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Discussion Starter #1
In the past thousand miles or so, I've noticed that first gear has become hard to get in to from a complete stop. Sometimes the shifter will partly slide in to first but not engage, I've had it drop in to gear but grind when it does a couple of times. Sometimes.... it's fine.

I've tried double clutching, I've tried sliding in to second before going in to first, I've tried going in to reverse before going to first. Nothing seems to make a reliable difference in how first gear engages.

Any thoughts on an internal issue? I was wondering if maybe the shifter bushings were worn out and allowing too much slop (I've had other manuals where this has caused issues engaging gears), but before I go buy all new bushings I'd like to have some faith that it'll help the problem.

For what it's worth -- 25,000 miles ago I replaced the engine with a rebuilt. Replaced the entire clutch assembly, installed a snout sleeve, new throwout bearing, and cleaned/lubed the clutch rod. Inspected the clutch rod for cracks and found none.

Thanks for any suggestions :29:
 

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DOuble clutching doesnt work from a complete stop.

You ruined my clutch answer :p
I am going to go with a bad master/slave cylinder for the clutch. What happens if you pump the clutch pedal to try to build up pressure. replace and Bleed the hyd clutch fluid first and see if that helps.
 

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If when you are at a complete stop and you can get it into 2nd, reverse or any other gear easily but 1st, it is more likely a synchronizer or thrust washer issue within the gear assembly of the transmission.

Until you can get it apart and replace the worn part, when you are coming to a stop, engage the clutch and just before stopping at a slow crawl, ease the gear shifter into 1st. With the gear moving, it should slide in easily.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I am going to go with a bad master/slave cylinder for the clutch. What happens if you pump the clutch pedal to try to build up pressure. replace and Bleed the hyd clutch fluid first and see if that helps.
Haven't tried pumping the clutch. I'll try that tomorrow. Thanks :)

If when you are at a complete stop and you can get it into 2nd, reverse or any other gear easily but 1st, it is more likely a synchronizer or thrust washer issue within the gear assembly of the transmission.

Until you can get it apart and replace the worn part, when you are coming to a stop, engage the clutch and just before stopping at a slow crawl, ease the gear shifter into 1st. With the gear moving, it should slide in easily.
I'm afraid that it's something inside of the trans, but I'm really hoping that it's as easy as a bad master/slave. How hard are these transmissions to open up if I do need to replace/rebuild components?
 

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Tomorrow, I will upload a 5 speed trans breakdown. Unless you are mechanically inclined to take apart a large part with many small parts and tight fit, you may want to take it to a transmission shop. Just be sure that they have a tech familiar with Subaru AWD. The manual is significantly easier to work with than the auto. Its the AWD factor that is touchy. I've seen guys put them together and take them apart several times before they got it right. And sometimes you don't know something is wrong until you have reinstalled and driven it.

Try the slow creep into 1st for a while. Once its in gear, it won't damage anything. Your goal is to prevent the crunch into gear until its repaired. You don't want or need a tooth breaking off the gear.
 

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well, its a 03 outback with, im assuming at that age a fair amount of miles... so i would have to guess synchronizers such as cardoc stated. i have the same problem with first, and reverse in my '99 but if you take your time it slides in every time... if this is your problem; get used to it , and take it easy racing through gears as this is what tends to wear them out in the first place...


  • For the slave cylinder there is a simple test you can do : the slave is located directly on top of the transmission. you can manually (with your finger) test the ammount of pressure thats building up in your slave , by pushing the pin in and out of the cylinder. (good to know what a proper working one feels like) . also check the small boot on the slave for any visible cracks or leaking fluid. the clutch master cylinders are not that cheap new. so i would start with the slave (about 40 bucks) and see what improvement that gets you.

  • **cheap fix** i've heard of people getting by with just replacing the warn boot on the slave cylinder rather than replacing the whole unit...similar to what some/ mostpeople do with axles.
P.S -the slave cylinder job is one that any bloke with a socket set a a half an hour could do in there own garage... so please, dont get ripped off having one done at your local Subaru Stealership. :29:
 

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A good trick I like (because I have the same problem with first sometimes) is if I'm coming up to a 4 way stop or some other situation where I wont be sitting long, is to put it in neutral and clutch out until I'm just about stopped. Right about 5 miles an hour before you completely stop, clutch in and slide first in. Usually it's smoother than trying to get it in gear from a dead stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tomorrow, I will upload a 5 speed trans breakdown.
I'd really like to check out that breakdown, when you get time. Just to see. Appreciate it :29:

well, its a 03 outback with, im assuming at that age a fair amount of miles... so i would have to guess synchronizers such as cardoc stated. i have the same problem with first, and reverse in my '99 but if you take your time it slides in every time... if this is your problem; get used to it , and take it easy racing through gears as this is what tends to wear them out in the first place...


  • For the slave cylinder there is a simple test you can do : the slave is located directly on top of the transmission. you can manually (with your finger) test the ammount of pressure thats building up in your slave , by pushing the pin in and out of the cylinder. (good to know what a proper working one feels like) . also check the small boot on the slave for any visible cracks or leaking fluid. the clutch master cylinders are not that cheap new. so i would start with the slave (about 40 bucks) and see what improvement that gets you.

  • **cheap fix** i've heard of people getting by with just replacing the warn boot on the slave cylinder rather than replacing the whole unit...similar to what some/ mostpeople do with axles.
P.S -the slave cylinder job is one that any bloke with a socket set a a half an hour could do in there own garage... so please, dont get ripped off having one done at your local Subaru Stealership. :29:
You're right about the high miles -- 248K :) Thanks for the test explanation; I'll try that out once my motor has cooled off. I know how to replace the slave, as I had to unbolt it from the block when I swapped engines. If it comes down to it, any tips on bleeding it? I assume it's the same method as bleeding brakes.

A good trick I like (because I have the same problem with first sometimes) is if I'm coming up to a 4 way stop or some other situation where I wont be sitting long, is to put it in neutral and clutch out until I'm just about stopped. Right about 5 miles an hour before you completely stop, clutch in and slide first in. Usually it's smoother than trying to get it in gear from a dead stop.
This has been suggested numerous times. My only hesitation there is wear on the throwout bearing, but I suppose it doesn't matter since I'll have to pull the trans at some point anyways and can just replace the bearing again. Every manual I've driven I leave in neutral at a stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Okay, I worked around it. Here you go, a basic graphic.
Appreciate it. Thanks for taking the time to upload that.

With that said, I think I'll wait until I get back up north to have it fixed. There's simply nobody down here in TX with any experience on these.
 

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I am having the same problem with first and reverse, and i have noticed that if it doesnt want to go in if i let the clutch out for a second and put it back in it will usually slide in.

Whats the problem with leaving the clutch in?
 

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Discussion Starter #14

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i know how a lot of things in cars work, but terminology is not my forte. the throwout bearing is the one that supports all of the weight of the clutch while it is disengaged right?
 

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The throwout bearing is what presses against the pressure plate to disengage the transmission from the driveline.
 

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maybe i didn't phrase that correctly, but i had the concept right. could a worn out throwout bearing cause it not to get in to first.
 

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Not really. I mean it could but it would be in all gears. Usually a TOB makes noise and gives lots of warning before it gets to the point where it affects anything. Stoick you may just need a clutch.
 

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my clutch is brand new, and i seem to recall telling the morons that were fixing my car that i sometimes had problems getting it in to first. but when they replaced the clutch they didnt look into it... frustrating.

now that the rant is out of the way.

one guy said it might be the slave/ master, and somone else said synchros is either one a better prognosis? somthing i can test out of my apartment with no garage, ect?
 

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so i know that this is a thread about it being hard to engage 1st, but is it always hard to get it into first? my friend and i were talking a while back and he mentioned that his is hard to get into first too and his is much newer than mine. I like to drive my OB like a race car, and that means that downshifting into first would be really nice, but we both cant get it in untill were almost stopped.
 
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