1990 miata STUCK IN REVERSE!!!! - Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums

Go Back   Mazda Forum - Mazda Enthusiast Forums > Mazda Vehicles > Mazda Miata (MX-5)

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 11-16-2007, 12:39 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Default 1990 miata STUCK IN REVERSE!!!!

i have a 1990 miata that had no problem until i installed a short shifter...after i installed the shifter, it worked fine for a day or 2, then i pulled it around the back yard and pulled up to the barn, i was too close so i put it in reverse and then parked it.....the next day i tied to drive the miata but it would not engage in reverse anymore, it seemed that neutral was reverse...also it would not go into third, fourth, or fifth....it would let you engage in 1st and 2nd but it was as if you let the clutch out, the car would bogg down....the reason for this is that the gearbox was locked with the car stuck in reverse...i began researching this to see if anyone else has had this problem...turns out that it is common in the 1990 miata on the older ones produced in 1990(the last six of vin: 130987 and down).....

if you have run into this problem, dont be discouraged or take it to your dealer...it can be fixed in your yard and all you need is a jack, two jackstands, 24mm opened end wrench, and a 3" screwdriver.....

1.) jack the miata up and secure two jackstands on the axle-joints on the driver side of the car...
2.) crawl under the car, looking up around the exhaust pipe for the 24mm bolt in which the reverse light sensor is plugged into....it is in plain sight on the driversside of the transmission....the only one with two red wires coming out of the end of the bolt....
3.) remove the bolt and unscrew it completely(the sensor wires will twist, but it will be fine......
4.) after you have removed the bolt, stick pinky finger in the hole to find the reverse gear....there should be a slight gap on the side closest to the front of the car...
5.) with your stubby screwdriver, place it in the gap that you acknowleged with your pinky...pry the reverse gear towards theREAR of the car taking care not to scuff the aluminum internals of the wall...the gear will have a spongey feel to it but just pry...it will click into place.....to ensure that it has come out of the gear, test hole with your pinky again....you should feel nothing but an empty hole....just to be sure before you put everything back together lean into the car and see if you can move the shifter into fifth....if you can move it into fifth, you can move it in reverse(same rod)....
6.) place bolt back into hole and be sure to use the copperwasher that was on the bolt when you removed it....if this washer is not replaced, the bolt will be just enough too far in the transmission that reverse will not be able to push past it.....if you are worried about twisting the reverse sensor wires too much, twist them the opposite way of the boltbefore you reinstall the bolt....this way, the wires will be straight whenyou tighten up the sensor bolt.........

this may look on paper harder that it actually is....it is so easy...after you get the car off the ground and pull the bolt off, it takes less than 5 minutes to pry reverse out of gear....this procedure will save you the worry and hassle of towing the miata and spending a couple hundred dollars a the dealer or mechanic....

i hope this helps, it sure helped me....keep in mind this is for the 19901.6L manual transmission miata...
Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2009, 07:05 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1

That just happened to my 90 miata! What causes it and is there a way to prevent it from happening again. It sounds easy enough to fix but I dont realy like the idea of being out in the middle nowhere and having that happen to me on some dark cold rainy night. Any help would be great. Thanks
Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2009, 02:58 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Thumbs up ThAnKs

Thank-you imchilean, your information on how to fix this reverse bug is on the money. This "stuck in reverse" happened to me early this morning on my 90-roadster and it sucked. But before I take to the shop, I always check the net if there's useful information/guides what might be the problem. I ran into your thread on this forum, and you saved me big buck$. Just want to say Mahalo from Hawaii and God Bless imchilean .
Reply With Quote
Old 07-18-2009, 09:36 AM
virgin1's Avatar
Super Moderator

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Manor, TX (Outside of Austin)
Posts: 8,655

Well, that's the quick fix and I'm sure it's helpful but it does not describe what causes the problem in the first place or how to prevent it from happening again. imchilean?

As redghost properly puts it (spelling aside,)
Originally Posted by redghost
I dont realy like the idea of being out in the middle nowhere and having that happen to me on some dark cold rainy night.

"There is no tool you can buy that will replace experience." - Josh Mills, C.K.DeLuxe/Koolhouse Publishing

Reply With Quote
Old 10-08-2009, 12:17 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SWFL
Posts: 5

didnt work for me! i have thoes EXACT issues...and it didnt work for me...clutch adn all that stuff is brand new too...less the n2500 miles of them...the gear for foward...not back ward...R isnt stuck in but it still goes in R when in N
Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2009, 04:31 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SWFL
Posts: 5

well im thinking about dropping my transmission...im having more gear issues with it..and yeah, its sitting in my garage doing nothing with 1/2 the motor torn apart haha im replacing the head and intake cause i have a leak somewhere in the top 1/2 of the motor so i bought a new head and intake and gonna pop them on adn set my timing right!
fighting online is like racing in the special olympics; even if you win your still a retard
Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2010, 03:03 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 18
Default sorry, I havnt been on here in a while-UPDATE to MIATA "STUCK IN REVERSE"

To all this has helped, I am glad that you were able to save some money by this easy fix. This was a huge recall on the 1990 miatas that resulted in several being fixed by the dealerships. To indicate if the problem had been fixed, Mazda was required to paint a white dot on your gearbox, under the shift boot. Mine has been fixed and it still happened, twice. If you see no paint, call your nearest mazda dealer and they will be able to pull a list by your VIN number to see if it had been fixed. The fact that my miata has been to the dealership for this and it still happened twice baffles me. They gave me no word on what causes this and told me that since the repairs had been done in 1993(previous owner), they could not help me. If your miata is doing it and hasnt been into the dealer for repair, you can get some 2010 mazda parts added to your 1990 miata free! It might still do it but at least you can get yourself out of this by manually prying it out of gear! Hope this answers most of the new questions, THANKS!!!

-extra tip: DO NOT pull your Miata out of reverse without the clutch depressed fully to the
floor. This will trigger the "Stuck in Reverse" problem. What happens is that the gear is still engaged and you are pulling on the gear shift without the clutch separating the engine from transmission. Then the gearshift moves into neutral but the transmission stays in reverse and cannot be rejoined until you pry it manually through the reverse light hole........

Just a thought for you guys....What if there was no reverse light hole? that would suck.
Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2010, 05:14 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1

This happened to me yesterday, while my husband was driving. Without knowing what was wrong, we had the car towed at a cost of $120 for 15 miles ($8 a mile, ouch).

When I had time to look up her symptoms on Google, this page was brought to my attention. It took my husband all of 5 minutes, and now she's working fine, so thank you SO much for your clear instructions!

My Miata's VIN number is 101681 and when I called up 3 local dealers in my city, they said that there was no known issue of this happening to the 1990 Miatas, but I could take it in and they could try and duplicate the problem and fix it (all at my cost).

I even mentioned special service program 11 that was brought up in this page (http://www.miata.net/garage/stuckreverse.html) and all 3 service departments told me that they'd never heard of it.

I don't know what to do. Mazda thinks I'm crazy.

But thank you again for the clear instructions. It saved me a major headache in repairs!
Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2011, 09:47 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1
Smile Not mechanical

I read it.... could it be that simple ? With barely any tools and an old jack and some blocks I jacked it up found the not with the wires carefully removed it. Stuck a three inch flat head screw driver in the hole and pulled it back. Felt the gear spring back into place. Got out from under the car and presto It shifts. What can I say? There is a Miata God and he smiles on me. If I knew his name I would send him a gift. Knowledge is truly power.
Thank You
Who ever you are you saved me.
Reply With Quote

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
2001 tribute gearshift handle stuck in reverse hotshot_neil@yahoo.com Mazda Tribute 1 01-01-2013 02:02 AM
01 Tribute goes forward when in reverse; brakes stopped working; key stuck deck2deck General Tech 0 03-23-2011 11:00 AM
reverse too easy to shift into - Miata 2008 jhopewell Mazda Miata (MX-5) 2 10-23-2010 11:31 AM
Gear stuck in reverse Franzb Mazda Tribute 1 01-20-2010 08:23 PM
Help, 94 2.5 stuck in limp mode, Help please 94 2.5 stuck in limp mode oderaro Mazda Millenia 2 03-10-2009 11:25 AM

1990, 1st, 5th, 90, gear, light, manual, mazda, miata, problems, reverse, rx7, stuck, transmission, tribute

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:20 PM.