagnose this or fix it would be appreciated!

06-10-2013, 06:54 PM
I don't know the construction of a cavalier 5-speed but I can tell you a quick story of a Ford Escort ( yes, I know , Ford ) with a 5-speed manual type transmission that I bought a number of years ago. The transmission could not be shifted into 1st, 3rd, or 5th. All the gears on the one side of the throw. I towed it home as I was not sure if it might damage anything to try and drive it far at the time. At home I played around with it and found that after going back and forth a number of times suddenly it was reversed and now you could put it into 1st, 3rd, and 5th but now you couldn't get 2nd, 4th, and reverse was a maybe. ( ???????????? ) It turned out that another thing that didn't work as of recent was the speedometer. I ended up taking the whole thing apart and found that in the bottom of the trans was a bit of a pocket in the casting which had the central shifting rod running through it. Along with the rod was a mechanism for keeping you from hitting a bit of reverse every time you came out of high which had a form of an ' H ' pattern in it and a pin attached to the shift rod which would follow the H as you shifted. The speedometer drive plastic gear had come off and went into the bottom of the transmission but did not get destroyed but only beat up into a ball which would then sit down in the pocket and get in the way of shifting- one side of the throw. Being only light plastic it was then possible for it to get 'washed ' up over to the other side if you went backward and changed the flow of the oil thereby getting in the way of the other ' throw ' of the shifter. Just a dumb piece of plastic in the way. The bad part was you at least take the transmission out of the car and either take it apart to get it out or at try and dump it upside down and see if you can get it to come out the speedo hole. ( I took mine apart ). I was trying at one point to see if there was a spot where you could just drill a hole big enough for the gear to come out and then thread it with pipe threads and put a pipe plug in it to avoid having to take the whole thing out. ( I used to be on Escort forum and there was a lot of similar happenings ) I don't know if it is anything like that on your car but just throwing that out to you . Hope you figure it out.

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