2004 WRX Manual Transmission Fluid Change - Observations

Discussion in 'Subaru Impreza' started by y_p_w, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    Finally got a around to doing the change at just under 3800K miles
    on the odo.

    First of all, I got my Stahlwille 1/2-drive T70 Torx socket last
    week, which fit the drain bolt head perfectly. I tried removing
    the bolt from the left side behind the tire. I also did an oil
    change later, and I realized that it would have been easier to
    reach from the front. It took a bit of force to get the bolt off,
    but when I reached the right torque, it just snapped loose, and
    was easy to remove by hand.

    The fluid looked to be really dark, and I could see lots of metal
    shavings, even with rather low mileage. The drain bolt has a
    rather strong magnet, and lots of black metallic sludge and some
    metal bits were firmly attached to the bolt. The washer was a
    copper, and I believe it was designed as a crush washer. I
    couldn't find a replacement on a Sunday, so I turned it upside
    down and reused it. It doesn't seem to be leaking, but I plan
    on using a new one for the next change (maybe 30K miles).

    I poured just about 3 1/2 quarts of Redline 70W90NS using a
    funnel (with extension) through the dipstick hole, but it looks
    like the level is just a hair over the full mark. I'm not sure
    this is as potentially bad as a high motor oil level (oil can
    froth), I'm thinking of using a turkey baster with some plastic
    hosing attached (to suck a bit out of the dipstick hole); I'm
    open to any other suggestions for extracting fluid.

    It seems to be shifting a bit better now. I had a hard time
    shifting into 1st or 2nd. I'll see how it does after a few
    y_p_w, Apr 26, 2004
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  2. y_p_w

    CompUser Guest

    I've been seeing comments lately on NASIOC about
    staying away from synthetics in the MT. Did you
    have problems with 1st & 2d before or after the
    change to Redline?

    CompUser, Apr 26, 2004
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  3. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    Yes. I asked someone in a dealer service dept when I had
    something installed. He said it's fairly common for Subaru
    manual transmissions to "crunch" going into 1st/2nd gear.

    It's not buttery smooth like a Honda stick, but it is shifting
    much better now.

    I think that synthetics that are properly formulated for use
    in a manual transmission should be fine. The biggest problem
    I've heard of is people using synthetic motor oil in trannies
    designed for motor oil as the fluid.
    y_p_w, Apr 26, 2004
  4. y_p_w

    ricardox Guest

    Where did you order the socket from? Thanks! Does it normally take a month
    to ship?
    ricardox, Apr 26, 2004
  5. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    I posted it in an earlier thread. I got it from Toolsource.com for
    $21.95 + shipping for a Stahlwille 54TX-T70 1/2" drive socket. I
    also got a torque wrench, which was in stock and shipped last month.
    The socket was out of stock, but they kept me updated on when it was
    expected to come in. Their customer service was very good - They
    gave me the option of cancelling the order.


    ** ** ** **

    Here's a picture of the part next to a quarter:


    Most of my tools are Craftsman from Sears, which are high enough quality
    for this DIY'er. However - I hear that the quality of Stahlwille tools
    is perhaps the highest in the industry. For $22, it better be really,
    really good.
    y_p_w, Apr 26, 2004
  6. y_p_w

    Ken Gilbert Guest

    don't extract the fluid... better a tad high than a tad low.
    remember, there is no oil pump in the mt5, so there's no terrible
    danger in frothing. in fact, i don't think it's even a problem in the
    first place, so rest easy.

    it takes a few days to really get the gear lube in all the tight
    spaces. expect the shifting performance to continue to change for the
    next hundred miles or so as a result.

    Ken Gilbert, Apr 26, 2004
  7. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    Just a follow-up:
    The change amount in the owner's manual is 3.7 US quarts. I
    actually drained a little over 3 quarts of the factory gear oil
    (when I stored the used oil in bottles). Previously, I'd check
    the dipstick with a warm engine, but long after the fluid had
    time to drain back - the level was right at the full mark. The
    manual seems to state that the fluid should be checked right
    after the engine is shut off. When I did that, the fluid level
    was between low and full. Anyone know if there's a preferred
    time to check the transmission fluid level?
    y_p_w, Apr 26, 2004
  8. y_p_w

    CompUser Guest

    , says...> it takes a few
    days to really get the gear lube in all the tight

    I saw an old (nasioc?) forum thread where you
    mentioned addition of a few ounces of
    "synchromesh fluid"...what the heck is that, and
    where did ya find it? Still feel that it was

    CompUser, Apr 27, 2004
  9. y_p_w

    Mark Guest

    Yes. I asked someone in a dealer service dept when I had
    Had the same problem with my 02 WRX. Don't let them tell you it's
    normal for the "crunch" to happen. I keep on my dealers a** and the
    finally found that the first gear syncro was worn. After they
    replaced it, I have NEVER had another "crunch" sound.
    Mark, Apr 27, 2004
  10. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    I believe "Synchromesh Fluid" is a special manual transmission
    fluid spec'ed by GM and/or Chrysler. My guess is that it
    contains special friction-enhancing additives to help with
    synchronizer engagment. I believe Redline uses similar additives
    in MTL/MT-90 and 75W90NS, as does BG with their "Synchro Shift"
    manual tranny lube.

    y_p_w, Apr 28, 2004
  11. y_p_w

    CompUser Guest

    Hmmm...ok, reading up on it. I'd love to hear if
    anyone tried it and liked it (long term). Never
    seen this stuff on the shelf...

    CompUser, Apr 28, 2004
  12. y_p_w

    Ken Gilbert Guest

    absolutely, steve.

    when i top off the tranny, i use the syncromesh fluid. i have very
    good syncro performance, despite using the very slippery mobil 1
    synthetic 75w90 mt gear lube. i absolutely NEVER crunch in 2-5, and
    only when _really_ rushing 1st do i get a little chatter. cold
    weather performance was much better than oem dino fluid too.

    in the rear end the mobil 1 goes in uncut. it's nice to be able to
    get my lube needs at the local autozone.. no having to hunt high and
    low for some esoteric lube that costs an arm and a leg either.

    fwiw, a lot of guys in the DSM world use the synchromesh fluid uncut.

    Ken Gilbert, Apr 28, 2004
  13. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    I thought one of the potential problems with API GL-5 gear oil
    is that it needs friction (reducing) modifiers to make it
    compatible with limited slip diffs. That's Redline's alleged
    reason for the 75W90NS (no-slip).

    The Redline 75W90NS I used is **NOT** API GL-5 rated; the label
    says "Recommended for API GL-5". This seems to be similar to
    their recommendation of MTL/MT-90 in place of engine oil or ATF
    in manual trannies. Redline claims that the friction modifiers
    in regular API GL-5 hurts synchro engagement. They have an LSD
    additive for the 75W90NS, but I suppose they'd prefer their
    75W90 be used in an LSD.
    I have a bottle of Mobil 1 75W90 for the rear diff, and yes - I
    did buy it at AutoZone. I chose the Mobil 1 for the bottle
    shape, which looks like I can fill the rear diff by squeezing
    right out of the bottle. I'd need a pump (or maybe turkey
    baster) for the regular Redline bottle.

    Any recommendations for the rear diff? Any gaskets/washers/
    sealants needed? I noticed some gray stuff that looks like a
    hardened sealant around the drain and fill plugs. Any good
    way to clean this stuff off?

    I found that the best prices and selection for Redline in my
    area (SF Bay Area) is at a place called Vic Hubbards Auto
    Supply. The Redline gear lube was $7.69/qt, which is a shade
    more than the $6.99 for Mobil 1 gear lube.
    y_p_w, Apr 29, 2004
  14. y_p_w

    CompUser Guest

    DSM...you got me on that one.

    Alright...is this the "Quaker State Synchromesh"
    Fluid that y_p_w mentioned? Does it come in

    CompUser, Apr 29, 2004
  15. y_p_w

    Ken Gilbert Guest

    dsm diamond star motors, the joint mitsubishi/chrystler venture that
    produced the eclipse/talon/laser lineup... another turbocharged 2
    liter awd platform that tends to munch up drivetrain parts.

    personally i have never used quaker state's version of the
    synchromesh, only pennzoil's. it only comes in one weight.

    Ken Gilbert, Apr 29, 2004
  16. y_p_w

    Ken Gilbert Guest

    I thought one of the potential problems with API GL-5 gear oil
    cobb has some good info here: http://www.cobbtuning.com/tech/gearoil/
    yes i didn't need any hoses or pumps to change the rear diff fluid...
    i ended up with a mobil 1 bottle that i squeezed like a tube of
    toothpaste, rolling from the bottom and flattening as i went up.
    worked fine.
    get a good long breaker bar or rachet wrench for the plugs.. they're
    on "factory tight." i'm skinny so i just backed up onto a pair of
    2x8's which provided more than enough clearance to wiggle under the
    back of the car. you do not need to take off anything that's on there
    well, but it's a good idea to take a brush to the area to remove loose
    dirt to insure none gets in there as you've got the plugs out.

    HINT: remove the TOP plug first... they're tough to crack open
    sometimes, and if you take the bottom one out the fluid will be
    drained and then you HAVE TO get that top one out, no matter what,
    before you can drive the car. if you fail at the top plug first at
    least you can continue using the car!

    Ken Gilbert, Apr 29, 2004
  17. y_p_w

    y_p_w Guest

    Pennzoil seems to be the one I've seen in stores - Pennzoil and QS are
    now in some marketing agreement with Shell. There may be other
    aftermarket makers of Synchromesh fluid.

    Here's two ACDelco parts:

    Part 10-4006
    Synchromesh Transmission Fluid

    * Partially synthetic
    * Excellent lubrication properties
    * High-and-low temperature-resistant
    * For manual transmissions

    Part 10-4014
    Synchromesh Manual Transmission Fluid (Friction Modified)

    * Contains a semi-synthetic lubricant compatible for use
    in NV 1500 transmissions
    * Reduces transmission component wear


    It looks like they have the two synchromesh fluids, a 5W30
    manual transmission fluid, a limited slip diff additive, and
    two rear axle lubes.
    y_p_w, Apr 29, 2004
  18. y_p_w

    CompUser Guest

    Ken & Y_P_W,

    Thanks, I'm gonna take a look for some of this at

    CompUser, Apr 29, 2004
  19. y_p_w

    CW Guest

    CW, Apr 30, 2004
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