Transmission Oil For '99 5 Speed

Cain

New member
I picked up a 1999 Corolla about a month ago and lately the shifting has been a bit rough during cool mornings until the car warms up. I'm thinking about changing the transmission oil since I don't know when it was last done. I've been doing a bit of research and heard some good things about Red Line MT-90 and was wondering if anyone has had experience with it, or if another oil is recommended. From what I've been reading it seems even though 8th gen Corollas can use GL-5 it seems to respond beter to GL-4. Also would I run into problems with gaskets and whatnot using synthetic oil like I could possibly encounter using a synthetic engine oil?

 

Cain

New member
What oil is required for your transmission? What does the owner's manual direct you to use?
The manual says 75W90 GL-4 or GL-5. Red Line MT-90 fits that. There's a lot of products out there and I'm rather new to driving a manual transmission so I want to make sure I get good oil.

 

fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
Personally a fan of Redline MT-90 - solid GL-4 oil, can be a little notching in cold mornings, but greatly reduced gear noise for me. Some also like GM Syncromesh or a combination of MT-90 and Synromesh oil. Really works in very hard to fix cases of gear grinding or other shifting woes.

You've probably picked up on hotly debated GL-4 vs GL-5 spec'd oils. Personally, it still looks like hit or miss to me, but there are some oils (GL-4) that specifically say, "safe" for yellow metals. Many have switched from a GL-5 to GL-4 and saw an immediate change in shifting performance. GL-4 oils are getting harder to find in stock. If you are really jammed up - get a GL-5 oil that is also rated MT-1. Those have been shown to be yellow metal safe.

At this point, since maintenance is unknown on the transaxle - any fresh gear oil would likely do something "different". Might be worthwhile to run anything you can get your hands on, do a drain and refill. Using that fresh oil to help dissolve any gunk in there, help move and keep insolubles in suspension, hopefully move any metal debris down to where it can be easily drained out. Then fill with gear oil of choice.

As for synthetic causing leaks - not really the case anymore. They've added enough conventional base stock to act as a buffer, so they won't dissolve or swell seals like before. But if there is a slow leak already, their higher solvency will likely clean that up and may cause it to leak. So bottom line - they won't "cause" a leak, unless you already had one exist - in that case, they could make it leak at a higher rate.

 
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dom

04 Corolla CE 5spd
Like Redline MT90, Amsoil MTG Synthetic Manual Transmission and Transaxle Gear Lube 75W-90 API GL-4 is perfect for it... Get instant quote with promo code discount.

https://www.amsoil.com/StoreFront/mtg.aspx?zo=1173195

http://www.woodsbrosracing.com/amsoil-online-store.htm

You only need 2 quarts... Motul's Gear 300 75W90 GL-5 (ester based) has the highest viscosity index (222), and the lowest vicosity in colder conditions. Amsoil MTG, then Redline MT-90 are close behind.

-Synthetic Gear Lubes- Viscosity @ 100°C (cSt), Viscosity @ 40°C (cSt):

Amsoil MTG Gear Lube 75W90 GL-4: 14.7, 84.5 (Pour Point -46°C)

Amsoil FGR Long Life 75W90 GL-4: 15.9, 122.6 (Pour Point -51°C)

Amsoil SVG Severe Gear 75W90 GL-5: 16.7, 109.1 (Pour Point -50°C)

Castrol SynGear 75W90 GL-5: 15.4, 117 (Pour Point -48°C)

ENEOS (Nippon) Premium Multi Gear 75W90 GL-5: 14.7, 82 (Pour Point -42°C)

Elf TransElf FE 75W90 GL-5: 15, 101 (Pour Point -51°C)

Maxima 75W90 GL-5: 13.89, 90.8 (Pour Point <-51°C)

Mobil 1 LS 75W90 GL-5: 15.2, 106 (Pour Point -39°C)

Motul Gear 300 75W90 GL-5: 15.2, 72.6 (Pour Point -60°C)

Motul MotylGear 75W90 GL-5: 16.7, 107.8 (Pour Point -45°C)

Pennzoil 75W90 GL-4: 15.3, 108 (Pour Point -42°C)

Pennzoil 75W90 GL-5: 15.7, 110 (Pour Point -51°C)

Redline MT-90 75W90 GL-4: 15.6, 90 (Pour Point -45°C)

Redline NS 75W90 GL-5: 15.6, 95 (Pour Point -45°C)

Royal Purple Max-Gear 75W90 GL-5: 19.1, 132.3 (Pour Point -48°C)

 
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Cain

New member
So I put the Red Line in last night and it definitely felt better on the drive in to work this morning. I still seem to fight sometimes when shifting though, it feels almost as though the shifter itself is getting caught. I'm not sure what would be causing this though because sometimes it goes in smooth and other times not. Perhaps there is a break in period for the oil to work itself through everything? On a side note, I must have drained at least 3L of oil from the transmission. I don' t know how they got that much in there since it only requires 1.9L. Perhaps they hung the car by the front bumper and filled it up. At least the oil seemed clean though as I didn't notice any metal shavings or sludge.

 

fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
Did you notice it getting hung up on any particular gear change? Happening on upshifts or downshifts, running from gear to gear, i.e., 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5, or skipping around? With or without heavy acceleration?

Does take some time for the gear oil to completely circulate through and start working on any deposits - but shouldn't be too long. Not talking about days or weeks - more like minutes to hours, assuming that you shift up and down the gears - covering enough miles to get the oil through the box well.

If it doesn't get better in a couple of days - I'd start looking at some other issues. First stop - bleeding the master clutch and slave cylinder - make sure fresh fluid is in there. From there, depends on where the shifter seems to be hanging up on.

 

Cain

New member
It seems to be mostly 1-2 and 2-1 when the car isn't warmed up. It's a bit better now than I've changed the oil. It started about a week ago which prompted me to change the oil.

 
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autotech2612

New member
I live in Michigan and before winter, I want to change the gear oil. In my last car (a Geo Metro), Pennzoil Synchromesh was recommended by many. Is that acceptable in the Corolla, or should I look at what you all have recommened above?

 

fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
Synchromesh would be fine in the Corolla. It was designed for more GM and Chrysler transaxles - but it is pretty safe for yellow metals and helps in cases of "notchy" gear shifts. Some actually like to mix the Pennzoil Synchromesh with Redline MTL to get a unique blend of additives and friction properties. It is a lot "thinner" than Pennzoil 75W90 GL-4 Synthetic stuff - which some people like. Might have to try it and see - as some transaxles shift better with thinner oils, some do not.

 

autotech2612

New member
$15 a quart for Redline MT 90 is pretty steep. Know of somewhere else that's less expensive? That's even the cost on Amazon!

I'm assuming gear oil from Toyota isn't any cheaper. . .

 

fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
Probably not any cheaper for Toyota spec oil. Redline is pretty much the same price everywhere - even buying in bulk doesn't save you much in costs. Last time I picked some up - it was at $12.50 a quart - but that was with my buddy's discount. Cheaper than Royal Purple though - that stuff runs $20/quart in my area.

But the Redline fluid is well respected - some cases, completely "fixes" some weird transaxle issue (grinding gears, hard to shift, etc.) - pricey, but it truly is great stuff. Now if you are looking to run short drain intervals (some change gear oil at the same interval as oil changes) - then I'd go with something cheaper. No sense wasting money on gear oil that you'll just dump out that quick. For 30K miles - $15 is not a bad price point to spend.

Valvoline Synpower stuff also stuff I use - it is pretty decent for the cost - usually runs about $12/quart for a full synthetic gear oil. Mobil 1 synthetic varies wildly as well - sometimes less than $12/quart - sometimes $25/quart. Just got to get those when they go on sale.

 

autotech2612

New member
In regard to your two responses to me, I'm actually poised to mix Synchromesh with Redline. Corolla only holds 2.5 quarts, right?

 
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fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
I think it is 2 quarts on the nose, though I don't remember for sure off the top of my head.

 

Cain

New member
A year later and the Redline is going well. It was pretty thick on really cold (-40 Celsius) days in the winter getting it out of the garage, but once it warms up for 10 mins or so it's fine. And yes, it's 2 quarts.

 
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fishexpo101

I know Karate, Kung Fu, and 47 other dangerous wor
Good to hear - thanks for the feedback! Redline is still one of my favorite fluids to run, hasn't let me down in even extreme conditions.

Wow, -40C, that's pretty darn cold. Pretty much have to go synthetic at that point - just to have it not feel like shifting through molasses.

 

autotech2612

New member
Fish, I'm changing my fluid out tomorrow and using Synchromesh, but then again, I also have that unusual brake fluid reservoir also for the transmission. Do I have to worry about that right now, or just wait until I replace the clutch later this year (I think you stated that would be fine). Michigan winters have been colder that usual the last three years, so I'd like to stick with synthetic. I have a coupon code for the Synchromesh at Advace Auto Parts (order online, pick-up in store) which will give me a good discount. At 221,000 miles, and as the second owner, I don't know if the previous owner changed the gear oil.

At 8.99 per quart, I ended up paying $12.59 for two quarts with 30-percent off coupon code RMN30 online. Picking it up tomorrow.

 
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