Synchronizer sticking?

Asked by Jun 07, 2014 at 05:27 PM about the 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hello....I recently purchased a Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with VERY low miles (Less than 10K).  I am experiencing problems with the manual transmission when shifting into 2nd and also into 4th gears.  When going into 2nd, the gear shifter feels like it is not going completely into gear and usually jumps back out or grinds.  However, if I shift at a high RPM, it seems to help.  Also, I have a grinding sound going into 4th gear, not as bad and not jumping back out.  Could I have a synchronizer sticking or something else?  Thanks in advance for any help!!

8 Answers


You syncro rings are sticking. I would drain the transmission of about half of the fluid and top it up with Marvel Mystery Oil. Drive it at low speeds 20-30 mph to work the oil into the syncro's.and they may free up. You don't day if the car was in storage for long periods of time or not but inactivity has made the syncro rings stick. I would not go over 50 miles MAX before draining the transmission completely and refill witht he recommended lube.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thanks for the info! The car has been stored in a garage the entire time. Was started weekly, but guessing not driven far. I may try the mystery oil before having it torn apart. Transmission guy thought it possibly could be shifter itself, but I agree it seems like synchronizer.


Knowing now that it was in storage, I am sure I am right. Please try the Marvel Mystery Oil first. It is in a red can at auto parts stores. I use it for many things. My first time was when I pickeled my engine while I was in service. I pulled the plugs and put a couple of squirts in each cyl so the rings would not stick. 1 year later I spun it around a few time, put in the plugs and it ran great... with a little smoke at first. If you do this and it works for you I could use a "mark helpful" if you agree. Thanks

Thank You! I am going to try the Mystery Oil Friday! I had used that once in an old Gravely tractor that would shut down when it got hot. Would remove the plug, dump a little in and by the time I would have the plug in the piston would drop and the tractor would run again! Will let you know how I make out with the Thunderbird!


Hope it works for you... lot's cheaper than a tranny o'haul. Let me know.

I tried the Mystery Oil, but it hasnt helped. Took it to the local Ford 'expert'. He thinks the plastic piece is missing from the bottom of the fork on 2nd gear. 4th he says is the fiber on the synchro has deteriorated. Reverse he is hoping maybe polishing the rod may fix it. Going to have him take it apart in a few weeks. Thanks for all your advise and help! Was certainly worth trying and I think was a very good call!


Glad you found someone tat can look at it and actually help you. My crystal ball broke last year and it is really hard to diagnose things that you really need to see and feel. Good luck. keep me posted when it is working.

Will do! Thanks Again!!

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