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Rough shifting on my Toyota T100

Hey all, I drive a '93 Toyota T100 with a manual transmission. Up until recently things were going great but I’ve noticed it is damn near impossible to shift from reverse back into first gear when I’m pulling out of my driveway. I’ve also found that shifting from first gear to second has become more difficult as well though not impossible. However if I’m shifting to third, fourth, or fifth gears I don’t have any problem whatsoever. I had the transmission redone about a year ago after the clutch gave out so I’m hoping its not that. Any input on how to remedy or repair the problem would be great! Thank you.

If you can shift into any gear without the engine running, but have problems when the engine is running, the problem might be with the clutch master cylinder leaking internally, and not fully disengaging the clutch when the clutch pedal is depressed.


I haven’t tried shifting without the engine running but that might be a good start to test this. So if I understand correctly, you are saying the clutch may be engaged even if my foot has released the clutch pedal?


What I’m saying is, the clutch master cylinder may not be producing enough hydraulic pressure to the slave cylinder to fully disengage the clutch when the pedal is depressed. And that makes it hard to shift into first and reverse.


Is that a relatively easy fix with a mechanic or something I could try at home? I ask because I dished out a grand almost two years ago to completely replace the clutch and transmission.

The clutch master cylinder is mounted on the firewall next to the brake master cylinder.

You’ll have to go under the dash to disconnect the clutch pedal from the master cylinder. Remove the hydraulic line from the master cylinder. Then remove the master cylinder from the firewall.

Once the new master cylinder is installed, the clutch hydraulic system is bled at the slave cylinder.

But if you’re going to replace the master cylinder, also replace the slave cylinder. Because when one is faulty, the other isn’t far behind.


Thanks for the info. I’m going to try to take my truck into the mechanic after my next paycheck. I can still drive it, but am I causing more damage by doing so?

Are you still rolling when you’re shifting it from reverse to first? If so, this hard on the powertrain. I recommend not doing so.

If you’re stopping completely before going from reverse to first, you’re doing no damage even with your current problem.

When you force it into gear, you’re wearing out the synchro for that gear.

One method to narrow down the cause, if it helps to pump the clutch pedal a couple times before shifting, that’s consistent with a problematic clutch master cylinder. I have a Corolla of that vintage and have replaced the clutch master cylinder twice, it’s a pretty common problem.

If you are an inexperienced diy’er, I wouldn’t advise taking on that job in your driveway yourself. On the Corolla at least the MC is positioned in a very awkward place. I have to loosen the brake power booster and push it slightly aside just to get enough work space, and I still have to use some special tools – in particular a set of curved jaw pliers – I use pretty much only for that job.

Also, unless you are seeking perfection, or need the vehicle to perform flawlessly on every occasion, I wouldn’t replace the slave cylinder unless there’s a reason to do that. I’ve never replaced the slave cylinder on my Corolla.