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Old 05-15-2009, 07:06 PM   #1
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Gear box oil change

I never have thought much of my transmission. My complaints to the dealership shortly after buying the vehicle were met with “that’s normal for a Jeep”. The box is clunky during gear shifts but I ended up getting used to it.
However, recently after a drive of about ten miles, I noticed that the feel of the shifter had changed; it was as though someone had thrown a handful of sand in there. I noticed that the problem began to go away when I was driving in town. I took it out later after it had cooled down and the problem was gone. My drives to work are short and the problem did not come back until the following weekend when I drove for 45 miles. I had less than 19k on the clock at that point.
I did some research and decided to change the oil in my gearbox. I bought two quarts of Pennzoil Synchromesh, 17 and 14mm Allen wrenches and got under there. The first thing I noticed was that the magnet on the drain plug was full of black sludge and had some iron filings on it. The oil was not completely black, but not clear golden either. I put the new oil in and vwalla the problem was gone. In fact shifting now is easier and feels better. The box is even a little less clunky. I will never trust a dealership again; they are sharks only interested in the sale. Anyone else had similar problems?

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Old 05-15-2009, 07:44 PM   #2
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so at only 19k the trans oil was nasty and it didn't shift right and all that? and the fluid was bad? what a joke, that sucks.

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Old 05-15-2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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Hey man good news question though....is it like a clicking sound from the tranny area? Im currently having that problem and the dealership like you said said thats normal.. its follows engine rpm....thanks
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Hey man good news question though....is it like a clicking sound from the tranny area? Im currently having that problem and the dealership like you said said thats normal.. its follows engine rpm....thanks

I'm having the same problem in my 2003 Rubicon. I took it to a mechanic that told me it was from the cooling system (?). I admit it did need attention, as it was spraying coolant all up under the hood and such. But it obviously isn't the problem. My guess is a loose U-joint but I can't find it. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:39 PM   #5
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Gearbox, I thought syncromesh was for Transmission fluid?

Also what year is your Jeep? For certain Jeeps youre supposed to only get a certain type of fluid as others will eat away the sulfur or brass or copper in your gears. Im totally talking out of my butt right now as im in a hurry, but there was a link here somewhere in the threads with a writeup on why and which to use.

Also I had the same problem, but ill be taking it to a dealership to get it changed out.
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:15 PM   #6
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A manual transmission is a box full of gears so a gear lube like Synchromesh, Synchromax, or a GL-3 or GL-4 75W-90 is what it uses. It's only a GL-5 gear lube that is harsh on the synchros and Synchromesh is not a GL-5 so he's good to go on the use of Synchromesh which is available under both the General Motors and Pennzoil brands, maybe a few more brands than that too.

Another gear lube that is compatible with the newer NV-3550 and 6-speed trannies is Royal Purple Synchromax which is a full synthetic. Synchromesh is a dino oil which is still fine although in extremely cold climates a full synthetic gear lube is a good choice that can help improve shifting in extremely cold conditions.
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Old 12-28-2009, 09:05 PM   #7
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Ive neverchanged my transmission oils in my vehicles before, always let the dealer/mechanic do it; is it easy to do? Id love to change all my diff fluids and transmission/gearbox fluids to Royal Purple Synthetics, i hear they are the best. I hve a 5 spd 4.0 '04
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Old 12-28-2009, 10:13 PM   #8
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yea its easy, you just unplug and refill really.

They are the best, but theyre also the best at being expensive = )
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:14 AM   #9
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Here's an article that explains the gear oils.

GL-4 vs GL-5

Notice the line that says something about the guys that designed it know what gear oil they designed it around.

Did Purple design your trans?
Did Pennzoil?
Wal-Mart?

How 'bout Chrysler?

Do you think Chrysler is going to divulge what additives they put in theirs?

Yes, you probably can save $5.00 by using a knock off. Save that money toward a $2000 rebuild.

Years ago it wasn't so critical, but modern day metals and tighter tolerances have changed that.

Just some of the characteristics that need to be considered -
No pump - so the right viscosity is needed to get the splash where it belongs - both cold and hot, high and low speeds.

Ball bearings in the front and rear of the box and tiny needle bearings in the cluster, and larger needle bearings between the mainshaft and input shaft.
Each type of bearing really needs a different kind of lube, so the lube has to work with all of them.
Then to make things worse Flat thrust washers at the ends of the cluster and the back of the mainshaft.
All need good lubrication.

And then - the killer - the synchros are a friction device - the oil has to let them speed the gears up to speed properly. If they don't, the gear selector will feel like it's being "kicked back." If allowed to do that for long, damage can occur, requiring dissasmbly.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:04 AM   #10
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Very nice and timely article. I'm about to go after the fluids on the TJ (front/rear diff, transmission, brakes). Good info to start with.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:59 AM   #11
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rrich, you remind me of my grandpa... always giving the "Don't fix it if it ain't broke!" speech to me... lol

I mean that in a joking manner and not at all trying to insult you.

In a perfect world, using all OEM stuff would be the best...the engineers would have our interests in mind, they would provide us with the best products with our vehicles, etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately this not a perfect world...this is a world where corporate greed rules all. And as such, big corporations such as Chrysler are going to buy from the lowest bidder. So Royal Purple may indeed be a much more beneficial fluid...but if __________ company was selling their dino oil for half the price, guess who they're gonna go with. Afterall, they're going to make less much if they sell the Jeep for the same price, but have more invested in it.

That's also why many companies have certain parts end up being recalled...some were due to honest engineering errors but many are related to buying from the lowest bidder. Just an example... I used to drive a Dodge Dakota. Moogs were a high quality balljoint for the vehicle...but they didn't use Moogs. They used another company. They ended up recalling a crapload of Dakotas...but guess what they ended up replacing them with? Yeah...Moogs.

Another example...and again I'm referencing a Dodge Dakota because that's what I owned for the past 7 years whereas I've had the Jeep for about 2 months. Many people liked to swap out their factory 195*F thermostat for a 180*F thermostat. People often argued similarly to you...if the engine was supposed to run colder, Chrysler would have made it run colder! Turns out, Chrysler techs admitted the Dakota engine runs better and produces more power at 182-185*F (which is about the temp it runs at with a 180*F thermostat), BUT due to emissions, they had to put the 195*F thermostat on.

I think there are many products out there better than the OEM products...buuut there are some places where OEM seems to function better (ie TPS sensors in my opinion). That's also why before I go out and just buy stuff that I think will work, I read posts on here from people who try different stuff, have knowledge of how things work, and can explain their results when using different things. Jerry has always been one I've trusted...every post of his I read, I learn something new.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:59 AM   #12
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It's just advice - I'm sure you've rebuilt more manual transmissions than I have (maybe 400-500?)
It's just my experience talking.

But I'm sure you know how synchros work, and you know much more than I do, and you know much more than the factory does about how their transmissions work and the lube required - 'cause you owned a truck once.

I'm sure you've spent far more money doing research than they have.

The factory needs experts - they pay pretty well. Why not tell them you know all about it? They'll hire you in a heartbeat!

Sometimes you can "get away" with knock-off products, sometimes not. If purple slime was so good, wouldn't you think a carmaker would buy them up so they had a better product than the competition?

I've "cured" several transmission problems simply with a flush and using the correct oil. It's not near as expensive as rebuilding one. Unfortunately it's not always the cure, but it works often enough to try it first. If you "live with it" long enough, it will need parts inside. Your choice.


I'm curious - what do you accomplish when you try to "fix something that isn't broken?"
Sounds like your granpa was pretty smart.

Sorry for sounding sarcastic - do it your own way. Use Granma's delicious gravy if you want.

I'm through bothering to try to convince anyone to do things the right way.
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:09 AM   #13
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I have an 06" Rubicon with the 6 speed manual and took it in to the dealer because of the same thing USBrit mentions, (just the clunking during shifting not the sand thing) and like his dealer they said that it's normal. I bought mine used with 53,000 on it and now it has almost 56,000. They did mention maybe changing the trans oil, so that will be my next project for it along with an engine oil change. At one point it was making a kind of squeeking noise from up front only when in motion, the dealer replaced the front driveshaft under warranty and it went away but the clunky shifting did not......
Otherwise I'm very happy with that little thing.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:07 AM   #14
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Rich, I agree with what you're saying but even the factory has different sources & suppliers for the factory's "right stuff". So it's not like there's just one acceptable lube. And if a quality aftermarket product was designed to meet and does indeed meet the precise specifications set forth by the manufacturer, it will be fine as well.

Don't forget that even Jeep has specified the wrong stuff at times like when the factory screwed up and specified a GL-5 75W-90 gear lube for the AX-5 and AX-15 transmissions. They later quietly switched that recommendation to GL-3 with GL-4 being an acceptable upgrade to the GL-3... though GL-5 is not an acceptable replacement for either since it is designed for a different application (hypoid cut differential gears).
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrich View Post
It's just advice - I'm sure you've rebuilt more manual transmissions than I have (maybe 400-500?)
It's just my experience talking.

But I'm sure you know how synchros work, and you know much more than I do, and you know much more than the factory does about how their transmissions work and the lube required - 'cause you owned a truck once.

I'm sure you've spent far more money doing research than they have.

The factory needs experts - they pay pretty well. Why not tell them you know all about it? They'll hire you in a heartbeat!

Sometimes you can "get away" with knock-off products, sometimes not. If purple slime was so good, wouldn't you think a carmaker would buy them up so they had a better product than the competition?

I've "cured" several transmission problems simply with a flush and using the correct oil. It's not near as expensive as rebuilding one. Unfortunately it's not always the cure, but it works often enough to try it first. If you "live with it" long enough, it will need parts inside. Your choice.


I'm curious - what do you accomplish when you try to "fix something that isn't broken?"
Sounds like your granpa was pretty smart.

Sorry for sounding sarcastic - do it your own way. Use Granma's delicious gravy if you want.

I'm through bothering to try to convince anyone to do things the right way.
Nope...can't say I know how much of that stuff works...I use good products and never have to rebuild them (or have them rebuilt in my case)

I agree there are certain circumstances where OE is the way to go...once again, back on the Dakota comment, Mopar ATF+4 tranny fluid was the ONLY good tranny fluid with the exception of Amsoil's ATF tranny fluid which worked great, but cost an arm and a leg. I think Valvoline finally received the rights to manufacture an ATF+4 that worked well...but for the most part, if people had shifting problems the first recommendation was indeed to buy MOPAR ATF+4 and see if that fixed their problems, which it often did.

My grandpa is pretty smart...and bullheaded as can be which always makes our debates more enjoyable. We can debate stuff for hours on end without ever slowing down. In his eyes, keeping a vehicle 100% stock is the way to go...no lift kits, no bigger tires, no engine upgrades, tweaking sensors, exhaust, etc, etc, etc. In his opinion, that was fixing something that ain't broken.

Sorry if I came off sounding like a dick...didn't mean to be offensive, just wanted to state that the factory doesn't always do what's necessarily the best. They typically have to find a good median between "best" and "most cost effective".
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:42 PM   #16
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Have a look at most any auto parts' shelves. I'd bet there's at least 30 different kinds/brands that all say "smoother shifting, less heat, more horsepower."

Very few, if any, do what they promise.

Remember - ink, whether on paper or on a can never lies. And everything on the internet is true.

That's why I prefer to use what the designers and makers recommend.

Changing to a better suspension or upgrading something is not "fixing something that ain't broke."
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Old 12-29-2009, 09:58 PM   #17
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So throughOut all this bickering ... What type of oil do I Need in my f/r differentials and transmission?I'm going to try to do this myself, even tho my mehanic is a friend who doesn't charge much I'd rather save and it's more fun to do things yourself

It's '04 5 sp manual d30/d35

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