Transmission Trouble
February 18, 2004 8:05 PM   Subscribe

mefi car talk: transmission problems, grinding when shifting
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So, my 97 toyota celica (5 speed manual) has recently started having problems shifting into second gear. Usually this happens after I have been driving for a while (like after the long commute) and only when shifting up from first, never down from third. It will kind of do a quick grind, as if I don't have the clutch in, even thought it is fully depressed. I find if I pump the clutch once between shifting quickly, it will enter second just fine.

This has use to only happen after long trips in the car, but when I took it in for the most recent oil change, the guys at the shop told me it looked like I had a pretty serious transmission leak. I took it straight to a local shop the next day and they replaced a "seal cap" or something or rather and did a drain/refill. Now it happens much more often.

Does this type of situation sound familiar to anyone? Could the worsening of this problem been caused by the shop I took it to? I kind of like to have some material when I take it back so I don't sound like a n00b, ripe for the picking.
posted by Hackworth to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Best answer: It sounds like the synchromesh is wearing out on second gear, which is not that uncommon. By pumping the clutch between gears, you are doing half a "double declutch" which a few older members may remember having to do from pre-synchromesh days, matching the speed the gears are turning more closely and avoiding the crunch as they mesh. It is possible that the new oil in the gearbox, being cleaner and thinner, has made the problem sound worse.

You will probably find that, if you pause the gearlever slightly between gears, the noise will not occur (when upshifting at least). Depending on how much money you want to spend on the car, this may be a permanent solution or a way to avoid damaging the gearbox any further until you get it fixed, which will probably involve a complete rebuild of the transmission.
posted by dg at 7:10 PM on February 19, 2004

Response by poster: complete rebuild? crap. thanks for the lowdown, maybe I can deal with the doublepump action for a bit longer then.
posted by Hackworth at 7:37 PM on February 19, 2004

Response by poster: good to know, good to know.
posted by Hackworth at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2004

What everyone else said. It's definitely a synchro problem, and no, it won't REALLY be fixed until you either get a new gearbox or have the trannie rebuilt. Just putting new synchros on the first-second gears will only fix the problem temporarily.

I don't think that it's the shop's fault for putting in bad oil ... putting in the good oil probably made the problem noticeable finally.

I have this problem with my 03 Acura RSX, and I'm getting the whole transmission replaced under warranty.
posted by SpecialK at 9:40 PM on February 19, 2004

Response by poster: Just so I know what to expect, how much should a new gear box cost me?
posted by Hackworth at 9:54 PM on February 19, 2004

If you're lucky, you might get off not having to get a new gear box for a while if you can't afford it now. My 87' nissan truck 5-speed had the same exact problem and got it checked out and they said it was the synchro. The cost to get my transmission done is worth more than my car, so I haven't got it fixed. Over a year now, and I still have the same problem, but she still runs like a dieing kitten. Also, I found that to prevent the grinding noise and resistance from 1st to 2nd, wait a few seconds to kind of lower your RPMs (I think- I don't have a tachometer so I shift purely by feel) and very gently shift into 2nd.
posted by jmd82 at 10:37 PM on February 19, 2004

Unless it is really a problem for you, there is no great need to have this fixed and, as long as you take the 1st - 2nd and 2nd - 1st shifts slowly, you should be fine. At the worst, have a look around the web or ask someone who knows how to double-declutch and treat 2nd gear as if it has no synchro and you should be able to keep using the car without problems for a long time.

Otherwise, sell the car before the crunch gets worse.
posted by dg at 11:12 PM on February 19, 2004

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