Shifting a standard transmission 2002 Ford F-150 into first gear

Dear Mr. & Mr. Tappet,

I’ve been waiting for some innumerable international time units in order to come up with another tricky question for you. Here it is: I own a Ford F-150 (2002) with a standard transmission. When I am stopped at a light or at a stop sign when driving it is almost impossible to put the car into first gear. I have found that if I shift the transmission into SECOND gear and THEN into first gear it goes in without any problem. Once every so often the gears will make a short grinding sound when I shift from second into third gear. I have had the Ford dealer here in Fort Smith examine the problem and they thought it was the clutch (which they replaced) but that had absolutely no effect one way or the other, on my trouble.

What do YOU think?


Nick T.

When the dealership replaced the clutch, did the clutch master cylinder get replaced? If the clutch pedal feels a little bit spongy, you might have the system bled because there might be a little air in there. Then, if the problem still is present, the clutch master cylinder might need to be replaced and the system bled.

Hope that is what it is.

it isn’t “mushy” and never was.

It sounds to me that the syncronizers in the transmission are worn.

I’ll go along with the bad synchronizers. In the days before low gear was synchronized on manual transmissions, I would always put the gearshift in 2nd gear and then pull it back into low to prevent crunching the gears. You shouldn’t have to do this with today’s transmissions that are sychronized in all gears. The bad synchronizer theory is further confirmed by having a grinding sound when shifting from second to third.
I think you need to find a good independent transmission shop where they have a good manual transmission specialist. You could also live with the situation by shifting to second and then back to first and double clutching between second and third.