Changing the Transmission Gear Oil - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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Changing the Transmission Gear Oil

My Elise (2006) is put away in the garage for it's first winter. I decided to change the Transmission's Gear Oil in addition to changing the Engine Oil.


Before jacking the car up, place the Elise in gear and engage the handbrake, place wheelstops ahead of the front wheels.
The Elise has been carefully jacked up on one side using a floor jack with wheels (important so that it 'follows' the chassis as the car is jacked up) and a hockey puck. Rhino ramp was placed under the rear wheel, lower on ramp and repeat for the other side. My aluminum jack has a 3" height at its low range.

Remove the service panel only as you would for a regular engine oil change, the rear diffuser can be left in place. I took my service panel out from underneath the car to clean and wipe it down.


Be sure to identify the transmission drain and fill plugs, you don't want to accidently loosen the wrong bolts!!:

Drain plug - the one with 'Read Owner's manual sticker:



Fill Plug - the one with the small pink mark next to it. This is basically what you'll see when your under the car looking up, your head will be near the driver's side rear wheel:


Loosen the fill plug first. Do not fully remove - just enough to let some air in.
Then loosen the Drain Plug, have a pan ready to catch the gear oil when you remove the drain plug. Although I was concerned it would hit the rear diffuser it did not. As the gear oil comes out you can fully remove the fill plug.
Clean fill and drain plugs. I got new crush metal washers from Toyota. These were so cheap I decided to get 2 pairs for a future change.
I got the torque wrench out:



Re-install the drain plug and torque to 29 ft lbs. I used a 24mm short socket with a extension so that the head of the torque wrench can clear the cables that are near the plug (see pic).
Now the fun begins, make sure your fill plug with new washer is handy. I use a small plastic hose hot glued to the end of a gear oil bottle's cap. Then I just screw this cap with hose on the end of a gear oil bottle (Mobil 1 75-90W Synthetic), elevate the bottle and install the hose into the fill hole and squeeze the bottle, I can get more than 3/4 of the bottle into the transmission each time. A few times doing this and I can see the gear oil coming out pretty fast from the fill hole. I know it's pretty full now so I re-install the fill plug (17mm) and torque this to 29 ft. lbs. It took in about 2.3 to 2.4 quarts of gear oil.

Be sure to use your fingers to start the drain and fill plugs back into the holes - you can prevent cross threading this way because you should be able to feel the plug threading back in smoothly. Sometimes I turn the bolt counterclockwise until I feel a small click (the beginning of the thread), then start turning it clockwise and it usually threads in correctly.

It was pretty easy - be prepared with some rags and you may want to wear some latex gloves to keep the gear oil off your hands and wipe up any droppings. Check for any leaks, wipe areas with rag. Your done! Spend a few minutes and admire the engineering from below the car.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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Last edited by goelise; 12-16-2006 at 09:55 AM.
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post #2 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 08:55 AM
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Thanks. What is the recommended interval for changing the transmission oil?
I haven't changed mine yet.

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post #3 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimK
Thanks. What is the recommended interval for changing the transmission oil?
I haven't changed mine yet.
Y'know I need to look that up but my car has about 1500 total miles in it and I figure that it's good to give the transmission an oil change to get the 'break-in' metal particles out. I've done this same service for my 4Runner and my wife's Camry and both cars now have over 100k miles on them with no transmission problems so I will follow the same process for the Elise.

The old gear oil came out pretty clear looking.

Hope this helps.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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Last edited by goelise; 12-16-2006 at 09:25 AM.
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post #4 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 09:16 AM
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how does the mobil 1 shift compaired to the factory fluid? thanks carl
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post #5 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4carl
how does the mobil 1 shift compaired to the factory fluid? thanks carl
Sorry Carl I don't know yet. My Elise is trapped in the garage for the winter.
If they didn't lay out so much salt I would be like this guy >

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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Last edited by goelise; 12-16-2006 at 09:56 AM.
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post #6 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimK
Thanks. What is the recommended interval for changing the transmission oil?
I haven't changed mine yet.
The recommended interval for the change is 45,000 miles,
according to Lotus. I changed mine at close to 15,000 miles,
using the 75W-90 Mobil 1 Synthetic Gear Oil which is classified
as GL-5. Lotus recommends 75W-90 in either GL-4 or GL-5. I
found no problems with the 'Mobil-1'. All shifts are smooth.
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post #7 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-16-2006, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgemanron
The recommended interval for the change is 45,000 miles,
according to Lotus. I changed mine at close to 15,000 miles,
using the 75W-90 Mobil 1 Synthetic Gear Oil which is classified
as GL-5. Lotus recommends 75W-90 in either GL-4 or GL-5. I
found no problems with the 'Mobil-1'. All shifts are smooth.
Thank you. I used the same gear oil and this is good to hear.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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post #8 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-26-2006, 02:12 PM
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so it's good to change it but it's recommended interval is 45000 miles...

is it true that some people change it as often as they do an oil change?
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post #9 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-26-2006, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejae
so it's good to change it but it's recommended interval is 45000 miles...

is it true that some people change it as often as they do an oil change?
I would assume that only those people racing the car
might be changing it on a super-frequent basis.
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post #10 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-26-2006, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluejae
so it's good to change it but it's recommended interval is 45000 miles...

is it true that some people change it as often as they do an oil change?
The recommended change interval is 45k miles, I agree bluejae, but this is for just getting rid of the break-in oil which probably contains more metallic particles in it, and I'd like to get rid of those as soon as my break-in was over. Future changes will now be in 40-45k miles or more a little more frequent when it sees track time. Since we're talking transmission oil change here - I like to say I would never do one of those transmission oil flush things they advertise on tv, draining and replacing with new trans oil is all I am going to do.

I don't think I'll be doing a transmission oil change with every engine oil change.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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post #11 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-29-2006, 10:12 AM
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One of the reasons for changing engine oils more frequently than trans oils is that the engine oil is picking up contamination from the combustion process in the cylinders (incomplete combustion products, unburned gas, etc.), while the trans does not have this source of chemical contamination. The trans oil only needs to deal with the pressures of meshing gears, fine metal bits, and heat, while the engine has even more heat, pressures of the cranks and cam journal bearings, fine metal bits, plus the chemical trash. No wonder the engine oil gets black before the trans oil even looks darker than honey
Jim

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post #12 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-30-2006, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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I just drove my car today - it shifted just fine.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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post #13 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goelise
The recommended change interval is 45k miles, I agree bluejae, but this is for just getting rid of the break-in oil which probably contains more metallic particles in it, and I'd like to get rid of those as soon as my break-in was over. Future changes will now be in 40-45k miles or more a little more frequent when it sees track time. Since we're talking transmission oil change here - I like to say I would never do one of those transmission oil flush things they advertise on tv, draining and replacing with new trans oil is all I am going to do.

I don't think I'll be doing a transmission oil change with every engine oil change.
I always hear 'The Car Doctor' mention that he never
suggests the word 'flushing', preferring instead to say
'exchanging', denoting no pressure being applied. The
Robin Air Exhanger equipment he uses, works on the
principle of simply 'flowing out with the old and flowing
in with the new fluid without force pressure'.
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post #14 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goelise
I figure that it's good to give the transmission an oil change to get the 'break-in' metal particles out.
That's what I thought too, and I had the dealer do it during the break-in oil change. Then I saw a diagram of the tranny on ET and it showed a magnet inside of the housing.

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post #15 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Cool

I saw that magnet too but its so easy to do I figured why not? I rather spend a little time on preventative maintenance. It didn't cost much money either since it's a do it yourself job.

'06 Ardent Red Elise - black interior with LSS, Touring, HT, Starshield, Lotus Sport Clutch, Moroso Oil Pan, Ekological HIDs, Lotus Driving Lights, Stebel Horn, Bootie, Razo '06 Pedal mod,Snorkel Delete,Odyssey 680 with s111 bracket.
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post #16 of 90 (permalink) Old 12-31-2006, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgemanron
I always hear 'The Car Doctor' mention that he never
suggests the word 'flushing', preferring instead to say
'exchanging', denoting no pressure being applied.
First, the Car Doctor tends to promote things his advertisers pay him to promote.

Second, the term "flushing" when used with transmissions tends to mean automatic transmissions. The fluid in automatic transmissions is in the torque converter and the transmission itself. Even if the trans has a drain (most don't), you still have half the fluid in the torque converter. The "flushing" is a process where the transmission is connected up to equipment that swaps the entire fluid contained in the trans and the torque converter.

A manual transmission (like in the Elise) almost always has a drain plug on the bottom. You pull that, and about 99% of the fluid will drain out of the transmission. Then you replace the plug, and refill the trans with new fluid. There is no "flushing" required - or even desired.




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post #17 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-01-2007, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMullen
First, the Car Doctor tends to promote things his advertisers pay him to promote.

Second, the term "flushing" when used with transmissions tends to mean automatic transmissions. The fluid in automatic transmissions is in the torque converter and the transmission itself. Even if the trans has a drain (most don't), you still have half the fluid in the torque converter. The "flushing" is a process where the transmission is connected up to equipment that swaps the entire fluid contained in the trans and the torque converter.

A manual transmission (like in the Elise) almost always has a drain plug on the bottom. You pull that, and about 99% of the fluid will drain out of the transmission. Then you replace the plug, and refill the trans with new fluid. There is no "flushing" required - or even desired.
The Car doctor prefers to use equipment that 'exchanges'
fluid, meaning without the 'force' associated with the term
'flushing'. I've listened to his program for years and even
though he refers to the Robin Air Exchanging Equipment as
being one of the ones he prefers for various fluid exchanging
ie: coolant, brake fluid, auto tranys & I have never heard that
product as a sponsor on his show. In fact, he is being taken
off the WOR Radio station in the NY Metro area because he
won't bow down to sponsors that could keep the show going,
that demand he spouts praises for their products but which he
isn't willing to do. In addition, I know people who actually have
their car serviced by him at his service/repair shop in Waldwick,
New Jersey, and they say he's a regular guy who has 'like's' and
'dislike's' of brands and products that comes from over 30 years
of servicing cars. Also, let us not forget that he was awarded the
award for 'The #1 Service Station in the U.S.'. P.S. - I hope he
gets some sponsors who won't try to put words in his mouth and
thereby return the radio program to my area. I have never heard
anyone as knowledgable about so many specific brands & years of
cars as he is.
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post #18 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-01-2007, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ridgemanron
The Car doctor prefers to use equipment that 'exchanges' fluid, meaning without the 'force' associated with the term
'flushing'.
Again, the Elise doesn't have an automatic transmission. There is not "flushing" required - or even possible - with the manual transmission.




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post #19 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-01-2007, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMullen
Again, the Elise doesn't have an automatic transmission. There is not "flushing" required - or even possible - with the manual transmission.
I would think that exchanging old fluid for new can
can be attained to an optimum degree if you just keep
injecting a few more liters of new fluid into the system
before finally filling the cavity. In essence you would be
as some people say, 'flushing' or 'exchanging' the old fluid
for new by way of the 'single' entry/exit opening on the
trany. Your way of simply 'draining' the system, then
refilling it, can't discharge as much old fluid as the way
mentioned above.
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post #20 of 90 (permalink) Old 01-02-2007, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimMullen
A manual transmission (like in the Elise) almost always has a drain plug on the bottom. You pull that, and about 99% of the fluid will drain out of the transmission. Then you replace the plug, and refill the trans with new fluid. There is no "flushing" required - or even desired.
wait... it's that easy? that's like one step less than an oil change...

i thought i read a run-through and it sounded a little more difficult than that
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