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Ze flying Russian
2007 STI
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2,008 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some interesting stuff I found on NASIOC while educating myself on different tranny fluids. I thought I'll share this with you:

I wouldn't bother with such a long-winded note ordinarily, but this is
different.
I've been very happy with my Imprezas. Great cars. But the 5MT has
never
been a high point of the car. Frankly, it was my least favorite aspect
of
the cars.
I had the usual issues. Heavy shifts. Balking. Occasional grinds.
The
first-gear lockout. These were all manageable, but took the polish off
the
driving experience.
I've tried MANY different Gear Oils. Most were lousy. Off the shelf
super-slick synthetics were terrible. The best thing I came across was
Redline Shockproof. Still not perfect, but better.
I more or less stopped thinking about it as of late.
But then, after studying the gearbox service manuals, I realized that
perhaps there was hope...
Rewind several years; GM produces a decent, but very temperamental MT
for
their newer cars and trucks. It was so temperamental that a potential
huge-dollar re-do was on the horizon. GM, not being complete idiots,
decided that it was possible to make the tranny work, but it would
require
some major chemical engineering to do so. They hired Pennzoil Corp to
'fix'
their trannies. They did.
The end result was GM Synchromesh MT fluid. Chemically, this stuff
contains
everything our Subaru trannies should need also. So I got to thinking.
And after a bit of Web browsing, I found many opinions. Now, because
this
Synchromesh fluid is application specific, it doesn't carry any GL-?
ratings. This worried some people, regardless of the fact that
chemically
it's more than adequate.
But of the many people that have used it in their Subaru and Honda
trannies,
not ONE was disappointed. Seriously, not even ONE bad experience.
So, after a bit more homework, I found that the fluid is sold at GM
dealerships for about $9.00/Quart. It's made by Pennzoil. Pennzoil
sells
it too, for about $4.50/Quart. But it's hard to find... anywhere but
AutoZone. Go figure.
So off I went to AutoZone to pick up the prerequisite four quarts.
Drained
out the old. Poured in the new. Crossed my fingers... and hopped in
the
Subie.
Well, I'm amazed. Actually, stunned is more like it. First off, it's
still
the Subie 5MT, and not my '95 Prelude VTEC. So it's not perfect. But
the
improvement is astounding. Truly. I would NEVER have believed it if I
hadn't tried it myself.
NO grinds. NO balking. NO first-gear lockout. And MUCH lighter shift
action. Again, I'm astounded.
I have no faith in 'miracle oils' and other such off the shelf crap.
I've
been using quality synthetics in my engines and brakes for years. Just
the
$4.50/Quart stuff. I'm 100% convinced that in general there is NO
benefit
to ultra-premium oils and such. Pure psychology. No science. I'll
NEVER
reap ANY gains by using $12.00/Quart Mega-Hyper-Lube versus the
$4.50/Quart
Valvolene I've been using. So you know I'm a non-believer.
But again, this stuff is truly miraculous. Pennzoil nailed it. Plain
and
simple. And it's cheap to boot. Virtually every bit of frustration
I've
had with my trannies is gone.
So, that's my story. My Subies now shift wonderfully. NO complaints.
Every time I hop in the cars now I can't help but smile. It's that
profound.
I hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts...
EriK
PS. Pennzoil Synchromesh = GM Synchromesh #12345349 or use GM
Synchromesh
FM #12377916

The information presented here is gathered from the documents listed in the References section below.

Pennzoil-Quaker State Synchromesh is a unique transmission and transaxle fluid that is not API "GL" rated. It has an approximate gear oil grade of about SAE 80W and can be used when temperatures range from -40ºF (-40ºC) to 300ºF (150ºC). According to Pennzoil's product description it is "formulated with high quality paraffinic base stocks, a fluidity modifier, multifunctional performance additives, corrosion inhibitors, a foam suppressor and a shear stable viscosity index improver additive. It provides excellent oxidation stability, low temperature performance, excellent synchronizer performance and compatibility with yellow metals, such as bronze, brass and copper components found in manual transaxles and transmissions." This description makes Synchromesh suitable for use in some transaxles or transmissions where GL-4 gear oils are specified.

A post on the message board at www.oilanalysis.com found Synchromesh to consist of a 5W30 non-detergent oil with a friction modifer and an EP (extreme pressure) additive. It is made under contract for General Motors by Pennzoil (APC 3378) or by Texaco (Code 1874 MTX Fluid).

According to Don Johnson, Synchromesh fluid was developed for use in the New Venture manual transmission used by Chrysler and General Motors. Specifically, Synchromesh is formulated for transmissions that require GM Part No. 12345349 (Specification No. 9985648), GM Part No. 12345577, or Chrysler Part No. 4874464 (Specification MS-9224). Owners of Diamond Star Motors (DSM) Eclipse, Talon, and Laser cars with MMC (Mitsubishi Motor Corporation) transaxles have reported positive experiences using Synchromesh. The same can be said for owners of the Mitsubishi 3000GT and Dodge Stealth cars with the Getrag-manufactured AWD transaxles. The main benefit to DSM and 3/S owners seems to be excellent synchronizer performance, with reduced grinding and easier shifting compared to using some other gear oils.

Pennzoil Synchromesh Fluid can be purchased as that brand or as the equivalent products: Quaker State Synchromesh (Quaker State is part of Pennzoil), Texaco Synchromesh, GM Synchromesh, or AC Delco Synchromesh (part number 89021808). GM Synchromesh retails for about $10 per quart bottle at GM dealerships. Pennzoil Synchromesh is sold at many Auto Zone auto parts stores for about $5 per quart and should be available from Pennzoil distributors. Texaco Express Lube stores use Synchromesh but the stores I contacted would not sell the product by itself to customers. Pennzoil Synchromesh can be purchased in 5-gallon containers from oil-store.com.

References
Lubrication Basics by Don Johnson
Noria Message Board - Synchromesh what is it?
Pennzoil Synchromesh Fluid Product Description
Pennzoil Technical Information P-21-C; Automotive Gear Oils
Texaco Synchromesh Transmission Fluid
Viscosity and Engine and Gear Oil Grades
 

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Premium Member
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1,229 Posts
I recieved the following from Redline Oil engineering department when I asked them about this stuff:
the Synchromesh is a 5W30 motor oil.
 

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Registered
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859 Posts
We used to use it in DSM trannies. It seemed to be a slight improvement, but it's no magic bullet.

Might be worth a try before you get your tranny fixed

Frank
 

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Ze flying Russian
2007 STI
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2,008 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes Frank, that's what Andrew at AndrewTech also said, with exception that he recommended Redline Lightweight Shockproof. I tried and it fixed the 4th synchro problem. Great! :D
 

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859 Posts
A bit cheaper than pulling the tranny and getting it fixed!

Congrats, now you can justify spending it on other mods.

Frank
 

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Ze flying Russian
2007 STI
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2,008 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am not invisioning any more power mods in the near future. Handling and stopping segments are my primary targets for now .. I want to start participating in Autocrossing events, not just 1/4 mile runs, and it requires some preparation.
 

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Premium Member
2004 Forester XT
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815 Posts
Wanted to give my input:

After reading this thread and having the same 3rd to 4th, and 5th to 4th grinding issues as some others, I went to AutoZone and picked up some Penzoil Synchromesh.
:Banane01:

It does what is claimed!!!!!!!!! No more grinding, even first gear is a bit easier to get into at a slow roll. I was really starting to get worried about having to spend the big $$$$ on new synchros, not any more.

Penzoil Synchromesh gets :bigok: from me.
 

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2003 Forester XS
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46 Posts
I belong to a few MR2 message boards. ( I used to own one. God I miss that car) MR2's were notorious for synchro problems and everyone on the site who used to swear by Redline now rave about Synchromesh.


Mark
 

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Ze flying Russian
2007 STI
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2,008 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
L.A. Mark said:
used to swear by Redline now rave about Synchromesh.
mmm ... I understood it as "used to love Redline, but now they love Synchromesh even more". Did I get it right? :oops: :)
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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2,439 Posts
Aleksey said:
mmm ... I understood it as "used to love Redline, but now they love Synchromesh even more". Did I get it right? :oops: :)
That would be correct

at

least

thats

how

I

see

it

:grin:
 

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Premium Member
2012 GTI DSG 6-speed
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1,463 Posts
I replaced the tranny fluid over the weekend as part of my 60K mile service (actual 59,412 miles). I had been using the Valvoline Synthetic 75w-90 since the 30K service. The Valvoline gear oil was OK but the shifter was a little balky going into 1st on cold mornings. For this service I went with Pennzoil Synchromesh on the advice of this post. I have to agree with the post comments. Shifting is improved when cold and it feels crisp with no grinding (none before either.) I picked it up for $6.49/qt at Autozone.

Note: I observed no significant amount of particles to report when I changed the fluid. I would still recommend the Valvoline synthetic gear oil as a replacement gear oil. You'll just have a balky first gear on the cold mornings until the tranny warms up.
 

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6/22/76 - 12/21/14 , Gone but not forgotten
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742 Posts
i'm only used this in my integra and used it for my forester with no complaints. i used OEM GM synchromesh friction modified in my own tranny fluid change at 20K and no problems to report yet!
 

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I've used the Synchromesh, Synchroshift, etc. etc. It all works at making sub-par trannies shift better.

But ask most guys that know much more about tranny rebuilding than i do about these gear oils, and they will tell you that they aren;t the greatest in terms of protection.

Uncle Scotty is one of these smart guys- this is why his "cocktail" is both for protection and ease of shifting.

If you don't bang the gears, then I'd say run the straight synchromesh. I personally wouldnt recommend the same to guys and gals hard on their trannies.

I'm changing to synthetic at 10k BTW - I'm teetering between straight lightweight shockproof or shockproof plus a touch of synchromesh - either way, i'll be better protected..

PS - change your rear diff fluid if you havent already - it's was a mess at even 5k miles of lightish driving...not sure what to use in the synthetics back there yet...
 

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1994 Miata MX-5 5MT
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I tried the synchromesh with straight 80W-90, and my tranny didnt like it. the 3rd to 4th crunch got worse. Right now, I am running Redline MTL with heavy-weight shockproof (very hard shifter), and its great. I have driven Lispisgone's (Ken) car with similar to the cocktail mix, and thats a nice set up too. so far, i havent had any issues unless I am shifting really really fast. maybe next time I change fluid (next year), I'll do 2 quarts Redline MTL, 1qt synchromesh, 1qt heavy-weight shockproof.
 

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as an FYI- if you're doing the Uncle Scotty thang, or just filling up your tranny, DO NOT drop 4 quarts in there, or even 3.7 qts like the book recommends. Try 3.5, drive it around a bit, check the stick, and go from there..
 

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6/22/76 - 12/21/14 , Gone but not forgotten
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742 Posts
are any of you even using the Friction Modified version?

Straight Pennzoil synchromesh isn't FM... You need to specify for it. It works wonders.
 

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'03 XS MT PSM
2015 Ford Focus ST
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2,371 Posts
I swapped in some straight up Pennzoil Synchromesh this past weekend. Haven't really noticed any difference. The Redline 75w90ns that I drained out looked good as new and there was a minimal amount of sludge on the magnetic drain plug.
 

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2004 XT
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I'll be swapping in 1/2 Redline MT-90 with 1/4 Redline Lightweight Shockproof & 1/4 Synchromesh this week/weekend.

Will post thoughts.
 
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