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Discussion Starter #1
Hello, can anyone here tell me which of these is the shift lever in this picture of my transmission underside? (I am installing a new solenoid pack. I have already unplugged the green TRS connector, but have tried for two hours to identify the shift lever based on descriptions on the internet.)



Apologies for the poor cell phone image quality.

Wes
 

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1st Gen FTW - It's AutoMedic!
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It is the rounded tipped 'thingy' that is directly above and behind the green plug. The green plug is your Transmission Range Sensor plug.

This may help - it is taken from above the transmission, so you'll just have to think backwards.

 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much. You don't know how much you've helped me out.

I think car repair forums may be the most civilized part of the internet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm replacing the solenoid pack. In California you need a smog check every 2 years, but I just found out that you will auto-fail the smog check if the check engine light is on. And so you're forced to keep your car in decent running shape in order to drive legally in CA. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
It strongly sounded like the smog check gets the error codes from the computer. (Otherwise, the measure would be pretty easy to defeat.)

I removed the shift cable from the shift lever, now I'm trying to remove the shift lever itself. The service manual says to rotate it clockwise. I can't tell if they mean clockwise looking as if from above or from me laying on my back looking up. (In any case, the shift lever doesn't seem to want to pop out very easily in either position, although it rotates just fine.)

Do you know if I rotate it in the direction of the orange arrow or the blue one?

 

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Do they plug in to the computer, or do they just look for a check engine lamp? I'd be temped to remove the lamp.
Unless they are incredibly stupid, the CA test would first verify the lamp (switch on), then check it running. Most likely they hook it up.
 

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Agreed - they should check lamp operation to begin with - I hadn't thought of THAT... but I guess I was thinking quietly to myself about 1st gen OBD 1 cars, and didn't fill you guys in on the thoughts I was keeping private! Hahahha So, skip that whole thing.

Anyway, as for what you are trying to do - I THINK what you have to do is put the car in one click beyond the lowest gear on the gear selector - so that means it has to move farther forward (towards the front bumper) - which would be orange. Then you unbolt the lever arm only. Then from under the car, you drop the pan and valve body. Pulling the valve body down involves pulling the shift shaft from the top of the transmission down, and there will be some effort involved most of the time. There will be a ring of scum around the shift shaft you have to work past.

I'll try to find a link to a thread where a guy pulled a valve body.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Excellent, it looks like I've rotated the shift lever in the correct direction then (orange, towards the front bumper). I was also able to push off the lever arm by tapping a hammer against a screwdriver on it (on advice from sc.intrepid).

Accidentally ingesting transmission fluid to commence tomorrow.
 

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hHAhahahhaha Yea, I have mopped up trans fluid with my hair (back when I had more hair, ha!) and that isn't a fun shower afterwards...

As long as you've got the pan off, you might consider installing a trans drain plug. And of course, change the filter while you're there. Make sure you get the old o-ring out of the filter intake before installing your new filter and o-ring (supplied in the kit).
 

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I'm replacing the solenoid pack. In California you need a smog check every 2 years, but I just found out that you will auto-fail the smog check if the check engine light is on. And so you're forced to keep your car in decent running shape in order to drive legally in CA. :)
Sounds like PA. Yearly inspections here and if the CEL is on, even for a disconnected battery in the last 40 starts, you fail.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
It's been a few weeks but I wanted to follow up this post for any future desperate souls who need to do car repairs for the first time.

First off, I completed the repair and my intrepid is running just great now. No limp mode problems anymore and installing the new solenoid made the check engine light disappear. Car repair forums are the most civilized part of the internet I think. Thank you to the kind souls who helped me out big time.

The following direction is indeed the correct one to remove the shift lever (i.e. towards the front bumper)




Things I learned:
As scintrepid recommended to me, it really is a great idea to remove as much transmission fluid as you can through the dipstick with one of those cheap $4 pumps to save on mess. I think I pulled out 7 or 8 quarts through the dipstick.

The metal on my original car tire jack buckled and the car fell before I was able to place the first jackstand underneath. Scary as hell. Jackstands are absolutely required for any under the car work, but I would also recommend 2 jacks (not just 1) for redundancy.

I got to use a torque wrench for the first time. I really liked not being able to mess up by ratcheting too many times. The sound of that click is beautiful and lets you know that things are just perfect.

I did indeed get to taste transmission fluid when I had to pull down on the pan with the force of God to break the seal. (The taste wasn't quite as bad as you might expect.) I think I could taste the metal shavings in there though.

Zero leaks. Working great. Can't believe it.
 
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