manual trans oil top-up
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This is a discussion on manual trans oil top-up within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi Kids, I was out checking fluids and found my man transmission oil is a bit low. So i go ...

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    Registered User wrx666's Avatar
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    manual trans oil top-up

    Hi Kids,

    I was out checking fluids and found my man transmission oil is a bit low. So i go to my handy Subaru Owner's Manual and it reads, among other things, that i shouldn't mix brands of gear oils. Thing is, i just want to top it off... but should i be worried and do a full fluid change? I've got < 9K miles on the car. I do think it strange that the fluid's low, but there are many historic posts i can read on that topic. Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.
    -JVS
    `03 WRX stock
    666 is just a number... sheesh!

    There's a lot to be said for keeping your mouth shut.

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    tan
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    Thinking Man's Engine tan's Avatar
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    Just change it to synthetic.

    You'll be glad you did.

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    Banned dark_rex's Avatar
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    Originally posted by tan
    Just change it to synthetic.

    You'll be glad you did.
    i don't know, many people complain about more notchiness and friction w/ synthetics...

    dR

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    Registered User MisterFast's Avatar
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    do you guys know of any particular syntheic oil that is good?

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    Registered User ccdelro's Avatar
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    Search function .. . however, Neo, Red-line, Amsoil come to mind.

    To the question, I would top it up even if it is from a different brand/type. You won't kill your trans. . . .

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Re: manual trans oil top-up

    Originally posted by wrx666
    I do think it strange that the fluid's low, but there are many historic posts i can read on that topic. Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.
    I think it's strange too, but for me it's also a fact of life. Here's my info:

    With 40 miles on the odo, the gearbox level was about 2 mm above the L mark. At 6000 miles, the dealer drained the gear oil, and refilled it. Again, 2 mm above the L mark.

    At 9K and 12K I insisted that they check and top up as needed. They checked both times, and -- you guessed it -- it's still 2 mm above the L mark.

    Now at 21K, it's (hold on to something!) 2 mm above the L mark. Stone cold car, not moved in 36 hours, indoors, flat surface. Note that the "other" side of the dipstick shows a higher level, but that the "right" side to read shows 2 mm above the L mark.

    Now, for the topping off bit. If you too are about 2 mm above the L mark like I am, it may not be worth the bother. If you are lower then I'd top off. In theory, GL-5 MT1 (as in "manual transmission," a designation added to GL-5 to specifically indicate that it won't eat away yellow metal parts in the gear box like earlier GL-5s did) lubes ought to be miscible. No guarantees though.

    The safest thing to do is to have your dealer top it off for you, and then get specific info on what they use.

    I don't think I'll go to synthetic at 30K service for the gearbox. The Subaru stuff is working well for me, no grinds and no issues, so I see no reason to change at this point, and I hesitate to experiment since so many people have had mixed results. Then again, my car sees light use and YMMV.

    SD
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    Registered User wrx666's Avatar
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    changing oil level

    Hi SD, and others,

    Thanks for your replies; it's turned into quite a story.

    SD, i have had a similar oil experience, but maybe in reverse. I'd been checking the oil for a couple of days. I'd check it cold, i'd check it hot. I had noticed that the level was diff on each side of the stick, as you did. However, it was about 1mm from the L, so i was concerned. So concerned, that i topped it off to within about 2mm of the F mark. It took about 0.8 litres of Valvoline (i called my dealer to ask what brand/weight they used, i.e. 75W90). I checked it a couple of times, and the level looked fine.

    So, i've taken my car into the dealer this week. I needed some of the nit-picky warranty work done on it, as it was almost a year old (with 9061 miles). I told them about the tranny needing topping off and asked them to check what might be up, as i've seen no puddles of oil around.

    They called me back and told me i had overfilled the oil. He said depending on when you check it, the oil may be in this cavity or that cavity, or those cavities may be void of oil. He said his mechanic would drain the oil out, but there were 2 or 3 drain plugs he would have to open and depending on the plug he opened it would cost me between US$75 and US$100 in labor. Needless to say, i was not pleased.

    Now as far as i know, there's only the one oil drain plug. I think i'm in a position where i HAVE to let him drain the oil. If not, he'll be sure to void any warranty work that my be requested on the tranny. I just need to be able to go in there and tell him i know he's taking me for a ride. Any thoughs?

    Also, how should we check the Transmission oil for the most ACCURATE reading ( i may start a new thread w/ this question alone.)?

    Thanks in advance for your time and attention.
    -JVS
    `03 WRX stock
    666 is just a number... sheesh!

    There's a lot to be said for keeping your mouth shut.

  9. #8
    Registered User thechickencow's Avatar
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    Was the car completely cool when you did the check? I think that may create a difference in the level.

    J

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    Registered User wrx666's Avatar
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    Yessir,

    It was cool allright. Hadn't driven it for 2-3 days. Then i drive it to work (let it sit ~30 mins) and get the same level. Very strange.

    Thanks for your reply.
    -JVS
    `03 WRX stock
    666 is just a number... sheesh!

    There's a lot to be said for keeping your mouth shut.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    The drain plug is known, and it ought to completely empty the gearbox. Ask him to show you the other drain plugs.

    If you were below the L line, or even on it, and added 0.8 L, I don't see how you could have dramatically overfilled. Plus, when you check it yourself, the oil level is correct, which is confusing.

    Ask to be shown exactly how to read the dip stick from them, and to be shown how they know it's overfilled. Then ask them to show you which drain plug(s?) they're talking about. $100 is steep in any case.

    If you are taken for a ride call up Subaru and tell them. If they're being honest (benefit of the doubt) then OK.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 10-16-2003 at 01:28 PM.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    Man is a brute.... If you're cruel to him, he respects and fears you. If you're kind to him, he plucks your eyes out. Alexis Zorbas
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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