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FAQ, Trouble Getting Into Gear When The Car Is Cold


Experienced Member
12 April 2005
San Clemente Ca.
Is this very common?
I looked at a car that may have these symptoms.
Anyone here ever run into this?
Trouble Getting Into Gear When The Car Is Cold
[A/H - 2000/11/2] My guess is that the clutch disk does not want to slide on the transmission mainshaft to pull away from the flywheel. When this happens the friction between the disk and the flywheel is just enough to keep the transmission main shaft spinning. When the clutch warms up either the friction goes down between the disk and flywheel, OR the disk is able to slide slightly on the main shaft and will allow the mainshaft to slow down enough to get it into gear. With the engine off the flywheel is not spinning, and as such the main shaft isn't spinning either so the gears mesh really easy.

The fix: Remove the transmission and clean up the main shaft splines (clutch dust or rust/corrosion or both) or put the car in gear before starting the engine for a while knowing that the clutch will/may need to be replaced in the future anyway. The down side to this is that you are taking useful life away from the synchros by forcing it into gear even when it is warm.

Try one more thing: When the car is warm and easy to get into gear, with the engine running, feet off the brake, clutch in, door open to watch the ground, put it in first gear and see if the car moves any at all, maybe only 1/4 inch. If the car moves it means that the clutch is still dragging a little, just not as much as when it is cold.