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’95 Legacy wagon, 171,000 miles. I let it sit for 6 weeks (had another car to drive) and after getting the Legacy a new battery, I fired it up. Figured it was time to drive it before something went wrong from sitting still.

 

It wasn’t shifting correctly. The shifter was hard to move. (I had encountered that problem once before, and in the course of driving it it loosened up.) But this time it would only go into Park, Reverse, and Neutral. The shift lever wouldn’t move physically into any of the drive positions. I was able to drive the car in reverse, so it did engage properly.

 

Perhaps this incident will teach me to be more patient. I used some force on the shift lever. Then the lever moved more easily, as if it were no longer attached to whatever was making it hard to move. (Duhhh....) It still would not go into any of the forward gears, just Park Reverse and Neutral. And once I turned the engine off, it wouldn’t start, as if it wasn’t detecting that it was in Park or Neutral.

 

Pushed it forward to get it out of the way. There was a clicking noise as I pushed.

 

So I’ve looked at the Haynes and Chilton manuals and jacked it up today. I’m wondering if there might be some solution apart from taking off the rusted exhaust pipe that is blocking the shift cable, then getting the shift cable off (all those bolts are rusted also) and taking out the shift lever assembly and replacing everything. Would it be conceivable to take off the shift lever assembly in hopes of finding something broken underneath? I started to do this today, but one of the bolts doesn’t want to move. Sprayed some wd40 on it and might revisit it but thought I’d get some feedback before taking it off. There might not be any value in taking it off if the shift lever is still connected to the shift cable (which it might not be, since I yanked on it!)

 

Also, any other thoughts on this?

 

I don’t really have the time and energy to replace the shift cable. Or experience with stuff like this. Even if I did all that, I’ve been told that the car needs left front wheel bearings and both front drive axels replaced…something I probably don’t have the time or energy to do (or the experience) and probably not the $$ to pay for (estimate from the Firestone place was $900.)

 

Thanks all.

 

Wish I hadn’t let it sit for 6 weeks. I’ll go back to kicking myself now.

 

Dave

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Wow dude that doesn't sound like fun. Can you see where it's broken or whatever, like if you get under the vehicle maybe on jackstands and somebody else moves the shifter back and forth can you see where it's busted?

 

It's probably a little late for this, but I had the shifter get really tight in my '96 Legacy a couple times, but spraying some graphited penetrating oil (penephite) down there really loosened the thing up.

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Yeah, I though about some spray lubricant a little too late...although at the time I thought it was the automatic tranny fluid being congealed from sitting too long. Live and learn.

 

I've been under the car and can't see much. Haven't had someone try to shift when I'm under there but should do that.

 

I think the thing to do is to accept that this will take a while. Make some room in the garage and push it in there and jack it up. Step 1 would be to get the exhuast off. Step two would be to get the shifter cable and shifter off. Step 3 would probably be to buy a new cable and start reassemblying.

 

Anyway...live and learn. And long live long-lived Subarus.

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I have a 95 legacy ls(sedan) and I had the same problem kinda. At first when it was cool outside I had to let my car warm up for it to let me shift it out of park at all. then the problem got worst, once it warmed up here in the south, it still did it all the time when it sat for a couple of hours at one time. I have no idea what the problem is but if take off the wood/plastic piece below the shift knob, theres a hole(1/2 inch maybe) in the front towards the drive seat, if you stick something down there it should let you sfift all the gears because its the manual shift release button. I use a coat hanger that I now keep in the car with me. I really can't feel a button when I do it, but it works for me. Then again, I never had a noise when I moved my car so I don't thionk I broke anything where as you might of.

Richard

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i have a shift cable from a 96 leg 2.2 wagon if you need it. send me a pm with zip code.

 

.

Yeah, I though about some spray lubricant a little too late...although at the time I thought it was the automatic tranny fluid being congealed from sitting too long. Live and learn.

 

I've been under the car and can't see much. Haven't had someone try to shift when I'm under there but should do that.

 

I think the thing to do is to accept that this will take a while. Make some room in the garage and push it in there and jack it up. Step 1 would be to get the exhuast off. Step two would be to get the shifter cable and shifter off. Step 3 would probably be to buy a new cable and start reassemblying.

 

Anyway...live and learn. And long live long-lived Subarus.

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