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What should I do about the failing shifter cable on my Porsche Cayman?

The shifter cable on my four-year-old Porsche Cayman failed at 32,000 kilometres. It's my understanding that Caymans have had this problem since 2006. I can not inspect them or do any kind of preventative maintenance. What am I to do now? Is it safe to take my Cayman on a long ride and not be stuck in the middle of nowhere? The repair cost plus towing was $1,300. – Bob P.

The shifter cables – used in both manual transmission Cayman and the 911 models – link the driver's gear stick to the transmission. The trouble spot lies at the manual gearbox, where a small retaining clip breaks, allowing one of the two cables to detach. This fault immediately immobilizes the vehicle if the driver is unfortunate enough to be in neutral at the moment of failure.

A quick Internet search yields many disappointed owners discussing repeated incidents. So I spoke with two Porsche technicians; one thought that it was a significant problem, the other suggested it wasn't a major pitfall. Those remarks left me wondering, given how insignificant the offending part is, why Porsche hasn't developed a retrofit repair – saving its customers from an expensive out-of-pocket repair while relieving concerns about future breakdowns.

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Replacing the cable with an aftermarket upgraded cable featuring the necessary design modifications may be necessary to restore your confidence. However, the upgraded cables may transfer slightly more noise to the cabin as this product substitutes metal for noise-mitigating plastic.

Lou Trottier is owner-operator of All About Imports in Mississauga. Have a question about maintenance and repair? E-mail, placing "Lou's Garage" in the subject area.

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