CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Gearbox and missing/ transmutated gears

My car is possessed, I tried backing up yesterday only to find that reverse gear has been replaced by second, yes second. First gear is gone completely and there is no more fourth or fifth. Can anyone tell me if this is a gearbox problem, shifter, or transmission?

They’re not gone. They’re still there. It’s just that whatever is supposed to tell them what gear to go into isn’t giving them the proper instructions anymore.

Let me guess…this is late model, right? Your tranny is probably controlled electronically and the tranny control module is messed up. My span of knowledge does not include these systems, so I’ll let others take it from there.

My guess is that everyone is going to want to know the year. And if it’s a manual or automatic.

Well, its a 2002 GLS sedan. Thanks for the feedback, That sounds a little better than rebuilding the transmission.

If all you have is 2nd and third, the problem could be the shift linkage. If so, it should be easy to spot and fix. If the linkage is OK, there may be an internal problem with the shift mechanism in the transmission. This may require the transmission to be dropped and dis-assembled.

BTW, gearbox and transmission are interchangable terms.

oh and its manual too

Like BustedKnuckles, I believe that you have a linkage problem with your manual transmission.

By mentioning only belatedly that it is a manual transmission, you led my friend mountainbike, down the wrong path. His diagnosis would be valid if you had an automatic transmission, but is not correct for a manual transmission. He is well aware of all of this information, and is extremely knowledgeable, so he cannot be blamed for giving the wrong diagnosis

By posting all relevant information the first time around, you can help us to help you much more effectively.

Thank you sincerely. For the compliment AND for the laugh at myself. I wish I could fill the shoes you’ve set before me.

Yeah, I assumed it was an automatic, but often find myself wandering the wrong paths even with the right information. I’ve even gotten to know these paths. And learned a great deal traversing them. Now if I can only remember what I’ve learned…

One thing about age, one realizes one is not so smart after all. It’s then that the learning really begins.

MB

Regarding the issue of age vs learning and how–as we grow older–we find out that we don’t know as much as we thought we did, one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain goes something like this:

When I was 16, I couldn’t believe how ignorant my father was.
By the time I was 21, it was amazing how much that old man had learned!

That’s not an exact quote, but it gives you the gist of what Twain said. So, I agree with you that, as we grow older, we learn that we don’t necessarily know as much as we thought that we did. And, in the process, we frequently wind up appreciating our elders more than we did when we were younger.

Heck!
Now we are those elders, so this is really confusing!

Yeah, I’m lost!

The good news is we get to help others. And if we screw up they just say “oh, it’s only old age”. Which means we’re free to screw up and get a “pass”. Which means we can help others better.

Yeah, I’m confused!

I have a lot in common with the VW Jetta in the OP. At my age, I don’t exactly have all my gears either. A shift linkage repair will probably help the Jetta–I don’t think there is any hope for me.

Perhaps we can find one in a forum on aging…