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Gearbox Problem ZC32

Good Evening folks

Really enjoying reading the posts of the SSSOC forum, great to see such a friendly community of car owners! I'm hoping to get a bit of advice on a problem I've been experiencing on a recently purchased 2016 SSS ZC32.

I bought the car approximately 6 weeks ago with very low mileage (roughly 1500 on the clock). The car is absolutely immaculate both inside and out but there has been a bit of a problem with the gearbox. When cold, it can be difficult shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. This is only when the car is in motion and the gears move freely when it's just idling with the clutch depressed. More concerningly though, going from 3rd to 2nd when cold can be extremely difficult. The gear lever will release from third effortlessly enough but can require quite a bit of force going back down to second. I've taken the car up to 2700 miles but the problem has somewhat dampened the whole enjoyment from the new car purchasing experience. The dealer I bought it off had changed a bushing within the gearbox which made the action of the gearchange a bit sturdier but hasn't helped the dropping down of gears.

The gear changes going up are great and I can't really complain except changing from 1st to 2nd - the issue is going down the gears.

For what it's worth after driving the car for about 15 minutes and everything heats up the problem is pretty much alleviated. The car was originally bpught by an elderly gentleman when new who passed away not long after having the car. I'm not sure if this information will be helpful in diagnosing the problem but the car would have been sitting for quite some time.

Sorry for the lengthy first post but I'm just desperate for a bit of help. Thanks so much in advance for any of your experienced input!

Its probably just down to the gearbox being barely used...at this kind of mileage its still like brand new 😮

My new ZC33S had almost the same issue from new but its definitely gotten better by racking up some miles on it. I've also fitted a solid rear engine mount which has eliminated any shifting issues all together.

My only advice would be to stick with it for a whilst. Possibly change the gearbox oil if it doesnt get any better after another couple of thousand miles. It sounds to me like the synchro's are still rough from machining and need a bit of running to smooth them down a bit. Sure its the same with my gearbox too.

Do you 'blip' the throttle on downshifts to rev match the gearbox to the engine?

Thanks for the reply Moyz. Actually forgot to mention the dealer did change the gearbox oil the first time I brought the problem to his attention. It didn’t make any noticeable difference when I got it back. I figured it may have been down to the low miles but I’ve never had such a low mileage car which experienced these symptoms.

Also I can’t say I blip the throttle when downshifting. I figured there would be more info on the subject on the forums, but as there wasn’t it led me to believe this might just be an independent problem with my unit?

If things are better once its warmed up, I wouldnt think its anything serious. Most gearboxes are a little rough when cold, especially at this time of year as the colder weather makes your gearbox oil that tad thicker.

I'd try putting more miles on it whilst blipping the throttle on downshifts...this will definitely help with slipping into lower gears. It sounds exactly how my gearbox was from new up to about 5k miles then it started to run smoother. Now I'm on just over 6k miles and its sweet as a nut 👍

Hi Paul.

I would also stick with the car for now. Because the more use that the gearbox gets the more likely It Is to smooth out. I bought my ZC32 back In May of this year and to be honest, In my opinion, the gearbox Is probably the only negative that I have with the car. But after doing some research this seems to be a trait of the Swift Sport range of cars. And apparantly the new ZC33 also suffers from a slightly notchy/clunky gearbox as well.

Please let us know how you get on with this Issue 👍

Quote from Paul Shields on November 11, 2019, 10:23 pm

Good Evening folks

Really enjoying reading the posts of the SSSOC forum, great to see such a friendly community of car owners! I'm hoping to get a bit of advice on a problem I've been experiencing on a recently purchased 2016 SSS ZC32.

I bought the car approximately 6 weeks ago with very low mileage (roughly 1500 on the clock). The car is absolutely immaculate both inside and out but there has been a bit of a problem with the gearbox. When cold, it can be difficult shifting from 1st to 2nd gear. This is only when the car is in motion and the gears move freely when it's just idling with the clutch depressed. More concerningly though, going from 3rd to 2nd when cold can be extremely difficult. The gear lever will release from third effortlessly enough but can require quite a bit of force going back down to second. I've taken the car up to 2700 miles but the problem has somewhat dampened the whole enjoyment from the new car purchasing experience. The dealer I bought it off had changed a bushing within the gearbox which made the action of the gearchange a bit sturdier but hasn't helped the dropping down of gears.

The gear changes going up are great and I can't really complain except changing from 1st to 2nd - the issue is going down the gears.

For what it's worth after driving the car for about 15 minutes and everything heats up the problem is pretty much alleviated. The car was originally bpught by an elderly gentleman when new who passed away not long after having the car. I'm not sure if this information will be helpful in diagnosing the problem but the car would have been sitting for quite some time.

Sorry for the lengthy first post but I'm just desperate for a bit of help. Thanks so much in advance for any of your experienced input!

The Sport gearbox is definitely not the easiest to live with when cold, I’ve shared your experiences with both a ZC32 and ZC33 (which have the same box), notchy cold changes and an eagerness to almost jump out of 3rd when changing down, thankfully things do improve massively with some warming up and I think it just demonstrates the issue is down to the design tolerances perhaps.

Incidentally My ZC32 box was completely rebuilt at low miles due to a rattle at idle speed when cold / lukewarm, it also had a new clutch and neither of these things changed the issues mentioned above so I would be assured it’s not a fault as such, more the dreaded “Characteristic” of the car.

Hello and sorry to hear about your issue but I will echo what's already been said, I have a 65 plate Sport and the gearshift is far from slick and can be a bit notchy when cold. When I bought mine it was on 9800 miles and as it approaches 15,000 miles the gear change is definitely improving, albeit gradually, yours has covered so few miles that I'm inclined to think that could very well be responsible for your problem. I have read that the gearboxes can still improve well past 15,000 miles and while I appreciate that's of no consolation to you now it could be a light at the end of the tunnel ! Another thing perhaps worth considering is what grade of oil is in the box, someone suggested to me to just run 75W oil as oppose to multi grade so I have changed it and although I can't be certain it may well be contributing to the improvement in the feel of the gear change.

It's a shame to hear this is spoiling your ownership experience as they really are cracking little cars to own, drive and enjoy.

I wish you luck in trying to get to a point where you're happy with the car and please keep us up to date if you can.

Hi Paul, assume this car had FSH?

1,500 miles in three years is so little the engine probably never reached operating temperature and previous owner likely never drove it to high revs up and down through the gears.

I'm sure it will come good, just need to be patient and drive, drive and drive some more exploiting its cornering and breaking.

the zc32s gearbox is very notchy, at least for the first 10.000km, and also with cold weather it tends to have trouble to get the gears to engage properly until is fully warmed (At least 30 min of driving).

my zc32s has the same rattle as david's zc32s, i remember him from the old forum.
i also had the clutch replaced, but nothing changed, when the car is fully warmed up noise goes away.
David, i thought you had a ford fiesta ST, do you have a z33s now??