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Old 07-01-2008   #1
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Stiff Gear stick

I've had a problem with my Marea Weekend 2.4TD HLX since I got her.

The gear stick is quite stiff and it does't spring back into the neutral position.

This afternoon I removed the battery tray and had a play with the linkage, which was very easy to move about so I put the battery tray back in and turned my attention to the gear stick.

I removed the centre (console) tunnel cover and exposed the base of the gear stick.

The following is a pic I found on the forum which shows what I found.

The bit marked 'A' is all cracked and looks like it's ready to fall to bits when I move the gear stick around.

I tried removing part 'A' with a view to replacing it by undoing the bolt highlighted in the arrow, and 2 more on the top side which is out of view. The problem is the bolts just seem to turn, without lifting.

Is part 'A' actually a separate part to the bit marked 'B'?. It started getting dark and I couldn't see properly

Anyway, I can see some kind of a rod under the white plastic, but have no idea how to get to it.

Any advice would be appretiated because I need to get the gear change and lack of springing back to neutral sorted.

Thanks.
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Last edited by zak20VT+; 07-01-2008 at 19:32. Reason: Spelling
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Old 30-01-2008   #2
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

I haven't proven this yet but I have been told that there is a cable linkage running between the gearstick and the gearbox. Apparently, it relies on being able to move through its sleeve (like a handbrake cable) and can be prone to seizing up. I have a 2.4 JTD with the same problem you describe but I don't have the cracking you describe on the casing (which I would suggest may be symptomatic of having to apply much more force to move the gearstick). What I do know is that it becomes worse after a drive in wet weather. However, I intend to have a serious go at sorting this out on mine in the next few weeks and I will report back here with my findings and some pics if I can.

I don't know if this is a common issue on Mareas (or even Bravo/as) but I have asked this question along with some others elsewhere in the Marea forum and whilst I am receiving some very good advice on the other questions, no-one has provided any sort of info on this gearstick issue as yet. Perhaps the problem is confined to the 2.4 diesel versions.
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Last edited by Greyhound_Shrops; 30-01-2008 at 15:08. Reason: Spelling Mistake
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Old 30-01-2008   #3
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Mine (98 125TD HLX) has the very same problem, gearchange is stiff and feels like stirring porridge. I've not yet had chance to look into it, bar popping off the cover, nothing appeared cracked or crazed, but I do need to get a proper look, so I'll be interested to hear if you find anything out. The chap I bought it off mentioned something about a spring, but then he freely admitted he knew nothing about cars!
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Last edited by mach1rob; 30-01-2008 at 23:35.
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Old 07-02-2008   #4
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Spent this afternoon stripping console out to get a better look, and found the plastic bush in the front part of the linkage was cracked and in 2 bits, but managed to get it to disconnect from the gear change, lever moved around a lot easier (obviously) so I shall be turning my attention to the gearbox end, and also filling cables with penetrating fluid see if that helps ease things up. Ran out of time to start taking battery and tray out, job for another day, but I'm sure problem has to lie at this end somewhere Excuse pics access isn't good!


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Old 11-02-2008   #5
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Well I have had a look at this problem and although I have not yet traced the problem, I do have a better idea now.

First I lowered my exhaust (heavy) and unbolted the subframe assembly to which the gearstick (with the white plastic box) and the handbrake are attached (working from the rear this is 7x13mm bolts, 2x13mm nuts and 4 x 15mm nuts at the front end). The handbrake cables need to be detached at this point so make sure the car is chokked so it doesn't roll away. To remove the subframe completely, you will need to completely remove the exhaust, or at least split it in front of the cat (I couldn't do either). With the subframe lowered, you can see the cables etc. There are two cables and I think the offending one is going to be the right hand one because moving the gerstick accross neutral seems to act on this one. I was struck by how very clean the upper side of this subframe was. The cables would be totally sheltered from the weather at the gearbox end but will, however, be more exposed to the weather at the gearbox end of the operation.

My next project is to strip away the battery and tray and have a look at the top of the gearbox. If it is the cable(s), I suspect that squirting WD40 inside the sleeve(s) whilst getting an assistant to play with my gearstick (oo-errr!!) may have a positive effect. I will check the control arms as well whilst I am there.

I will report back with the results (or lack of) when I have tried this.

Regards

G_S
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Old 11-02-2008   #6
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

I had a feeling it would only come out from below!

I've not really had chance to do much as I'm off work with a fractured leg so crawling about underneath is kind of off limits at the moment. Likewise, I'm hoping over the next couple of days to get the battery and tray out and see what happens that end, and get some wd and grease into cables.

One good part is I rang local Fiat dealer this morning, and he reckons he should have the plastic bush that's broken in the next 2-3 days, so that's one bonus

Good luck G_S
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Old 18-02-2008   #7
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Solved it!
Had exactly the same on Stilo 03. Stiff gearstick across the box, not self centreing. The control cables run from the lever end to the box. You can disconnect the cables by prising the nipple off with an open ended spanner, I used 12mm. (I had to remove the air filter to manifold tube to gain access). The rear one is the transverse movement, once it is removed you can tell if it is the cable or gear lever end as it would be stiff in the sleeve. It won't be. The nipple is connected to a shaft which runs through a gearbox mounting and actuates the plunger (under the rubber cover in the photo above) which changes gear inside the gearbox.
Once the nipple is off, I found that the shaft was very stiff and wouldn't move. Undo the nut on the end of the shaft (17mm socket) and tap out the shaft using a long screwdriver and hammer (towards the back of the car on the Stilo). A little lever is attached to the nut end which is located in position by a flatted section on the shaft so you can't mess up the position on reinstallaion, this has to come off to get the shaft out. The shaft was a bit rusty. I sanded off the rust with some sand paper and made double sure by sanding the diameter down a bit. I oiled it up & put it back together and hey presto! a bit of italian 'engineering' is back running better than new! Car is now a pleasure to drive with gearstick springing smartly back to centre.
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Old 19-02-2008   #8
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Exactly as above!

It's awkward on the Marea as there's a brake pipe running in way of the rod coming out the back, however it's clipped to a bracket, undo the clip and you can move it to one side enough to allow you to twiddle the rod out. The shaft on mine wasn't too bad, but it got a good going over with some wet n dry to clean it all up, however the part on box where it goes through wasn't in best of conditions, so I removed the plastic bushes from each end, cleaned those up, and run some wet n dry wrapped round a tube through to ream out the hole, once cleaned up, was greased up and re-assembled, but I found it was binding slightly when the plastic bush on the threaded end was pushed home, so gave that a going over with the wet n dry too. Once all re-assembled with a dose of grease for good measure, hands were washed and gear change tried! WOW! what a difference What was a complete pain to drive is now rather nice, and even the wife is willing to give it another go!

Just need to sort the headlight washers not working and the rear wiper and the.....
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Last edited by mach1rob; 19-02-2008 at 15:53.
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Old 11-05-2008   #9
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Hi I had the same problem, but decided i could not be bothered to look into it so i put the car into a clutch and gearbox specialist, he sorted it for 80 which was just labour.
Heres what he did, removed batterry box and took the top off the gearbox were the linkage goes in, re-greased it all with copper slip and hey presto gear changes like a new car hope my 80 quid spent helps others. He said its a common fault on alphas to the water and crap from battery box work into the box causing it to sieze up. (well thats what he told me he did lol).
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Old 12-06-2008   #10
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Re: Stiff Gear stick

Quote Originally Posted by Rogcay View Post
Solved it!
Had exactly the same on Stilo 03. Stiff gearstick across the box, not self centreing. The control cables run from the lever end to the box. You can disconnect the cables by prising the nipple off with an open ended spanner, I used 12mm. (I had to remove the air filter to manifold tube to gain access). The rear one is the transverse movement, once it is removed you can tell if it is the cable or gear lever end as it would be stiff in the sleeve. It won't be. The nipple is connected to a shaft which runs through a gearbox mounting and actuates the plunger (under the rubber cover in the photo above) which changes gear inside the gearbox.
Once the nipple is off, I found that the shaft was very stiff and wouldn't move. Undo the nut on the end of the shaft (17mm socket) and tap out the shaft using a long screwdriver and hammer (towards the back of the car on the Stilo). A little lever is attached to the nut end which is located in position by a flatted section on the shaft so you can't mess up the position on reinstallaion, this has to come off to get the shaft out. The shaft was a bit rusty. I sanded off the rust with some sand paper and made double sure by sanding the diameter down a bit. I oiled it up & put it back together and hey presto! a bit of italian 'engineering' is back running better than new! Car is now a pleasure to drive with gearstick springing smartly back to centre.
Well done you guys!

My solution was the same - just wished I'd checked back on the forum before I started work - it would have been much quicker than finding the cause myself

Now I find I have leaking oil cooler and Fiat dealer wants 250!
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Last edited by zak20VT+; 12-06-2008 at 10:24.
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Old 02-12-2008   #11
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Cool Re: Stiff Gear stick

Just had to redo the stiff gear stick that I repaired in Feb. I had sanded down and oiled the shaft but it had gone stiff again. This time I really sanded a good 0.25mm off the shaft and put it back together with copper grease so I hope it lasts a bit longer this time, the shaft is in such a position that really attracts road spray I guess. I have spoken to a few friends and this gearbox linkage is the same on the alfa gtv as well.
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