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AliasJerk 01-29-2012 10:57 PM

Getrag gear oil (hopefully the final thread on it)
Allow me to start off in saying, I don't post here much, but since I went through hell trying to find this information I figure putting it into one spot will help someone else at some point when they come to the same question I did. Whenever I get a car, I always do full fluid changes on everything regardless of service history, I got my SVT focus a little over 25K miles ago, and since ford suggests 12,000 miles or 1 year for trans fluid changes, I decided to do some research and a little bit of testing. Given that the Getrag doesn't seem extremely picky to what kind of fluid you put in it (not many reports of catastrophic failure because of fluid choice), I decided to go the route of trial and error in direct relation to the information I had received from other people.

My previous car, was an SVT Contour; and I used to shout from the mountain tops that the choice fluid for it was Royal Purple Syncromax, and I ran it that way for 2 years. So instinct said I should use the same stuff on the SVT Focus, so I did. The car shifted smoothly and I never really thought too far into it.

Recently, I had to do another fluid change, and I decided to add some science to the equation, after reading numerous threads filled with opinions of other SVT Focus owners on FocalJet and Focus Fanatics, I never really got anywhere. Nobody even once mentions the factory gear oil weight specification. Even in the owners manual the only thing it says is "Ford Synthetic Manual transmission fluid" So what does this mean?

XT-M5-QS is the specified lubricant for the MTX-75, it specifically references this in the Standard ZX3 Ford Focus Owners manual, So why does the SVT guide book say "Ford Synthetic Manual transmission fluid." Turns out this was a misprint, Ford never stated what the true weight of the factory gear oil actually is or even a part number in the SVT book; but if you contact a Ford service tech they tell you "XT-M5-QS is the suggested fluid for proper operation of the Getrag MTX-285." As does the Ford service CD (I know people [;)] ).

The irritating part is, the bottle and nearly nowhere else states what the actual viscosity rating is for this fluid. I decided this is where I needed to dig deeper, any company that makes fluids is required to release technical data about the fluid to the general public, Motorcraft has a full website on all of the specifics about their fluids, MSDS, as well as application chart, which can be found here. If you will direct your attention to the first paragraph.... "Motorcraft® Full Synthetic Manual Transmission Fluid is a premium-quality SAE 75W-90 gear oil recommended by Ford Motor Company meeting warranty requirements. ".

So HERE is our answer, 75w-90. Looks like Amsoil was right all along as far as specification goes, so lets kick the confusion to the curb on this one, any 75w-90 MTL can be used in the Getrag mtx-285 on a factory application. Mystery Solved. (puts on flameproof vest)

But there is ONE more question that comes to play here. because a lot of our members absolutely swear on Royal Purple Syncromax, lets dig deeper into this one... Ford Suggests their MTL for the Getrag, as we have already established their part number for this is XT-M5-QS, if we go to Royal Purple's Cross reference sheet, they say the correct Royal Purple fluid to replace XT-M5-QS is this "Ford Manual Transmissions (XT-M5-QS) --> SAE 10W40" Click here if anybody is interested in reading the website

Woah woah woah, hold on here. So Royal purple is suggesting a 10w-40 motor oil in substitute for a 75w-90 gear oil? I am not an engineer by any means, but how does this make sense? Please chime in if you can shed some light here. That fact aside, based on deductive reasoning, this means Royal Purple themselves do not suggest you use Syncromax with the Getrag, nowhere on the site (that I can find) does it say to use this fluid. If you read the tear sheet on Royal Purple's website about Syncromax it states this; "Synchromax is recommended for manual transmissions that specify an automatic transmission fluid or motor oil." Ford Doesn't specify Auto trans fluid (in fact heavily urges against it) nor do they specify motor oil. Which means that Syncromax in viscosity is more similar to ATF than it is to a standard 75w-90 gear oil.

This raises further questions about Royal Purple Syncromax, what is it? What Viscosity is it? What is the correct application? Does it even work correctly in the Getrag? For this we need to look at another thread started on here which can be found here. The important thing to take away from here is the results of stress testing of various transmission fluids.

----------------Kinematic Viscosity---------Visc
Fluid -----------cSt 100-------cSt 40-------Idx-----------4-ball wear-------Falex
WSD-MC2(XT-M5-QS)15.4-----------76 ---------211--------------?-------------? <---The Ford Stuff

Synt Man Tr------14.7-----------84.5---------151-----------.45------------ ?

Severe gear------16.7-----------109.1--------165------------?----------- 2500

Long Life Gr------16.6------------129.7--------137------------?----------- 2000

Royal Purp
Max Gear---------19.1------------132-----------?-------------?-------------?

Synchromesh -----9.6 -------------47.1 --------194 ----------.40-----------?

Royal Purp
Synchromax -------7.7 ------------35.3 --------196------------?------------?

If we have established that the correct weight of fluid is 75w-90 which technically speaking would be in this chart "max Gear, Severe Gear, and Synt Man Tr" that would mean that Syncromax does considerably worse than the other contestants in this test, which says to me that probably isn't the best choice in our application, nor is it even the correct weight (which by the way Royal Purple doesn't list a weight for Syncromax anywhere on their website), so as mentioned earlier, it seems like Syncromax acts more like an ATF then it does an MTL.

Now, I know I am standing on a soap box with all of the things I am saying here, and every point I have made has come entirely from deductive reasoning, so I may be wrong somewhere. So by all means people, discuss and pick this apart, feedback is always appreciated. But this is what I was able to gather from my research, and I hope that this can be the thread to end all threads about which gear oil you should use in the SVT Getrag.

That all being said *phew* I went with Redline MTL 75w90, and my SVTF shifts like a brand new car, night and day difference going from Syncromax.

haste 02-03-2013 07:58 AM

Thanks for this post.

I recently just picked up a used SVT and always change fluids, etc on cars after purchase(unless its brand new, of course) and I couldn't justify to myself purchasing the Synchromax because of the exact reason you list. The weight of the oil was nowhere to be found. I just went with store brand full synthetic 75w-90 and I am glad it ended up being a decent choice.

macdiesel 02-03-2013 08:15 AM

I'm pretty sure my manual says ATF can be used. I never the recommended service for getrag fluid was that short. Thought it would have been longer.

sleepyboy 02-03-2013 08:23 AM

Nice write up, this may be sticky worthy. I use full synthetic Castrol or Mobile 1 75-90w oil in mine as well. For those who are going to use 75-90w make sure the oil you use does not have a LSD additive to it. It will say LS on the bottle or somewhere on it. Definitely do not use ATF as it was never in there to begin with unlike the MTX-75 which started out with it in the early model years of the focus but later revised to take the same stuff that the Getrag takes.

Dgc333 02-03-2013 10:32 AM

You can't compare motor oil ratings to gear oil ratings. 10w-40 motor is equivalent to 75w-90 gear oil in viscosity.

The primary difference in gear oil and motor oil are the additives. Gear oil has to resist the shearing effect of hypoid style gears slicing across each other. Motor oil has to resist the crushing forces on the bearings when the piston changes directions in the bore.

Another thing to keep in mind with gear oil in a manual transmission. Most of the gear oil you will find at the parts store has a GL5 rating which is great in a rear end but the additives used for the GL5 rating is corrosive to brass syncros used in manual transmissions. If you want to use a gear oil look for one with a GL4 rating or better stay with a manual transmission fluid.

Lscman 02-03-2013 10:43 AM

Transmission manufacturers work very closely with automobile manufacturers to design a transmission around a specific fluid to ensure maximum lifecycle and operating performance. This is especially true for Getrag. When the OE mfr sells an application-specific special synthetic manual transmission fluid for $20 per quart (XT-M5-QS), it's obvious to me that you aren't going to find a more suitable substitute. A slight change in lubricant characteristic can result in premature transmission failure.

Experimenting with non-approved alternative fluids is something that made some sense 20 years ago when the OE's were running $4 per qt non-synthetics. In those cases a synthetic could sometimes be substituted with better results.

Redline destroyed many, many Getrags and Borg Warner Transmissions in the last 2 decades. The minimum wage morons on their phone tech lines used to recommend MTL for everything under the sun without any scientific basis (testing or verification). Royal Purple marketeers follow a similar strategy putting the consumer at risk. Fact is, Redline does not abide by the most basic API certification processes so their produsts are approved for almost nothing. These unapproved lubes are designed for racers who are willing to accept accelerated wear and yearly rebuilds for tiny fractional horsepower gains. Toyota Supra owners and Ford Mustang owners lost trannys at an alarming rate due to serious incompatibility with MTL. The OE mfrs got involved because these issues were causing failures during warranty period. Toyota trannys jambed up from parts swelling and synchros delaminated on all world class Borg's.

Experimenting with non-approved fluids is very bad idea. Comparing a couple oil specs means nothing.

The recommendation sleepyboy made to use 75W-90 is ill-advised. ALL 75W-90 hypoid GL5 lubes contain caustic agents that will destroy modern "yellow-metal" and/or composite synchros. The posi clutch anti-chatter additive has nothing to do with it. That comment makes no sense. Nobody should be running 75W-90 in a tranny designed within the last 30 years (80's and up). Please don't sticky this thread because it contains terrible advice that serves to destroy hardware.

1turbofocus 02-03-2013 11:50 AM

I use mobile engine oil in all of the Foci Trans


Mile30 02-03-2013 12:07 PM

I use Redline synthetic 75w-90. No problems to report.

BlueFocusSE5 02-03-2013 03:09 PM



So HERE is our answer, 75w-90. Looks like Amsoil was right all along as far as specification goes, so lets kick the confusion to the curb on this one, any 75w-90 MTL can be used in the Getrag mtx-285 on a factory application. Mystery Solved. (puts on flameproof vest)
AMSOIL doesn't recommend Severe Gear 75W-90 for this transmission. In fact AMSOIL clearly states they don't manufacture a fluid for this transmission -

2010 FORD FOCUS 2.0L 4-cyl Engine Code [N]
Manual Transmission,MTX75 (5-SPD)......SLF [2]
All TEMPS......
No AMSOIL Product Recommendation

[2] Manual transmission fluid formulated to meet
spec. WSD-M2C200-C.


That all being said *phew* I went with Redline MTL 75w90, and my SVTF shifts like a brand new car, night and day difference going from Syncromax.
The Redline application guide doesn't recommend their 75W-90 for this transmission either. They have a reason for that. There is far more to a gear lube than just it's viscosity. A 75W-90 GL-5 gear lube has chemical properties in it that are not compatible with transmissions requiring a 75W-90 GL-4 gear lube. Using a GL-5 gear lube in a transmission calling for GL-4 can destroy the transmission rather quickly.

Why use the incorrect lube in a transmission worth thousands of dollars?

Why not just use the correct lube and be done with it?

Transmissions cost way too much to replace playing games with the correct lube for them.

BlueFocusSE5 02-03-2013 03:22 PM


Originally Posted by Mile30 (Post 4570742)
I use Redline synthetic 75w-90. No problems to report.


That's not what Redline recommends for this transmission.

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