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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I know very little about how cars operate so hope you can help me with this problem in terms anyone can understand. :)

My daughter was gifted a 2004 Mazda 6 stick-shift wagon by her grandfather last year and it is now inoperable. He did not drive it that often, but was good about maintenance. The car worked relatively fine for some months, but when my daughter was learning to drive stick, she would somewhat often have an issue where the gear shift would not move correctly into 3rd gear (fairly certain it was usually or always 3rd, but it may have been 2nd at times, as well). I pretty much never had this issue when I drove it so I attributed it to her being too tentative and me a little more aggressive when shifting. However, my wife did tell me that she once had an incident years ago with this car where she could not get the car to shift correctly and was stuck at a stoplight for a minute. Very infuriating! She felt that her parents believed it could sometimes happen when it got cold, although no one could ever find anything wrong with it. We live in northern California, btw, so it can get cold, but not THAT cold and not for that long.

Anyhow, at some point this last fall/winter my daughter began to have the shifting trouble more often and I then found that I could very rarely have it, as well. For me, because I shift very firmly, it seemed I could get out of the problem fairly easily, but my daughter felt she just couldn't shift and would be stuck on the side of the road. Finally, she called me one day and said she couldn't drive it so I went out to see if I could get it going. The damn thing just didn't want to shift out of 2nd going into 3rd; it would grind terribly. I was able to get enough speed to bypass 3rd and then the car drove fine at the higher gears. I tried downshifting to 3rd and was sometimes able to do so, but other times not. As I approached home, I forced the shifter into 3rd since I had enough speed to do so and it actually let me. I then parked. Unfortunately, something must have snapped or become completely misaligned because when I tried to drive again, I appeared to be stuck in 3rd. The shifter could move all over, but the car just died immediately when I released the clutch.

So, now the car won't shift at all and appears to be stuck in, I assume, 3rd gear.

I hope that is enough information for any of you to give me a good sense of what is wrong and whether or not it is worth fixing. Thanks, in advance, for any help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Alright, I have discovered some new information and need to update what I said previously.

I was wrong to say the shifter knob moves all over the place. I think I misremembered how much play exists when the knob is in neutral. I cannot move the knob into any gear-changing position.

Also, I now realize the car is stuck in 1st gear. What I am able to do is keep the clutch fully depressed when starting it up and then disengage the emergency brake, after which I slowly release the clutch. I can then actually drive around in 1st gear! RPMs get a lot higher as I hit 20 MPH, so I don't go beyond that. But, I cannot shift.

So, does it sound like the cables are broken or disconnected from the shifter or is it is something else?
 

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Sad no one replied to this yet. But I am fairly certain you just need a clutch replacement. If you do that I'd do the slave cylinder as well. The clutch is slipping making the rpms rev higher with more acceleration without the car moving. Also the fact that it gets stuck/ doesn't go into certain gears. It's an easy diagnosis
 

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Any reputable repair shop should be able to replace the clutch. The repair shop will probably want to replace the throwout bearing as well, while they are in the area.

The slave cylinder is a hydraulic device located on the outside of the bellhousing that actuates the clutch. It connects to the clutch master cylinder on the firewall.
 
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