I daily drive the car - I have noticed the 1-4 gears, while engageable, seemed slightly heavier on the shifts now. It's very subtle, but there.
5th gear disappeared on 2 of 4 days driving to San Jose to San Francisco (50 miles one way). 2nd day I could NOT engage 5th on freeway about 90% of time. On evening return trip, 5th gear was 80% ENGAGEABLE on freeway (HUH?). Next day, it was 90% ENGAGEABLE. 4th day, the trouble returned, albeit much less pronounced (50% ENGAGEABLE).
(Snip)... 5th was slightly easier to get back. But then 4-3 downshift suffered greatly; after a few days of driving, everything got better, but now REVERSE is harder to engage.
(Snip)... I read the 5th gear was an 'afterthought' by Citroen on a 4 speed gearbox - that explains the isolated behavior. My mistake to connect it to the circlip issue.
Many 5-speeds in the world started out as 4-speeds that received an upgrade. That doesn't make them any less worthy as transmissions, and 5th isn't somehow separate or isolated from 1st-4th.
Any stray torque that's fed into the transmission by a dragging clutch, or by the failed circlip problem, will affect all synchros in the gearbox, 1-5, to some degree. Each can react differently depending upon it's size and design (not all synchros in the gearbox are born equal), and it's own current 'worn' condition. It may simply be that the 5th synchro is to the point that it is more sensitive to the stray torque being fed into the gearbox while the clutch was fully released. I can only guess why it got better and worse on different days... I have no answer for that.
My 5th gear (two weeks after repair) seems 'back to normal', but shifting into 5th is noticeably more vague than prior to the problem. But Reverse is definitely a 2 handed effort about 80% of the time.
Tim wrote: > The crossgate adjustment is finicky... (Snip)...
Ah, that may explain the 5th-Reverse issue I see now.
(Snip)...When you say 'cable', do you mean 'linkage'? I read somewhere the 88 Citroen uses primarily 'rods' and the 89 and newer Renault-equipped use a 'cable'? Not sure if it make a difference?
The crossgate adjustment MAY be the cause of your reverse difficulties, but not 5th so much. 5th can be affected as well, but it's more likely that the reverse lock-out pin at the base of the gear shift lever might be bent or displaced. More on that a bit later.
The Esprit-Citroen set-up uses a pushrod linkage system for the fore-n-aft action, and a cable for the side-to-side crossgate action. The later Esprits with the Renault UN1 transaxle use cables for both motions.
The Esprit-Citroen pushrod assembly uses multiple links with pivot points, each pivot including a rubber grommet for noise/ vibration isolation. The rubber gets old, crumbles, and the fore-n-aft action picks up a lot of slop. Inspect all the pivot points and replace the sloppy grommets and plastic sleeve bushings as required. I replaced the plastic sleeves with sintered bronze bushings and the rubber grommets with harder urethane fawcett washers, both from the hardware store. They fit and worked. Perhaps not as quiet and vibration free as the factory set-up; but NOT metal-to-metal, and yet very positive in shift action.
In the cable assembly, the inner moving part is restrained by the stationary outer sheath, and pushes back against it. It's an action, reaction thing. If the stationary sheath stands fast and doesn't yield, then all the action put into one end of the inner cable, comes out the other end. However, if either end, or both ends of the outer sheath yield and move back due to the applied force, then that amount of movement is lost at the output end of the inner cable.
The outer sheath has a metal sleeve ferrule crimped onto either end. No bond, no screw clamps, just crimped. It has a threaded cylinder body that slides through a hole in some abutment bracket (or a hole in the bell housing flange), and a shoulder-flange that stops it. A washer and nut installed on the threaded body and tightened secures that end of the cable sheath to the abutment so it can't move.
If the nuts that secure the ferrule to the abutment are loose, that's lost motion. In addition, the usual cable failure mode is that the crimped ferrule connection comes loose, and the cable's outer sheath can slide back and forth a little bit within the ferrule. ANY detectable motion of the sheath is lost motion at the back end of the inner cable. Either 'looseness' (nut or ferrule crimp) can happen at one or both ends of the cable, and all looseness is additive. A little here, a little there... it adds up. The system has very little, if any built-in latitude, and it takes very little lost motion before you lose contact with one end of the crossgate action, or the other (1-2, or reverse).
Moving the gear lever to the right, toward 5th-Reverse, pushes the inner cable back. If any motion is lost, and the inner cable doesn't push back far enough, then the gearbox's internal crossshaft and the finger that hangs down from it won't move far enough engage the internal reverse shift rail. Pushing with two hands might force a wee bit more movement (something bends), and get you reverse, but the problem is an incorrectly adjusted cable end, or lost motion due to a loose abutment nut or loose ferrule crimp.
Get on your back and slide under the rear-right of the car. Look up toward the top-right side of the gearbox and you'll see a 90 degree bell crank... an "L" with equal length arms. One arm is attached to the end of the crosshaft sticking out of the top-side of the gearbox, and the other arm has the cable's end/ extension rod attached to it via a clevis, pin and spring clip (bobby pin hair clip).
Loosen the jam nut that tightens the clevis to the threaded extension rod. Remove the spring clip, remove the pin that goes through the clevis and bellcrank, and slide the clevis off the bellcrank. Un-thread the clevis on the extension rod one half revolution... the minimum before the slot in the clevis aligns with the bellcrank again. Re-install everything and tighten the jam nut. You've just made the overall cable assembly's length one half thread pitch longer.
Now try Reverse. If the problem getting reverse is resolved, then it was just a matter of adjustment. If the problem is better, but not resolved, go back under the car and give it another half turn. Repeat until you can get reverse every time, but take minimum steps, and go ONLY as far as is required to get reverse. Since you can't get reverse now, you might want to go 2 or 3 half turns on the first try. Just don't lose sight of the fact that you must use the minimum amount of adjustment necessary to just get reverse, and no more.
Once you get reverse adjusted, then try shifting into 1st & 2nd. If you can still get 1-2, and have resolved the reverse problem, then you're good to go. However, if 1-2 is now a problem, and you've just robbed Peter to pay Paul, then go back and make sure you haven't gone a half turn too far. If, in the end, you simply cannot resolve both sides of the crossgate within half-turn resolution, then it's very likely that there is some lost motion in one or both of the cable's ferrules... either the nuts securing them to the abutments are loose, or the crimps are loose, or both.
The rear ferrule is easy to see where it attaches to the through-hole in the bell housing mounting flange to the right of the engine. Have a helper operate the gear lever side-to-side while you observe the cable/ ferrule/ nut. Any movement is unacceptable.
The forward ferrule is not so easy since it's inside the chassis. Remove the center consol, shift boot and gaiter to reveal the shifter. Check the nut that secures the cable to the forward abutment (hole through the chassis). Checking the ferrule itself will require disconnecting the cable at the front, and pulling it out of the chassis to where you can inspect it. Grab the ferrule and sheath with both hands, and push, pull, twist forcefully. If there's any movement between them, the ferrule is loose. Replace the cable.
While the shift lever is exposed, check out the reverse lock-out pin. Near the base of the gear lever, there's a slender roll pin sticking out about an inch, facing forward. A verticle steel plate is bolted to the shifter base, and has a notch cut in it that clears the roll pin. The notch is wide enough to allow the gear lever to move side-to-side far enough to engage 1-2, 3-4 & 5th, but stops the lever before it reaches reverse. To get reverse, the gear lever must be pulled upward against a spring action, lifting the pin up above the notch-plate, then further to the right.
If the roll pin has fallen out (and they do) or been bent, then you've lost the positive stop that aligns the gear lever with the 5th gate. Finding 5th is now a matter of simply knowing where it is by the Braille method... like typing without looking at the keyboard. Mine fell out eons ago, but I could always find 5th by feel, first time every time, so I didn't bother messing with the pin. Other folk would drive my car, and swear up and down 5th wasn't there.
If your reverse lockout roll pin is missing, or bent, or otherwise not right, that could explain some of the difficulty with finding 5th, without opening up the gearbox.
(Snip)... I certainly am up for going for a simpler solution; the worse case scenario always gets the best of me. I'll talk to my mechanic to check the hydraulics and 5th gear more closely. I did discover a few days ago that the master clutch cylinder seems to be weeping inside the pushroad area inside the car very lightly (and it's only 13 months from new).
But wouldn't a leaky clutch master cylinder affect all 1-5 gears? Not just 5th? Statistically, multiple simultaneous failures seems unlikely (leaky hydraulics on 13 month old hardware and broken 5th synchro or cross shaft), but can't ignore the symptoms.
I'm NOT trying to talk you out of upgrading the circlip or spigot bearing. Do be very aware of that possibility, and don't delay with the fix or keep driving the car if you think it's the leading contender. I'm just pointing out that there are a multitude of things that affect shifting in the Esprit-Citroen, and they all need to be right.
Yes, a leaking cylinder can result in less than a clean clutch release, the drag will affect all synchros, and it's possible for each synchro to react to a different degree depending upon it's own size or condition. And never discount a possible cause just because it was addressed a year ago. Some parts are bad out of the box. Always keep an open mind and consider all possibilities.
Now that you've clarified that 1-4 are also harder to engage 'lately' and it's not just a 5th thing, that does indicate there might be something going on with the clutch release (bad master or slave cylinders, air in the system, Red Hose Syndrome, incorrect release lever adjustment), or you could really be seeing the early symptoms of the circlip failure. Be vigilant, and don't let a potential circlip problem go unattended. Just don't get so focused on one thing that you don't see the others.
BTW, reverse is not syncrhonized. It's always a crash-gear, and depends upon a little movement in the works to get a clean engagement. Too much gear movement is still too much, and a dragging clutch can adversely affect reverse as well. But reverse is unique, and will not react to stray torque/ drag like the other synchro-gears do.
I hope I'm not just adding to the confusion and burning bandwidth.
Lotus Owners Oftha North (LOON)