Mazda Tribute Gear Selector

jizzygjizzyg Member Posts: 1
My gear selector on my 01 Mazda tribute won't respond at all. I came home one day, parked it in the driveway, and went out the next morning and the car would start but not shift out of park into any other gear. The gear selector would move down to another gear, but never engage. It was very loose and I don't have a clue what it could be. I thought maybe a loose cable or something inside the steering column but have not ben able to come up with anything. Any advice?


  • blaishonblaishon Member Posts: 1
    Don't know if you've got your answer yet, but my boss just had this problem with his wife's '03. There's a plastic link that connects the shift lever cable to the lever that sticks out of the transmission and actually shifts the transmission. That link broke. $85 for the part and a ridiculous amount to replace it. If you're handy at all you can do it yourself. He did and we're both computer geeks.
  • eagle77eagle77 Member Posts: 1
    It happen on my 01 Mazda tribute as well it won't respond at all. My wife parked it in the driveway, and went out few hours later and the car would start but not shift out of park into any other gear. The gear selector shows that's in neutral but it won't move at all. Any advice? do you think it could be the same problem that the previous person had?
  • texasmoontexasmoon Member Posts: 3
    Blaishon is right. There is a small ring attached to the shift cable that connects over a small rod on the transmission in order to shift. I have an 02, and the first time this ring came off the rod I thought I totally broke the gear shift - it just laid there limp and went up and down freely.

    If you would like a temporary fix, open your hood and look on the drivers side of the engine. Behind the air filter box, and way way down, there is a small silver rod sticking out of the engine. There is ring dangling next to it with a cable attached. This cable runs up the right side of the engine compartment in into the engine wall (to the shift lever).

    Slip this ring back over the rod, and you're good to go for a while. For me thats two days to two months depending on luck. If it happens while in gear, it will be quite nerve-racking. Find a friend to hold down the brake pedal, or test your faith in your parking brake.

    Hope this helps.

  • inkyeyesinkyeyes Member Posts: 1
    This same issue is happening to my gf's Tribute. Does anyone know a part Number or a way to fix this problem (more than a temporary fix) ?
  • jma11jma11 Member Posts: 3
    Here is how I was able to fix this:

    - Cut a piece of 1/4 in ID Vinyl tubing the length of the shift arm shaft plus 1/2 in.
    - Push tubing all the way on to the shaft (its sort of a tight fit).

    - Push cable end over tubing.
    - Mine fit fairly snug and would probably stay in place a long time but to be sure I ...
    - Heated end of tubing
    - Pushed/threaded in a 3/8 in set screw inside open end of tubing till it bottomed out at end of shaft.
    - Installed a tiny hose clamp to lock set screw inside tubing.

    I will be sure to keep an eye on this but the enlarged end of the tubing will keep the cable end on the shaft, hopefully for a long time. Thanks to Texasmoon for the base sketch.

  • dieseltankdieseltank Member Posts: 1

    Is it possible to adjust the gearbox shift cables of a manual gearbox? My gearlever can move about 2 cm before shifting, which is a little anoying.
    Saw no adjusment option under the gearlever cover; is it on the other end of the cables on the gearbox (noticed som complex plastic devices), or do they need to be renewed?

  • jban99jban99 Member Posts: 1
    Yesterday I parked my Tribute 2002 with 115000 miles, just for a few minutes and when I returned to the car I had the same problem, the gear shift engaged in parking but was flying loose trough the other positions! THANKS TO YOU GUYS AND THIS FORUM, I was able to fix it this morning after I found the loose cable, couldn't see it but I felt it and was able to hook back on the shaft. Now I will just put a clip on the end of the shaft to prevent it from flying out again.
    Thanks again,

  • 52dodgeman52dodgeman Member Posts: 2
    I am fixing the gear shift cable (popped off) on our 2003 Tribute LX-V6. I have removed the shift lever/pin assembly and drilled a hole in the pin for a cotter key to keep the cable on. I want to bring the cable end up to check the bushing. Does anyone know how to undo the cable grip that is located just above the shift lever?
  • jeanie6jeanie6 Member Posts: 1
    I am having an aweful time finding this rod and and ring. can you give me any other clues as to what is next or near this rod? Thanks
  • jasketsjaskets Member Posts: 1

    You are a life saver. After an initial freakout when my 02 Tribute wouldn't shift into gear, I found this message board and was able to quickly fix the problem, at least temporarily, so that I could drive to the repair shop around the corner. Just say a little prayer that they don't charge me an arm and a leg.
  • eng6eng6 Member Posts: 1
    Good to hear! Please let us know how it goes (whether they wanted to replace the shift cable, price, etc).

    I was also able to temporarily fix the issue. However, I did notice that my selector lever (the bar we grab to shift gear) had increased "play" in some of the gears (mainly drive). This makes me think that there is a possibility that the selector lever had enough "play" to cause the shift cable to wiggle free of the transmission shift lever (the metal pin on the transmission that the shift cable ring links to).

    Do you notice any increased play on your selector lever?
  • harleyrabbitharleyrabbit Member Posts: 1
    Go to Auto Zone or any Auto Parts store and they have gear shift plastic inserts that will snap into place which are the same as the original parts. They cost $5.99 for an assorted pack and will work on both the transmission end of the cable and also in the steering columb. The Dealership wants $85.00 for these two plastic fittings.
  • sarjo01sarjo01 Member Posts: 1
    Thanks to all for the very useful info. Saved me from getting towed out of my own driveway today.
  • cantrincantrin Member Posts: 1
    This is a great website with great members ! I am so happy to find the solution to my problem on this website.
    I own a 2002 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 and yesterday I left the vehicle parked in reverse in my garage. On returning to the vehicle a few hours later, I could not move the gear shifter back to the "Park" position even though I had my foot on the brake pedal. I was therefore unable to start the vehicle.
    I checked my Mazda user manual and the only troubleshooting tips on solving a problem with the gear shifter stuck in one position were as follows:
    1. Check brake lights to see if both are working. If they are not, check the switch under the brake pedal to make sure that it's working.
    2. Check fuses in fuse box to make sure all are working.
    3. If all above are okay, then open up the small plastic cover just behind the steering wheel to get access to the override switch. Then press down the switch and move the gear lever to "Park" and then start the vehicle. Use override switch to move the lever to "Drive" if necessary.
    Well, I checked the brake lights and they were working, so that meant that the brake pedal switch was fine. Then I checked all the fuses with a multimeter with a continuity buzzer and that revealed that all the fuses were good.
    I then used the override switch to move the gear lever which moved freely up and down while I had my finger pressing down on the override switch. However, although the gear lever could move, the dial on the dashboard display stayed on the "R" position and the vehicle still could not start. In other words, the override switch was of no use to me.
    I then searched on the internet for more information on this problem as I was told in the past that if I have any problem with any vehicle, then it is more than likely that at least 5000 people in North America have already had the problem and somebody would have posted the problem and the solution on-line..... Thank God for the Internet !!!
    During my search, I did find the solution on ! A user named "TexasMoon" posted the solution in September 2008 !
    Thanks to TexasMoon, the sketch he drew was exactly what I saw with my flash-light. The ring attached to a rod that is connected to the gear lever had slipped out from the selector arm shaft sticking out from the engine. Within the metal ring was a smaller diameter broken deteriorated black plastic ring with a lip. This piece of plastic withstood the wear and tear of the metal ring moving over it for 12 years of driving..... Not bad.
    To slip the metal ring back over the arm shaft, I had my wife go into the car while I was under the hood and place her finger on the override switch while she moved the gear lever up and down which also moved the ring up and down.
    Once the ring slipped onto the shaft, I had to find a way to prevent the metal ring from slipping out while the car is being driven.
    I found that the best temporary solution was to use a tiny plastic zap strap. The smallest plastic strap I could find was approximately 2mm wide or 1/16 inch wide and 4 inches long. Anything wider will not work.
    I made a small loop with the zap strap (about 1/2 inch diameter) and placed it around the end of the arm shaft while I pushed in the metal ring as much as possible. It worked great...the strap was thin enough to get around and fit into the groove between the outside edge of the metal ring and the rounded end of the arm shaft. I was also able to pull the strap taut with my fingers to secure the strap properly to prevent it from slipping out.
    Don't worry, there is enough room next to the air-filter box to push your hand down and do this job.
    I would recommend using the black plastic straps instead of the white ones as the black plastic is weather resistant which means that they are stronger and less likely to crack and burst than the white straps.
    Also, do not trim off the long tail (about 3 inches) after you pull the strap and it locks into place as the tail will help keep the metal ring in place.
    Note also that the task of fitting the tiny strap into the groove next to the outer edge of the metal ring is easier if the selector arm shaft is up rather than down. .... So while you are under the hood looking at the shaft with the ring attached, have someone inside the vehicle move the gear lever to pull the shaft upwards.
    After I did the above, I was able to drive the vehicle as normal and check out auto parts stores for replacement of the plastic ring that broke. Unfortunately, all the after-market stores didn't have this tiny plastic ring and recommended that I go the Mazda dealership for it. Knowing that the Mazda Tribute and the Ford Escape are identical below the hood, I intend to check out the price of the part at both Mazda and at Ford dealerships.
  • Jecha13Jecha13 Member Posts: 1
    I know it’s been a while since anyone has posted on this thread but I don’t know what else to do.. I have a 2001 Tribute. The V6 and I I parked it around Midnight Friday night and went to bed. Came out at 2:00 to take my wife to work and jumped in and started her up. Put her in DRIVE and nothing! Just sat there revving up. I dropped it down to SECOND and she moved forward. Put it in PARK freaking out. Thought maybe it was a hiccup in the system or something. It’s been 110 with the heat index. Started it up and put it in REVERSE and backed out. Put it in DRIVE and nothing! Put it into SECOND gear again and she lurched forward. Kept trying DRIVE and it would just sit there and just rev up. I tried to drop the lever into FIRST and it wouldn’t go passed SECOND. I found where the cable snaps over the shift lever and I hooked it. Moved the cable manually and it went into FIRST and would also start to move forward. I checked the fluid and it wasn’t low at all. Maybe fuller than it should be. So what causes the transmission to not go into DRIVE? Now remember when I parked it she was driving fine. Sometimes if I punched the gas and let off and then push the gas again it would slam into gear but that is the only bad thing the transmission would do. I can’t imagine that it broke while sitting in PARK overnight. Please any advice would be very grateful.
    Thanks for your time,
    A confused Tributer
  • LundyLundy Member Posts: 1
    edited August 2019
    HELP please. I tore the front passenger side drive shaft clean out of my baby. She's a Mazda Tribute 2004 AWD. For a couple of days I've had to drive it with the wheel Lock switch engaged to get anywhere! Now, she won't engage into any forward gear or into reverse and makes terrible crunching noise when I put into park!!! Have I killed her and am I stuck here??? Does anyone have any ideas please?????????? Could I have burnt the clutch out trying to get out of a boghole!?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,614
    What exactly do you mean by "tore the passengers side drive axle out"? How did it happen? The drivetrain system is a FWD that has a power take off to drive the rear wheels. When you push the lock button you are engaging the rear axle and it was probably solely responsible for you being able to drive the car. The differential inside the transaxle needs both axleshafts connected to it in order to drive the vehicle. If one of them was damaged and not connected to the wheel then the differential would just allow that side gear to spin and no torque would be applied to the other wheel. That would damage the differential in a relatively short period of time. I would need to hear the sound that it is making to know for sure but if the driveline isn't connected and you put it into drive the transmission could engage and start spinning the final drive and differential inside the transmission. Then when you put it into park the parking pawl whch is spring loaded would try to engage but would fail and just ratchet against the park lugs until the final drive assembly slowed down. That might be what you are hearing.
  • xmamaxxmamax Member Posts: 1
    Jecha13 said:

    I know it’s been a while since anyone has posted on this thread but I don’t know what else to do..

    Hi, I have the exact same problem. Did you manage to fix yours? I am travelling with family and this just happened to me.

  • LuvRedLuvRed Member Posts: 1

    I have a 2009 Mazda Tribute. Drove to gas station just fine then when I tried to drive home gear shift did not engage. After turning on the car and moving to reverse- no resistance, no feel of the gear engaging- just nothing!
    Transmission is a-ok. I think something in gear shift broke.
    I am not mechanically savvy but if you guys can suggest some reasons- i know the power of google & youtube!

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