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Thread: hard shift into 1st

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    135

    hard shift into 1st

    I've done a lot of searching and reading, but of course my problem is a bit different than the others described...

    I just got my 95 5spd SC a couple days ago and it has a rather stiff shifter. That's fine and I don't mind the feel, but it has a problem getting into first gear from a dead stop.

    What I've noticed:
    • I can shift in easily most of the time as I coast to a stop
    • I can hit all the gears fine when the car is turned off
    • Double-clutching doesn't seem to help
    • Shifting from neutral to third to first seems to work okay sometimes
    • The other gears a little slow to get into, but I think this is just stiffness and not something I'm used to. I certainly don't need to bang it into 2nd for example.
    • There's no grinding, just a lot of difficulting pushing from neutral to first
    • The clutch pedal is pretty low. This could be totally separate, and just something I've noticed. I pull out just a bit (like 15-20%) from the floor, and it's engaging.


    Now, I'm thinking it might be simple like the fluid level -- how full it it supposed to be? There seems to be about a 1/4 to 1/2 gap from the cap, but there's no markings for "full".

    It also might be the slave cylinder. Are there rebuild kits available for these?

    I've got some garage time this Friday afternoon, but if I know what to look for, I could save quite a bit of time. I'm certainly not a transmission person!

    Thanks for reading my book and any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    299
    It's probably the slave cylinder. I had the EXACT same problem this past summer, and replacing the slave cylinder completely took care of the problem. I did the clutch, rear main seal, etc. while I was in there too. You can try bleeding the system if you wish, but if that doesn't work, I would have to say it's the slave cylinder going out. I have a brand new throwout bearing here if you need it, but when you get a new slave cylinder, it should come with a new throwout bearing. Depending on how long it's been since the clutch was last replaced, and seeing as how getting the tranny in and out is such a hassle, I would recommend replacing the clutch while you are in there, if you have the funds and the time. The rear main seal is also a good idea if you can get that replaced; mine was leaking like crazy, so it was necessary.

    Good luck man,

    Matt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    135
    Thanks for the info. Now the question remains - can I get a slave cylinder rebuild kit? If so, where?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    299
    I don't know of any rebuild kits. They are around $90 for a brand new one from Advance.

    Matt

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    135
    Originally posted by iwannanSC
    I don't know of any rebuild kits. They are around $90 for a brand new one from Advance.

    Matt
    That's not too bad. I've heard you can get rebuild kits for like $20, but haven't seen any around. Considering the time factor, under a $100 isn't bad at all.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    18
    I don't know if anybody told you this or not, but you need to pull the transmission out to change the slave cylinder on these cars. So $ 100 dollars isn't to bad of a price for the peace of mind that it is going back together right the first time. Sometimes putting in a kit is just a temporary fix, and it may leak again in 6 months.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    140
    I noticed too that my tranny is harder an harder to get into first from a stop. I found that if I push the clutch down and rev it a little(completly stopped), as the rpm's come back down it will push right into first gear and away we go......

    Joe

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    beaumont, CA
    Posts
    280
    i have the same problem in my 89. you might just try going a little to the right with the shift knob. i noticed that i hold the shift lever pretty hard to the left when i would shift into first and it wouldnt go. it felt like i was hitting a notch or something. just moving the lever a 1/4 inch to the right would let it fall right in.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    H-Town Tejas
    Posts
    2,891
    Try hitting another gear like 3rd b4 you try 1st. If this works you need new syncros in the transmission.

    Jeff

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Hartford, OH
    Posts
    127

    hard to shift into 1st

    I had a 92 sc a few years back that i had problem shifting into 3rd with you had to wiggle it a little to get it to slip in. my problem was the synconiser

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    York, PA
    Posts
    135
    Okay, we got it up on the lift today. Bleeding the cluctch line was kind of an adventure, becuase we couldn't see any fluid coming out. Turns out, the bleeder was a little clogged on the inside and the fluid was escaping into the bell housing. Anyway, the fluid was a nasty cruddy color, so we primed it through a few times and got the fluid filled up again.

    The clutch pedal behaves much better now - with a definite feeling of engaged and released. For the first 10 miles in stop-and-go rush hour traffic going home, it shifted great. However, by the end, it was again a bit difficult to get into 1st from a dead stop. The pedal still feels better, so it's certainly an improvement.

    The conclusion is that I still need to get the slave cylinder replaced. While we're at it, we'll do the clutch too. Will probably wait until after the holidays, though. Probably re-do the rear too, because it's obvious I've got a gasket going back there too. But I want to put those 3.27s in anyway, so that'll all happen together too.

    Thanks for the insight everyone.

    Ever notice when you have the $$ you don't have time. When you have the time, you don't have the $$.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Rock Hill, SC
    Posts
    133

    Ahh 5sp problems

    I've had the same issue with mine. In fact, took it to dealer when car had 32k on it...he said there was no problem. It's been like that her whole life (I'm 1 and only owner).

    I have had clutch changed twice and slave changed the last time (new fluid)...still have problems. I am curious if any think it could be synchros?

    Here's what I've noticed.

    1. At stop, very hard to put into first. If I sit with clutch out, push shifter "towards first" and hold with slight pressure and then push in clutch, slides in easy.

    2. Holding clutch down for a long time between shifts. Gears glide much easier.

    3. For speed shifting, really move quickly and things engage well.

    4. Trouble downshifting from 3 to 2...same thing...hold in clutch longer or find that exact "sweet spot" in the shifter for it to glide in place.

    5. Convinced myself my bird has develeloped her own little quirks so that I am the only one that knows how to "get her off!"

    Anyone install one of the short throw shifters and have better luck?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    H-Town Tejas
    Posts
    2,891
    Almost everything you said indicates a bad syncro. Holding the clutch in longer gives you more time, but since you have had the car since new how many times was the flywheel turned? When the flywheel is turned the amount of throw on your slave cylinder increases by that amount. There are shims that go between the crank and flywheel to move the flywheel back to it's original location.

    Jeff

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