1999 Saturn SL from North America - Comments

10th Jun 2009, 18:23

Thanks for the info, as I was researching, I came across the site on ebay, well worth the wait to get that part, I would not pay $200 for an entire cable to fix a $5 part,

Saturn, you need to listen to your customer base on this one, great little cars but things like this give us all a bad taste.

13th Jun 2009, 08:48

My son just had the same problem with a 96 SL2 I gave him. The car has just over 100,000 miles on it. I fixed it before I knew there was a replacement bushing. I went to the local hardware store and bought a 8-24 half inch allen head screw and a few washers including a large fender washer. I drilled a hole into the round ball right in the center, there is a dimple there so it was easy to start drilling. I tapped the hole with a 8-24 tap, put a little thread locker on the screw. Put it all together and was good to go. I posted a video on You-Tube showing how I did it, just search key word "Saturn Linkage Repair", the video should come up.

25th Jul 2009, 17:50

Just finished replacing the bushing on the shifter linkage on my daughter's '99 SL2. It broke today, and in less than 4 hours - including internet searching and the drive to NAPA for the part# listed earlier in this post - she's back on the road.

Having used the NAPA part ($20), I strongly recommend using zip ties as a temp fix and going with either the stainless steel (about $32) or Delrin part (about $18) available on eBay instead.

The NAPA part looks like the original, and has flimsy plastic flanges that bent backwards several times as I tried to snap the bushing through the cable end. Very frustrating, but at least I didn't break any flanges in the process. The part design made the job more taxing than it should have been - especially when working in such a cramped space.

Hey, I'm glad NAPA carries the part, and that it was in stock, but hope my experience can provide someone with the hindsight I wish I had earlier today. In addition to being more durable, I can tell just by looking that the stainless steel or Delrin part would install much more easily.

I appreciate all the helpful posts on this topic. I'm handy, but not much of a wrencher, and wouldn't have had a clue what to do without your help.

What did we do before we had the internet?


Bill 07/25/09.

3rd Aug 2009, 20:15

Well I got screwed. I had to get my car towed in for this problem to an independent shop. I got taken for a ride, and over $400 later, they "fixed" the part. They replaced the whole shift assembly, when obviously this was the only problem!!!

OH well, my mistake, and now having found this website, could have saved me a ton of money.

DON'T TAKE YOUR CAR INTO A SHOP IF YOU CAN HELP IT. This is an easy fix with the part.

I will try to get my old part fixed and sell it to recoup some of the money...

5th Oct 2009, 13:38

My 99 Saturn SL cable linkage bushing broke on me in the Wal-mart parking lot on a Friday night. I was scared because I was in a bad part of town. Thank goodness for boyfriends with mechanical experience. A few zip ties and an hour drive later my car was home. I have been searching for a replacement, and will try some of the options given in this forum. Saturn wants me to buy a $200 part for a $5 fix, NO WAY!! This is insane how Saturn has used a crappy plastic piece for such an important part in shifting. If I had been on the interstate, I would not have a car.

1st Dec 2009, 20:09

I've owned 5 Saturns in the last 10 years (1992 SL1, 1995 SL2, 1997 SL2, 1999 SL1, and a 2001 SC1) and three of them had the shifter bushing fail. I bought a replacement busing for $14 after several years of using zip ties. The replacement works like a champ, 60K miles later, still works great. Despite this problem, every one of these vehicles have been great, no major problems, other than normal wear of parts (except the 1995 had an automatic transmission failure, stay away from automatics, it's a common problem and $14 is not going to fix it!). I sold the 1992 with 234K miles, the 1995 with 154K miles, the 2001 with 191K miles, and I still own the 1997 (153K miles) and 1999 (173K miles). The 1999 is still a daily driver which gets 38 mpg.

20th Jan 2010, 10:31

Okay, so I'm having the same problem with my car, and cannot figure out how to get to the part that I need to fix. Or to even fix it for the time being. My gears went limp in my 1999 Saturn SL, and now it is stuck in reverse! Please somebody help me!



10th Mar 2010, 15:01

Just had this same problem. Pulled into my parking space at work last night, moved the shifter from 1st to neutral and it popped out as I brought the shifter down into neutral (odd).

Tore apart the center console and there's two cables. The one that translates "left and right" movement to the tranny, and the one that works when you move the shifter up and down. The one that works when you move "up and down" was no longer attached to the little ball joint. (I assume the bushing goes onto the end of this)

I figured out the shift pattern and manually moved the rod with my fingers, I was able to select 3rd and 4th.

But if you must drive it, push the rod forward with your hand until it stops the first time (this is neutral) and without the shifter being moved left or right this is "center neutral"

Just pull the rod straight back again to enter 3rd. Push it forward to enter 4th. Doing this I managed to drive the car home at a reasonably safe pace... you CAN start out in 3rd but slip the clutch a little bit.

21st May 2010, 17:17

Thanks for this post. My shifter bushing broke, and Saturn says 215 before taxes. This $20 solution is awesome. Great thread.

24th May 2010, 14:37

Thank you very much for all the help people. I took my center console out and found the plastic bushing broke laying down below! Called up NAPA and followed the easy instructions that came with the part.. now the red rocket is race ready! Thanks!

18th Jun 2010, 10:15

The shifter bushing on my 96 SL1 broke about a month ago… I was on my way to close on a new house when the shifter just started free-floating. Luckily, I was just pulling out of a parking lot, so I was able to roll back into a spot. My husband helped me limp it home, and after calling GM, said that it was $300 to replace the whole darn assembly... I found a stainless steel bushing on eBay last week (thanks to this thread), and I am looking forward to putting it on tonight.

I loved Saturn, and I'm sad they're gone, but it really doesn't seem like a smart idea to put a plastic piece there. That said, the shifter in my ride is currently being held to the cable with plastic zip ties, so I guess I can't talk. :-)

Keep the rubber side down,