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Old 01-01-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 287321
Join Date: Jul 2011
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Seattle / Sacramento
2008 Impreza WRX

Default MT Stuck in gear. Won't go forward or reverse.

Hey all, I was parked overnight in my driveway which is slightly downhill. I had the car in 1st and e-brake up during the night. I came out this morning, started the ignition, put the clutch in and released the e-brake. I gave it gas to roll backwards but it got hung up and I stalled it. The car started back up just fine with the clutch pushed in but the shifter will not move out of reverse or what feels like 4th. It is impossible to move the shifter. If I have the e-brake down and I slowly let go off the clutch the car doesn't move forward or back, it just dies. Any ideas? Please, any help is really appreciated.

I'm at a loss because I can't even get a tow truck to get it off my driveway because it's stuck in gear and won't roll at all.


Car stuck in 4th/R
Won't row through gears at all
Clutch pedal in, start car, won't go forward or back just dies
E-brake down, clutch pedal in, won't roll backward (Even though it's on a decline)
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:19 PM   #2
Elbert Bass
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 283429
Join Date: May 2011
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: Down yonder.

No model/year info only gets you the vague, shot-in-the-dark, generic diag, but here's what my best guess is:

Was the temp below freezing? When you release the e-brake and try to reset do you feel it pulling tension or is is slack until you get to the "click" it was set on overnight?

If so it could be a frozen or rusted e-brake. If you let the transmission hold the car before setting the e-brake that tension coupled with the locked e-brake could also keep your shifter locked. The vehicle will stall as well if the e-brake was frozen/seized.


It could be stuck in two gears or something worse...

(me, I'm voting for stuck/frozen e-brake)
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:23 PM   #3
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 303366
Join Date: Dec 2011
Chapter/Region: VIC
Location: Vancouver/Burnaby
1998 Impreza 2.5 rs


A tow truck would still be possible, since they can use dollies on the front & back of the car. Good luck with the fix!
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Old 01-10-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 97017
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Louisville, KY
2015 Mustang GT PP
Competition Orange


My 05 did this once, I had luck pushing/rocking the car front to rear a couple of times. Afterwards everything went back to normal.
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Old 01-10-2012, 08:07 PM   #5
some dude
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 100300
Join Date: Nov 2005
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: MIC|-|IG/\N
06 WRX


You left the car in 1st gear overnight right? Then you say it is stuck in either 4th or reverse? That would mean you moved it out of 1st, it went into neutral fine, you jiggled it around a little bit, and tried to put it into reverse. The car didn't move, it stalled, and the stick stayed right where you put it and now won't budge?

And, a wrecker can tow your car with dollies as said before. Just picks both axles off the ground and off you go.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:54 PM   #6
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 204304
Join Date: Feb 2009
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: IL
2008 WRX 4D Stage 2


See you have a 08. Would not think your E-brake is rusted.

I would say to try is have someone in the car to play with the stick. With the E-brake down have a few of your friends rock the car back and forth and see if you can get the car out of gear.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:08 PM   #7
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 287321
Join Date: Jul 2011
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Seattle / Sacramento
2008 Impreza WRX


Thanks for the help guys. Rocking the car back and forth popped it out of gear. Everything is back to normal!
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Old 05-23-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 12116
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Northern VA
2002 Impreza WRX
Sedona Red Pearl


A quick revisit...

My wife had the same problem. She went to back out of a parking space, went to 4th before reverse as is common when reverse does not want to engage properly, and the car stalled. The gear shift was stuck in 4th and the car would not roll even though it was on a slight grade (nose up) and the clutch was in. Ultimately rocking the car allowed us to pop it out but I was not able to reproduce the issue and she is a little fuzzy on the exact sequence of events.

What is the mechanism here that would cause this to happen? The tranny getting locked up internally. Does this have to do with age? Do I have to buy my wife a new Forester?

02 WRX w/ 130k miles.
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