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Introduction/Transmission won't shift
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Posted by Ken from MI [Email] (more from Ken from MI) on Tue, 13 Oct 2020 05:19:44 Share Post by Email
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Hi everyone,
My name is Ken and I'm a brand new to the Saab community. I saw Bruce Turk on /Drive several years ago talking about rescuing his 2-stroke 96. This sparked my interest in vintage Saabs and I've been casually looking for one ever since. A couple weeks ago the perfect opportunity finally presented itself. A guy about a half hour from my house was selling a basket case stroker 96 that was sitting in a barn for 20 years then out in the woods for an additional 15. The tires were flat, rust severe, and interior appears to have housed several generations of vermin. However, the engine was free and the car appeared fairly complete. I left him a deposit and arranged for a trailer rental and some helpers.

A week later, my helpers and I hit the road with a truck full of tools, premix, and a charged battery. After a bit of contact cleaning we were able to get to old girl to crank but she wouldn't spark. The coil was good but the distributor was full of mud. We cleaned out the cap, set the timing, and added some new plugs. And then there was spark! Next we added some two cycle oil to each cylinder and tried to fire it on ether. Much to the seller's (and our own!) surprise, the 96 roared to life and filled the yard with a wonderful cloud of heavy smoke. We next hooked the fuel pump to a small gravity feed of premix and got her running through the very dusty carbs. We tried to drive it onto the trailer but we can only shift the transmission into 3rd and 4th. With both front tires completely flat, the triple didn't have the power to get her moving. It was an excellent night of wrenching and it was so cool to hear the old Saab run for the first time in 35 years.

Now for my question. The shifter will move from 3rd to 4th with no problem but does not want to pull in to reach 1st and 2nd. If a pull the shifter out toward the passenger side it will then let me pull it in but it doesn't feel like it's moving anything in the transmission. I have never used a column shift manual before so I have no idea what the shifter should feel like. Any tips would be appreciated.

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