Replacement shift cable end for 1996-2002 Saturn SL/SL2/SW/SW2 manual shifter

by delsydsoftware, published

Replacement shift cable end for 1996-2002 Saturn SL/SL2/SW/SW2 manual shifter by delsydsoftware Dec 17, 2012


Saturns are notorious for having issues with the manual shifter. Most of these problems revolve around a little rubber cap that holds the shift cable in place. A few solutions were offered in the aftermarket, including a steel bushing that was for sale on eBay for a while (and may still be).

The steel bushing corrected the design issue, but introduced another issue. It has a tendency to put so much torque on the shift cable that the plastic end of the cable breaks off. This is a huge problem, because it means buying a $200+ cable and spending a few hours installing it, only to have the shift cable end pop off again.

This happened to me a few years ago, and I decided to re-attach the broken end by drilling a hole in the steel cable and attaching the old cable end with a bolt and nut. (see saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=122577 for the original discussion). This fix worked for 4 years, until the shift cable failed at another place.

After replacing the shift cable, the end popped off again. This time, I decided to design and print a replacement. My model is significantly stronger than the original, and seems to improve the feel of the shifter as well.

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Print the part off with 100% infill. I used Makerbot Nuclear Green, since it is fluorescent. This allowed me to use a UV light to check for wear on the linkage when I was testing it (see the picture of my hand covered in nuclear green ABS dust and lit by a UV flashlight). If you do not have the steel bushing kit I mentioned before, you may need to scale this model up or down slightly to fit the original rubber bushing. I haven't tested it with the original bushing.

Sand the inside of the eyelet smooth with 320 grit sandpaper. Drill a vertical hole in the shift cable end, about a centimeter from the end of the cable. You don't have to make the hole too big. The end of the cable is hardened steel, so you will probably need a decent bit to get through it. A cordless dremel is strong enough to do the job, with a full charge. Attach the eyelet with a bolt mounted in the top of the eyelet. You don't need to use a nut on the bottom, since the position of the eyelet in the shift linkage will prevent the bolt from coming out.