How to fix reverse gear problems (manual)

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How to fix reverse gear problems (manual)

Postby fto52c » Wed May 18, 2005 1:18 pm

If you are having difficulty in getting the car into reverse gear it is probably due to the spring ring fitted to the reverse gear synchronising cone, this becomes distorted if the reverse gear sleeve has a chipped tooth. I have just stripped a gear box to replace this, not a job I would recommend unless you have the facilities. The good news is I think you can fix the problem without removing the gearbox. It took 5 weeks to get parts from Japan the delay was due to the spring ring not being listed in the parts catalogue. It seems that Mitsubishi no longer fit this ring on reverse gear (they must have had too many problems). I have re-built the gearbox without the ring and can confirm that it has no effect on getting reverse (it may crunch if you don’t fully disengage the clutch). The good news is all you have to do is take the ring off the synchronising cone. I think this can be done with the gearbox on the car, it’s worth a try but if it goes wrong you may have to take the gearbox off. I suggest the following:

Jack up the car on the nearside using the cars own jack and take the front N/S wheel off. Take the jack to its maximum height; this will also lift the rear wheel (put a block under the rear wheel and lower the car so the wheel is taking some of the weight – this is for safety). Put some axel stands under the sill next to the jack and under the front towing hitch (centre of the engine)

Drain the gearbox oil – you need a container of at least 2.5Ltr. Drain plug is under the N/S drive shaft – it’s the big nut (24mm socket).

Remove the plate on the bottom of the gearbox (put a tray or some paper under this to the catch the drips)

Remove the reverse idler gear; this is the small gear that goes between the input shaft and output shaft and is held by a single bolt to the right of the OIL filler plug (Oil filler plug is marked OIL on the bolt) on the front casing of the gearbox. Support the gear while taking the bolt out to stop it dropping (you don’t want to chip the teeth).

Put car into 5 th gear.

You will now see the reverse gear synchronising cone and the offending steel ring; the synchronising ring is brass ring next to reverse gear on the end of the output shaft.

You will now have to split the steel ring to remove it. This may not be that simple as it is made of hardened steel. Using a screw driver it should be possible to remove the ring from the synchronising cone to give you a bit more space, but it won’t move far. If you have to use a hack saw blade to cut the ring make sure there are no metal fillings in the gearbox casing before you close it up.

Once the ring is removed re-fit the reverse idler gear (tighten the bolt to 48Nm) and check that you can engage reverse gear. The locking devices stops you going from 5 th to reverse so make sure you start from neutral.

Clean the plate and the bottom of the gear box with a degreasing solvent (petrol?) and apply some liquid gasket sealer to the bottom plate only. Make sure you apply this as a continuous bead. You need a good quality liquid gasket I have used Locktite Black Tite – it’s not cheap but it is good.

Fit the bottom plate and refill with clean oil (you need 2.2Ltr – don’t overfill the box) – Job done.

Total cost excluding labour should be under £50. (Locktite is £17) and depending how hard it is to remove the steel ring should take under 2 hours.
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Postby CJ » Wed May 18, 2005 1:51 pm

Nice guide fto52c!

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Re: How to fix reverse gear problems (manual)

Postby Kynan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:07 pm

Thank you so much for writing up this guide fto52c.

I have just completed the above and can confirm that it is indeed possible to remove the spring ring without taking apart the entire transmission. I wouldn't have attempted otherwise.

For those wondering what the symptoms are exactly, for me i experienced at first some difficulty engaging reverse which i would sometimes have to pump the clutch and or switch to another gear then retry, it progressively got worse and got to a point where every-time i had to roll forwards until it would engage sometimes only a few centimeters sometimes 5 meters which made parking a hassle and required a lot of forethought.

I pretty much followed this guide exactly except i used cutters to snip the steel ring. I don't think it would be possible to use a hacksaw simply not enough room. This was actually very difficult and really the only hard part of the whole operation. The problem is that the space in which you have to get the cutters in between in order to cut the ring is very narrow. Since my cutters were wider than this I had to get a screwdriver underneath the ring and lever it out while pulling on it with needle-nose pliers so it would stick out enough that i could get cutters in far enough to cut it, took about 20mins of fiddling and cursing. I suggest buying a very narrow pair of cutters or if required buy a really cheap pair and grind the sides down.

Reverse gear engages like a dream now, no syncro but who needs it on reverse anyway, I can finally park without worrying about finding a nice hill to roll back with or finding double parks so i can drive straight out.

Anyway I have taken some photos to aid anyone who is thinking of doing the same thing.


1. Image
- how i had setup my car after draining the gear oil.
2. Image
- reverse idler gear bolt taken out next to the oil bolt.
3. Image
- the reverse idler gear
4. Image
- what you see after taking off plate and taking out idler gear
5. Image
- the tools i used to cut the spring ring.
6. Image
- where the offending spring ring is located between
7. Image
- the spring ring
8. Image
- liquid gasket i used
9. Image
- replacement gear oil and engine oil, may aswell do an oil change while your down there!
10. Image
- oil syringe to put in the new gear oil.
Last edited by Bernard on Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to show pics (Bernard)
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Re: How to fix reverse gear problems (manual)

Postby Malloy » Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:15 am

Its years later but this guide still sounds great. I would love to see those images posted by Kynan before I attempt this but they're no longer on imageshack.

If you're still out there Kynan, you would be a life saver if you could re-post the photos if you still have them. If anyone else has them and can post them, that will work too.

Thanks fto52c. Thanks Kynan. And of course, thank you
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Re: How to fix reverse gear problems (manual)

Postby Malloy » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:38 am

I just thought I would let people know that I've have now followed this guide and even without photos, was able fix my reverse gear issue with no problem. Works like a charm now! I was reluctant to try this at first, thinking that I wouldn't be able to cut the metal spring bit but it wasn't that hard at all! After the car was jacked up, the entire process only took about an hour. You should be able to do this even if you aren't typically the hands-on type.

In case this post gets separated from the original post, here is a reminder of the problem this fixes.

- Difficulty in getting the car into reverse gear
- Can sometimes get into reverse gear by rolling forward or on multiple attempts
- Difficulty gets progressively worse until eventually you cannot get into reverse gear at all

The part that actually needs to be cut is a metal spring about the thickness of a fat paperclip. It was easy to get to by prying it up slightly with a large flat head screwdriver.

This is a list of everything I used which was mostly purchased via ebay.

£9.99 - Heavy Duty 3pcs Aviation Tin Snips Set Sheet Metal Cutters Shears ( actually only used the 'left cut' one )
£16.77 - Triple QX 75W90 Semi Synthetic Gear Oil (3 litres)
£6.99 - Engine Oil Antifreeze Drainage Pan Drain Sump Container 9 L Litre Recycle
£5.76 - 500cc Oil Suction Gun Flexible Hose Race Rally Off Road Repair
£3.78 - V-Tech Quality Copper RTV Silicone Instant High Temperature Gasket Maker VT-153
£3.99 - Holts Cold Start 400ml (to clean the gasket area)
£3.39 - 24mm socket for the drain plug (half inch drive & breaker bar just in case it's stubborn)
£2.40 - 17mm socket for the oil fill plug (half inch drive & breaker bar just in case it's stubborn)
£6.56 - 15" Flexi Head 1/2" Drive Knuckle Breaker Bar Chrome Vanadium

*** The gearbox DOES NOT need to be removed ***

1. Jack up the nearside of the car and make it safe (Think jack or axle stands)
2. Remove the nearside wheel
3. Drain the gear oil (24mm socket)
4. Remove the plate on the bottom of the gearbox
5. Remove the reverse idler gear ( One bolt to the right of the gearbox OIL filler plug )
6. Put car into 5th gear (you should now clearly see the paperclip width spring ring)
7. Cut the spring ring and pull it out with pliers
8. Re-install the reverse idler gear
9. Clean the plate that was on the bottom of the gearbox using a good solvent
10. Make a gasket on the plate and re-install it
11. Remove the OIL filler plug (17mm)
12. Refill with new gear oil using the oil suction gun and replace the OIL filler plug.

Thanks again go to fto52c for posting the original guide and Kynan for posting the followup that gave me the courage to try this.

- Malloy
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