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Changing your Manual Transmission Fluid (GEN3)

Posted 05-24-2002 at 12:00 AM by StyleTEG
Updated 07-19-2014 at 06:58 PM by MorningZ

Changing your Manual Transmission Fluid (GEN3) by StyleTEG

TOOLS
- Breaker Bar
- Socket Wrench
- Several different length, 3/8" attachments
- 17mm socket
- Bucket
- Three Quarts of MTL (In this case, I used Redline)
- Floor Jack
- Spare Tire Tools
- Honda Crushed Washers
- Oil funnel with a long flexible hose





Background

Honda recommends that you change your manual transmission fluid every 30,000 miles. So if it has been awhile you may want to consider changing the fluid. If you just bought the car, it might be a good idea to change the fluid as well. Every time you grind a gear, small metal shavings fall into the transmission fluid and will cause premature wear on the transmission components.


What fluid should I use?

If you have any doubts, go with genuine Honda MTL. Some older integra manuals recommend the use of 10w30 motor oil. These manuals were written before honda developed there own MTL, and have since been updated to say "the use of 10w30 should only be used as a temporary solution." If you are willing to drain and fill the oil again if something goes wrong, you should look into the use of high quality synthetic transmission oils.


Redline MTL

This is what I used in this project. Redline makes excellent oil and motor products, and I have heard many good things about switching to redline. It is synthetic oil, so it will provide less drag on the transmission, and will resist breakdown longer. According to redline, its viscosity is equal to 5w30/10w30 motor oil.


Here are the benefits listed on Redlines site
- Eliminates notchy shifting
- Designed for manual transmissions and transaxles
- Perfect synchronizer coefficient of friction
- Enables high-speed downshifting
- Excellent shifting even when cold
- Eliminates gear whine and rattle at high temperatures
- High-performance gear protection
- Non-corrosive toward synchronizers
- Satisfies manual transmissions and transaxles requiring motor oils or GL-1, GL-3, or GL-4 gear oils.


Mobil One MTF

Mobil One is another synthetic MTL. Mobil One is much easier to find locally then Redline, and it is slightly cheaper. Mobil One lists the following benefits.
- Minimizes wear to prolong gear life.
- Offers the highest resistance to breakdown from heat and high-speed operation.
- Makes manual gearshifts easier and faster to operate.
- Improves fuel economy.


BG Syncroshift II

This MTL has been a cult replacement fluid in the car enthusiast world for some time. It is often compared to Redline in terms of quality, yet it is almost unheard by most people. It is also repackaged by GM and called "Syncromesh". Originally it was a dino oil (BG Syncroshift), but they recently came out with a new synthetic formula dubbed "Syncroshift II". I have read about all sorts of transmission problems that were cured by BG Syncroshift, the downside is I had a hard time finding any real information about the product itself, BG's website doesn't even mention it. It's a very mysterious transmission oil.


Getting Started

First thing to do is get your floor jack out, and remove your front passenger side wheel. This will leave you with full access to the drain and filler plug. After you have removed the wheel, take a look and locate both plugs. The filler plug is a 17mm bolt on the left side of the transmission housing. The drain plug is slightly lower, and to the right of the filler plug. The drain plug is removed by a 1/4" wrench, in this situation we will use one of the extensions.






Space is the hardest part to changing the transmission oil. That is why it is important to have several different length extensions for your wrench and breaker-bar. You may want to spray both bolts down with penetrating oil, as they are likely to be on very tight. Remove the filler plug first. This way if for some reason you can't remove one of the plugs, you are not stuck with a transmission that has no oil. You will need to use the breaker bar, and remember that counterclockwise is to remove the nut, clockwise is to tighten it. Both of the nuts are extremely tight, so you may have to work at them a bit. They will come off, you use have to put some muscle into it. Once you break the nut free, you can switch to the socket wrench and remove the filler nut. Clean off the nut and replace the crushed washer. Make sure that your oil funnel and hose are long enough to reach the filler hole.


Draining the fluid

Adjust the floor jack so that the car is level. This can be hard to judge from up close, so you may need a friend to help you out. Another alternative is to take a few steps back and look.

Once the car is level, move the drain pan under the drain nut. Using the breaker bar and just a 3/8" extension, break the nut free. Again switch over to the socket wrench to back the nut out the rest of the way. Careful not to drop it into the oil pan. Again clean the nut off, and replace the crushed washer. Integra transmissions hold 2.3quarts of oil, so it won't take long to drain. Once it is done draining, replace the drain nut and tighten it to 29lbs/ft.

Suggestion by Night_Lightning: Replacing your drain nut with a magnetic counterpart will help collect metal shavings and prevent wear to your transmission. You can further remove those shavings by using a telescope magnet in the drain and filler holes to collect loose shavings.




Place the funnel and hose into the filler hole, and slowly poor transmission fluid into the transmission. Once the transmission is full, oil will slowly drip out of the filler hole. To be sure it's completely full, put your finger inside the filler hole and make sure the oil is at least to the bottom edge of the hole. Replace the filler nut, and tighten it to 33lbs/ft.

If any oil dripped during the fill, make sure to clean it off. The oil will slowly eat away at the CV boots, and those can be very costly to repair. Using a Ph balanced cleaner will remove the oil and be gentle on the rubber boots. If you want further protection, use a high quality rubber dressing like Lexol or Aerospace 303.

Replace your wheel, and you are good to go!





Redline Impressions:

After driving around with redline, the shifting feels much smoother. My car in particular had very notchy shifting, which was greatly improved by redline. It is hard to tell if it made any difference in acceleration (less drag), but it is often said that switching to synthetic oil and transmission fluid will add 2whp. No grinding or difficult shifting resulted, in fact I found it much easier to shift into first and second, which can be tough on some Integras. Redline overall, performed much better than Honda MTL.
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Comments

  1. Old Comment
    " The drain plug is slightly lower, and to the right of the filler plug. The drain plug is removed by a 1/4" wrench, in this situation we will use one of the extensions."

    Shouldnt that be a 3/8" drive breaker bar, rather than 1/4" wrench?
    permalink
    Posted 05-15-2012 at 09:11 PM by dlo dlo is offline
  2. Old Comment
    gsrtea's Avatar
    Is the syncromesh by pennzoil?
    permalink
    Posted 07-26-2014 at 09:18 PM by gsrtea gsrtea is offline
 

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