Question: I have a 1996 Suzuki Esteem with a 1.6-litre engine. Recently, second gear has stopped working. Now, whenever I put it into second gear, once the clutch is released it will just grind. I thought it might have been a bad second-gear synchronizer so I tried double clutching it into second, but that produced the same result. What do you think is causing this, and is it repairable or do I have to replace the transmission?
Answer: From your description, it appears the other gears are working on your manual transmission and the only problem is second gear. Before condemning the transmission, I would check the shift rod adjustment from the shifter to the transmission. I doubt this is the problem, because the other gears are working, but perhaps the shifter is not moving the transmission internal shift forks all the way into second gear. This would cause a grinding noise and if left that way will damage the transmission.
The synchronizer’s job is to slow or speed up a gear when you shift gears so the toothed collar can slide over the engagement teeth on the actual gear. This locks the gear to the shaft and provides a path for the power to flow through the transmission. If the synchronizer is bad, it is still possible to shift the transmission into gear and drive the vehicle, although you may get some grinding noise and it will be harder to shift if the engine speed doesn’t match the speed of the vehicle. While your transmission synchronizer may be bad, it isn’t the only part.
The most likely cause of the grinding noise is bad engagement teeth on the second gear. It is also possible a snap ring has popped out of place and let second gear move out of position, but this usually causes noise in other gears. Due to the age of your vehicle and the cost of repair parts for manual transmissions, it isn’t financially feasible to repair the transmission. Instead, your best bet would be to find a replacement unit from an auto salvage yard. Some may say that isn’t worth replacing a transmission in a vehicle this age, but if the rest of the vehicle is in good shape then keeping it on the road is worthwhile. The cost of installing a used transmission will be less than two or three months of payments on a new vehicle. Just be sure to check the shift mechanism first from the shifter to the transmission.
Question: I purchased four Bridgestone Dueler tires three years ago and installed them on a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT. We have driven the truck about 40,000 km., often on trips or to the cottage. The vehicle is very seldom loaded.
I have noticed the tires appear to have very noticeable sidewall flex now and many comment “they are low on air.” I always keep the tires at 35 psi. Now, even if upped to 40 psi, they look like they are going flat. Some sidewall light cracking is appearing. The tire dealer claims all is normal and rotated the tires.
The tires have been excellent otherwise, great all-weather traction and I am satisfied with them, except for this “weakness.” I would hate to have sudden tire failure. Should this be something to watch closely for?
Answer: Radial tires do bulge on the sidewalls so the only way to determine if they have the correct air pressure is to test it with a gauge. Although they may appear to be under-inflated, the sidewall structure is designed to flex so the ride is comfortable and the tread can contact the road better. Don’t worry about the look of the tire, just check air pressure often. It is normal for tires to lose about one PSI pressure a month, less if they are filled with nitrogen gas. Changes in outside air temperature also affect tire pressure dramatically, so if temperatures vary more than a few degrees, you should also check tire pressure.
As for the sidewall cracking, small checking on the surface is normal as a tire ages, but deep cracks (three to four mm.) that allow the cord material in the tire to show indicate the tire needs to be replaced. Damage may occur because of a curb impact or debris on the road. I suspect your tires have normal checking, but inspecting tires on a regular basis is a good idea.