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Thread: Is hard shifting normal?

  1. #1
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    Is hard shifting normal?

    So when shifting gears is it normal to feel a little "hard" to do so? I had a honda civic that i can literally shift gears with one finger.
    Tnx

  2. #2
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    Every car is different, even different examples of the same model. But my Getrag is much different from my old Toyota or Honda. And not in a good way.

  3. #3
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    I think most folks here will agree that shifting effort can be due to the clutch not completely disengaging and engagement issues are usually from a bad slave hose and/or air in the clutch line.

    For me personally, I also see minor differences in shift effort by changing the trans fluid. Have you changed to trans fluid to something like Redline D4 or another approved lube? Could be you have some heavier lube in there from a prior owner service? I live in ATL, GA, USA, so i use RedLine MTL. It's a little heavy for some folks. Many Many good choices for trans fluid.

    Finally, Hoyt and IndianaRoadster have upgraded their rubber shifter bushings with some poly components. I have not yet tried that. But they seem to like the results very much. I will probably do that at some point. Too many projects right now.

    HTH

  4. #4
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    It's a lot different feel than a Honda or something like a Ford ranger. I can clutchless shift my ranger with one finger, and often do.

    It's normal. You'll never get it to behave like a Honda if that's what you are after.

  5. #5
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    If you want to perhaps look to improve the feel, you can replace the bushes in the shift linkage. Mr. Clagwell did this recently.
    Tony
    "You can't sign away negligence."

  6. #6
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    Could you describe the problem in more detail? Like what you mean by "hard". When I bought my car it had the notorious "5th gear lean" caused by the degraded shift pin bushes. My understanding is, all of these transmissions will develop this issue unless the OE lifetime fluid was changed early in it's life.
    Symptoms are, the shifter leans over towards 5th gear when in neutral instead of in line with 3rd and 4th. You have to pay close attention when shifting from 2nd to 3rd as the shifter would prefer to go into 5th. Shifting into reverse also requires more effort than reasonable.

    If these are your symptoms, then you need to replace the shift pin bushes. The parts are not expensive but the tranny needs to come out.

    When I first bought my car, I hated the shifter but now I have it very close to where I want it. The shift pin bushes alone made the biggest improvement but the shifter still felt too spongy and sloppy for me. Aside from replacing the soft rubber carrier arm bushings with 95A front and 70A rear, I also installed Revshift 80A motor mounts and ECS Tuning 70A transmission mounts. This not only made the shifter feel more precise and consistant, it made throttle response crisper.

    The only* thing I would like to do now is to shorten the throw a little.

    *Who am I kidding?
    Last edited by Hoyt Clagwell; 05-26-2024 at 02:14 AM.

  7. #7
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    If it gets worse the more you drive it after a cold start I’d look at the slave line. If rubber/original replace with a SS line. As far as tranny fluid Dex/Merc auto fluid is what Randy W always recommends. I had my fluid changed and it’s shifting very nicely.

  8. #8
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    My experience with my 97 2.8 was as Sleeperz said above. Hard shifting, changed transmission fluid, better, not good...then changed clutch slave hydralic line and slave cylinder, made all the difference. Still, there is a "notchiness" to BMW transmissions that seems to be inherent to the design a bit. My 98 M has that feel to it..None of the Z3 or Ms I've drtiven shift as good as the 5 speed in my Mazda 89 B2200 Pickup...

  9. #9
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    That make sense, i have not replaced the tranny fluid yet, i went to the dealer and 2 quarts of mtf were freaking 100 bucks. Im also going to look on those bushings as well. Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    That make sense, i have not replaced the tranny fluid yet, i went to the dealer and 2 quarts of mtf were freaking 100 bucks. Im also going to look on those bushings as well. Thanks.

    - - - Updated - - -

    No, its nothing like u described. Its just like its not like smooth shifting, like i have to go thru a "notch" sometimes when i shift.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Exactly, its like a "notch" i have to go before catching the gear. So its normal then.
    Thanks.

  10. #10
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    I've never understood the term "notchy" when it comes to transmissions.
    Some people use the term in a positive way, to others it's a negative thing. Someone please enlighten me.

    I've also heard the term "gated". I've always heard this term in a positive context. I know personally, I like to feel the "gates" distinctly. I don't like a spoon in a bucket of pudding feel which is what I had before doing the shift pin service and poly drive train and carrier arm bushings.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt Clagwell View Post
    I've never understood the term "notchy" when it comes to transmissions.
    Some people use the term in a positive way, to others it's a negative thing. Someone please enlighten me.

    I've also heard the term "gated". I've always heard this term in a positive context. I know personally, I like to feel the "gates" distinctly. I don't like a spoon in a bucket of pudding feel which is what I had before doing the shift pin service and poly drive train and carrier arm bushings.
    Muncie had a close-ratio transmission designated M22 and often referred to as the "rock-crusher". When you would shift, it felt like the shifter was gliding through a slotted grove that had rounded edges. It just felt precise, that's the best way I can describe it. The BMW'S seem to have a slight hesitation as you exit one gear and enter the next gear. I think that's what is meant by the term "notchy".

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaRoadster View Post
    Muncie had a close-ratio transmission designated M22 and often referred to as the "rock-crusher". When you would shift, it felt like the shifter was gliding through a slotted grove that had rounded edges. It just felt precise, that's the best way I can describe it. The BMW'S seem to have a slight hesitation as you exit one gear and enter the next gear. I think that's what is meant by the term "notchy".
    Your description of it feeling as though you were going through a slotted grove is what I think is meant by a "gated" feel. I'm still not sure what "notchy" means.

    The best shifter I ever drove was in a Mazda Miata. I think part of their formula is having the entire shifter mechanism bolted to the transmission. Another part is having a frame that solidly connects the transmission to the differential.

    I've tried to emulate that as much as possible in my Z3, with firmer engine, transmission and RSF mounts as well as firmer shifter carrier arm bushings. It has made a huge improvement with very minimal increase in NVH. I'd like to do a couple more things. A firmer CSB and a short shifter that can be adjusted so that the shifter is the same height that it is now but with a shorter throw.

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