Hard to shift when cold.

Hi,
When I start the car (a '97 325 TDS) in the morning, I find it almost impossible to get it into first gear: it simply won't go in. Then I discovered that if I put it into third (while still keeping the clutch
depressed from the attempt to put it into first), and then back into first, it usually fits without any trouble. However, after I pull away and need to shift to second, it again refuses to go in, unless I really force it down into its slot. The higher gears are never a problem.
As long as the car is cold, the gearbox behaves in a similar way at every stop light. Only once the car's warmed up, the shifts become smooth and easy again.
I have to add, this only started recently, when the weather got really cold down here, where "really cold", by our standards, is about (please don't laugh) -5C/23F.
What do you think? Is the gearbox oil too old or have they put in the wrong one at the last change? Something else?
Thanks
-- Peter
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Don't discard the idea that the wrong fluid was installed. Years ago I had a little manual transmission truck (Ranger) that I had serviced, including changing the transmission fluid. They put gear oil in it instead of the lighter transmission fluid specified by Ford. In cold weather it was impossible to shift or put into gear until it warmed up significantly.
Eisboch
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It's probable the trans was serviced by a lubricant too heavy for the job. Your era BMW probably was filled with a synthetic D4 ATF equivalent (great shifting when cold, a bit less lubrication that optimum). Many techs recommend a slightly heavier brew like Redline MTL (which will give the impression of a slightly balky trans when really cold). Check the specs to make sure, and then swap out the fluid with a quality replacement. You'll need a small length of Teflon plumber's tape for the drain plug. Should take around 1.5 quarts. Make sure you remove the filler first, its on the passenger side of the trans.
R / John

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John Carrier wrote:

Ok, thanks, I guess I'll go and try that.
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