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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy all, been a while since I've posted. I have just shy of 40K miles on my 2013 Eco 6MT, have yet to change out the transmission fluid- I have some Amsoil Synchromesh ready to go for that but I'm delaying having it changed for the reason which I will explain below.

My issue is this, and all my searches seem to indicate that it's fairly unique- can't find anyone else who's experienced it. After about an hour into my commute, maybe sooner, especially if it's a hot day, the linkage gets very sticky when moving it from left-right across the neutral gate (i.e. the shifter's neutral rest position). The shifter will stick to the far right, or the far left, whichever side you elect to put it, hands free- it will stay there. So when shifting, for instance, from 2nd to third, you must then manually guide it over to the neutral position before moving the shifter forward into the third gear gate. Sort of wrecks the whole driving experience. When the car is stone cold it doesn't do this, and the shifting feels normal. Once it starts exhibiting this behavior, it does so irrespective of clutch being in or out, and likewise the shift behavior itself feels about the same, sticky linkage not withstanding. I've never had any grinding issues shifting from 1st to 2nd or from 2nd to 3rd which some of you have reported. The shifter just gets very stiff acting as it moves left to right and vice versa.

Does this sound like something a simple transmission fluid change would cure? Naturally that is something that needs tending to irrespective of other issues, but I find it odd that the linkage itself gets stiff though the synchros continue to work fine, which has me thinking that it's not a fluid issue. I've had it into the dealer from whom I purchased the car, and they of course couldn't duplicate it (charged me for the diagnostic though!), nor did they recommend an early transmission fluid change (the service writer stated that 50K mile change interval is what GM recommends). The service writer also stated that the linkage has no points to grease, so they were at a loss to explain it. I also need to add that once I'm off the Interstate, the linkage issue becomes less pronounced, though it remains present, just to a lesser degree. For example it feels higher effort left to right or right to left, but the apparent level of friction lessens enough that the shifter will no longer stick at the extreme left or right position. Once it cools completely down, the shifter's behavior reverts back to something that feels pretty normal.

I believe I've read on this forum somewhere that the Amsoil Sychromesh fluid that I intend to use could void the warranty on the transmission, so I'm reticent to use it until this problem is diagnosed- I don't want GM claiming that it's the Amsoil that caused it, in particular if a fluid change has no positive effect.

Any suggestions or insights?

Thanks in advance as always,

Cheers,

Ron
 

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Ron, doesn't sound like a fluid issue, I would think there has to be a lube point on the shifter linkage ... good idea NOT to change fluid until it's resolved. Most likely right above the transmission is the linkage from shifter.
 

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I have the EXACT same thing happening to my car and I thought I was the only one. I haven't been able to isolate a root cause. I have no idea what's causing it.

Using a fluid won't cause a warranty to be denied. Several people have had their transmissions replaced due to pre-existing conditions when they switched to AMSOIL Synchromesh, and the dealer didn't care what fluid was in there. You have to pull a reason out from way up in your behind to argue that the fluid caused a manual transmission to fail.

I don't think this is a fluid issue. I'm going to try to spray my linkages with some silicone spray or metal protector lubricant to see if that helps loosen them up a bit. I don't know what else it could be and it's way too hot in there to disconnect the linkage after a long drive to determine if it's the shift cables or the shifter inside the transmission causing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry you're having to go through this too, XR. I just got off the phone with the service writer who played relay to the service manager, and I hear him say to her "If you're on the interstate you're not shifting", like I'm talking BS or something. Man, that made me a little hot under the collar. And, he says (paraphrasing a bit here) that is not a linkage, it's cables! Oy! I'm feeling a little less confident in my dealer at this point.

I agree, it doesn't seem to be or act like a fluid issue. What it acts like is as if there were some component that when heated expands, perhaps causing binding and then upon cooling contracts, thus returning operation back to normal. But that doesn't make sense either, as you'd expect that to be a problem from the get go (i.e. a design flaw). XR, you've been running Amsoil for a long time, and the fact that you're experiencing the same symptoms I experience also tells me that a fluid change out would be of no help.

The power train warranty is good for my Cruze through 2018/100,000 miles, so in any case it should be a warranty issue. The service writer wants me to leave the car with them so the tech can take it out for an hour or as long as it takes for the symptoms to present. What I probably ought to do is start out on my commute with a quick video showing time and mileage, then take a video of the shifter with it stuck in the left and right extreme positions along with time and mileage so they at least will believe me.

I haven't yet had a good look underneath with the car up on a lift, much less with the shift console off to get a look at what the possible culprit(s) could be, if even then it or they could be seen, but XR if you have any luck with some trial and error using lube, I'd be very keen hear your results. Likewise if my dealer can come up with anything, I'll certainly post to this thread. Still, I have a hunch that it's something internal to the transmission, though my understanding doesn't run deep enough to have any specific insight here, so it's just a hunch.
 

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The Cruze does use cables, but linkages is a generic term. The Service Manager is being picky about semantics. I'd take your him up on the offer to have one of his techs drive the car to duplicate the problem. This may be the only way to get it resolved. As for AMSOil Synchromesh voiding your warranty, my dealer actually put AMSOil in for me when I changed my fluid at 45K miles.

Thought - could this be related to not having enough Synchromesh in the transmission? Basically the transmission gets hot and the lack of lubrication is causing something to stick. Your service manager is correct that while on the highway you don't, as a general rule, shift. So if the problem is something sticking when you come off the highway and start to shift more the first few shifts aren't lubricated properly but then as you shift more the synchromesh fluid gets pushed around to the rest of the transmission, thereby reducing the sticky symptoms. GM did just recently change the fill level from 2 liters to 2.25 liters for our transmissions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your reply Obermd. There may be something to your theory. I've also heard the term "cable linkage" used, and I'm not sure what else you might call a cable shift linkage. Just plain 'ol "shift linkage" I guess is the other type.

XR was the op on one post recommending using 2.25 liters vice GM's original recommendation of 2 liters, so I'm guessing that his transmission is filled to the new proper level, yet he's also experiencing the same issue that I've been. Still, my transmission has no doubt been filled to the old recommended level as I've never had it changed, and the date of manufacture was late 2012 or early 2013.
 

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Thanks for your reply Obermd. There may be something to your theory. I've also heard the term "cable linkage" used, and I'm not sure what else you might call a cable shift linkage. Just plain 'ol "shift linkage" I guess is the other type.

XR was the op on one post recommending using 2.25 liters vice GM's original recommendation of 2 liters, so I'm guessing that his transmission is filled to the new proper level, yet he's also experiencing the same issue that I've been. Still, my transmission has no doubt been filled to the old recommended level as I've never had it changed, and the date of manufacture was late 2012 or early 2013.
At 40K miles go ahead and change the synchromesh fluid, preferably with AMSOil. Also get the same level in there. It may not fix your problem but it certainly won't hurt and your transmission will be the better for it. The GM fluid is good for 15K miles max.
 

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Thanks for your reply Obermd. There may be something to your theory. I've also heard the term "cable linkage" used, and I'm not sure what else you might call a cable shift linkage. Just plain 'ol "shift linkage" I guess is the other type.

XR was the op on one post recommending using 2.25 liters vice GM's original recommendation of 2 liters, so I'm guessing that his transmission is filled to the new proper level, yet he's also experiencing the same issue that I've been. Still, my transmission has no doubt been filled to the old recommended level as I've never had it changed, and the date of manufacture was late 2012 or early 2013.
I recommend 2.5 quarts. In fact, many dealers are now filling 2.25-2.40 quarts when performing this service. I've verified this with multiple people who had their transmissions serviced, that the GM service manual now recommends 2.4 quarts. Seems like they figured something out, finally.

I MAY have a leak at my transmission. I know I saw a leak there and traced it back to the drain plug, figuring I simply hadn't tightened it enough. I will have to check again and see if that leak returned after I tightened that drain plug a bit. I'm going to be changing my MTF again this week.
 

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2.25 liters is 2.37 Quarts. Our transmission is metric.

This goes for the 1.8 in the LS as well. I asked for the fill spec when Penguin LS's transmission was replaced last week.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had the local dealer (as opposed to the one from which I purchased my Cruze, which was/is a participant in USAA's buying service whereas the local one is not) change out the transmission fluid and replace it with Amsoil Sychromesh, and it does now shift with less effort and more smoothly- it's subtle but noticeable. Very nice. I'll be doing a 3 hour round trip Monday so that should give me an idea as to whether this solves the issue that prompted the original post of this thread.

Downside: it appears that they were a bit careless with the lift and creased my right lower valance (horizontal line about 3 inches up from bottom, midway. They're going to look at it Monday so fingers crossed. Just days ago I washed and waxed it, and I'm 99.9% certain this crease wasn't present at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Took the Cruze on a 160 mile round trip yesterday, and unfortunately the swap-out of 6MT OEM fluid for Amsoil Synchromesh did nothing to cure the linkage issue. Once average speed got up to about 50-55 mph for about 15 minutes or so, the shift linkage became very stiff acting once again, so it'll have to be seen by a dealer. I'll probably be able to get it to repeat by driving it on a local highway, so hopefully we'll get to the bottom of this within the next week or so.
 

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I believe the issue is the steel shift cables adhering to the polymer/rubber shift cable housing. I lubricated the shift cables at the shifter and in the engine bay with Superlube synthetic grease with PTFE. I also applied some Superlube synthetic high viscosity lubricating oil with PTFE to get the grease deep into the cable housings. I will apply more grease/oil to the cables in a week.
 

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Also wanted to echo dealership filled my trans with Amsoil and also replaced my trans that contained Amsoil. No questions asked besides "When can you come get your car?"

Anyone take pics of what they lubed? I may take this on as preventative seeing I'm a 13 and would possibly fall into the age you guys started seeing issues unless 13 trans also updated linkage cables as well?
 

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I second the request for pictures of what is being lubricated.
 
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