edjack: thanks for the note about trans and diff lubes. I will look into changing those as well.
ndz: in another thread about CDV a forum member named Fast Bob posted the following about the transmission being an issue for the 1st to 2nd gear shift and then follows with a comment about reverse.
"The CDV inhibits clutch feel mostly when first starting off from a dead stop.....it makes the engagement point sloppy & unpredictable. Once you`re under way, you only need to depress the clutch maybe halfway to shift to the next gear, and the CDV is less of an issue.
Also, that "difficult" one-to-two shift is *not* a CDV problem, it`s a trans design problem. There`s a HUGE gap between first and second, where the RPMs fall off by 42% (the equivalent of falling off a cliff), and there`s nothing that will cure that except *practice*, experimenting with different shift points until you find a combination that works for you.
As far as the reverse issue goes, tell her to put the trans in any forward gear *before* attempting to engage reverse, and it will go in much easier (especially in cold weather)"