Civic VX Tranny - hard shifting in to first gear - Fuelly Forums

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Old 12-01-2008, 02:25 PM   #1
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Civic VX Tranny - hard shifting in to first gear

I have 94 Civic VX with ~260K and it's hard to shift in to first gear from neutral, when sitting at stop light.

Sometimes I can shift in first fine, but most of the time I need to apply some force and wiggle the shifter, or shift in to second and then in to first. A few times I could not get in to second either, but shifted in to third and then in to first.

The car is drivable, so I've been postponing fixing it until it's time to do the clutch, but the clutch could last awhile, and it's getting annoying sitting at green light trying to get in gear.

Anybody knows from the symptoms, what this could be?

I changed tranny oil a few months ago, but that did not help.

Thanks
Ross
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:16 PM   #2
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If putting it in 2nd or 3rd and then 1st does the job, then the synchro is worn out. I would probably just get used to bouncing off of another gear before 1st and live with it. You may not need to fully enter another gear, just use another gear's synchro to do some work by waiting at the gate momentarily before putting it in 1st.
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:06 PM   #3
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My 1990 Accord is doing something similar, but only when it's cold outside, and it resists going into any gear at all, but 1st moreso than the others. I usually bounce off third. Personally, I think the clutch is dragging a bit when it's cold, maybe?
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Old 12-01-2008, 04:14 PM   #4
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That one sounds like it could be the clutch or just heavy gear oil.

I'm not very experienced with this stuff, so these answers are from study mainly. Can anyone chime in with more sure information?
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Old 12-01-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
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theholycow - all gears are hard to get in to when idling in neutral, but first seem to be harder then others. Switching gears is fine when I'm already in gear. Also I've read that first gear does not have synchro.

I have another VX, which is 92 and has 140K and it shifts fine, so I know this behavior is not normal.

Several people reported this problem with Civic on other boards, but I'm yet to see a solution.
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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Adjust the clutch freeplay so the engagement point is at more than 50% of the pedal travel.

Too much freeplay makes the engagement point too low and can cause the clutch to not completely disengage (most likely your problem).

Too little freeplay can wear out the throwout bearing.

Typically freeplay adjustment is accomplished by changing the length of the pushrod that connects the clutch pedal to the clutch master cylinder.

If the freeplay adjustment will not solve your problem, you may have a cheap rebuilt pressure plate that will not work no matter where you adjust the freeplay.

regards
gary
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Old 12-01-2008, 06:59 PM   #7
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You can check to see if the clutch is dragging (not releasing completely) by trying to put it in reverse. If the clutch is dragging, it will grind when you try to shift into reverse.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:33 PM   #8
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Another thing you might check is if there is any air in the slave cylinder. It may need to be bled. Also if there is a leak, that too can limit travel and disengagement of the pressure plate. Something a bit more obscure might be too thick floor mats and/or bunched up floor mats. Don't laugh, I've seen this before and it only affects first gear since the blocking ring can't generate enough friction to align the dogs which allow you to slip it into gear (not a problem when you're already under way as in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th).
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Old 12-02-2008, 06:14 AM   #9
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I have an '89 CRX with 260k miles that has a bit of a sticky first gear. It's worst when it's cold. I don't have as much trouble as you at a light, but often it's easier slipping it into second and then into first gear.

I have the older Penzzoil Platinum in a 10w-30 in the gear case. I know I could use better, but that's the choice for now. If I wanted to make it real slick I'd likely find some dedicated synchromesh super-synthetic tranny lube in it. If you haven't already, now may be the time to do something like that, to kick the rebuild down the road a little more.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:06 AM   #10
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I would definitely check the fluid level and quality in the slave system. If the color is anything than clear (like new brake fluid) flush, fill, and bleed the system. If there is no improvement, adjust clutch pedal free play. If that doesn't work, the make sure that you have the proper pin (commonly called the *****-pin) in the linkage connection at the trans. If there is a bolt there instead of the pin, get the pin in there. That will tighten up the linkage and make sure that you're engaging the gear cleanly.

If all that doesn't work for , then it's time to change the clutch pressure plate and friction disc and possible synchro replacement.
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