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T3 wont select any gears UPDATE: Now the shifter is super stiff

Discussion in 'T3 & T4 Tech Help Clinic' started by Slowbrick, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    So my girlfriend and her mate have gone to Brisbane for a holiday and the T3 has suffered its first towable moment. They said they parked it up to go have something to eat and when they returned it wouldnt come out of reverse no matter how hard they tried. The gear shifter feels like jello and moves all over the place but wont select anything other than reverse. Also when they did finally manage to get it out of reverse it was in 3rd or so and wouldnt come out of that either.

    I had them facetime with me and confirmed the shifter movement looks very odd and had them show me underneath the van and the rod is still moving so im not sure whats going on. The problem seems to be up the front in the cabin.

    A quick search on here found that Leon's motors is the place to take it and ive booked a tow truck to have it towed there where he said it will be there for about a week.

    Can anyone think as to why it was seemingly fine when they were driving and now when they attempt to drive away it isnt? Surely this isnt something that just fails like that and it should have had signs before this happening? I did quiz them and both of them said that nothing weird was happening.

    Oh and to add to the frustration the ignition switch has failed and it needs to be started with the remote starter button I made hahaha. When it rains it pours!
     
  2. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    Please let your girlfriend know that forcing the gear leaver can result in it bending and you risk braking the shifter. I forced the shifter and it snapped. Hard to tell what is happening till the selector box is removed and the guide fork etc is exposed. Something may just have come adrift there. It dosnt take a week to remove the 4 nuts and investigate the guides & fork.
     
    johnvw, David H and syncro like this.
  3. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,477
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    Check clutch fluid level / movement in slave.
    one of the rear selector joints may have broken or the throw bearing / forks has failed.
    Best guess..
     
    Syncro27 likes this.
  4. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    I watched her on video attempt to move the selector and while it does move it doesnt seem to correspond with any gears. Also reverse now hits the dash as does 3rd which im guessing something in the shifter box has let go. She has tools onboard and I wanted to get her to have a look but she was in such a flap that I just decided it would be best to get it towed. Its now at Leon's on the recommendation I found in the search so hopefully he can get her up and running soon. Luckily she was up there visiting her sister so has somewhere to stay until it gets resolved. I will be up there in a week or two so if its still no good I will use the tools onboard to open the selector box and see what happened. I also posted an ignition switch to Leon's as it appears the one in there has failed at the same time and it wont start with the key as theres no power making it to the starter relay in the back.

    I did think about that but she is able to slip the clutch like normal but it will only go backwards as its stuck in reverse. Pushing in the clutch stops it from moving and letting it out it moves like normal. I did think about that as ive had a throw out fork fail in a Volvo on the way home but that made a huge bang and the pedal went to the floor hahaha. Was weird rolling through roundabouts and traffic lights on the starter!

    Thanks guys for the suggestions! Can always trust the old car forums to lend a hand because they break so much!
     
  5. hairyman

    hairyman Active Member

    Messages:
    408
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    Hey mate, the selector box is just a guide for the bottom of the gear lever to stop the driver changing into reverse/first by accident when looking for second/third.

    Your description sounds like two main possibilities. Either the adjustable joint between the front and rear halves of the gear linkage has slipped or the rear gear linkage bushing has collapsed.

    The adjustable joint is just behind the fuel tank ( from 2:33) and the rear bush is just ahead of where the gear linkage connects to the gearbox (same video from 3:30 although he is holding the camera upsidedown for part of it). The video goes on and shows disassembly and reassembly. The rear bush is kind of complex to replace but from what I have read if it goes the gear lever becomes like stirring porridge with no chance of getting any gears and given your missus can get a few gears it sounds more likely that the central joint has closed up a bit.

    Remember that the bottom of the gear lever goes in the opposite direction to the top, so if the if the knob for the driver has moved forward from normal then the bottom of the gear lever has moved back, so the linkage must be shorter than it was. If it were me, I would start by going under the van, loosening the clamp on the adjustable universal joint, and pulling it up the splines on the half of the gear linkage if clamps over, pretty much like yer man in the video at 2:50, only don't pull it all the way off! If the gear positions have also moved left-right or you can't get first/reverse or fourth/fifth then the UJ has also slipped a spline or two clockwise or anti-clockwise on the shaft.

    Check the clutch by trying to select gears with the engine off and comparing it to doing the same thing with the engine running. If the clutch is jamming the rotational force it transfers from the engine into the gearbox will prevent you getting in (and to a lesser extent out) of gears.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
    ozferret likes this.
  6. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    Thank you Neil,
    I will definitely watch that video to get a better understanding as to what is going on. Its still at Leon's awaiting its turn to get repaired but I will watch the video in case it happens on the way home and she isnt anywhere near a garage. The gear shifter, judging by the video when I facetimed her, did look like it had turned into a big spoon stirring porridge and selecting a gear was more vague luck than anything.
     
    hairyman likes this.
  7. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,904
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Could it be as simple as the shift plate coming loose?
     
  8. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    Alright everyone we made it back home from Brisbane but the gear shifter is still a problem unfortunately.
    Leon's were able to diagnose the problem as a collapsed ball/cup on the rear section of the shifter and replaced the ball/cup. They also replaced the rear bushing and the centre bushing. Rachael said it was driving fine after getting it back from then but after sitting idle at her sister's house is when the problems started.
    She went to take the van to pick me up from the airport and said when she left the shifter felt stiffer than it was when she picked it up from Leons but put it down to not being driven for a week and hoped it would loosen up. Unfortunately by the time she arrived to the airport it was next to impossible to move the shifter back and forth. Side to side was still ok but going up and down was so hard we both thought the stick would break.
    When we got back home I got underneath and nothing looked out of place. I began disassembling the shift rod and to my surprise when I separated the front half from the rear the rear half moves pretty freely. However with the rear half separated and only the front half attached the shifter is still stiff and doesnt move. I found that loosening the two bolts just a tiny bit restores alot of the movement but its still stiff. I removed the entire bushing and found that all the moly grease had been pushed out of the flutes in the bushing and what was left had dried up from what looks like friction heat.
    I repacked it with lithium grease to see if it fared any better and the initial road test indicated that it was all fixed but on the next day it was just as stiff. We were running behind time and drove from Brisbane to Ballina where I stopped at the servo there and again disassembled the entire setup this time I packed it full of moly grease as it appears for some reason the grease is being pushed out of the bushing causing it to bind. This fix made it most of the way to Newcastle where it was again stiff as it was when it first started playing up.
    I havent had a chance to look at it since getting home but I suspect the problem may be in the sizing of the bushing. When I spoke to Leons he said every now and then they get parts that dont quite fit and to make a spacer with a washer. I tried that and it was only mildly successful and resulted in grease leaking out through the gap. I dont think Leon's has done anything wrong as when it left the shop it was driving fine and Rachael confirmed that too. It only seemed to happen after it was sitting for a week and wont stay fixed regardless of what I try which leads me to think the bushing is maybe not sized correctly and has shrunken with the heat or something.
    So after that long winded story, I think my question is are there any verified parts for the shifter assembly that fit right? Or is this going to just be a thing now that the original parts have packed up and broken?

    Cheers
     
  9. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    Can you please post some pics of the bushing you are having trouble with
     
  10. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,480
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Or identify the part number in the diagram? :rolleyes:

    upload_2021-2-22_11-22-44.png
     
    Luckyphil likes this.
  11. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    Part number 8 and 8a are the ones that are giving me grief. 8A less than 8 as it seems to bind up before 8A but 8A was frozen when we got to Ballina. Bushing 8 has been frozen everytime and always has the grease pushed out. Also on my van 8 has rubber boots on it similar to 2A. I will see if I can find a photo of the actual bushing as they dont look like the ones in this diagram. They dont have the tapered end with the lips like the diagram.
     
  12. Slowbrick

    Slowbrick Active Member

    Messages:
    79
    Location:
    NSW
    upload_2021-2-22_11-43-30.png
    The bushings that are installed and I'm having trouble with look like this.

    The one in the diagram looks like this? Are they the same or should one be used where the other cant?
    upload_2021-2-22_11-44-35.png
     
  13. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,477
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    I found lanolin heavy duty spray a good assist for those and rear joint.
     
    Syncro27 likes this.
  14. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,480
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Your first pic is bush part No 251-711-201E, which is the rear bush 8A in the diagram.

    Your second pic is bush part No 251-711-201D, which is the front bush 8 in the diagram.
     
  15. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    Don't worry about what part is in there as it may have the wrong one installed because the shop ordered the wrong one. Need to know the build date so we can establish which are the correct parts.
     
  16. Luckyphil

    Luckyphil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,018
    Location:
    Gosford
    They are both different and should be used n their correct position. do you have bushing 8 in e front and bushing 8A in the rear. is the shift rod nice and smooth or all crusty which can damage the bushing and pull the grease out as the rod moves back and forth. Hers is a link to Gowesty, read the fit notes. also is this part in good shape https://www.gowesty.com/product/manual/24316/universal-shifter-joint-for-gear-linkage-?v=
     
  17. syncro

    syncro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    10,246
    Location:
    Southern Highlands
    Just to be a bit out there with this one. How are your engine/gearbox mounts? There could be an alignment problem.

    Is it a 5 speed?
     
  18. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,605
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    Agree with Col.

    Get the lanolin spray in the boots using a small flat screw driver to lift the boot open and stick in the small tube from the spray can in there before spraying all around.

    My syncro had the same issue after all new boots were installed - the rubber grabs the shaft if it has no lube and wont let it move.

    Some lube and it shifts perfectly.
     
  19. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    18,480
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    I also find my gear change gets stiffer as road dust and grime builds up on the shafts.

    I tend to use the local car wash, that has an “underbody wash” as you enter, on a regular basis.

    The difference in the gear change, from entering the wash, to when leaving the wash, is quite amazing!
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
    Syncro27 and AC-T3 like this.
  20. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,477
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    Emulsifier ;)
     

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