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I have a 87 16v that has a tranny issue. The stick will go into all positions. But nothing happens in 1st 2nd 5th and reverse. No grinding nothing. Drives great in 3rd and 4th. Any ideas? Linkage or trash tranny
 

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I would guess linkage as well.... it can feel like you are getting the stick in all positions, but you're not throwing the arms enough at the transmission to get it into 1/2 or 5th.

It is pretty easy to check by seeing if you can manually shift into 1/2 and 5th right at the tranny by grabbing the 'left-right thingy' and the 'in-out' thingy. watch how far in/out you can shift by hand at the tranny, then shift the gearshift... I'll bet you are not moving the linkages to hit the gears.

The adjustment is a simple clamp you can reach easily from underneath w/ car up on jackstands. loosen the clamp, manually shift the levers into 5th, position the gearshift in 5th and hand a friend HOLD it there while you tighten the clamp back down. You can move the linkage lever on the shaft by sticking a screwdriver in the hole and levering it around a little.

The position of that first lever arm on the shaft is VERY sensitive to small rotations, and it may take several tries before you find the spot that gets you all the gears back. Assuming the linkage parts are not completely worn out and so sloppy you can't get full range of motion.
 
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