First gear problem with my 1995 Escort


This car has 95,000 miles on it. The clutch pedal was loose(no hydraulics) and the car actually drove with the pedal depressed. Couldn’t get out of first. Took it to a dealer. They said they checked the clutch and it looked fine. They replaced the clutch master cylinder and the slave cylinder. Now, clutch pedal is fine, nice and tight. Car rides very well in second, third, fourth, fifth. A little iffy in reverse and it pops out of first. Car does not shift into second (at least not very easily) from first but will downshift from third to second easily.

Could it be the throw-out bearing or the synchro?


Not the throw-out bearings me things. However I do suspect the sync hubs and that means a rebuild.


Hard shifting can be either a dragging clutch or a worn out transmission.
Since you state it pops out of gear, this points to a worn synchronizer hub/sleeve assembly.

This would mean a complete rebuild as no sane person would go into a 13 year old trans and piecemeal it.

Something to consider also is whether you have a habit of driving with your hand resting on the shifter, especially in city driving.
The weight of the hand/arm is multiplied and causes the synchronizer sleeve to rub slightly against the shift fork. Over time, the fork wears, this allows excess clearance between the fork and sleeve, and the trans will then jump out of gear.

Thanks Car Talk! I’ve been logged out yet again. Guess I might as well remain anonymous; it’s much simpler.


A used transmission should be the cheapest way to go but it depends on how much they will charge you to put it in. It’s less of a chore than changing the clutch. Maybe you can get it done for about $750.oo. After all; even with my 140,000 mile limit for Escort disposal, you still have 45,000 to go. If the car is in good shape, it sounds like the way to go.