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Hard to shift into first gear from nuetral

Old 01-04-2006, 11:41 PM
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Hard to shift into first gear from nuetral

I have a 1994 4Runner, 3.0, 5 speed. After the truck has been run for a short while it starts to become hard to shift into first gear, like while sitting at a stop light, light turns green I try to put it first gear and it won't go. The clutch has about 10k miles on it. I checked the slave cylinder and it looks like I am getting full motion. The tranny upshifts and down shifts fine, no wierd noises coming from it. It will go into first gear fine if the truck is rolling slightly forward, but not at complete stop. Any ideas.
Thanks,
John
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Old 01-05-2006, 12:20 AM
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I garauntee you this is the fault of a worn out shift seat. It is very common for this to happen, the seats are made of rubber and over time and use begin to desintigrate (sp?)... Mine and two other friends with yotas had this problem, changing the shift seat resolved it. The seat costs ~$20 from your local yota stealership.

Here is an article about changing it:
http://www.4runners.org/articles/shift/
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:27 AM
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I just did mine. BIG difference. I'd try that first.
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:58 AM
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I hear marlin makes a poly piece that is actually more positive then the factory one and won't ever decay like the factory piece. That would be my first option.
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Old 01-05-2006, 06:27 PM
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I replaced the shift seat and it seemed to help. It still has some problems going into first from nuetral after running it for about 30 minutes. Any other ideas?
Thanks
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Old 01-05-2006, 06:43 PM
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Is this different than downshifting into 1st from a higher gear while moving just a few mph? Mine does this.. my driveway gets me everytime trying to go over the hump at the end slow enough to not knock it out of alignment lol
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Old 01-05-2006, 07:31 PM
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Sounds like the clutch isn't releasing fully. Maybe the pilot bearing warms up after 30 minutes and starts to bind a little. Was the pilot bearing replaced w/the clutch? Something is causing the transmission input shaft to keep spinning with the clutch disengaged.
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:09 PM
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could it be a sycro not aligning?, try putting in third and then 1st
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Old 01-05-2006, 08:16 PM
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Won't go into any of the forward gears when this happens.
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Old 01-05-2006, 10:29 PM
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My truck did this a long time ago and it turned out to be the clutch cylinder. You might also have air in the hydraulic line. You might also want to check the condition and level of your transmission fluid.
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Old 01-07-2006, 01:32 PM
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Okay, let's review:
1) Transmission upshifts and downshifts fine with no noises. This confirms that there's nothing wrong with the transmission itself.
2) You've checked the slave cylinder and it has full movement. This confirms that the hydraulic system of the clutch is working fine.
3) Now to test the actual mechanical part of the clutch; with engine running, it should release when the pedal is pushed down (such as @ a stoplight). After 5-10 seconds, you should be able to put it into any forward gear with no grinding (still stopped, with clutch pedal still depressed). This is called the Spin Down test. If it won't go into gear w/minimal effort, then the clutch is not releasing properly. Even a slight drag will cause it not to go into gear. The only way it WILL go into gear is if the vehicle is moving. Causes of this condition can be:
A) Foreign matter caught between clutch disk and flywheel, or clutch disk and pressure plate. Most common cause is a piece of the disk itself that has come loose (like part of a broken hub spring) and wedged itself between the disk and flywheel/pressure plate. I've personally heard of this on a Civic wagon.
B) Pilot bearing binding up and causing input shaft of transmission to turn. The pilot bearing is a little bearing pressed into the end of the crankshaft, and the tip of the trans input shaft is inserted into it. It helps support the end of the input shaft, keeps the other clutch components aligned, and separates the speed(RPM) between the engine and transmission when the clutch is disengaged. Sometimes it is overlooked when replacing a clutch, but yet it's important to replace it as well, or you'll have the problems you're describing.
C) Transmission-to-engine (bellhousing) bolts loose or not consistently tight. If the engine isn't squarely/evenly mated to the transmission, binding of the clutch can occur. The clutch disk gets cocked inside the pressure plate (almost like A above) and that drag causes the input shaft to turn.

It's gotta be one of those three. Unfortunately, in order to fix the problem either the engine or transmission has to be removed so the clutch can be disassembled and inspected. About the only thing (easiest) to do would be to check the bellhousing bolts. If that's okay, it's either A or B above. I'm guessing pilot bearing by the sounds of it. Anyway, I hope this helps and that you can get it fixed easily. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:27 AM
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we don't condone profiting off free advice, longshot:

https://www.yotatech.com/forums/show...9&postcount=12

Last edited by Bob_98SR5; 09-10-2006 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 02-11-2006, 03:58 PM
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Clutch bracket started to crack on mine a few years ago. I did not know it at the time. Same symptoms as you. It got progressively worse till it broke one day. Replaced the bracket, no more problem. Check for cracks.
Also, (because I like to eliminate the cheapest possibilities first), maybe the pedal just needs to be adjusted? When you give it a little gas and release the clutch slowly, does your 4Runner only start moving when the clutch pedal is almost fully released? It could be an easy adjustment of two nuts behind the pedal.
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Old 09-07-2006, 08:48 AM
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1989 4Runner v-6, same exact problem. After things are warmed up it is hard to get it in any gear or even move the T-fer case into low. I end up shutting off the vehicle.

I just purchased this truck. I've checked and there's movement at the slave and no air in the system. It just seems like the clutch fork isn't going quite far enough. The pedal is practically on the floor when the clutch is disengaged. Is there suppposed to be some kind of spacer at the end of the plunger on the slave? My FJ40 has adjustment at that end as well as the pedal but this 4Runner doesn't seem to have any adjustment at either end. The clutch seems to work okay otherwise it just feels like the clutch plate and pressure plate aren't moving apart quite enough.

I'll check closer for cracks at the firewall in the clutch pedal housing but didn't notice anything when I was looking for adjustment last night.

Thanks!

Tracy Smith
Rexburg, ID
(1968 FJ40 Landcruiser, 1989 4Runner)
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:09 AM
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Tracy:

Unless you have something very unusual with your truck, you should have an adjustment at the pedal - actually 2:

One of them is the rod going from the pedal, through the firewall and to the master cylinder. You can loosend the locknut on it and thread it out. The other adjustment is the set bolt for the pedal height. You can thread this up and down to give you more or less throw on the pedal.

See your FSM under "clutch" and the specs on the clutch pedal height etc are in the first section. Pedal height is supposed to be about 6 inches, and there is a test to confirm disengagement. Basically you push the shifter toward reverse (with the clutch out) until you just hear the grinding, then slowly push the clutch down. The grinding should stop about 3/4 inches before you bottom out.

I'm having a similar problem. I've bled the lines, checked my pedal height, checked my pedal bracket. That all seems fine. But I still have a "crunch" going into reverse, and hard to shift into 1st (unless I go into a higher gear first). At this point I'm guessing it's in the clutch unit itself as outlined by Radyota's post. This is the second clutch. The original lasted 207K, this one has about 53K.

Does anyone here know how far the slave cylinder should push the fork? ie. the throw of the pushrod? I was unable to find a spec in the toyota manual.

Last edited by BC Rider; 09-07-2006 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:43 AM
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This is an easy one.
The pilot bearing is toast. It has seized.
I am guessing that revving the motor a bit will help it go into gear.
Anyway. When you had your clutch installed did you use all Toyota factory replacement parts? I am guessing that the bearings are cheap chinese crap and will not last at all.
That is the problem and I am willing to bet 5$ that when you pull it apart, that pilot bearing has seized and rusted and is scoring the input shaft.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...=pilot+bearing

Check post #55. This guy had the same symptoms that you are experiencing.

Last edited by 4Mogger; 09-07-2006 at 09:49 AM.
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:20 PM
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4Mogger:

I asked the shop to put in an OEM Toyota clutch kit - however I did not verify anything - my mistake I guess. I'll be able to see what they installed once I rip it out.

You are likely correct about the pilot. I've now got an ASCO clutch kit on order from TrailGear - I can get the pilot from Toyota for $10 or so.

Any idea what the writing on the OEM pilot from Toyota should say? At this point I'm going to be verifying everything I can.
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:28 PM
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Oooh... I hope it isn't the pilot bearing. I don't have time for one more project. I'm already having regrets about purchasing this 4runner. I got it as a way of parting with my old friend... my trusty '68 Landcruiser. I just don't drive it a lot as it is slow, heavy, uncomfortable and gets bad gas mileage... but for some reason, I LOVE IT. So far this 4runner is not quite ringing my bell. Maybe I haven't bonded with it yet. One thing's for sure, I'm going to wait through the winter before I actually decide to sell the Landcruiser. I've had it for over 16 years and (I know this is stupid) but I'm somewhat emotionally connected to it.

I'm going to check again for pedal adjustment before resigning myself to pulling the tranny on the 4runner.

Thanks for all the input.

Tracy Smith
Rexburg, ID
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Old 09-08-2006, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 4Mogger View Post
This is an easy one.

That is the problem and I am willing to bet 5$ that when you pull it apart, that pilot bearing has seized and rusted and is scoring the input shaft.

http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/showt...=pilot+bearing

Check post #55. This guy had the same symptoms that you are experiencing.
I have this problem also. If it is the pilot bearing, is it bad to force the stick into gear?
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Old 09-08-2006, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by 4Mogger View Post
I am guessing that revving the motor a bit will help it go into gear.
4Mogger:

I checked that yesterday. Revving the motor actually makes it worse, especially shifting into reverse.

So the basic symptom I have is that the clutch does not disconnect fully - pretty close but not fully. Why it is not is still an open question. Revving the motor simply agravates this as it spins the tranny faster = more crunch into reverse.

Does anyone know the throw for a correctly functioning slave cylinder?

I could rebuild it in the hope that it might save me a clutch pull, but why bother if the current one is giving me the movement I require.

Any other way to check the master/slave cylinder function? I have no leaks, fluid is clean.

Next checks I have on my list are:

* check rubber hydraulic hose for softness/swelling - it is 17 years old now and I could see getting less throw because the hose expands under pressure resulting in a loss of displacement at the slave.

* put a nut or something between the slave thrust pin and the fork to see if this helps.
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