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5MT: Difficult to Engage 1st Gear


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Last week I was sitting at a stop light and I tried to shift into 1st gear, but it wouldn't engage. I had to double clutch to get the car into 1st and even this was more difficult than normal. This same symptom has now happened multiple times. I have also noticed that the shift from 1st to 2nd which used to be buttery smooth, requires a bit more effort.

 

I checked the front tranny fluid and it was full. I have always been gentle with the tranny so I don't think the syncros would be shot after 100k miles. When the car is off the tranny is super easy to shift.

 

Any ideas?

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Something similar to what you described happened intermittently in both my 42k mile WRX (5 speed too) and my 140k and 160k mile Legacies. Usually I can shift into reverse and out, after which point it'll go into first. The opposite is also true (not going into reverse, shift into first then it works). However, can't be sure that it's exactly the same kind of thing without experiencing it personally.

 

You said the trans is full, but when's the last time you changed the oil? I believe the interval is 30k miles.

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Sounds like a possible synchro issue. Maybe not to the point of needing repair but something a fluid change with quality trans fluid would help. Original clutch?

 

What do you guys run in the MT boxes? Ford guy here and RP Synchromax always fit the bill in the T5's, etc.

 

Sent from my moto z3 using Tapatalk

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I'd be checking clutch hydraulics. If you can pump the pedal a few times and it works for a bit, then it sounds like a leak somewhere - check the fluid level, then look for a leak at the clutch master cylinder, the flex hose, or the slave cylinder. Master cylinder can leak on the cabin side of the firewall as well, get a flashlight and look up at it from inside the car. The rubber boot that the rod passes through will get all greasy and nasty. If its really bad it can run down the firewall and make more things nastier.
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+1 for clutch fluid. Mine was leaking from the rubber hose a few weeks ago. I replaced it with a braided stainless steel one I had in my parts bin and replaced the slave cylinder. After bleeding it works great, but now I realize that I need to replace my clutch again because of the engagement point.
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  • 2 months later...

My clutch fluid was at the low mark and I found that the OEM clutch hose was slightly wet. I filled up the clutch fluid, but the issue still exists.

 

I ordered a stainless hose to replace the OEM one, but I am not confident this will solve the issue. I noticed that if I turn off the car I can easily get it to engage 1st. Not sure if this leads me to any sort of direction/conclusion of the issue.

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