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1998 VW Beetle, manual 5 speed, 185k miles: Twice in the last year when I shifted into reverse the gear stick went outside the shift pattern where reverse usually is, and gets stuck in that position. I have to manually wrangle it back into neutral. Being a single female, I didn't do anything about it...

Yesterday I took it to a shop to have 3 out of 4 dead headlights replaced. When I picked it up at closing time it had been backed into a parking place and left in a forward gear, as I always leave it. However when I picked it up after hours, it will only operate in 3rd and 4th gears, as well as reverse. No 1st or 2nd. I couldn't get to a point to try 5th. I wonder if the mechanic experienced the same strange reverse issue and maybe this is a result? It is Sunday and no one is open for me to ask.

I am out of town and have to leave early tomorrow morning for a 300-mile all-freeway drive to work and have appointments to meet. Trying to decide whether to drive home or cancel appts and have it checked here. Any ideas/suggestions?
 

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5/23/10 <3
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11,417 Posts
Sounds like you have a broken shift carrier lever. Its a plastic piece on these early NBs and when it goes, all you're left with is 3rd and 4th. And It really can happen out of nowhere. It failed on my '99 and it was shifting with no issues up until it gave out. I went from perfect 1-5 shifting to only 3rd and 4th. It was cheap to get replaced...I think I was out of the mechanics for under $100. If I wasn't 2 months away from my wedding I would have changed it myself, but I didn't really have the time or the patience at that point :lol:

I know there are some threads here on the failure and replacement. Pretty common.
 
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