Fixing problems with Hyundai i30 gears

This page describes a couple of problems I had with gear selection on a Hyundai i30 and how they were fixed.

Car gets stuck in reverse gear

While learning to drive, my son used our car to practice his reversing skills. After a while, it got stuck in reverse, and the only way to get out of gear was to switch off the engine. On checking, I realised that the clutch-fluid reservoir (under the bonnet, to the back and left of the engine) was empty. Due to lack of fluid, the clutch was not operating correctly and the car was sticking in gear. The fix was simply to refill the reservoir with clutch-fluid (DOT4), and fix a leak in the pipe leading to the master cylinder. It took a few pumps of the clutch pedal to bleed out any air, and after that all worked well.

Obviously the real solution is to make sure you check the level of the clutch-fluid regularly so that if there are any leaks you will detect them before it causes a problem with the gear box.

Position of clutch-fluid reservoir under the i30 bonnet.

Problem selecting 2nd gear

I had one other problem with gears, sometimes it wouldn't go into 2nd gear for no obvious reason. This happened whether the engine was running or not, so I suspected the adjustment of the gear selection linkage cables. I removed the cover under the gear stick to see what was happening (it simply clips out if you slip a thin blade under corner near the gear lever and push upwards.)

See this picture for location of where to unclip the i30 gear lever cover.

I then could see that the problem only happened if the stick was pushed hard left so that the linkage cable on the right was pulled further than usual. These linkage cables connect to selector arms on the gearbox, and pull them into the right position to select the appropriate gear. If the adjustment is wrong, they selector arms are pulled too far, or not enough, and the gears will not select correctly. As the gearbox, cables, and gearstick mechanism age, (and probably if they are put under pressure by a learner driver) some adjustment may be required.

This picture shows the gear selector cables, after removing the gearstick cover.

Apparently there is some adjustment possible at the gearbox end of the cable, but I couldn't find details of how to do that so I decided instead to make a simple adjustment by adding a shim at the base of the gear lever. There is a plastic stop which prevents the lever moving too far left, which is used to prevent selection of reverse. By extending this 1mm I was able to fix the problem.

This picture shows the piece of plastic before attaching it.

I cut a piece of plastic to exactly fit, and attached this using Loctite Super Glue - ALL PLASTICS. Normal glue is not suitable, since the stop is made of polypropelene. You need to apply the activator stick to both surfaces, then apply the glue to one surface and fix in place. With this shim fitted the gear selection worked correctly, since the gearstick was prevented from pulling the selector cable too far.