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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 97 normally takes a good second or two to get into 2nd gear from 1st without notchy shifting if revved up to 3000rpm. If I wait for the driveline to spin down to about 2000-2100 rpm, it'll slide into 2nd smooth as butter, but that takes a little while in traffic and is a real pain on these Austin hills. Double clutching helps a little bit, but it takes basically as long to spin down. Shifting out of 1st at 2500 helps more than double clutching, I’ll only need to pause in neutral for a moment, but then it sometimes bogs in 2nd a tad. Fluid is Redline 75w-90NS, flushed once, then re-filled. New slave cylinder, new hydraulic fluid, 178K highway miles.

Theories:

Bum 2nd gear synchronizer: Although double clutching doesn't help much; with manuals I’ve had in the past with a 2nd gear synchronizer going out, double clutching is like night and day in ease of shifting compared to normal driving. I drove a 97 Metro with almost 300k miles on it with a bad 2nd gear for over a year. Smooth, notch free 2nd gear shifts every time with double clutching.

Synthetic fluid: My Suzukis hate the Redline for example; the appropriate weight caused hard shifting in all 3 Geo [Suzuki] Metros I tried it in. The Samurai doesn't really like it either, but it's exposed to such extreme conditions, it really needs synthetic. I've heard good things about the Redline in Toyotas, but I’m not ruling out that it might be part of the problem.

Maybe nothing wrong at all: The clutch plate is twice the weight as my other daily driver (95 Metro). It's also a few pounds heavier than the clutch plate for my wife's Subaru. As a result, the clutch plate itself might be acting as something of a flywheel for the transmission compared to what I'm used to.

I'm at a bit of a loss here, I love the little Rav4, and I don't want to be damaging the transmission, any advice would be helpful!
 
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