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Matt, Mechanical Engineer
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 22736
Experience:  BEng hons Mech engineering, in auto industry 22 years
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my yaris 2009 1.3 vvti just stopped engaging 2nd gear, and

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my yaris 2009 1.3 vvti just stopped engaging 2nd gear, and now it struggles with 4th and 5th gear. any help would be greatly appreciated.


the first thing to do is bleed the clutch hydraulics and ensure that you replenish the all fluid in the system and get any trapped air out

I favour having a clear hose from the nipple to a jar 1/2 full of old fluid and with the nipple closed your assistant pushes the pedal up and down a few times, then holds it down whilst you then crack open the nipple and close it again whilst fluid is still flowing.

If this doesn't help then next check the gear linkage for any worn bushes or pivots as any lost motion means reduced effort at the gearbox and replace as necessary. Ideally have your assistant move the gear lever with you watching the linkage and see if you can spot where there is any excessive play or lost motion.

If its a cable type linkage check along the cable lengths for any damage or signs of heavy wear / fretting, if you find any replace the cable. There may be some adjustment on the cable tension at the gearbox end (depending on the year) and the cable should be tensioned so there is a minimum of slack but not so its taught

Then check gearbox oil levels are OK and consider changing the oil again. I can strongly recommend the use of Castrol Syntrans 75W90 (was called SMX-S) as I've known it help with shift issues on many manual gearboxes

If you still have issues with the hydraulics and its good after bleeding but then gets worse after a few days / hours, then I'd try leaving the clutch pedal held down overnight by bracing the pedal against the seat base with a piece of wood or similar, this is to try and force the seals inside the slave to take a set in the right orientation as over time they can shrink and draw air back in when you take your foot off the pedal.

This shrinkage isn't enough to leak any fluid but the gap is big enough to draw air in (gas being harder to seal than fluid) if this doesn't work I'm sorry to say that the slave cylinder is going to need changing.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

The clutch is working fine, and all other suggestions you have made seem to be OK, as an addition I have noted there are some strange outcomes when I do the following.

  • When both selector ends are connected at the gearbox end the following happens, Reverse is very difficult, 1st is difficult, 3rd is fine, and 6th is fine, (2nd, 4th and 5th cannot be engaged).

  • When the sideways gear stick movement selector is disconnected at the gearbox end, the following gears can be selected without problem, Reverse, 1st, 3rd, and 5th, (2nd, 4th, and 6th cannot be engaged).

  • Also I noticed at the gearbox end of the sideways movement selector, there is a small hook and a spring loaded arm which are disconnected, suspect the connector has broke off.

  • Any help would be appreciated as I am contemplating letting a garage look at it, but don't want leave myself vulnerable when it comes to the repair list and cost that are presented to me.

Many Thanks


Hello Howard

this does sound like an issue with one of the shift cables as there are 2 and 1 cable works the back and forth and the other works the side to side

So if one was sticky then this would give issues as you describe

so I'd be prepared to have to replace the shift cables and this isn't too bad a job as its about £100 for new cables and an hours labour to fit

also the broken spring retainer is there to take slack out of the mechansim to give a more precise gear shift - so it should it be repaired but its not critical to the shift performance