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Picture of 2008 Chrysler Sebring transmission fix

So I’m at work all day and 5pm comes around, I grab my stuff and head out to the car.  I get in, start it up and go to shift it out of park, but the shifter won’t move.  I check the obvious, break is fully depressed and the brake lights come on, but no shifting.  So I pull out the owner’s manual, and try the ‘manual override’ instructions for the transaxle.  This consists of removing the rubber insert from the cup holder and reaching through a little hole to push a lever.  No joy. 

 
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Step 1: Initial Troubleshooting

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I pull the chrome trim piece from around the shift lever and look inside through the gap.  I notice that the plastic part that I pushed for the ‘manual override’ is pink.  There is another pink plastic piece on the other (left) side of the shifter that moves when I try to shift.  I grab a screwdriver and pull this toward the rear while shifting.  Whew, got it. That let me drive home, but I don’t want to shift with a screwdriver, so I’ll need to fix this.

Step 2: Disassembly

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After I get home, I pull the center console out to get a better look at the problem.  First I need to pull the a/c control bezel out so I can get to the screws behind it.  The bottom of the panel pulls out, and then you need to pull the unit down to pull the top side out.  Remove the cable connectors.  Remove six 10mm screws.  Two are behind the a/c bezel, and four are in the center console armrest compartment. 

Step 3: Diagnosis

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 With the console out of the way, I notice that the plastic part on the left side of the shifter is attached to a cable, which pulls it forward when the key isn’t in the ‘on’ position.  It goes slack when the key is ‘on’ but there is no spring to pull the plastic piece back out of the way.  I find a place where something has broken off, but I don’t find a spring or the broken piece.  This is when I decide to improve their system so this doesn’t happen again. 


Step 4: Repair

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 I had to get a replacement spring, so I went to the parts store and bought the smallest throttle return spring I could find.  It was a bit too long, so I cut it down to one inch total length.  Then I drilled a hole in the pink plastic part and hooked the spring between it and the spring hold down hook on the shifter housing.  After testing that it worked as needed, I put the console back together.  Total repair cost, $3.00 and one hour of work for a solution that is better than new.  The price for a replacement shift housing at the dealership, $142.00 plus installation, probably at least $300.00 all together.

Step 5: Factory recall notice...

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Late update to this instructable...

I received a recall notice for my car from Chrysler today, outlining exactly the issue I created this instructable for.  I won't be taking my car in since it's already fixed, but if you have this problem and need to take it in, they'll probably fix it for free.  They stay that they'll install a "reinforcement clip" to keep your spring retainer hook from breaking. 

Good Luck,

Dan

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I was able to easily figure this out and get home safely. Along with calling the dealership and having them fix it for free. THANK YOU!!!

dan.hipp (author)  samantha.g.campbell11 months ago
Happy to be of assistance, and that the dealer fixed you up.
Dan
CliffE223 days ago

Thanks for the instructions. I was able to remove the A/C bezel with no problem, as well as the six 10mm screws. However, in no way will that console come off. No matter which way it is pulled, pushed, or twisted, it simply will not clear the parking brake handle. The parking brake is full on, but that handle would probably need to move another 30º towards vertical before the console will clear it. Maybe a hacksaw is needed? Can't find any useful information on this anywhere. HELP!

dan.hipp (author)  CliffE222 days ago

Sorry to hear that you're having issues Cliff. It's been awhile, so I can't remember if I had any difficulties getting the console off from around the brake handle. Look around to see if anything is still connected, and try wiggling it. Hopefully it's just caught on something. If all else fails, push the broken pink retainer to the rear (picture 2), and drive it to the dealer. It's a recall issue, so they'll fix it for free.

Dan: Thanks so much for your reply! I did finally succeed at the repair. The black plastic brace which attaches the front of the console to the dash with the 2 10mm screws had to also be detached from both sides of the console. A torx screw must be removed at each end, and the brace unclipped from the console sides. Also, one more set of wires must be unplugged. Removal of the brace allows the console sides to be splayed out to the sides of the hump as the front of the console is pushed down. Then Voila! The rear of the console will (barely) clear the parking brake handle. After that the repair was by-the-book, and everything went together fine. Found the old spring too, so my total cost was $0.00. BTW, Chrysler did confirm that the dealer would have taken care of the repair on the house. Would have been easier. THANKS AGAIN!!!

LydiaS11 month ago
I had the same issue on my 2007 Sebring 2 months ago. The issue is known by Chrysler, there is not a recall however there is as they refer to it a "campaign" which I had found googling the issue. when I brought my car to Chrysler they fixed it free of charge.

How did you get the center console off. I think i lost a credit card back in there!

dan.hipp (author)  deborah.matthews.167185 months ago

The pictures and instructions in step two should guide you toward removing your console. The bolts are under the AC control bezel. Hope you find your card!

dward103 years ago
THAT WAS AN EASY QUICK FIX!!!! MINE WENT OUT ON A FRIDAY NIGHT AND I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE OUT UNTIL MONDAY. BUT THANKS TO YOU UP AND GOING SATURDAY MORNING.
thank you
I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU WHERE BETTER THAN A DEALERSHIP
DAV7064 years ago
maybe you set to shift lock accidentally and never been shift unlock beacause my car have the shift lock.
russhoss4 years ago
They just issued a recall for this. It's about time! Awesome instructable though.
csilva4224 years ago
Hi, I am a tech for Dodge Chrysler and Jeep and there is a recall on this shifter propblem, the recall number if K16. The Dealership will fix this problem for you for FREE, even if your warrenty is expired.
dan.hipp (author)  csilva4224 years ago
@csilva
Thanks for the info. Hopefully anyone who is about to have this problem will take their car in to the shop for the free fix. I posted my recall notice as a late entry to this instructable, it's on page 5.
Cheers.
torres19294 years ago
Thanks for the video. I was ready to take the car to the dealer. I tried this and it worked. Took me about one hour. I was lucky enough to find the spring. What a big relief. Thank you.
lilmrph4 years ago
I am trying to fix the shifter problem and need more specific directions for getting to the screwsunder the ac bezel can you please help me If you haven't guessed yes I am a woman but determined. Thanks Lil
dan.hipp (author)  lilmrph4 years ago
Sorry I didn't reply sooner. The AC bezel snaps in at the bottom. You just need to get your fingers under it and pull out. It has 2 small tabs at the top, so after you pull the bottom out you'll need to slide the whole thing downward to free it. Step 2 shows how to do it, but you may need to use a bit of force to pull the bottom out. There are wiring harness connectors behind it that need to come off next. Each one has an area that needs to be pressed to release the connector. Push the flat spot on the side of the connector while pulling it off.
Dan, Where do I find step 2
dan.hipp (author)  irenejp4 years ago
@Irene,
Click the 'Next step' button beneath the step one picture.
lilmrph lilmrph4 years ago
Hi, I did get the car fixed on my own, cost of $5., It was really simple the only problem I had was getting the bolts out to take off the console. My brother helped me with that but with right tools I could have done it. Thanks again for the info and keep up the good work. Lil
Archelect4 years ago
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you the fix worked great and saved me many dollars.
Kensterx4 years ago
Two thumbs up. Great Fix. Done as instructed in less than 45 minutes. This saved me hundreds and probably a half a day of being without a car. I even found the spring under the console so I didn't have to buy anything. Thanks so much!
Alopez07184 years ago
Hey pple i followed dan's instructions it was great once you get the center console out of the way that is pull out the ac consolo dont b afraid it comes right off unplug the three connector plugs and get it out of the way unscrew the 2 10mm silver screws and then on the inside of the center console at the bottom there are 4 more of the same size then pull the emergenci brake as far up as u can and with the screw driver method put your gear shift all the way back pull the center console up it comes off search around for the spring if not found go to local auto part it looks to be about 1/2 inch in lenght if found what i did was take a sewing needle about the girth of spring heat it with lighter and perforate the plastic where u consider best repeat this until u get through and with plyers hook the spring on both ends and voila better than the factory if u r interested in seeing pics of final results email me at alopez0718@gmail.com and ill send them to you. On a side note what a piece of s*^€£ equipment you can see how they try to rip u off from the start
badotts5 years ago
I cant tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to detail how to fix this issue. Everything was exactly how you showed in the pictures. I even found the spring in the back of the console. It had just come off, it didnt break. Fixed it like new. Thanks again, you probably saved me around $400!
afripino5 years ago
I'm thinking there should be a recall for this spring if this is such a prevalent problem. This too huge of an issue to overlook as it leaves your car disabled completely unless you look this up. Thanks God for smartphones!
I have remove all the screws but the Gear shift is in the way?
dan.hipp (author)  rotaryhalfpint5 years ago
You will have to pull the parking brake up to get the console off. I didn't have to move the shifter, but if it's in the way, try shifting it down to drive or low, you'll have the break set anyway.
jackmolly5 years ago
I have removed all screws and connectors, and I cannot remove the console. The brake keeps getting in the way of lifting the console off. Is there an easy solution?
dan.hipp (author)  jackmolly5 years ago
You need lift the brake handle up to remove the console. I forgot to mention that part.
Oops....Just realized there is a harness that needs to be disconnected. Now, the console lifts off with no problem. Thank you so much for posting your solution for this awful problem with the Sebring. Mine is a 2007, and doing this should resolve the whole problem.
sarah0528055 years ago
I'm in the process of fixing this problem myself using your instructions. You were dead on. Found the original spring and about to drill new hole. Your instructions were clear enough for a mechanically challenged female to fix on her on (with muscle power from husband.) Thanks a bunch.
dan.hipp (author)  sarah0528055 years ago
I'm glad to see that you were able to get your car back on the road. =D
whejas5 years ago
Thanks, I had the same problem and I fixed it myself thanks to you. I was able to find my original spring. Unstretched it is about 1/2" in length, and it had a green sleeve around the middle. It had almost made it to the base of the back seat and went between the carpet and the frame.
dan.hipp (author)  whejas5 years ago
Glad to be of assistance! Actually, I've found that this same issue applies to other Chrysler products as well. I may need to update the title of the instructable to include other Dodge and Chrysler models.
yo man5 years ago
crazy cool man