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Old 01-14-2010, 11:55 PM   #1
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Manual trans question

Just bought my 04 Tacoma about 2 weeks ago, and it is my first, real time driving a manual transmission (not including the BMW's and Mercedes I valet park...).

My question: when starting to drive on cold days, before the truck has warmed up, I find that going into 1st gear is sometimes a little difficult (almost have to force it in). It almost seems like the transmission kicks the shifter out, or keeps it from going into 1st. Many times it happens while trying to down shif as well. This is not a common problem, but often enough that I figured I would ask people that might know. (can't ask my dad, he is used to the double clutching days)

Does anyone know what the problem may be? Or is this a normal thing for a manual transmission? I know this is a total newb question, but I just want to make sure my truck will be fine before I go back to college and before I run out of my bumper-to-bumper warranty. Only reasoning I could think of was if the truck had a safety set up not allowing to go into 1st gear at too high of speeds (I don't even know if that technology is in cars/trucks yet...).
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:15 AM   #2
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All this sounds perfectly normal. (Assuming you are pushing in the clutch pedal all the way to the floor when going into 1st or reverse from a stop)
If it is cold outside then the fluid in you tranny is cold also and consequently thicker... thus making it slightly harder to put in gear.
1st gear is also harder to engage because it is the lowest gear (other than reverse) being a lower gear means that there are more cogs and gears that have to line up in order for it to engage.

BTW ( you praobly should never have to DOWNSHIFT into 1sT gear for anything unless pulling a trailer or Off Roading)
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Old 01-15-2010, 12:26 AM   #3
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and yes that technology's been in use for quite a while now
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrws6 View Post
If it is cold outside then the fluid in you tranny is cold also and consequently thicker... thus making it slightly harder to put in gear.

BTW ( you praobly should never have to DOWNSHIFT into 1sT gear for anything unless pulling a trailer or Off Roading)
Both of these. If you notice when you first turn the truck on, it is also harder to move the stick back and forth in neutral because the tranny oil is still very cold.

Also make sure any floor mats aren't in the way of the clutch pedal being pressed all the way to the floor. I've had that happen once.

Lastly, I have found that you do not need to downshift into 1st gear (just put the clutch in and brake until you have pretty much stopped, then put the shifter in 1st), and it is generally hard to downshift into it no matter what car I drive.

Don't worry about it.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:32 AM   #5
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When was the last time the transmission oil was changed?
The stiffness is pretty normal - but since you just bought the truck, I would highly recommend changing the transmission oil and put some synthetic oil in. This should help with smoother shifting. Atleast it did with my old 96 that I owned.

I will also mention - you shouldn't downshift into 1st (unless you're stopped). Most vehicles are like that....downshifting into first is very difficult unless you are almost completely stopped.
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Old 01-15-2010, 09:42 AM   #6
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Along with some cold ,stiff tranny lube with a manual trans. you have "Synchro's" that allow smooth shifting from gear to gear but the lower the gear the fewer synchros. It takes much more energy & creates more stress to get your rig up to 40mph-50mph from a dead stop than any other time you'll be driving, lower gears are usually physically bigger & stronger & also require more space to occupy inside your trans. 1 or 2 big gears with fewer synchros means that the low gears can handle the stress of initial acceleration without passing the stress on to the considerably smaller,weaker sychromesh gears......

Damn, lol now I'm confused, did any of that make any sense ???

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Old 01-15-2010, 11:04 PM   #7
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Yes, it 100% makes sense! Thank you all for your help, I now know I can go back to school and not worry about having truck problems while I'm away...
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:48 PM   #8
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I've noticed in mine that when I'm coasting (usually in neutral) up to a stop sign and I try to put it in 1st , it absolutely will not engage unless I'm below probably 3mph. I think you're fine.
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Old 01-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #9
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most tranny's are designed to be difficult to be put in 1st gear while moving. its to avoid clutch damage and over-revving the engine. it is worse on these trucks however (at least on the 2nd gen 5 speeds) because 1st gear has a steeper ratio than the rest of the gears

  • First Gear: 3.954:1
  • Second Gear: 2.141:1
  • Third Gear: 1.275:1
  • Fourth Gear: 1.00:1
  • Fifth Gear: 0.85:1
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