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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
30K Manual Transmission Fluid Change

Just got back from the dealer and they recommended a manual transmission fluid change at 30K (I'm just over 25). I searched this and only saw some discussion on what type of fluid to use. I'm wondering what the interval for the change is since it doesn't state in the owners manual. Also, the quote from the dealer is $175 for the change. Seems a bit pricey. Is changing the fluid as easy as changing the oil? I need to look at the service manual posted, but I want to see if anyone has any input.

PS: The 30K recommended service they do is basically a glorified oil change that costs $265. This is an immense rip-off, especially since they change $75 for the cabin filter that takes 30 seconds to replace. So, I'm understandably concerned about their manual trans fluid recommendation.
 

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Just got back from the dealer and they recommended a manual transmission fluid change at 30K (I'm just over 25). I searched this and only saw some discussion on what type of fluid to use. I'm wondering what the interval for the change is since it doesn't state in the owners manual. Also, the quote from the dealer is $175 for the change. Seems a bit pricey. Is changing the fluid as easy as changing the oil? I need to look at the service manual posted, but I want to see if anyone has any input.

PS: The 30K recommended service they do is basically a glorified oil change that costs $265. This is an immense rip-off, especially since they change $75 for the cabin filter that takes 30 seconds to replace. So, I'm understandably concerned about their manual trans fluid recommendation.
You may want to look at the maintenance schedule in the owners manual. If Mazda recommends it, it will be in the manual.

My local dealer is the same way. The oil change isn't bad for $60. However, they want $60 for the air filter and $50 for the cabin filter. I think it's pretty standard practice for dealers to charge exorbitant amounts of money for work.
 

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It does not state anything about how often to change the manual trans fluid in the owners manual. Also, the service manual that I found in the "How-to" section of this forum doesn't specify either. However, it looks like changing the fluid on the 6-speed cars (2.0L) is as easy as an oil change.

Here's some fluid that matches Mazda's recommendation:

[ame]http://www.amazon.com/Red-Line-50204-Transmission-Transaxle/dp/B000CPCBEG/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1459189478&sr=1-1&keywords=75w-80[/ame]

Looks like I would need two quarts according to the service manual. At a total cost of just under $40 plus maybe two hours of my time, the $175 quoted to me is laughable. I hope this info is helpful to someone.

Edit: It's looks even easier than an oil change as there is no transmission oil filter.
 

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If my memory is correct, the maintenance schedule states simply to inspect the oil level and quality of the oil. Discolouration is fine, you're really looking for any debris or change in the viscosity.

This is pretty much the same for almost all manual transaxles out there. 30k seems a little early, I usually do this around 100k kms.

With this in mind, changing the oil isn't a bad idea. Provided you do this simple job correctly, it'll only do good.

There's never a filter for manuals, just a drain and refill. A couple tips: remove the fill plug first. That way you eliminate the problem of not being able to refill after a drain if the fill plug seizes. A long neck narrow funnel and some tubing make a great filler tool. Get yourself 3 quarts of oil. Be a shame if you plan for two and be short a little bit.

FYI the oil spec is indeed in the owners manual. It's just not with the maintenance section. They put that near the back in the specification charts.
 

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You know if you do the tranny fluid yourself and there is a issue with the tranny not related. How would the warranty people take it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Almost forgot, oil level should be checked with the vehicle level. Might affect how you jack it up for the job. I used to take the car off Jack's and then fill.
Great advice! Also, the removal of the drain plug first is also a good idea. I should clarify that my 30K is in miles and not kilometers.

Referring to the post about the warranty, I'm not sure how that would play out. If you did your own motor oil changes properly at home and then had an engine issue, would there be a breach in warranty? It depends on the situation. Anyways, with a little bit of planning and research, the trans fluid change seems like a low risk job.
 

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There were several people on mazda6club that found that their mtx oil was low from the factory. I changed mine out for Redline MTL at 30k miles just to be safe. Shifting got a little smoother, but my factory fill wasn't low in the first place.
 

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Warranty with diy maintenance is a precarious thing... I do it myself and you must do everything exactly correctly and keep records of what you do.

Read Mazda's warranty documents. They actually make provisions for diy maintenance. It tells you what is required to maintain your warranty.

Keep all receipts for supplies. Never give the dealer originals, only copies.

Get Mazda's service manual (link on these forums somewhere) and follow it exactly. Example, I use the torque spec on the drain plug while changing oil.

Keep a good paper trail of what you do with dates and times.

Finally, I went the extra mile and video tape all my maintenance with my cell phone.

The idea is to make it impossible for the dealer to claim that something was done incorrectly.
 

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Warranty with diy maintenance is a precarious thing... I do it myself and you must do everything exactly correctly and keep records of what you do.

Read Mazda's warranty documents. They actually make provisions for diy maintenance. It tells you what is required to maintain your warranty.

Keep all receipts for supplies. Never give the dealer originals, only copies.

Get Mazda's service manual (link on these forums somewhere) and follow it exactly. Example, I use the torque spec on the drain plug while changing oil.

Keep a good paper trail of what you do with dates and times.

Finally, I went the extra mile and video tape all my maintenance with my cell phone.

The idea is to make it impossible for the dealer to claim that something was done incorrectly.

This is fantastic advice. You have been very helpful. I really hope some people see this so they can avoid headaches later.

I'm not quite at the mileage to do any of this yet, so this project will be up and coming in the next couple of months. I plan to update with pictures and a DIY tutorial when I do.
 

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As others have said, you do not have to change your manual tranny oil to maintain your warranty, and the gearbox doesn't really require it. If it did, it would be in the maintenance section of your owners manual. That said, I always change the gearbox oil in a new car within the first year just to flush out the initial wear particles that might come from the final drive and the synchros. Do it if you are fussy about your car and/or you want to keep it well beyond the warranty period.

Changing the gearbox oil is not as easy as an oil change due to the difficulty in refilling the transaxle from the side filler. And cleanliness is really important when you do this job, if you use a long funnel, make sure the funnel and tubing are spotlessly clean before you start. Same with a bottle or transfer pump; you don't want to introduce any small dirt particles along with the nice clean new lubricant. Clean the outside of the gearbox in the vicinity of the side filler before you start the job.

There is a Federal law that covers us home-mechanics who prefer to do our own maintenance. As long as you use proper (not necessarily Mazda) parts and materials, and you have your receipts; you will not risk your warranty.

Dave
 

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I dumped the original factory fill at like 5 or 10k miles, I don't remember exactly and replaced it with the same oil that I ordered from Mazda. Shifting got smoother. I'm now nearing 36k and wouldn't mind dumping the 1.x quarts out and replace with two fresh quarts of oil. If you do it yourself, it's not that expensive and will help prolong the transmission life.
 

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I'm very familiar with this type of maintenance and plan to do it on my new Mazda3 when it reaches about 50k miles, or if I feel like finding out if the oil change improves shifting. For now, with only 4k on my car, shifting is buttery smooth. It is a simple task and good advice is given in previous posts about removing the fill plug first and cleanliness.

For reference, all of my previous cars have had manual transmissions, and I find that this type of oil change often improves shifting ... slightly. It is very important to use the correct fluid and the modern fluids are excellent in terms of how long they last compared to earlier formulations. Previous cars include, in reverse chronological order: '03 Honda S2000, '93 Mazda Miata, '00 Honda S2000, '96 Mustang GT, '89 Honda Civic Si, '79 VW Scirocco, '68 VW Type 1 (Beetle), and '69 VW Type 3 (Squareback).
 

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Nothing is sealed for life. There's always a way in.

The whole sealed transmission thing is simply a way for manufacturers to look cool on paper.

90% of the cars won't ever reach 200k miles. Most will be crashed and the rest will be driven nice and easy and take many many years to reach such mileage. I'm sure auto manufacturers know this and if the fluid is of high quality and the transmission is sealed (meaning there's no way for contamination to get in, and degrade the oil) then that oil perhaps has a chance to last 200k miles before eventually going bad slowly but at that point, the rest of the car will probably be falling apart and the transmission, which is now shifting a bit harsher then it was when new, will be the least of your worries.

I just don't believe in oil that can last 200k, 300k, or 500k miles and 10, 15, or 25 years inside the transmission and not degrade and be in need of changing. I call BS. Mazda and other manufacturers simply know that 90% of the owners won't ever get that much use out of the car.

Go check out the cars at your local junk yards. Most are under 200k.
 

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It does not state anything about how often to change the manual trans fluid in the owners manual. Also, the service manual that I found in the "How-to" section of this forum doesn't specify either. However, it looks like changing the fluid on the 6-speed cars (2.0L) is as easy as an oil change.

Here's some fluid that matches Mazda's recommendation:

Amazon.com: Red Line (50204) SAE 75W80 API GL-4 Manual Transmission and Transaxle Lubricant - 1 Quart: Automotive

Looks like I would need two quarts according to the service manual. At a total cost of just under $40 plus maybe two hours of my time, the $175 quoted to me is laughable. I hope this info is helpful to someone.

Edit: It's looks even easier than an oil change as there is no transmission oil filter.
I ran redline in my 2006 miata for a while. Changed to Motorcraft XT-M5-QS 75W-90 GL-4 (WSD-M2C200-C) and the results were amazing.
Motorcraft MTX-75 IB5 transmission fluid XT-M5-QS
Shifting is so much smoother. If you do not believe me there is 55 pages of posts on this oil at the miata forum.
Motorcraft Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid - Page 55 - MX-5 Miata Forum
This summer I intend to try the Motorcraft in my 3.
 

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Changing the gearbox oil is not as easy as an oil change due to the difficulty in refilling the transaxle from the side filler. And cleanliness is really important when you do this job, if you use a long funnel, make sure the funnel and tubing are spotlessly clean before you start. Same with a bottle or transfer pump; you don't want to introduce any small dirt particles along with the nice clean new lubricant. Clean the outside of the gearbox in the vicinity of the side filler before you start the job.
^Good advice here. To make the job much easier, you can buy one of those expensive pressurized tank type gear oil refill tools that Motive sells, or you can easily build your own tool that does the same thing for a lot less. That's what I did, below is a picture of what I put together. Basically I started with a small tank sprayer that you can pick up for <$20 at any big box hardware store. Replaced the sprayer wand/hose as shown with some vinyl hose, fittings and a compressed air blower nozzle valve. Put your gear oil in the tank, pump it up to get some pressure, then use the nozzle valve to dispense oil into your tranny's fill plug.
 

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^Good advice here. To make the job much easier, you can buy one of those expensive pressurized tank type gear oil refill tools that Motive sells, or you can easily build your own tool that does the same thing for a lot less. That's what I did, below is a picture of what I put together. Basically I started with a small tank sprayer that you can pick up for <$20 at any big box hardware store. Replaced the sprayer wand/hose as shown with some vinyl hose, fittings and a compressed air blower nozzle valve. Put your gear oil in the tank, pump it up to get some pressure, then use the nozzle valve to dispense oil into your tranny's fill plug.
Very good advice! I figured I would have to make some sort of pump to make my life easier. There's also this:


Also, in regards to the transmission being sealed for life, that claim only applies to the automatic transmissions. This thread is referring to the manual transmission.
 

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A hose with a funnel attached and use gravity to pour new oil into the transmission is best. There's less items involved which means less chance for oil contamination.

I have a clean hose, which I'd clean the day before to insure it's spotless and dry and then a clean funnel.
 

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Very good advice! I figured I would have to make some sort of pump to make my life easier. There's also this:

http://www.amazon.com/Plews-55001-L..._UL160_SR102,160_&refRID=1AGJ8992EKD30B5CRTFV
^That's similar to what I used to do, but it was a real PITA - lots of pumping, and capacity was only 1 quart. The pressure filler is so much easier - just dispense until full :smile2:

A hose with a funnel attached and use gravity to pour new oil into the transmission is best. There's less items involved which means less chance for oil contamination.

I have a clean hose, which I'd clean the day before to insure it's spotless and dry and then a clean funnel.
In lots of cars, a hose & funnel won't work due to limited access. Gravity needs height to work; you would need to get the hose in the fill hole and then snake it upwards somewhere high enough where you can connect it to a funnel & pour the oil in. In my RX7, this would be impossible. It might work on the '3 since FWD & the transmission is not buried under the floor tunnel, so you should have good access from the top.
 
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