How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Synchros shot? Weird noises while shifting? Not sure what needs to be replaced?
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How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:03 am

I have a 91 civic and as you know its pretty low to the ground, so basically if I have to work underneath the car I must use ramps. But I was once reading on a forum about if the car was on ramps it could skew the reading. The car takes 1.9quarts and I was thinking of buying 3...(the seal that connects the two halves of the transmission seems to be crapping out on me so the transmission is a bit damp. I will get that changed next time I change the clutch...if there is a next time.)

So what I was going to do was empty old transmission fluid, this is the bottom bolt so to do it comfortably I must have it on ramps. Then re-install the plug and all that, then I was going to fill it up to about 1.7quarts or so or maybe until it pours out. Then re-install the fill plug, maybe not too too tight, I may just reuse the old washer in this case. Then after I get it on level ground take out the fill plug and add a bit more until it spits some out. Then install new crushwasher on the plug.


Then I have a question on what kind of fluid to use. It says to use just regular 5W-30 motor oil. however, this was before they released their special Honda MTF. The forum I went on said to use the MTF...but the guy at the service desk said otherwise...the guy at the service desk was not a mechanic. Then some guy at advanced said that motor oil has detergents that eat your synchros...I just said really and took that with a grain of salt...Is that true?

So should I use the Honda MTF or just buy Honda 5w-30, also is that process a good way to change the fluid?

http://www.saablink.net/forum/performan ... /59668.htm This forum says some pretty good stuff about motor oil having friction modifiers and all that good stuff. should I believe them?
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby potownrob » Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:59 am

i think there's a thread somewhere on here of me changing the gear oil in my old maxima. :lol: anyway, whatever you do, do NOT forget to make sure the filler bolt will open before opening the drain bolt. as for the motor oil vs. MTF question, i say whichever. i know this is against what you will read but, if they used to change it out with motor oil, why would it be so wrong to do that today?? that said, the MTF might be better.

edit: here's the gear oil change thread; took me a while to find :lol: :shock: :
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=7697&hilit=gear+oil+change
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby theholycow » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:12 pm

^What he said...remove the filler bolt BEFORE removing the drain bolt.

The issue with ramps is that you probably only plan to use two ramps, which will tilt your car. That tilt could cause inaccurate level checking. Piece of cake...just level the car before you quit filling. Roll it off the ramps or jack up the other end of the car to match. Just don't work with your body under the car when any part of the car is supported only by the jack.

Your plan of doing the whole job then topping off afterwards would work.

As for engine oil vs. MTF: It is possible that common engine oil formulations have changed since then - perhaps an additive that eats synchros has become common. In reality I suspect that both options are fine. If it's not much more expensive than engine oil I'd probably use MTF. I don't see this as a high-risk operation; if it doesn't like what you put in then you'll know by difficult shifting, and simply replacing it with the other option would then suffice.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:16 pm

potownrob wrote:i think there's a thread somewhere on here of me changing the gear oil in my old maxima. :lol: anyway, whatever you do, do NOT forget to make sure the filler bolt will open before opening the drain bolt. as for the motor oil vs. MTF question, i say whichever. i know this is against what you will read but, if they used to change it out with motor oil, why would it be so wrong to do that today?? that said, the MTF might be better.

edit: here's the gear oil change thread; took me a while to find :lol: :shock: :
http://standardshift.com/forum/viewtopi ... oil+change

You used amsoil, that must have cost a fortune to do! Plus 5qts plus. Good write up, makes it look easy. Though that rusty bolt looked to be a pain.. I think I may use the MTF, based on the forum it looks to be better.

theholycow wrote:^What he said...remove the filler bolt BEFORE removing the drain bolt.

The issue with ramps is that you probably only plan to use two ramps, which will tilt your car. That tilt could cause inaccurate level checking. Piece of cake...just level the car before you quit filling. Roll it off the ramps or jack up the other end of the car to match. Just don't work with your body under the car when any part of the car is supported only by the jack.

Your plan of doing the whole job then topping off afterwards would work.

As for engine oil vs. MTF: It is possible that common engine oil formulations have changed since then - perhaps an additive that eats synchros has become common. In reality I suspect that both options are fine. If it's not much more expensive than engine oil I'd probably use MTF. I don't see this as a high-risk operation; if it doesn't like what you put in then you'll know by difficult shifting, and simply replacing it with the other option would then suffice.

Excellent, so I may do this within the next month...maybe my next oil change or something. I want to do this before summer sets in though. Also I would have extra quarts of motor oil so I can then just throw that in there. What about synthetic motor oil in the transmission?
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby potownrob » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:01 pm

bk7794 wrote:You used amsoil, that must have cost a fortune to do! Plus 5qts plus. Good write up, makes it look easy. Though that rusty bolt looked to be a pain.. I think I may use the MTF, based on the forum it looks to be better.
amsoil is actually not much more expensive than other synthetics. i would use either mtf or synthetic blend oil (not regular dino oil). keep in mind you're not changing the tranny oil every 3k miles, so there's no reason to not use decent oil.

Excellent, so I may do this within the next month...maybe my next oil change or something. I want to do this before summer sets in though. Also I would have extra quarts of motor oil so I can then just throw that in there. What about synthetic motor oil in the transmission?
yeah, use synthetic or synthetic blend or the MTF. i would use synthetic blend over full synth in case there are leaks, not to mention it's cheaper. make sure you're using the right oil though - i thought older hondas called for 10w30 rather than 5w-30 in the tranny hole??
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:16 pm

potownrob wrote:
bk7794 wrote:You used amsoil, that must have cost a fortune to do! Plus 5qts plus. Good write up, makes it look easy. Though that rusty bolt looked to be a pain.. I think I may use the MTF, based on the forum it looks to be better.
amsoil is actually not much more expensive than other synthetics. i would use either mtf or synthetic blend oil (not regular dino oil). keep in mind you're not changing the tranny oil every 3k miles, so there's no reason to not use decent oil.

Excellent, so I may do this within the next month...maybe my next oil change or something. I want to do this before summer sets in though. Also I would have extra quarts of motor oil so I can then just throw that in there. What about synthetic motor oil in the transmission?
yeah, use synthetic or synthetic blend or the MTF. i would use synthetic blend over full synth in case there are leaks, not to mention it's cheaper. make sure you're using the right oil though - i thought older hondas called for 10w30 rather than 5w-30 in the tranny hole??


Did your maxima require engine oil or a MTF fluid of some kind. I think I would use the regular honda oil though if I did use motor oil. I think its 5w-30..of course I would double check. Now fluid coming from Ebay, do you think that is safe?
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby potownrob » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:28 pm

bk7794 wrote:Did your maxima require engine oil or a MTF fluid of some kind. I think I would use the regular honda oil though if I did use motor oil. I think its 5w-30..of course I would double check. Now fluid coming from Ebay, do you think that is safe?
the maxima took gear lube and i usually used something like 75w-90 but you could use other formulas depending on your climate and driving style. that was the maxima though; the hondas have different trannies and they call for lower viscosity oils for a reason. there is no point using Honda OEM dino oil in the tranny vs. other dino oils. living in the northeast, i'd get synthetic blend, or else go for the Honda MTF, which i think is regular oil with additives. the worst of your choices would be to use regular dino oil though, or to use the wrong viscosity. no experience buying oil on ebay, but i haven't heard of anyone having problems with going that route.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:40 pm

potownrob wrote:
bk7794 wrote:Did your maxima require engine oil or a MTF fluid of some kind. I think I would use the regular honda oil though if I did use motor oil. I think its 5w-30..of course I would double check. Now fluid coming from Ebay, do you think that is safe?
the maxima took gear lube and i usually used something like 75w-90 but you could use other formulas depending on your climate and driving style. that was the maxima though; the hondas have different trannies and they call for lower viscosity oils for a reason. there is no point using Honda OEM dino oil in the tranny vs. other dino oils. living in the northeast, i'd get synthetic blend, or else go for the Honda MTF, which i think is regular oil with additives. the worst of your choices would be to use regular dino oil though, or to use the wrong viscosity. no experience buying oil on ebay, but i haven't heard of anyone having problems with going that route.

I thought the Honda genuine oil was synthetic blend...I would have to look at it. I think I will definitely get the MTF, its pretty cheap. 8 bucks a quart. I will get three just in case.

I loled, exxon mobile oil...I guess it is syn blend. Not the correct weight. http://www.ebay.com/itm/HONDA-GENUINE-5 ... 518wt_1396

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Honda-Genuine-M ... 613wt_1163 Looks good, not buying it though, too expensive here.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby potownrob » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:45 pm

bk7794 wrote:
potownrob wrote:
bk7794 wrote:Did your maxima require engine oil or a MTF fluid of some kind. I think I would use the regular honda oil though if I did use motor oil. I think its 5w-30..of course I would double check. Now fluid coming from Ebay, do you think that is safe?
the maxima took gear lube and i usually used something like 75w-90 but you could use other formulas depending on your climate and driving style. that was the maxima though; the hondas have different trannies and they call for lower viscosity oils for a reason. there is no point using Honda OEM dino oil in the tranny vs. other dino oils. living in the northeast, i'd get synthetic blend, or else go for the Honda MTF, which i think is regular oil with additives. the worst of your choices would be to use regular dino oil though, or to use the wrong viscosity. no experience buying oil on ebay, but i haven't heard of anyone having problems with going that route.

I thought the Honda genuine oil was synthetic blend...I would have to look at it. I think I will definitely get the MTF, its pretty cheap. 8 bucks a quart. I will get three just in case.
and here you were complaining about amsoil being expensive?? :lol: :roll: :P
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby theholycow » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:47 pm

potownrob wrote:the worst of your choices would be to use regular dino oil though, or to use the wrong viscosity.

Wrong viscosity would be far worse than using regular dinosaur juice. Dino oil would be harmless and fine for this purpose. Wrong viscosity may cause degraded synchro performance until you replace it with the right stuff.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:42 pm

theholycow wrote:
potownrob wrote:the worst of your choices would be to use regular dino oil though, or to use the wrong viscosity.

Wrong viscosity would be far worse than using regular dinosaur juice. Dino oil would be harmless and fine for this purpose. Wrong viscosity may cause degraded synchro performance until you replace it with the right stuff.

The MTF you can't go wrong right?

potownrob wrote:and here you were complaining about amsoil being expensive?? :lol: :roll: :P

Well...hahaha...true true. I think I will try the Honda MTF, I mean its only like 4 or 5 bucks if that more then the synblend. So I will post back with pictures of the fluid if I am willing.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby potownrob » Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:27 pm

bk7794 wrote:The MTF you can't go wrong right?
well, you probably can't go wrong, but full synthetic might shift better in the cold. when i had my gear oil changed in my civic at my mechanic (before i figured out how to change it myself when i got the maxima), he recommended going synthetic. he had an amsoil display with cranks in oil - one in amsoil, the other in some conventional lube. that was enough to convince me, though it may make no difference or just depend on the application.

potownrob wrote:and here you were complaining about amsoil being expensive?? :lol: :roll: :P

Well...hahaha...true true. I think I will try the Honda MTF, I mean its only like 4 or 5 bucks if that more then the synblend. So I will post back with pictures of the fluid if I am willing.
figure it's better to go honda MTF than a random synthetic oil, not just due to the MTF additives but also since you don't know how the tranny will work with the other oils. that said, i was going to use durablend in my 96 accord, had quarts of it ready, but then never changed it (didn't have the right tools when i went to change it and never got around to finding them).
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby FDSpirit » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:25 am

Drain from the drain bolt, replace washer, torque bolt. Fill from the VSS hole. 2 quarts. Done and done. OP, you have a Vic. If you're looking for another MTF, I suggest Redline. I've had it in my car since I originally replaced the old fluid and it's a night and day difference.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby bk7794 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 5:46 pm

So I was doing more research on this topic. Apparently gear oil viscosity is much much different then normal motor oil. Again I will double check to see the motor oil equivalent is but I was looking at getting this. http://www.redlineoil.com/product.aspx?pid=45&pcid=7 Redline MTL 70w-80.

The reason for changing the fluid is because I am getting notchy shifts, even at stand still. Plus I think I got a bit of a leak developing in the tranny half gasket. Very very minimal, like its just damp. Still a bit worried about changing the fluid.

http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/mtf.aspx or better yet.

EDIT: Crap its actually 10w-30/40 listed for all year around. So what do I get? It also says 20w-40 or something for anything over 0 degrees.

So Amsoil recommends just straight up oil. That is what the manual recommends so that is what the car will get. No point in changing it now I guess. I don't know what to do though, go with redline if I want to get a full blown manual transmission fluid, or just go to walmart and pick up some syn blend 10w40 or something.
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Re: How do you properly change your transmission fluid?

Postby theholycow » Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:10 pm

bk7794 wrote:So I was doing more research on this topic. Apparently gear oil viscosity is much much different then normal motor oil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear_oil
API viscosity ratings for gear oils are not directly comparable with those for motor oil, and they are thinner than the figures suggest. For example, many modern gearboxes use a 75W90 gear oil, which is actually of equivalent viscosity to a 10W40 motor oil.

Still a bit worried about changing the fluid.

Don't worry. Unless you drain or fill the wrong thing (a friend's brother drained the transmission and filled the engine) or forget to put the drain plug back in (a mechanic forgot to put the plug back in my mom's engine), the worst case scenario is that you spill the oil instead of catching it neatly.

EDIT: Crap its actually 10w-30/40 listed for all year around. So what do I get? It also says 20w-40 or something for anything over 0 degrees.

We get close to (and below) 0°F enough that you should go with the all-weather recommendation rather than the "anything over 0" one.
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