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Thread: Gearbox had the wrong oil in it? 5MT shifting problems fixed with thinner oil.

  1. #1

    Smile Gearbox had the wrong oil in it? 5MT shifting problems fixed with thinner oil.

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    Long story short / TLDR:

    I "fixed" my 5-speed's shifting problems by putting a thinner synthetic gear oil in the transmission.

    But maybe the problems were caused by the wrong oil in there to begin with?


    Background:

    The manual gearbox in Mirage #3 has been troublesome since I got it. Even in the summer, 2nd gear was occasionally balky/crunchy. (I figured that's what I got for buying a car that the previous owner admitted was her first manual.)

    But as the ambient temperatures dropped this fall, it got significantly worse.

    With outside temperatures around freezing and a cold drivetrain, getting second gear was a real problem. (Sometimes 3rd and 1st as well.) Double-clutching didn't solve it. But when the car warmed up, shifting improved.


    The plan: mixing a thinner oil

    Since it was clearly temperature-related, I started looking at options for thinner oils. Foama suggested mixing some ATF with the usual gear oil to see if that would help. I bought a quart of Royal Purple 100% synthetic MT "Syncrhomax" and a quart of Redline MT-85 (75w85).


    Molasses?

    When I removed the drain plug to drain the old oil, I was surprised at how thick it was. It seemed like not very much was coming out, and for a moment I actually thought it might be empty! Only after I removed the fill plug did it start to drain properly.

    Temperature was around 5 C / 41 F.


    Comparing viscosities

    Just for fun, I decided to do a simple "pour test" to compare how each of the oils flowed. I poured half a litre of each oil in a marked container with a small hole (~2.5 mm) in the bottom and timed how long it took for the container to drain to empty. I also tested some 5w20 synthetic motor oil for reference.

    Time to drain 0.5L @ 5 C Oil type
    2 min 25 sec old gear oil
    1 min 22 sec Redline MT-85 synthetic gear oil 75w-85
    1 min 13 sec 5w20 synthetic motor oil
    0 min 56 sec Royal Purple synthetic Synchromax MT oil


    Shifting problems fixed!

    I ended up going with 1 qt Redline + 0.7 qt Royal Purple, and it's like the car has a different transmission - the shifting problems are all but gone.

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    Wrong old oil?

    The big difference in viscosity between the old oil vs. the Redline raises the question (meaning: foama and inuvik raised it): maybe the old stuff was too heavy to begin with?

    Possibility #2: it was non-synthetic and thus too thick when cold?

    I could do more research, but I'd rather sit on my butt, speculate and theorize!

    I'm just happy the shifting is better.


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 64.5 mpg (US) ... 27.4 km/L ... 3.6 L/100 km ... 77.4 mpg (Imp)


  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to MetroMPG For This Useful Post:

    Alpha_One (11-23-2021),inuvik (11-23-2021),Mark (11-23-2021),Top_Fuel (11-23-2021)

  3. #2
    Senior Member Alpha_One's Avatar
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    The manual specs 75w-80, last oil change I used Redline MTL which is exactly that viscosity. I have not had dealer service since the warranty expired 4 years ago, but the dealership used to put 75w-85 Mitsubishi branded oil when they change it out. Not sure if they use a different oil now, but it used to be REALLY hard to find 75w-80 though I didn't really have any shifting issues when the 75w-85 was in the gearbox. Then again, it never gets very cold around here.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2012 Mirage GLS 1.2 manual: 33.3 mpg (US) ... 14.1 km/L ... 7.1 L/100 km ... 40.0 mpg (Imp)


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    MetroMPG (11-23-2021)

  5. #3
    Yup, same: no 75w80 in my local parts store (Canadian Tire).

    The Redline MT-85 was the closest.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 64.5 mpg (US) ... 27.4 km/L ... 3.6 L/100 km ... 77.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    I once put heavy gear oil in a manual trans that required ATF.

    Fortunately someone caught my error before I did any serious damage. Moral of the story: Don't underestimate someone's ability to put the wrong fluid in!

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 52.2 mpg (US) ... 22.2 km/L ... 4.5 L/100 km ... 62.6 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
    Yup, same: no 75w80 in my local parts store (Canadian Tire).

    The Redline MT-85 was the closest.
    That's great news!

    I changed to Redline MTL @ 30,000 miles. Factory oil still looked great, but I like changing out the factory oil sooner rather than later. I plan on changing my manual transmission oil every 50,000 miles from now on. You gotta love the simplicity of changing manual transmission oil. No filters or dipsticks. Drain & fill back up to the fill hole. Simple!

    Thankfully, Redline MTL is quite easy to find on line (both Walmart & Amazon) for us.

    Now that you know the transmission fluid makes a huge difference, I would buy the recommended fluid & change it again asap. Not saying you need to do this, but it's what I would do. It may help remove some more of the old oil causing the problem in the meantime, too!

    If you don't service your own manual transmission, this is a good case of being extremely assertive. Don't let someone tell you it really doesn't matter what you use & let them add something else instead.

  9. #6
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    WRONG OIL! Problem solved.



    The FSM and the owners manuals for the original Suzuki-made Swifts call for 75W90 GL3/GL4, but the OEM filling is different! Probably was 75W85 mineral-based GL3/4.
    If the brew is changed to fully synthetic (higher VI) 75W85 GL4 the Swift/Metros cars shift better, have less gearbox whine, and better mpg values. Might be worth checking...

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    MetroMPG (11-24-2021)

  11. #7

    Fun

    Just to underline how much the gear oil change has improved shifting, I took it for a drive today... JUST FOR FUN!

    I hardly ever do that.

    I love driving stick. But it definitely wasn't enjoyable to drive the way it was since the weather got colder.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 64.5 mpg (US) ... 27.4 km/L ... 3.6 L/100 km ... 77.4 mpg (Imp)


  12. #8

    Still fun

    I've now driven the car half a dozen times since changing the oil, and the improvement is fantastic. Still a pleasure to shift ... well, as much as a Mirage can be.

    Cold drivetrain shifting is comparable to my brother's Xb.

    Now I can focus my displeasure on the weird clutch and wonky rear axle.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 64.5 mpg (US) ... 27.4 km/L ... 3.6 L/100 km ... 77.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Top_Fuel (11-28-2021)

  14. #9
    Senior Member klroger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
    Now I can focus my displeasure on the weird clutch and wonky rear axle.
    Sorry if I missed it, what's going on with the rear axle??? Wearing tires???
    I didn't know what to do, so I didn't do anything

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2018 Mirage GT 1.2 automatic: 38.4 mpg (US) ... 16.3 km/L ... 6.1 L/100 km ... 46.2 mpg (Imp)


  15. #10
    Yep. I measured & compared it to Mirage #2 before I sold it and it's got excessive rear negative camber.

    Even if the car didn't have premature rear tire wear (inside of tread), you could predict that it would. You can see the camber just looking at the car - reminds me of old BMWs.


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE 1.2 manual: 64.5 mpg (US) ... 27.4 km/L ... 3.6 L/100 km ... 77.4 mpg (Imp)


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