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Q: why is it often hard to shift into 1st gear. on 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio

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It seems extra hard to shift into 1st gear after initially coming out of reverse gear. This problem does not happen each time but often enough it just seems like first gear has disappeared.
(1) Answer
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It could be an internal transmission problem with the sychromesh. Make sure the clutch pedal travel does not have excess "free play" and make sure there is not a floor mat stuck under the clutch pedal.
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