'89 Accord LX 5-Speed won't shift into first


djh101
10-08-2011, 12:25 PM
'89 Honda Accord LX Sedan 5-Speed, 266k miles

First off, I don't know much about cars, but I'll try to be descriptive as possible.

Bought this car recently and it worked fine when I got it (the most perfect 22-year old car I've ever seen). Between then and now I've driven it a little. It's my first stick shift car, so I've stalled it a few times, ground the gears a little, etc. learning to drive it. Anyway, it now won't shift into first gear. It shifts fine and drives fine in all the other gears, the only problem is with first. It also shifts fine into all gears when the car is off.

On a side note (in case it pertains to this situation), the car takes a little while to warm up. For 5-10 minutes after it is turned on, it idles really fast and makes a horrid scratching noise and then stalls if put into reverse (don't know about first, since it won't go into first). Once the idling slows down, though, this problem goes away.

wiseguy01
10-08-2011, 10:29 PM
You need new trans because you can shift into any other gear than first its gear related and not clutch related and you should be able to shift into gear when car is off the motor isn't moving the only thing I can tell you is if it has a clutch master cylinder than you need tranny if it is cable operated clutch than you can try adjusting cable to compensate for wear on the clutch to locate clutch cylinder its right next to the brake master cylinder smaller than the brake cylinder too

djh101
10-08-2011, 11:16 PM
I think a new transmission is a little out of the question for now. Any idea how it might have given out, though? It was running perfectly; the failure to shift was really a sudden thing. Would it be possible to just drive without first gear? I can start it in second and even if that's bad for the gears, if they're already ruined, does it really matter?

mellg
10-09-2011, 03:52 AM
Need to check your gear oil level and battery of your 89 Honda accord.

jeffcoslacker
10-09-2011, 08:11 AM
My first thought was that you're probably low on fluid in the clutch slave, and it's not able to synchronize in first because the clutch is dragging slightly. But usually reverse will be hard to hit too. I'd check it anyway. There is a separate small reservoir near the brake master cylinder it takes brake fluid also. If it's low or empty, you found the problem. Next question is where is it leaking, or is it leaking.

djh101
10-09-2011, 01:35 PM
It does seem to have trouble with reverse. It's not really shifting at all anymore. With the clutch down it makes the same grinding noise when going into reverse as it does when you try to go into reverse without stepping on the clutch. The other gears just won't go at all. I'll try the suggestions when my dad gets home, though- let's hope they work.

jeffcoslacker
10-09-2011, 04:55 PM
Yeah...you popped the slave cylinder....or the line rusted out. Bet you $1.

Fill the slave reservoir, pump the clutch pedal repeatedly, have someone watch under the motor, bet you see fluid dripping. If its totally empty you may have to fill and pump several times before you purge the line and start getting good pedal action if it's still holding hydro pressure.

jeffcoslacker
10-09-2011, 05:14 PM
You need new trans because you can shift into any other gear than first its gear related and not clutch related and you should be able to shift into gear when car is off the motor isn't moving the only thing I can tell you is if it has a clutch master cylinder than you need tranny if it is cable operated clutch than you can try adjusting cable to compensate for wear on the clutch to locate clutch cylinder its right next to the brake master cylinder smaller than the brake cylinder too

When the hydro clutches begin to loose fluid it follows the progression he described...first the very high ratio gears (first and reverse) become difficult or impossible to engage from a stop. Usually if you can let the car roll slightly as you push the shifter into gear, it'll drop in, the vehicle movement is compensating for the lack of synchronization due to the dragging clutch.

At the same time, shifting in and out of other gears while moving may begin to feel more notchy as well. As the fluid continues to leak, the clutch hydros become less effective, and you'll lose use of the other gears as well. The car becomes undriveable, unless you know how to float gear changes without using a clutch. It's a handy skill to have.:biggrin: It's gotten me home several times when I should have been stuck...

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