Manual transmission question

I have a 09 Fusion manual transmission with 8k miles. For the past couple of weeks there has been a slight grind when shifting to second. It’s not bad and only occurs when cold.

This began happening when the weather turned a bit cooler, high 30’s at night, high 50’s during the day. The cooler it is the longer the shifting has the issue.

When shifting to second it’s almost as if I don’t have the clutch pushed in quite all the way. Again, once warmed up the issue goes away. I’ve shifted through the gears with the car off and there’s no issue.

On a possible related note, the car would start immediately at one point today. I pushed the clutch in and turned the key and got nothing. After four attempts it started and I had no further issue throughout the day.

Opinions? Thanks!

I sounds as if there is a 2nd gear synchronizer problem and if the car is still under warranty, take it to the dealer and have them repair both the problems. Since new cars have to have the clutch depressed in order for the starter to engage, there may be a problem with the switch. Again warranty should cover this.

Cold transmissions don’t take kindly to rapid shifting. Are you, perhaps, shifting too quickly from first to second? Just asking.

More than likely you have a warranty issue. You shouldn’t have any problems with the transmission on a new car with only 8K miles.

Take it back to the Ford dealer, explain your problem (don’t be nasty about it), and ask them to correct it.

There is a clutch interlock switch that contacts the clutch pedal, and unless this switch makes contact the starter won’t engage. Perhaps the switch needs adjustment, or maybe you’re not pressing the clutch pedal all the way to the floor.

If it’s the switch, it’s a warranty issue. Take the car to a Ford dealer and cross your fingers.

Thanks guys. I believe the warranty for the clutch is for up to 12k, I still have to pull out the manual to double check. I wanted to get an idea for what I’d be in for when I do take it in.

I’m extremely easy on the car, especially when cold. Doesn’t matter how slow I shift, it still is unhappy about it. As for the interlock switch, that’s what I was thinking. The first time it wouldn’t start I figured perhaps the pedal wasn’t in all the way, however the other times I attempted the pedal was firmly pushed down.

Thanks again, any additional insight is welcome. I’m going to take it in Thursday or Friday morning and post back.

My 88 Chevy Beretta started to grind a bit shifting from 2nd to 3rd, but it took 6 years of beating the prunes off it before it started. It’s warranty time.

Ed B.

Hi everyone. I haven’t had the chance to bring the car in yet, I hope to drop it off some night this week so they can drive it cold in the morning to feel it grind.

Question though in the meantime. Why does the symptom only manifest itself when the weather is colder? The past few days have been in the mid 60’s and there hasn’t been an issue.

Many thanks, and again, once it’s brought in I’ll post back.

The most likely relation to the cold is that all lubricants are thicker & stickier when they are cold - things don’t move as well or as freely until they warm up.

Manual transmissions are definately “stiffer” when cold. Since the real cold is yet to ocme this will only get worse. Good to get the dealer involved now.

Thicker fluids in the transmission as cigroller stated. In your case I’m wondering if the clutch is fully disengaging in the cold. Perhaps your clutch cold has slightly different tolerances that change when the heat expands the clutch plate, and other related parts.

After the dealer returns the car see what they did and how the car handles the cold. You might warm it up a bit more before taking off. Perhaps a bit more clutch slip starting in 1st to warm up the clutch. If you are familiar with “double clutching” you may want to try this technique to save some wear and tear on the synchros when cold.

Double clutching between 1st and 2nd would be depress clutch move gear shift from 1 to N, release clutch in N, depress clutch and move from N to 2, release clutch. As you work the double shift you lighten up on the gas just a bit to match engine speed to trans speed in 2nd gear. Before synchro’s became commonplace double clutching was the way get most transmissions to shift without extensive grinding.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I finally had a chance to bring the car in for service and not surprisingly the issue couldn’t be duplicated.

While the car was in, I had the tires rotated, the oil changed as well as an alignment. The car had all of the rotors and pads replaced at 400 miles as in addition to an alignment. The car still pulled to the left at highway speeds after it was lined up which is why I had them check it out again.

After the latest alignment today they the problem still persisted. They ordered a control arm which will be replaced next week which they said will fix the issue. I’m going to leave the car overnight, hopefully it will be cold enough for the transmission issue to manifest itself.

Does anyone know why the control arm would be defective? I’ve had the car since new and haven’t hit any potholes etc. that would’ve damaged anything.

Good post Uncle Turbo! I remember a friend of mine who bought a British Rover 2000 sedan in the 60’s. He bought it in the summer and was distressed to find he could not even shift gears when the temperature in the winter went to 0F!

Apparently the fluid in the clutch assist and the linkage lubricant were made for British no-freee conditions.

They can’t make any money doing warranty work unless they replace some 'defective" part. Your control arm just became “defective”…Pulling is just as likely caused by a defective tire…Swap the tires side to side and see if it pulls the other way…

Depending on what transmission your car has, it uses either Mercon V or SAE75W-90 API GL-4 GEAR OIL. Synthetic versions of this are available from Ford or elsewhere. Particularly for the latter, the synthetic might flow better at lower temps and help if there is not other defect. I doubt it, but maybe.


Would a defective control arm cause the car to pull to one side?

Would? The answer is maybe. It sure could. I have my doubts about this though. Control arms are unlikely to be defective. It would have to be bent or crack. Control arm bushings can decay.

I have an older VW that does this; always has; needs to be shifted slowly into second until warm. I also owned two Chev Cavaliers with Japanese 5 speed transmissions that also were that way. We have a Chev Cobalt with an Italian made 5 speed. It works very good; shifts like butter and no grinding into second; cold or warmed. I am grateful for progress! They finally got it right.

I can’t speak for a Fusion but grinding while shifting into second gear with a 5 speed should be a thing of the past.