Saab 9-5 gearshift madness

jonah95jonah95 Member Posts: 11
edited March 2014 in Saab
My dealer, and Saab, ackowledge my findings on a
gearshift problem but can't offer a solution. The
car's a new 9-5 Aero wagon and, in the absence of
any material support from either, even under
warranty, I'm now desperate to find a solution. Can
you help? The problem is this:

If you shift firmly into third gear, the gear
lever appears to travel forward and beyond where it
really wants to be, with the result that it jumps
back sharply into your hand with a definite 'knock'
when engaging the clutch whilst accelerating away.
The harder you drive, the more violent the thump.
At its worse, it really does sound, and feel, like
it's all going to come up through the floor.

The problem doesn't occur if you completely let go
of the gear lever (thereby allowing it to find its
own optimum position) before letting out the
clutch. But this isn't always practical,
particularly in fast shifting. And in any case
there should be a mechanism in place to stop the
shifter traveling too far 'beyond' gear!

It doesn't do it if you let the clutch out on the
overrun, i.e. with no revs to put the gearbox under
load (e.g. in busy traffic).

But it does do it when driving very gently, though
the effect becomes more pronounced the harder one
drives. And if you're really starting to enjoy the
car, it can take you by surprise with a
disconcerting thump when you engage and pull away
in third.

All other gears are absolutely fine. It's like the
gearlever is being allowed to travel too far past
third gear position and is being forced to jump
back INTO gear from it's hard forward position when
you engage the clutch. It's as if there's no 'end
stop' in place to prevent you pushing too far on
the gear lever when shifting into third.

The effect is completely distinct from the usual
forward/backward movement of the gear lever as it
rocks in sympathy with the engine/transmission

The car's been back to the dealer who agrees that
it does this, but they say it's normal - and they
can make their 9-5 (non-Aero) saloon do it. And so,
to a degree, it does - I tried it! They went on to
explain that all 9-5s will be the same because of
the inherent design of the gear shift linkage, such
that in third gear it takes a direct longitudinal
hit from the gearbox as it moves on its mountings.
They also said the effect will be at its worse on
the Aero, simply because of the sheer power through
the drivetrain.

One can of course drive around the problem by
reservedly pacing your gearchanging/clutch movement
step by step so that you don't have your hand
anywhere near the lever when you engage the clutch.
No, I don't drive with one hand on the gearshifter
- give me some credit! And in 25 years driving
I've never come across anything like this. Yet I'm
advised that it's considered normal on a 40k dollar
car!? I just can't believe this.

An anomaly, not a problem, they say, hence Saab
won't play, even under warranty. The dealer even
went so far as to say that if enough people were to
complain, maybe Saab will do a recall and issue a
replacement part to resolve the issue.

I find this all quite bizarre. And if they're
right, I'm darn curious as to why everyone else
with new 9-5 Aeros hasn't complained.

So far the only comments I've had on this are from
one owner who suggested adjusting the linkage (but
this has since been ruled out by the dealer -
aparently there is no adjustment) and an
interesting comment from an anonymous 'insider' who
suggested that this is in fact a known problem
which can be cured by replacing a specific spring
inside the gearbox, though I have no further detail
on this. Same person also said some tuning
companies would even go so far as to INSIST that
this same spring was changed before they would
accept responsibility for the vehicle.

Can this be real!? The crazy thing is that both
Saab and dealer ackowledge the kick-back, but don't
see it as a problem. Have any other owners
experienced this? Does anyone have any proposals
for a solution before I go completely insane?

Thanks for listening.


  • pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
    Welcome to Town Hall!

    I think you will find other new Aero wagon owners hanging out in our Station Wagons conference in this topic:

    Saab 9-5 Wagon (Topic #90)

    You might want to check it out.

    Good luck, sounds like a very bothersome problem.

    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • jonah95jonah95 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks for the note, Pat. Have placed a pointer on the Station Wagons conference. We'll see!
  • saabbersaabber Member Posts: 84
    I'm glad I found your site and I hope you can find others with this problem who may be able to suggest a fix.
  • jonah95jonah95 Member Posts: 11
    Thanks bud - me too!

    We'll keep trying...
This discussion has been closed.