Hard Shifts from 1st to 2nd in Cold Weather

sportwagen3

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Location
MD
TDI
2015 Golf Sportwagen TDI SE
Recently the temperature has been in the upper 20s to lower 30s. I noticed on cold starts when my car's not garaged or after work when my car's been in the parking lot for over 8 hours, shifting from 1st to 2nd gear is rough at times for my manual car. When I shift into 2nd gear, the gear doesn't engage smoothly and I feel kickback from my shift knob as 2nd gear is engaged. Once the car warms up within a couple minutes, the shifts are completely smooth.

I'm wondering if anyone else has this issue? If so, what could be the cause of the problem?
 

Z85rado

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2017
Location
Highlands NJ
TDI
2015 Sportwaged TDI
i've always thought it was gear lash. my wrangler had a very low first gear and if you tried to bang 1-2 it was forceful.. i used to pause a second to let the gears slow a bit.

I didn't take the VW yesterday when it was 9 in the morning. we have a chevy with a tremec 6060 and it was very stiff for 15 minutes or so.
 

vwdsmguy

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2004
Location
Syracuse, NY
TDI
2002 Golf black 5-spd
shifter lube

To make for easier shifting I pull the shifter boot up and squirt oil on the white ball at the base of the shift lever. What a difference it makes. Try it.
 

ESmith813

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Location
Poconos, PA
TDI
2015 Manual GSW TDI SEL
To make for easier shifting I pull the shifter boot up and squirt oil on the white ball at the base of the shift lever. What a difference it makes. Try it.



Definitely going to try this! I'll dive in next time the cabin's warm enough for the plastic to not be so brittle.
 

UmeshT

New member
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Location
DFW, TX
TDI
2015 Golf SE TDI 6 Speed Manual
I've been dealing with the same thing with mine. My 1-2 and 2-3 shifts seem notchy until the cars and gearbox if warmed up.
 

ESmith813

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Location
Poconos, PA
TDI
2015 Manual GSW TDI SEL
I've had my 1-2 shift grind a handful of times when it's cold unless I really really take my time between the shift. I've been driving stick for 10 years and the only car I've ever had grind gears at all was an old, old pickup with known faulty synchros. I'm thinking of taking it to the dealer under CPO while it's still cold out.
 

sportwagen3

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2017
Location
MD
TDI
2015 Golf Sportwagen TDI SE
I've had my 1-2 shift grind a handful of times when it's cold unless I really really take my time between the shift. I've been driving stick for 10 years and the only car I've ever had grind gears at all was an old, old pickup with known faulty synchros. I'm thinking of taking it to the dealer under CPO while it's still cold out.
Yeah it only grinds when it's cold outside just like you said. Let me know what the dealer does if you take it in.
 

adjat84th

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Location
Virginia Beach, VA
TDI
'01 Jetta TDI/'15 Golf TDI
1-2 when cold is very notchy. Definitely have to slow it down till it warms up a bit. The gear lube in these is incredibly thin, so I think it's just the design of the synchros. They use a friction material applied to the rings rather than a ridged ring to grab the gear and slow it down. The friction material likely doesn't slow the gear down as fast especially when cold.
 
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paperthin

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2013
Location
Toronto
TDI
15 A3 TDI
On my previous MT 09 jetta i changed the fluid to a redline product which made a world of difference during the cold temps. I changed it because of mileage, but a positive change came out of it. I had the same problem with the VW fliud.
 

nkgagne

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2010
Location
Kitchener, Ontario Canada
TDI
2015 Sportwagen 6M, 2006 Golf GLS TDI (sold)
Simple solution: double-clutch when the car is super cold.

It's made a bit more difficult by the thicker fluid in the clutch circuit when super cold (the pedal doesn't want to return as quickly). After driving a little while, you will feel when the gearbox begins to loosen up, and then you can go back to single-clutching, starting with higher gears, then finally for lower gears.

Accelerating goes like this: Accelerating in 1, lift off/clutch/shift to N, release clutch as the revs fall, clutch/shift to 2 (should easily engage), release clutch and accelerate in 2, repeat 2-3, 3-4. 4-5 and 5-6 are usually close enough not to require more than just a slow shift, plus if it's icy out...

Decelerating (from 4, for illustration): slowing in 4, clutch/shift to N, blip the accelerator while briefly releasing the clutch, clutch/shift to 3 and release clutch quickly before revs fall. All while braking as required (double-clutch heel-toe). Repeat 3-2, and 2-1, with a bigger accelerator blip each time (gears are spaced farther the lower you go). Note: you may have an easier time using this technique to go 2-1 while still rolling instead of hitting 1 from a stop when extremely cold. I know I do!

Note: "release the clutch" above means to do so in a deliberate snap. Slow and easy is not your friend with this technique.

If you're doing this correctly, the second half of the shift should happen with very little resistance. For added smoothness, you can also *slightly* bring up the RPM after your shift is complete if it has fallen below the ideal RPM for the next gear (applies to upshifts more than downshifts, since one has to wait for the RPM to fall enough while in N for the next higher gear to match, so by the time the gear is actually engaged the RPM's have then fallen too low, resulting in a lurch upon clutch release; during downshifting one is usually also slowing down, so the 300-500 rpm loss after the blip while you engage the next gear is more-or-less accounted for by the slower car speed.

In my old Mk4, I changed to GM Synchromesh fluid which aided greatly with cold-weather shifting (all shifting, really, that stuff was amazing), but I have not researched if it also compatible with the Mk7 gearbox...
 

Kombifahrer

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Location
Philadelphia, PA
TDI
03 Jetta Wagon
So I don't have this exact problem, but my shifter is not as smooth as when the car was new. Back then it was buttery smooth. I'm not sure where to lube and with what. White lithium seems to be popular, and there's this pricey stuff from ECS/VWAG:

http://https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-volkswagen-audi-parts/poly-shifter-lubricant-400-grams/g052142a2/

Back when I had my MKIV I would just spray WD-40 or white lithium on the linkage under the hood, but it's not visible in the MKVII unless you take the airbox out. Is that still the way to go, or should the shifter inside the car be lubed? How do you get the shifter boot up?
 

ottomatic

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Location
E. TN
TDI
2015 Golfwagen SE 6MT
42,000 mi on my wagon. Shifts are smooth or perfect. Even when we had a cold spell of 10 degrees @ night a few days.:confused:
Perhaps its because I wind it out and never let RPMS drop below 2K
 
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