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I am having trouble putting the MINI into first and reverse gear. It doesn\'t do it all the time, but sometimes from a standing start I have to try to roll the car forwards or backwards before the gears fully engage.

Is this a problem, or will it go away as the car beds down.
 

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MINI2 prodigal son
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I have had the same, and it\'s called Dog-Teeth Routlette. It\'s when you\'re unlucky in that the gearbox\'s dog teeth have come to a rest in the \"wrong\" place. You don\'t need to roll the car to fix it.

Method One:
The trick is to put the gearstick back into neutral, then raise and depress the clutch again and then try reselect first or reverse. Don\'t rev the engine while you do this, else you\'ll get that sickening reverse gear crunch noise.

Method Two:
Seasoned Pros shorten the procedure above to simply lifting the clutch pedal part way while pushing on the stick. If you get crunching doing it this way, then don\'t do it this way.
 

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First is a synchro gear, reverse is not. If it is hard going into first, the cause could be the clutch not releasing fully or the idle speed is too high. It may loosen up in time. As to reverse, try going into third first. Reverse is commonly drive from the third gear cluster so going into third first usually lets you go into reverse. Again, hard shifting can be caused by a high idle.
 

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I\'ve got this problem too although it is very infrequent. Is it an actual problem with the gearbox or just something that happens and I\'m just gonna have to get used to?

Jon
 

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I wouldn\'t consider it a \"fault\" as most manual gearboxes do it. If the clutch is hydraulic, you might try a quick \"double-pump\" on the pedal as sometimes a tiny air bubble in the line can make the clutch drag enough so shifting into reverse is difficult. When you take the car in for service, have them check the idle speed. Many engines are set with a high idle when new and will idle even faster when the break in. A high idle can also cause hard shifting into non-synchro reverse.
 

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brown is back
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I thought I'd try to bump this thread back into people's consciousness. I recently got my 2003 Cooper with the 5 speed and have found the same "problem". Just this morning, in fact, I couldn't easily find first after sitting at a traffic light. I used the let the clutch out just a hair and push the shifter towards first method. Unfortunately, I haven't yet mastered that technique and there was a minimal amount of noise as a result.

I seem to have a problem finding reverse more often than first, but difficulty finding first can be more embarrasing as there are probably people behind you at the time.

I never had these problems in my 8 years of driving my VW Golf with a 5 speed.

So, is this a fault or a quirk?
 

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My car has only once been hard to shift into first. Since then I've stopped using the "shift into neutral at traffic lights" trick. Instead, I just put it into first as I'm at or coming to a stop and leave it in first with the clutch pedal held to the floor. I never used to do the neutral trick before so I don't miss it.

Reverse occasionally doesn't go all the way in. I find the "clutch in, put into neutral, clutch out, clutch in, put into reverse, clutch out" method works every time when this happens. Strangely, it happens for me more often when the car is warm, not when it is cold which is when the idle might be high. In my previous car I used the "inch forward in first then try reverse again" method but that doesn't seem to help with my MINI.

If you read elsewhere you'll see that some people eventually cannot shift into reverse at all and then need a new tranny. Mine has been a bit funny into reverse once in a while for at least the last 2000 miles and isn't getting worse (in fact, is better) so hopefully I won't need a new gearbox!

Harry
 

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I have problem getting into first once in a while. What I usually do is get into second and straight back to first. It always works for me. As for reverse, I usually go in first and then reverse if I have problem getting into reverse.
 

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HarryIndiBlue said:
...Instead, I just put it into first as I'm at or coming to a stop and leave it in first with the clutch pedal held to the floor. ....
I don't do that for two reasons:

  • 1. The clutch throwout bearing will wear out very quickly ($$$) by keeping clutch pedal held to the floor at a stoplight.

    2. I was told a long time ago that by having your car in gear at a red light, if someone bumps you from behind, even slightly, your foot may slip off of the clutch and you'll find yourself out in the middle of the intersection waiting to be hit.
Not sure I much I believe the second one, but I've remembered it all these years.
 

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From the other side of being rear-ended, a guy was killed here a month ago waiting at a stoplight behind a tractor-trailer rig. He was hit by another tractor trailer and you pretty much needed the VIN to find out what kind of car it was originally. If I saw a tractor heading for me in the rear view mirror I wouldn't want to fumble into first, I'd want to reef on the wheel and gun it as hard as I could!!!

Harry
 

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First gear is synchro, so if it is hard to shift, you may have an improperly adjusted clutch or the engine idle may be too high. You won't notice a dragging clutch plate or high idle speed when the car is rolling.
 

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Hey, I found this thread while researching another fault as often happens. :D However, is anyone aware of a way to detect a dragging clutch?
 

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Start engine, push down clutch, wait 2 seconds or more, push slowly into reverse. Any grinding means dragging clutch.

Alternatively, jack a front wheel, chock other wheels. Get someone to start engine, push on clutch, select 1st. Don't touch brakes. If the jacked wheel turns as fast with the clutch pressed as without, the clutch is dragging.
 

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My Cooper never had any problems with the gear box until after a 1000 miles, then it started beign a pain to get into reverse - 1st is OK most of the time. Will be taking it to the dealer with a whole list of other faults - see my next new post :)
 

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owt else is just traffic
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I've had this problem and the dealers seem to be aware of it.Awkward to get into reverse and first gear.It doesn't happen very often but i have had it while sitting at traffic lights.It not only embarrasing but dangerous.Took it to the dealers to have a new steering rack (seperate fault)and asked them to look at the box.They said that they had had a look and all seemed fine but that the box seemed a bit dry?apparently they lubed it up?Is that B/S ?I don't know if they actually did anything or not but irrespective,it doesnt seem to do it very much now.
 
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