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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I have been here for a while, learning about my wife's car.
However, she is now almost to Winnemucca,NV, and her car slipped out of 5th gear and she calls me and tells me it will not go into 5th now.
1st - 4th is normal. No clutch slippage she says.

Any guesses?

Dont suppose any of you are around Winnemucca NV???
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Sonds like its heat related

She called again, now having trouble shifting in all gears. Still no clutch problem, sounds like its heat related. I have not changed her trans fluid yet; I sure wish I had now........
 

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It's possible the clutch fluid is low or there is a clutch cylinder problem. The pedal moves a hydraulic piston (the master) which moves fluid which moves another piston (the slave) which moves the clutch release lever. The clutch release lever could have bent.

I don't know how skilled or confident she feels but if you match revs you don't need the clutch pedal at all. For example, if the car is at a steady rpm not accelerating or decelerating, you can move the shifter in and out of gear without using the clutch.

Once you are comfortable with which rpm belongs at what speed at what gear, you can just move the shifter as normal. It will drop into position with light pressure. If you force the shifter and the rpm are not correct, it won't go. I don't suggest this for normal driving because it's hard on the transmission but you can use it in an emergency. It won't work on 1st gear since the car isn't moving so to get around this you can shut the engine off at a stop (remember that the brake booster is vacuum powered and you'll only have about 2 pumps before power brakes go away and the brake pedal becomes much harder), and to get moving, put in 1st gear, crank the engine, and you're going fast enough to start moving. This is tricky and is also hard on the starter (it could burn out the starter) but it's a good way to at least pull over to the side of the road vs. being stuck in the middle of the road. Oh, and read the full legal disclaimer in the full TOS Agreement, I'm not responsible if someone crashes since I don't know their exact circumstances. This is a tricky technique and does require practice to become proficient to a level of safety.

Rev matching is actually how you're supposed to shift - trucks and antique cars are like that. The synchronizers in modern cars take up any difference.
 

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Agree with Chitty's thought that the synchronizers are not fully meshing because power is still being transmitted thru the clutch assembly. If a synchro is not fully engaged, the dawgs will spit back into neutral.

To fully engage a synchro when you don't know how to speed match, you can shift into that gear, then continue to hold pressure into that gear, release the clutch, and then smoothly change the pedal from acceleration to deceleration and the synchro will finish the engagement when the gear transitions from power-out to power-in, repeat a few times and note any secondary engagement of the shifter handle 'deeper' into the gear selection. Stop applying pressure to the shifter and see if the tranny will spit out the gear.

However, I would start with pulling the leather boot from around the shifter and look inside to see if any of the ball-socket shifter joints are cracked or deranged. Then go to the tranny side and see if the ball-socket shifter joints are cracked or deranged. You could just have a split or stripped ball-socket.

At the extreme end of the scale, a constant gear mesh synchronized transmission will spit out of gear and drop into neutral when the input shaft bearing, the pocket bearing (between the input and output shaft) or the output shaft bearing is excessively worn or deranged. A deranged bearing will cause an angular misalignment of the shafts and put tension on the synchronizer forks, which has the tendency to disengage the synchronizer. The symptom of a worn transmission bearing is an audible "howl" and dropping into neutral under heavy acceleration or deceleration. This is normally a very high mileage fault (chronic) or a low transmission fluid level failure (acute).

However, apply the KISS method and start with the basics: clutch master cylinder fluid level, visible leaks of the clutch master or slave cylinders, loose linkage, cracked shifter ball-sockets... You don't need a NASA grade solution for a Home Depot sized problem.
 

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you can also try adjusting shifter cables using Diesel Geek's method.

Also inspect rubber bushings from your cable catchers, there are four rubber links at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock that hold the center part, and if one of them is damaged it can cause problems. The one on the right for some reason was very soft on mine 2005 Jetta, so I decided to put some silicone between each of the links to eliminate flexing. Works good now.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the input

Thanks for the input guys. I am headed down to Winnemucca, NV, Sunday to see if I can fix it there or drag it back to Mountain Home, ID, on a car dolly!!

Side note; Why can I not use GL-5 gear oil? On here they say use GL-4; is there a difference?
 

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The sulfur in GL-5 will eat up the brass synchros. Personally, I like Redline MTL. It shifts smoothly in cold climates and the viscosity is fine. The OEM stuff can be a little notchy when cold and it's cold.
 

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If you tow it back, be sure to keep the drive wheels off the ground. The lube oil pump for a manual transmission is the countershaft, which is driven by the input shaft when the clutch is engaged. If you tow with the transmission in neutral and the engine secured the countershaft is not spinning and you run the risk of burning out the gear box. Some transmissions are approved for towing in neutral with the engine secured, but you need to confirm yours is before you tow it and damage the gearbox.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
No 5th

OK, so I changed the trans fluid, and now it shifts like new again!!

BUT, no 5th gear. I looked at all the shift cables and they look great. Nothing broken, no loseness/sloppy feel. It feels just like the rest of the gears, but 5th acts just like neutral.

Anything I can check out, or is it probably internal?
 

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Do you feel the "mechanical action" of the shifting system when you select 5th gear? Or is it like shifting into air, with little to no resistance?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Same!

I dont get it, It has the same two detent feel as 1-4. It just is not doing anything after I put it "in gear".
 

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If 5th gear has the same feel at the shifter, then go into the engine compartment while someone is operating the shifter into and out of 5th gear so that you can locate the shifter arm and direction that selects 5th gear.

I would do this with (1) drive wheel off the ground and the opposite wheel on the ground, level ground, parking brake set and the wheels chocked. Engine secured, (1) wheel off the ground, disconnect the shifting linkage and manually select 5th gear. Then grab the wheel that is off the ground and see if you can rotate it. If the wheel rotates freely then 5th gear is not engaged. If you get 1 to 3-inches of rotation and the wheel stops 5th gear is engaged. You should be able to rock the wheel back and forth and fear the engine stop the wheel, if it rotates freely in both directions then there is no mechanical connection to the engine thru 5th gear.

***The reason (1) wheel has to stay on the ground is so that you don't get a false result due to the differential action thru the differential. If the other wheel is off the ground it will freely rotate in the opposite direction, even if 5th gear is meshed, and you will get a false result.

If you blew a synchronizer there should have been bronze colored metal particles in the fluid you pulled from the transmission.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A little shavings

There was a very small amount of metal particles on the drain plug, but not THAT much.

I will try the shifting manually thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So...

I lifted the front right wheel, put it in 5th by hand under the hood, and nothing....
1st - 4th, yeup, wheel did not turn.

How big of an expense in a 5th gear syncro?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What if....

What if I drive it home. 1st -4th is ok. And at 60mph, 4th is not that bad.

BUT, I would hate to drive it home and end up ruining the whole trans.
 

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Roger, 5th gear is not connecting. To confirm, you disconnected the linkage and manually selected 5th gear as 'deep' as the shifter would go. If yes, then the 5th gear synchro is wiped, the 5th gear fork is bent, or the shifter shaft is deranged. However, the syncho is what sees the most wear and tear, so it is the most likely component to fail.

You are dealing with an unknown, so driving it home in 4th gear is a low to moderate risk. However, ask yourself what is going to cost more a tow job (I don't know the distance you have to travel) or the potential junk yard replacement transmission if you do irreparable damage to the transmission. If I was in this situation I would drive it at speed in the lower four gears and listen for howling, clicking,...any abnormal mechanical noise(s). If it sounded and acted normally I would drive it the distance.

As for the permanent repair, the tranny has to come out and the case split to identify the root cause of the failure. Hard to say how much, but a tranny removal and reinstall is a definite, you should consider renewing the clutch, rear main seal, input seal, and CV shaft seals...while you have the tranny out. That already has you in a few hundred dollars. If you fix it, fix it to last.
 

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Wolverine, you may be the luckiest guy on the planet...a side cover to get to the suspect gear and synchronizer - that is not the norm. Once the side case is off, cycle thru the 5th gear selection and deselection several times to make sure that the synchro fork is sliding the collar back and forth as designed. Also look for more of the metal you found previously, which should be piled below the synchronizer if it is mechanically damaged.

Like the article said "clean, clean, clean..."
 
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