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Stuck in gear!?!


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#1 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 09:49 PM

Driving home the other night, i noticed a whine/howl noise ever so slightly accelerating in 3rd gear.. didnt think much of it. Next day I got up and went to move her, backed her up 25' pulled forward 5' and stopped went to pull it another foot or 2 forward and it was like i hit a cinder block...just stopped. I figured i had hit something that stopped me but didnt have a chance to look at the time.
Later that evening i jumped in her to drive, fired her up and put it in reverse and she crept forward.
clutch feels the same...shifting through gears feels the same....its just stuck in the 1 gear.....
Any suggestions b4 i tear into it?





#2 techboy

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 10:02 PM

How many miles?  

Are you sure it's shifting through the gears ... sounds like the syncros are toast.
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#3 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 07 June 2020 - 10:07 PM

160k bone stock except radiator...i've had it about 9 months, drove it about 8k miles...trans hasnt given me any issue, or signs of failing
cant tell if its actually shifting through gears, but it feels like it is fron the shifter-side

Edited by midnightoutlaw, 07 June 2020 - 10:08 PM.


#4 mikec

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 12:41 AM

Start with the simple stuff: verify the shift lever is properly bolted to the top/rear of the transmission.  If those bolts get loose, the end of the lever may not properly engage the ends of the shift rods.  There are pins between the rods to prevent multiple gears from being engaged at once as a safety thing.

Also, the "ball" pivot area of the stock shift lever is known to disintegrate which introduces a lot of slop/freeplay in the lever... which means it doesn't engage the shift rods properly.

From underneath the car, you can reach up and feel the 4 bolts in the corners of the plate that holds the shift lever assembly to the top of the transmission.  See if they're loose.  Or, disassemble the interior center console stuff to access those 4 bolts and the shift lever.  Start with the rear console: pry the storage liner out of the storage area - squeeze it from the size.  There are a few screws underneath - remove those.  Then, lift each emergency seatbelt release lever and undo the small screws in the handles and slide the handles off the metal levers.  Then gently squeeze the sides and pry the top panel that the levers poke through until it lifts free.  Undo two electrical connectors on it.  Underneath it you'll see another screw o(r two that holds the front of the console area, remove those.  You can flip the console up/backwards (the seat belts prevent fully removing it) to get it out of the way. You'll see another screw holding the end of the forward console assembly - the part with the factory stereo.  Remove that screw.  Then, from the driver's foot well, look at the small carpeted panel that has the heater vent.  There is one screw above the rectangular opening and another screw in the little plastic vent at the edge of the panel.  Remove them, then wiggle the panel downwards and towards the front of the car to remove it.  Repeat for the passenger side panel.  Now you'll see a bunch of not-quite-Phillips head screws that attach the console, stereo, etc. to dash structure.  These strip easily if you use the wrong type of screwdriver.  Vise-grips to break them free often work well.  Not all have to be removed - look for the ones that clearly go to the dash support structure and remove those.  Unscrew the shift knob and remove it.  Now you should be able to wiggle the stereo console free.  Unplug the cables going to the stereo and whatever else is connected there.  With all of that out of the way, you'll see the shift lever and some various pieces surrounding it.  One is a big wad of insulation.  Take those out and eventually you'll see the sheet metal of the car body and the transmission extension housing.  And those 4 bolts.  Undo them and gently lift the shift lever + plate out.  There is a gasket there... try not to mangle it.  Sealant goop can be used during re-assembly.  Also, have rags ready to catch any transmission fluid that drips from the shift lever plate - that stuff stains and stinks and is impossible to clean out of the carpets or anywhere else in the interior.  Look into the hole when the shift lever is removed.  If you see bits/chunks of plastic or rubber then the shift lever ball had busted and that's your problem.  The end of the shift lever should have a hard plastic bushing on it as well.  Inside the transmission, you'll see the ends of the three shift lever rods.  Each one can move forwards/aft.  Use a big screwdriver to move them until all three notches line up; that puts the transmission in neutral.

mike c.

#5 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 04:49 AM

mike c.
Thanks for all the detail, ill do this this afternoon & let you know what i find. I was/am hoping it is exactly what you've outlined. Though I have my doubts due to the whine/howl whatever i had in 3rd gear the day it locked up. we'll see soon  lol
oh and im going straight to the console removal, no need to try and reach anything from above, I wear 2X or 3X gloves...so my hands dont fit most places with little clearance LOL

Edited by midnightoutlaw, 08 June 2020 - 04:51 AM.


#6 psu_Crash

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 10:56 AM

I'm with Mike C on this one. Sounds like the shift selector has come out of place. As that fulcrum bushing ears it will allow you to get in a place where the transmission is in gear, but the gear selector arm is not.
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#7 markhansenconquest

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 12:05 AM

If U have to drop it,,I would look for a 100.00 mile trans to swap ...my 86 had 200.00  miles and whined all the time......IMO.....im sure U  could find one for 300 -400 bucks if u go pick it up....

#8 Turbo Cary

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 05:35 AM

The 86 and earlier transmissions had an issue with the counter shaft bearing failings. A TSB was put out about it.

#9 mikec

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Posted 09 June 2020 - 03:19 PM

One thing to note about stick-shift transmissions in general, and this applies to StarQuest 5-speed boxes as well, is that the input shaft is supported by a single bearing.  That shaft ends in a gear that drives the countershaft.  The countershaft is typically supported by two bearings.  It has multiple gears on it (physically part of the shaft so all turn together) that drive mating gears on the transmission primary/output shaft.  Those mating gears free-wheel on the primary/output shaft... when you move the shift lever, you are moving "synchronizer assemblies" that physically lock one mating gear to the primary/output shaft so that gear ends up being the one passing engine power to the drive shaft.  In 4th gear however, the synchro connects the primary/output shaft directly to the back of the input shaft - effectively adding a second support to the input shaft.

Often the bearing supporting the input shaft is the first to wear out because it has to resist the engine torque pushing the input shaft against the countershaft; the input shaft wants to twist away from the countershaft.  When in 4th gear though, connecting the input shaft to the primary/output shaft gives the input shaft more support, taking the load off the input bearing.  You'll hear a whining noise in all gears except 4th when the input shaft bearing is dying.  On some transmissions, cutouts in the input shaft + gear and in the transmission case around the input bearing let you remove the input shaft + bearing, pulling them out the front of the transmission, fairly easily.  Not so on StarQuests... you pretty much have to start at the output end of the transmission and remove everything piece by piece to remove the input shaft.  Lots of work.

The bearings themselves are not Mitsu-specific; any decent bearing shop, transmission rebuild kit, etc. can source replacements.  The gaskets?  Those are harder to source but gasket/sealant goop works too as long as you pick one rated for hypoid gear oil and apply/use it properly.  Inside the StarQuest transmission you'll find many short Phillips-ish headed screws... again, not quite Phillips screws, just like those under the dash and on the stereo mounts.  Plan on replacing them - the heads strip easily.  Factory replacements come with blue thread locker too; you'll want to add your own thread locker if you use non-factory screws.

The other nuisance item are spacer shims... these are used to fill in gaps between bearings and the bosses machined into the transmission case so that fore/aft play of the countershaft and other parts are within certain specs.  When bearings are replaced, you may find you need different shims.  Very similar concept as the shims used on the output bearings of differentials.

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#10 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 03:30 PM

well, ive got the console torn out, carpet pulled back, metal trim and rubber boot off.... 4 bolts out and its 103deg in the shade today so idk if im finishing taking it out tonight....I did just say fuckit and swooped up on a short throw shifter from dude/place/shop called MK1...seemed a better bet (in throw reduction) then the guy selling one that takes Hurst shifter arm (20% reduction)

#11 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 03:33 PM

1 question, the shifter assembly has 4 bolts...and 2 Philips screws ...do i remove the 2 screws as well? I've been known to have patience wear thin at times...and then things get disassembled  whether there completely unbolted or not.

#12 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 25 June 2020 - 03:34 PM

View PostTurbo Cary, on 09 June 2020 - 05:35 AM, said:

The 86 and earlier transmissions had an issue with the counter shaft bearing failings. A TSB was put out about it.

This is an 87 model

#13 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 26 June 2020 - 11:50 PM

so this is what i found

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#14 mikec

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Posted 27 June 2020 - 01:18 AM

Bits of plastic... not a good sign.  I forgot the StarQuest transmission has that big extension lever to drive the three shift rods.  Most stick-shifts have 3 rods visible when the shift lever is removed.

mike c.

#15 Turbo Cary

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 10:03 AM

On the passenger side of your transmission are RTV plugs. Under the RTV are adjustment screws that set spring tension for the shift selector shafts. At least I'm pretty sure that's what they adjust tension for. In any case you'll need to drop the transmission down to gain clearance to properly measure the depth unless you have some kind of 90 degree micrometer.

When I blew up my 86 trans due to counter shaft failure I swapped to an 88/89 trans. I removed the RTV and checked the depths of those adjustments. They were off by a good little bit. I wouldnt say it was enough to get it stuck or prohibit gear engagement but I did correct them and reseal the plugs. Make sure to use gray oil resistant RTV.

RTV shrinks over time. This allows them to back out a little. You may have this issue if it feels like you're sticking in gear and it's worth a check. If the plugs are gone you may have had one either back out fully or the selector shafts are damaged.

#16 kev

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Posted 29 June 2020 - 03:57 PM

That's your shifter fulcrum disintegrating...very common on our cars.   The good news is that it is easy to fix via an aftermarket shifter...but first you have to get the shift rods back in order.    There was a member on here recently who was able to do this via the pan and carefully tapping on the shift rods...wouldn't be my preferred approach but it worked for  him and kept him from pulling the transmission.  

If you look at my KM132 transmission rebuild thread in the FAQ forum, it has tons of photos as an aide.

#17 midnightoutlaw

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 10:59 AM

View Postkev, on 29 June 2020 - 03:57 PM, said:

That's your shifter fulcrum disintegrating...very common on our cars.   The good news is that it is easy to fix via an aftermarket shifter...but first you have to get the shift rods back in order. There was a member on here recently who was able to do this via the pan and carefully tapping on the shift rods...wouldn't be my preferred approach but it worked for  him and kept him from pulling the transmission.  

If you look at my KM132 transmission rebuild thread in the FAQ forum, it has tons of photos as an aide.

Well, good...at least ive got the hard part already done...

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#18 kev

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 04:15 PM

I wouldn't call that the hard part, that's just buying a part.   You still need to unlock the tranny and confirm that it indeed was the fulcrum.   You could have bad bearings in that transmission, worn syncro's, set screws backing out, or a combo of all of these....these all all mentioned in this thread. I'd start there before you consider that mpi manifold there in the photo.   I can see trying out the shifter and see what happens with this transmission, if you get it freed up, but I'd seriously start looking for a replacement or plan for a rebuild if you are knowingly going to start upping the hp out of this car.  .I know very well how time consuming and money draining an MPI swap is.  Need to make sure it is going on a good solid foundation.

#19 croquest87

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 05:32 PM

You can buy one of these transmissions real cheap. Clean it up install and enjoy.
Rebuild that one to have extra.

Done

#20 Turbo Cary

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Posted 01 July 2020 - 08:16 PM

There is a trans for sale in the Parts Section right now. It may not be a bad idea to buy it and swap it in




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