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Thread: SV21 Camry Gearbox Oil

  1. #1
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    SV21 Camry Gearbox Oil

    Toyota recommend ATF in the SV21 Camry manual gearbox, the same as used to be recommended for the R380 in the Defender. I believe that is because like the R380, there is an oil pump in the gearbox.

    Since a lot of people prefer Syntrans, MTF94 or some similar low viscosity manual transmission fluid in the R380, would it be safe to assume that the Camry gearbox oil pump would cope with similar oils?

    The reason I ask is that third gear synchro in my 1992 Camry is quite adequate while the gearbox oil is cold. After an hour or so at highway speed, the synchro on third is completely useless. All the other gears still have effective synchro.

    My understanding is that the synchro relies on friction or viscosity to actually work and that as the ATF warms up, it becomes thin enough to no longer work.

    I was hoping that something like 75W-80 or better still 75W-85 might not thin out as much as the ATF and that the synchro might continue to have some effect when things warm up.

    Can any of the oil gurus here see any flaws in my thinking?

    1973 Series III LWB 1983 - 2006
    1998 300 Tdi Defender Trayback 2006 -
    - often fitted with a Trayon slide-on camper.


  2. #2
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    Does the lack of responses mean that no-one knows the answer or that because it is only a Toyota Camry, no-one cares what oil I put in the gearbox.

    1973 Series III LWB 1983 - 2006
    1998 300 Tdi Defender Trayback 2006 -
    - often fitted with a Trayon slide-on camper.


  3. #3
    Homestar's Avatar
    Homestar is offline Super Moderator & CA manager Gold Subscriber
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    Didnít notice your post earlier. I think your thinking is sound. If the gearbox is on the way out thereís not much to lose IMO.


    1977 101 FC - 'Chucky'
    1986 Classic RR - 'Thing'
    1976 Series III Tray
    1997 Honda CBR1000F
    2003 L322 - Gone to a new home.

    'Love with your heart - use your head for everything else.' - CaptainDisillusion

  4. #4
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    Yep, try it.
    The friction modifiers used are different between ATF and an MTF, ATF's are optimised for the friction materials used on the clutch faces and can have increasing or decreasing coefficients of friction vs face speed, but MTF's coefficient of friction is always increasing with decreasing face speed and are generally optimised for bronze/steel faces.
    Also if there's a little bearing wear you'll find the slightly heavier weight oil will help.

  5. #5
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    Having had some reassurance that there might be some merit to my idea of a modern, light manual transmission fluid like those used in R380 boxes being satisfactory and possibly even beneficial in the Camry gearbox, I have gone ahead and used the same Penrite Transgear 75W-80 that I use in the Defender.

    Since it comes in 2.5 litre containers and the Camry box requires 2.6 litres, it was convenient to stick with what I had been using as I had some left over from a Defender box fill.

    So far I know that everything feels the same when the box is cold. A quick trip around the block was enough to confirm that. However that was never the problem. .

    I won't know whether I have improved the situation when the box is hot until I get a chance to spend half an hour or maybe an hour at highway speed.

    I will report the results after my next 400km trip to the Central Coast.

    1973 Series III LWB 1983 - 2006
    1998 300 Tdi Defender Trayback 2006 -
    - often fitted with a Trayon slide-on camper.


  6. #6
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    I now have a fairly good idea of what I have achieved by using Penrite manual gear oil instead of ATF in the Camry gearbox.


    Late last week Idrove 400 km from home to the Central Coast then 70km to Teralba and then back home on Sunday. The trip involved the Princes Highway, some major roads in Sydney and over 100km of the M1. I am fairly confident of my impressions, but given that the ambient temperature and driving speed affect gearbox temperature, it is dangerous to claim 100%certainty.


    As I said previously, while the gearbox is cold, there is no problem with any gear change. That hasnít changed. When the gearbox is hot, third gear synchro is useless. That has not changed enough to be any help.


    However, there have been two ways in which things have improved.


    I can now drive further before 3rd gear synchro disappears. Previously it was not possible to do a normal, albeit leisurely change down to third after about 20km at 90 to 100km/h. Now it seems that the problem doesnít appear until about 30km


    The other change appears to be that if I have not been driving at 100km/h or more,changes up to third donít require the same precision that was needed with the ATF.


    For the last 100,000km, I have been able to change up to third with no dramas,even with a warm or hot gearbox. All that was required was a carefully timed pause before gently easing into third. Now it seems that I donít have to be quite as careful with the timing of the pause. It is still necessary to pause, but I donít have to time it so precisely. Even after leaving the M1 and driving at lower speeds up to 80 km/h, there seemed to be some improvement.


    Both of those improvement, while not earth shattering are quite helpful.


    It seems that the manual fluid has a temperature range between cold and hot where the extra viscosity offers some benefit over the ATF, but at the top of the temperature range, there is no noticeable difference.


    The viscosity data that I have seen suggests that the improvement I believe I have seen in the mid-temperature range may be genuine rather than just wishful thinking.

    I have the impression that much of the discussion about benefits of changing oils are mostly about getting smoother shifts. It has often been suggested that some time is needed for the different friction modifiers to have full effect. Since my problem was different, I am not really expecting things to change as time passes.

    1973 Series III LWB 1983 - 2006
    1998 300 Tdi Defender Trayback 2006 -
    - often fitted with a Trayon slide-on camper.


  7. #7
    Homestar's Avatar
    Homestar is offline Super Moderator & CA manager Gold Subscriber
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    Thanks for the update and the detailed analysis. SV21 Camry Gearbox OilSV21 Camry Gearbox Oil

    Bottom line is probably with care you'll get another 100,000KM out of it - it is a Camry after all. SV21 Camry Gearbox Oil


    1977 101 FC - 'Chucky'
    1986 Classic RR - 'Thing'
    1976 Series III Tray
    1997 Honda CBR1000F
    2003 L322 - Gone to a new home.

    'Love with your heart - use your head for everything else.' - CaptainDisillusion

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