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Shifting into first gear from stop grinding

Hello! I am wondering what the cause maybe for when I put my car into first gear from a stop it often grinds and I can sometimes smell burning afterwards.

I am new to manuals but I don’t have this problem with any other gear but sometimes 3rd and up shakes the car dunno if its the road or something else since I’ve only been driving it for around a week. I know my transmission doesn’t have a synchro for first gear as well if that helps any. Also I flushed the clutch fluid before since the pedal was really soft.

Just ordered a new clutch slave cylinder as maybe thats the problem? Any info will help a lot. My engine has 168,880 miles on it.

If the problem were with the clutch slave cylinder, there would be hydraulic fluid leaking on the ground.

The problem is most likely with the clutch master cylinder.

The clutch master cylinder can leak internally where it doesn’t produce enough hydraulic pressure to operate the clutch fully.

The burning smell is from the clutch disk slipping, because the master cylinder isn’t providing the proper hydraulic pressure to completely release the clutch.

And if the clutch doesn’t completely release, the gears will grind when shifting.



Ouch! :scream_cat:
Stop doing that! Get this situation diagnosed properly and corrected or park the car and stop driving it. Smelling a clutch, brakes, automatic transmission, engine oil, etcetera, burning (or hearing grinding) … is Mother Nature’s way of telling the driver to park it! :wink:


That has to be a record of some kind.


However, I understand that the 4-door Pinto wagons were also capable or racking up incredible odometer mileage.

No, not the ordinary Pinto wagons! Just the ultra-rare 4-door Pinto wagons.


OP’s Mitsubishi Eclipse’s vintage is a secret but my 2002 had first gear synchromesh. The only cars newer than early 1950s I have owned or driven except British cars have had it.

Yeah I don’t recall anyone mentioning a Pinto again and the year may be less relevant given the mileage.

I was also sort of surprised to hear the OP’s first gear isn’t a synchromesh design. Perhaps they mean they’ve been told a little occasional soft grinding sound is to be expected when shifting from neutral into first, which is true from my own experience in other cars too. I’m not sure why it happens in 1st and not any of the other forward gears. I notice it tends to happen more when the engine rpm is a little on the high side.

Even if synchromeshed 1st gear can grind when shifting from neutral with a dragging clutch. But once moving normal upshifting might give no indication of a problem. But if the situation continues the repair will be very costly.


I dunno I just saw it somewhere on club 3g forum’s that it doesn’t have a synchro for 1st gear.Also I just ordered a new master cylinder so hopefully that fixes the problem.

Silver tune on club 3G says it does not have 1 st gear synchro. So it must be true.

Never had a manual with syncs but even so I don’t think it would matter if the clutch is still engaged.

From what you post above, I think there’s a pretty good chance that will fix you up. I’ve had to replace the clutch master cylinder on my Corolla a couple of times over the years for similar reasons. On my Corolla what happens when the symptom first starts to rear its ugly head, it will shift normally most of the time. But if I come to a stop sign or stop light and while waiting I keep my foot held down on the clutch for 15-30 seconds or so, while in neutral, waiting to shift to first. Then when I try to shift to first, a lot of grinding or usually it just won’t move to first at all. To get it to go to first I have to pump the clutch pedal two or three times, then it will go into first like normal.

Replacing the clutch MC is a bit of a technical challenge on the Corolla, b/c of where it is located, right in an inaccessible corner of the engine compartment on the firewall. I have to loosen the bolts holding the power booster and shift it to the side to free up some room. Then there’s the problem with loosing & tightening the fluid fittings. A normal wrench just won’t fit into the space. It’s like the most wrench unfriendly spot in the car … lol … I need some kind of short bent wrench for that job, but I don’t have one bent enough or short enough I guess. I finally figured out a way to do it with really – I mean really – long pliers with 45 degree angle bent tips.

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You’re shifting up too soon (speed too low).

Well, it doesn’t NOW, because it’s worn out.



I fixed the probelm all I did was loosen the part where the clutch attaches to the master cylinder. It doesn’t do it anymore.

After replacing both the master cylinder and slave cylinder I couldn’t get it into gear at all and after loosening the pedal attachment part so it pushes further and sends more fluid it grinded a little then losened it again and it stopped grinding completely.

As far as I can tell both parts were in good shape and the old master cylinder looked brand new still.

Also I found out I need a new transmission mount and front motor mounts and my brakes are sticking so maybe thats also why it some times shakes at higher speeds.

Thank you everyone for your help I appreciate it.

loose nuts or bolts will quickly, with a little vibration, work completely off. Then you will have serious problems.

I suspect you adjusted the clutch pedal push rod, then tightened the lock nut, correct?

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Yes thats what I did sorry didn’t know the name of it.

I’m guessing your prior master cylinder actually was bad & leaking internally, and the new one is good &doesn’t leak, but it came adjusted slightly differently out of the box. That’s why it wouldn’t shift at all after you installed it. Adjusting the push rod then brought it back into proper adjustment with the clutch pedal. It’s also possible there was some air in the system after you installed the mc and slave, and it just took some time to bleed out, or adjusting the push rod manipulated the valves inside the mc enough for the air to bleed out. It’s not possible in most cases to tell if a clutch mc is good or not just by visual inspection.

However it happened, glad to hear you are back to a smooth shifting drive!!