Transmission fluid leak

Phil Rose pjrose at
Mon May 5 11:27:28 EDT 2003

At 9:04 AM -0400 5/5/03, ELLIEOLSEN at wrote:
>Hi guys,
>After 221000 miles my transmission is leaking a little and I'm currious what
>I should do:

First, consider yourself lucky that your tranny went that long before
developing an oil leak. :-)

>Should I just top off the fluid and keep an eye on it? or should I drain it
>completely tighten everything, and put all new fluid in it?

Certainly keep an eye on the level--it should be at or within about
1/4" of the filler opening--and top it off if you find it has fallen
significantly. Doubtful that you can "tighten" something to eliminate
the leak, as it is commonly a result of worn oil-seals. There is one
area of the tranny case on the passenger side--behind the
differential shaft--where there is a small "switch cover" (?) that
sometimes leaks unless its bolts (3 of them) are snug.

Why drain all the fluid now, unless you suspect someone previously
has put the wrong stuff in? For small leaks, Bernie B. recommends
putting an additive into the tranny oil  to "restore" the leaking
seals; I've never tried that, but it might be worth
considering--especially for a high-mileage car with only a small
leak. Otherwise you're probably looking at replacing one or more
oil-seals to stop the leak. When I first noticed a tranny leak (at
115K), it was almost pouring out of the passenger side
differential-shaft seal. I replaced that seal, topped off the tranny
fluid, and soon discovered that the _input_ seal also leaked like
crazy (that leak had not been evident to me because of the previous
too-low level of tranny oil).

>If drained completely, is there any transmission fluid I should seek out to
>replace the OEM stuff?

The Audi trannies use a 75W/90, "GL-4 spec." fluid (not GL-5, because
it contains additives potentially harmful to Audi synchronizers, I'm
told). The GL-4 tranny fluid may be hard to find--other than the oem
"G50" oil at your Audi steal... um, dealer. A GL-4 spec oil such as
Redline (MT-90) is a good alternative, if you can find it. Even using
GL-5 oil won't be disasterous for your tranny, especially if you're
only using some to top off the level until a repair (or complete
fluid change) is done.

Good luck. I hope _my_ tranny is still around at 221K.

Phil Rose				Rochester, NY USA
'91 200q	(139K, Lago blue)
'91 200q   (64K, Tornado red)			mailto:pjrose at

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