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1980 Honda Civic gear shift loose

When driving, a pin fell out of the shifter arm under the car and now the shift stick is extremely loose and, although it will go into gear, it is almost undriveable. I have reinserted a pin, but the stick shift is still loose. I gave it a test drive and I drove about 10 feet in first gear, but when I put it into reverse, the car continues to move forward.

It sounds like you may have lost more than one pin, or something might be bent.

According to my Haynes repair manual for this Honda Civic, the manual shows only one pin. It also shows a pin retainer, but I still have that. This is a 1980 Honda Civic 1500 GL. From the diagram I can’t figure out what else might be missing.

Maybe a plastic bushing also fell out when the pin fell out. If it’s working differently now than it did before the pin fell out, something is different/lost.

Did you hit something that made the pin fall out? If so, whatever got hit might be bent.

There’s only so much you can do with a Haynes repair manual. It might be time to hire someone with experience fixing linkage problems, assuming we aren’t dealing with an internal transmission issue. Heck, it might be time to find a transmission specialist. Have you checked to make sure the transmission has plenty of oil?

No, I didn’t hit anything and haven’t driven over anything rougher than the normal pavement in our area, so I don’t see how anything could’ve gotten bent. The Haynes manual has been better and more detailed than another older manual I had. I don’t think I need a specialist. I think I just need to figure out what else might’ve fallen off when the pin fell out. The suggestions thus far have been so generic they were completely unhelpful. I was expecting quite a bit more from the Car Talk discussion venue. Hopefully I’ll get something more detailed in the future. Gotta head out and talk to some other folks who might be able to offer some suggestions. I’ll check back in a little while. Thanks anyway.

Goodbye, then…what did you expect? We can’t see your car, not like there’s a 1980 Civic in the garage for me to go check…???

Ask a generic question, and you will get a generic answer. The question “what else might be missing?” is pretty vague. If you want a specific answer, you will have to ask a specific question.

The point is, it could be a number of issues, and you will have to rule some of them out if you want to solve this problem. You have already fallen victim to one of the most common troubleshooting mind traps. You seem to have determined something must have fallen off, but what logical reasoning have you used to support that assumption? The fact that one pin fell out isn’t conclusive.

Ask yourself these questions:

-Would you know, just by looking at the linkage, whether something was slightly bent or not?

-Why would a pin just fall out for no reason? Isn’t it possible you ran over a piece of road debris without realizing it? Couldn’t there be other causes that could help you diagnose your problem?

-Have you ruled out an internal transmission issue? This is where I would start, simply because I refuse to make the assumption you have made. You need someone with a fresh perspective to help you; someone who doesn’t share your preconceived notions and can “think outside the box.”

I would start by checking to make sure there is oil in the transmission. Even if this isn’t the problem, it’s a good idea to do this every once in a while anyway. Then, if the oil checks out fine, I would jack the car up and see if I can get it into reverse by bypassing the linkage and pushing or pulling the lever that the linkage attaches to at the transmission. If you can’t get it into reverse when you bypass the linkage, the linkage MIGHT not be your only problem. After all, this is a 31 year old car! Assuming the problem is the linkage without testing your theory is mulish.

After you have done these things, you will have successfully determined, to some degree of certainty, the problem is with the linkage. After that, my next step would be to go to a junk yard and look for another 1980 Civic. Once you find one, you can compare its shift linkage to the linkage on your car. Take some pictures of the junk yard car if you have to, and then cannibalize the parts you need from the junk yard car. You might just choose to buy all of the linkage so you can keep it intact and transplant it to your car.

There are (most times) no quick answers on 31 year old cars.