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Geo Prizm Manual Transmission

I have a 1994 Geo Prizm 5-speed. It has been a wonderful car except for repetitive transmission issues. The current clutch has about 25K miles on it. Two weeks ago, in the midst of a heat wave, shifting into first and second gear became very rough. It feels like I’m just learning to drive standard again. No matter what I try the shift is bumpy with the feeling that gears are grinding against each other. Shifting from 2nd-3rd and higher is absolutely normal. Any ideas? This certainly isn’t what happened when the clutch died a few years ago. I haven’t changed the transmission fluid and plan on doing that but I thought I would post here to see if anyone had suggestions as well.


Was the same shop repairing all the repeated issues? What did they do each time?

I chewed through a clutch pretty fast (40K miles). I had bought the car used at about 70K, had to replace the clutch at about 85K and then again at about 125 or 130K. My mechanic at the time told me that he had found a clutch that was more robust or tougher than the first one that he did. The second one was a complete rebuild of the transmission. I trusted this mechanic but I don’t live in Baltimore anymore so can’t have him look at my car now (I’m in Michigan). I also took the car to a transmission shop about 3 months ago and had them test drive it because it was making a funny noise only starting up in first gear. This garage said that my clutch felt great and that they thought it was some small piece that was sticking a little bit but that it wasn’t dangerous. About a week later that noise went away.