From a cold start it's very difficult to engage first gear and second it's much easier. It's not perfect when it's warm either tbh. I never force it as that's probably likely to cause more damage in the long run. I find that if I put it into reverse, it then goes into first gear. I've even had a couple of toots from folks behind when the lights change to green and I can't get it in gear! I have read "top-hat" replacement is a common gearbox job but I don't have any problem with the stick not centering so I'm not sure if it's the same problem. It's also never slipped out of gear. Any ideas? Maybe an engine / gearbox mount bush?