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Old 06-05-2016, 06:10 AM   #1
Mig
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5-speed Boxster won't go into 1st gear

Hello.

I did the clutch on my 1999 Boxster along with a few other jobs (IMS bearing, RMS, new flywheel, slave cylinder, AOS, rear struts, spark plug tubes, front motor mount). Everything works well except I can't get into 1st gear - regardless if the engine is on or off.

I tried figuring out what the problem could be by having someone in the car go through the gears (engine off) while I looked at the transmission end of the cables to see what was going on.

I was able to get the transmission into first gear if I pushed up, with a fair amount of force, on the top of the connecting rod (98642493106). Pushing up on the connecting rod allowed the shaft to rotate the little bit that was needed to get into gear. This got me thinking that one of the cables needed adjustment since the rod was not moving far enough.

I took off the centre console and adjusted the side-to-side cable to make it longer. No joy. Still could't get into 1st gear. I tried shortening it too in case my thinking was backwards. Still no luck.

I went back and had another look at the transmission end of the cables. Even with the cable lengthened, there was no further movement of the connecting rod because the rod was hitting the stop and couldn't move further up.

It looks like the connecting rod is simply too short and needs to be lengthened. The factory rod has no adjustment, but the replacement rod does. I'm ready to buy the part and see how it works, but I've got a week to wait until it shows up.

There is one final option I am considering - repositioning the clamp on the transmission shaft. Is it possible that the clamp's position was altered in the process of removing and reinstalling the gearbox? I don't know. Anyone ever take this clamps off? Is it splined?

Has anyone ever had this problem before? I've searched everywhere and nothing turned up. This has me wondering if I've missed something.

Thanks.

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Old 06-05-2016, 07:23 AM   #2
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Hello,

What kind of shifter mechanism do you have? The older style with separated linkage for drive and reverse?


First some questions, because if it had worked before, it should work afterwards:
It is a five speed, right?
Is the clutch working correctly?
Is the clutch lever installed correctly and not worn?
Is the clutch system bleeded correctly?
Is the front engine mount replaced and installed correctly?
Are the clutch cables in right position – as before – very important?

In general: if something is wrong with the length of the cable, that won't affect only 1 gear.

Regards, Markus
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:38 AM   #3
Mig
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Hi Markus.

Yes, it's a 5-speed. New front motor mount, new shift fork, system was properly bled, clutch works perfectly. No issues other than 1st gear can't be engaged with either the engine on or off.

My linkage is the same as the one pictured.

I wonder if the cables are reversed? I didn't even consider this since the car shifts well with the exception of first gear. I even labelled the cabes before I took them off, but maybe I goofed.

I'll reverse them this evening and report back.

Thanks.
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Old 06-05-2016, 08:55 AM   #4
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Hello,

Ok, one question concerning the engine mount. Did you use a complete new mount including carrier or did you use just a new mount and put it in the old carrier? Also did you use a 986 or a 987 engine mount. I ask this question, because if you've used a new mount and put/pressed it in the old carrier, than it's possible that you have pressed it in 180 degrees wrong. That would explain a bad first gear, because the engine sits too low in the front.

In this post i did a photo of the right direction for a 987 mount: http://986forum.com/forums/471308-post26.html



I don't think that the cables can be reversed, because one cable is for the 5 drive gears and one is for reverse. But you can try if you see no other solution to the problem.

Regards, Markus

Last edited by Smallblock454; 06-05-2016 at 09:02 AM. Reason: Added picture
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Old 06-05-2016, 09:11 AM   #5
Mig
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Great photo thanks.

I changed the motor mount after I discovered the problem with 1st gear. I was hoping that changing the mount would fix the problem, but it didn't.

Since you asked, I had a new mount pressed into the old carrier. I referenced photos online for the correct orientation of the replacement mount. Mine looks like yours in the photo. I can't remember the part number off hand.

By the way, the old mount was trashed. The rubber insert fell out completely when I disassembled it. New mount is great - 2200rpm harshness is gone and the overall vibration level inside the car is way down.

Thanks.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:09 AM   #6
Mig
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It looks like I've got the cables in their correct locations - blue cable is below the black one. i found several resources online which show this. So, back to square one.

I'm still leaning towards loosening off the clamp on the transmission selector shaft and repositioning it in the desired direction.
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:14 AM   #7
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OK, so the first gear problem was there, before you started all the repairs? Did you buy the car in that status or tried somebody before to repair that 1. gear problem? So the question is if somebody else tried to repair it before, so if it's possibly not in original condition.

If you adjust the selector i'm pretty shure that will affect other gears. So if you do it, note exactly what you've did.

Regards, Markus
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:30 PM   #8
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First gear problem was not there before I started all the work. It appeared after I did the clutch job. I changed the motor mount afterI discovered the problem with 1st gear hoping that it would fix the problem.

Nothing appears to be bent with the linkage brackets or cables. I'm going to make the clamp/rod and adjust it to see if I can make the problem go away.

I wonder if the clamp got moved in the process of removing or reinstalling the transmission.
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Old 06-05-2016, 06:49 PM   #9
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If you unbolted the shift cable/bellcrank bracket from the transmission, perhaps you got it installed in a slightly different position when putting it back?

Another idea is perhaps you bent or stretched a cable when removing and reinstalling the transmission - or got the cables routed slightly differently than how they were before.

There is a shift linkage cable adjustment up in the cabin, behind the shifter assembly. It's pretty easy once you get to it, but getting to it may be a pain.
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Old 06-06-2016, 07:21 AM   #10
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It's been a long time since I did my clutch, but I do remember having the same issue, but with reverse. Looked underneath and everything looked fine.

I really wish I could remember which linkage it was, but I rotated it 180 degrees and that did the trick. I guess it was just off by a little bit, and rotating it made everything work.

Hopefully, it's something this simple for you.
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:48 AM   #11
Mig
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It's fixed! I now have 1st gear (along with all the other gears too).

I initially tried to fix the problem by repositioning the clamp around the selector shaft of the transmission, but the clamp can only go one way as it's located in place by the set screw. So much for that idea.

As I continued to look at the problem I could only see 2 solutions.

The first solution was to buy the replacement relay rod (which is adjustable) so that I could get more extension (and therefore more rotation on the selector shaft). When I called the dealership for the part I was informed the price was $75, but they needed to check on something because he wanted to make sure I got the correct part. I got a call back later saying that the new part I need was over $300 and that I would also need a new shifter cable somewhere around $450. There was no way I was going to spend that much money for what seemed to be a small problem.

The other option was to grind a bit of material out of the slot in the bell crank that the relay rod travels in. It was hitting the upper end of the slot and needed a few more millimetres of travel to get into position for 1st gear.

I removed the bell crank assembly off the transmission and took it to my bench. Using a drill with a small grinder attachment I cleanly took off enough material to lengthen the slot. I put the assembly back on, reconnected the cables, and first gear was there.

Everything works well now, and I'm tempted to just leave it alone, but I'm going to call Pelican Parts and see if they can get me the $75 relay rod which my local dealership says won't work for my car.

Thanks again for all the responses and suggestions. This is a great community!

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1st gear , boxster 986 , problem , won't shift


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