Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2008 Corolla 5 speed shift grinding

I bought 2008 Corolla S 5 speed with 62K miles. Now have 135K miles. When shifting up into 3rd gear, a grinding occurs intermittently, more oftem as miles accumulate. I try to make sure clutch pedal is fully depressed. No problems occur with other forward gears, up or down. Can anyone give an idea on what the problem might be and/or what can be done to fix? This is the sixth car I have owned with manual transmission. Never a problem like this!

It sounds like one if the synchros in the transmission may be shot, since it happens only when shifting from 2nd to 3rd. If that’s the case, the only real fix is a transmission rebuild. Meanwhile you can try to minimize the grinding by shifting at the optimum engine RPM and double clutching.

You could also try changing the oil in the transmission, but that may be a long shot.

Thanks for your reply. It sounds like I have nothing 2 lose if I have oil changed by a reputable shop. Would a used trannie cost in same neighborhood as a rebuild?

I agree with Jesmed1 about a synchronizer problem and the reasoning behind it.

You might try changing the transmission oil to something with a heavier viscosity and alter your shifting habits a bit.
Instead of pulling the lever in one movement from 2 to 3, shift it into neutral, pause a split second, and then go into 3rd. A manual transmission can go a long time like this.

A used transmission would probably be a far cheaper and possibly safer bet compared to a rebuild. If the trans is disassembled and things like shift forks, gearsets, etc are needed the cost to rebuild can get pretty expensive as some parts may be Toyota dealer only items.
There’s also the issue of expertise regarding the person doing the rebuilding.

My 20+ year old Corolla is a little balky on the 2-3 transition and always has been, even when new. I think this third gear sensitivity may be something that is common for Corolla manual transmissions. @db4690 … didn’t you mention you had a third speed syncro problem on your Corolla or Camry a while ago?

Edit: I sometimes will slightly & very briefly lower the rpm during the 2-3 transition, seems to help.

Since third gear may be the most sensitive of the five, might be a good idea as first course of action for OP to verify the clutch pedal is correctly adjusted, all the easy-to-see clutch-to-transmission linkages are working correctly, and the clutch hydraulics are fully filled and contain no air. And good idea as mentioned above to double check the transmission oil is at the correct level, which I expect it will be.

My 2006 Matrix has always been a little crunchy 2-3.
That improved when I switched oil to Redline MT-90.
I recently switched to MT-85 which is a little better in the cold.
Being synthetic, it should still provide plenty of protection in spite of slightly lower viscosity.

Bought a used 5 speed manual Corolla this summer. Now that the weather is getting colder the tyranny baulks when shifting from 2nd to 3rd when cold. After it warms up (a few miles) it works as it should. My temporary solution is to double clutch from 2nd to 3rd while cold. Works like a charm albeit a little slower. Will keep doing this till it needs more serious attention.

A used transmission could be better or worse than what you have. For normal driving with a 5 speed 3rd gear is probably the easiest gear to skip. I have a 6 speed and frequently skip 3rd and 5th gears. I would suggest trying that while saving $ for a rebuild.

Here is an example of old threads being annoying. It is 4 years old, Mr. Rock replied to Mr. Jesmed and he is not the original person with the problem . And the person who revived it has found a work around for his problem.

Strange. I was replying to Roberts 2020.

I’d check the oil in the transmission, Maybe someone put 90W gear oil in when 30W is required

This car specs 75W-90.
Read the post right before yours and try some MT-90.