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MT Reverse Gear Problems

Anyone out there with thoughts on the 3 problems below, how to deal with Hyundai warranty folks?


New 2007 Hyundai Accent SE (10 months, 10,000 miles) w/manual transmission. From day-1, 3 different reverse gear problems began occurring, collectively, approximately 1 to 3 times/week:

1. Upon attempting to go into reverse, lever sticks in what I term “false reverse.” (I have never dared to let out the clutch when that happens.) Eventually, shift lever becomes movable, I start over, and am able to shift into actual reverse.

2. Upon moving shift lever to reverse gear and letting out the clutch, there is a very mild grinding. When I then depress the clutch, I can actually see the shift lever move about 1/4" into reverse, on its own, and, upon letting out the clutch, I am able to back up.

3. Upon shifting into reverse, engaging clutch and starting to back up, transmission pops out of reverse.

Dealer, and now, finally, Hyundai local techies looking into my warranty claim, all state they are unable to duplicate any of these conditions and have declared that, “as far as we’re concerned,” there’s nothing wrong with the transmission.

How did they try to duplicate situation? They drove the car 80 miles on the highway, dealer service manager tried to engage reverse “six” times, other techies an unspecified number of times, and tried reversing up a hill. Service writer stated she had difficulty getting the car into reverse, but her statement discounted by Hyundai.

Asked Hyundai to contact one of their transmission engineers, describe the symptoms to him/her, figure out the likely cause(s) of the problem, then check for the presence of whatever that might be.

Hyundai refused.

Warranty claim denied.

Now what?

Contact the Hyundai factory rep and have them recommend another dealer. My past experience with Hyundai’s warranty has been nothing but good.

Just offhand, this sounds like some kind of shift linkage or linkage adjustment problem and I agree with Rod Knox about contacting Hyundai and bypassing the dealer at this point. There should be some contact info in the owners manual.
Keep your dealings with Hyundai corporate polite and professional and remember that they are a separate company from the dealer and their views may be completely different.

One thing I take issue with here is the dealer putting 80 miles on your car. There is no excuse in the world for extended driving with a problem like this.

I’m not real familiar with Hyundais but will throw something out there. If your model was manufactured overseas and shipped over on a freighter it could have an “ocean swell” generated problem. I used to see this on Subarus that were made overseas and boated over.
At times someone would park a Subaru on the freighter and leave it in gear; usually reverse after backing it into a stall.
The cars were SUPPOSED to be left in neutral. The car would be chained down and after thousands of miles of a rocking ship the reverse gears in the transmission would be trashed due to the constant gnashing of gears that had pressure applied to them.

Someone would buy a new Subaru and the problem would not be noticeable until they backed up at a decent clip and then problems would surface; jumping out of gear, howling, grinding, and whatnot.
If your car was made in North America then of course this would not apply. Just pointing out a possibility here.

Thank you. It was two Hyundai factory reps that said that as they couldn’t duplicate the problem, as far as they were concerned, there was no problem.

Thank you. I bought Hyundai’s upgraded shifter (B & M short-throw), and the dealer installed it. Made no difference in the reverse gear problems. When I learned about the 80 miles of driving (the Hyundai reps insisted on it, according to the dealer), I also said it made no sense, given the fact that these problems happen reversing out of a parking spot at a speed of well under 1 mph. The car was manufactured in Korea.

Now you’re throwing me for a loop with the “upgraded shifter”. There’s nothing wrong with the factory shifter and installation of a short throw shifter usually points to someone banging gears.

Maybe the first thing you should do is contact the Hyundai regional office come Monday morning and find out if your warranty is still any good.

Who recommended this shifter and what was the reason given? To cure the reverse problem? Something is starting to reek a bit. A look at ALLDATA does not show any TSBs on manual transmission or shifter problems.

Again, thank you very much, ok4450. The “B & M sport shift” is Hyundai part # U8190-1E000, purchased from Gary Rome Hyundai, and installed by my local Hyundai dealer. It was an option on the 2007 Accent SE hatchback w/manual transmission, and is standard on the 2008 Accent SE w/manual transmission. As for why I had it installed, the original shifter was so long, I felt like I was shifting with a yardstick, and the original shifter was “sloppy” to boot. I had the B & M installed because I wanted a more precise shifter, and in the hope of solving my problems going into reverse. As for “banging gears,” never. (But who bangs gears into reverse?) I just like a shifter with a precise feel always pause momentarily when moving from one gear to the next, and never force it into gear. FWIW, I’m 72-years-old, have been driving stick shifts for 55 years, drive very conservatively, and now, with $4 gas, hold my top speed to 55 mph. The fact that ALLDATA does not show any TSBs on manual transmission or shifter problems is a two-edged sword. Clearly, one possible cause of my reverse-gear problems would be that I’m doing something wrong when I shift into reverse. If this problem is caused by “driver error,” and it hasn’t turned up in ALLDATA, then I’m the only Accent driver on the planet who’s doing this. Possible, but not likely. So, back to my original question: Given the symptoms I’ve listed, what else within the transmission beside an ocean swell-generated problem is possibly causing this?

Correction: The Hyundai part number for the B & M short-throw shifter is 45227. Sorry about that.

Is this a stand-off between the incompetant and the incorrigible?

When shifting a manual transmission to reverse, the gears often bind short of full engagement and clutch engagement at thaat point would throw the shifter to neutral. However, shifting to neutral and releasing the clutch would spin the cluster to a new, and hopefully more agreeable line-up and allow full engagement.

I will point out that the “ocean swell” problem is a very real problem but the main symptom one would have with this is that one would hear noise when backing up. Usually the noise will only occur if the reverse speed is a bit high and would not be noticeable in a reverse “creep” if you want to call it that. An ocean swell problem will not cause a problem actually shifting into reverse; or in theory anyway.

Thank you for clarifying the short throw shifter part of this. I did not know one was offered and now understand why it was done.
If the shifter linkage is correctly adjusted, etc and unless there is something very quirky about the reverse gears in thet transmission then I have no idea what the problem is at this point.

Reverse gears are generally what are called “straight cut”, which means they’re not beveled. This is what causes the subtle whine in reverse and can explain why sometimes it may be hard to get in reverse when 2 straight gear teeth just happen to align.

Wished I could be of more help but without having the car in hand and actually getting a feel for the problem I have no idea at this point. About all I can suggest is contacting the Hyundai regional office and seeing if it’s possible that you could meet with their service rep when he makes his scheduled round.

One more question. In regards to this warranty claim denied thing, did you actually have dealings with the regional office or are you going by what you were told by the dealership service manager? Some of the SMs can be a bit shaky at times if you know what I mean.

Thanks. I’ll try the going-into-neutral drill, and see what happens. Problems # 2 & #3 are arguably related to each other, and perhaps what you propose might eliminate both of them. However, I believe problem #1 is a completely different animal. Do you agree? If so, any thoughts on getting #1 to go away?

Many thanks. Never any noise backing up. On occasion, though, very slight grinding noise in reverse gear upon engaging the clutch. At that point, I bail out on backing up. As noted in original post, when that happens I immediately disengage the clutch, and the shift lever, without my touching it, can be seen to move slightly the rest of the way into reverse, and I can then immediately engage the clutch again and back up normally. When, on the occasions the transmission pops out of reverse gear, there is no noise at all until the instant it jumps out of gear. At about 6 months into these on-going problems, I told the dealer, i.e., the service manager & the sales manager, who happens to be the owner’s daughter, that I wanted to speak to someone from Hyundai. Both promised to put him in touch with me. I waited about 3 months, but he never did contact me. Finally, after 3 months of waiting, the sales manager & sales manager told me they had both spoken with the Hyundai guy, and that he told them to tell me to file a warranty claim. When I filed the claim via an 800 number, I told the guy handling my claim that I wanted to talk to the local Hyundai rep. Nothing happened. Again, on 7/8 when I brought my car to the dealer at the service manager’s request, and he told me 2 Hyundai reps would be checking out my car, I told him I wanted to speak directly with them. The SM claims that he passed on my request, but, again, they didn’t contact me.

This does sound like either an improper linkage adj. problem or an internal transmission fault and it really should not be that hard to figure out. Grinding a bit going into reverse could also point to a slightly dragging clutch but jumping out of gear or not going all the way into reverse is not clutch related. That’s linkage or a transmission fault.
I wished I could be of more help but it sounds like you’re being yanked around a bit; or a lot.

At this point I have no idea as to advice on what to do. If it were me I would make sure everything is documented with receipts, copies of repair orders, and even a written notebook spelling out approx. dates when the car was in there for this problem.

I would then contact Hyundai regional office by sending them a certified letter in short simple English relating this problem and firmly asking that they remedy this problem. Mention in this letter than the dealership management may possibly be simply dismissing your problem and that you don’t know whether they’ve made an honest effort or not.
Polite but firm, and ask for a response in writing.

If there are no results with this then I would gladly spend a 100 bucks with a lawyer and send them a letter insinuating legal action. Sometimes a legal letterhead gets attention and they know their legal bill arguing with you is going to cost them more than the cost of the actual repair.

It’s kind of strange that what should be a warrantable issue involves so much foot-dragging. It’s impossible to tell at this point if the problem is Hyundai or the dealer. I suspect the latter. Hope some of that helps and good luck.

Thank you. My local service manager also made this point. However, Alldata gets information reported by Hyundai. I (and others?) have reported to Hyundai that shifting into reverse is problematic. Hyundai denies this. Certainly, then, Hyundai hasn’t reported this problem to Alldata. Conclusion: The absence of data in Alldata is not necessarily the absence of a problem.