View original topic: 1st Gear Shift Problem
tko123 Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:06 pm

I have a '90 van with Subaru 2.2 motor. The transmission has 120k w/ correct fluid/level. The clutch is new (pedal, slave, assembly) and shift linkage is rebuilt and aligned. When the car is cold it's shifting great. After driving for some time it's difficult getting into 1st gear and somewhat 2nd. This cycle has repeated a number of times over the past couple weeks. It's like when the tranny warms and up something changes with 1st/2nd shifting getting sticky.



SyncroScout Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:06 am

There are quite a few threads about tranny shifting issues.

If you don't need a rebuild yet here are a couple of thinks to do/check:

1) Change the tranny fluid to a reputable Syntheic like Redline/Royal Purple 75w90. See how much metal is on your magnet etc.

2) Try cleaning and re-greasing the metal "shifter box" under the shifter that above your spare tire.

Do you already have the upgraded shifter linkage from GoWesty?

Hope this helps, just a few things to check.

tko123 Mon Jul 13, 2020 8:59 am

The tranny fluid is pretty fresh but I'll change it. I replaced the whole shifter linkage shifter to tranny and it's all aligned. How would I know if I need a new tranny?


SyncroScout Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:49 am

I am not by any means an expert but my tranny just got stuck in 3rd gear and requires a rebuild so I have done quite a bit of reading on this forum.

My tranny suffered the dreaded 3rd gear breakage.

Hopefully the fluid change will make things in there happier.

Howesight Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:00 pm

I would suggest that you check whether the clutch is not fully disengaging when the vehicle is warmed up. Difficulty selecting first gear, with somewhat less difficulty selecting second gear, is a classic symptom of the clutch not fully disengaging. When this problem happens to you again, shut off the engine and check whether shifting into first and second gears remains difficult. If this resolves the difficult shifting, then the clutch not fully releasing is the problem.

You don't mention which clutch/adaptor/bellhousing system you use. The quality of new replacement parts these days is so low that a new slave or master cylinder can fail rather quickly. If you use the SmallCar bellhousing system, then clutch relaese bearing setup is very critical and faliure to follow the correct installation can ruin a new release bearing very quickly.

[email protected] Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:13 pm


exactly, or a pilot bearing going bad. I had one that would drive fine but after about an hour or so it would get very hard to get into 1/2/R but would go in 3/4/5 *ok* not great, but ok. bearing was getting ready to give up the ghost

MarkWard Tue Jul 14, 2020 9:14 am

I realize it's adjusted perfect, but the 1/2 shift is the tricky one to adjust. It needs to be spot on. If not, you are up against the reverse and 3/4 internal shift rods.

There is a small amount of fine tuning you can get by loosening the 2 6mm bolts that hold the shifter socket to the floor up front. You'll notice under the washers, the plate holes are actually slotted. Mark the position and try both sweeps of the slot. You might get lucky.

plummerdesign Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:06 pm

Maybe it is easier than all of this...
I was having the SAME issue, until of course getting 1st and 2nd was giving too much resistance.
It was CRAZY, because the engine and gearbox and all linkage were new/rebuilt and SHOULD have been perfect-O.
Problem was I had pulled and reinstalled engine/gearbox together and individually over 4 times in under a year. In/out/swap/in/out....
The last time doing so I had left out the THICK washer which goes under the 13mm nut attaching the shift linkage to the shift arm on the gearbox (substituting a weensy thin washer, and it simply caused the linkage to deflect).
So check for the THICK washer. Might be the easiest fix you could hope for!

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