Thanks for the responses guys.
Well the issue is resolved and in the interests of helping any others who come across this discussion whilst researching their own gearbox problems I shall now complete the story...
I took the car back to the dealers who agreed there was a problem and initially they tried changing the oil as suggested above, however this made little difference so they figured it was probably a syncromesh issue and took the car in to have the gearbox out.
They replaced the 1st and 2nd syncromeshes which improved the issue, but there was still a problem (apparently, I never got the vehicle back to find out for myself).
They had the gearbox back out and found a burr on a selector or something so they replaced that too, refitted the box but there was still an issue, so they decided to go the full hog and replace the whole gearbox with a recon unit. Personally I'd have prefered a new one but they're paying so I guess they get to call the shots
As to what the exact problem was we shall never know. I can only assume the original box either had a defect or was seriously abused by the previous owner.
The recon box seems to be ok tho', can be a little more clunky than the old one at times but at least I've not had any issues selecting any gears, and the little "power surge" I used to get when accelerating in second has gone.
Fingers crossed this box behaves itself for as long as I own the car!
dazMember Since 22 Aug 2008
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Escort 1.6 LX