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Ok to reuse manual trans oil?

Posted by XC92, Oct 28, 2020

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  1. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    No, I'm not talking after a long period of use and many miles. I mean within a few weeks to months, half a year at most, and a few hundred to thousand miles.

    I'm asking because it looks like I'm going to have to cut short an overly ambitious restoration job on my '92 Talon TSi AWD, that included among many other tasks fixing an issue with the trans where it pops out of 1st gear under load. For reasons beyond my control I have to move the car from the driveway where it's parked by next week, and park it on the street, which means that I have to finish up what I'm doing and put everything back on so it can be driven, registered, insured and inspected.

    I have enough time to do most of the other tasks, but there'simply no way that I'll be able to fix the trans issue by then, as I've never so much as dropped a trans till not let alone opened one up and rebuilt one. To do it right I'd need weeks, as I'd be learning as I went and I want to get it right. So at some point after the car's legal and driveable again, I'll have to drop the trans again and get to this issue.

    Most likely this won't be before next spring, as I don't have a garage or an indoor facility to work on the car and here in NYC it's not fun working on a car during the colder and wetter months. But who knows, it might warm up or I might find a place to work on it indoors.

    I'd already drained the oil, so I need to refill it. I'm going with Mitsubishi OEM, as the car is stock and I don't intend to race it. My question is, can I reuse it after driving the car for a while with it (assuming that there aren't serious issues with the trans like chewed-up metal that would ruin the oil)? Or do I have to put in new oil every time I drain it, even if it's just a few hundred miles and several months?

    If I can't reuse the oil, I was thinking of putting something cheaper but still decent in it, for now, and putting in the good stuff after I've fixed this issue. This could also sort of "flush" the trans of anything bad that's in there, akin to engine oil or coolant flush. Would that work, and what do you recommend in terms of cheap but decent oil to use for a relatively short period of time and not many miles?
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  2. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    Ordinarily i would say yes but in your case i would bet you have some bits in there. I used whatever cheap gl4 fluid i can find when I'm in a situation such as yours.
     

    Street Build 3K  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  3. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Yeah that's what I was thinking, and use this as an opportunity to "flush" the system (although I would have cleaned everything out when I took it apart anyway). Any suggestions for which cheap oil and where to get it? Are there additives I can add to help flush out any crap, akin to Seaform or Mystery Oil?

    Alternatively, I might be able to wheel the car from the driveway to the curb right next to it, or, possibly, an adjacent driveway. Is it safe to do that with whatever small amount of residual oil is still in there (same for the t-case, although if I'm just moving the car without power I can probably leave it off the trans and hang the prop shaft with some rope that allows it to turn freely)? We're talking 30-50 feet or so, hand-pushed.

    Or, can I just put in the old oil, which I saved to take to a recycling center, just for this short move?

    Come to think of it, if I decide to do this, I don't really need to reinstall the trans, just bolt down the wheel bearings to spec so they don't break. I'm replacing them anyway but I don't want to risk damaging the hubs.
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  4. pauleyman

    pauleyman DSM Wiseman

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    oklahoma city, Oklahoma
    Short move like that doesn't require anything. Do as you see fit.
     

    Street Build 3K  1

    1997 Eagle Talon TSi AWD
    awd · manual · 2G DSM
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  5. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Metal on metal not under load with a thin film of oil is ok? That's what I assumed.
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  6. luv2rallye

    luv2rallye DSM Wiseman

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    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Even if you have everything in and connected, a recently drained tranny will work fine without damage for a couple hundred feet, even under power. There's enough residual oil film on everything in there for that short of a distance.
     

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    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    14.200 @ 95.000 · 2G DSM
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  7. bastarddsm

    bastarddsm Proven Member

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    Mendota, Illinois
    Moving it from your driveway, to the street without oil won't hurt it. Theres enough left in there yet it'll be ok. I wouldn't go drive it around town though. As for a refill, it sounds like the trans is boned allready, so just put the cheapest gear oil you can find in it. No since waisting good money on good oil. I would not take new oil out of a used trans and put it in a new trans. If say you filled a good trans with good oil then found out right away you need to change the clutch or something, yeah in that case I probably would.
     

    Showcar Build 6K  1

    1991 Eagle Talon N/T
    9.805 @ 144.00 · 1G DSM
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  8. XC92

    XC92 Proven Member

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    Queens, New York
    Thanks all. Sometimes you can't get to everything on the first pass. By far the most complicated task was fixing the trans, so I'll put it off till I have enough time and the space to do it right.

    Btw, the input shaft is fine, no play at all, but the output shaft has a slight amount of axial (in/out) play, around 1/16-1/8". Does that mean anything necessarily or is ok or even normal for it to have this much play?

    The trans has around 55-60k miles on it and the 1st gear popping out is the only issue I can recall.
     

    299  1

    1992 Eagle Talon TSi
    awd · manual · 1G DSM
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  9. wrencher

    wrencher Proven Member

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    Chicago, Illinois
    Little short distances wont be a problem.
    But I do not suggest running/idling the engine for long periods.
    I have seen input shaft/mainshaft bearing damage before on various vehicles from dry transmissions and extended idling.
     

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