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Difficulty selecting 1st gear

Old 04-01-2010, 02:28 PM
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cbzzoom
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Default Difficulty selecting 1st gear

If you have this problem, please post in this thread!

I know this has been written about before, but there seems to be disagreement on whether this is normal, and if not what a fix might be. I'd like to gather experiences with this issue and see if there's anything that can be done about it. First let me try to clearly describe the issue :

1st gear (and to a lesser extent 2nd gear) is occasionally very resistant to selection with the manual transmission. You come to a complete stop at a stop sign or red light, put the car in neutral, then you want to get going again, you press in the clutch and try to move the shifter to select 1st gear - there's a stiff feeling of resistance. This happens occasionally, maybe 1 in 50 times - some days it won't happen at all. It's definitely much more likely to happen when the car is cold (less than 40 F), it also seems likely to happen on the first complete stop after some spirited driving. eg. drive hard, mainly in 3rd/4th, and then you come to stop sign, slow all the way down, get into neutral - try to get going again in 1st, it will very often resist here. If the car is driven gently and warmed up then this almost never happens. (it seems more likely to happen when there's a big line of impatient people stopped behind me!)

Often there is a very slight resistance, and you can just push gently on the **** and get it in. Even when it's not one of the bad times, 1st/2nd are much harder to get into than 3rd-6th which are smooth as melted butter. Obviously if the resistance is hard I don't jam the shifter into gear as that might damage things. There seem to be a few tricks that help it get into gear when you feel resistance :

Just go back to neutral and let the clutch pedal out then try again. (double/triple clutching)

Move the shifter initially towards 2nd gear, then into 1st. (clutch pedal down the whole time)

Note that this is not an issue of the transmission grinding, or a need to rev match, or shift more gently or any of that - once the lever is in position I can let the clutch out and blip the throttle and the engagement is completely smooth. The resistance is felt just moving the shifter with the clutch fully depressed and the car at a stop. 2nd gear never has the feeling of complete lock-out the way 1st gear does, but it does occasionally feel very resistant to selection under the same conditions; in that case just double clutching usually makes it easy to get in.

Quite a few people seem to have this problem :

Hard to get into 1st gear - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Is there a TSB on the 6spd trannies - Rennlist Discussion Forums
Difficulty shifting into first gear at a stop - 6speedonline.com Forums
997.2 6-Speed Transmission - Notchy?

So has anybody actually had this fixed? (I know some people have tried but don't see the conclusion). Any luck getting it fixed by a dealer under warranty? Any ideas on what is wrong with these transmissions? How many people think it's perfectly normal and acceptable to have to double clutch for 1st/2nd ?

One possible clue is that there does seem to be a design flaw with the shift cables, so maybe the 1st gear difficulty is related to that :

shift cable broke rennlist

On other cars (BMWs for example) it is standard to address the transmission's high resistance in the cold by changing the fluid, but the 996 guys report that the OEM fluid is the best :

Which transmission fluid to use in manual 996 - Page 2 - Rennlist Discussion Forums

Last edited by cbzzoom; 04-01-2010 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:29 PM
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I have this problem in a 2006 C4S , stock shifter.
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Old 04-01-2010, 02:43 PM
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I have a 2008C2S with only about 3000 miles. I experience the same thing sometimes. The traffic light is turning green and I need to "get it in gear" but occasionally I need to try two or theree times before I can take off. First, these transmissions use balk type synchronizers. In addition, my understanding is that the synchros in 1st and 2nd are steel rather than brass and are harder. This all adds up to a more durable but balkier transmission. It does not bother me too much except that occasional surprise of not being able to get the car moving immediately. By the way, my BMW 535 has a very, very balky, notchy 2nd gear that behaves that way with just about every shift..... a real PITA. The other gears are butter smooth...... Oh well.

I think what you are describing is common, if not normal. I would not worry about it unless it becomes difficult to shift every time. I am basically dealing with it the same way you are...let the clutch out and try again or selecting 2nd then 1st when this happens. Remember, these are more high performance cars than luxury cars....Enjoy!
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:10 PM
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Small point: make sure your clutch knee is bent when pedal is all the way down. For some people this requires the seat to be closer than they'd like. BUT a bent knee always insures pedal is all the way down and clutch is fully actuated.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:13 PM
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997, esq
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My 06 C2 has done this as long as I have had it. Agree that it is normal / common.
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Old 04-01-2010, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 997, esq View Post
My 06 C2 has done this as long as I have had it. Agree that it is normal / common.
Same here - the problem seems disproportionately disarming because there's always a line of traffic behind me when it happens.

Here in Vancouver horns start blazing about 1/10 of a second after a light turns green. (seems to be the price we pay for gun control (that's a subject for another day), I NEVER hear honking horns in my cruises through California/Arizona/Texas)

My other manual tranny vehicles have all done exactly the same thing, including my G50 equipped '87 Carrera.
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:37 PM
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Ditto...same same here too!
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Old 04-01-2010, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by purrybonker View Post
Same here - the problem seems disproportionately disarming because there's always a line of traffic behind me when it happens.
Yes, I have experienced this occasionally as well.

I'm pretty sure the cause is indeed a line of cars behind you. With no cars behind it always works fine.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:00 PM
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i have it occasionally, particularly when cold.

dealer could not replicate - surprise!
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:09 PM
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Ditto, especially when cold, w/ '07 997S.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:10 PM
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This is my #1 grief point with my car! It's the only thing that makes me cuss out loud about my 911.
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Old 04-01-2010, 05:40 PM
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I have this with my '07 C2S 55k miles. Using redline tranny fluid for the past 25k miles or so may have made a slight difference, but I doubt it. Definitely worse when the tranny is cold (winter). Double clutching or grabbing second on the way to first (while stopped) seems to be the answer. I can live with it, but would prefer not to.

No issues on the '06 CaymanS although it has fewer miles and is not driven much in winter.
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Old 04-01-2010, 06:47 PM
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it doesnt bother me too much....minor annoyance.

the dash rattle drives me batty

once again, the dealer couldnt duplicate the problem
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:19 PM
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I have experienced this issue as well. And all the responses above seem to be valid points about this problem.

In addition to the recommendations that others have posted above, i have noticed that a quick, and swift snap in to the 1st gear position gets it in rather than a gradual increasing force. And with this i can sometimes note the resistance (during the rare times its hard to get in to first) but by the time i feel it, its already in gear. And then i know i just averted the "hard to get in to 1st issue". It's not brute force im taking about here.

Also, i noticed that there is "thump" sound when ever it does get in to first by any method. Not sure if you all have encountered that as well in association with this problem. But once i hear it i know its in 1st.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:50 PM
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It also happened on my 07 997S since new. It only happened once a long while, and usually a release-and-reapply of the clutch would solve that.

Regards,
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