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Old 04-17-2002, 11:50 AM   #1
Cjchaps
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Unhappy Dealer/SOA responses to WRX 1st gear grinding problem.

I know this topic has been beat to death, but I would like to know what responses everyone has got from their dealership or Subaru of America in concerns with the downshifting into 1st great grinding problems on the WRX.

I will start. I took my WRX in with 7000 miles on it late last year, and told the dealer the problem. Basically, the only way I can shift into first is if the car is at a standstill. I cannot downshift into first from 2nd gear going even 5mph. It also sometimes crunches/grinds when I cam completely stopped going into first gear. So I left it at the dealer, and they said it was normal, and there were no problems. I plan on following up on this sometime this year, but I have not had the time yet.

**For all of those people who are going to say:
-blip the throttle
-rev match
-double clutch
-any other way to get into first while moving
I didn't pay 24 grand for a car that I have to screw around trying to get into first gear with. I paid for a car with a fully synchronized transmission, so that when I am traveling at 5mph in order to go into 1st gear, I CAN! I didn't pay 24 grand for a car so that I could try to rev match and hope the transmission doesn't grind at every stop sign I come up to.
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Old 04-17-2002, 12:03 PM   #2
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sorry dude,

don't know what to tell that hasn't already been said...

come to a full stop and put it in gear.

FWIW, I can't downshift to first from any gear while moving fast enough for the speedo to register.

Doesnt' bother me a bit.
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Old 04-17-2002, 12:44 PM   #3
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Have all kinds of tranny issues.
clutch studder, noise, difficulty getting into reverse etc.
I have always had troulbe getting into 1st, but in every stick car I have owned. All imports. Always thought this is the way it is. As if you specifically can't get into 1st for an engineering reason.

I know that I don't drive as hard as the rest. That could be part of it.

Mike
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Old 04-17-2002, 03:54 PM   #4
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Locking you out of first at any speed (unless you double-clutch to match revs) is pretty normal. The first gear ratio is so high that if you were to put it into gear while coasting at like 8 mph and let out the clutch a little too quick you'll lock the wheels and stall your car. Even if you let it out slow, it really, really, really engine brakes hard.... that's why our Subaru's will lock us out of first unless we're going super slow or we rev match (so the car knows we wont rape it if we accidently pop the clutch ).

Grinding into first, however, may be indicative of a bad pressure plate that isn't releasing all the way and therefore isn't allowing the gears to slow down enough. It was for me. If you shift much slower into first, rather than just sticking it in quick (ask wife about this) it wont grind. Unfortunately there's no easy way to see if your pressure plate is defective w/ out taking it out and looking at it..... if it starts grinding going into third under normal conditions w/ the pedal fully depressed and whatnot, or locking you out of second, you probably need a new clutch.

Jeremy
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Old 04-17-2002, 04:27 PM   #5
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Yes, on all the above.
For fun I went out this lunch our, and tried several tests of going into 1st at different speeds. Everything behaved as I would have expected. It needs to lock you out in certain situations. Like stated above. Under the right speeds or rev match I got into 1st no problem. Under the knowingly incorrect situations it did not allow me. I could have ground it in there with some force, but didn't.

This by the way is my experience with any manual car I have owned. All imports.

Mike
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Old 04-17-2002, 04:39 PM   #6
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The 5MT i put in my car from a 91 Sports Sedan is basically the same transmission as yours, and it does this exact same thing.

Is it annoying? Yeah.

Should you complain about it? Not really.

Should SOA fix it? They probably have fixed it in the 6MT.

Does synthetic fix it? A friend with the same tranny has Redline, it shifts into 1st at 10MPH+.

Another friend with a 98RS can shift into 1st at 10-15MPH if he rev matches perfectly. It's taken him a while to get the hang of it, but i can say from first hand experience that it can happen.

Dave
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:14 PM   #7
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Someone should write a "how to drive a manual" FAQ and stick it somewhere.

From the day I learned to drive (first time was in a '92 Legacy, MT), I've driven nothing but standards, and NONE were designed to shift into 1st while moving. Yeah, you can rev match to get it in, but a lot of cars lock you out of first till you stop. I'm curious how many cars are designed poorly enough to let you shift into 1st whenever you want.
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Old 04-18-2002, 12:23 PM   #8
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I concur - I have driven my dad's 97 Outback, and my 92 Impreza will NOT shift into first unless you're practically at a standstill
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Old 04-19-2002, 01:59 AM   #9
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My old tranny did this at 10+ mph, unless I used ATF instead of gear oil which then I could stick it into 1st at 25 mph with clutch in and no rev match, but ATF is only GL-4 rated.

With new Chalak gearset just in on Tuesday I can now shift into 1st at 30+ mph with ease, using plain GM brand 80-90 GL-5 gear oil from a 20 gallon drum at SubySports.

I still prefer to double clutch to save the synchros. FWIW, my 84 CRX will shift into 1st at 30 mph with 10w-30 motor oil in the tranny, my old 1987 and 1988 Integras would, as well as my 93 SHO. Suby is the first car I owned that hates downshifts to 1st without double clutching...
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Narcisse91
Someone should write a "how to drive a manual" FAQ and stick it somewhere.

From the day I learned to drive (first time was in a '92 Legacy, MT), I've driven nothing but standards, and NONE were designed to shift into 1st while moving. Yeah, you can rev match to get it in, but a lot of cars lock you out of first till you stop. I'm curious how many cars are designed poorly enough to let you shift into 1st whenever you want.
hahaha and how many of those lock you out of first when you're standing still?
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Old 04-19-2002, 12:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
hahaha and how many of those lock you out of first when you're standing still?
That's a "safety" feature added by Ford engineers to our cars so their Mustangs don't get burned at every stoplight.

--Scott
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Old 04-19-2002, 01:50 PM   #12
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There was a thread in either "Maitanance" or "Warranty" forums couple months ago on exact same issue. It seems to me that it was established conclusively that WRX transmission was designed to shift into 1-st gear while moving at speeds less than 12 mph. If it does not then it's a problem with synchros and they should fix it.
I don't understand the argument "it's supposed to do that". What do you do when you are in traffic and the car is rolling at about 5mph and you need to start accelerating? The speed is too slow to shift into 2-d and coming to complete stop in heavy traffic is plain dangerous. I drove 3 manual transmission cars (imports and domestic), none of them had that kind of problem. My WRX goes to 1-st even at 20 mph.
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dealer/SOA responses to WRX 1st gear grinding problem.

Quote:
Originally posted by Cjchaps
I didn't pay 24 grand for a car so that I could try to rev match and hope the transmission doesn't grind at every stop sign I come up to.
yes, you did.
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Old 04-19-2002, 05:36 PM   #14
russellh68
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Thumbs up

11k on the ODO, 3 auto-x runs last Sunday, 2 downshifts per run into 1st at 15-20 mph, no grinding. My opinion is that my WRX 5MT shifts just as smoothly as my '93 Integra did. I must have a tranny that was built on a Wednesday!
How many of you that are having trouble have changed the fluid? I am still on the stock stuff that came in the car.
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Old 04-19-2002, 06:47 PM   #15
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no 1st gear issue, but everything else, and I never changed the fluid. ONly 6k miles

mike
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Old 04-19-2002, 08:17 PM   #16
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Default Re: Re: Dealer/SOA responses to WRX 1st gear grinding problem.

Quote:
Originally posted by jmott


yes, you did.
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Old 04-19-2002, 11:30 PM   #17
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We drove Volvos for 20 years before buying Subaru. I can't remember the early ones we had but the last Volvo we bought in 1990 and drove for 10 years never would let you shift into 1st unless at a standstill.
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Old 04-20-2002, 02:31 AM   #18
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My buddy Supermarkus here took me for a ride (as I'm without turbo) and he showed me that indeed it's easy as pie to get the tranny in first at about 10-15mph, IF you rev-match.

Here's a free hint: Revmatching a synchronized transmission doesn't have to be an exact science. Get it to the approximate rpm, and let the synchros do their job.

Trying to shift into first gear while traveling at 10mph and 600rpm is just plain old stupid. Bring the revs up to three grand (or whatever range they should be at) and slowly push into first. Then let out the clutch. It's easy and simple.

Now... I've gotta swap the tranny fluid back to some thicker stuff. That Mobil 1 is killing me. I'm shifting 3 to 4 faster than the synchros can work and grinding every time.
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Old 04-20-2002, 02:48 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by horatio102
Here's a free hint: Revmatching a synchronized transmission doesn't have to be an exact science. Get it to the approximate rpm, and let the synchros do their job.
You're correct Nick, but some cars (mine included, before it was repaired by the dealer) simply don't seem to have synchros. The *only* way to get the car into first while moving is to double clutch. You can't just rev-match.
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Old 04-20-2002, 12:42 PM   #20
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Austin, I hear you. For the first 25,000 miles or so my tranny easily accomodated my usual habit of blipping the throttle (with the clutch in) and shifting from second into first for a rolling stop. This is no longer possible and double-clutching has become a necessity, and is perhaps the proper method anyway. If I do forget, the transmission lets me know and "grabs" first while grinding in protest.

Really irritaing in traffic; thank God my commute is rarely stop-and-go. Here comes the apples-and-oranges comparison: My 1994 SE-R was reluctant to go into first if not rev-matched but a few revs and the lever would snick right home. 125,000 miles and still shifts like new, after much abuse...
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Old 04-20-2002, 01:55 PM   #21
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OK so I've got a question...

My RS is a lot more reluctant to go into first (without grinding) since I put that Mobil 1 crap in it. How many of your with problems hitting first gear have non-stock transmission fluid?
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Old 04-20-2002, 11:41 PM   #22
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This problem of getting into 1st almost killed me tonight when trying to do a u-turn and I slowed down to 5mph to get it into 1st but it wouldnt go so I shifted into 2nd and slipped the clutch while cars are flying past me. Later on, I could not get it into 2nd gear and when I did, it grinded like mad. I have heard of others having problems getting into 2nd as well and this was not my first time encountering this problem. I now only have 3000 miles with stock trans fluid.
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Old 04-21-2002, 12:16 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by horatio102
OK so I've got a question...

My RS is a lot more reluctant to go into first (without grinding) since I put that Mobil 1 crap in it. How many of your with problems hitting first gear have non-stock transmission fluid?
The wrx had Redline 75w90 for around 10k miles before I had the first/second gear sychros replaced. It's had Redline 75w90 for 15k miles since with no problems. I was fairly quick to dump all the fluids that came in the car.

The RS has also had redline 75w90 since day one with no tranny problems ever. I'd tell you the number of miles, but that data was sort of lost since the guage cluster was switched to an sti cluster... About 16000 km since the switch, though.
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Old 04-21-2002, 09:45 PM   #24
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Default Suggestions to minimise the problem

I've got STI Short Shifter, Karboy Bushings, STI Grp N Tranny mount, Redline 75w90ns in Tranny.

Shifts like butter, still is stiff going into first, but when I feel a lot of resistance I release the clutch slowly while gentle pushing the shifter forward, it will usually pop right in.

I read a couple of posts that indicated air in the clutch line might also cause this problem. So bleeding the clutch line might help.

I intend replacing the clutch line with a SS version and flushing the system next.

Allan
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Old 04-21-2002, 10:12 PM   #25
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Please forgive the ignorance, but I'll ask cause I want to understand.

STI Short Shifter, understand that and want it
Karboy Bushings, for what and why?
STI Grp N Tranny mount, why?
Redline 75w90ns in Tranny, why? performance? is the stock stuff water?

btw cmaj7, nice handle, are you a musician?

I am/was www.bostonconservatory.edu/michael

Mike
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