My '99 has not quite 5,000 miles on it. I've had the problem since I drove it off the lot. At first I thought it would go away after I put some decent gas in the car, then I thought it might go away after break-in, and now I'm just waiting for my first service.
The problem is this: it drives rough. Acceleration and decaleration are not smooth. Like it needs a tune-up, or has dirty gas in the tank, or is running on 3 cylinders. Most noticable going downhill when I let up slightly on the gas.
This phenomenon is subtle; passengers don't notice it unless I bring it to their attention. But when my wife asked me what's wrong with the car, I figured something is very wrong.
There's also a noticable thunk between gears, especially going into 2nd; it's never a smooth shift. I've been driving shifts all my life; 2nd gear on this car makes me look bad.
I know, I should've brought the car to the dealer and complained by now, but for me, going to the dealer is like going to the proctologist - I'll wait for the scheduled service.
In the meantime, your collective wisdom is appreciated.
Happens most distinctly if I'm in 2nd; if I let off the gas, the car will not simply slow down smoothly, it shudders a couple of times before 'finding' its speed. This shuddering also occurs when I apply throttle after coasting.
Hmmm, I know that all cars equipped with quattro experience some driveline "shudder" I guess you could call it....for instance, you're driving along in say second, let off the gas to coast....and the car sort of jerks/shudders....same thing happens when you get back on the gas...even more pronounced in 1st gear (for me anyway). This is just a side-effect of the quattro system as I have understood from other discussions (look for driveline shudder in the archives).
As far as the jerk you feel during shifting...well, this is my first manual car, so at first I thought it was just me. But I let my friend drive it (he has a 96 prelude, been driving manual for years) and even he jerked the car during shifts. Now I'm not sure if that's what you're experiencing, but it seems that since the RPMs are kept high between shifts (for emission reasons), it makes it hard to smoothly go to the next gear....(basic case of rev matching during upshifts which one usually doesn't have to do since in most cars, RPMs drop automatically).
I don't doubt your manual driving skills, but try letting the RPMs drop between shifts (you usually have to wait about 0.75 to 1 sec) and then shift....seems like it's much smoother for me...
I noticed this early in my car's life, too. However, at ~5800 mi, everything has smoothed out significantly. In fact, my wife and I were talking about how smooth the car is in first gear now at around 10 mph - wonderfully smooth, in fact. We laughingly compared it to our subaru, which is nice in general, but rough in 1st gear when varying accelerator pressure.
I've never had a 'clunk', though, except in my 280ZX.
My guess is that it'll smooth out for you. My shifter is very smooth now in all gears, and there is little driveline shudder. I will, however, make note of it this evening on the way home, varying accelerator pressure in second throughout the rev range, and let you know what I feel.
Darryl 98.5 1.8T qmsb 95 Legacy Outback m 81.5 280ZX 2+2 GL m
I noticed a slight, how should I say it, glitch when upshifting into second before the car warms up. Once warmed up, it shifts nicely from gear to gear. My previous car, a 91 Acura Integra, shifted beautifully and effortlessly no matter how warmed up the car was, so I have a reference to go by. For the record, I consider this to be a MINOR problem, and based on what I read here, I expect/hope that as the car gets more mileage (I only have 1200 miles), it will probably shift even smoother.
I purcheshed a 99 1.8tqm about a month ago and have noticed a similar "thunk" between first and second. Several others have mentioned this in the archives, but I haven't seen a consensus on wheter it's a problem, or just something that gets smoother with age. Right now, the shift from first to second is extremely rough and on some cold mornings I've felt like I had to force the car into second. It is definitely more pronounced in cold weather. I do plan to have it looked at, but like you avoid taking cars in for service unless I have to.
First starting out, when accelerating from 2000 - 3000 rpm and letting off throttle, there was a definite slight lurching, two distinct hitches, before the car smoothed out. So, when cold (65 degree ambient temp, cold engine), my car still does this. However, on the way back to work, I tried almost the entire rev range (up to 5000), and there was no lurching at all, except slightly at close to idle.
So, see how your car is when warmed up, and maybe with a few more miles on it. Another thing I could suggest is switching your transmission oil to Amsoil MTF - call them and ask for a weight recommendation. It'll be $7.95/qt plus shipping, but it will surely smooth out your shifter. I will be doing this to my Z this spring when I replace the suspension.
Finally, I don't know how you drive, but try driving hard occasionally - get the revs close to 6000 in first, second, and third. It definately seems to loosen things up a bit in my car, aside from being bags of fun, especially on my favorit s-curve passing pick ups & luxury trucks. Woohoo!
Normally, I don't experience a hitch when shifting from 1st to 2nd or 2nd to third. I only experience it when staying in second and changing throttle position abrubtly. When I smoothly modulate throttle, the car responds smoothly, although admittedly not as well as in 4th and 5th, where the throttle is like a hot knife through butter!
My advice, which may not apply, would be to make less abrubt changes in 1st and second in heavy traffic, but when you're merging or launching from stop onto higher speed roads, open it up more and see if your shifter is still notchy.
Is notchy the right word for it? Does the shifter have trouble going into second, with the clutch fully depressed? If so, I never have that problem, and I would mention it to your tech. There is probably a weak or out-of alignment synchro or (forget the name - the tooth gear that lines up the shifter with the synchro - my Z sometimes has this problem and it is definately different from the hitch that I feel in my A4, which I think is normal (although sloppy) driveline behavior.
Since you notice the problem warm, I'd say it's your second gear. Sounds like worn out transmission oil in an otherwise good transmission. Hmm. Good luck at the dealer.
Take "Insider"'s advice with you - maybe that'll help.