A sure sign the shift cable for your vehicle's automatic transmission is broken is when you can place the shifter into drive, reverse, or any one of the other positions on the shifter and nothing happens. The problem is usually that the connections on the ends of the shift cable have gotten worn out. You need to replace the shift cable to fix the problem. Replacing the shift cable is something many vehicle owners can do by themselves if they know how to set the vehicle on jack stands and know where the transmission is located. Here is how to replace the shift cable on a Chevy Silverado.
Remove Lower Cable
The shift cable is made up of two parts: a lower cable and an upper cable. Start by removing the lower cable first. Look along the bottom of the transmission to find the lower cable. The cable is covered with an accordion-looking rubber insulation. Use a flathead screwdriver and pry the end of the shift cable off of the ring selector stud on the side of the transmission.
Move to the middle of the cable and take it off the bracket. The cable is secured to the bracket with a staple-shaped clamp. Pry the clamp out with the flathead screwdriver. Pinch the tabs on the bracket and pull the cable out.
Pull the white cover back on the cable insulation and remove the locking collar. Separate the cable insulation to reveal the cables inside of it. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the clip connecting the upper and lower cables together. Separate the two cables. Remove the clip connecting the lower cable to the bottom of the Silverado and remove the cable.
Remove Upper Cable
Unclip the upper dashboard around the steering wheel so you can remove the kick panel underneath it. Remove the two screws on the lower kick panel and remove the panel. There is a metal plate underneath the steering column. Remove the four screws on the plate and take it off the vehicle.
Follow the steering column shift lever until you find where the cable is connected to it. Pry the end of the cable off of the shift lever with the flathead screwdriver. Now, remove the clip to the bracket the cable is connected to underneath the dash. Use the needle-nose pliers to pinch the tabs on the bracket and remove the cable from it. There is a bolt on the back of the bracket for the cable. Remove the bolt and pull the cable out of the dash.
Remove the driver's side rubber door sill cover along the bottom edge of the door opening on the Silverado. This will allow you to pull back the carpeting and lining on the floor. Pull the carpeting and lining back to expose the spot where the cable goes down through the floor to the underside of the vehicle.
Pull the rubber grommet out of the hole in the floor and take out the upper cable from underneath the vehicle.
Take the new upper cable and snake it through the dash like the other one was done and connect it to the shift lever and brackets. Replace the bolt on the bracket. Put the new lower cable in the same place as the old one, clip it in place, and put the end of it onto the ring selector stud. Connect the two cables together and replace the clip. Cover the cables with the rubber insulation
Start your Silverado and check to make sure you can put it into different gears to finish the repair job. For help with a task like this, visit a local transmission shop.