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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a helluva time shifting gears in my car while it is cold outside. Especially 1st and 2nd gears! I had a couple people from work say it could be old or bad tranny fluid? They said to drain and change filter and refill with good fluid like royal purple. I was wondering if any body else had this problem with there cars too? A little feed back would help alot considering I know nothing about transmissions!
 

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I would say it's because of the cold. I used to just let my car warm up a bit and it eliminated the problem. Does your car do this even when it's warmed up inside your cab?
 

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As soon as my cab warmed up, my problem would go away.
 

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Most manual transmissions will be harder to shift in cold weather. That said, without actually feeling the extent of the hard shifting, it is hard to say whether what you are experiencing is a "normal" increase in shifting effort or something more. Changing to fresh, premilum synthetic transmission oil of the appropriate weight can reduce this effect as synthetic typically flows better at low temperatures. shifting somewhat slower can often reduce this effect by giving the synchros a little bit more time to alter the gear speeds during the shift, e.g., when cold shift "easy," not hard and quick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It only does it in the winter really. I dont really seem to have the problem in the summer. And after the car does warm up completely it does become easier to shift...but still kinda a pain everyonce in a while. I just hope it not the syncros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yea thats what i gonna do first...but its like -20 degrees here right now! lol Seriously! Its freezing in my garage even with a heater. But its gotta get done!
 

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A hint when you do it, particularly if it's been quite a while since last done.

Be sure to remove the top fill plug before you remove the lower drian plug. Why?

(1) It will drain better, but more importantly,

(2) If you cannot get it removed, you still have a fully-functional transmission with old oil. If you drain it first and cannot get the top plug out, you have a major problem and a non-functional vehicle.
 

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I found a great way to add the fluid back in. A simple squeeze bottle with a 90 degree tip on it. It worked great for me.
 

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Couple of points.
The colder transmision and fluid will cause this problem
Best to leave it in the gear yuou're going to start out when next fired up. That solves the get going problem and allows the trans to warm up without shifting problem. Second, ford started installing their own synthetic fluid first in 03, and has a service bulletin to install it in any earlier models, so it's "backspecified" (good word????).
Get the new stuff installed. Even though it's in my 03, the cold still makes shifting more difficult
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks guys....I gonna have to get this done but its so fridgid here! I gotta try to get into my buddies garage soon! Thanks again for the input!
 

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I have a helluva time shifting gears in my car while it is cold outside. Especially 1st and 2nd gears! I had a couple people from work say it could be old or bad tranny fluid? They said to drain and change filter and refill with good fluid like royal purple. I was wondering if any body else had this problem with there cars too? A little feed back would help alot considering I know nothing about transmissions!
I have exactly the same problem, I am in Montreal and the temperature is almost the same as in Toronto. The hard shifting for me is like something is preventing from getiing IN and OUT of the 1st and 2nd gear. Expecially when the car is rolling, like when you come to a stop and need to shift into 1st or 2nd. But when completely stopped, it is quite normal not as hard. I do not think it is related to the oil.

Did you fix it?
 

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I used to have an awful time shifting in cold weather as well. Ford, around a year ago released an updated pressure plate that would solve the problem. Apparently the old design didn't put enough pressure on the clutch to release it all the way causing a dragging which would cause torque to be transferred to the transmission even with the clutch pedal on making it very hard to get into gear. I put the new pressure plate in (along with a new clutch disc and flywheel) and the problem is no more.

To the OP I would change the oil and see if this helps but if it doesn't keep this in mind.

And to Davidas I would check this out. This sounds like your problem.

One other thing to look at is the condition of the slave cylinder fluid. The resevoir is shared with the brakes but if this fluid is old, its compessibility goes up and you won't get the proper amount of "throw" out of the slave cylinder which actuates said pressure plate.

Both of you should probably flush the tranny fluid and bleed the slave cylinder to eliminate those as possible culprits and then move on to bigger stuff such as a clutch job.
 

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Both of you should probably flush the tranny fluid and bleed the slave cylinder to eliminate those as possible culprits and then move on to bigger stuff such as a clutch job.
How do you flush the tranny fluid? Is it just like an regular engine oil change? Like open the top cap, then open the trans reservoir bolt and let it drain, and then add new Synthetic oil in it? What kind of Synthetic oil do you recommend for my 01 Wagon Zetec with Manual tranny?

Can I put Penzoil 10W30 or 5W30 Synthetic oil?

Thanks.
 

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Nah. I believe the spec is a 75w90 gear oil. Just go to Ford and get their stuff. It is the best to use.

And to drain open the fill hole like said above first. Then the drain hole. Let it all drain out, put the drain plug back in and fill it up through the fill hole. The spec is 2 quarts. Fill it up till it starts seeping out of the hole while the car is on a level surface, then you know its the perfect level.
 
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