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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
it doesn't want to go into second. feels like something is blocking it...best way i can describe this is that it feels very similar to not being able to go into reverse sometimes. the problem only occurs when the engine is cold (ie mornings) and it doesn't always happen. when it does happen, i would have to give it a couple of tries before it goes in. once the engine is warm, it shifts fine. the problem has been occuring for the past few months and i'll be taking it to the dealer soon, but just curious if anyone else has had this type of problem.

also, the car is pretty much stock except for an exhaust.

any ideas?
 

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IST said:
it doesn't want to go into second. feels like something is blocking it...best way i can describe this is that it feels very similar to not being able to go into reverse sometimes. the problem only occurs when the engine is cold (ie mornings) and it doesn't always happen. when it does happen, i would have to give it a couple of tries before it goes in. once the engine is warm, it shifts fine. the problem has been occuring for the past few months and i'll be taking it to the dealer soon, but just curious if anyone else has had this type of problem.

also, the car is pretty much stock except for an exhaust.

any ideas?
I got the same problem. People on the Supra forums have the same problem with their W58 tranny as well.
 

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IST said:
it doesn't want to go into second. feels like something is blocking it...best way i can describe this is that it feels very similar to not being able to go into reverse sometimes. the problem only occurs when the engine is cold (ie mornings) and it doesn't always happen. when it does happen, i would have to give it a couple of tries before it goes in. once the engine is warm, it shifts fine. the problem has been occuring for the past few months and i'll be taking it to the dealer soon, but just curious if anyone else has had this type of problem.

also, the car is pretty much stock except for an exhaust.

any ideas?
Try changing the transmission lube to synthetic. That dinosaur stuff can get pretty thick this time of year. The synthetic will flow better at cold temps.
 

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I never had that problem until I went to synthetic!! Amsoil in the factory weight, 75w-90 Gear Oil

But this is the first winter I had with the car and changed the fluid as it was getting colder, so I had two simultaneous factors affecting it and don't know which is which. Mine is better when it's warmer and when the engine/tranny warms up.

I find that the old double-clutch technique works very well when it occurs, but it is a PITA!
 

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I've got that problem too, even with a new transmission and synthetic oil. I think it's the syncros. Especially on the newer IS 300 manuals (2003 and 2004) because the syncros were updated to "provide more bite." The problem goes away as soon as the engine warms up, but it sure is annoying.
 

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I've got that problem too, even with a new transmission and synthetic oil. I think it's the syncros. Especially on the newer IS 300 manuals (2003 and 2004) because the syncros were updated to "provide more bite." The problem goes away as soon as the engine warms up, but it sure is annoying.
Do you have the Red Line synthetic in there? Red Line makes a big deal about their friction additives that make the syncros work better. They differentiate their manual transmission lubricant products from their "normal" synthetic gear oils. I have heard that some synthetics can be so slippery that the syncros won't grip one another and you end up graunching gears at each change. I only have experience with the Red Line MT-90 and have not experienced any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
it's interesting that you guys mentioned changing tranny fluids, because that was when the problem started to occur. although, i don't think mine is synthetic because it was done at the dealership.
 

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My car shifted beautifully from the factory and when I heard posts about the cold second gear shift, I never knew what people were talking about.

Then for my 15k service, they changed the tranny oil and all of a sudden, cold tranny = hard second gear shift. I wonder what tranny oil was used at the factory?

Some people switched to synthetic fluid and said that the problem went away, but others warn that it may cause tranny wear and may even cause the tranny to fail. It was in one of the older threads on this subject, I'll try to find it.
 

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Same problem here, only happens in cold starts. It got alot worse after I changed to redline fluid. Please let us all know what the dealer says about it. I would go but i have a short shift and they will most likely blame it on it.
 

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IST...You're not alone...shifting into second gear (when cold) is pretty much impossible unless I double clutch. It became more apparent as I switched from dino to synthetic (NEO 75W90HD) gear oil. The shifting somewhat improved as I quickly switched over to Redline MT90 but double clutching into 2nd is still necessary until the tranny warms up.

IS JOE...What dealer did you go to? Longo? I confirmed with them that they use Mobil 1 synthetic (which is GL-5). Mitsubishi owners have similar problems/symptoms as well. DSM owner's who used the BF goodrich synchromesh seemed to have success. I might end up trying this later to see if it'll help.
 

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I went to Stevens Creek Lexus in San Jose for my 15... thats when the symptoms started.

I just got my 30k at Luxury Motorworks and its still there.

I'll have to check to see what kind of fluid they use.
 

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Original Fluid, 15K, no problems.
 

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wjbertrand said:
Do you have the Red Line synthetic in there? Red Line makes a big deal about their friction additives that make the syncros work better. They differentiate their manual transmission lubricant products from their "normal" synthetic gear oils. I have heard that some synthetics can be so slippery that the syncros won't grip one another and you end up graunching gears at each change. I only have experience with the Red Line MT-90 and have not experienced any problems.
No, I have whatever the dealership put in it. I'm keeping everything completely legal per Lexus' guidelines because I'm having lemon-scented thoughts about this vehicle, and don't want anything to complicate the situation down the line.
 

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It seems that when the vehicle is warm, the shifting problem doesn't surface as much. That's ironic for me to say, since I live in Southern California and couldn't imagine what the tranny would feel like while driving around Minneapolis, but it's my belief that the syncro design on the newer transmissions allows for a sometimes-rough gear engagement, in second and sometimes third gear - regardless of transmission fluid. This is not unlike the intermittent issues Acura and Honda owners have experienced on the CL-S, RSX-S and Accord V6 Coupe with their triple-coned syncros on the 6-speeds.

Friction modifiers, synthetic fluid, regular, durablend, whatever. One would think that these were all tested with the transmission before it hit the production line. The fact that Toyota and Lexus don't offer synthetic fluid leads me to believe that they feel there's no inherent gain in using it. These intermittent shifting issues happen with almost every single manual transmission on the market - the majority have no problems, the minority do. It's impossible to tell since transmission health is predominately dependant on the operator's driving habits, not just the maintenence. I do know, however, that the press cars I've driven have had the absolute snot beaten out of them, and they all seem to shift fine, all the time. I baby my car and have problems with second. Who knows.

The question you have to ask yourself is: Can you live with it? Most likely every owner of every manual transmission vehicle has had, at one point or another, some issue with shifting, be it into reverse, or missed third and went into fifth, or something. If the problem doesn't affect your safety or sanity, I'd just deal with it since Lexus build quality is constantly at the top of almost everyone's list.
 

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I had a problem with my 4th gear synchro too and I remember a few others that have had similar issues. Some have encountered gears popping-out while driving. I had mine replaced under warranty.
 

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However, I don't think this is an issue we should drop. Especially now that there seems to be a new trend that indicates the factory tranny fluid seems to perform better than the replacement fluid from dealerships. Is it a factory additive? Is it JDM quality fluid? This might lead to something that can save a lot of people headaches down the road.

But I can live with it and have been living with it. It happens every morning when I drive to work. But when you mention safety and sanity, I believe it can be a potential safety hazard if you can't get into first, second or third gear while driving at lower speeds through a city or residential area.

And what better place to investigate possible solutions to this problem than an car forum dedicated to our car. just my 2 cents


It seems that when the vehicle is warm, the shifting problem doesn't surface as much. That's ironic for me to say, since I live in Southern California and couldn't imagine what the tranny would feel like while driving around Minneapolis, but it's my belief that the syncro design on the newer transmissions allows for a sometimes-rough gear engagement, in second and sometimes third gear - regardless of transmission fluid. This is not unlike the intermittent issues Acura and Honda owners have experienced on the CL-S, RSX-S and Accord V6 Coupe with their triple-coned syncros on the 6-speeds.

Friction modifiers, synthetic fluid, regular, durablend, whatever. One would think that these were all tested with the transmission before it hit the production line. The fact that Toyota and Lexus don't offer synthetic fluid leads me to believe that they feel there's no inherent gain in using it. These intermittent shifting issues happen with almost every single manual transmission on the market - the majority have no problems, the minority do. It's impossible to tell since transmission health is predominately dependant on the operator's driving habits, not just the maintenence. I do know, however, that the press cars I've driven have had the absolute snot beaten out of them, and they all seem to shift fine, all the time. I baby my car and have problems with second. Who knows.

The question you have to ask yourself is: Can you live with it? Most likely every owner of every manual transmission vehicle has had, at one point or another, some issue with shifting, be it into reverse, or missed third and went into fifth, or something. If the problem doesn't affect your safety or sanity, I'd just deal with it since Lexus build quality is constantly at the top of almost everyone's list.
 

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IS JOE said:
However, I don't think this is an issue we should drop. Especially now that there seems to be a new trend that indicates the factory tranny fluid seems to perform better than the replacement fluid from dealerships. Is it a factory additive? Is it JDM quality fluid? This might lead to something that can save a lot of people headaches down the road.

But I can live with it and have been living with it. It happens every morning when I drive to work. But when you mention safety and sanity, I believe it can be a potential safety hazard if you can't get into first, second or third gear while driving at lower speeds through a city or residential area.

And what better place to investigate possible solutions to this problem than an car forum dedicated to our car. just my 2 cents
Joe, you're absolutely right. I was just saying that there's no reason one should panic every time something feels weird when shifting. Not that I think that's happening here at all. My car's on its second transmission and it's still shifting less than Lexus-like. In fact, I doubt it will ever shift the way I want it to, and that is very hard to deal with, especially in Los Angeles rush-hour traffic. I just sent an e-mail to our Lexus powertrain contact asking exactly what you wrote - is there a difference in tranny fluid between what the dealer stocks and what comes from the factory. Hopefully that answer will clear some of this up.

-Matt
 
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