Troubleshoot Hard Shifting

Hard shifting is usually caused by a defective or worn clutch, but there are other areas that need to be considered when diagnosing a hard shifting problem. Worn shift cables, loose linkage and bent shift rails are also very common.

Synchromesh Manual Transmission

Bearings: When bearings are worn and begin to bind or offer resistance hard shifting occurs. A manual transmission uses needle roller bearings between the driven gears and the main shaft they spin on. This enables the gears to spin freely when not fastened to the shaft by the synchronizer hub assembly. If there is insufficient lubrication dry shift will occur; the gear that's supposed to be spinning freely drags and spins with the shaft resulting in difficult shifting.

Binding: Binding shift linkage or a binding shift lever can result in difficult or no shifting. The same is true for the shift rails located inside of a transmission. These shift rails have detent springs/pins that can stick leaving a vehicle unable to shift.

Synchronizer Assembly: Measure the distance between the shift fork and the synchronizer sleeve with a feeler gauge and check against specifications. The synchronizer’s grooves and the splines on the main shaft develop burrs that result in difficult shifting. The blocking rings should be pointed and the threaded cone’s grooves should be sharp and not rounded. The points on these blocking rings get rounded off and end up bottoming out on the gear face. It can be checked for wear between the blocking ring and the gear using a feeler gauge, and checking the measurement against specifications.