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Discussion Starter #1
TLTR version: After getting a new clutch and changing the transmission fluid I am having a some trouble putting the shifter into gear. There is resistance going in but it seems like it doesn't take a lot of force to go in, it's more of a matter of waiting half a second or so. Alternatively I can use more force and it goes in faster. Also, if i keep the clutch pressed in and go out of gear after that it goes back into the same gear (or any other gear!) smooth as butter. Same exact behavior moving (at least under 40 or so) or stationary. Lower gears seem a bit worse than higher ones. No other issues at all, no grinding, smells, noises or anything.

Longer version:
Clutch was slipping so it was replaced with a SPEC stage 1 clutch. Also replaced was the throwout bearing (used OEM) and the axle seals (also OEM) as well as the transmission fluid (Redline MT90). Work was done by a professional mechanic who also owned a Spyder and worked on it a lot so no reason at all to doubt the work. After the change the clutch bite point had moved closer to the floor. I assumed this was because the new clutch is a little stiffer so I adjusted the clutch pedal using both the pushrod adjustment and pedal stop adjustment to have a bit more travel but still keep the same pushrod freeplay at the top for safety (posted about it here). That seemed to do the job well.

While i was getting used to the new clutch which had a much sharper bite point and a bit of chatter at first (gone now) I did not pay much attention to the shifter but after a while (100 miles or less) I noticed that I am having trouble getting the shifter into gear. When the car is stationary all gears are difficult, as it moves faster and faster it is much easier. As mentioned before it feels like there is something that needs to be "moved out of the way" before the shifter goes in. It seems like keeping constant pressure (does not have to be high pressure) for half a second or so does it. Pressing harder does it faster. Same exact feeling whether completely still or moving relatively slowly. If clutch is kept pressed and I get back out of gear it is far easier to go into any gear. No grinding, noises, slipping, basically no other issue at all. If I take my time with every shift it is possible to drive the car completely smoothly without too much effort to shift in but it is a pain in the ass and it takes away a lot of the fun.

Diagnosis:
First thing we checked was the clutch hydraulics. Changed the fluid, which was very dirty, checked that there was no air, checked that the clutch fork moves through all of its travel when pedal is pressed. With the car in the air the pedal has to be lifted a decent amount off the floor before wheels spin so the clutch disengages fully at the bottom. Also the fork starts moving pretty soon after starting to press the pedal so the master and slave action seems good. No leaks at all. Pedal felt a tiny bit stiffer after but no improvement at all.
We then replaced the transmission fluid again since the MT90 is supposed to be a bit stickier on the synchros. We used 75W85 GL-4 Nissan fluid. It felt exactly the same after.
I then tried re-adjusting the clutch pedal. First I took out the 2 turns and returned it to factory spec. This moved the bite point really close to the floor again but did not help. I then gave the pushrod 4 turns instead of the previous 2 in order to move the bite point way off the floor. No matter where the bite point is the shifter feels the same. If I move the bite point too close to the floor it doesn't disengage fully and it grinds a bit going in and out, as expected.
One thing I did notice is that after trying these things it seems to have become harder to go into higher gears with the car stationary. Before 1st seemed hardest, now 5th is almost impossible. Once car is rolling 4th to 5th is very easy.
With the engine off the shifter goes into any gear really easily, with or without the clutch pressed.

At this point I am completely out of ideas... Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Sounds like clutch is not fully disengaging. Make sure that the master cylinder has correct freeplay. If you adjust out the freeplay, you can get unpredictable malfunctions because the reservoir is isolated. Could also just be an installation error.
 

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You can try this.

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like clutch is not fully disengaging. Make sure that the master cylinder has correct freeplay. If you adjust out the freeplay, you can get unpredictable malfunctions because the reservoir is isolated. Could also just be an installation error.
I think the freeplay at the top is correct, there's zero pressure on the pushrod when not touching the pedal, it engages 1-2mm later... And we can see the fork start to move very soon after starting to push the pedal but not right away. And at the bottom of the pedal there is a ton of travel under the bite point. With the car on stands, wheels in the air, with the pedal all the way to the floor you have to raise it quite a bit before the wheels start moving. With the pedal down even revving the engine gets no wheel movement at all, no clutch smell, vibration etc. But perhaps the partial engagement is light enough to where it slips before it spins the wheels? But still heavy enough to make it difficult to shift?

I think the longer slave pushrod silversprint suggested is a really good thing to try.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like clutch is not fully disengaging. Make sure that the master cylinder has correct freeplay. If you adjust out the freeplay, you can get unpredictable malfunctions because the reservoir is isolated. Could also just be an installation error.
As far as installation error is there anything specific that could be checked? The guy who did it is a certified full time mechanic, he rebuilds cars from scratch in his spare time and he had a Spyder he took apart many times so on paper it's hard to find anyone more qualified... And this isn't a super hard job so I really doubt he made a mistake but it's always possible I guess.
 

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Foreign object in the bell housing, or incorrect parts to begin with. Don't know of anything more specific.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You're saying that the transmission will go into any gear easily if you shift using the counterweight/grip directly, but it will not shift properly via the shifter cables? Interesting. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha
I'm not sure what the counterweight/grip is...
When engine is off the transmission works great, super smooth. It's almost as smooth if engine is running and the clutch is kept completely in AFTER getting into any gear. Getting into all the gears after that is very easy. So based on those two things I'm assuming the shifter cables and the cage etc are ok since they seem to be able to place the transmission in gear easily... Maybe I misunderstood.

As a further general update, after we bled the clutch both master and slave and changed the tranny fluid again it became far harder to go into 3rd and 5th when the car is idling at a standstill. Almost impossible. All other gears are the same as before, some difficulty but doable. Once the car is rolling 3rd and 5th are the same as the rest, about 1s delay before it will go in but doable for 3rd and almost no issue at all for 5th. Clutch pedal feels the same or even a little firmer after the bleed but maybe air got in...

Bought the extended slave rod, will put it in this weekend...
 

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The part that I've circled in red is known as the "grip" or more properly as the counterweight.

When you can go into every gear easily using the grip, but not using the shifter cables, this means there is something wrong with the cables, the bushings, the linkages, et cetera.

The extended rod does nothing. The travel distance is the same as the normal pushrod, and it is determined by the system hydraulics.If you want the pushrod to travel further then you need either a larger master cylinder bore are a smaller slave cylinder bore. Changing the length of the pushrod does not change its travel distance.

Do this test: Disconnect the cable ends from the linkages. Then, with the engine running, have a friend sit in the driver seat and operate the clutch pedal. Then you reach down the engine compartment and move the grip to shift. This eliminates any dependency on the linkages/cables. If shifting works this way then you know where your problem is.

My guess is that your bell crank is mounted incorrectly.

SAM_1889-2.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The part that I've circled in red is known as the "grip" or more properly as the counterweight.

When you can go into every gear easily using the grip, but not using the shifter cables, this means there is something wrong with the cables, the bushings, the linkages, et cetera.

The extended rod does nothing. The travel distance is the same as the normal pushrod, and it is determined by the system hydraulics.If you want the pushrod to travel further then you need either a larger master cylinder bore are a smaller slave cylinder bore. Changing the length of the pushrod does not change its travel distance.

Do this test: Disconnect the cable ends from the linkages. Then, with the engine running, have a friend sit in the driver seat and operate the clutch pedal. Then you reach down the engine compartment and move the grip to shift. This eliminates any dependency on the linkages/cables. If shifting works this way then you know where your problem is.

My guess is that your bell crank is mounted incorrectly.

View attachment 74718
I see. Thanks a lot for the detailed explanation! We will try that, to rule out the linkages.
However... Like i mentioned, both if the engine is off (clutch in or out) and if engine is on but clutch is in and i already went into and out of any one gear (slightly hard) all the gears are very very easy to select, no issues at all. To me this points to the shifter mechanism and linkages being ok. The behavior seems more consistent with a clutch not fully disengaging (for one of many reasons). On the other hand, a lot of other things (like wheels in the air not spinning at all when revving with clutch in) suggest the clutch is actually disengaging...

Also, before the clutch change (and tranny fluid replacement done with it) everything worked well. Something else to mention, about a month before the clutch change I replaced the bushings for the shifter cage with the solid metal ones. Everything worked well after and while it felt different it was very exact and very easy to go into gears. I did not mess with the cables or anything else but perhaps it still has something to do with it?

As far as the longer rod not working, on one hand i'm familiar with the "controversy" around it. And I completely agree the travel distance would be identical. On the other hand, since it is longer, it will place the "business end" of it closer to the fork so in case there is some dead space there, perhaps because of the new clutch being thinner overall or perhaps a bent fork or who knows what else, it will take up this dead space. Since there are quite a few people reporting good results with it and since it's cheap and easy to reach i thought might as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You have an interesting approach. a. you deny what your own eyes are telling you. b. you refuse to make rational diagnostics. c. you jump at miracle cures. Love it.
a. What my "eyes" tell me is contradictory, some things suggest clutch not fully disengaging while others suggest the opposite.
b. I'm not sure what you mean. We've been running through things ruling them out (tranny fluid, clutch bleed, pedal adjustmnent etc) and we will do more, including one you suggested. What did i refuse?
c. I'm not sure how something that has been proven to work for many people in many model cars (in a controlled environment without any other changes) and which would clearly take up any empty dead space if it existed (by being longer) is a "miracle" cure. And I think it makes sense to try a $20 5 minute installation part before taking the trans apart again...
 
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