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  1. #1

    Question 95 Viper intermittently will not shift out of 3rd gear

    Hello everyone,

    I just had my second instance of shifting issues while driving my 95.
    Driving casually around 30 to 40 mph, the car shifted fine from 1 to 3 but when I went to shift into 4th, the shifter would not come out of 3rd at all. I couldn’t shift to neutral or any other gear. Trying to pull the shifter out of third was impossible and when I tried, I could feel the shifter started to vibrate quite a bit.

    I released the clutch and tried again but the transmission was locked in third. I was able to pull over and stop the car, turned off the car and the car still would not come out of third gear. Started the car, let out the clutch while in third and got the call rolling in hopes to limp home in third (only about 2 miles from my house). About 2 minutes later, the shifter was no longer locked in third and I could shift into all gears.

    This is the second time this has happened, the first time was about 3 weeks ago but the shifter unlocked from 3rd after about 1 minute and then shifted just fine. Because of this issue, I had the transmission fluid changed (old fluid looked great and no metal was observed) just in case that was the culprit but it still does it. The fill was with the dodge recommended fluid.

    Anyone else have this issue or know what I can do to fix it?
    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    Enthusiast Fatboy 18's Avatar
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    How many miles on the car?

    'Might' be worn Engine and Transmission mounts? If the engine has shifted slightly the shifter might be binding on something so check for cracked or torn engine mounts.

    To your knowledge Is the shifter stock or aftermarket?

  3. #3
    Thanks so much for the reply. The car has 24K miles and has a stock shifter. It almost feels like an electronic lock that’s locking the car in third gear.

  4. #4
    If the transmission wouldn't shift gears when the engine was off then it's almost certainly an internal issue.

    From the sounds of it I'd wager a roll pin is working its way loose inside the tranny.

    I had something very similar happen to my T56 last year - car driving fine, then all of a sudden couldn't get it out of gear. No matter how I he-man'd it it would not budge out of gear, just vibrate. Clutched in/out a few times, engine off/on a few times and then was mysteriously fine. It would then randomly come back over the course of the next week or so. And then one time it decided enough was enough and it stayed stuck in gear and would not come out. Opened up the tranny and found a roll pin had wallowed out a hole on the shift rail and decided to try to escape.

    If it's a roll pin issue the good news it's only a $0.10 part. The bad news is you have to pull apart the tranny to fix that $0.10 part. :/
    Last edited by efnfast; 11-14-2021 at 03:00 PM.

  5. #5
    Enthusiast Fatboy 18's Avatar
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    I was going to suggest skip shift lock out (electronic) , but am not 100% sure if that was a feature on a 95, you also stated that even with the engine off it would not shift, so that rules that out.

    It could well be something internal as the post above suggests. Do you wrench on the car yourself?

  6. #6
    VOA Mamba Member
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    daveg's Avatar
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    My first thought was skip shift solenoid as well..
    96 GTS (# 33, Bone Stock), 66 Mustang Convertible, 66 Mustang Hardtop, 69 Corvette Roadster

  7. #7
    Thanks for all of the reply’s and suggestions. I do simple stuff on the car but I will need to take it in to someone if it’s an internal transmission issue.

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    VOA Mamba Member
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    daveg's Avatar
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    Where do you live?
    96 GTS (# 33, Bone Stock), 66 Mustang Convertible, 66 Mustang Hardtop, 69 Corvette Roadster

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by daveg View Post
    Where do you live?
    San Antonio TX

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Vetie View Post
    Thanks for all of the reply’s and suggestions. I do simple stuff on the car but I will need to take it in to someone if it’s an internal transmission issue.

    Thanks again!
    The good news is T56s are easy to work on if you know transmissions and it's not terribly difficult to remove. Don't bring it to a dealership - they'll just outsource it to a third party transmission shop.

    There are several mechanical things that can cause it to lock in gear, like a broken control lever assembly or loose rail bushing, but given the intermittency I'd definitely wager roll pin. The good news (if that's it) is that driving it won't cause internal damage to the transmission, but eventually (probably pretty quickly) one time you'll shift into gear and it will be permanently stuck in gear until you open it up.

  11. #11
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    What part of town do you live in?
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  12. #12
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    Things it could be. Some if not all have been mentioned but this is my 0.02 on this.

    1) Clutch not fully disengaging i.e. worn clutch or needs bleeding or new slave/master

    2) Engine mounts, possibly tranny mount too

    3) Transmission itself

    When troubleshooting I usually go easiest/cheapest first. So mounts, clutch, tranny based on that.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by efnfast View Post
    The good news is T56s are easy to work on if you know transmissions and it's not terribly difficult to remove. Don't bring it to a dealership - they'll just outsource it to a third party transmission shop.

    There are several mechanical things that can cause it to lock in gear, like a broken control lever assembly or loose rail bushing, but given the intermittency I'd definitely wager roll pin. The good news (if that's it) is that driving it won't cause internal damage to the transmission, but eventually (probably pretty quickly) one time you'll shift into gear and it will be permanently stuck in gear until you open it up.
    Thank you very much for the info, this will help!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    What part of town do you live in?
    I live in the Timberwood park area.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dave6666 View Post
    Things it could be. Some if not all have been mentioned but this is my 0.02 on this.

    1) Clutch not fully disengaging i.e. worn clutch or needs bleeding or new slave/master

    2) Engine mounts, possibly tranny mount too

    3) Transmission itself

    When troubleshooting I usually go easiest/cheapest first. So mounts, clutch, tranny based on that.
    Thanks for the information, I will have these items looked at.

  16. #16
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Sirianni Auto Services is down near Churchill HS on West Ave.
    David Colbath Transmissions on Nakoma by the airport.

    Both have been around for over 40 years.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by GTS Dean View Post
    Sirianni Auto Services is down near Churchill HS on West Ave.
    David Colbath Transmissions on Nakoma by the airport.

    Both have been around for over 40 years.
    THANK YOU!!!
    I was about to search for a local shop, I will give them a call.

  18. #18
    Enthusiast Steve M's Avatar
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    I had a previous vehicle with a T-56 that got stuck in 3rd gear like you described - I was able to get it out with some force, but it wasn't fun.

    It ended up being an internal issue, and the transmission had to be torn apart and rebuilt to fix it. I don't remember exactly what failed, but I think it was related to one of the shift keys.
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  19. #19
    I would agree with you guys on being internal to the transmission. Having had 2 T56's apart, this sounds unfortunately like an internal mechanical issue.

    In mine, I had the opposite problem. Mine wouldn't stay in 5th or 6th. Turns out the whole 5th/6th shift collar had come apart internally. Keys and springs came apart, so nothing to hold it into gear.

    If I had to guess, staying in a gear could be a roll pin, like was said earlier, a key/spring issue, or even a shift rail/fork issue.

    All mechanical, internal transmission parts.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
    I had a previous vehicle with a T-56 that got stuck in 3rd gear like you described - I was able to get it out with some force, but it wasn't fun.

    It ended up being an internal issue, and the transmission had to be torn apart and rebuilt to fix it. I don't remember exactly what failed, but I think it was related to one of the shift keys.
    Thanks for the reply and information, I have a shop looking at it now.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by lane_viper View Post
    I would agree with you guys on being internal to the transmission. Having had 2 T56's apart, this sounds unfortunately like an internal mechanical issue.

    In mine, I had the opposite problem. Mine wouldn't stay in 5th or 6th. Turns out the whole 5th/6th shift collar had come apart internally. Keys and springs came apart, so nothing to hold it into gear.

    If I had to guess, staying in a gear could be a roll pin, like was said earlier, a key/spring issue, or even a shift rail/fork issue.

    All mechanical, internal transmission parts.
    Thanks for the information.
    I haven't had it pop out of 1-6 but it will pop out of reverse unless I keep pressure on the shifter. The car is in the shop now and they are looking at it.

  22. #22
    Did they diagnose and r&r it? Curious what the verdict was.

  23. #23
    Enthusiast GTS Dean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vetie View Post
    Thanks for the information.
    I haven't had it pop out of 1-6 but it will pop out of reverse unless I keep pressure on the shifter. The car is in the shop now and they are looking at it.
    That's what was happening with mine. They just did a normal rebuild with a couple of cones, synchros, blocker rings, sliders, plus a reverse gear that had ground synchro points on it.
    96 GTS. Viper Days Modified Class. Fresh motor 10-2020!


 

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