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Old 01-10-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
NewFoundPower
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Default manual transmission won't go into gear when cold

I've been having shifting issues over the last few months and the problem is getting worse and worse. The car is a 2002 Z06 with about 69k, the transmission was replaced by a dealer under warranty with about 59k.

When I'm starting up for the first time, the transmission won't go into gear at all. When I try to force it, the car will start to roll with the clutch depressed. It takes a couple of minutes of idling before I'm finally able to force it into gear to get going, and when I do get it in gear it doesn't roll with the clutch in. Once it's moving it'll shift but it doesn't feel smooth at all and the effort is definitely higher than it should be with a stock shifter. When I try high-rpm shifting the shifter hits the "wall" and I have to wait for the rpms to drop. Getting it into reverse is the toughest and doesn't get much better even when the car is warm. When the engine is off, I can shift through the gears without much problem except for reverse.

The clutch is a Centerforce with maybe 15k-20k on it, also installed by the dealer along with a new slave cylinder and aluminum flywheel. I had an MGW shifter in for a few years but recently changed back to the stock shifter to see if that was the problem I was having, and since then shifting has gotten more difficult. Most of the clutch fluid is new as I've replaced it through the reservior and it looks pretty clean now.

I tried aligning the MGW shifter using the pin but that didn't help, and it seems like the shaft would go right back off center a bit when I pulled the pin out. Same with the stock shifter. I did re-use the MGW bolts with the stock shifter, and as I recall I needed a couple of washers to make up for the thicker flange on the MGW. Could that be part of my problem? I use AMSOIL ATF and replaced it a little over a year ago, so it only has one or two track weekends on it and not many street miles.

Prior to the past year, I drove the car mostly on the track without any problems. When I started driving more on the street I started to notice it more and it's been getting worse.

What could my problem(s) be and how should I proceed?
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:09 PM   #2
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If the shifter is moving after you pull the pin then your shifter is not tight enough.

It sounds like a hydraulic issue to me, I would bleed the system and see where that gets you. Hopefully they installed a remote bleeder when they did the clutch!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:04 PM   #3
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It wasn't the shifter moving, it was the shaft in the housing that was. It rotated back to the position it was in before I put in the pin. It's not far off but definitely noticeable.


Click the image to open in full size.


I don't have a remote bleeder installed so all I can do right now is replace fluid via the reservior.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFoundPower View Post
I don't have a remote bleeder installed so all I can do right now is replace fluid via the reservior.
Unfortunately that won't get the bubbles out that are trapped in the line. You can bleed it without a remote bleeder but it is a SERIOUS pain in the ****.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:33 PM   #5
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You have 2 issues.

The car moving when you force the shifter is indicating the clutch is not fully releasing.

The shifter is not aligned. Keep playing with the adjustment bolt until the alignment holes are aligned. Forget the pin, just loosen it, move it a bit and tighten it again until you hit the sweet spot.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
You have 2 issues.

The car moving when you force the shifter is indicating the clutch is not fully releasing.

The shifter is not aligned. Keep playing with the adjustment bolt until the alignment holes are aligned. Forget the pin, just loosen it, move it a bit and tighten it again until you hit the sweet spot.
The clutch is not fully releasing because you have air bubbles in the line. A lot of air, if it moves the car forward when you jam it in gear. Take it back to the place that installed it and have them bleed it. It could probably be done with a Motive Bleeder like with brakes, if it is done at low pressure. That would be a lot faster!
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike94ZLT1 View Post
The clutch is not fully releasing because you have air bubbles in the line.
He claims it keeps getting worse so how does more air keep getting in there?
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:37 AM   #8
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Too much air in the clutch line may help explain why it's been getting worse lately. Since the weather is colder the fluid volume may have decreased slightly and it could be just enough to cause the problem I'm having while the car is cold. The heat from the exhaust may be warming it up enough to eventually get the car going. It would be less of a problem in warmer weather. Does that sound like a reasonable explanation?

The clutch and transmission were installed at separate times several years ago by a dealership so I doubt I'd be able to just take it back for them to bleed it. Mike - what is the Motive bleeder that you're referring to? Is there a way to bleed the line without taking out the exhaust and all the other stuff, or do I just need a remote bleeder?

Regarding the shifter - where is the adjustment bolt? I don't remember seeing anything that would allow for adjustment. All I know to do is to use the pin to align the shaft and then tighten the 4 shifter bolts down, but that obviously hasn't worked for me. I had to move the shifter handle around to get the pin in, but even when the bolts are tight the shaft goes back to it's original position when the pin is removed. This happened with both the MGW and the stock shifters. What am I missing?
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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I really can't see the fluid volume changing due to temperature making much if any difference.

You're adjusting the shifter wrong. The shifter is adjusted via the bolt at the back of the shifter housing that attached the shift rod coming from the transmission to the shifter housing. There is a Torx bolt with a clamp going onto the rod from the shifter housing.
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
He claims it keeps getting worse so how does more air keep getting in there?
Could be a leak in the system, a seal could have failed in the master or the slave. I had a seal go out on a slave cylinder before, it was all kinds of not fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFoundPower View Post
Too much air in the clutch line may help explain why it's been getting worse lately. Since the weather is colder the fluid volume may have decreased slightly and it could be just enough to cause the problem I'm having while the car is cold. The heat from the exhaust may be warming it up enough to eventually get the car going. It would be less of a problem in warmer weather. Does that sound like a reasonable explanation?

The clutch and transmission were installed at separate times several years ago by a dealership so I doubt I'd be able to just take it back for them to bleed it. Mike - what is the Motive bleeder that you're referring to? Is there a way to bleed the line without taking out the exhaust and all the other stuff, or do I just need a remote bleeder?

Regarding the shifter - where is the adjustment bolt? I don't remember seeing anything that would allow for adjustment. All I know to do is to use the pin to align the shaft and then tighten the 4 shifter bolts down, but that obviously hasn't worked for me. I had to move the shifter handle around to get the pin in, but even when the bolts are tight the shaft goes back to it's original position when the pin is removed. This happened with both the MGW and the stock shifters. What am I missing?
Absolutely. Fluid expands and contracts with temperature. The line going from the master to the slave only holds a few teaspoons worth of fluid at best, so even a slight change in volume would make a noticeable difference.

As far as alignment goes, and forgive me as it has been two or three years since I messed with mine, I believe the position of the shifter box on the torque tube to be just as critical as the alignment of the shifter itself. Do a search on here, I think Bill Curlee has posted the factory instructions for shifter alignment. I would look into the "Anti Venom" mod as well. Until you get your engagement issues fixed though, it is going to shift like crap no matter what.

A motive bleeder is a small hand pump system allowing you to pressurize a hydraulic system and bleed it without needing a second set of hands, or to pump any pedals. Look on Summit Racing's website. I bought one years ago and it has come in very handy for doing brakes on mine and my friends cars.
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:29 PM   #11
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I'm going to write slower now.

You posted that the clutch has been installed for 15k to 20k miles.

You posted that the the transmission was replaced 10k miles ago.

Now, the clutch is not disengaging correctly.

This isn't something that the shop did wrong 10k+ miles ago when they installed either the clutch or transmission.

So, something is failing. You'll have to pull it apart and try to figure out why when the clutch pedal is pressed that the pressure plate is releasing the clutch disk.

This is likely a hydraulic issue.

You could start with the master since that doesn't require pulling the drivetrain, but you'll still likely have to pull the exhaust and tunnel plate to reach the bleeder.

On another note - you also loosen the two bolts holding the shifter housing to the torque tube to adjust the front to back of the shifter if required. By your picture though, there is likely enough movement in the shifter housing to shifter rod bolt to get it aligned.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike94ZLT1 View Post
Could be a leak in the system, a seal could have failed in the master or the slave. I had a seal go out on a slave cylinder before, it was all kinds of not fun.
So, you think it's a leak? What's the point of bleeding it then? Air won't get into the system for no reason and if you read the OP and the above you'll see that the car has been driven for >10k miles with the clutch installed so it's not an installation issue.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
I'm going to write slower now.

You posted that the clutch has been installed for 15k to 20k miles.

You posted that the the transmission was replaced 10k miles ago.

Now, the clutch is not disengaging correctly.

This isn't something that the shop did wrong 10k+ miles ago when they installed either the clutch or transmission.

So, something is failing. You'll have to pull it apart and try to figure out why when the clutch pedal is pressed that the pressure plate is releasing the clutch disk.

This is likely a hydraulic issue.

You could start with the master since that doesn't require pulling the drivetrain, but you'll still likely have to pull the exhaust and tunnel plate to reach the bleeder.

On another note - you also loosen the two bolts holding the shifter housing to the torque tube to adjust the front to back of the shifter if required. By your picture though, there is likely enough movement in the shifter housing to shifter rod bolt to get it aligned.




So, you think it's a leak? What's the point of bleeding it then? Air won't get into the system for no reason and if you read the OP and the above you'll see that the car has been driven for >10k miles with the clutch installed so it's not an installation issue.
It could be something simple like the bleeder needs to be tightened, who knows. I would bleed it first and see where that gets you, rather than dropping the drivetrain.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFoundPower View Post

what is the Motive bleeder that you're referring to? Is there a way to bleed the line without taking out the exhaust and all the other stuff, or do I just need a remote bleeder?
Google Youtube "motive bleeder clutch c5 corvette." It will show you how to bleed the clutch without taking everything apart. Be careful with the amount of vacuum used so you don't blow the seals. It can be done with one person but it is easier with two. If you cannot find a satisfactory view, send me a pm and I will email you an instruction sheet.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionelhutz View Post
I'm going to write slower now.

You posted that the clutch has been installed for 15k to 20k miles.

You posted that the the transmission was replaced 10k miles ago.

Now, the clutch is not disengaging correctly.

This isn't something that the shop did wrong 10k+ miles ago when they installed either the clutch or transmission.

So, something is failing. You'll have to pull it apart and try to figure out why when the clutch pedal is pressed that the pressure plate is releasing the clutch disk.

This is likely a hydraulic issue.

You could start with the master since that doesn't require pulling the drivetrain, but you'll still likely have to pull the exhaust and tunnel plate to reach the bleeder.

On another note - you also loosen the two bolts holding the shifter housing to the torque tube to adjust the front to back of the shifter if required. By your picture though, there is likely enough movement in the shifter housing to shifter rod bolt to get it aligned.




So, you think it's a leak? What's the point of bleeding it then? Air won't get into the system for no reason and if you read the OP and the above you'll see that the car has been driven for >10k miles with the clutch installed so it's not an installation issue.
Correct... I pulled up the shifter adjuatment procedure and,,,

Shift Linkage Adjustment
Adjustment Procedure




Apply the parking brake.
Remove the shift control closeout boot. Refer to Shift Control Shift Closeout Boot Replacement .
Place the shifter into NEUTRAL.
Press down to engage the shift control neutral lock pin.



Loosen the transmission shift rod clamp bolt.
Loosen the shift control mounting bolts.
Check that the shift control locator (on the underside of the shift control) is installed into the shifter bracket on the side of the driveline support assembly.
Tighten the shift control mounting bolts. Tighten
Tighten the shift control mounting bolts to 30 Nm (22 lb ft).


Notice
Use the correct fastener in the correct location. Replacement fasteners must be the correct part number for that application. Fasteners requiring replacement or fasteners requiring the use of thread locking compound or sealant are identified in the service procedure. Do not use paints, lubricants, or corrosion inhibitors on fasteners or fastener joint surfaces unless specified. These coatings affect fastener torque and joint clamping force and may damage the fastener. Use the correct tightening sequence and specifications when installing fasteners in order to avoid damage to parts and systems.


Tighten the transmission shift rod clamp bolt. Tighten
Tighten the transmission shift rod clamp bolt to 30 Nm (22 lb ft).





Lift to release the shift control neutral lock pin.
Install the shift control closeout boot. Refer to Shift Control Shift Closeout Boot Replacement .
Release the parking brake.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Document ID# 211052
1997 Chevrolet/Geo Corvette


Recommend that you spend the time to either properly bleed the slave and master with the stock bleed valve or while your down there, install a remote bleeder line and bleed the system that way.

Hydraulics is the first suspect. Until you bleed the system, your not going to be able to eliminate that as the problem. I agree with lionel, After you bleed the system, If that doesnt work, replace the master cyl.

Another recommendation is NOT to force the transmission to shift. You are doing damage to the synchros and cones.

Bill
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Old 01-12-2013, 10:04 PM   #15
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Guys - thanks for all the info. I dropped off the car at LMR on Thursday for a re-tune and they are going to bleed the clutch next week. After I get it back I'll try adjusting the shifter to see if that helps. I can't get to my shop manual right now but reading the instructions posted it looks like I may have skipped one or more steps when swapping shifters. All I did was remove the 4 bolts during the swap, I didn't touch anything on the shifter box. I'm (obviously) hoping that bleeding the clutch fluid fixes the problem I'm having getting the transmission into gear when the car is cold. The slave cylinder was replaced with the clutch but it's seen a lot of track miles so who knows what condition it's in.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:41 PM   #16
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Well I got the car back from LMR and I've adjusted the shifter, but the clutch problem is still there. I can't really get a good test drive to check the shifter because of the clutch problem, but the holes are aligned and the shaft stays in place when I remove the alignment pin so I feel good about that.

They said they did bleed the clutch fluid and that it was better briefly but that the problem quickly returned. Is it possible that they just didn't bleed enough of the fluid and that it needs to be flushed more thoroughly? If so then I'll take it back by there but I don't want to waste time if that's not it.

I've searched the forum for clutch bleeding methods and the only one I found that's different from the service manual method involves removing the intake manifold. Is that the quickest way without a remote bleeder or is there any other way to get access?

If I need to move on to the master cylinder - would it be leaking fluid somewhere that I'd be able to see without removing the exhaust/tunnel plate/etc? Is there a way to confirm that's the problem before I actually replace it? And if I have to replace the master cylinder I'll still need to bleed the line from the port at the slave cylinder, right?
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFoundPower View Post
If I need to move on to the master cylinder - would it be leaking fluid somewhere that I'd be able to see without removing the exhaust/tunnel plate/etc? Is there a way to confirm that's the problem before I actually replace it? And if I have to replace the master cylinder I'll still need to bleed the line from the port at the slave cylinder, right?
Won't really leak or indicate any problems other than the clutch won't fully disengage. Had a similar problem on my 02 at Watkins Glen in July 11 and had to run a race mostly without the clutch which wasn't fun. Replaced everything in the tunnel when the engine was out - no change. Replaced the master cylinder for the first time ever - fixed it. Was a pretty easy change. Brother-in-law and I did it in about an hour. Helps that we had previously installed a remote bleeder line. Without the remote bleeder line it is possible to get a small wrench on the bleeder once you remove the tunnel plate, but it is a PITA. Remote bleeder line one of the better mods I've done.
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Last edited by C66 Racing; 01-19-2013 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:45 AM   #18
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I went ahead and ordered a Tick master cylinder. Figured I may as well upgrade while I have to replace it, but I didn't realize how much more work is involved compared to just replacing it with a factory MC. Hope it's worth it!
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Old 01-26-2013, 09:21 PM   #19
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Recommendation: Pull out the drivers seat, get in the car laying on your back with your head under the dash and feet in the rear compartment. With a good light, you can see everything and get to everything!! That for me, made the job a hell of a lot easier!

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Old 01-27-2013, 05:52 PM   #20
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Default Another possibility

A failing pilot bushing/bearing can have symptoms that mimic a partially engaged clutch. The crankshaft can transmit torque to the input shaft via a failed pilot bushing/bearing in much that same way that a dragging clutch would.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:52 PM
 
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