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Discussion Starter #1
First, apologies as this isn't a Camry or Toyota question, although it's generic enough that it applies to all vehicles with manual transmission. It's just that the car in question is pretty old and hasn't been made in years and the company that made it no longer exists, so it's hard to get vehicle and make-specific advice for it, and this forum has been very helpful in the past with Camry issues.

Anyway, I have a '92 Eagle Talon with a manual transmission that has two drivetrain issues. One appears to be a bad clutch that needs to be replaced. When I put the car in gear, any gear, the car doesn't move or even budge, so it's not the transmission or brakes being stuck. This I can handle as it's a pretty straightforward fix, and I'll swap out the clutch, pressure place, throwout bearing and all the rest. Perhaps even a new flywheel if called for.

The other issue is that when the car did move, it started slipping out of first gear, but only first gear. The others were fine. This started happening several months before the clutch went out and for all I know is what helped kill the clutch (is that possible btw?). So even if I fix the clutch issue, I also have to deal with this issue.

My question is, does this sound like a bad first gear shift fork, or perhaps synchronizer, and if so is this something that an average amateur home DIY car repair type can fix, with the right tools and a careful approach? Or is this something best left to pros? I got a ballpark quote the other day from a reputable transmission shop of at least $650 labor plus parts, which is more than I'd like to pay for such an old car, especially if I can handle this myself.
 

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I've had this happen on a Dagenham Ford four speed. Popped out of first no matter what.
It's the gears, specifically the syncro engagement ring, though which exactly will require teardown. Wasn't hard to fix, though, for me, it was REAL hard finding the parts, as that trans was supremley rare, and fragile, so most were junk. Drove 700 miles just to get the transmission.
 

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x2 what Cosmo said, the slipping out of gear will require a teardown of the transmission to diagnose and repair (and then parts will need to be available to fix it)

The clutch is more straightforward: remove transmission, replace clutch and related parts, reinstall.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
92 Eagle Talon , you poor
poor
bastard!
Huh? It's a nice car although it hasn't been running for several years now and is sitting in a driveway. Worth the work IMO, just haven't gotten around to it yet as I have another car. Aside from these 2 issues, it just needs regular maintenance, e.g. new battery, belts, tires, fluids, some underbody rust removal, etc. Oh, and stuck brakes after sitting around for several years not being moved. But I can handle all that and would love to get it functioning again. Drove it cross-country several times.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've had this happen on a Dagenham Ford four speed. Popped out of first no matter what.
It's the gears, specifically the syncro engagement ring, though which exactly will require teardown. Wasn't hard to fix, though, for me, it was REAL hard finding the parts, as that trans was supremley rare, and fragile, so most were junk. Drove 700 miles just to get the transmission.
x2 what Cosmo said, the slipping out of gear will require a teardown of the transmission to diagnose and repair (and then parts will need to be available to fix it)

The clutch is more straightforward: remove transmission, replace clutch and related parts, reinstall.
Thanks, more or less what I thought. Any chance it can be upstream, especially with the shifter or linkage, or be due to the bad clutch, or could it have been caused by the failing clutch by putting varying loads on the gear as it slowly failed?

And by "teardown", do you mean taking everything out, cleaning everything, examining every part, etc., which requires special tools (some of which I don't have, e.g. micrometer, pullers, snap ring pliers, etc.)? I.e. a complete transmission rebuild. Of, if it's really just the first gear synchro or fork, would that be a much simpler repair and can a home mechanic handle it?
 

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Usually a transmission teardown is the most difficult and complex work on an automobile, harder than an engine rebuild, because of the number of special pullers and other tools to get it apart and back together again. Also, the complexity of how the parts go together adds significantly to that level of difficulty.

The problem of one that is popping out of gear could be as simple as a detent ball that has worn, or a lever who's job it was to push a detent that has worn, or it could be as involved as a series of worn parts adding up to a failure to go fully into detent and staying there. Without knowledge of that particular transmission design its only guessing. Go to Talon forums and search their posts for discussions about common issues, look for a Talon MT rebuild tutorial and then see if it is something you can handle.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Usually a transmission teardown is the most difficult and complex work on an automobile, harder than an engine rebuild, because of the number of special pullers and other tools to get it apart and back together again. Also, the complexity of how the parts go together adds significantly to that level of difficulty.

The problem of one that is popping out of gear could be as simple as a detent ball that has worn, or a lever who's job it was to push a detent that has worn, or it could be as involved as a series of worn parts adding up to a failure to go fully into detent and staying there. Without knowledge of that particular transmission design its only guessing. Go to Talon forums and search their posts for discussions about common issues, look for a Talon MT rebuild tutorial and then see if it is something you can handle.
Thanks, I was looking for only general advice here, not specifics. But specific differences aside, I assumed that all modern manual transmissions follow the same basic design, work according to the same basic principles, use the same core sets of parts and subsystems, etc. Obviously to get specific advice on my specific transmission, I'd have to consult DSM-based forums.

But, assuming that the fix is something relatively simple and doesn't require a complete rebuild, do you think that an average home mechanic could handle it, or is the risk of parts popping out and flying off or not having the right tools, understanding or touch too great to chance it, and it's better to take it to a shop if it needs to be opened up?

To give some idea of what level of skill and experience I'm at, so far I've replaced a timing belt along with the idler and tensioner, front wheel bearings, CV axle, hubs, outer tie rods, brake pads, rotors, calipers, hoses and master cylinder (and bleeding it all of course), drive belts, and of course oil, filters, coolant, plugs, PCV & purge valves, cleaned throttle & idle control, wipers, etc. I've also done some exhaust pipe/muffler patching, some light body work and rust repair, and replaced a door handle and regulator. No engine, transmission or suspension work yet.

Also, I think it would be helpful to get an understanding of how a manual transmission even works, beyond the obvious fact that they all allow different gear ratios to match engine output to wheel power needs. I'm still quite clueless as to how the different gear combos are made to line up for each gear choice made by the driver, let alone how it's done without chewing up those gears in the process of switching gears. It's all kind of a mystery box to me. I don't even want to think about how automatics work, although I hope to eventually get to that (my mom's Camry barely works in reverse).

Best I can tell is that there's lots of stuff going on inside the gears and shafts that isn't obvious by merely looking at an open transmission, e.g. internal clutches, gearing, sliding parts. Can anyone here recommend a good book or online guide to understanding manual transmissions? Before I tackle such a fix, I think I need to have a decent understanding of how it works.
 

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Huh? It's a nice car although it hasn't been running for several years now and is sitting in a driveway. Worth the work IMO, just haven't gotten around to it yet as I have another car. Aside from these 2 issues, it just needs regular maintenance, e.g. new battery, belts, tires, fluids, some underbody rust removal, etc. Oh, and stuck brakes after sitting around for several years not being moved. But I can handle all that and would love to get it functioning again. Drove it cross-country several times.
Sorry to be mean!

Your car is very rare, and not because they only sold a few, they typically did not last very long and broke in multiple ways. While many will be helpful here, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the cars we own (Gen3/4 Camrys especially) are among the best cars ever built in terms of design and longevity (NOT luxury or performance ;).

I hope your eagle Talon serves you well but if it ever breaks irrevocably we'd probably all recommend you try a much better designed and built car like a Gen3/4 Camry. I have owned a few Big 3 autos in the past so your post lead me to relive some baaad memories, none of which I hope await you, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry to be mean!

Your car is very rare, and not because they only sold a few, they typically did not last very long and broke in multiple ways. While many will be helpful here, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the cars we own (Gen3/4 Camrys especially) are among the best cars ever built in terms of design and longevity (NOT luxury or performance ;).

I hope your eagle Talon serves you well but if it ever breaks irrevocably we'd probably all recommend you try a much better designed and built car like a Gen3/4 Camry. I have owned a few Big 3 autos in the past so your post lead me to relive some baaad memories, none of which I hope await you, good luck!
No problem, just wasn't sure if you we teasing or serious. I'm fairly new here. And, actually, I've had pretty good luck with my Talon, and it's a pretty well-made car. I've had it for nearly 28 years, drove it cross-country back and forth twice without incident, and in all these years the biggest issues I've had were a bad transmission in the second year that was indeed a design issue that the dealership fixed for free, a burnt out clutch that was entirely my fault for riding it too hard in its first 20k miles, a second burnt out clutch 60k miles later (which is actually within this model's range given that it's a sports car meant to be driven harder than family cars), a bad ECU, a bad harmonic balancer, and now this popping out of first issue. So, six issues in 28 years, none but one that major (to my view at least), isn't so bad, considering the kind of car it is. I think that most issues people had with it were due to not treating it well, riding it too hard, and going overboard with the mods.

I agree that Camrys are the way to go if you're looking for something solid and reliable, and my mom's had hers for almost exactly the same number of years. Unfortunately despite my constant nagging she didn't maintain it properly, even basic things like oil changes and coolant flushes, so it's in pretty bad shape, its last legs really. Bad shocks, underbody rust, leaking sunroof, leaking head gasket, nearly no reverse gear, leaking muffler and tailpipe, defective master cylinder, seized brake calipers, dead window regulaters, and so on. I've fixed the most critical things like the brakes and badly overdue tuneup, oil change, etc., fixed the window issue, some other things. But it's got to go. And even when it was new I never really cared for its handling. Too "boaty" for my tastes. But solid as hell, and if you treat it right, it lasts forever.

Btw right now I drive a Kia Rio, that used to be my dad's but he stopped driving. It's a very basic car, nothing fancy or exciting, but solid and well-build and gets the job done. He too left it in not so great condition, so I've spent the past few years gradually fixing all its issues and getting it back in shape, kind of like my mom's Camry but not quite as bad. I've learned how to work on cars between the two of them, and now feel like I'm ready to take on the Talon, which was the goal all along. It's actually a bit of a semi-classic car, at least the model I have, which was the fully decked-out one with turbo, AWD, ABS and manual transmission. It's one of those "Fast and Furious" cars that kids like to mod and race. I'm not into either so it's still stock, and will probably stay that way, and I'm too old for that anyway. So, that's my story, and why I brought up this question here. This is a good car forum, where folks really are helpful and responsive.
 

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I rebuilt my first automatic by opening the factory manual and following step by step when I was 18. T'was a Ford C4 from 1966. Automatics are far easier than manuals. Manuals use loose rollers for bearings, which you have to 'glue' with grease while you slide a shaft through the bearings and case with very little clearance. A lot like herding kittens, and about as successful at first.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I rebuilt my first automatic by opening the factory manual and following step by step when I was 18. T'was a Ford C4 from 1966. Automatics are far easier than manuals. Manuals use loose rollers for bearings, which you have to 'glue' with grease while you slide a shaft through the bearings and case with very little clearance. A lot like herding kittens, and about as successful at first.
I rebuilt the hubs in my road bike in my teens, back when hubs weren't sealed and you had to pack them into the race and cone by hand, using said grease. One or two always fell out if you didn't hold it just right, but I always got it done. I realize that auto transmissions are way more complex, but that I can probably handle. It's the complexity and all the tiny parts like springs, detent balls, spring clips and synchro keys that worries me. But, beats blowing $800-$1000 at a shop on a rebuild.
 

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Here is a thread I have running currently in which I am rebuilding a manual transmission (an E53 from a '93 V6 Camry), it might give you some ideas. If you don't have a service manual with detailed transmission rebuild instructions I wouldn't dream of attempting it:


By the way, is the Eagle Talon based on a Renault? If so, that might really open up your possibilities for finding a forum with tips, and a factory service manual with the transmission rebuild details for you. After reading it, then you can judge far better than we, if you have the necessary tools and skills.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Here is a thread I have running currently in which I am rebuilding a manual transmission (an E53 from a '93 V6 Camry), it might give you some ideas. If you don't have a service manual with detailed transmission rebuild instructions I wouldn't dream of attempting it:


By the way, is the Eagle Talon based on a Renault? If so, that might really open up your possibilities for finding a forum with tips, and a factory service manual with the transmission rebuild details for you. After reading it, then you can judge far better than we, if you have the necessary tools and skills.
I have the complete service manual set for my specific car, along with a Haynes manual, so I'm good there. I also have a pretty decent set of general auto tools, but would probably have to buy or rent a few transmission-specific ones to do a proper job. Still much, much cheaper than having a shop do it. The real question is should I do it, i.e. can I do it, and do it right.

And no, I don't believe that it's based on a Renault. It was jointly developed by Chrysler and Mitsubishi in the mid-80's as part of their Diamond Star joint venture (Mitsubishi means Diamond Star in Japanese), and is widely considered to have been a technologically successful venture even if it didn't do that well business-wise.

Originally there were three versions of these cars, the Plymouth Laser, Mitsubishi Eclipse (the one most people know about) and Eagle Talon. Mine's the Talon. The latter two had the top-end models, which is the one I got. I got the Talon because I preferred the look and got the best price for it. All three eventually got discontinued, with the Eclipse the last to get the ax, and Eagle the company or division also being shut down. However the core technology of the higher-end models got carried over into newer cars, e.g. the EVO, Lancer and Galant. They were nice cars. Just didn't sell that well.

This is actually a big part of why I want to restore it rather than sell or junk it. There's something there worth bringing back to life, not unlike an old Camry that's still salvageable, even if they're totally different kinds of cars. It's not at all like say restoring an old K car or Cutlass Supreme (which was my first car and a real boat).

Thanks for the link. I'll definitely check it out.
 

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Ah, yes, I should have asked if it was a Mitsubishi, those were awesome cars.

Read your shop manual carefully, through the entire transmission rebuilding section, and the Haynes. From reading those you can tell what looks too hard for you, or not. After reading them, list up all the tools you don't have and shop for them on line to see if you can afford everything that you will need.

Typically you will need: a gear puller / pulley puller / pilot bearing puller set (most likely, you will need all 3, of various sizes), access to a hydraulic press with an assortment of diameters of pressing shapes to insert and remove bearing races and gears and so on.

You will also need a way to get it out of the car: an engine support, and jack stands for the car, and a impact driver to help remove the really hard fasteners. You'll jack up the car as high as you can go, support it securely, then support the engine from above and drop the front subframe down and out, then remove the transmission and extract it (note one will weigh north of 75+ lbs, so plan on using your floor jack to do this, and consider how to support it so it won't roll off (fabricate a wooden frame, for instance, that you can safely support on your floor jack). Or, you can rent a transmission jack for the same purpose.

I found that when R&R the front subframe, it was very handy to have a "jack widener" (a wide platform which installs on the load rest of your floor jack, to support very wide, heavy things).

You will need an assortment of very large diameter sockets, up to at least 30mm. Hopefully your FSM will define that for you so you don't have to figure it out one at a time as you go, with repeated trips to the store/mail.

For checking your work, you'll need feeler gauges, a dial caliper or a micrometer, a dial indicator with magnetic base for checking gear x shaft play.

As you can see, a transmission requires just about the largest quantity of specialized tools than just about any task you can undertake on a car. Some people already have all of these on hand, some can rent from local auto parts store or have a friend to borrow from.
 

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#1: read the manual and take lots of notes. Then decide if it still sounds doable. Have a backup plan if you get well into it and then get stuck (what local shop can have your back if you can't get a gear back on, or press in a bearing race?)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ah, yes, I should have asked if it was a Mitsubishi, those were awesome cars.

Read your shop manual carefully, through the entire transmission rebuilding section, and the Haynes. From reading those you can tell what looks too hard for you, or not. After reading them, list up all the tools you don't have and shop for them on line to see if you can afford everything that you will need.

Typically you will need: a gear puller / pulley puller / pilot bearing puller set (most likely, you will need all 3, of various sizes), access to a hydraulic press with an assortment of diameters of pressing shapes to insert and remove bearing races and gears and so on.

You will also need a way to get it out of the car: an engine support, and jack stands for the car, and a impact driver to help remove the really hard fasteners. You'll jack up the car as high as you can go, support it securely, then support the engine from above and drop the front subframe down and out, then remove the transmission and extract it (note one will weigh north of 75+ lbs, so plan on using your floor jack to do this, and consider how to support it so it won't roll off (fabricate a wooden frame, for instance, that you can safely support on your floor jack). Or, you can rent a transmission jack for the same purpose.

I found that when R&R the front subframe, it was very handy to have a "jack widener" (a wide platform which installs on the load rest of your floor jack, to support very wide, heavy things).

You will need an assortment of very large diameter sockets, up to at least 30mm. Hopefully your FSM will define that for you so you don't have to figure it out one at a time as you go, with repeated trips to the store/mail.

For checking your work, you'll need feeler gauges, a dial caliper or a micrometer, a dial indicator with magnetic base for checking gear x shaft play.

As you can see, a transmission requires just about the largest quantity of specialized tools than just about any task you can undertake on a car. Some people already have all of these on hand, some can rent from local auto parts store or have a friend to borrow from.
The FSM says that instead of an engine support I can support the engine from below with a jack and piece of plywood under the oil pan. I assume that's ok as I have both, along with an impact wrench, jack stands, floor jack, scissor jack (to support the engine), a full set of regular and impact sockets up to 32mm, along with ratchet handles, a full set of combo wrenches up to 24mm, various pliers (including a snap ring but I'll probably need one or two more), pin punches of various sizes, a seal puller, various hammers including plastic and dead blow, pry bars, gasket scrapers, and various other odd tools.

I also have a bottle jack, but not a hydraulic press. I wonder if I can build a mini press using the bottle jack? However, I do have a full wheel bearing press kit. Would that work for this application, to remove or press in bearings (although I imagine that the various shaft lengths would preclude using it for this)? This is of course assuming that I'd have to do this as for all I know it's a simpler fix like a bad shifter linkage or fork. I will need to buy the various measurement tools needed, but they're good to have on hand for other things too, so it's worth the investment. Bearing pullers I can probably rent for free at an auto parts store.

It's too soon to tell if I'll go through with it, but I'll definitely give the matter a thorough evaluation to see if it's something I think I can handle and do properly. Thanks for all the tips.
 

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a bottle jack won't do you any good without something to push against

most hydraulic presses for bearing insertion /removal are a stand up H frame with a bottle jack inside (and they are pretty cheap from places like Harbor Freight, as are the engine supports and so on).

Note that if you support the engine from beneath with a spare jack you'll need a lot of jacks to hold the engine, and the transmission, and also get the sub frame out of the way. An engine support only costs about $45 or $70 at harbor freight (or you can make one once you study how one works, if you are handy).
 

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Discussion Starter #19
a bottle jack won't do you any good without something to push against

most hydraulic presses for bearing insertion /removal are a stand up H frame with a bottle jack inside (and they are pretty cheap from places like Harbor Freight, as are the engine supports and so on).

Note that if you support the engine from beneath with a spare jack you'll need a lot of jacks to hold the engine, and the transmission, and also get the sub frame out of the way. An engine support only costs about $45 or $70 at harbor freight (or you can make one once you study how one works, if you are handy).
The FSM doesn't mention anything about a press to I'm guessing that bearing pullers and presses will suffice, or maybe it assumes that any decent mechanic will know that a press is needed and doesn't bother to spell it out. The issue of buying a press isn't one of cost so much as room, as I live in an apartment without much storage space, and no garage, so even taken apart it would be hard to store it. I thought about building a mini press that can be taken apart and stuck under a bed, but that's on hold for now.

As for jacks, I think the two, plus jack stands, should be enough, at least according to the FSM. The floor jack to lift the front end up so it can be put on jack stands, a 2nd jack to hold the engine up, and the floor jack again with some sort of saddle to remove and reinstall the transmission. It doesn't mention anything about a 3rd jack for the subframe (but I have one if I need it, another scissor jack).

I'm going to take my time studying all this before deciding whether to do it. I have all summer and fall to get it done, before it gets too cold to work outside, so no rush. I want to know how it works front and back before doing anything. Hopefully there are some YouTube videos to help me out.
 

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a hammer and a brass drift (buy some brass rod, 10mm or 20mm diameter) can be used to press bearings in, but is not as easy to do as using a press to do it (you have to keep changing where you press so it never gets cocked in the hole)
 
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