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Old 06-27-2009, 04:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Is there a better use for first gear?

Ok, so here is the scenario...

My clam to fame in town is my car. I'm known for having one of the clunkiest cars in Stillwater, not that thats any major feat as it is one of the few American cars in town. Teens in my town are generally rich s.o.b.'s and driving something made by hard working Americans would be below them. During the school year I often found myself parking between a Honda S2000 and an Audi TT. Who the #%^& buys their child an S2000??

Ok, I'm finished with my rant now. Moving on...

My friend Sam's parents just bought a 2010 Prius *w00t* to replace their aging Saturn SC and accordingly to Sam [to be taken with several large grains of salt] the SC is mine if I want it. I don't really believe anyone is really so nice as to give a car like that to someone they've known for a year, but I suppose it is possible. They are stupidly rich, and they were present when the inside of my car door fell off (and thus, my Taurus became a long running dinner joke), so maybe they just feel like being nice to a random person.

Anyway, the particular Saturn in question has about 130k on the clock and looks to be in great shape (gotta love all those plastic bits!), but first gear is a little bit "stupid" according to Sam. You gotta show the car some love to get it into first. She thinks it is "going out" but it could just be a bad shift linkage, since S-Series manuals have a habit of lasting biblically long times (I used to work with a woman who has driven the same SC2 manual since 1992... 230k miles).

If I do end up with the car, and if first gear has gone wrong, would it be possible to repurpose the gear? I don't know much about the internals of the Saturn MP transmission (IDK if it is the MP2 or MP3 tranny) other than fifth gear is easy to get to for gear swaps. If there is someone here who knows more than I, I would like to know if it would even be remotely possible to drive first gear via an electric motor.

A. I'm writing this at nearly 3 AM, so it probably sounds very odd
B. This is of course just an idea rattling around in my gray matter
so let the comments fly!

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Old 06-27-2009, 05:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just start in 2nd gear, :P
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Old 06-27-2009, 08:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I've found that generation of GM cars to have syncro issues. You could get the tranny a syncro kit, or just make sure you take your time putting it in gear, or do your own rev-matching? I'm sure you can make it work!

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Old 06-27-2009, 11:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I know there are work-arounds for the first gear problem. I think it is an SC2 and therefore has the more powerful engine, so I can start in second like SVOboy said. Come to think of it, thats what Sam suggested.
Also, rev matching should be easy, like Stevey said, because it actually has a tachometer.

I just thought it would be useful to drive first with an electric motor because I will be doing a ton of city driving next fall.
Hmm I wonder if the rear axle of an AWD Vue would fit an S-Series *forms evil hybrid plans*
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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car-part.com has a tranny for that car for $275 that is close by.
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Old 06-27-2009, 11:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow... Car-part.com has three transmissions close by!
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Assuming its a manual gearbox, there is a little trick which may work:

From neutral with the clutch down, shift into second then directly into first. Do not let the clutch up until in first gear.

Its works in my little Punto with a damaged/worn synchro on first.

If its an auto - ignore this post!
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can do the 2nd-1st shift, which often works. Or, you can just skip first. It's pointless to use first in just about all Saturns, by my experience. You can take off in 2nd the same way I did in my Honda Civic or Ford Escort in 1st. I dunno why, but it seems like that gear is a waste of weight, honestly. Maybe it's for pulling stuff? LOL.

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Old 06-28-2009, 02:59 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I never thought of using the downshift syncros. Sounds like a great idea, Vinny.

And as for Christ's comment on first gear in S-Series'...
Maybe it is just a leftover from the dark days of throttle-body injection. Those old TBI single cam engines were among the most gutless the world has ever seen. On the flip-side, the MPFI dual cam engines can chirp the tires nice and loudly :P
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Old 06-28-2009, 04:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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If you are interested in electric drive, I wouldnt bother with 1st gear at all. Just drive the rear wheels or a 5th wheel as a separate system up to the speed you would use 2nd in and go.

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