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?