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i have exactly the same issue, my ZS only has 35k and it has been like this since i have owned it (since 24k). You feel like a muppet having to go again to select a gear. For me it seems at it's worst down shifting. Definitley alot worse the hotter the outside temperature.
 

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i have exactly the same issue, my ZS only has 35k and it has been like this since i have owned it (since 24k). You feel like a muppet having to go again to select a gear. For me it seems at it's worst down shifting. Definitley alot worse the hotter the outside temperature.
Join a growing club. Mine since 18K when I bought it. 44K now. Hasn't got any worse. Just an intermittent problem that I can live with for now because I don't do a lot of mileage. I've always fancied doing a track day but no chance. I'd be spinning off the track struggling to change down going into corners.
 

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Sorry to bring this old thread up.

There are a few similar threads dotted around but in no cases did anyone come back to say if and how they fixed the problem.

I think there are 2 or more separate problems being described in this and other similar threads, one being related to the factory hydraulics and the other relating to another problem - such as the one I'm experiencing.

I've had my ZS 180 from new and spend around an hour and a half to 2 hours a day in heavy traffic.

From around 30,000 miles, when the car is hot and having been in heavy traffic for over 45 minutes it becomes very difficult to engage first gear, particularly when the weather is hot. If the car is slowly rolling forwards it will slot in, but if the car is stationary it can be very difficult and on occasion I've had to pull away in second.

As someone above said, it feels like something is bending because the biting point also gets slightly lower as the car gets hotter. Because of this I fitted a sheddist kit. It certainly helped with keeping the biting point at the right level but the problems with engaging first gear when hot after heavy traffic remained.

So, next job was the gearbox oil.

After changing the box oil (mid summer too), the problem appeared to improve drastically. Definitely still a lack of smoothness in hot temperatures but for around 3 Months afterwards it always slotted into first without difficulty.

But the problem has since come back.

In all cases I'm pretty certain the clutch is fully disengaging when the pedal is depressed. There are definitely no signs to suggest it isn't.

When the problem is at it's worst, if I hold the gear lever at the resistance point for 1st gear, and then switch the engine off, it will then slot straight in.

So, in conclusion, difficulty engaging first only happens when the both the outside temperature and the engine/box is hot after sitting in heavy traffic with the engine running, and the closest I've had to fixing the problem was for a short period of time following the gearbox oil change.

I don't think this is related but will mention it in case a bright spark can link it, but the car has had severe clutch judder from brand new, but only from cold and only lasting the first 2 or 3 pull away's. After the 3rd pull away the problem disappears. My car didn't have a warranty when new so it wasn't something i ever got sorted out.

Car is now on 52,000 miles.

My conclusion for the problem engaging first gear is worn synchromesh and this is certainly the conclusion I would have if presented with the problem on any other car, but the fact that there are multiple known clutch/gear change problems on the 180 has me questioning what the true answer is.

Any gearbox specialists on the forum that can say with almost certainty "Yes, the problem you describe sounds like X"?

Many thanks in advance.
 

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i had the same problems as you... i fitted the sheddist kit aswell and ive only just had it solved...

basically the steps that i did was oil change, there was a leak on the master cylinder which wasnt helping but was replaced by sheddist,biting point was too low on hydraulics which didnt help either.

in the few months after i took my car to rally matt and had quaiffe installed while it was there he looked at it all for me and my clutch was shot,and needed gear synchro rings replacing, he also did something else with hydrolics which just transformed the clutch pedal, i will get in touch with him and ask him what he did ... but since all that was replaced it was like a dream hope this helps will post again once matt has been in touch.

cheers luke.
 

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Just thinking, they can't have passed inspection the way they are when they rolled off the production line...so what goes wrong?
 

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Thanks for the reply cutler12 and for your effort to contact someone for confirmation.

The bleeding and clevis adjustment are things I've already done.

You said you had new synchro rings fitted, I take it you no longer had the problem after this was done?

Keosk,

Knowing a few people who worked on the production lines, I don't think all of them really cared. Morale was pretty low by the time the Mk2's were being knocked out.

But still, most of the parts fitted to our cars had been around for years and had proven themselves as reasonably good components, but I guess part of the problem is the combination of those parts when used on our cars, and changing suppliers who are can manufacture some of those components cheaper. I guess for the Mk2's at least, the problems didn't arise until it was too late.
 

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Not possible to just suggest 1 thing and hope its right withough looking at things properly and that will mean box out and probably stripping it down.

There are a few issues it could be,

worn clutch or damaged flywheel (high spotting from the juddering earlier in cars life) Luke's flywheel was pretty marked from the clutch issues it had earlier due to hydraulics, its in the skip now!

There is also a strong possibility that the sychro rings have been damaged as a result of poor hydraulics.

Lots of people incorrectly adjust the sheddist kit, you need to make sure you are getting full clearance not level pedals. Also make sure its thoroughly bled through.

Did you use the correct gear oil? MTF94 is the only oil that should go in this box.

Worn gear linkage, its not a brilliant set up and slight wear can result in a very sloppy change.

Holding the gearstick after changing gear is probably the worst thing you can do with a manual box, it keeps pressure on the selectors and parts do not run in their natural position, just a tip :)

It could be a worn location hole in the interlock baseplate, seen a couple like that.

The clutch dosn't need to be slipping to be damaged. If the cover fingers are damaged that will severely reduce clutch clearance.

Time to bite the bullet and box out and see whats what if you want to get to the bottom of it.
 

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Thanks for the detailed reply Rally Matt.

In response...

Correct gear oil was used.

Flywheel issues certainly could be the cause of the judder, but as I'm pretty sure the clutch is fully disengaging when the pedal is depressed, I don't think this is related to the difficulty getting into 1st when hot.

Worn location hole - Can't prove either way, but i'd consider my driving style one that doesn't cause excessive wear on clutch/box components, even on my race car I've never damaged a clutch or box, bushes are the things I go through a lot of! However, clutch judder could be a contributory factor here so it remains a possibility.

Worn gear linkage - Although not as tight as it was when new, I'd rule this one out because gear changes are smooth and precise when the car is cold and when the engine is switched off.

Cover fingers - Could be worn, but again, I'd expect some kind of drag when changing gear. The issue is only with first gear. If cover fingers were worn/damaged then I'd expect some kind of tell tale sign with other gears at certain speeds, and there are none. i.e, it wont slot into first from stand still when car is very hot, but it will slot straight into 2nd. Cover fingers may be a contributory factor to the judder though.

So, based on your own detailed response, I think again, the finger is pointing towards synchro issues.

I may try an alternative gear box oil before considering changing the box. Not sure what yet, I'd need to read up on it and find something that may improve the problem.

When I eventually come to changing the clutch (if I ever do), I'll probably get a recon box and switch the box at the same time. That will most probably cure the problem, but unfortunately it will never give absolute certainty as to whether the problem was actually with the gearbox or the clutch. It does seem likely that we have synchromesh issues here though.

So, the next question to help confirm that, is a worn synchromesh more apparent at higher temperatures?

If temperature makes absolutely no difference to the function of a synchro, that leaves more questions unanswered, if it does, then I'm pretty sure we've established the most likely cause.
 

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You are really just second guessing until you pull the gearbox out.

Personally I would always reccomend rebuilding the gearbox you have. Better the devil you know!

Changing to another gear oil will be a bad move.

Doesnt matter if you are very kind to your gearbox, if there are any faults in the drivetrain they can have serious knock on effects on other components.

High spotting on the flywheel is not something you can feel but will have sufficent drag on the clutch to cause excess wear on the synchro rings.

Temperature does affect transmissions, but not always easy to pin point which component, usually clutch is more high temp dependent but depending on the nature of the wear on the synchro teeth the baulk rings can also be very badly affected
 

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Thanks again for the further reply.

If and when I take the box out (could be anytime, Weeks, Months, Years etc) I'll update this thread with the findings.

I'll try to get some photos of the flywheel. I've not stripped one of these boxes before so will probably have someone else do it, and again, I'll update with the findings.

Thanks again.
 

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have you checked the movement of the actuating arm where it passes through the bellhousing? They can gum up and stick with age, heat can make it worse. Have experienced this myself on an MGF (same box).
 

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have you checked the movement of the actuating arm where it passes through the bellhousing? They can gum up and stick with age, heat can make it worse. Have experienced this myself on an MGF (same box).
No I haven't checked that. I can see that it moves, but maybe I should take a closer look. That'll be a job for the Weekend, cheers.
 

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The clutch and box suffer as Matt said. The test for clutch drag is pretty easy if you have access to a trolley jack and a helper. First thing is put the jack under the front lift point. Lift the front just high enough to get the wheels clear of the ground then firmly apply the handbrake and chock the rear wheels. Now for the slightly dodgy bit. Start the engine put the clutch pedal to the floor and engage 1st gear leaving the engine at idle. Get a helper to see if the wheels are turning? If the clutch is working as it should the wheels should be stationary or turn very slowly. If the foot brake is applied the wheels will stop but if the clutch is dragging the engine will be pushing them to turn again and this should make a slight change in engine note. I'v used this technique many times but if you do use it then be careful and of course it's at your own risk!!
 

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I have this issue in my spare 180. Although it happens in every gear. so far i've changed the oil, replaced the bracket on slave cylinder and neither helped. next step is to look at synchro. Although ap triple plate clutch is under £200 so may just whack that in and a new gearbox. then take time to pull the original parts apart and get a better understanding of the issues.
 

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Hi... to all. I've owned my (MG ZS+ TD 5 DOOR HATCHBACK (2004 Reg) 1994 Diesel Manual gearbox) car for less than a year and I enjoy driving it for about an hour or so in cold weather but only 5 minutes in weather like today... hot. I think I've trawled and read about everything posted on this car's clutch subject and I've had a reply back from Mr Sheddist informing me that his fix kit is for petrol versions only.

I'm not a mechanically minded person and so, greatfully, depend on the skills & rely on the wisdom of others. I have followed this latest clutch issues resurrection with avid interest hoping that we had moved on since 2006 and that solutions to all that ails our clutches had been found... but sadly no... it would seem not.

The above is not a critism of any one who has tried to find the answers but it makes me wonder where all the Ex Rover Engineers or mechanics are. Surely issues, as old and well discussed as this problem, would be known to them and that they would have solutions or alternatives readily available.

My apologies for my little rant.... I'm just an old geezer who wants to drive his car without the worry of clutch failure.

By the way my gear selection is like a spoon in a pudding basin... you give it a good waggle and hopefully you find the gear you want... gear stick is very loose.

MOT due next month and yes it will go in for it... hope it passes because it will be hard to justify any further spend on the car whilst all the afore mentioned clutch issues remain un-answered.

Meanwhile good luck to you all and keep... smiling
 

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it makes me wonder where all the Ex Rover Engineers or mechanics are. Surely issues, as old and well discussed as this problem, would be known to them and that they would have solutions or alternatives readily available.
Yeah, good points. It's a mystery to me too.

Always wanted to ask, are there ANY Zed owner who've never had this blasted gear change issue with the standard clutch set-up? The other day I got such a painful cramp in my clutch leg that I had to stop the car and walk about! 1st gear is a luxury now if I can ever find it. Not that the other speeds are much better. It's the fly in the ointment in an otherwise perfect driving experience for me. Problem seems to have got worse during the hot spell.

Also re Nigel's kit? How exactly does it work? I mean on visual inspection I can see that everything is working as it should (confirmed by qualified clutch mechanic) No oil leaks, no bent components, etc..so I'm interested to know what the aforementioned mod adds to the existing set up that has alleviated the problem for people who've fitted it. Does it help apply more pressure inside the hydraulics? Or what? Sorry, not very mechanically minded here, but I am very interested to find out.
 

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The Sheddist Kit... for what I understand is that it removed the issue of flexing at the slave end. The original components, master & slave cylinders, are of mainly plastic construct with flexi hose being used at various points to connect them.

The theory is that with increased temperature the plastic elements (at the slave end) would heat up and thereby expand reducing the slave rods push on the clutch lever. This only needs a slight, fractional, reduction to cause the clutch not to dis-enguage fully when the pedal is depressed. Also, this constant slight movement is akin to flexing a thin piece of plastic... it will eventually break. (The break would happen at the connection of the slave cylinder to its mounting bracket... resulting in complete clutch failure.

Mr Sheddist did a brilliant job, apparently, by re-designing the entire hydraulic clutch system with alternative components, (Honda Parts I believe), ridgid piping and engineering a more ridgid mounting plate which mounts the now fully metal slave cylinder to the gearbox casing. All this takes out the constant flexing of the original system.

But why does his system not work for the TD models.. ?... I don't know. I asked the same question of him but never got a reply.

His theory should work for all models with a bit of modification/tweaking or even a completely redesigned mounting plate... because the rest of the components should work just fine. That's the way I see it... but then again, I'm not that mechanically minded and I might be missing something obvious but for the life of me I can't see it....
 
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