T5 difficult going into gear when stopped

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
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Apache Junction, AZ
Been awhile since I've had any issues with teh Notch, but now it's being fussy again ... and my tags are coming up due at the end of July, so I need to get this working right before it's time to get on the smog dyno. :(

Before everyone reads the thread title and immediately starts yelling "It's your synchro gears!", let me give a little more detailed description of the symptoms it has been having lately:

- When stopped and idling, it can be a major pain to put into 1st, 2nd, 5th, or reverse gear, requiring a fair amount of force to put into gear;

- When moving about 5 MPH or more, the trans shifts into any gear with normal effort;

- The problem becomes worse as the motor reaches normal operating temp;

- There is NO GRINDING WHATSOEVER when putting it into gear, with the exception of reverse (unless you put it into reverse gear immediately after you start it up);

- There are no weird sounds, whining, grinding, growling, howling, or clanking, clunking, or other funky sounds coming from the transmission whatsoever;

- The clutch engages smoothly and catches at the correct height, and moving the firewall adjuster in or out does not improve the condition at all;

- The shifter does not have any significant slack in it at all, nor is the shifter boot interfering with its ability to go into the 1st, 2nd, 5th, or reverse positions;

- The shifter bushing (nylon bushing that goes under the ball end of the shifter, itself) is in perfectly good condition;

- Trans fluid is fresh (used regular ATF, not synthetic) and had no shavings or filings whatsoever in it when I drained and inspected the fluid. Fresh fluid did seem to improve the situation slightly, but not by much;

- Trans mount, motor mounts, shifter, clutch cable, and clutch quadrant are in perfectly good condition, and clutch (King Cobra, installed circa 2006, has less than 50k on it) seems to be in good condition (does not slip or chatter at all);

- Vehicle has slight vibration on highway over 65 MPH in any gear and even in neutral. The vibe was much worse before I indexed the driveshaft and got rid of like 75% of the vibe, so I probably need to index it over one more position to get it spot-on;


Relevant parts details: 4.10 gears, FRPP aluminum driveshaft, Pro 5.0 shifter base/Tri-Ax handle, King Cobra clutch (installed with new flywheel around '06), UPR aluminum quad and firewall adjuster with brand new Ford clutch cable (less than 5k on it).


If I grab the driveshaft and give it a firm wiggle, I get no play at all from the U-joints, but there does seem to be a bit of movement where it pokes into the T5's tail housing. I'm thinking that possibly the tailshaft bushing or something along those lines may have been damaged from running it on the highway with the driveshaft either indexed wrong or somehow out of balance, as this only just began when I made an hour-long drive down to Casa Grande where the speed limit is 75 MPH. Higher speeds (above 65 MPH) = more vibration, so I kept it at 70 MPH max, but when I got there, it started exhibiting the above symptoms. Since then, I've just been keeping it off the highway (limped it back by keeping it under 65 MPH and pissing off everyone on the Loop 202), and I've only been going on brief 5-mile round trip beer runs on the weekends with it just to keep the battery happy (and to keep me happy, too :D ).

Does the above sound consistent with a bad tailshaft bushing? Or something relating to the tailshaft, itself? Or does this sound like more of a clutch-related issue of some kind (such as maybe a bad clutch diaphragm)?

FWIW, this is acting almost the same as what the T5 in my little S15 pickup was doing when the clutch master/slave cylinders failed on it, but this is a cable-driven setup and not hydraulic, soooooo ... :shrug:

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I figured I'd offer up as much detail as possible. Any info/suggestions are greatly appreciated. Mucho thanks in advance! :cheers:
 
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c88lx5.0

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the only thing i can think of is your tranny is getting hot bacouse your using ATF thats for automatics i would use 80-90W gear oil thats what i would do
 

c88lx5.0

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my bad lol it does call for atf but it sill dont make sence to me its still automatic transmission fluid but i think i would go synthitic
 

cenok is family

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my bad lol it does call for atf but it sill dont make sence to me its still automatic transmission fluid but i think i would go synthitic

the reason t5's use atf is because there are a lot of small parts such as needle bearings that gear oil is too thick to get to to lubricate.

there's been a lot of controversy about whether or not synthetic atf is better to use or not...i've used the cheapest ATF, synthetic, and GM snychromesh in my transmission and i honestly have not noticed a difference in any. it may be that my transmission is trash (although i rebuilt it in 07...less than 8k on it) but shifting doesn't feel any different with any of the fluids...at least to me.
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
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Apache Junction, AZ
lol t5's use ATF, not gear oil.

your cable may be stretching. i've had a ford cable go out on me in less than 5k before...

I've had that problem with an aftermarket cable before this, but that was definitely a case where you could feel the clutch not catching where it was supposed to. Actually, the cable I had before was beginning to snap and was just hanging on by a couple of threads when I changed it out for the Ford cable. Adjusting the FWA in or out makes an obvious difference in where the clutch engages/disengages, but it doesn't make any difference in getting the trans into gear without significant effort. Pedal is smooth as buttah, too, no creaks or squeaks or anything. :shrug:

my bad lol it does call for atf but it sill dont make sence to me its still automatic transmission fluid but i think i would go synthitic

From my experience, T5's don't like synthetic ATF. I tried fully synthetic ATF (Mobil 1) in another T-5 and it shifted like poo - gears felt all notchy, like they didn't want to mesh up - so I switched it back to regular ATF and it immediately went back to being silky-smooth. (Well ... as smooth as a T5 can ever shift, anyway. :D ) I guess synth ATF is actually TOO slippery and doesn't allow enough friction for the synchros to help things mesh up properly. :shrug:

FWIW, a couple of weeks ago I did pull the shifter off, cleaned up the assembly (had a bunch of carpet lint and gunk in it), and trimmed the rubber shifter boot a bit so that it couldn't get pinched inbetween the shifter handle and the base, and I changed out the fluid. Seemed to help a bit - it was due for a fluid change anyhow - but the problem still persists. :scratch:
 
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Tanus

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Dec 11, 2009
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if your rpm's are above 800 it makes it hard to stick in gear or if clutch is adjusted a little loose

as for fluid, I use 2 quarts castrol atf and 1 quart of lucus tranny fluid, which is pretty thick

the manual I have says you can use gear oil in high milage t-5s
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
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Apache Junction, AZ
I thought about putting in that Lucas stuff when I did the last fluid change, but I wanted to be sure that I wouldn't have to just drain it right back out again if I needed to pull the trans for any reason. I don't think adding the Lucas or switching to a thicker fluid would solve the problem, but if/when I do get this issue lined out, I'll probably go with the Lucas stuff.

Trying to remember exactly, but I think my idle is somewhere between 600 to 800 ... maybe 750. Thing is, the difficulty to shift doesn't really seem to be dependent upon engine RPM nearly as much as the rear wheel speed. Once it's actually in gear, I can let out the clutch and romp the piss out of it up to 5,600 RPM and shift up or down to whatever gear without any grinding or crunching or notchiness at all.

It's just when I'm sitting still at a stoplight, if I take it out of gear and then try to put it into 1st, 2nd, 5th, or reverse, it becomes damn near impossible to put into gear, especially once it gets warmed up (between 180* to 195*). If I'm coming up to a red light or a stop sign, I can downshift gear by gear without any problems as I gradually decelerate, or skip from 5th or 4th to 2nd, but once I'm actually stopped, if I put it into neutral and then try to put it in gear ... nope. Don't wanna. Putting it into 4th, then 3rd, and then 2nd really quick seems to ease it a bit, but it almost gets to a point where you've just about gotta shut the motor off and THEN put it into 1st or 2nd gear before starting the motor again. Reverse is the only one that grinds, since (as I've always understood it) that one basically doesn't have a synchro gear in the first place. The only way I've been getting around that is by planning ahead and just putting it into reverse gear before I even start it up or if I already have it rolling slightly forward or backward.

That's what has me thinking it has something to do with the rear end of the transmission, because it doesn't seem to be dependent at all upon ENGINE speed, but rather DRIVELINE speed. Whether this means I've got a FUBAR'ed tailshaft bushing or something else, I dunno, but that's the only theory I've really got ... aside from maybe something funky going on with the clutch assembly, itself. :shrug:

Would a clutch diaphragm with a bent or defective finger or two exhibit any kind of symptoms like this? Again, it holds pressure perfectly well. I can put it into 4th gear at like 30 MPH, floor it, and it holds, and the clutch engages/disengages at a proper pedal height. But if it's preventing a disengagement from the flywheel in some way to where it won't let the trans wind down enough that the synchros can take up the slack and let me put it into gear ... or something like that...? :scratch:
 

stykthyn

I want to measure mine. It doesn't look that tall.
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<p>i would suspect a worn pressure plate/throw out bearing. especially if when the motor heats up its causing the input shaft to heat up and expand which will make for even harder movement of the TOB. I would exhaust other possibilities before removing the tranny though....perhaps if you could remove the clutch fork cover and use a grease gun to grease the input shaft and see if this helps.
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
252
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Apache Junction, AZ
Hmmmm ... never thought of that. :thinking:

I previously installed a steel input shaft bearing retainer when I did the clutch job, and I lubed the shaft (giggity) with regular wheel bearing grease. Since then, there's been a time or two that I mayyyyyyy have driven through a bit of a wash during a heavy AZ Monsoon rain storm, so I guess maybe there's a chance that might have washed off a bit of the grease and/or left a bit of corrosion on the bearing retainer that would cause it to get hung up on there.

Although, again, the clutch does actuate smoothly and engages/disengages at a correct pedal height. And the pedal height "catch zone" is proportionately adjustable with the FWA, so that also seems to be working. So ... dunno. :shrug: But it won't hurt to check it out, anyway.

Let me ask this, then: Aside from a vibration at highway speeds and/or a significant amount of play when moving the driveshaft up/down or side-to-side, are there any other symptoms of a worn tailshaft bushing? Or is there anything else along the tailshaft (or a related component) that might potentially cause these kinds of symptoms?
 

capri debris

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May 5, 2007
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I get so tired of explaining this, but here goes one more time.

When a tranny does this it can only be one of three things...
1. Clutch not disengaging fully (caused by misadjusted or faulty cable)
2. Faulty pilot bearing (the input shaft of the tranny rides in this bearing on the end of the crank shaft, so if the bearing doesn't allow the crank and tranny input shaft to rotate independant of one another, it's just like the clutch is constantly engaged because the input shaft can't "free wheel" when it needs to so you can shift properly)
3. Worn syncros.

Don't overthink this.

Check all the above and you will discover your problem.
 

BigmacK192

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Apr 8, 2009
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I get so tired of explaining this, but here goes one more time.

When a tranny does this it can only be one of three things...
1. Clutch not disengaging fully (caused by misadjusted or faulty cable)
2. Faulty pilot bearing (the input shaft of the tranny rides in this bearing on the end of the crank shaft, so if the bearing doesn't allow the crank and tranny input shaft to rotate independant of one another, it's just like the clutch is constantly engaged because the input shaft can't "free wheel" when it needs to so you can shift properly)
3. Worn syncros.

Don't overthink this.

Check all the above and you will discover your problem.

+1. And my vote is for the pilot bearing.
 

5.0W/5.0

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Feb 12, 2010
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I have had this with a t5 and t56.....All I had to do was push in the clutch, let it out, push in the clutch and then put it in gear....I have to do this when I put it in reverse as well, or it will grind a bit..
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
252
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104
Apache Junction, AZ
I get so tired of explaining this, but here goes one more time.

Sorry. I searched threads going back a couple of years and didn't see any threads detailing any symptoms close to what I've described above. Had I found an answer in one of those threads, I would not have started a new thread. :shrug:

When a tranny does this it can only be one of three things...
1. Clutch not disengaging fully (caused by misadjusted or faulty cable)
2. Faulty pilot bearing (the input shaft of the tranny rides in this bearing on the end of the crank shaft, so if the bearing doesn't allow the crank and tranny input shaft to rotate independant of one another, it's just like the clutch is constantly engaged because the input shaft can't "free wheel" when it needs to so you can shift properly)
3. Worn syncros.

Don't overthink this.

Check all the above and you will discover your problem.

I've checked the above as best I can without physically disassembling the entire transmission and found:

1. As aforementioned, the cable and adjustment have been checked and verified to be good;
2. The pilot bearing was replaced at the same time I did the clutch job, as well as a new input shaft, input shaft bearing and seal, and input shaft bearing retainer (steel). I get what you're saying, but that doesn't appear to be the case here because, again, the difficulty in getting it to go into gear has nothing to do with ENGINE speed, but rather REAR WHEEL speed (or driveline speed). Regardless of RPM, the transmission shifts perfectly well ... as long as the vehicle is moving over 5 to 10 MPH. If the pilot bearing had fused itself to the input shaft, I would not be able to get the thing to go into gear AT ALL with the thing running, or at least not without a lot of crunching and grinding, because it would essentially be like I had no functional clutch at all, as you've described; if the pilot bearing was wallowed out, then I would be getting that growling/rattling sound like I've had in other vehicles (and this one as well) when a pilot bearing was worn out, which in turn allows the input shaft to wobble around and wears out the input shaft bearing, and that tends to cause shift problems on the 3-4 gears (or at least that was the case with the T5 in my truck);
3. Wouldn't worn synchros exhibit symptoms at a variety of RPM levels, especially upper RPM's, as opposed to only being affected by whether or not the vehicle is already in motion? :scratch: Also, if this was a synchro issue, wouldn't it tend to be on one or two specific gears, rather than affecting 1st, 2nd, 5th, and reverse, all at once, and with a sudden onset of symptoms?

Not trying to overthink this, but the usual obvious suspects aren't really fitting the profile thus far. Again, the key thing about this whole deal that has me so baffled is that the issue is dependent upon VEHICLE SPEED rather than RPM, which is why it seems like it would be something more towards the output side of the tranny rather than the input side. The pilot bearing theory would be the most logical one in this case, if it weren't for this fact.

It's looking like I'm gonna have the trans out to deal with this issue no matter what, so I may just poke in a new pilot bearing just to eliminate that as a possibility - they're, what, less than $20 I think, so what the heck. If it fixes it, then that would rock, but if not ... what's left? :shrug:

I have had this with a t5 and t56.....All I had to do was push in the clutch, let it out, push in the clutch and then put it in gear....I have to do this when I put it in reverse as well, or it will grind a bit..

Tried that. Doesn't work. :(

Normally, yeah, for getting virtually any T5 into reverse without grinding (aside from the newer ones, apparently after Borg-Warner or whomever fixed the issue), I've always had to do some kind of a little "trick" to get it in there without a crunch. Sometimes it's the double-clutch trick, other times putting it into 1st works better. And I've had the same issue on other T5 vehicles (other Foxes and that S15 pickup) where it didn't want to go into 1st unless I let out the clutch in neutral, pushed in the clutch again, and took another stab at it. Sometimes putting it into 2nd and THEN putting it into 1st made it easier if it was especially fussy, but it always worked.

But with this bugger, once you're at a stop (and the engine is at temp), you put it into neutral and let out the clutch ... ugh. It's "fun" getting it into 2nd or 1st to take off again. You have to fight it just to get it into 2nd gear, and unless you downshift as you come to a stop sign and keep it in gear with the clutch pushed in until you're ready to take off again ... forget about 1st gear, it just ain't happening. :(
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
252
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Apache Junction, AZ
IDEA: To test to see if the pilot bearing is seized or sticking to the input shaft instead of allowing it to free-wheel, what if I were to put the rear wheels up in the air, put the trans into 4th gear, have someone hold the clutch in, and see if I can turn the driveshaft? :shrug:

If it won't allow me to rotate the driveshaft at all with the clutch pushed in, then (in theory) either the pilot bearing is seized up or sticking, or the clutch is not fully disengaging. If it rotates freely with the clutch pushed in, then all of that is good and the problem is more of an internal issue with the transmission.

Ummm ... right? :scratch:
 

stykthyn

I want to measure mine. It doesn't look that tall.
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unless you have forearms like popeye you might have better luck spinning one of the rear wheels.
 

Darkwriter77

Resident Ranting Negative Nancy
Jul 1, 2005
252
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Apache Junction, AZ
Skibbity doo badiska-doo a bib tee dee dibbity skibbity biddoo ... uhh-guh guh guh guh! *toots corn cob pipe* :D

Turning one of the rear wheels would be easier, but I can still turn the driveshaft with the trans in gear if the clutch and the rear parking brake aren't holding things back. It isn't easy, but even a wuss like me can do it. But if there's enough drag on it because the clutch isn't disengaging fully or because the pilot bearing is sticky/seized onto the input shaft, then I definitely won't be able to turn it at all via the driveshaft.

I need to unhook the driveshaft anyway to index it over one more position, anyhow (because of the mild vibration I get above 65 MPH), so I won't have the rear end hooked to it at that point anyway. :)