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Did you order the larger 24mm bushing?

Any advice on dismantling the console and shifter assembly?

Steve.
No idea, just guessed. Will find out when it gets here!

This helped: ND MX-5 Miata Short Shift Kit Installation Guide

I pulled up around the shift boot trim from inside of it with my hands - the front of that piece that goes to the cubby hooks in and rotates up and out after.

If you have a sport button, you should unclip the harness from it after the 2 screws are removed. Then you can lift the front of the console more and unplug the harness from the dial/buttons controls.

Take it easy the first time, don't want to break any clips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #102 ·
Getting the console off is fairly simple. I outlined the process in this tutorial:

 

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I just updated the other thread about my experience today replacing the plastic shift lever bushing with the bronze bushing from Walter Motorsports.
manual gear shift lever lube, and more

Steve.
 

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Ok, I changed my manual transmission oil today, and the new Amsoil pouches worked great and were easy to use. Just cut a small section off the tip (I cut a larger section with the first pouch and spilled a little oil during insertion), hold the pouch upright as shown in the picture, bend the nozzle and insert it in the fill hole, and squeeze. Easier than a pump, and no mess. Thanks to XtremeRevolution for the recommendation and the great tutorial.
Tire Automotive tire Automotive exterior Bumper Auto part
 

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Thank you XR for this writeup. Changed the engine oil when I first got the car, and have done that once more since. Went with the unweighted GoodWin delrin knob which introduced a bit of notchiness in gears 1-2-3, and did not want to keep going on that factory break-in fluid. Hoped to and tried to give you credit with Amsoil on my fluid/pump/etc. purchases.

All that said, this writeup was excellent and accurate, thank you. My drain plug looked almost identical to yours after about 15k miles, so it seems that the break in period ran it's course as it should and no more. Very reassuring! Thanks again!
 
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@XtremeRevolution, I'm running the Amsoil 75W-90 GL4 in my Spider, and it was an improvement over the factory fill. But all the talk of synchromesh fluid and how it makes shifting even better (a relative claim) has me interested enough to try it.

With many years worth of the Motorcraft XT-M5-QS 75W-90 synchromesh being used in the Miata NC transmission with good results, it's got me wondering about using it. (A local Ford dealer has it for $19.) Of course the talk here about Amsoil Synchromesh fluid has me wondering as well.

Back at around post #85 in this thread you'd mentioned doing a blend of the two Amsoil fluids. This, not shockingly, interests me for one reason- I still have about 3/4 of a quart of the Amsoil 75W-90 sitting on a shelf doing absolutely nothing but taking up space.

#1, is there any reason why I should not put in 2 quarts of the Motorcraft and then top it off with the .2qt of Amsoil I have? (In other words, are the Motorcraft SM and Amsoil non-SM going to play nicely together in my transmission?)

#2, if I'm going to blend to use my current stock, would it be best to put in 2 quarts of Amsoil Synchromech, instead of the Motorcraft, and then top that off with .2qt of the 75W-90 that I have?

For the reasons of not wanting to spend extra money on a third quart and have even more unused product sitting in my garage, if I make the switch to synchromesh fluid I'd like to finish off that pesky 2/10th quart with tranny fluid I already have on hand. I guess the easiest (safest?) decision would be to stick to the same brand, 2 quarts of Amsoil Synchromesh and my existing bottle of Amsoil.

Edit for a follow-up question- these Amsoil manual trans. fluids, which group are the base oil stocks spec'ed from? III, IV, V?

Thoughts? Thanks,
Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
@XtremeRevolution, I'm running the Amsoil 75W-90 GL4 in my Spider, and it was an improvement over the factory fill. But all the talk of synchromesh fluid and how it makes shifting even better (a relative claim) has me interested enough to try it.

With many years worth of the Motorcraft XT-M5-QS 75W-90 synchromesh being used in the Miata NC transmission with good results, it's got me wondering about using it. (A local Ford dealer has it for $19.) Of course the talk here about Amsoil Synchromesh fluid has me wondering as well.

Back at around post #85 in this thread you'd mentioned doing a blend of the two Amsoil fluids. This, not shockingly, interests me for one reason- I still have about 3/4 of a quart of the Amsoil 75W-90 sitting on a shelf doing absolutely nothing but taking up space.

#1, is there any reason why I should not put in 2 quarts of the Motorcraft and then top it off with the .2qt of Amsoil I have? (In other words, are the Motorcraft SM and Amsoil non-SM going to play nicely together in my transmission?)

#2, if I'm going to blend to use my current stock, would it be best to put in 2 quarts of Amsoil Synchromech, instead of the Motorcraft, and then top that off with .2qt of the 75W-90 that I have?

For the reasons of not wanting to spend extra money on a third quart and have even more unused product sitting in my garage, if I make the switch to synchromesh fluid I'd like to finish off that pesky 2/10th quart with tranny fluid I already have on hand. I guess the easiest (safest?) decision would be to stick to the same brand, 2 quarts of Amsoil Synchromesh and my existing bottle of Amsoil.

Edit for a follow-up question- these Amsoil manual trans. fluids, which group are the base oil stocks spec'ed from? III, IV, V?

Thoughts? Thanks,
Steve.
I've been debating trying blending it myself as well, but so far haven't really found a need to as the 75W-90 GL-4 shifts quite nicely. I would not mix brands, however, as the additives they're using might not agree with each other. additive incompatibilities are more common in gear oils than engine oils.

If you were going to blend, I would probably add the .75 quarts of 75W-90 GL-4, then fill the rest with synchromesh.

Not sure which API base oil group they're in. I believe they're group 4 PAO based. Thea dditives are just as important though and it's really hard to know what exact additive package AMSOIL is using.
 

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Discussion Starter · #108 ·
Changed the fluid again today. Really wanted to try the blend. I used the easy-pack and filled that quart of 75W-90 GL-4, then filled up the easy-pack with a quart of Synchromesh and squeezed that in, then topped it off with more 75W-90 GL-4. My car was on an incline and on ramps, so I'd guess I have 2.5 quarts in there right now.

9600 really hard miles on the car right now. I was happy to see that, with the exception of two small sand-sizes specks of metal, there wasn't any metallic debris in the transmission and the magnet wasn't excessively loaded either. I sometimes forget to press the clutch in all the way on a redline to 3rd gear shift and had a few grinds during this change.

So far, it seems the transmission likes the friction modifiers in the Synchromesh fluid. 1st gear doesn't fight me as much as it used to. In fact, I can slide it into 1st rolling at 20mph whereas before I used to have to come to an almost complete stop.

No wonder the Mustang crowd loves this blend. The combination of extreme pressure additives in the 75W-90 GL-4 with the friction modifiers in Synchromesh seem to work well together.

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I just changed to the Amsoil blend - from the Ford Motorsport fluid - and I must say that the Amsoil blend is A LOT better.

When I first changed to the Ford fluid everything was good, but after a few thousand miles it was starting to shift roughly. Changed out the fluid during lunch today to the Amsoil blend and it is night and day. The shifts are effortless and the car feels a little "lighter" overall.

I was surprised at the level of metallic swirls in the fluid as well as the drain plug magnet - I mean I know this happens, but this is the car's 2nd fluid change and we're not at 9k miles yet. Maybe the Ford fluid I had was not "legit", IDK, but I would now recommend Amsoil.

Also - those easy fill pouches save a ridiculous amount of time over the pump I've always used in the past. I think from the time I started filling the fluid to the car being buttoned up was ~10 minutes.
 
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Discussion Starter · #110 ·
I just changed to the Amsoil blend - from the Ford Motorsport fluid - and I must say that the Amsoil blend it A LOT better.

When I first changed to the Ford fluid everything was good, but after a few thousand miles it was starting to shift roughly. Changed out the fluid during lunch today to the Amsoil blend and it is night and day. The shifts are effortless and the car feels a little "lighter" overall.

I was surprised at the level of metallic swirls in the fluid as well as the drain plug magnet - I mean I know this happens, but this is the car's 2nd fluid change and we're not at 9k miles yet. Maybe the Ford fluid I had was not "legit", IDK, but I would now recommend Amsoil.

Also - those easy fill pouches save a ridiculous amount of time over the pump I've always used in the past. I think from the time I started filling the fluid to the car being buttoned up was ~10 minutes.
Tahnks for the feedback! I too was very impressed with the AMSOIL blend (1.5 quarts 75W-90 GL-4 to 1 quart synchromesh). It feels awesome. The Ford fluid was legit; it's just too thick and it really starts to show after a while.

Those easy-packs are amazing, I agree. So much faster to fill, and less waste and mess too. No clean-up like you'd have to do with pumps. Well worth it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
As Fiat engineer i quote this: TDS-18000F.pdf (mpmoil.it) MPM Premium Synthetic S4 GL4 (EU cost: 10€/l)

  • Viscosity INDEX =206 (vs MOTORCRAFT oil= 211, equal >200 is good)
  • Cinematic [email protected]°C=71cSt (vs MOTORCRAFT oil=76cSt, less so good!)
View attachment 87159
There's a lot more to shift quality, protection, and longevity than two points of viscosity measurements on a non-linear viscosity curve. I'll leave it at that.

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After reading through this thread, is there a spec for the two crush washers that I need/want to replace when I do my transmission fluid change? Dealer is stating two weeks out for the washers, but I suspect I should be able to source them much faster than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #115 · (Edited)
After reading through this thread, is there a spec for the two crush washers that I need/want to replace when I do my transmission fluid change? Dealer is stating two weeks out for the washers, but I suspect I should be able to source them much faster than that.
I've changed my manual transmission fluid 2 times now since I've owned the car and I'm on the original washers with no leaks. I simply flip them every time I remove them if I can get them out, then torque to spec. I'm not sure that they're crush washers since they're made of solid metal. I wouldn't worry about not having replacements.

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How to Change Manual Transmission Fluid

Overview:
This tutorial will walk you through the process of changing manual transmission fluid on your Fiat 124 Spider. According to FIAT, this is a long life fluid with no service interval listed, but I didn't like that my transmission would occasionally get notchy. After missing 3rd gear twice due to that inconsistency (especially when hot), I decided to try something different, and I was dying to try out our 75W-90 GL-4 MTF in this car. My car had 1,450 miles when I drained the transmission fluid for this tutorial.

Tools Required:
  • 24mm or 15/16" wrench (I was unable to fit a 24mm socket between the transmission and the subframe to remove the fill plug)
  • Shop towels
  • 12mm socket and ratchet
  • Ramps/jack/jackstands
  • Oil pan
  • Optional: ft-lb Torque Wrench.

Part Required:
  • 3 Quarts of Synthetic 75W-90 GL-4 or your favorite manual transmission fluid.
  • A fluid pump

Fluid Options:
I've personally used AMSOIL 75W-90 GL-4 MTF and AMSOIL Synchromesh and had great experiences with both in the past. In the 124 Spider, I'm using the 75W-90 GL-4 MTF. At the time of this edit, I've been using the fluid for two years and am pleased with its performance.

The 75W-90 GL-4 can be a bit stiff on cold mornings below ~40F in freezing temperatures for the first mile or two, but works well in hot conditions and with severe driving. The Synchromesh fluids can be a bit more notchy when very hot but will shift better on colder mornings than the 75W-90 will, at least until the transmission warms up a bit, and will be better suited for normal driving conditions. However, Synchromesh fluids mighit have lower EP additive concentrations and as a result, may not be well suited for exceptionally severe driving, frequent racing, and modified cars where hard launching and shock loading are the norm. I personally use the 75W-90 since I only drive the vehicle in warmer weather and it stays in the garage over winter.

Some people have also reported good experiences with the Ford XT-MS-Q5 fluid, which seems to work well but is a tad more expensive. Other synchromesh fluids may work as well. Choose the fluid that's best suited for your driving conditions. Note that this same transmission in the NC Miata used a 75W-90 GL-4 MTF, so that's what I'd recommend sticking to.

Notes:
  • For ease of filling, I used the AMSOIL Bottle Hand Pump, which screws onto the quart and gallon bottles. This made filling the transmission a breeze.
  • FCA does not list a service interval for this fluid, but I don't like keeping break-in fluid in gear boxes for very long. A picture further down explains why.
  • There are crush washers on both the drain and fill plug. You may change these if you want to, but I did not feel it necessary to do so. If you want to change them, pick some up at your dealer prior to starting this service. I typically change them every other service interval if they look damaged.

Procedure:
1. Lift the car securely. If you can only lift one side of the car, lift the front, as the drain plug is toward the rear of the transmission.

2. Once underneath the car, use a 12mm socket to remove the 4 bolts holding the cross brace on.


3. The fill plug and the drain plug are shown here, facing the driver's side of the car. Make sure you can remove the fill plug before you remove the drain plug.


4. Using a 24mm or 15/16" wrench, first remove the fill plug, then the drain plug.


5. For the first transmission fluid change, you'll find a substantial amount of metal shavings stuck to the magnet on the drain plug. This is normal, do not be alarmed. This is all break-in metal. Simply wipe it off on a towel.



6. The oil will most likely have metallic swirls. Note that this is also break-in metal, do not be alarmed unless you find chunks of metal (I found none).


Obligatory AMSOIL promo shot


7. Reinstall the drain plug and torque to ~29-42 ft-lb.

8. Fill the transmission to 2.2 quarts (2 quarts + 6.4oz). If using the AMSOIL bottles and fluid pump, the AMSOIL bottles are marked on the side with a bar visible to show remaining fluid. Fill the full two quarts until empty, then pump the 3rd bottle until the level shows 20 ounces still remaining in the bottle. I know what you're thinking here...if the trans holds 2 quarts and 6.4oz, why is he filling 2 quarts and 12oz? The reason is simple: there are a few ounces of oil still left in the pump and the hose. Alternately, you can just keep filling until fluid starts to trickle out of the fill hole, which should bring you to about the same point.


9. All in all, you should have filled 2 full quarts and ~6.5oz. If you pour the remaining oil from the two empty bottles, and empty the pump into the 3rd bottle, you should have ~25.5 ounces (or just over the 24oz mark), validating that the transmission was filled to the correct capacity.


10. Reinstall the fill plug and torque to ~19-28 ft-lb.

11. Reinstall the cross brace and torque bolts to ~22 ft-lb.
Thanks for this. I wanted to do the change out and am confused as to what in blazes is this? The "fill plug" on my 2017 is some kind of funky bolt that I don't have a wrench to fit. I tried the aforementioned 15/16th box end and it just slips. Is there some special wrench or do I just use vise grips? View attachment 91481
 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Thanks for this. I wanted to do the change out and am confused as to what in blazes is this? The "fill plug" on my 2017 is some kind of funky bolt that I don't have a wrench to fit. I tried the aforementioned 15/16th box end and it just slips. Is there some special wrench or do I just use vise grips? View attachment 91481
I wonder if they changed the size? Just find a socket that fits. That's all I can really recommend. Or use a box end wrench and find the right size.
 

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I wonder if they changed the size? Just find a socket that fits. That's all I can really recommend. Or use a box end wrench and find the right size.
Very sorry, I screwed up. I realized the funky bolt was NOT the fill plug... ( I did find it just where you said) at that point I thought I deleted my post but only deleted the attached photo :( so embarrassed as I didn't realize this until your reply.....BTW great walkthoughs... I have changed out all three oils , trans, diff and engine, Ready for spring now!
 

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The two are on different scales. It's kind of misleading but I'll explain. Synchromesh was initially released when Honda manual transmissions actually took 5W-30 engine oil, so AMSOIL rated it a 5W-30. I guess someone actually dumped some into an engine, so AMSOIL removed the 5W-30 from the label but for some reason still has it on the website.

On the SAE gear oil scale, an SAE engine oil 5W-30 is about the same viscosity as an SAE 70W-80 or 75W-80 gear oil. The closest thing to it out there is Redline MTL 70W-80.

In this case, the manufacturer notes that when using 75W-90, cold weather performance may suffer (pretty much what we've noticed with AMSOIL 75W-90 GL-4), but otherwise they only recommend the OEM part number MTF (which is $$$ and doesn't shift that well). The OEM fluid is closer to AMSOIL Synchromesh in viscosity if not a tad thinner, which is probably why Synchromesh works so much better in cold weather.

OEMs lately have been thinning out MTF to meet CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) targets.
How is this possible? 5w30 pours totally different than 70w80.
 
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