98 Rav4 manual transmission hard shifting when cold

Tiny
OILER
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 TOYOTA RAV4
My 98 RAV4 AWD with 5 speed manual transmission requires lots of force to shift from 1st to 2nd gear when the vehicle is cold (below freezing). After the vehicle is warm the transmission shifts fine. The oil was replaced in the transmission with Toyota recommended oil with no improvement. If we pump the clutch 8 - 10 times before driving the problem doesn't occur. The clutch release cylinder doesn't appear to leak fluid.

The throw out bearing chirps when the vehile is very cold (-20 C).
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Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 AT 10:14 PM

6 Replies

Tiny
LOSONE
  • MEMBER
The problem is simple. You have a bad clutch master cyl or a bad slave cyl. I always replace them in pairs. No leak means the leak is a by-pass leak internal to the system. The most obvious failure is the master cyl. Don't rebuild it, replace it. It is a typical cold climate problem with Manual Toyotas with a little age. Be glad you don't have a Ford. The slave Cyl is inside the bell housing.

I also chirp when I am in -20 degree weather. Don't worry about it as long as it doesn't chirp all the time.
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Thursday, March 30th, 2006 AT 3:15 PM
Tiny
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I replaced the clutch master cylinder and the problem still exists. It still takes a strong pull on the shift lever to shift out of 1st to 2nd gear when the vehicle is cold (-10 C). Pumping the clutch, double clutching doesn't seem to help the problem. When the clutch is depressed, there is no problem shifting between 1st to 2nd gear when stationary. After 2 or 3 shifts between 1 and 2nd gear the problem goes away. The transmission shifts smoothly when the vehicle is warm. There is no gear clash when the transmission is cold. I have also started out in 2nd gear and didn't see any problem shifting out of 2nd gear to 3rd gear.

Is this a transmission problem? There is no sign of leakage from the clutch slave cylinder. Should I dump this vehicle before this becomes a major problem?
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Friday, November 3rd, 2006 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
LOSONE
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The problem is your clutch isn't releasing the transmission from the engine. If you will read my March post I stated that they should be replaced in pairs. You didn't replace the slave cylinder. When they get a little age and the weather is cold they slave will bypass the fluid not allowing the clutch to release entirely. They will show no sign of leakage. As the fluid warms the componets expand and the cylinder will work properly.

They have a life span of about 80K miles in cold weather country and about 120K in warm climate. Rubber/metal components don't like to move in very cold weather.

There is also the possability that your clutch disc is warn coupled with a lazy hydraulic system causing the problem.

Don't force the gears. The transmission is constructed so precise that I have seen them move in neutral in very cold climates. Let it idle a couple of minutes in neutral, clutch out before you move to prevent transmission damage.

I own a 2006 Toyota Tacoma 5spd and it is a bit sluggish in 25 degree weather.

Good luck, let me know

Losone
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Saturday, November 4th, 2006 AT 8:14 AM
Tiny
OILER
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I changed the clutch release cylinder and it is still difficult to shift out of 1st gear when the vehicle is cold. Both the master and slave cylinders have been replaced now. Any more ideas or should I dump this vehicle?
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Sunday, November 12th, 2006 AT 1:01 PM
Tiny
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I bled the clutch hydraulic line again and found that some air was trapped in the line. The shifting problem is gone! So, the solution was the replacement of the master and slave cylinder. Thanks for the advice on the problem.

By the way, I had the vehicle to 2 shops and neither shop was able to fix this problem.
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Thursday, November 23rd, 2006 AT 11:35 PM
Tiny
GIAP
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Any idea on the cost to replace Master and Slave cylinder at typical garage?
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Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 AT 1:06 PM

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