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Tricky shifter problem

My saturn wagon has not been drivable for months due to the shifter cables “popping” off several times. The shifter has not functioned properly in the five years that I have driven this car; it never wanted to downshift into 2nd. Two mechanics have tried to figure out why the cables are coming off. The cables were replaces twice and the shifter was replaced with a used model. How many parts could cause this to happen? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Is this Saturn an automatic or manual transmission car? Since you mention “cables” I am assuming that it is a manual. If too much force is needed to get the transmission into gear, that may be the reason the cables ends are coming off. The problem might be in the transmission selector mechanism. On a lot of GM manual transmissions the selector mechanism is detachable from the main unit with out complete removal so you might replace that mechanism.

Let us know the progress on this problem.