How to Change the Manual Transmission Fluid on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer

It slapped a cap on the bed of its compact pickup, added upholstery, some seating and voila, the Vehicles was born. The original Vehicles were basic and more tuned to handle off-road adventures than hauling the family to and from soccer games comfortably, but as it progressed, the Vehicles became a formidable player in the sub-luxury Vehicles realm. The Vehicles came standard with a manual transmission and had optional four-wheel drive in place of its standard two-wheel-drive configuration. Changing the oil in the manual transmission on a Vehicles is a straightforward task, but it requires a pump to refill the transmission with oil.

Under The Hood:

 How to Change the Manual Transmission Fluid on a Mazda 626

Remove the Fluid

Park the vehicle on a level surface.

Disconnect the ground cable from the negative battery terminal.

Raise the vehicle according to the instructions listed in the owner's manual and support it with jack stands.

Disconnect the speedometer cable and remove the drive gear from the manual transaxle. There will be a knurled fitting on the end of the cable. Loosen this fitting to remove the assembly.

Place a large waste oil catch pan underneath the manual transaxle drain plug. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the transmission.

Remove the manual transaxle drain plug.

Allow all of the fluid to drain out of the transaxle.

Reinstall the drain plug into the transaxle.

Refill the Fluid

Place a funnel in the speedometer drive gear hole.

Add between 3 and 5 pt. of API specification GL-4 or GL-5 manual transmission fluid depending in the year of your vehicle and how many gears it has.

Clean the speedometer gear with a rag and place it back into the hole.

Remove the speedometer gear. Fluid should cover the drive gear completely but not rise above the shoulder just above the top of the gear.

Add fluid as needed to achieve optimal level.

Reinstall the speedometer drive gear.

Lower the vehicle and reconnect the ground cable to the negative battery terminal.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Wrench set

  • Waste oil catch pan

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Manual transmission fluid API GL-4 or GL-5

  • Shop rags

  • Pliers

 How do I Change the Manual Transmission Fluid in a 1991 Toyota Celica GTS?

Draining the Old Fluid from the Transmission

Drive your Celica for about 20 minutes so the transmission oil reaches operating temperature.

Park your car on level ground and lift the rear and front of the vehicle with a floor jack and support it with two jack stands at the front and two jack stands at the rear. Make sure the car is stable. This will let you work under the car and level the vehicle so the new transmission fluid is at the correct level.

Locate the filler plug on the left-hand side of the transmission, next to the bell housing. Unfasten the filler plug with a 24 mm box-end wrench. Remove the plug and the gasket underneath. Thoroughly clean the filler hole and filler plug with a lint-free shop rag.

Locate the transmission drain plug toward the rear and bottom right of the case. Place a large drain pan under the drain plug and unfasten the plug with a 24 mm box-end wrench.

Move the drain pan out of the way after draining the oil and wipe clean the area around the drain hole and threads with a lint-free shop rag. Clean the drain plug and threads with the rag as well and replace the plug finger-tight after draining all the oil. Tighten the drain plug with the 24 mm box-end wrench.

Refilling the Transmission with New Fluid

Pump 2.5 liters of Dexron III automatic transmission fluid (ATF) through the filler hole using a hand siphon pump. Check the oil level by inserting your finger through the filler hole. The oil should reach the lower edge of the filler hole. Add more oil if necessary.

Replace the filler plug along with a new gasket finger-tight. Tighten the filler plug with the 24 mm box-end wrench.

Lift the rear and front of your Celica with the floor jack, remove the jack stands and lower the car.

Test drive your Toyota.

Check the transmission for oil leaks.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands (4)

  • 24 mm box-end wrench

  • Lint-free shop rag

  • Large drain pan

  • Dexron III ATF

  • Hand siphon pump

  • New filler-plug gasket

 How to Change the Manual Transmission Fluid on a 1996 Miata

Drive the Miata for about ten minutes to heat up the manual transmission fluid.

Park the Miata on a level surface and set the emergency brake.

Jack the front end of the Miata up and set the jack stands under the frame rail, behind each front tire. Lower the Miata onto the jack stands.

Crawl under the driver's side of the Miata and locate the transmission drain plug. The transmission drain plug on the 1996 Mazda Miata is a 24mm drain plug located on the bottom of the transmission. Slide the fluid catch pan underneath the transmission drain plug.

Turn the drain plug counter-clockwise with a 1/2-inch drive ratchet and a 24mm socket. Finish unscrewing the drain plug with your fingers. Wait for all of the manual transmission fluid to drain out of the transmission and into the catch pan. Screw the drain pan back into the bottom of the transmission and tighten it down.

Locate the manual transmission fill plug on the driver's side of the transmission. The fill plug will be about half way up on the transmission. The fill plug is also a 24mm bolt head.

Turn the fill plug counter-clockwise with the 1/2-inch drive ratchet and the 24mm socket. Finish unscrewing the fill plug with your fingers.

Insert the long plastic tube into the fluid pump. Insert the other end of the plastic hose into the fill hole on the transmission. From underneath the car, pump the 75-90 gear oil into the manual transmission until the oil starts to run out of the fill hole.

Crank the engine and wait a few minutes to see if the fluid level goes down inside the fill hole. If so, pump more of the 75-90 oil into the manual transmission. If the oil stays at the top of the fill hole, turn the engine off.

Remove the plastic tube from the fill hole. Screw the fill plug back into the side of the manual transmission. Tighten the fill plug back down with the 24mm socket and the 1/2-inch drive ratchet.

Jack the Miata up and remove the jack stands. Lower the Miata to the ground.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Fluid catch pan

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 24mm socket

  • Hand held fluid pump

  • Long plastic tube

  • 75-90 gear oil

 How to Change the Manual Transmission Fluid in a 1994 4-Runner 4x4

Drive the 4Runner until it reaches operating temperature, roughly halfway up the temperature gauge, then park it on a level surface.

Raise the front of the 4Runner with a floor jack and slide jack stands under its frame rails. Lower the SUV onto the jack stands.

Crawl under the truck until you are near the center of the transmission and find the drain plug on the bottom of the transmission.

Set a drain pan under the drain plug. Loosen the drain plug with a ratchet and socket, then remove the drain plug by hand.

Allow the fluid to drain from the transmission until fluid only slowly drips from the drain hole. Remove the old gasket from the drain plug, clean the drain plug with a clean, lint-free cloth, then place a new gasket on the drain plug. Hand-thread the drain plug into the transmission and snug it with a ratchet and socket.

Pour the specified amount of GL-4 or GL-5, 75W-90 gear oil into a gear oil pump. If your 4Runner has a V-6 engine, it requires 3 1/5 quarts of oil, and the four-cylinder 4Runner requires 4 1/10 quarts.

Find the check-and-fill hole on the passenger’s side of the transmission, about halfway up the side of the transmission case.

Remove the check-and-fill plug from the transmission, using a ratchet and socket, and insert the tube of the gear oil pump into the check-and-fill hole. Pump the gear oil pump to flow oil into the transmission until oil starts dripping from the check-and-fill hole.

Pull the gear oil pump’s hose from the check-and-fill hole. Remove the old washer from the check-and-fill plug and clean the plug’s threads with a clean, lint-free cloth. Guide a new gasket onto the check-and-fill plug and hand-thread it into the transmission. Snug the plug with a ratchet and socket. Wipe the gear oil off the side of the transmission with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Raise the 4Runner off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the SUV to the ground.

Take the old gear oil to a used automotive fluid recycling center for disposal. Most auto parts stores will take old gear oil for free.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Drain pan

  • Ratchet

  • Socket set

  • Clean, lint-free cloth

  • New drain plug gasket

  • 4 quarts GL-4 or GL-5, 75W-90 gear oil (V-6 models)

  • 5 quarts GL-4 or GL-5, 75W-90 gear oil (Four-cylinder models)

  • Gear oil pump

  • New check-and-fill plug gasket