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I had my tranny and clutch refubed...but, I'm still having a problem downshifting from 3rd into 2nd....

This is want should happen (I think)

If I push in the cluch at any speed, I should be able to shift in to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th gear freely (with the cluch engaged at all times!)

but this is what's happening---

If I push in the cluch at any speed and move to 2nd gear (Yes, the cluch is still pushed-in); or when downshifting from 3rd - 2nd going 13 - 15 MPH it "grinds" or sounds like grinding.

If I'm going at 10-12 MPH it does not "grind"?????

James Meskill
Concord, NC 170k (2000)
 

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When down shifting a manual transmission car it's important to rev match.
While shifting from 3 to 2nd for example it's important to momentarily blip (apply the throttle) to increase the RPM of the engine to syncronise the wheel/transmission speed with the engine RPM in the next lower gear.
When done correctly the clutch is released as quickly as possible but the engagement is smooth because the wheels do not instantly speed up the engine.
Proper downshifting is critical for long clutch, gear syncros and transmission life. And it's an essential skill for performance driving.

The reason you notice a problem now when before you didn't is because the Insight gears are tall and far apart so it's even more critical then a close gear ratio transmission where you may be able to get away with such a bad habit for a little while until the syncros wear out.

I can say with confidence that more then 99% of manual transmission drivers do not know how to shift properly. I know this because i'm a part time in-car instructor at several collision avoidance, autoslalom, and track lapping schools.

Search the internet for "Rev Matching downshift" or something like that.
After you get the hang of that, start to learn "heel and toe downshifting".
In fact also search for videos on youtube.com and google.video.com to see it in action.
 

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I suspect you will get lots of responses to this.

The gear ratios in the transmission are fairly wide so the shift from 3rd to 2nd, with any "speed", will result in the gears needing to spin up quite a bit. With over 100k miles on the transmission the synchros are probably quite worn. I usually "double clutch" while down shifting to prevent too much wear on the synchros. Another thing to do is to just wait until you are going slower before shifting.

Double clutching, also called heal and toe, is to shift the transmission into neutral before shifting to the lower gear, release the clutch while in neutral then "rev' the engine to approximately where it will be after the down shift. Then press the clutch and the down shift should be very easy. It sound like a lot of work to do, and it must be done fairly quickly so the gears don't spin down. After a bit of practice it becomes quite easy.

Good luck, and try to be gentile to your transmission.

Frank.
 

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Frank, you are mostly right, except Double clutching is different then heal and toe. Heel and toe involved doing a rev matching downshift WHILE braking. Heel and toe downshifting is the advanced technique of only downshifting while braking, and always rev matching. It takes months of daily practice to get this right most of the time, and it takes years of daily practice to master.

Double clutching is not neccessary when the rev matching is done properly and the gears have syncros.
 

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Guillermo said:
When down shifting a manual transmission car it's important to rev match.
Thanks for this advice. I am having the exact same problem with my Insight, but only down shifting into 2nd and 1st. I had figured it was either two things, me being out of practice as I sold my last standard vehicle in 1998, or that the clutch was wearing out. I'll give this technique a try today.
 

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uhtrinity said:
I'll give this technique a try today.
I suggest giving it a try for several weeks and months because it's not a skill that can be mastered in only 1 day ;)
 

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uhtrinity said:
I am having the exact same problem with my Insight, but only down shifting into 2nd and 1st.
That is the hardest downshift from a tranny's point of view - the space between the gears is highest. Even double clutching into 1st may grind if you don't get it perfectly right.

One thing to note is that downshifting while braking eleviates a lot of the stress. Have you ever noticed that if you try to go into first while coasting at say 5 mph, it'll grind but you can pop it right in if you are braking? I've found that the harder you are on the brakes, the higher speed you can downshift into 1st. The worst scenario is when your creeping along in traffic and they slow down to 7 or 8 mph and start speeding up again. It's just a little too slow for 2nd and 1st will grind if you try pushing it in. That's where the double clutch really helps.

The Insight's actually good for double clutching as the engine revs freely. On the other hand, the pedals are a little too far apart for correct heel-toe. Plus, I'm not sure how the ECU would react to being on the gas and brake at the same time. I think I've done it once when I forgot I wasn't in the MINI :D .
 

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Pedals on the Insight are good for heel and toe, better then most cars for sure even for my size 8.5 US shoe size. The ECU allows the engine to apply power when the gas pedal is pressed and the brake is pressed.
 

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2nd gear synchronizer is worn

2nd gear synchro seems to be the first one to get balky,probably because many more 3-2 downshifts occur than any others,and the wider spread of those ratios.

Mine is now just a bit balky/notchy...at 110K....all the rest are silky smooth...(changed gearbox oil,no improvement,ofcourse)
 

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I'm not having any trouble with my 3-2 downshifts, even with 150K Kms on the car. Is it possible that there is a problem with the clutch not completely disengaging in your case?

You mention having the clutch and trasmission refurbished. Do you know if the DOT4 fluid used in the clutch hydrolics was ever replaced. This fluid is hydroscopic (absorbs mosture). It will turn brown over time as it takes in more moisture. Is should be a light honey colour. When it turns brown, it makes your brakes feel a little mushy. Maybe it will also affect clutch disengagement.

I'ts a pain to get at, but you can bleed it yourself. The clutch slave cylinder is on the front of the motor/transmission and is accessable from underneath.

Good luck.
Bill
 
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