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Silhouette transmission

2003 Olds Silhouette, 3.4L V6, auto transmission

Guys, the Mrs had a problem today with the Olds. She started the van, and moved the column shifter from park to reverse. On the way there, the resistance level of the shift lever dropped dramatically and it would not engage any gears. I suspect that the shift linkage is broken. Any other ideas, or is this the most likely candidate? I can’t test it because I’m on a business trip. Also, if it is the linkage, how much do you think it will cost? It seems to me that the parts should be minimal. Most of the cost is labor to get at the broken part. I told her to call the shop we usually use and describe it to them, and then have it towed to their shop. The shops is a mile or two from the Kohls the van is stuck in front of. She is getting it towed tomorrow and any help you can give tonight is much appreciated.

Look on top of the trans axle, and see if the transmission range switch failed.


Thanks, Tester. I’ll bet that the shop won’t take her word for it, but I’ll let her know the tip in case they bring it up. They are usually pretty sharp. Maybe something like “Could it be the transmission range switch? My husband told me to ask you about it.” That will take the focus off her.

The gear shift cable probably broke.

+1 for @Nevada_545 .

That’s what I hope happened. We will find out later today or tomorrow.

Shift cable, as suspected. The shop wants $600. How does that sound?

I just watched a shift cable replacement video on YouTube. I think replacement and adjustment should take no more than an hour, and the part appear to be about $50. My guess is that this is really $150 to $200 for repair. I’m going to rethink using this shop in the future. If any of you pros think $600 is reasonable, please let me know. There is the diagnosis fee, but this is really an inspection, and you have to remove the overflow tank and air supply tube to diagnose it, so that work is already done.

This would be high if it were on a car but there are probably access problems on a minivan. They’re a pain to work on under the hood.

The labor guide shows .7 of an hour to replace the shift cable, rounding up to an even hour is common and perhaps a half hour inspection time. To charge 4 or 5 hours labor for a shift cable replacement is excessive.

Youtube is irrelevant, as is the $50 price for the part if you buy it yourself. I show a wholesale cost for an AC Delco part at $55.69 with a list price of $116.95. Labor guide shows .8 hours, but the car is over 10 years old so I would quote the job at 1.5 hours, maybe 2 if there was excessive rust under the hood, if the interior or underdash were particularly muddy or messy.

But that still puts you in the $300 ballpark, not $600.

Are you sure there were no additional repairs or services included in that price?

Mrs JT just said replace a cable, and I assumed it had to be the the shift cable.

The value of the video is that it showed what had to be removed to get at the shift cable. It might take me a couple-a-three hours, but I expect an experienced mechanic could do it in a lot less time. @asemaster, I guess your comment on the age has to do with how much work it takes to remove the two bolts that hold the shift cable bracket onto the transmission. I could understand $300, and I’ll need to see the receipt before I pass judgement on this shop. As I said, we have used them before, and they do good work. I won’t pay way too much for a repair in the future if they are really charging $600 for just the cable replacement, I will be upset.

The part is probably AC-DELCO since they are a 2 minute walk from the Chevy dealer where we bought the van. Used to be an Olds dealer too.