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Lost reverse - please help

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Old 11-07-2013, 01:16 PM
TheNewbie
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Default Lost reverse - please help

A few days ago I overloaded the bed of my truck with firewood and pulled a small tent trailer about 130 miles up to our hunting camp. I had to stay in 4th gear for about 50% of the trip to keep her going at 60-65MPH because it was really bogging down with all that weight. I never let it get past about 2900-3000 RPM though.

When I got up there I realized that I had lost reverse. I thought I might have just overheated the tranny but the next morning after it had cooled all the way I still had no reverse.

It will shift into 1st-5th fine, although I did have some trouble finding 4th about 1/2 way through my trip. But after it cooled down at a gas station it was fine for the rest of the trip.

When I try to shift into reverse it feels like I can't quite pull the stick down far enough to get it all the way into gear. Sometimes it feels like I didn't hit the gears at all (like I'm still in the neutral spot between 5th and reverse). Sometimes it feels like it only clicked 1/2 way into gear and I can feel the transmission grinding when I try to let the clutch out.

I'm hoping that it has something to do with the shifter and I don't need to have the tranny rebuilt. But I don't know where to look first.

It's a 99 Dakota 4X4 with the 5.2 and 5 speed manual.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:34 PM
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Will it go into reverse at all? Can you get it in but then it pops right out?

Friends old VW Jetta had its reverse gear chipped that would cause it to always pop out.

Of course first you should check the fluid.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by sxrsil3nt View Post
Will it go into reverse at all? Can you get it in but then it pops right out?

Friends old VW Jetta had its reverse gear chipped that would cause it to always pop out.

Of course first you should check the fluid.
Nope. It will either just grind when I let off the clutch or act like it's on neutral.

I will be checking and probably changing the fluid after work tonight.
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Old 11-07-2013, 02:41 PM
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Could be your shift linkage too. Definitely pop the top off and check for anything that looks out of the ordinary or broken bits.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sxrsil3nt View Post
Could be your shift linkage too. Definitely pop the top off and check for anything that looks out of the ordinary or broken bits.
Can I just take the boot off of the shifter to get to that?

Could a simple case of bad fluid cause reverse to go out but not the other gears? I'm guessing that I put a lot of heat through my tranny by towing up the mountains like that.
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Old 11-07-2013, 03:54 PM
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How was the fluid level?

4th is a 1:1 ratio. It shouldn't be a problem at all.

Just for kicks, try putting it in reverse with the engine off, then see if you got it in. If it's a synchro problem it might be hanging up and this removes the clutch/pressure plate from the equation.

Fifth and reverse share a synchro assembly. There is an idler for reverse. It shouldn't be affected by driving in 4th though.

Otherwise it sounds like a damaged shift fork.
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Old 11-07-2013, 05:00 PM
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How was the fluid level?

4th is a 1:1 ratio. It shouldn't be a problem at all.

Just for kicks, try putting it in reverse with the engine off, then see if you got it in. If it's a synchro problem it might be hanging up and this removes the clutch/pressure plate from the equation.

Fifth and reverse share a synchro assembly. There is an idler for reverse. It shouldn't be affected by driving in 4th though.

Otherwise it sounds like a damaged shift fork.
Haven't checked the fluid level yet, but that's the first thing I'll do tonight when I get home.

And I did try to shift it into gear with the engine off. It was a no go...

I also tried to shift from every gear into reverse to see if one shared a syncro that might help me out, but no luck there either.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:38 PM
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I think you're going to find you have a broken 5th-reverse shift fork.
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Old 11-07-2013, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 00DakDan View Post
I think you're going to find you have a broken 5th-reverse shift fork.

Or a bearing that's gone away. Changing the oil won't help, btw. When you pull the drain plug you may see lots of metal come out (both in the oil and on the magnetic drain plug.)

Sorry, I think you're in for major dent in the wallet.
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Old 11-08-2013, 12:28 PM
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Well I got the oil changed. The oil was about the color of coffee. I'm sure it needed to be changed. But it didn't really help anything. After changing it and driving a bit I did get it to move backwards about 6" before popping out of gear and then it wouldn't go back into gear, so I'm pretty much where I started with this.

If it's a shift fork or a bearing I'm assuming I'll have to have a shop work on it. Is that something I can easily do myself without any transmission work experience?

Could it be the shift tower or something like that?
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