I have a 1990 Legacy. Gear shift lever will not move; it’s stuck in high gear. I can start the car when the clutch pedal is depressed; it will inch forward, but the shifter won’t move. I need to get this car home, 50 miles. Is there any way I can overcome the stuck shifter, and if I try to drive it home in high gear, will I do any damage?
If you attempt to drive the car in 4th gear only, here are two likely results:
You will burn out the clutch from having to slip it so much every time you want to get the car moving.
You may cause damage to the engine from “lugging” it.
I really suggest that you have the car towed to a nearby mechanic, rather than trying to save money by driving it 50 miles in 4th gear. Your approach is likely to wind up being MUCH more expensive in the long run.
Is this an All Wheel Drive legacy/ or front wheel drive? How did it get stuck in high gear? did you turn the car off when in 5th gear? did it stall?
Try jacking up the car to get all the drive wheel off the ground, all 4 if awd, front 2 if front wheel drive. Then try to move the shifter.
Also, look under the car, to the rear/top of the tranny to see if the shifter linkage is bent or bound.
It could be that there is a problem in the synchronizer hub/sleeve assembly due to wear.
This can be caused by normal high mileage, something coming apart (retaining spring), or excess wear due to riding around with your hand resting on the shifter while it’s in high gear if you have this habit.
You might try rocking the car back and forth while it’s stuck in gear and then attempt to pop it out. If this doesn’t work then you’re in a bit of trouble. You may make it home in 5th gear without destroying the clutch but a lot could depend on just how many times you have to try and coax this thing from a dead stop.