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96 Z won't go into gear

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Old 08-08-2018, 04:33 PM
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96 Z won't go into gear

Hi all.

I have a 96 Z28 6 speed. I drove the car to work one day and it seemed fine. When I went to drive home, there seemed to be a little resistance when I put it into gear. I checked the fluid in the master cylinder and it was fine. The issue continued as I drove home. After I got off the freeway it was much harder to get into gear. I made it home (barely) but after I parked it I can't get it into any gear even with the engine off. I replaced the slave cylinder, but it didn't fix the problem. If I leave the spacer off the slave cylinder I can see inside the bell housing that the slave is moving the clutch fork, but I don't know if it's moving it enough. I can just barely see the pressure plate/tob, but not enough to tell if they are moving. Wish I had a diagnostic camera to see in there. A new clutch would be the 5th clutch I have put in this car. 208,000 miles, This clutch has about 60K miles on it. After this didn't work was when I realized it wouldn't go into gear with the engine off. I think it should even if the clutch failed. is that correct? I appreciate any help with this; I can't afford to replace the clutch and then find out that's not the problem!


Thanks in advance for your help,

Leon
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:44 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

Table 1-1 in the T56 factory service manual mentions several possibilities.

Courtesy of Shoebox

http://shbox.com/1/t56_service_manual.pdf
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:38 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

Hi Fred.
I'm not thrilled to see that most of those causes will require the removal of the trans to check and several are internal to the trans. With 50K miles I should replace the clutch/flywheel even if the problem is in the trans because of the cost of labor. This is just too big a job for me in my garage with a floor jack. If I had a lift and a friend to help me I might take it on. Like Murtaugh said in Lethal Weapon, "I'm getting too old for this ****!" The car has already been sitting for 2 months while I saved up the money to replace the clutch ($1300 with a new flywheel is my best estimate - one place quoted me $2000! ). Internal trans issues will certainly cost more.The last suggestion - skip shift solenoid stuck - I can check myself.
Thanks for your help. You have always answered my questions on this forum and been a BIG help!
Leon
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Old 08-09-2018, 01:30 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

Typically hard to get in gear is a hydraulic issue. But if you can't get it in any gear with car shut off that would suggest internal tranny with exception of faulty skip shift as noted in 1.1. IDK if that would be for every gear though as I don't have skip shift

You did get the hydraulics "fully" bleed when swapping the slave, right?

You can buy completely sealed MC/slave/reservoir for the LT1 if you find evidence the MC is leaking or not allowing enough stroke for disengagement so look close at your MC for any signs of fluid leak
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Old 08-09-2018, 02:18 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

I went out and tried again and the car WILL go into gear with the engine not running. Maybe I only tried first before, and I know sometimes in the past it wouldn't go into first easily ( or at all) from a stop. I would have to put it in second and roll the car forward a little before it would go into first. Is this because there's no syncro in first? Maybe it's just getting worn after 200K miles. I have a appointment next Monday to take it into the shop. I don't think it's the hydraulics, but I can't prove it. I know the slave cylinder rod moves and moves the clutch fork, but I can't see what's happening at the to bearing. I bled it with a vacuum pump until there were no air bubbles since there's no bleeder on this system. I've done some more reading online and saw a report of a trans behaving this way because the pilot bushing went bad -I think it seized onto the input shaft. I guess I'll find out next week.
Thanks for the help, guys.
Leon
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Old 08-09-2018, 04:03 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

The flywheel pilot bushing was mention in the factory manual trouble shooting list. There is also an internal pilot bushing, that couples the input shaft to the output shaft, but that seems to be related more to gears clashing, than refusal to move into gears.
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:02 PM
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Re: 96 Z won't go into gear

if you can get it in gear with engine off than jack up the rear end so the tires are off the ground. Push in clutch all the way while tranny is in gear and start car....do the rear tires rotate and keep moving?

if so you have a disengagement issue likely because of bad hydraulics. While the LT1 hydraulics are difficult to bleed it can be done. With the slave hanging down slowly pump it by hand while someone watches reservoir for bubbles. and adds fluid as needed. This can take quite a few pumps.

If the hydraulics are bad than all the bleeding will not fix. rockauto.com is likely the cheapest place to get a sealed hydraulic unit. Around $125 IIRC

a bad pilot bearing/bushing when failing can make noise and "drag" on input shaft making shifts very hard. If that is the case...you need to pull tranny and replace. If you replaced the pilot on the last clutch swap (always recommended) it should be good with only 60k mi on it...but if something like the input shaft bearings gets worn & lose than the pilot bearing can get taken out. Typically there is noise with a bad pilot though
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