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Hi everyone!
My Calibre is brand new (just picked it up before Christmas), and has less than 300km on it (I'm in Canada). It's a 5 spd manual transmission, and yesterday morning it would not shift into gear (any gear) to save my life. It's pretty cold here (-35C), but the car ran for almost 25 minutes and engine temperature read as warm enough to operate. I park with my E-Brake all the time (habit of a stick driver), so released the brake and tried to shift into reverse from 1st with no luck. It went to neutral, but would not move to gear. Tried then to shift back to 1st (thought perhaps it was stuck due to snow underneath or something, and I'd pull forward a dash to loosen it), and was unable to do that either.

Double clutched, tried every gear, cramped my leg pushing clutch through the darn floor, and used full force to try and shift to any gear, all with no success. Shut the car off (still in neutral) and tried using shifter again. Car shifted smooth and easy, into all 5 gears while car was off. Turned it on again, tried to shift back to first, and problem was back.

I was so excited about the car when we first bought it, but this isn't the first issue (in less than a month), and I'm fast becoming remorseful about the buy. Tried reading the 5 spd Tranny problem thread, but seemed that the issue for Dave was double clutching, which I'm already doing and it still isn't working. Both my husband and I drive stick (he's from Europe, I was raised by a mechanic :D), so we're pretty comfortable with manual.

Anyone have any ideas? I`ve kind of ruled out clutch or transmission itself, since it shifts just fine when it`s not running. I do have an appt with service at my dealership for today, but wanted to go in with some info if I can get it.

Thanks for reading!
 

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You need to get it to the dealer. Some sensor (buy the way, you did have the clutch depressed and the foot brake depressed?) that is telling the computer that the brake and clutch are depressed, isn't doing that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not only did I try depressing both, I tried all combinations I could think of (including crossing fingers and toes I think), as the problem went on for over half an hour of intermittent trying. Interestingly, it was working fine later in the day, and then stopped working last evening again. I haven`t yet tried this morning, as I`m just going to get it towed to dealer to check it out.

My guess was sensor or electrical too, since it only happens when it`s not running. Thanks for responding so quickly.

Daay
 

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Very strange that it will go into gear as long as the engine is not running. Have you tried Starting it in first gear with the clutch pushed in? I've got to go along with a bad sensor somewhere, but don't have a clue as to why on such a new vehicle.
 

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Very strange that it will go into gear as long as the engine is not running. Have you tried Starting it in first gear with the clutch pushed in? I've got to go along with a bad sensor somewhere, but don't have a clue as to why on such a new vehicle.
Safety. It prevents you from doing a dumb thing that would launch the car when starting it. That's why it can be shifted when the ignition is off. It probably operates the same solenoid that the CVT has that locks it in park.
 

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There is usually a sensor on the clutch pedal that tells the computer when the clutch is depressed. If the sensor is faulty or the tab that presses the sensor is broke, it won't matter how many times you press it in, the computer will assume you aren't pressing it. Thus, the safety on the shifter will be in place when the engine is running. Just a thought...
 

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the only sensor that effects anything with the 5spd is the clutch pedal switch, and all that does is allow you to start the vehicle and pause cruise. the trans is cable shifted and hydraulic clutch, it has no electronics except the reverse sensor, which pops on the reverse lights.

a cable shifted trans is just that, cables move levers to change the gear. push, pull depending on the geometry of the shift rod.
a hydraulic clutch works just like your brakes, pressing in the pedal moves an arm to the master cylinder forcing fluid to the slave solenoid which pushes on the throw out bearing releasing the clutch.

i had a similar failure on my 02 Neon R/T, wouldnt shift when the engine was running but would shift while the engine was off.. but my clutch blew up =p

what i would check first is that the shift linkage is still connected to the shifter and the trans. pop off the shifter bezel and make sure the linkage is still connected to the shift rod, if thats all good go into the engine bay and remove the intake filter box, below it you will see the portion of the transmission that the linkage connects to.. make sure its connected, have someone shift the shifter and make sure its moving the levers.. i know of one instance (CSRT4 owner) where the roll pin came partially out of the lever and even tho the linkage was still connected it wasnt actually moving the rod that the lever was supposed to be attached to.

to those that are trying to help by assuming the CVT is anything like the 5spd manual, please if you dont know, dont try to help by stating your assumptions. the T355 is pretty simple and 100% mechanical, as i stated before the clutch pedal switch is only used for starting and pausing cruise control for obvious reasons (ie. preventing the car from starting in gear and jumping possibly hitting something or someone), other than that its just gears, linkage and fluid. I'm not trying to preach or flame, just trying to help :)

doh.. just realized the member above me brought this back from the dead.. oh well atleast the information is posted now incase anyone else encounters the same/similar issue.
 

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Quite a good explanation of how the 5 spd. manual tranny is shifted. My '09 SXT 1.8 L is now 13 y-o with 105,000 km (65,000 mi). Also have the factory service manual which shows the two cables. First symptom was that it would not shift into ANY gear with car stopped, engine running & clutch depressed, but could still shift "normally" when the car was moving. That is, I could get going after a bit of jiggling & cussing. Then the condition deteriorated where all shifts were getting more resistant & just barely possible - luckily being not far from home at night on quiet streets. It's weird that with car stopped and everything shut off, the shifter seems to work freely, and leads one to believe that some computer/sensor is messing with our head. It just "seems" that way, but more likely it's a bum cable or cable connection. I suspect it is the "sideways" cable that moves the cross-shaft from the 1-2 to 3-4 to 5-R position. In any event when going to all the trouble one might as well change both cables and pins, etc. Haven't had or driven that many "sticks", but find my Cali to be the best shifting & clutching car of all.
 

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...First symptom was that it would not shift into ANY gear with car stopped, engine running & clutch depressed, but could still shift "normally" when the car was moving. That is, I could get going after a bit of jiggling & cussing. Then the condition deteriorated where all shifts were getting more resistant & just barely possible - luckily being not far from home at night on quiet streets...
I'd suspect bad front and rear motor mounts.
 

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Hi John, yes, that would seem to account for putting such stress on the cable that it (or some part of the support brackets/bushings) has partially failed. Luckily, I can go about my daily business, as the public transport here in Montreal is pretty good. The local repair garage will have a look at it end of next week but actual repair next year(!). Might take a look at it myself in the meantime. I understand the principle of how it works, so would have to remove the battery and tray, etc., then get a friend to jiggle the gear shift from inside. They sold a lot of Calis but not so many with stick shift, which I deliberately sought to avoid the CVT. I like the "concept" or "envelope" but it suffers from poor "build quality". I've even thought of buying another one, as the prices of 2011-12s are now in the $5000 Cdn range. Thanks & Cheers, Omar Jetté (ojay2)
 

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...Might take a look at it myself in the meantime...
Now that I think about it, we had a problem with our shift cables as well.

Underneath the airbox, there is a spot where the shift cables attach to the top of the transmission housing with clips. Those clips broke on my car. I 'temporarily' fixed that with zip ties 3 years ago and it has worked fine since.

It takes maybe two minutes to remove the airbox and inspect, so it is worth a look.

Also, the rear motor mount is very easy to get at and inspect/replace. IIRC, you can see the rear motor mount from the top in the engine bay by looking down behind the engine. I think I had to stand on the right side of the car and lean over to get a view of the motor mount. My car was difficult to shift, particularly into reverse, and this really fixed it. As you can see in the thread linked below, my old rear mount was completely destroyed.

 

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Now that I think about it, we had a problem with our shift cables as well.

Underneath the airbox, there is a spot where the shift cables attach to the top of the transmission housing with clips. Those clips broke on my car. I 'temporarily' fixed that with zip ties 3 years ago and it has worked fine since.

It takes maybe two minutes to remove the airbox and inspect, so it is worth a look.

Also, the rear motor mount is very easy to get at and inspect/replace. IIRC, you can see the rear motor mount from the top in the engine bay by looking down behind the engine. I think I had to stand on the right side of the car and lean over to get a view of the motor mount. My car was difficult to shift, particularly into reverse, and this really fixed it. As you can see in the thread linked below, my old rear mount was completely destroyed.

Hi John, Wow. your info will be of great help. What happens with repair shops is that the car goes in for a specific broken part, and then they want to "upsell" you on a bunch of other parts which may or may not be needed. The argument goes something like this "While we are in there, we might as well change this, that and the other". So last time it went in to replace one of the little rods that links the front sway bar to lower control arms. (Of course, both should be done.) However, when all was said and done, they had replaced both control arms, McPherson strut assemblies & ball joints. That was at about 62,000 mi and set me back $2,500 Cdn. We checked the engine mounts then & apparently good. That video with the chap changing the engine mounts is pretty impressive. It helps to be a double-jointed contortionist and doing it curbside with out wheel ramps & only an impact driver. On my previous car, '88 Volvo 744, almost 400,000 km, I did things like changing McPherson struts, swapping coil springs, replacing heater core (an avowed nightmare) plus a few "*******" repairs (like your ziptie solution) and the Citroen, back in the day. However, those are whole other stories, and the old "bod" & eyesight aren't what they used to be. So I should be able manage the shift cable inspection. Reminds me back in the '60s a friend had a manual Chevy on which the clutch pedal pivot bearing broke, so we jammed a short 2 x 4 between shaft & frame & some bailing wire. Managed to do Montreal-Albany, NY and return. Really! Cheers, oj
 

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P.S. Sincere apologies If I'm belaboring the point. Going slowly so as to not break anything, battery and air box removed. Despite 5500 pages, the repair manual is a little sparse on detail. Got a look at the cables & levers at transaxle. Well, it is actually possible to work the levers & linkages by hand, with engine stopped, Don't have camera phone, so made sketches of positions for each gear. BTW. my manual is for 2008, so slight differences.
However, after getting it all back together, I put it gear, pressed clutch, & started the engine. Right foot on brake, released hand brake, normal de-clutch with left foot, car moves. Then pressed clutch & brake, but shifter was dead-locked in gear. Stopped engine, and then shifter worked. Really SPOOKY. Could a bad mount allow enough engine movement to "bind" the cable?
The manual mentions the ORC (Occupant Restraint Control) in that area. Presume this puts a lock on the seat belts when the car is in gear. Of course, the door locks all clunk in when the car gets going, but what would any of this have to do with shifting. There might even be some brake delay feature to avoid rolling backwards when starting on a hill. Again, that would seem irrelevant.
Other thing I should check is where there's a plate with a cap screw that sort of fixes/supports the cables to the firewall. BTW, You mentioned fixing something with zip ties. I assume that would be where the cable sheathes are held in the -L- bracket slots on the transaxle by little locking plates. All seem solid enough. And the ball sockets on the cables have some play. My analysis is that the short lever is for finding the fork, whereas the long throw lever moves the fork to engage the synchro clutches.
Well, maybe if the engine moves back a tad, it compresses the short throw cable sheath just enough change the cable extension & foul up the cross-shaft alignment. Or maybe there is too much slop at either or both ends of the cable & be better to swap out the whole linkage assembly. How about if I jam (temporarily) a piece of wood between the engine & firewall. If that frees up the shifter, it will prove mount fail. If not, I could try turning what looks like a screw fitting on the sheath, although adjustment not indicated in the manual.-oj
 

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With the help of a friend start the engine, rev it, and watch the engine for a pronounced fore/aft movement. If you see the engine rocking back and forth when it's revved, you have bad motor mounts
Thanks, on the "old" cars, one could burp the throttle manually from under the hood. Speaking of manual, it assumes that mount removal is obvious, though really "sketchy". They do tell how to pull the shift knob off :)
 

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Typically you provide some sort of support for the engine (a block of wood and floor jack supporting it underneath or a cradle supporting it from above) and then replace the mounts one at a time. Nothing I've personally had to do....yet...;)
 
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