TREMEC Transmission Maintenance

Photography by Cole Quinnell

 

Love the great performance and smooth shifting of your TREMEC
We thought so…
Well,  regular maintenance will keep your transmission in top-performing condition.

 

Tremec transmissions are manufactured to strict original equipment vehicle manufacturing standards, and they do not require much maintenance.
The popular T56-Magnum, TKO, TKX, and T-5 transmissions are often installed in high-performance or race vehicles that require somewhat regular inspection.

In this article, we’ll provide a rundown of what to check, as well as how to perform an oil change on a TREMEC transmission built for aftermarket use.

MDL recommends adding the oil to your transmission just prior to installing it into your vehicle for two reasons.

  1. If you want to test fit or mock-up your trans or intend to move it around, it won’t leak fluid if it’s empty.
  2. It may be difficult to do so once it is installed.

 


What fluid should I use and how much?

Transmission fluid is one of the most important parts of your transmission.
Proper wear and synchronization depend on using proper fluid.

 


WARNING
Be sure to fill the transfer case with proper fluid & to the proper level ( see links below for your model’s specifications.).
Otherwise, the transfer case and internal gears may be damaged when the engine is started.
If the vehicle is driven, without following these guidelines the transfer case could lock up causing personal injury.


 

AMSOIL Transmission Fluids are premium-quality lubricants designed to surpass the most demanding lubrication requirements of manual transmissions and transaxles where non-extreme-pressure fluids are used, that require a steady supply of high-quality fluid.
Without it, wear and sludge formation can lead to reduced performance and even failure, requiring thousands of dollars in repairs.

  • ForT5/TKO/TKX you’ll need just under 3-quarts
  • For T56 Magnum / Magnum XL / Magnum F – you’ll need just under 4-quarts

 

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For TKX MDL recommends:
AMSOIL Synthetic ATF Transmission Fluid


 

 

For TKO MDL recommends:
AMSOIL Synthetic Manual Synchromesh Transmission Fluid

Alternatives to this are GM Synchromesh (part# 12345349), Pennzoil Synchromesh, or Mobil1 ATF. Or Tremec HP-MTF fluid
…..  Click to learn more about these lubricants here.

NOTE:
You can use standard Dexron III ATF for break-in, but it must be drained after the break-in period.
Then replaced with Synchromesh as your permanent fluid.

 


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T5 link:

The most recommended oil for T5 is:
AMSOIL OE Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid 

 

GENERAL.
The only periodic maintenance required for the transmission is to maintain proper lubrication.

LUBRICATION SCHEDULE.
TREMEC recommends that the fluid in a T-5 transmission should be changed after its initial 500- 1000 miles.
The fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles after that

 

CAUTION
Excessive temperatures may break down the transmission lubricant (refer to the vehicle service manual for maximum allowable temperature).
If there is reason to believe that the transmission has been subjected to temperatures exceeding 275° F, change the lubricant immediately.

 

Performance Features

  • Reduces friction, heat, and wear
  • Superior high-temperature stability
  • Resists heat, oxidation, acid buildup, and varnish
  • Improves cold-weather shifting

 


TKX Link:

The most recommended oil for TKX is

AMSOIL Synthetic ATF Transmission Fluid

GENERAL.
The only periodic maintenance required for the transmission is to maintain proper lubrication.

 

LUBRICATION SCHEDULE.
TREMEC recommends that the fluid in TKX, transmissions should be changed after its initial 500- 1000 miles.
The fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles after that.

 

Performance Features

  • Reduces friction, heat, and wear
  • Superior high-temperature stability
  • Resists heat, oxidation, acid buildup, and varnish
  • Improves cold-weather shifting

 

 


TKO link:

The most recommended oil for TKO is

AMSOIL Synthetic Manual Synchromesh Transmission Fluid

 

GENERAL.
The only periodic maintenance required for the transmission is to maintain proper lubrication.

 

LUBRICATION SCHEDULE.
TREMEC recommends that the fluid in TKO500 / 600, transmissions should be changed after its initial 500- 1000 miles.
The fluid should be changed every 30,000 miles after that

 

HEALTH & SAFETY
This product is not expected to cause health concerns when used for the intended application and according to the recommendations in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
An SDS is available via the Internet at www.amsoil.com or upon request at (715) 392-7101.
Keep Out of Reach of Children. Recycle used oil and bottle.

 

Performance Features

  • Reduces friction, heat, and wear
  • Superior high-temperature stability
  • Resists heat, oxidation, acid buildup, and varnish
  • Improves cold-weather shifting



…………………………………………

 

Filling Transmission Case:

  1. If you removed the rubber bung from the tail housing during test fitting, replace it before filling transmission or, if available, install your driveshaft.
  2. Remove the square-headed filler bolt located on the side of the main case about halfway up. The passenger side of the transmission. (lower hole is the drain plug)
  3. The T5, TKO & TKX Tremec transmissions require approximately 2.75 quarts.
    The 6 Speed Tremec Magnum transmissions require approximately 3.45 quarts.
  4. Using a hand-operated fluid pump, slowly add fluid until it reaches 1/8” from the bottom of the fill hole when the transmission is level.
    *You can easily test this by placing your small finger in the hole to the first knuckle.
    ** You should be able to feel the fluid by bending your finger.
  5. Replace the filler bolt.
  6. Store the extra oil in an airtight container in a dry environment to prevent water absorption. Improperly stored fluid should be discarded.
  7. The recommended break-in period is around 500-1000 miles.
    Once you drain your fluid you may notice some very tiny amounts of metal particles in the oil.
    ** This is common for synchros to break in. Drain the fluid and refill.

 


For all of this work, the car will need to be elevated to give you access. Secure the car safely using appropriate jack stands.
It’s also a good idea when it comes to Oil change time that you check all transmission and bellhousing bolts are tight, including the transmission mount fasteners.
If these work loose, transmission damage can occur.

 

Look for signs of oil leaks. Specific areas to check are where the transmission bolts to the bellhousing which could indicate an input-shaft seal leak, where the sections of the case come together, and the rear output shaft seal. Any leaks should be remedied; replacement parts and Tech Support is available through Modern DriveLine

208-453-9800   –   tech@moderndriveline.com

 

To drain the transmission oil, locate the drain plug. There are two plugs on the side of the transmission.
The lower one is the drain and the upper one is for filling. Use a 3/8-inch square drive in the plug to remove it.
Capture the drained fluid and dispose of it properly.

 

Once the transmission is completely drained, clean the threads on the plug and apply a mild thread-locking liquid. Insert the plug and tighten until snug – do not overtighten!
Then remove the upper plug.

 

For most vehicles, you will need to use a pump and hose to get the new fluid into the transmission.
Fill the transmission until fluid comes out of the fill hole.
Let the excess fluid escape. Apply mild thread locker to the cleaned fill plug and install it in the same way that you did the drain plug.
Wipe excess fluid from the outside of the transmission.

 

After this is finished, we suggest checking the driveshaft U-bolt fasteners.
If these become loose, it can cause a driveline vibration, and can eventually cause a leak at the rear output seal.

 



FAQ’s

Q: Why not use hypoid gear oil?

A:  Hypoid gear oils are designed to withstand sliding actions at the meshing interface of bevel gears.
Some hypoid oils contain extreme pressure additives that are corrosive to certain non-ferrous metals that are used in transmission parts like bushings and synchronizer rings.
Also, the friction coefficient of some hypoid gear oils may be incompatible and can cause poor shifting.  Both of these conditions can result in premature or excessive wear and failure.

Q: Why use automatic transmission fluid in a manual gearbox?

A:  Some TREMEC transmissions are designed specifically to use automatic transmission fluids (ATF) for good shift quality in cold conditions, compatibility with synchronizer friction materials, and minimized parasitic drag to maximize power to the wheels.

 

 

Q: How often should I change my manual transmission fluid?

A: Under normal driving conditions the fluid should never require changing.  For severe driving or racing, fluid changes should be made frequently, especially when operating temperatures of the transmission fluid exceed 250°F.