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MG MGA - Stiff Second Gear

I have a 1961 MGA with a 5 speed tranny. I've noticed that when I first start driving in the morning, second gear is a little stiff. Or rather, it doesn't drop into gear like it does after it's warmed up a bit. I've noticed this much more on colder mornings. Is this normal, or am I facing possible problems later on?

S. H. Shanks

I recently installed a "rebuilt" 5 speed tranny. I also have a similar problem. When cold the tranny is difficult to shift into 2nd and a little hard to shift into 3rd. I was told I put in the wrong oil. I filled with Mobil 1 synthetic 75w 90. I hope that is the problem.
I was able to suck the oil out by cutting a access hole in the tranny tunnel above and to the rear of the filler hole for the tranny. This gave me a fair view inside the tranny through the filler plug hole. Then I pushed a small rigid plastic pipe down into the tranny gearbox, hooked this up to a pump designed to pull motor oil out of marine engines normally to be down the dip stick hole.
Next step is to fill with proper fluid. Redline M/T 90 will be used. I will flush it once, running the motor/gearbox while the car is on jackstands. Then sucking that oil out and refilling again with Redline m/t 90. Then get it back on the road, where I hope to find the "rebuilt" tranning is shifting fine.

What oil do you have in your tranny?


Ray Ammeter

Thanks Ray, I don't know the type of oil in my trans right now. I only recently acquired the car, and I'm still learning new things about it everyday. Thank you for the helpful information.
S. H. Shanks

SH, if it is a standard gearbox it should have engine oil. It may have a heavy gear oil at present. I would drain and refill with the lighter grade oil.
BM Gannon

Thank you Barry.
S. H. Shanks


He has the Ford Type 9 box by the sound of it. It is specified to take 1.9L of 75W90 semi-synthetic.

Putting my lateral thinking hat on, are you you sure it's the gear causing the problem and not a very cold and rigid gear stick boot? The original Type 9 conversion had a long throw gear stick. Accordingly, I found difficulty with some gear changes with the standard boot and a tendency for the boot to pull the stick out of gear when I took my foot off the throttle in 2nd and 3rd. I solved the problem by making a leather boot. I believe that a shorter throw stick mechanism is now offered that cures this problem.

Steve Gyles

I'm pretty sure it's not the shift boot. I'm also fairly certain it's in the gear mechanism. But thank you for your input just the same.
S. H. Shanks

This thread was discussed between 26/01/2009 and 27/01/2009

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