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2006 Corolla Le Manual - Rough Shift 2Nd To 3Rd

By EricSwansn, August 24, 2016

2006 Corolla LE - 115,000 - Manual Transmission

This started about six months ago. If I shift directly up from 2nd gear to 3rd gear there is a catch/grind as it goes into 3rd. It's not prolonged, it goes right into third but I can feel and hear it. To my uneducated ear, it seems to catch on a few gear teeth before fully engaging.

If I pause in Neutral for a moment in the middle of the shift, it goes into 3rd smoothly.

At first I thought I wasn't getting the clutch fully pressed but it only happens going from 2nd to 3rd and it has happened when I was fully aware of pressing the clutch down as far as it would go.

It may be that this happens mostly when the car is colder and not so much after it has been driving for 20 minutes or more. That is an impression I haven't managed to confirm. It may also be that the length of that pause in Neutral needs to be longer than when I first noticed this.

When I had the car in for recent oil change I asked them to look at it. They had no answers or conclusions but did say that the transmission fluid looked good with no discoloration and no bits of metal in it.

Does this sound like anything anyone has run into before? Should I be worried?


Our kid took ours for a few years and when it came back it did that too. Googling the problem (like how I got here...) it turns out it's a common problem with that manual transmission. The xmission oil was pretty bad so I put new Amsoil and Tufoil in it, but no change. After it warms up (5 or 10 miles) it's okay. We've been lucky - some people have it go with under 100k miles. Ours is a 2004 with about 250k.

I'm wondering if there's an additive of some sort, or if e.g. straight GL5 would take care of it. GL4 is slipperier, but GL5 is more heavy duty. At this point I'm more than willing to lose the mpg's if the grinding goes away.

Did you take it in to a dealer? I'm sure they know about it so if they claim they don't they're probably lying, so I'd change dealers...

I'd think every time you grind it it wears a little more, so I'm thinking fix it sooner rather than later.

Manual tranny fluid needs to be replaced every 40,000 miles. Replace asap with Amsoil MTG or Redline MT-90. You only need 2 quarts.

You can also bleed out any air and worn fluid at your clutch release cylinder. It is shared with the brake fluid reservoir... You could also clean and lube your shifter cable ends and selecting bellcrank bolted on top of tranny. Once removed, it can be opened to clean out the rust and pack with grease.

Uhhh... Remove what, exactly?

Also, I've already been running Amsoil, but it's been the GL5 stuff. That's exactly what I've been wondering, should I stick with GL4?

Thanks for your responses. Will do clutch/brake fluid tomorrow. Got a link to the best way to do that?


It'll shift better on Amsoil's thinner MTG 75W-90 GL4, which is specifically formulated for your manual tranny, but you're fine with Amsoil Severe Gear GL5 for 40,000 miles since you changed it until you're due again.

You just need to crack the clutch release cylinder's bleed fitting open just a bit to allow any air out, and let some dark fluid out until it comes out clearer, up to about 1/2 ounce. It's in front of clutch bell housing, just below your throttle body.

Selecting bellcrank assembly is held on top of tranny with two bolts. You just need to pull the cable end clips out to remove it. Careful not to lose the small square black bushing between it and tranny. You can then set it in a table vise and remove the nut to open it up, clean out rust, and repack with grease. Grease square bushing to make it stick in place upon reassembly.

You could also be lazy and spray a crap load of spray grease where the Selecting bellcrank assembly is like I did and had much smoother shifting. i also greased up where the shiftier is inside the car but it didn't really need any. you may also need some cable adjustments for 2-3 gear . if it were me I would change the oil if needed then grease up the shifter linkages on the tranny and under the shifter inside the car then go from there . BTW i use the amsoil MTG 75W-90 GL4 and it works nicely for me. I towed a heavy trailer and motorcycle for 1800 KMS running 3rd gear pedal to the metal to make it up most hills at 100 kph and staying in 4th gear most of the journy to maintain the speed limit lol im sure my poor corolla wasn't too happy with me (smelled burning rubber as well which could have been rubber mounts or seals burning) and i did change the tranny oil not long after it was only a bit dark.. but shes still going strong with 290,000 Kms

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