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Shifter not going into gear

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by alvocado, Jan 21, 2009.

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    alvocado

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    This is my first post in the forums after joining the CCA last fall so any advice is appreciated. The manual gearbox on my '02 330 cic has been flawless since new but within the past month, it's been difficult to get the shifter to go into gear. I have to pump the clutch multiple times from a full stop and it's particularly difficult to shift into the lower gears. It doesn't improve much if at all as the car warms up. The clutch itself feels to be engaging and there is no sign of slippage with 68k miles. I do have the factory fluid but since the problem set in over a very short period of time, I don't suspect fluid as the culprit. Thanks for the help.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Pumping the clutch pedal seems to me that you have air in the clutch hydraulics or a failing master or slave cylinder. Engaging clutch does not seem to be the problem. It sounds like the clutch is not disengaging all the way. This can a problem secondary to not changing the brake and clutch fluid often enough.
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    alvocado

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    Thanks for the reply, Paul. The brake fluid has been changed every two years by the dealer but I don't know if they bleed the clutch slave when doing the brake service. I do know the clutch was directly bled last about 3 years ago when the shifter TSB repair was performed (shifter not returning to center neutral.) One additional symptom I feel is some resistance pulling the shifter out of gear with the clutch engaged. It's as if the shifter is too tight or sticking although it's not as bad as trying to shift into gear. Going into gear is the bigger problem. I've noticed that if I shift into second and then immediately go to first with the clutch engaged, this always overcomes the resistance to get into 1st gear.

    Any thoughts on how to diagnose the clutch slave cylinder? I suppose I could bleed the clutch as a first step before troubleshooting further. Also, wouldn't I see brake related issues if the master cylinder was malfunctioning? - Allen.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Well, the first step would be to bleed the clutch hydraulics. If that does not work, or if you see leakage, there is your problem. Difficulty pulling into neutral with the clutch pedal down is the same symptom as difficulty shifting into gear with the clutch pedal down. BTW, clutch engaged means that your foot is off the pedal and the transmission is completely connected to the flywheel by the clutch. Clutch disengaged means foot on the pedal, pedal on the floor, transmission completely disconnected from the flywheel. Just wanted to make sure we are talking about the same thing, because you said you have difficulty shifting out of gear with the clutch engaged, which you should never do.
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    alvocado

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    Sorry, yes, we are talking about the same thing. The issue occurs with clutch pedal down (clutch disengaged.) I'll attempt a bleed and check for fluid leaks. I assume that air wouldn't enter the clutch hydraulic system unless there was a faulty part or connection, correct? I also considered the shifter bushings as a possible cause but don't have experience to know if they wear out as quickly as my symptoms set in.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Air or moisture can enter the system through diffusion. First, check your fluid level (though the car should have told you if it is too low.) Shifter bushing wear would show as excess play in the shift lever. It is possible, depening on your climate, how the car is stored, etc. that your linkage is a bit corroded and cruded up which would make it tight. Judging by your symptoms, though (mostly the pumping the clutch) there is either contamination from air or moisture in the system, or the master or slave are going bad.

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