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estomax 05-06-2017 06:14 PM

manual transmission only has 4th gear
Hey Guys,

new user here but a long time Nissan guy, this looks like the most active hardbody forum on the net so I figured i'd join in too :)

I have a curious problem, and i'll start with the long story as I don't have the details of how I got the truck to what it is doing now. I borrowed my truck to my neighbor kid because his car broke down and i'm a nice guy. I taught him to drive stick for a few days and off he went. after a couple of weeks he has the truck towed to my place and said it stopped moving. I go down there and smell lots of clutch so I figure he toasted the clutch in his noobishness. The other strange clue was that the clutch reservoir was empty (my slave was leaking).

I went right off and dropped the tranny and installed a new clutch/flywheel/pressure plate thinking problem solved. I started the truck and drove it around the block and it seemed ok. I drove it a few days later and got stuck on the road with no power going into the transmission again.

the weirdness of the symptoms is that I can put the truck into any gear with the clutch out and the engine is running (except 4th, 4th gear seems to work as in I need to press the clutch to get 4th). there is slight clunking noises coming from the transmission until I push in the clutch, and they stop. when I start the car cold then it blocks all gears until I put it in and try to go - it then clunks and disengages and I again have no gears (Except 4th)

when I drained transmission/transfer case oil then the transmission oil was very dark (last replaced with redline mt90 25k miles ago) and there was a half inch of shavings on the drain plug which seems excessive.

now my understanding is that in 4th gear the countershafts are not used so it must be something around those that is messed up? I have rebuilt engines but never a transmission so I am a bit green on the insides of them.

thanks for any ideas! I am pretty sure I need to find a 'new' transmission from the junkyard to get back on the road.

or is it that I just need to add more transmission oil (I filled it to the fill plug but from my searching here I need to overfill by a quart or so).


YEPEE 05-06-2017 08:02 PM

I would probably try to find a good used one to get back on the road, then pull apart the old one, sheared gears? sincros? broken shift fork(s)... could be fun once you open it up.. might share with your "student" driver, for education purposes

johnber 05-07-2017 03:11 PM

sounds like the cluster shaft has failed. (or input shaft teeth are gone) 4th gear runs strait thru without need of any gears as it is a 1:1 . it jus locks the input shaft up to the main shaft. if all other gears have failed that is what has happened. need anuther trans or rebuild yours.

estomax 05-08-2017 03:44 AM

thanks for the feedback, I will be pulling this guy out and educating the kid (and myself as far as trans internals).. hopefully he will 'find some time' to help me with it.


Boozehero 05-19-2017 01:51 PM

You are a swell guy for letting the kid ruin a tranny and clutch. Sounds like he was reefing on it pretty good.

I had a similar issue with a 92 I bought a while back.
The PO had messed up a timing chain replacement, so I bought the truck for cheap.
Made the engine run again, but the tranny was toast.
Just like your description. Noisy as hell, but I could drive it taking off in second and going to directly to 4th.

I went to 2 upulls, there were many trux with automatics, but all of the 5 speeds were gone. Tell you something?
Anyway, I finally found one a few weeks later.
Good luck

estomax 11-25-2017 12:32 AM

hey guys, I haven't actively been looking for a replacement transmission, but finally got time to pull the transmission out of the truck to try and figure out what might have happened. The funny (or not) thing is that the neighbor kid moved out and stopped answering my texts soon after.

anyway, inside the transmission nothing looks bent or broken or out of place, so I am a bit miffed as to what might be broken or damaged. Anyone here take one of these apart before who might see something wrong? couple pics below



johnber 11-25-2017 04:06 PM

4th gear runs direct thru the top shaft......check the front gear on the cluster (lower gear assy) to see it has spun from the shaft it will cause this. they are a press fit if i remember correctly

estomax 11-25-2017 10:02 PM

Thanks John,

see the above pic. The lower gears all seem to mesh fine and don't seem to be shifted from position or have any damage. with the gear train out I can engage the forks and put it in gear and they all pass through without an issue, which is not very helpful with pinpointing the problem. I wonder if something with the shift fork could have gotten bent enough where it is not allowing the gears to engage, but that is a pretty beefy mechanism so I am having a hard time seeing what that could be.

after I took the transmission out the first time and replaced the clutch, I was able to run the thing for a few days without any apparent issue. So i think it has to be something to do with the linkage. from looking at the FSM everything is pinned and tight so it boggles my mind what could have gotten wacked out.


cadillacdude1975 11-25-2017 11:24 PM

its gotta be something simple. these transmissions are damn near bullet proof.

estomax 01-08-2018 03:44 AM

to keep an update here, i bought a parts 86 4x4 4cyl truck to take the transmission from. i am not comfortable putting my trans back in the truck even though on the floor everything appears to work. when real power tries to go through there something stops passing through, and i can't find anything reasonably obvious.

if anyone around seattle needs some short bed parts let me know.


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