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      01-31-2021, 04:55 PM   #1
Thunderguts
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The holy grail of gearbox oil!

I finally found it, the holy grail of gearbox oil for the Getrag transmission - Redline MT-LV!

I'm by no means an expert, but I have changed gearbox oil at least a dozen times in three different gearboxes over the years. Every transmission likes something different and I've never found the OEM oil to be the best. I've heard naysayers warn against non-OEM oils and how they'll lead to premature wear only to drive a car 243k miles and still shift smoothly to the end.

Again, I'm not an oil expert, but IMO smooth shifts are a combination of oil weight and friction modifiers. You need the correct weight to keep the gears from bogging down and dropping too much speed between shifts and you need the right friction coefficient for the synchros to grab properly and mesh the gears.

I've never liked the force required to shift from first to second in the Getrag, even when warm. I always felt like I was abusing it. I had no grinding issues, but the synchros were definitely working too hard and not meshing the gears easily. The car was a little better when it was stock, but ever since I installed the BMWP short shifter, the force required became unpleasant.

Here's my experience with oils:

1) OEM - the OEM oil had 68k miles on it when I bought the car, but BMW does claim that it's a lifetime fill (har har). It was okay with the stock shifter, but once I went to the short shifter, it was just too stiff, even in summer.

2) GM Synchromesh with friction modifier - this has always been my go-to oil. It worked like a miracle in my well-worn Honda. I installed it when the car had about 70k miles and used it from then on until 243k miles without a hitch. I also use it in the Tremec T-5 in my Mustang. I tried this first in my 128i, but it did not work well. All shifts were stiffer and it really didn't like being cold.

3) Redline MTL - I tried this in the Tremec, but it didn't match up well. I thought I would give it a chance in the Getrag. Nope. I seem to recall that shifts were even stiffer than GM Synchromesh to the point where I didn't even like driving it. I swapped it out right away.

4) Redline D4 - this made my shifts feel like they did when it was stock, before the short shifter. I was satisfied, but the 1-2 shift was still too stiff for my taste. It was moderately stiff when really cold, but it was warm enough to be okay within 5 minutes. The was definitely the second best oil I tried.

5) Redline MT-LV - This is it! The difference is night and day. I could tell on the first three shifts that something remarkable had happened. Every shift is smoother and the 1-2 now requires no waiting, no rev matching, and hardly any extra effort. It's not perfect, but it's dramatically different. I still like the action on my Tremec better, but this is by far the best that the Getrag in the 128i has ever felt. I will never run any other oil in this gearbox.

Downsides? The only negative is that the gearbox does feel ever so slightly rubbery, but I'll gladly trade that for all everything else. I can't say how well this will work in the 135i ZF gearbox, but it's magic in the Getrag.


Sidenote - gearbox fill methods

1) I've changed gearbox oils a lot. My standard method was to run a funnel and vinyl tubing down to the fill hole. The problem with that is you never know how much you'll need until it starts overflowing and you still have more in the tube. It's fast, but messy.

2) I've tried a few of the cheap bottle pumps. These never work. They make a huge mess and constantly leak. I think I've thrown away every one I've used after one go.

3) I finally grew tired of the messes and wanted to try something new. I almost bought a Motive pressure filler, but $70 seemed a bit high. I went with a Mightyvac oversized syringe which was only $20. It did take 6 refills, but it was super-neat and easy. If I had to do it over again, I'd get the larger 1.5L size. That would make it a piece of cake and you can also use it as an extractor for the differential.
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      01-31-2021, 05:35 PM   #2
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Thanks for this write up. I'm due for my second fill soon so I'll try this oil out. I definitely agree that the 1-2 shift takes too much force. My Redline D4 ATF was an improvement but it's still a lot of force with the BMW performance shifter.
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      01-31-2021, 06:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for this! I'm looking to try out a new fluid when I change mine soon.
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      02-01-2021, 03:55 PM   #4
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Yeah, MT-LV is good stuff. I put some in my transmission last spring, only put 5k miles on it since then but it felt good through hot and cold and did well at the track. Looking up oil analyses on BITOG, the MT-LV has similar specs to the MTF-LT-3 and recommended by Bimmerworld as the compromise between D4 and MTL.

My car had RL MTL in it when I bought it, definitely stiffer shifts than the LV but when pushing it hard on track it felt better, otherwise MT-LV just feels all around better.
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      02-02-2021, 09:04 AM   #5
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Slight update, it was in the high 30's this morning. The MT-LV definitely didn't like shifting for the first 5 minutes, but it was no worse than the D4. After 5 minutes though, everything was great.
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      02-02-2021, 03:29 PM   #6
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Can vouch for using a syringe style oil transfer pump. I have an old metal one which works great. Almost no mess.

FWIW I use MTL in the 135i 6MT. Only stiffness issues I have with it are when it's <30F.

Been considering trying the MT LV at the next fluid change at 120k miles.
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      02-05-2021, 09:07 AM   #7
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I recently switched from D6 to this and think I may have started a bit of a movement. I can say that when very cold it still feels better than the D6 but is a little stiff. That being said a few shifts through the gears when stationary and the stiffness goes away almost immediately and once warmed up is smooth as silk.

I have no idea how long it will last, but I will check it in 30K and see whats up.
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      02-06-2021, 07:19 AM   #8
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Yup. Have been using MT-LV in my 328 for almost a year now. Good stuff.
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      02-14-2021, 04:53 AM   #9
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has anyone used motul or castrol by the way? they say they are good too.
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      02-14-2021, 06:18 PM   #10
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I'm pretty sure I tried Motul on my Honda, but it didn't work as well as the GM Synchromesh. That means nothing for the gearbox in our cars though.

I did put Motul 5W30 300V in my Honda's H22, and it was a staggeringly good oil, but it was just too expensive to use on a car that burned oil. There was an actual difference in deceleration when I was coasting because the internal friction was noticeably lower. No joke! Motul make some amazing oils, but $$$.
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      05-12-2021, 09:55 PM   #11
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Is this different for DTC transmission.
From what I can recall the service manual want DTC to be warmed up to 120 Celsius and filled until due to the volume changes of transmission oil.

Can anyone confirm?
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      05-14-2021, 10:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niceast View Post
Is this different for DTC transmission.
From what I can recall the service manual want DTC to be warmed up to 120 Celsius and filled until due to the volume changes of transmission oil.

Can anyone confirm?
I'm not disputing this, but this is SUCH a German thing. Would anyone actually be this precise when filling a gearbox? No doubt they also want you to pre-heat the new fluid to avoid shocking the gears. I thought I was obsessing when I jacked up the rear so the gearbox would be level. Most people probably don't even do that much.

I just love that the engineers can be this precise and then marketing tells you that fluids are good for the life of the car.
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Last edited by Thunderguts; 05-14-2021 at 10:48 AM..
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      05-14-2021, 10:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
Yup. Have been using MT-LV in my 328 for almost a year now. Good stuff.
How is it in the cold? I do lots / most of my own maintenance but had a local indy specialist do some fluids a year ago. I'm not sure what they put in, it's fine most days but when it's cold out it's much harder to row through the gears for a while. It might be a thing that just happens but I don't remember it with the factory fill.

Targeting that question to the Canadian but interested in anyone's input if they live around cold weather (like 0F and below).
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      05-14-2021, 06:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracer bullet View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
Yup. Have been using MT-LV in my 328 for almost a year now. Good stuff.
How is it in the cold? I do lots / most of my own maintenance but had a local indy specialist do some fluids a year ago. I'm not sure what they put in, it's fine most days but when it's cold out it's much harder to row through the gears for a while. It might be a thing that just happens but I don't remember it with the factory fill.

Targeting that question to the Canadian but interested in anyone's input if they live around cold weather (like 0F and below).
Well, honestly, have switched back to factory MTF-LT-3. Will see how it is this winter.
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      05-15-2021, 08:07 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MightyMouseTech View Post
Well, honestly, have switched back to factory MTF-LT-3. Will see how it is this winter.
The old invoice indicates "MTF-2". They do seem to use Pentosin stuff there, so I'm guessing it's this:

http://www.pentosin.net/specsheets/Pentosin_MTF-2.pdf

This thread isn't really about me, but as a data point for others, if what's in my car is indeed linked above it's a lot harder to shift when the temps drop. I might be expecting too much, might just be the way of things.

I don't do much winter driving because of the salt that can be on the roads. But sometimes they can still be crystal clear but still cold and on those days I do take the car for a spin every so often.
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