Manual Transmission: Gear Inspection

Inspect all gears for nicks, chipping, and galling. Small nicks and chips can often be filed and smoothed out of the gears teeth with a file. If the chip is too deep to file, the entire gear must be replaced. Each gear should be inspected inside of the cone area where the gear rides on the shaft. Inspect the dog teeth for excessive wear.

Manual transmission chipped gear teeth.

Inspect the gear’s teeth for chipping and excessive wear. Worn and rounded gear teeth cause a growling noise. This grinding or growling noise may be evident in all gears, but is more pronounced when it’s the selected gear. This is because today’s transmissions are in constant mesh. A synchromesh transmission uses synchronizers to change gears. In the old days the driver had to mesh the gears by double clutching. This practice would get the two spur gears to match each other’s speeds before engaging. These older spur gears made a lot more noise than the constant mesh helical gears used today. Many transmissions use spur gears for reverse. This is why so many vehicles make a different sound when driven in reverse.

Inspect the dog teeth of the gear to make sure they are not rounded off. This will result in hard shifting. Inspect the cone of the gear where the gear rides on the shaft. The gear rides on a series of needle bearings. Make sure these bearings and the inside of the gear are not blue colored. These bearings turn blue from excessive heat. Use only the recommended oil in any transmission. Too thick of an oil will cause hard shifting in a manual transmission. This is more prominent when it’s cold.