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I have just acquired a 86 300zx NA with 50,300 miles. It is mint and I feel lucky to own it. The transmission had the reverse gear fixed 3K miles ago. My problem is that going into 2nd produces a "clitch" unless I let the revs drop below 1000 rpm. Infrequently also have an issue getting into first and a couple of times got a "clitch" going to third gear. This is all a bit new to me. My last 300zx was an '84 turbo but that was 16 years ago. I have limited mechanical abilities and they have been rusting away for many years.

Before I bring for service can anyone offer some thoughts on what might be going on? The tranny repair is still under warranty. Speculation has been synchros or cluth. Not noticing any slipping or grabbing of clutch. Thanks for any advice or troubleshooting hints.
 

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Sounds like the whole transmission needs reconditioning; reverse is almost always the first gear to go bad when a tranny is on it's way out. I'd be doing a full-rebuild but that's just me. A cheap fix will only cause more problems later one. It's pricey though :( Maybe crawl a wreckers looking for a good condition 2nd-hand replacement. Just my 2 cents...
 

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Actually, I would say its the clutch rather than the tranny. Reverse doesn't have a synchro, so if you push the clutch in and it clashes when you shift into reverse after waiting a couple seconds, its likely that your clutch is not releasing all the way. I had a HORRIBLE time with the Nissan OEM clutch. After I bought my 85 na, I experienced the same issues you're describing and so I had the tranny rebuilt immediately. It worked for a few weeks and then the problems started coming back. I could adjust the clutch pedal all the way out and it still clashed here and there, but continually got worse. I put in three OEM clutch kits, all of them went bad fairly quickly. The Pressure plate would slightly colapse causing the pressure plate to put uneven pressure on the clutch, so even when the pedal was to the floor, part of the clutch was still in contact with the flywheel. It wasn't until I put in an ACT clutch that my problems went away.

Heres what I would suggest:
Adjust your clutch pedal and master cylinder until the problem goes away. If it doesn't go away, have the clutch replaced first. A clutch replacement costs about $500, a rebuilt tranny costs around $1100 (or mine did at least). Clutches are normal wear parts anyway and need to be replaced. There is no sense rebuilding a tranny and then hooking it up to a possibly bad clutch and just wearing out a freshly rebuilt tranny.
 

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If it's still under warranty I would return it to them and be sure they didn't screw something up. Otherwise I would rebuild it myself, manual transmissions are very simple once you get over the shock of having to put together all those pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Reverse was repaired because the previous (original) owner chipped a gear. Reverse is currently causing no trouble. Transmission (car) has only 50K miles and since the car shows no sign of hard use a beat transmission seems unlikely. Is there a history of premature failures with this transmission on '86's? Trying to figure if the recent repair (still under 12 month warranty at Nissan dealer) is suspect or is it time to adjust or replace the clutch. I really have no clue about this issue.

As long as I let the revs drop down to 1000 rpms there is no problem going from 1st to 2nd. If I rush it, I sometimes get a little clash as I pull gear shift lever into 2nd. Should I expect this to get worse in time?
 

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Personally I wouldn't be driving the car at all until you get that problem looked at as you could be making it worse simply by driving it...

Take phxZ31's advice most definately, that's good advice.

You might just have to bite the bullet and take it to a transmission specialist; they'll at least be able to give you a ballpark figure on what you're looking at. Dont let them touch anything without a quote first, and if you have doubts get a second opinion.

With any luck you can find a decent workshop that nails your problem for you but I believe what phxZ31 says is sound advice. Give it a try first...
 

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"Is there a history of premature failures with this transmission on '86's? Trying to figure if the recent repair (still under 12 month warranty at Nissan dealer) is suspect or is it time to adjust or replace the clutch. I really have no clue about this issue.

As long as I let the revs drop down to 1000 rpms there is no problem going from 1st to 2nd. If I rush it, I sometimes get a little clash as I pull gear shift lever into 2nd. Should I expect this to get worse in time?"


No, these transmissions are very reliable and very strong. definitely see if they will warranty the work, it will save you a lot of money if they will.

Yes, any problems you are experiencing will get worse with time if you just ignore them.

Some other things you should consider trying:
1) clutch pedal adjustment (easy, likely to solve the problem if the tranny is ok)
2) bleed the clutch (pain in the ass if you still have the factory clutch dampener on your car, but very helpful if you got air in your system somehow)
3) make sure your master cylinder tank isn't empty. if it is, refill and then bleed system.
4) remove tranny and clutch and inspect the clutch visually for defects. replace as necessary.
5) if all of the above haven't fixed the problem or helped, and your clutch has no signs of collapsed spring/pressure plate or warped disk, THEN you spend the money on rebuilding the tranny.

If you car is under warranty, the Nissan dealer should be able to perform most of the above steps at no charge.
 

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might want to try changing the tranny fluid to something of quality... perhaps redline mt90 would be in order. i've heard that these tranny's can get rough after using oem fluid for a long time under heated driving conditions... it's a lot less expensive than a new clutch or rebuilt tranny anyway :)
 
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