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Go Back   Chevy HHR Network > HHR SS > HHR SS > Frozen Shifter
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HHR SS Topics and information on the 2008-2010 Chevy HHR SS Turbocharged models.

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Old 02-24-2009, 08:33 PM   #1
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Frozen Shifter

I think I am experiencing my first real issue with my SS at 19,000 miles. The last 2 mornings I have found my shifter frozen and nearly impossible to move until I warm the car up for 20 minutes. I usually park my car in 1st gear. So I have only been able to move the shift lever from 1st to 2nd with a great degree of effort the past 2 mornings. It is so stiff that it is hard to tell where nuetral is. Once the car idles for 20 minutes you can move the shift lever around and drive away. The funny part is that it has been way colder this winter in Detroit than it has this week and I had no problems. Anybody else having this issue? G.B.
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Old 02-24-2009, 09:43 PM   #2
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Wow, that is strange! It is safe to say I would be a just a little "upset" if that happened to me!

It sounds like it must be in the trans. to me, as it takes that long to warm up before it can move. I would get it in to the dealer ASAP, and insist on a nice Corvette for a loaner!

Seriously, good luck on finding the problem and getting it back in A-1 shape! Let us know what happened.
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:01 AM   #3
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Do you park at an angle? Even a slight angle in cold weather will cause that problem. Since you park when the engine/trans is hot, the transaxle fluid is hot as well as the metal. Since you're at an angle, the trans has a tendency to 'settle' back on the gear its engaged in. As the metal and fluid cool, the metal contracts and has a tendency to 'freeze' itself to its mated part. I live just outside of Milwaukee so we have similar weather here. I had the same issue. I could all but eliminate this problem by parking on a flatter surface OR when I park, set the E Brake before I let my foot off the brake pedal so the car doesn't 'settle back'... Just a thought. Let me know if that works....
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Old 02-25-2009, 12:47 AM   #4
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Get it to the shop, If it was'nt doing it when it was colder, something happen.
It's been cold here in chicago, And my 5-speeds smooth every morning. I let it warm up for about 5 min. , just to get the some heat going.

Looking forward to warm weather, It's been a long winter already !
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:35 AM   #5
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Mines a non SS, the shifter is a little more stiff when it's below freezing, but never that hard.
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Old 02-25-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
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Man. Something is messed up. Of course my HHR is an auto, but I have owned numerous 5-speed vehicles over the years. It takes more effort to shift in cold weather, but should not be too terribly difficult.
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Old 02-25-2009, 08:37 AM   #7
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Yeah, this is a weird deal. I have owned many manual trans cars and have never had an issue like this. Most shifters are alittle stiff in cold weather, but nothing like this. My car is parked on a flat driveway and I always let it warm up a few minutes in the morning. This morning it was 22F and the shifter was stiff but not as bad as the past 2 mornings. It would move side to side with way above normal effort. The past 2 mornings you could not move it side to side and it would barely move from 1st to 2nd.

I dropped it off at the dealer this morning and the service tech said it was a first for him too. I will let you guys know what they find. Thanks, G.B.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
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as i have an auto this may not apply but i have noticed that the car does not want to go into certain gears when the tranny is cold. second and overdrive being the culprits.
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:56 AM   #9
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Would sealed trannies be causing the issue. Maybe condensation build up from when they were sealed causing the freezing?
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Old 02-25-2009, 02:11 PM   #10
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Dealer just called with update. They are not sure what the issue is and claims that the transmission appears to be fine. The only thing they think it could be is the shifter cables. They are going to replace both shifter cables once they locate a pair. The cables are on backorder at GM and my dealer is trying to locate a set. Unfortunatley I might not know if it is fixed until next winter. Good thing I opted for extending my warranty up to 100M miles. I have 19,000 miles on the car since the end of June and I might be over 35M miles by next winter. More to come.
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