Saturn Fluid 21018899 for GM Getrag Manual Trans

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Waterloo, ON
GM has replaced DEXIII with a synthetic fluid (Saturn part 21018899) for GM Getrag amnual transmissions. Dealer cost is $26 per liter in my neck of the woods. Can anyone recommend an aftermarket replacement at a more resonable cost?
 
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FL
The 21018899 is actually normally used in the SAAB/Opel trans. in an L-Series, Redline ION, Astra, or Cobalt SS. It will work in the Getrag trans. but is supposed to be harder shifting in cold temps. The new Getrag fluid is supposed to be GM Manual trans. & Transfer Case Fluid, 88861800 (US) or 88861801 (Canada). That said, I use M1 ATF in my '03 VUE with the Getrag and shifts better w/ it IMO.
 
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I'd get hold of 'PABLO' on this site and ask him what Amsoil has to offer for your application. Because for sure there are better alternatives in price and performance to ATF in a manual tranny. Redline MTL would be great.
 

Bluestream

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The factory fill ATF caused all kinds of problems with ginding noises in first and second gear when coasting. Dealer was at witts end trying to find the problem, finally called GM and they told him to install the Saturn fluid in our 2001 Grand AM. It worked like a charm, but that was 5 years and 100K Kilometers ago and I think it should to be changed. It did make the shifts a bit harder, but that was fine by me. I hate to fork out $75 for this fluid if I can find another. I was thinking Redline MTL???
 
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I looked up your application on the Amsoil website and they recommend their "ATD" Torque-Drive ATF which is a high quality synthetic DexIII type fluid. I would think that their MTF would be a possibility as well, although for Canadian winters you might want to stay with an ATF which is a tad thinner and may shift a bit easier at first on those really cold mornings. Pablo will surely have some input on this.
 
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There was a bulletin on a gear "rattle" several years back on the Getrag that did reccomend trying the Saturn fluid and overfilling it slightly (2.4L of fluid instead of 1.7L) that must be what was done. FWIW, the redline MTL sounds like a likely candidate, as it is also just a little thicker than ATF. One of the GM Synchromesh fluids would be another MTF that might work as well.
 
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Spell out what is rattling with the transmission? Mine is smooth as butter (03 ion), I replaced the fluid at 40k with mobil 1 that met the dexIII specs, and haven't looked back. Its a great gearbox, so good that I don't let anyone else drive the thing, I don't want them to mess it up.
 

Bluestream

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I suspect by 2003 they were putting a better/more fluid in the transmission. Here is the TSB; Document ID# 854232 Subject: Grinding/Rattle Type Noise Coming From Transmission (Diagnose and Perform Repair) #02-07-29-001 - (01/28/2002) Models: 2000-02 Chevrolet Cavalier 2001-02 Oldsmobile Alero 2000-02 Pontiac Sunfire 2001-02 Pontiac Grand Am with Manual Transmission (RPO M86 or M94) Condition Some customers may comment on a grinding or rattle type noise coming from the transmission. The noise usually occurs with the transmission in first or second gear at low RPMs and can be intermittent. Cause This condition may be originated by the natural harmonics of the engine that leads to a vibration in the transmission. Correction There are two separate noises. Follow the diagnostic procedures listed below to determine which noise the vehicle has and perform the outlined repair. If you are comparing like vehicles, you must compare vehicles with the same motor and similar mileage. Diagnosis for Noise #1 This is a very distinct noise that is usually much louder than the second noise that can be associated with this transmission. If the vehicle is not making any noise when trying to verify the condition, it can be induced by making several tight left hand circles with the vehicle at normal operating temperature. Making a sharp right hand turn will usually stop the noise. While the noise is occurring, in order to distinguish between the two noises, you can press lightly on the clutch pedal without releasing the clutch and the noise will NOT go away or change. As a second diagnostic aid, while the vehicle is making the noise, shift to third gear and the noise will stop. If the noise is determined to be this type, perform the repair for noise #1. Repair for Noise #1 Replace the transmission fluid with Saturn Manual Transmission Lubricant, P/N 21018899. Overfill to a capacity of 2.4L (2.6 qts). A possible side effect of this repair may be a higher shift effort. Document ID# 854232 Subject: Grinding/Rattle Type Noise Coming From Transmission (Diagnose and Perform Repair) #02-07-29-001 - (01/28/2002) Models: 2000-02 Chevrolet Cavalier 2001-02 Oldsmobile Alero 2000-02 Pontiac Sunfire 2001-02 Pontiac Grand Am with Manual Transmission (RPO M86 or M94) Service Information Page 1 of 3 http://service.gm.com/servlets/BlobShtml?ShtmlFile=854232&evc=numSrch 6/18/2006 capacity of 2.4L (2.6 qts). A possible side effect of this repair may be a higher shift effort. 1. Raise and support the vehicle. Refer to Lifting and Jacking the Vehicle in the General Information sub-section of the appropriate Service Manual. 2. Place a suitable container under the transmission assembly. 3. Remove the drain plug located on the bottom of the transmission and completely drain the fluid. 4. Re-install the drain plug. Tighten Tighten the drain plug to 38N·m (28 lb ft). 5. Lower the vehicle. 6. Remove the fill plug located on the top/middle of transmission on the driver side, near the red vent cap. If you use the check level plug on the side of the transmission, you will not be able to overfill the transmission. Important: Fill the transmission to the amount specified. Too much lubricant will cause the fluid to leak from the vent. Not enough fluid will defeat the purpose of this bulletin. 7. Fill the transmission with 2.4L (2.6 qts) of Saturn Manual Transmission Lubricant P/N 21018899. DO NOT USE THE RED VENT CAP TO FILL. 8. Re-install the fill plug. Tighten Tighten the fill plug to 38 N·m(28 lb ft). Diagnosis for Noise #2 This noise, commonly referred to as gear rattle, can be induced by lugging the engine in any gear, but is usually most noticeable in first or second gear. While the noise is occurring, if you press lightly on the clutch pedal without releasing the clutch, the noise will be reduced or eliminated. Repair for Noise #2 Do not attempt to repair this noise. This is a characteristic of the vehicle and any vehicle equipped with a manual transmission can be made to make a similar noise. Driving at slightly higher engine RPM levels will reduce this noise. Parts Information Parts are currently available from GMSPO. Warranty Information For vehicles repaired under warranty, use: Part Number Description Qty 21018899 Lubricant, Saturn Manual Transmission 3 Service Information Page 2 of 3 http://service.gm.com/servlets/BlobShtml?ShtmlFile=854232&evc=numSrch 6/18/2006 © Copyright General Motors Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Labor Operation Description Labor Time K3950 Manual Transmission Fluid - Drain and Refill (Includes Diagnosis) (Chevrolet Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire) 0.7 hr Manual Transmission Fluid - Drain and Refill (Includes Diagnosis) (Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am) 0.9 hr GM bulletins are intended for use by professional technicians, NOT a "do-it-yourselfer
 
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8,756
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RI
A VOA is needed to compare this to other options. Love it when "overfilling" and using a fluid not originally intended for that transmission, is the FIX. I've been doing that for years with manuals, 'ends, and xcases. Full synthetic and thicker seem to be the fix for many lemons. Harder shifting is probably caused by the thicker fluid. Synthetic will usually help mask some of the added thickness. Since its not 7cst ATF, anyone want to guess if its a 75w80 or 75w85 GL4 gear oil???? BG Syncroshift, Amsoil MTF, Redline MTL ... are definitely worth a try and only a couple cst's thicker then ATF. And, don't forget about RoyalPurples Synchromax which has an ATF visc to it and a manual tranny spec additive package for protection/shiftability.
 

Bluestream

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Waterloo, ON
When I say the shifting is a bit harder, I mean instead of using one finger, you need to use 2. The feel is actually much better IMO. unDummy you really know what you are talking about with the manual Tranny fluids. Now if only people here would have some balls and stop using ATF in their manual!!!
 
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11,247
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PA
At -20c MTL is twice as thick (3000cSt) as ATF (1500cSt). Should't there be a happy median between 14.7cSt and 7.6? How about a 10-12cSt fluid? Is that Syncromesh? Ok, I see Syncromesh is 9.6cSt. I could live with that. The -20c is just a hair more than ATF.
 
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United States of America
Originally Posted By: Bluestream
When I say the shifting is a bit harder, I mean instead of using one finger, you need to use 2. The feel is actually much better IMO. unDummy you really know what you are talking about with the manual Tranny fluids. Now if only people here would have some balls and stop using ATF in their manual!!!
You're right! In my Saturn it had the regular DexIII in it and the shifting was too notchy and when at a stop or from reverse going into first it would lock out. I initially planned on having MTL (by Redline) put in, but over at the Saturn forum and per Dave at Redline, used D4. Now, the shifting is smoother but I still got the annoying lockout trying to get first. At a standstill, it take 1 - 2 - 3 stabs to get it to go into gear. I wish I would have tried MTL like I did in my Aspire which specced a ATF and it made it shift VERY smoothly. I just dont want to drop another $25 and have it not cure the problem and I shouldn't have really changed the fluid out in the first place since in the manual it is called for to change the fluid ONCE at 6000 miles and never again. +1 for MTL in front wheel drive trannies +1 for MT-90 in RWD cars
 
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