Suzuki Cappuccino - Gears get stuck downshifting from 3rd to 1st

New to the car forums as well as to my Suzuki Cappuccino(1993). So, hello everyone :slight_smile: !!

Just gave her the first test drives today, and it has problems downshifting from 3rd to 1st. First gear to fifth is a breeze, but not so much when you flip the script.

Changing gears from 3rd to 2nd is a no go. It wont engage into 2nd, it’s as if you’re tugging on a piece of rebar. And if I’m in 2nd trying to get to 1st, it’s the same issue, unless I throw it in neutral, come to a complete stop and give the clutch a quick pump. But then at that point I’m just upshifting. So yeah, trying to downshift from 3rd to 1st isn’t an option.

Any ideas of what the issue could be? If something’s wrong I can fix it, but I can’t diagnose an issue as I am not much of the mechanic type. I was thinking maybe some teeth on the gears could be chipped or on the synchronizer ring, but again, I’m no mechanic.

Any insight will be much appreciated! Thank you for taking the time to read!

Sounds like a problem with the synchromesh in the transmission. Do you know how to double clutch? Try that, takes a bit of skill to try, but that can help with down shifting.


I think SteveCBT is correct. If so, the internals of transmissions, whether manual or automatic, is best left to professionals.
Another possibility is the linkage, such as worn bushings or a bent rod.
You could try a transmission fluid change, make sure you use the correct fluid as specified by Suzuki. Some manual transmissions use gear oil, some use ATF. Examine the old fluid for metal fragments. I doubt this will help, but it just might free up something that is sticking.

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If you can do the shift sitting still with the engine off, no clutch pedal, then the problem may be a bad clutch master or slave cylinder… or clutch cable… depending on what you have.


Did someone give you this thing or did you actually buy a vehicle without a test drive first ?

Kei car or city car.image

At what kind of speeds are you trying to downshift from 3rd to 2nd?

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While it could indeed be something inside the transmission, my guess is the same as MM’s above, the clutch isn’t totally disengaging for some reason, and that’s making it hard to shift to the lower gears, esp when the engine is running. If pumping the clutch pedal prior to the shift seems to help, that’s a clue it’s the clutch MC has an internal leak and needs replacement. It’s may be possible on this vehicle to visually inspect the clutch slave cylinder’s action as well. That could provide more clues. If the problem is a leaking clutch MC, in my experience it won’t be long that you won’t be able to shift at all.

I’ll definitely give that a try! Thank you for the insight, much appreciated!

I’m planning to flush about every fluid system in that thing anyway, but I’ll for sure look into the linkage if everything else doesn’t pan out. Thank you!

Imported it to the US from Japan, knew it had some transmission issues but got it for a great price! Would’ve test drove it if I could :sweat_smile:

Double clutching works!! For now haha. I really have to be in a low speed to get it to shift between them, but man oh man does it work. My future plans with it will be definitely to get that and everything else on that car sorted with. But for now, it’s perfect, for me at least :smiley: Thank you again!