Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

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Mogordo
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My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by Mogordo »

Hi everyone, I've been finding this forum quite helpful so first off: Thank-you! Otherwise, I recently drove a new-to- me '83 SR5 wagon from WA home to PA, with a detour to AZ. I checked and changed engine oil before the trip but not trans gear oil. Car definitely has some things not quite right causing shaking (found some likely causes but maybe not all) and I think has a whine that may be transmission. Of course now I read so many mentioning how we better stay on top of checking gear oil in trans and hopefully the one in this car is fine enough (does pop out of first if under downhill stress and has the kind of whine when clutch pedal is up, which folks say is likely input shaft bearing if I remember correctly, but no other problems evident). I'm changing at least one CV axle and will change trans lubrication at the same time. I noticed it mentioned a few times to make sure you can remove the filler plugs before draining oil (And to make sure to remove all three drain plugs). Which is helpful to me as I would absolutely be one to drain it all then find myself with stuck filler plugs. One thing I didn't figure out for sure from perusing posts is if it really matters if all the filler plugs will come loose. Some people fill from the back, some from the front. So I was wondering: If it turns out I can only get one filler plug out will that be enough? I'm looking for opinions ahead of time so if that happens I won't be laying under the car staring at the transmission wondering if I am messing something up by only getting to one filler hole.
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dlb
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Re: Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by dlb »

Welcome, Mogordo. You only need to remove one filler plug to refill the trans. I always used the one by the driver side CV axle, I found it the easiest to access.

Popping out of gear at all, and a whine when the clutch pedal is up, do sound ominous. It's possible the trans was run low of oil and that's the cause of both those problems. Before bothering with draining and refilling it, I would check the gear oil level (park on level ground, remove the fill plug, and stick your finger in, the oil should be right at the fill plug hole) then top it up and see if that helps things at all. If it doesn't, I would start looking for another trans now as once symptoms occur, they are on borrowed time. I recently dropped my first tercel trans and was surprised how smoothly it went so don't let the idea of a trans swap intimidate you.

Good luck!
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NWMO
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Re: Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by NWMO »

I typically try to follow the FSM and it recommends filling from the back passenger side plug (a pain to access). I don’t know that it makes a big difference, BUT, you should back out the bolt on the bottom 7-8 turns as directed to drain/fill the rearmost compartment in the transmission. The oil doesn’t run around the bolt as I’ve always suspected, it actually runs through the threaded hole that the far end of the bolt fills. Here are a few pics that may help if you’re familiar with the transmission.
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Mogordo
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My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Re: Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by Mogordo »

Thank-you both. I'm glad to hear one hole is enough if it comes to that. Yes, I wanted to just check the level first but wasn't sure which hole to check from but I get the impression that you can use any for that too. I think I'll go with the front one since I easily find it.
Thanks NWNO for the pictures. I keep reading about backing out the bottom bolt and those will help when I'm looking for the right one. I've so far only been looking at the transmission while I am under without the car jacked up so I haven't been getting the best angles.
I find that sometimes things work well enough for quite a while after they don't work as well as they could and I'm hoping that will be the case with the transmission if I make sure it's kept full from here out. It shifts to me like it's got old oil in it. I have an '83 Sentra that is laid up after the crankshaft bolt loosen up and presumably got jammed and then broke off when I tried to remove it but before that it had for months a very similar sound when the clutch pedal was up and I didn't notice it getting worse. Not to say it won't but just it wasn't in any hurry.
I had really wanted to actually be able to drive this car since I already have one sitting and they just aren't as useful that way ;)
Thank-you again :)
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Petros
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Re: Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by Petros »

you can fill from any filler hole becuase on the manual trans it shares the gear oil between gear box, diff housing and the transfer case. you just have to go slower towards then end, to give time for the thick oil to makes it way into all the compartments. filling from one it might appear "full" when it runs down the outside, but it may be able to take a bit more if you wait a few mins and check it again.

sometimes with fresh quality gear oil the gear whine will go away, or be greatly diminished.

good luck.
'87 Tercel 4wd SR5 (current engine swap project)
'84 Tercel 4wd (daily driver, with on going mods)
'92 Mazda MPV 4wd (wife's daily driver)
'85 Tercel 4wd DLX auto(daughter's daily driver)
'01 Honda Civic (other daughter's daily driver)
Mogordo
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My tercel:: 1983 SR5 Wagon

Re: Do I need to be able to remove all filler plugs?

Post by Mogordo »

Thanks Petros, I am in the slow process of filling it right now. Good time to read the reminder of letting it sit a bit if it is running out of the hole. I mostly have 4.1 quarts designated for it so that helps too. It was about a pint low when I drained it even though it ran out of the front filler hole when I checked it. Dirty too. Some metal flecks on the magnets and shimmer but not terrible I don't think.
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