Question about Chevrolet Cavalier

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1988 cavalier 5 speed manual transmission 2.8L engine. It is quite difficult to get the transmission into first gear. You must push quite hard on the shifter and it may take a couple of tries. The gears never grind - so it makes me think the synchro rings are okay. It does not matter if the car is stopped or even rolling slowly

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  • r_macdonald Apr 16, 2009

    Given Answer:If you have lost the synch on first gear, that would not grind as you shift to first gear only when car is not moving (or almost).
    My Response: There is no difference on getting into first gear whether rolling or a dead stop. When rolling - the gears should align and drop in - whether they grind or not. There is no difficulty shifting out of 1st into 2nd. It seems more like a shifter linkage or linkage alignment issue. From what I can see it must use cable shifting - as I see no linkage rods from the firewall to the transmission.

    If it is synch you may be able to enter first by playing with the throttle pedal in the right way.

    My response: That would make no difference while stopped.

    Try first checking the transmission fluid , and eventually replace it.

    My Response: Good for maitenance - but I cannot see that this is the cause. There are no shifting issues on any other gear - including reverse. Fluid or fluid levels would be more pertinent to an automatic.

    If that does not fix the problem , it is usually a faulty gear box, and you need to replace transmission.

    My response: yes that could be the answer - and an easy answer to toss out there.

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I am a familiar with this transmission, u either have a a Muncie or a Getrag trans, but both are the same in function, there are two main things that cause this issue, I will give them to u in order of priority
1. First gear is synchronized and the syncro ring and drum could be worn, this is very likely the problem
2. The other issue is the shift rod for first gear shift fork could be bent, they are aluminum and this is common, it is usually caused by excessive syncro wear and the resulting stiff engagement problem, the increased pressure u put on the gear shifter bends the rod.
3. Low fluid level, also dirty fluid. I would suggest you verify the trans is full and fluid is clean, you could also add a bottle of friction modifier (avail from any parts store for around $5.00), this can help with the worn syncro issue for awhile.
If u would like to talk to someone about this trans and either an exchange or a rebuild kit call:
MAN TRANS @ 1877-626-8726

Posted on Apr 16, 2009

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  • Chevrolet Master
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If you have lost the synch on first gear, that would not grind as you shift to first gear only when car is not moving (or almost).

If it is synch you may be able to enter first by playing with the throttle pedal in the right way.

Try first checking the transmission fluid , and eventually replace it.

If that does not fix the problem , it is usually a faulty gear box, and you need to replace transmission.

Posted on Apr 16, 2009

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