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Where DIYs with photos live. Please start new topics in DIY section. Completed DIYs are moved here for clutter control and quicker reference.
 #20555  by KuroNekko
 Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:23 am
Yes, this is long-winded but you should know that about me from my previous posts.

Prologue: I love my Kizashi but one of the shortcomings of the car compared to my former Mazda3 was the manual transmission shifter. While I like the Kizashi's clutch, the shifter was sloppy and the gear engagement more clunky than I hoped. After 18,500 miles on the clock with the factory fill, I decided to see if I could improve the shifting by opting with better transmission fluid. I decided to drain the OEM fluid and fill up with Redline MT-90 full synthetic fluid which is a GL-4 lubricant. The product is highly regarded among many car enthusiasts and is what I previously used in my Mazda3 with excellent results. Redline makes another man trans fluid called MTL, but MT-90 is preferred more. The weight of MT-90 is technically 75W-90 (hence the 90 in the name) but that weight is still within spec of the Kizashi's manual transmission fluid range.
Factory fill is a semi-synthetic 75W-80 and also a GL-4 lube.

Given there is no write-up on changing man trans fluid, I am posting it here.

Tools you need:
- Ramps or jack stands to get under the car.
- Wheel chocks.
- 14mm wrench.
- 8mm Allen wrench/Hex socket.
- 10mm wrench.
- Phillips screwdriver.
- Manual transmission fluid (Redline MT-90 in this case). The Kizashi is listed as having 2.5 liters (2.64 US quarts) in capacity so get 3 quarts.
- Drain pan.
- Funnel with hose.
- Rubber gloves.
- Rags.

All the tools I used.
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3 quarts of Redline MT-90.
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The funnel with the hose attachment.
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Step 1: Raise the car up. I prefer to use ramps and wheel chocks over jack stands. Once the car is up, make sure to engage the hand brake and leave the car in 1st gear. Chock up both rear wheels.
Get the Kizashi on ramps.
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Use wheel chocks. Solid rubber ones are great.
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Step 2: Get under the car and remove the transmission's plastic undercover. This one will be on the Left Hand side (in reference to if one was seated in the driver's seat). There are several 10mm bolts that hold the cover onto the car. The cover shields the transmission. Once removed, set it aside.
Remove the undercover of the transmission by removing all the 10mm bolts that hold it in place.
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Step 3: Locate the fill and drain holes of the manual transmission. The fill hole is located on the Left Hand side of the transmission towards the front and is the only bolt with a hex/Allen face. It is a 8mm hex/Allen bolt.
The drain hole is on the Right Hand side of the transmission towards the rear. It is a 14mm drain bolt, much like the oil drain bolt, but faces the Right Hand side of the car, not the rear (oil drain bolt on the engine faces the rear).
Drain bolt identified by red arrow.
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Step 4: Inspect and make sure the fill bolt face is clean. If not, clean the 8mm bolt hole first. This is to prevent particles from interfering with the hex/Allen engagement in the hole to avoid rounding.
Using a 8mm hex socket or Allen wrench, loosen and remove the fill bolt. Turn counterclockwise to loosen. Note: Try to use a hex socket with a wrench as it will give you more leverage and prevent the risk of rounding the head which is very common with hex/Allen bolts.
Once the bolt is off, set it aside and check the fluid level. You are supposed to feel the fluid if you stick your finger into the hole and feel downwards. In reality, the Kizashi has a component in the transmission directly behind the hole which makes it hard to feel around. However, I verified it was the fill hole as my finger was covered by residual gear oil when feeling around.
IMPORTANT: Always loosen/remove the fill hole first. This is to make sure that you don't drain without making sure you can fill up later. It's to avoid draining and then learning later that you can't even get the fill bolt off or it gets rounded trying.
Fill hole of transmission with 8mm hex socket in it.
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Step 5: Set a drain pan under the transmission drain bolt and then remove the drain bolt. The bolt is a 14mm bolt. Turn counterclockwise. Once the bolt is loosened and off, the fluid will freely pour out even when not hot (as long as the ambient temperature is not very cold). Having the fill bolt out also allows venting and facilitates the flow of the old fluid.
Once drain bolt is removed, the fluid pours out freely.
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Step 6: Once the old fluid is all drained out, replace the drain bolt and tighten it.

Step 7: Get out from under the car and remove the air filter housing box. It will require the removal of two retaining bolts (1 front, 1 rear) in addition to disconnecting the MAF sensor wiring and loosening the clamp around the intake hose (use Phillips driver for the clamp). Doing so should allow you to slip the air filter box off of the rubber mounts and remove it completely from the vehicle. This gives you the ideal access space directly above the transmission fill hole.
Note: I tried a number of different funnel access positions near the front of the engine, but the best is from removing the air filter box. If you don't have a way of pressurizing the fluid to flow into the fill hole, then using a funnel and hose in the air filter box space is best as the easy, direct access prevents kinking of the funnel's hose.
Front of air box. Remove the front bolt as shown with arrow.
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Disconnect the sensor, loosen the hose clamp, and remove the rear bolt (all have arrows). No need to touch the second rear bolt as it has a slide off mount (circled).
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Step 8: Use the funnel filler with the hose attachment. (These are commonly found in auto parts stores and even Walmart.) Remove the cap end from the hose completely and stuff only the hose alone into the fill hole. The end of the hose should easily fit into the fill hole. Make sure about 2 cm of the hose is inside the fill hole.
View from under the car of the funnel and hose. Hose goes into filler hole.
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Step 9: Position the funnel in a place where the tubing will be free from bends and kinks. Try to position it in a place above the fill hole so the tube has a direct flow line to the fill hole. Secure the funnel by using clips, clamps, etc for ease of use. If the funnel has a valve, make sure it is open.
Funnel position once air filter box is removed.
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Step 10: Carefully fill the funnel with manual transmission fluid and observe that it flows freely into the transmission via the tubing. It should not drip out at all from the fill hole for the first 2 quarts. Fill until you have filled approximately 2.64 US quarts or until the fluid drips out from the fill hole.
Note: I poured in close to 3 quarts without any of the fluid flowing out of the fill hole. With most manual transmissions and differentials, you pour enough fluid until it comes out of the fill hole. 2.64 quarts (as noted in the owner's manual) was not enough for the fluid to flow out in my case. After I used all 3 quarts, I determined it was enough. I spilled some fluid so realistically, a little less than 3 qts went in.

Step 11: Carefully remove the hose from the fill hole and remove the funnel. Get under the car and replace the fill bolt. Tighten to 19.5 lb ft of torque as instructed in owner's manual.

Step 12: Replace the air filter box and make sure all hoses, bolts, and connections are properly in place.

Step 13: Replace the transmission undercover and affix all bolts.

Step 14: Once all tools under the car are cleared out of the way, remove the wheel chocks and remove the car from the ramps. The vehicle is ready to drive.

Epilogue: What a difference! I should have done this earlier. A noticeable improvement immediately. The shifts are now much smoother and the gears engage much better. The clumsy feel of the shift movement and clunky gear engagement are vastly improved. With the smoother movement coupled with better gear engagement, confidence is increased in rapid shifting. There appears to also be gear noise reduction, but I will pay more attention to that later (work commutes are when I noticed it most with old fluid).
Overall, the effect is the same as when I dumped the factory fill in my Mazda. The shifting is smoother and the gear engagement is improved. Redline synthetics are highly regarded and this is why.

I highly recommend for anyone with a manual transmission Kizashi to dump the factory fill for Redline MT-90. Much better shifting is in store.
 #20559  by murcod
 Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:12 am
Wow. Very comprehensive write up. One question- would a small hand operated pump negate the need for so much disassembly? Something like this : ... 4708#Cross so you could refill the trans from underneath. I've got one and have used it for such jobs - with a lot of pumping it gets the job done.

I soooo want to change to Redline in mine, it sounds like it would do everything I'd expect (from previous experience using their oils.)
 #20570  by KuroNekko
 Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:15 pm
Yes, a small hand pump would actually be optimal. I know people use them for changing man trans fluids and filling differentials. I don't own one so I opted to use the funnel and tube technique. To be honest, removing the air filter box is far easier than it looks and took me about 3 minutes to remove. I discussed it a lot in the write up, but was just to be thorough. It's actually much easier than it sounds. It was also quicker and cheaper than getting a pump from the auto parts store.
I also noticed that removing the air filter box allows for much better access to the Left Hand side headlight bulbs.

No problem. Hope this info is useful to people.
 #20577  by murcod
 Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:28 am
:) I'm familiar with that area (courtesy of my battery issues). The air filter box is actually bolted to the battery tray in two places.

The pumps are an excellent investment. Anyone with an AWD Kizashi would probably find one invaluable for doing the rear diff oil.
 #21061  by avluis
 Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:40 am
This is a very good post. Funny though, I just did this a week ago and I can back up his claims from before and after. Redline does this car justice.
 #21063  by murcod
 Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:44 am
avluis wrote: Redline does this car justice.

Will you guys stop it! I don't want to void my warranty. :D

Another option is Redline 75W90NS which is GL5 rated but friendly to synchros (unlike most GL5 oils.) I used it in my last vehicle. The higher GL5 rating should give better protection.
 #21068  by avluis
 Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:27 pm
murcod wrote:
avluis wrote: Redline does this car justice.

Will you guys stop it! I don't want to void my warranty. :D

Another option is Redline 75W90NS which is GL5 rated but friendly to synchros (unlike most GL5 oils.) I used it in my last vehicle. The higher GL5 rating should give better protection.

I considered that one as well, but did not want to fall out of recommended specs with any of the recommended oil weights. Will consider in the future if someone else does it :P
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