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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys. I am having a little bit issue with my 2013 Boxster S with 20k miles on the clock, which I got early August. This is my first manual transmission car. I learned how to drive a manual on it. It has been performing flawlessly. Only recently, I started to notice that shifting into first and second gear becomes a little rough. And a few times, it won't go into gears like there is a wall blocking it. I had to put it back to neutral and then go to first or second.

There are similar issues on the forum but with much older cars. The car only had 20k miles. I'm not sure if it is something related to cold weather, or it is a sign that I might need a transmission rebuilt soon? You guys have much more experience with manual cars than I do. Any inputs would be greatly appreciated!


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Do you leave the car out at night. It has been getting colder here in PA. Generally this will manifest itself when first starting out after a cold night or if the car has been sitting out in the cold for awhile. The stiffness or difficulty shifting particularly in 1st and 2nd should go away after the transmission has warmed up. If it doesn't improve after warm up, you may have other issues. Porsche manual transmissions (and manual transmissions in general) tend to be pretty bulletproof. If you continue to have problems, it might just be that you have not developed the proper technique. Ask a long time manual transmission user to drive your car and/or watch as you drive. If this is not it, take to a Porsche dealer or independent shop to sort it out. If the car has any remaining warranty or is CPO'd the issue might be covered. The 981 Boxster is a great car and once you've gotten this sorted out you'll love it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for your input. That's actually a really good suggestion. I should get a more experienced driver check on my car and driving techniques. The car gets pretty cold overnight, since my garage is not covered by AC. It does seem to ease out a bit after driving a few miles.

I'm already loving the car a lot. It is far lighter and balanced than my Audi S5. Cornering is so easy. It is a lot of fun. But I can't fully enjoy the car yet. I get jerky shift at high rmp, which seems harming the car. I guess I need to figure out the timing of releasing the clutch for each gear and at different rmp?


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Is it only an issue when the car is cold (below 40F)? Does issue go away once the car warms up? I would get it checked out and get the transmission serviced (fluid and filter change).
 

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This is likely not the problem, but a good habit I've carried over from driving manual for many years. The gears within the transmission are shaped just so, so that they can mesh easily with little to no interference. Sometimes by pure luck of the draw the teeth happen to be aligned in such a way that you can't easily get through. When shifting into first, to avoid this, I will typically tap the gear lever against second gear but not actually shifting into second, just to get the gears to align properly. Just a quick tap against second then straight into first, smooth and without resistance. Modern cars typically no longer need such techniques, but they are a part of my driving style from cars past.
 

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This is likely not the problem, but a good habit I've carried over from driving manual for many years. The gears within the transmission are shaped just so, so that they can mesh easily with little to no interference. Sometimes by pure luck of the draw the teeth happen to be aligned in such a way that you can't easily get through. When shifting into first, to avoid this, I will typically tap the gear lever against second gear but not actually shifting into second, just to get the gears to align properly. Just a quick tap against second then straight into first, smooth and without resistance. Modern cars typically no longer need such techniques, but they are a part of my driving style from cars past.

You are more of a optimist than I am.
My guess was that he chewed up the second gear synchronizer that tend to start making itself known when the transmission is cold.
 

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Manual/DCT transmissions don't like cold shifting, period. They're jerky, and should be shifted slowly until fully warmed up (DCTs do that automatically). As fluid gets old, it might need replacing if car was ever tracked. Since you don't know, and it's relatively simple to do, I'd do it next time you change the oil. And yes, when cold, the hardest shifts are 1st and 2nd. To engage first, you can shift to 2nd first, then first. If you have difficulty shifting into both, as Mike G said, you might be dealing with a bad synchro. Hopefully that won't be the case, but it pays to change the fluid to see if that clears the issue. Also make sure you're doing 2 things: depressing clutch pedal ALL THE WAY down. And second, after disengaging the clutch (pedal depressed), quickly engage 1st (or 2nd), because if you wait even a second when cold, the gears will stop, and you might encounter what somebody already commented: teeth vs teeth. The deal is to shift before the gears stop rotating, which happens quickly with viscous cold fluid. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You are more of a optimist than I am.
My guess was that he chewed up the second gear synchronizer that tend to start making itself known when the transmission is cold.
That is exactly what I'm worried about. I think I probably release the clutch a little too fast for second gear.


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Could be that the cables need adjustment... worth checking.

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This was my experience, generally, with a previous car. Same service visit to check could inform you of more dire circumstances.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you guys so much for input and great suggestions. I just finished a 13 hour flight. Man, that was tough.

The problem gets better after the car warms up, but still not as smooth as the other gears. I will get my transmission fluid changed and try the techniques you guys suggested to alieveate the issue.


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Which cable are we referring to in this case?
In the 981, the shifter connects to the transmission with cables, for better or worse.

I do not recall the linkage mechanism on my prior car, but adjustment is probably the basically same deal.
 

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My guess is that you'd REALLY have to try to seriously injure these transmissions. If it's worked fine since you've had it and are just now noticing a difference, I think I'll agree with others who have mentioned the weather as a factor.

Having driven manuals my entire life, I think I've just gotten used to 1-2 being a little dodgier than the other gears, typically. There's exceptions obviously, like the AWD talon that just didn't like fast shifting in any gear- or the foxbody mustang that had an absolutely shredded 3rd gear syncro... but these are cars that are historically very prone to abuse.

Long story short, I doubt your transmission has been harmed in any way.
 

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The gears are a lot stronger than the synchros; you can damage them rather easily if careless. Those are the achilles heel of manual transmissons. And the clutch, of course, but it's considered a separate/independent part from the tranny. OP, when tranny is cold, you have to be VERY deliberate with the shifts, meaning no releasing of the clutch until gear is fully selected. Need to take your time with each shift, especially at the beginning, to allow fluid to reach all parts. And also to become less viscous with heat, to properly lubricate everything once you demand more of the tranny. Hopefully yours is still okay. If after fluid change you still have issues, or think you have, then try to find another car like yours, or find a knowledgeable owner who can drive yours and tell you if it's normal or not. Good luck.
 

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I don't know guys... My 981S shifts well in any gear, at 55K miles. So I don't buy that "need to take your time with shifts". Best gearbox I ever had by far. I'd suggest visiting the dealer to check what's going on. Car is still on warranty, right? While the clutch is considered wearable - the gearbox is not.
 

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I don't know guys... My 981S shifts well in any gear, at 55K miles. So I don't buy that "need to take your time with shifts". Best gearbox I ever had by far. I'd suggest visiting the dealer to check what's going on. Car is still on warranty, right? While the clutch is considered wearable - the gearbox is not.
I agree. I've never owned any car without a manual transmission, and the 981 box is as perfect as I've experienced. I'm thinking air in the clutch line or perhaps a master or slave cylinder issue. I'm thinking that a synchro issue would cause more of a grind rather than resistance. And to Guzzii, if you're anywhere near Hershey, PM me, drive to my house, and we'll compare cars.
 

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So I don't buy that "need to take your time with shifts".
You have to, in order to avoid wearing the synchros prematurely. It's hard to describe the exact timing, but I'm not talking seconds between gear changes. Just enough that it doesn't feel hard. If you don't have to force the gear lever into any gear, then you're doing it slow enough;). Remember cold, thick oil doesn't lubricate, so have to take it easy. That's also why PDKs are so laggy when cold; to protect against damage. I personally never speed shift my manual cars, so my shifting speed is okay hot or cold, except going back to 1st while moving even a little bit is hard until fluid heats up, so I avoid doing it... even on my PDK. Finally, a gearbox might not be a 'wear item' per say, but you can sure as hell wear it out by abuse or bad driving practices. And Porsche probably would deny any such claim after inspection, so treat your tranny with respect;).
 

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You have to, in order to avoid wearing the synchros prematurely. It's hard to describe the exact timing, but I'm not talking seconds between gear changes. Just enough that it doesn't feel hard. If you don't have to force the gear lever into any gear, then you're doing it slow enough;). Remember cold, thick oil doesn't lubricate, so have to take it easy. That's also why PDKs are so laggy when cold; to protect against damage. I personally never speed shift my manual cars, so my shifting speed is okay hot or cold, except going back to 1st while moving even a little bit is hard until fluid heats up, so I avoid doing it... even on my PDK. Finally, a gearbox might not be a 'wear item' per say, but you can sure as hell wear it out by abuse or bad driving practices. And Porsche probably would deny any such claim after inspection, so treat your tranny with respect;).
Yeah, obviously when it's stone cold, but the description doesn't sound like it is only occurring during the first few minutes. (And what does a Texan know about cold??) :)

With my Alfa GTV6, I had to start it in gear with the clutch in during winter. It simply would not go into gear when the oil was cold. But even that car would shift fine after a few minutes even in single digit temps...
 

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Yeah, obviously when it's stone cold, but the description doesn't sound like it is only occurring during the first few minutes.
I know. But I was responding to the guy who said tranny should shift the same hot or cold, and it's simply not the case. With the OP, his only hope is fluid is somehow not good anymore, meaning his car was tracked in hot climates, previous owner changed oil and used an improper one, etc. Definitely worth a try. But yes, if the problem persists, it'd most likely be a worn synchro. That's what eventually happens when you need to shove the shift lever in gear long enough when tranny is cold, lots of speed-shifting, etc. Hopefully new oil will fix his issue.
 
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