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What are ALL the symptoms of a worn out Manual Transmission ?

01-12-2009, 04:42 PM
The title says it all....

Can we start listing the symptoms and what one sees / hears/ feels, etc. ?

The experiences of our readers / participants would be nice.

...and how bad does it have to get before the manual transmission is unusable ?


PS - We can start a separate thread for Automatic Transmissions....

01-13-2009, 03:06 AM
Well in my case...

I bought the car with 63K on it. Seemed to shift ok, occasionally felt "funky" meaning it was a little sticky shifting into second.

Gradually it got so that I could shift up to 2nd ok but on the downshift I couldn't shift without nudging it upward to first and then downshifting.

Then that stopped working and I had to double clutch on both the upshift and the downshift. All these phases seemed to last about a month or so. And then finally I lost both 1st and 2nd altogether. And that's where it's at for this car now.

Interestingly, after almost a year of losing 1st and 2nd, I can now shift into first again. I think it's because the gears have simply rotated around to where they mesh again and it's only while the car is stopped that I can shift again. It's lasted about a month now and I'm starting to have to double clutch again so my luck is about to run out again. :rolleyes:

This will be the third trans I need to fix LOL

Johnny Mullet
01-13-2009, 06:56 PM
Well, when I bought Christine, I knew about the dead cylinder, but also noticed a "Bearing noise" when driving. I went through the bearings on all 4 wheels after the engine rebuild and they were fine. I continued to drive it and noticed the noise was getting worse and also was occurring at idle :confused:

I decided to check the level and found it full. I drained the old fluid and examined it with a flashlight. I noticed the metal in the oil and knew it was a bearing inside the trans going out. I refilled with some Lucas and regular 80W90 gear oil and decided to run it till it was done. About 4000 miles later, I was afraid to drive it because the grinding noise was so loud. It almost sounded like the same sound the trans makes in reverse, but at all times including idle. When I drained it after it was pronounced dead, the metal chunks were quite extreme :naughty:

I replaced the transmission............

01-13-2009, 10:55 PM
Damn! You are describing what I hear....

The noise is loud during idle and bad when I start it up on a cold day.

I'm not to the backing up gear noise yet, but it is slowly getting worse.

I want to record the sound and post it to PhotoBucket or ImageShack as
an mp3 file so folks can listen to it and tell if I am being too critical or what.

The more I know about a car, the worst I am about listening for odd noises !

I can't seem to relax - I am always thinking I hear something grinding or knocking.

It makes me crazy.

When I first ran my engine after rebuilding it - LORD ! I thought I was hearing
each part I worked on breaking or grinding....

If I was an airplane pilot, I'd probably be insane now...listening for the engine
to fail. After all, up there an odd noise can kill you - can't pull over and call AAA.

I'll try to find my microphone - I have an old tape recorder. My kids farted with
it and now I can't find squat anymore.

My little solid state RCA digital recorder doesn't seem to pick up sounds as well as tape does....
maybe if I use an external mic (?)


01-14-2009, 05:39 AM
I forgot I had this. A long while back I recorded the noise I had on my "new" metro. It has the idle noise with the clutch out. When I push the clutch in, the noise goes away. Interestingly it varies from time to time, from really loud to almost quiet. This vid is one of the badder moments:

You might be able to get a cheap mic from Radio shack? Probably a standard 1/8 jack.

Johnny Mullet
01-14-2009, 08:26 PM
That was the noise I had. It went away when the clutch was depressed or it changed sound. The bearings are the culprit which requires a rebuild or replacement.

DOCTORBILL, I do the same thing when I drive. I listen to the lifters and try to focus in on other sounds coming from the engine and basically "waiting for something to break", but after a while, you learn to install a nice stereo and forget about all the little noises. When the noises get loud enough to bother you (like the trans on yours now) then it's time to worry :naughty:

01-14-2009, 11:05 PM
John - "The Phoenix" makes a lot of 'road noise' but the transmission noise
I am hearing is mostly at idle when started up in cold weather.

Listening to way's audio (I was able to save it to my hard Drive as an flv file)
I don't think mine is all that bad - yet.

I will endeavor to record it, however, and place it on PhotoShop, ImageShack or
Alkaspace for all to hear.


01-15-2009, 12:25 AM
i would go to the pull a part and grab a tranny out of a metro and either take it apart and rebuild it then install when yours goes bad or put it in and then rebuild yours

01-15-2009, 09:19 AM
Crvett69 - I was quite seriously thinking of doing just that for The '93 Phoenix, when Hugemoth said that
I should be careful because one has to match the engine to the Transmission by Gear Ratios.

How difficult is it to replace Transmission's Bearings?
"Also, these transmissions are available with several different gear ratios,
so if you do get a used one, be sure it's the right one for your car."
01-09-2008, 10:38 AM - Hugemoth

No one refuted what he said, so I figured he was correct.
My Metro is a '93 3 cyl Hatchback - the commonest, basic Metro.

Then somewhere you had talked about Transmission "Codes"....

I realized that I am much too ignorant to be farting around buying transmissions
and blocks when I know squat about the subject.

So I decided to leave it alone because I didn't know where or what these gear ratios are -
what mine is or how to be sure and not buy the wrong transmission.

There was a '93 sitting in our Pull-n-Save with a manual transmission and a block
w/o the head all stripped out otherwise.

They sell the transmissions for $70 and the blocks for $50 - at least back then before
gasoline hit $4 a gallon.

Not to imply that anything is Hugemoth's fault.....I just got jumpy after that.

I may go back and do what you just suggested ! If anything is available hereabouts.

First - I have to get educated on Gear Ratios vs engines and KNOW WTF matches what....
I need to understand this business of matching Engine number/size/???
to Transmission gear ratios - and how you can tell from looking at the parts!

Imagine removing, transporting, rebuilding a Used Transmission for perhaps $300 total
on cost plus parts - working for a month, pulling mine out and finding the one I
rebuilt won't work with my engine.... The stuff of nightmares!


01-15-2009, 11:57 AM
there were 3 different manaul trannies available in the 89-94 metro. swift has different ones but we won't get into those. if you find a 89-94 metro it will have a 3.89 final ratio if its a xfi, better freeway mileage but a little less power on takeoff. normal tranny is a 4.10 ratio. if its a convertible it will have a 4.30, that is to make up for the 13" tires they put on the vert's. so you can run either a xfi tranny or a normal one in your car just fine, 95 and up had other ratios so stick with the 89-94 tranny if they have one

01-15-2009, 02:43 PM
Any three cylinder transmission will work in your car, if it's the wrong ratio the engine will turn higher or lower rpms but nothing unusable. That 93 most likely has the exact same transmission as yours. A convertible or a 95 and up three cylinder will have the 4.39, you'll get much better acceleration and poorer mileage. An XFI will have the 3.79, sluggish acceleration and better mileage. The vast majority of 89 - 94 three cylinders had the gears you have now. Go get that $70 tranny and spend an afternoon plugging it in. If the second gear synchronizer is weak (a very likely possiblility) or the gears are way out of wack, get yours rebuilt and spend another afternoon putting it back. No matter what you do, put 2.5 quarts of Pennsoil Synchromesh in it, that's the best stuff for the synchronizers and mileage.

01-16-2009, 04:20 AM
The transmission bearings are very easy to replace. You still have to take apart the transmission but all you need is a bearing separator set, nothing special. The bearings are on the ends of the shaft, and in my case, popped off with no problems at all.

Johnny Mullet
01-16-2009, 05:41 AM
These guys are all correct. You can use any manual trans in that car from ant 3 cylinder Metro, just the ratios may be different. Here is more info on Metro gear ratios................

01-16-2009, 07:44 AM
Good site in general, but maybe that's where this 3.85 foolishness is coming from. I've got the new product guides for every year except 92 and there's no mention anywhere of a 3.85 gear ratio. XFIs had 3.79

01-16-2009, 08:51 AM
Why do I see so many people out there telling people to use "Pennsoil [sic] Synchromesh" in these transaxles?
Are any of the guys recommending this stuff engineers, chemists, or certified technicians?
Nowhere in the Geo service literature does it say to use anything but 75W90 gear lube in the Geo Metro manual transaxle (although there are discrepancies in the GM publications as to whether the gear lube should be GL-4 or GL-5; an AMSoil tech service engineer convinced me it should be GL-4).
Has anyone looked at a spec sheet for Pennzoil Synchromesh?
It has a viscosity of 9.08 cSt @ 100 degrees C. That's like SAE 20W!!!
Please explain why someone should use this, especially when the discussion involves bearings that may be wearing out.
I had balky synchro problems in my '92 Metro, at 165k miles. I put in fresh Amsoil 75W90 GL-4 and it made a 110% improvement.
No, I don't work for Amsoil and in fact I would not recommend their engine oil due to discussions with a senior chemist responsible for certifying lube oils for a major manufacturer of heavy-duty engines.

01-16-2009, 12:49 PM
This topic got covered over and over in teamswift. There is a Suzuki TSB that specifically mentions GM Synchromesh:

I first ran across the recomendation for Synchromesh in the Suzuki TSB No. TS3-02 03071(R), which covered changes to the GTi second gear synchro: (

Pennzoil Synchromesh is recommended as a cheaper alternative to GM Synchromesh. I guess the question is what does the spec sheet for GM Synchromesh look like? Is Pennzoil Synchromesh the equivalent?

01-16-2009, 07:04 PM
On the way back from work today, I stopped by our Pull-n-Save..

They had only two Geo Metros ! (Both 1994) One was gutted out in front.

The other had the Engine removed - but not the manual Transmission !

The clutch and throwout bearing were gone - just the Transmission left.
Those parts may have been in the car - usually they throw parts they don't want
in inside the car.

It did not look damaged in any way at all.

All the work has been done, essentially !

QUESTION - since the engine is gone...could it have been a 4 cylinder ?

Now my thoughts on going back tomorrow and "Harvesting" the Transmission....

Is it worth it to me to spend $55 for this Transmission ?

The Kit for rebuilding a manual Transmission is $172. (E-Bay)

The kit to rebuild the Clutch is $99 (also E-Bay)

If I buy this Transmission, I will be $326 into the Transmission versus $271.

Plus, if I do the syncros, I'll need to spend $35 on the Gear Puller and Long Bolts. I spent $55 more for the "practice" or wing it with mine ?


Can I take it out all by my lonesome? Should I take a scissors Jack?

Do I have to drain out the oil - when I remove the wheel shafts,
will oil come gushing out ?

From reading Johnny Mullets instructions, it sounds like the hardest part
would be getting the axle shafts out (in a muddy, wet, wrecking yard at 25 degrees with heavy fog).

What tools should I take ?

Johnny Mullet
01-16-2009, 09:21 PM
With no engine, I feel that if you remove the mounts, clutch cable, speedo cable, ground strap, coolant tube tab bolt, and whatever else is attached, it might pull out the bottom or maybe the top if your lucky.

The axle shaft should be popped loose from the trans with a prybar first and then the trans may wiggle out with the shaft still installed in the knuckles. One guy at Teamswift said he removed a trans without removing the axles from the wheel ends like I did on the driver's side to get mine out.

Basic required hand tools............

Above sized wrenches & sockets.
Vise Grips

01-16-2009, 09:45 PM
Johnny is totally wrong... Beer should be at the top of the list. :nono:

Doc there should be a metal tag that id's the engine somewhere on the firewall:

You will have to drain the oil because it will leak out, probably when you're not thinking about it and after you put it in the car. :p

Now as to the $55 question.

Your current transmission needs new bearings. You will need a puller for them regardless of anything else. So that's $35 either way. It sounds like you're going to spend the same amount on either transmission, bearings and synchros, seals etc. so that too is the same either way.

So what will the $55 buy you? You can rebuild the transmission while still using the Geo, as long as the trans holds up. The $55 buys you another transmission that will have to be worked on and less down time for your Geo. You can simply take one transmission out and put the other right back in. The transmission you will then have will need new bearings. How much is a rebuilt transmission worth? You can rebuild it but how much will someone else be willing to pay for it? You might break even on the deal and in that case the only benefit will be less downtime for the Geo and the extra experience you get working on transmissions. That's about all I can see anyway.

01-17-2009, 05:24 AM
If you're sure it's a Metro and not a Swift, then it's a three cylinder. Metros didn't have a four cylinder option until 95.

The reason people recommend Synchromesh is because the book says to use GM Synchromesh (which is made by Pennsoil) Yes, it is quite thin, and works magically in our transmissions. Amsoil makes a version of it too, maybe that's what you've got.

01-17-2009, 07:02 PM
I am posting this for those of you who have never visited a "Pull-n-Save" type
of wrecking yard where YOU take the parts out of the wreck yourself...
Different specific names - but you get the idea.

If you don’t care – please skip to the very end. Pictures

Today (1-17-09) I got off my old butt and went to Spokane’s “Pull & Save”
to obtain a ’94 Geo Metro 5 speed manual transmission which I had seen

I made a list of all the tools I’d need, plus cardboard to lay down on
(everything is muddy here right now), a large can to drain the oil into and a
milk bottle to put it in.

Had all the Tools that Johnny Mullet suggested plus whatever I thought was
good to have – work gloves, back brace, paper towels, flashlight, garbage
bags (leaks oil), rope.

Got there at 10:45, paid $5 deposit for a large wheelbarrow and loaded it up
and went to Row A-17 and IT WAS STILL THERE !

The place was crawling with people - what a business they have now.

It was then that I realized that I had forgotten to put a belt on my Levis and
my pants were falling off my ass….in the Wrecking Yard lot while I walked around.

There is about six inches of snow on the ground and it was 33 °F at the yard
and here is the ONLY Geo Metro that wasn’t gutted out like a fish –
the Transmission was there!

I am not religious, but am also not arrogant enough to say there is no God –
but today, if He/She/It exists, DoctorBill was smiled upon -


I stared at it for a while while I ate two Junior Whoppers because I had
forgotten to eat breakfast in my hurry to get the transmission. Dufus brain….

Here is the vehicle – a local gentleman came along looking for those plastic
clips that hold the door panels on.

Told him about Automotive Forums – he may be looking at this even now….
he said he was from the backwoods of Idaho

Here are pics of the Transmission – the engine had been removed and quite
nice for me, someone had drained the oil out of it !

I think they were going to take the transmission, but didn’t for some reason…(?)

I remembered about the VIN Number and all that it says about the vehicle.

I started by unbolting the front mount bolts.

Then when I started taking off all the cables, I noticed that the Starter Motor
was hanging there all nice and ready for DoctorBill to “harvest” – so I took it….

I am the quintessential “Pack Rat” – can’t pass up a deal….took the Engine Oil Cap too !

After removing all the wires going to the transmission (and keeping them)
I removed the right side mounting bolts and the transmission fell out the
bottom of the engine compartment.

That is when I tried to pry the Half Shafts out and couldn’t get them out….

So I realized I had to undo the Axles at the wheel as Johnny Mullet had said.
When I looked – someone had taken off the Axle Nuts !

Christ – the hard part had been done for me !

Still, I had to remove the driver’s side Strut Bolts to be able to push the axle out.
The Strut fell off – someone had unbolted it at the top …. Looked so nice, I put it
in the WheelBarrow….

I pushed the axles out the back of the Wheel and THEN it came upon me….
”Take the Half Shafts too, you fool !” a voice told me in my head….
so I pried them out of the Transmission and put them in the Wheelbarrow !

They look to be in very good shape.

By this time, the Transmission only had the two shift rods connected and both of
those nuts came off slicker’n snot…

The transmission lay there all nice and unhooked so I pulled it over to the side,
out from under the vehicle – doesn’t weight much. Put it in the WheelBarrow.

All this took me about a half hour’s time while holding up my Levi’s from falling off !

While getting all my crap together, I noticed the Driver’s Side Door Panel sitting
on top of the car…couldn’t resist it…into the WheelBarrow !

Then I saw the Driver’s Side Door Handle sitting in the snow and took it….a treasure !

I picked up every metric nut and bolt under the car and inside it. I'm such a damned Kleptomaniac…
and then I found the Throwout Bearing on the floor - took that too.

Brought it all to the office and they racked up $173.92 including all the “Core Charges”,
while I held my pants up to keep them from falling off.

BUT – All this stuff is “My Precious”

Brought it home and spread it out on the Driveway to photograph….

I wish I owned a big old metal "wash tub" like in the old days so that I could
wash all the grease, oil and dirt off of the Transmission.
How do you plug the axle holes so that degreaser, water and detergent don't get
into the guts of it ?

Man am I pooped !

Now I can take the Transmission apart and LEARN - after a nice rest, a couple of beers
and maybe a big bowl of a good night’s sleep.


Johnny Mullet
01-17-2009, 08:25 PM
Chili + beer = heartburn!

01-17-2009, 11:00 PM
Mullet - PRILOSEC No heartburn - ever.....OTC take one every day.
I could eat Tacos filled with dead rats and grubs in Jalapeño Sauce and not have heartburn !
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I brought the '94 5 speed Manual transmission inside to my "Work Room" and put
it on paper covered visqueen plastic.

Took off the mounting brackets (weight = 54 lbs) and took some photos.

Here is the top view: as you can see it is filthy.
How am I going to clean this thing off in the middle of Winter ?

Looking at the Top View, you can see two clean holes with a diagonal ridge
between them. The upper left threaded hole goes all the way thru the case !

This is where the shift cable is held by a clamp. You can fill the Transmission thru this hole...

The right side view:

I have shoved clean paper towels into the axle shaft holes to keep dirt out.

What does the Black Sheet Metal Cover on the left hold inside? Should I remove it ?

Here is the I.D. Tag on the back right side:

Is anyone able to decode the ID Tag ?

Here is the "Bell" and the Throwout Bearing that was left behind.
The rest of the clutch parts were nowhere to be found...

More to come as I rather slowly proceed.

I have to figure out how to clean this filthy bugger....


01-20-2009, 04:11 PM
There are two other Threads on this Forum describing how to repair/overhaul
the Geo Metro 5 Speed Manual transmission.

One was done by Johnny Mullet (Removing and installing ) and another one is being completed by WAY

Both have excellent pictures of the work being done.

I am going to rebuild my '93 5 speed manual and was planning on formulating a
Thread showing the repairs with the obligate photos as per my usual thing.

However, I am now wondering if this is something that needs to be done...

With two Threads on the subject - with photos - why do another ?

Wouldn't that just confuse folk - or not ?


01-20-2009, 10:00 PM
take it down to car wash after you plug the holes and use the high pressure soap to wash it off, then use the rinse to take the soap off, the engine degreaser setting is a waste on money. about $5 in quarters will get it fairly clean as long as you don't mind getting a little dirty when they stuff sprays back at you

01-20-2009, 10:30 PM
Capital Idea ! Damn ! Yes.....!

Now why didn't I think of that !?

I have some GUNK and I could hose it down, put it in a Garbage Bag, let it set
for several days to emulsify the grime and then do as you say....

Maybe take the half shafts along and stick THEM back in to plug the holes....!

I haven't been to one of those high pressure car washes for at least 40 years !

But I do remember getting soaked by the back spray when I was a kid....

Thanks Crvett69 !

You've come thru again with the goods....


PS - THAT is what I like about this forum !

Something that each of us alone might never think of is brought out by another person.

01-27-2009, 11:06 PM
Today is Tuesday.

I washed off the Transmission that had been soaking in GUNK for several days
using Crvett69's method - spray car wash. About $3.50.

I think the soak in GUNK made the crud come off quickly.

I also received today the Clutch Kit I ordered on E-Bay last Friday 4 days ago! $84.95 plus 16.95 shipping by UPS. They are in WA -
same state I am !

Reading destructions - what is a "spigot bearing" or "The Pilot Bush" ?

A Quote from the destruction sheet:

"Please note pilot bush noises are more apparent when the engine and transmission systems
are cold (i.e. in the mornings).

Is this the noise I am hearing now ?

How do you know if the Flywheel needs machining ?

Waiting for the 5 speed Manual Transmission Rebuild Kit I ordered from E-Bay
that same day. It is coming from Transparts out of Redding, CA.

My transmission noise is increasing !

I hope I can get thru the winter before I have to pull it out....


01-27-2009, 11:44 PM
I'm still waiting on some bearings Doc. I should have bought the same kit but I got mine cheaper through craigslist from a guy who only used one bearing. That bearing is what I'm waiting for. I don't know about your pilot bush noise. It could be what you're hearing though.

The flywheel would be like your brake rotors. No grooves, grease etc. Should be smooth.

You might want to throw in some synchromesh trans oil for the time being. I've heard Pennzoil Sychromesh is the same but a bit cheaper.

01-28-2009, 04:23 AM
Spigot or pilot bearing sits in the center of the flywheel and supports the end of the transmission input shaft. It usually makes noise when the clutch is depressed. It should have come in your clutch kit. I've heard of packing the area behind the bearing solid with grease then driving the clutch alignment tool in there, forcing the bearing out of the flywheel.

Alternatively, when you take your flywheel in to be turned, have the machine shop get it out of there. Flywheel is just like a brake rotor in that you can usually get away with not turning it, but in this case the penalty for guessing wrong is A LOT more labor. Also, the three cylinder flywheel is too heavy to start with, you could do with a bit less metal and no worries about turning it too much.

01-28-2009, 12:15 PM
if you take your flywheel off the pilot bearing will come off with it and you can tap it out from either side. might consider replacing rear main seal on the engine while you have the flywheel off. you can pull the transmission off without removing the engine from car. if you make it over this way i have all the tools to do it with. usually takes about 2 hours + or -. also you can put the heavier duty 4 cyl flywheel on, its same dia. as the 3 cyl one but is a little lighter and uses a bigger clutch so it lasts longer

01-29-2009, 12:31 AM
Main seal, huh ?

Do you have or know of a link that has pictures of the Flywheel being taken off of
a Metro ?

Also any pics of the Rear Main Seal (RMS) being replaced....?
I could add them to the INDEXUS !

Can I get the RMS at Schucks ?

I might as well go for broke !

If you go back to my 1-17 post in the Pull & Save yard, can you tell me if that
Metro that I pulled the Transmission from was an XFI....or from the Vin No. I showed
a photo of ?

I'm still confused by all the posts whether my car is the same as that car.

Is it safe to give my Vin No. out on an open public forum ?

That is to say - would the trans I got from the Pull & Save match mine identically ?

I don't race around like a madman, so whatever Flywheel I have is just fine with me...
I'd just like to know if I need to get it turned.

If I can lay a flat edge of a ruler over it and see no curve - will it be OK ?

I suppose, if the Transmission I pulled recently is the same as mine, I will
rebuild that and then exchange it for mine, do the clutch and RMS on the engine.

Is it difficult to get the clutch on straight?

The Clutch box has Loud and Specific warnings on it about screwing up the
alignment of engine and transmission - voids any warranty. Has me worried.


01-29-2009, 05:13 AM
once you take off old pressure plate and clutch you will see the bolts in the center holding flywheel in place, this is where a air or electric impact would be handy to break them loose. once you have bolts out it will fall or come off with a light tug. inspect it closely for heat discolored areas or small cracks in surface, if it has those it should be turned. it has a recessed surface so it would be real hard to get accurate reading with a straight edge. you can get a exchange one from shucks fairly cheap that has a new ring gear and has been surfaced. behind it you will see a aluminum plate with the rear main seal in the center of it around the crank, you can gently pry it out with a screwdriver. don't mess with the aluminum plate if you can help it, leave it bolted on. to install i lube up the seal lip and install it with the flat side of seal facing away from motor, you will see how it came out. as i am starting the seal i will put the top of the seal on part way and then gently pull down as i push it in, this helps to keep seal lip from rolling over as you install it. once its on then you can use a extension or something flat to tap it in the rest of the way. don't use a screwdriver as its to pointed and will dent it. once you have ot in put it in as far as the bevel on the inside of the aluminum plate, if you look close you will see it. it goes in about .015 or so. something i like to do to make sure it stays in place is using a chisel i put a couple stakes in the aluminum housing so that they intrude inward slightly and keep seal from coming back out. as far as tranny goes from what i have been able to find out the tag on it is more or less a serial number and i have no way to desipher it. if you look at the car bumper it will give you a clue as to what car is, if bumper is all black its a base model or possibly a xfi though they usually mark that on the side of doors, if the top part of bumber has been painted its a normal metro, if the entire bumper has been painted its a lsi. the normal and lsi use the same tranny, the xfi uses a higher freeway gear ratio but will still work just fine. your still welcome to head over this way and take a afternoon putting it and seal in in comfort on a hoist, beats laying on your back. if you want to see what any of the parts look like i have a rebuilt short block on a stand i could take pics of and send to you

01-29-2009, 02:07 PM
Well Crevett69, I really appreciate your offer to help out !

The likelyhood of my getting over to the coast approaches nil, however.

Between my teaching and my wife's job, I NEVER go anywhere ! It is pitiful !

If you have a rebuilt engine with the flywheel off or even on, photos would be
nice for all of us.

I suppose Way will have some photos of that part of the job once he gets
all his parts in house, too.

The more, the merrier !

My spare Transmission is washed off, I have the Clutch set but am waiting for
several things...

1. To get over the miserable cold I now have.
2. The Transmission Rebuild Kit to arrive.
3. Figuring out where in my cluttered work area that I will do this job !
4. The desire to get off my butt to somehow magically appear.....

It has been hovering near 20° F almost constantly here in Spokane, so I will
have to work in my "basement" computer room. This Transmission stinks !

It is eminating a smell that hurts your throat after a while ! What is THAT all about ?!

I cleaned it....must be that GUNK got into the Aluminum pores !


PS - Is this the Rear Main Seal I need to get?

01-29-2009, 02:50 PM
smell is probably the 90w that was in the tranny, it really stinks. the part you want is fel-pro BS 40522

01-29-2009, 03:50 PM
The OIL stinks !

Now that I never would have guessed.

Maybe I should pour some paint thinner (mineral spirits) into the unit and shake it - huh?

Funny story....

When I went ot the Spray Car Wash place, I couldn't push the Half Shafts back
into the transmission !

Must be some trick to that endeavor....(?)

So I stuffed paper towels into the hole as hard as I could - to keep the water out.

If I were to "rinse" the transmission out with solvent, how can I plug the
differential holes tightly.

Any suggestions on what to use ?

I am on my way to Schucks to get the Fel Pro seal. Thanks again !

Then I'm going home to rest and hack up big goobers until this damned cold
goes away ! At almost 66, colds feel much worse than they used to.

During lecture this morning, I sounded like Darth Vader underwater with molasses in my mouth....


01-29-2009, 06:40 PM
The OIL stinks !

Now that I never would have guessed.

Maybe I should pour some paint thinner (mineral spirits) into the unit and shake it - huh?

If I were to "rinse" the transmission out with solvent, how can I plug the
differential holes tightly.

Yep, gear oil stinks. I believe it's the EP additives that gives it that nasty sulfur-ish smell.

I wouldn't put any solvents in there unless you're planning on replacing all the seals (input, outputs, shift selector).

01-30-2009, 05:18 AM
Synchromesh, besides being the best oil for our gearboxes, doesn't stink like that.

01-31-2009, 11:40 AM
Bought the Rear Main seal from PartsAmerica (Schucks). Looked huge !

Got home and next day checked the Part Number again on PA's web site....

They gave me the wrong part number ! Going back Monday for the right one...

Looked in Chilton's "Manual" page 3-18 and it says, "Note: when the flywheel is removed,
it is a good idea to replace the rear main oil seal and the pilot bushing."

What is the pilot bushing ?


01-31-2009, 06:14 PM
pilot bearing/bushing is whats pressed into the flywheel. what part number did they give you, sometimes they carry more than 1 part number for same aplication. any of these will work, SKF 26749 or fel-pro BS 40522 or beck/arnley 052-3390

02-01-2009, 12:00 AM
So the Pilot Bushing is also the Spigot bearing that came with my Clutch Kit ?

It is a small Ball Bearing Race - it is 3 cm OD and the Hole for the Shaft is 1 cm.

The Rear Main Seal they gave me is for a 3 Liter Engine (various makes) with the
part number 40562. Should have been 40522. They'll exchange in on Monday.

Random screw up....happens every day. No worries.

Hey guys! PM me with some GOOD links from here for the INDEX !

I would like to put that link to the Shop Manual into the INDEX, but for the life of me,
I cannot find it !

I want to put INDEX links to the shop manual for each different part of the car,
plus a link to the entire shop manual (if there is one) at the beginning of the INDEX.

Been doing SEARCHES - No wonder no one wants to use the "SEARCH" function -
you get mountains of crap!

Do you all know why !? The titles of the threads don't use good "Keywords" to
help searchers find your Threads...and I've done exactly that myself.

One doesn't realize that these Threads are being saved for posterior...

Is there an exploded view of the 3 cyl engine ?


02-26-2009, 02:20 PM
I was just at a local Clutch Repair shop I've used twice now for other vehicles.

"Clutchland" - Spokane, WA 509-487-0161 KEITH

Talked to the guy (a fountain of information!) about the noises coming from
my transmission when I start it up COLD.

He said to dump the 90 weight "Transmission Fluid" crap and put 10W-40 Motor Oil
into the manual transmission.

That is what he refills them with.

Makes them last longer and is lubricating in COLD WEATHER - whereas the 90W stuff
the manual says to use is way the Hell too thick when the weather gets cold.

He says all those noises will stop happening !

Sounds right to me.

He insists that 10W-40 is the best to use and this is his business....

So...being the wise off that I am - I just bought 2 quarts of "Formula Shell" 20W-50 which
I will use in this Transmission when I am done. (Slightly heavier oil)

Please - you synchromesh advocates - don't start yelling at me !


04-09-2009, 09:50 PM
Decided to add some light weight oil to my transmission as per the local "Clutchland" shop owner told me to...

So I bought a Battery Filler "Turkey Baster" bulb and fitted it with a small plastic tube and added
about ½ Quart of 5W - 30 motor oil to the transmission thru the second bolt hole for the Clutch Lever (see previous posts).

I had filled it with ~2 quarts of 80W - 90 Valvoline "Durablend" last Fall after draining it.

The noises have gone away ! Shifting has not changed after several days.

Since I rebuilt a 5 speed for a '94 3 cyl Metro:

94 Metro 5 Speed Manual Transmission Rebuild (

94 Metro 5 Speed Manual Transmission Rebuild - PART 2 - Assembly (

I am familiar with where the gears and shafts are in relation to the Drain and fill plugs, so I took this Photo

to help understand where the Oil must be.

As you can see, the Gears and Ball Bearings are probably not immersed in oil after setting all night
and don't get well lubricated when you start the engine cold (like 15° F)...

I would imagine that adding a half of a quart more oil shouldn't hurt at all.

Once you start driving, the oil would be thrown to the case sides and be even lower as regards the Gears.

By adding ½ Quart of 5W - 30 (one pint), I probably now have 20% lower oil weight.
Two Quarts normally - 4 pints plus my 1 pint = 5 pints of oil.
4 parts 80W - 90 (80%) --- 1 part 5W - 30 (20%) Probably about 65W now.

BTW - the oil cannot get higher than the Speedometer Cable Port on the left side near the Oil Fill Plug
or it would overflow and come out, since this Port is open to the outside.

Page 1-47 of the Chilton Manual gives the 5 speed transmission "capacity" as 2.5 quarts.
Anyone trying to fill this bugger knows it only takes 2 quarts - if that, before it dribbles out of the fill port hole !

So my adding another ½ Quart should be OK....besides - it worked - no noise.


04-10-2009, 05:52 AM
80W-90 is too thick, by adding motor oil (which is not formulated for the different needs of a transmission) you have thinned it down nearer to what you should have put in in the first place.

I have drained and refilled MANY a Metro transmission, and they've always taken 2.5 quarts. You're either not on level ground, or the thick oil you're putting in takes longer to drain out.

This transmission takes 2.5 quarts of Synchromesh. Period. That's what works best AND gives better mileage.

04-10-2009, 06:11 PM
I quote from the Chilton 1-39

"Manual Transaxle:
When adding fluid or refilling the manual transaxle always use GL-5, 80W or 80W - 90 weight gear oil."

Woodie83, you advocate Synchromesh gear oil in reply...

If I should follow your advice, why would I not follow the advice of a clutch and transmission shop owner,
where both of you advocate NOT FOLLOWING the manual's recommendation ?

As a reader of these threads here, folks would throw up their hands in wonder.

Besides - what is the weight of "Synchromesh" gear oil and why use it ?
Does it come in various weights ?

It would seem that every person writing on this forum has his own favorite gear oil and really has no argument
for or against other than they "like it."

I'm not trying to be a butt - however...who is right ?

Is there a "right" or "wrong" ?

The Clutch Shop owner recommended 20W - 50 motor oil and he routinely rebuilds Geo (and other) transmissions.
He's been there since sedimentary rock formed - longer than dirt.

I think part of the problem is - depends on the climate where one lives.

Here it gets down to the low 10's or below in winter and these Gear Oils are like Tar at that temp.

If you live in Arizona, Nevada or Texas or Louisiana - the oil is probably thin right out the driveway.

Also - the Transmission does not get anywhere near as hot as the engine and the pressures on the oil are
not very great. Slipperiness is probably paramount.

As to filling with 2.5 Quarts - I drained mine right after driving home for about a hour - no drops were coming
out, so I sealed it up and filled it - took about 1.8 Quarts before coming out the fill hole.

The extra ½ Quart of motor oil I added has quieted down my transmission when I start up
in the morning - more than likely because the oil now covers the Large Ball Bearings on the
Input Shaft End - right from the get go.

Really, I am of the mind to just add oil to the transmission thru the Bolt Hole on top until it starts
coming out the Speedometer Cable Connector.

I am going to try running a thin wood dowel down that Bolt Hole to see where the oil is in the transmission.

Sort of a "dip Stick" if you will.

DoctorBill over the Hill

04-10-2009, 10:20 PM
I don't want to get in the middle of this discussion about gear oil, (personally I use 80 weight, but I live in a mid Atlantic state) and if someone wants to put gasoline in the tranny, go right ahead.
Dr. Bill made a comment about the speedo gear.

Really, I am of the mind to just add oil to the transmission thru the Bolt Hole on top until it starts
coming out the Speedometer Cable Connector.

You don't want to do this.
I recently had a problem Where I started smelling gear oil inside my 89 Metro.
Finally figured it out when I found a few drops of gear oil on the mat under the clutch pedal. Turns out the seal on the speedo gear ( not the o ring on the housing) went bad. The speedo cable had augered the gear oil all the way up to the speedometer. I didn't even know there was a seal in there. I got one at the junk yard and replaced it. Anyway by the time I realized it, the gear oil was on the back of the speedometer and the wiring below it. I sprayed ether and carbuerator cleaner under there but its still up in there. So don't fill it up too much.
I'm sure that anyone that has taken a transmission apart realizes that it takes quite a lot of engineering, and I tend to take the advise of the engineers and builders of the transmission as to what and how much to put in it.

04-10-2009, 11:04 PM
So many things to comment on here !

Could they have put that Oil Fill Plug in any worse place imaginable ?!
Why the Hell isn't it on top - in one of those nice open areas?
Without a typical Garage Hydraulic Lift, Changing that Transmission oil is Hell.
Were the designers of this Transmission on Dope ?

OK...I am not advocating dumping oil into the Transmission until it starts going thru the Speedometer
Cable, but essentially this device has no "dip stick" to let you know how much oil is actually in there.

Maybe I should pull my Speedometer Cable out of the Transmission to see if any
oil comes gushing out ! Ha !

If you pulled the Speedometer Cable out of the Transmission before adding more oil,
then you would know when to stop....yes ?

I remember someone actually advocated filling the Transmission thru the Speedometer Cable Port ! Not a bad idea...

If you have not drained the sucker (Woodie83 implied that one may not get all the oil out), then how
do you know how much is actually in there?

BTW - whatever you might not have drained out would still be in there....

Plus, mine was making bearing noises when cold and the Clutch Technician was telling me to
add some low weight motor oil and the noise would stop.

So I did that and the noises stopped....ya gotta go with what works !

Probably (most likely) what I have observed would probably (I sound like Obama) have happened had I
added a ½ Quart of the 80W - 90 Gear Oil !

Just cover the Large Ball Bearings and they'd stop chattering....makes sense.

Anyway, I don't want to start another big discussion about which oil (either Gear or Motor Oil) is best !

Those discussions get rather heated.

I think that I will try to come up with some kind of wood dowel dipstick thingie that I can put down that
Clutch lever clamp Bolt Hole and actually measure the oil level.

Since I have this rebuilt one I just did, I have a Golden opportunity to study this conundrum.

One more thing - knowing that the Large Ball Bearings (LBB's) on the Input Shaft are not all that well covered
with oil, it seems like a good idea to fill the Transmission with Gear Oil to the fullest amount just to keep
those LBB's lasting longer.

It is a simple thing to do and could have big consequences later on down the line.

Had I known this when I first obtained my '93 Metro (The Phoenix), maybe I wouldn't
have to replace the Transmission now !

DoctorBill over the Hill

PS - Just thought of something - after draining the Transmission, if you were to jack up the
left side of the car really far, when you add Gear Oil via the fill plug hole, you might be able
to get the whole 2.5 quarts in there !
Just a thought.....just don't let the car fall on you !

04-11-2009, 05:09 AM
Chilton is not "the manual", the one written by Suzuki is "the manual" and it recommends GM Synchromesh. GM Synchromesh is made by Pennsoil specifically for small manual transmissions like ours. It is very similar in weight to 5W-30 oil, but formulated for the different needs of a manual transmission.

Synchromesh gives you better mileage, works in the cold, doesn't stink, and often fixes sluggish sychronizers. Other than being what the car manufacturer recommends, can't think of any other reason to use it.

I've changed transmission fluid about ten times, never seen one that didn't take 2.5 quarts.

04-11-2009, 11:23 AM
""the manual" (Suzuki) .... recommends GM Synchromesh....It is very similar in weight to 5W-30 oil....doesn't stink."

Now we're cooking with Gas !

If it is like 5W - 30 and doesn't stink - I can go with that !

Tell us exactly how you drain the Transmissions and get 2.5 quarts back into it.

Others on this Forum have agreed with me, so I am not a complete nut case.

DoctorBill over the Hill

PS - What orifice would Chilton have pulled that recommendation out of ?

04-12-2009, 05:28 AM
Make sure you're on level ground, car should not be jacked up. If you refill it with the front end jacked up, you'll not get enough lube in there.

Take out the fill plug first, it's on the left rear corner of the transmission housing, sort of behind the left front wheel. Take out the drain plug and leave it out for half an hour. Put the drain plug back in, affix two feet of surgical tubing to the nozzle of the Synchromesh bottle, put the other end in the fill hole. Squeeze until the lube oil just comes back out the hole as fast as you squeeze it in, takes exactly 2.5 quarts.

04-12-2009, 09:54 AM
I am very, very intrigued by your post....

"Make sure you're on level ground, car should not be jacked up."

"Take out the fill plug first,.......Take out the drain plug....."

I am 5' 10" tall and of average build. I cannot even get my hands near those plugs without
jacking the vehicle up fairly high and sliding on my back like a wiggle worm underneath the car...

If you are using a lift as in a mechanics garage, no sweat.

In my driveway - no way Jose....

Do you mean, jack it up, start draining it, lower the car - let it drain, then jack it back up
to put the plugs back in the Transmission after all the Oil is out ?

The difference between working on a Metro on a lift and on the ground is like the difference
between day and night. 100 times easier.

"...affix two feet of surgical tubing to the nozzle of the Synchromesh bottle,...

Right...OK. After you obtain some surgical tubing (?), how do you make sure it
doesn't slip out of the hole as you fill with it ?


04-13-2009, 05:19 AM
We're really over analyzing this here, it's not that tough. Can't swear about the trans lube, but I change my oil all the time without jacking it up, and my car is lowered an inch and a quarter. If you can't reach it from the side, then jack the entire car up, front and back. It's not that critical for the draining, but for the fill, with the fill plug at the absolute rear of the housing, it's going to make a big difference.

Never had an issue with the tubing falling out, doesn't have to be surgical tubing, anything about 1/4 inch ID.

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