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Ford Galaxy - MT350 (6 speed manual) Gearbox Oil Change (Mk2)

Started by insanitybeard, June 02, 2014, 06:44:34 PM

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June 02, 2014, 06:44:34 PM Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 03:01:38 PM by insanitybeard

The MT350 6 speed manual transmission used in the Mk2 Galaxy TDI (and V6 petrol I believe) is, like the PD engine, actually a VW manufactured/ sourced unit. Although normally considered a filled for life assembly and therefore with no specified oil change interval (to my knowledge), the unit is fortuitously equipped with both a filler and drain plug (unlike the IB5 manual transmission that my previous Ford Ka was equipped with- that only had a filler plug, no drain!) which makes changing or draining the oil simple. Having said that, presumably to discourage the average DIY mechanic from attempting it VW saw fit to make the plugs a 16mm XZN tamperproof type- i.e, with a raised pin in the centre of the socket hole of the plug preventing a standard XZN bit from fitting. Luckily, the correct fitting socket is available from a few tool manufacturers, the one I purchased is a 1/2" drive socket made by Beta tools and is part number 014940296 (1494XZN), retail at the time of writing from Beta was under a tenner including VAT. The drain plug and socket are pictured close up in image 4. The correct manual transmission oil from Ford is Finis (part) no. 1256862 for a 1 litre bottle, is grade 70W-75W- you will need at least 3 litres- and meets Ford spec N052171-VX00. This is NOT the same oil as used by most Ford manual transmissions (being for use in a VW 'box), so make sure you've got the right stuff!

The below image (image 1) shows some of the specific items required to carry out this task- the correct replacement oil (3 litres min- the bottle pictured is a 1 litre bottle), drain plug socket as outlined above and a fluid syringe or suitable pump for refilling the transmission. You'll also need a waste oil pan or container for draining the old oil and some means of raising the vehicle to get underneath- I used drive on ramps under the front wheels.

^image 1- Specific required items

Please note that one of the reasons for me changing the fluid on my transmission was to see if it would make any improvement to the often notchy (especially from cold, less of an issue when up to temperature) 1st-2nd gear change, which I am told is fairly standard with this particular transmission. Having changed the oil, to be honest I think it's made very little difference (a view corroborated by others on this site) to the 1st-2nd gear change from cold, but possibly a slight improvement overall, especially at normal operating temperature, so bear this in mind if you are thinking of changing the oil for the same reason! At the very least, clean oil can't hurt and may help prolong the working life of the gearbox, it's not like gearbox oil gets changed many times (if any) in the working life of the vehicle!


                Ensure you have the required tools and correct replacement oil before commencing!

I always go for a drive to warm everything up to normal operating temperature before draining oil, this ensures that a) the oil drains better and you drain more of it, and b) a greater amount of accumulated sludge in the oil is drained than if you were to just drain the oil on a stone cold engine/ gearbox. Be careful not to burn yourself on any hot engine components or oil whilst doing this! Having said that, the oil in a manual transmission will be nowhere near as hot as the engine oil at normal operating temperature.

To carry out this task, access underneath the vehicle is required, I put my Galaxy onto a couple of drive on ramps under the front wheels to achieve this, though I have found care is needed to stop the vehicle from pushing the ramps along level ground whilst attempting to drive up them! Ideally, some sort of lip (like a kerb) on the ground is ideal to prevent this happening.

If an undertray is fitted, this will need to be removed (my vehicle does not have one at the present time so I cannot provide a picture of this but if it is fitted it is secured at the rear by 2x 10mm nuts which thread onto rubber vibration damper bobbins which in turn thread into the subframe, and 2x 10mm bolts on each side which secure into the chassis legs).

Image 2 below shows an overall view of the transmission as viewed from the front, the drain plug (circled red) is under the differential at the rear of the 'box near the roll restrictor arm, whilst the filler plug (circled green) is at the front underneath the starter motor. Image 3 is a closer view of the drain plug relative to the roll restrictor whilst image 5 is a closer view of the filler plug relative to the starter motor.

^image 2- Gearbox as viewed from the front

^image 3- Gearbox drain plug closer view

Draining the oil is simply a matter of removing the drain plug and letting the oil drain into a drain pan or other collection device, make sure it has at least 3 litres of free capacity though, and don't drop the plug into it as you unscrew it and pull your hand clear! I used a funnel in a waste oil drain tray/ container, which helps avoid any splashes. Let the oil drain as completely as possible, give the plug and washer (pictured in image 4) a wipe off with some brake cleaner or similar and check that the aluminium sealing washer is in reasonable condition (it is available as a spare part if a new one is required). I tend to wrap a bit of PTFE tape around the drain/ filler plug threads just to try to ensure a completely oiltight seal. Refit the drain plug (ensuring the aluminium washer is fitted), the torque figure specified in the Haynes manual is 35nm, do not overtighten!

^image 4- Special socket (16mm XZN tamperproof) and plug/ washer close up

^image 5- Gearbox filler plug closer view

Next you can remove the filler plug, it is exactly the same size and type as the drain plug, also with an aluminium sealing washer. The approx. gearbox oil capacity is stated as 2.5 litres, however, you are supposed to fill the oil until it dribbles out of the filler plug hole- with the vehicle standing on level ground. If you have driven up ramps (under just the front wheels like I did) then the vehicle is not level, the front is higher than the rear so this method cannot be employed! However, to the best of my knowledge a little extra oil shouldn't hurt.

I used a fluid syringe as pictured in image 1 to refill the oil, although as my fluid syringe was only 500ml it took several syringe fulls to get the required amount of oil into the 'box, a bigger syringe would have been better. Laser (who my syringe was made by) also produce a 1.5L syringe in the same style which would have been more suited and would have saved several syringe refills and the inevitable fluid spillage/ leakage/ loss!

Basically, I put 2.5L of oil into the gearbox, as the vehicle was not level I could not use the 'oil dribbling out of the filler plug orifice' method for checking the level, so instead, by putting my finger through the filler hole I could feel the fluid level was just beneath the filler plug opening- if the vehicle had been sitting level it would be fair to say it would certainly have been dribbling out of the filler plug hole, and as previously stated, a little* extra oil should cause no issues. With the oil level checked and ok, you can now (after cleaning the filler plug, checking the aluminium washer is in decent condition and wrapping PTFE tape on the thread if you are so inclined) refit the plug, as stated previously it is exactly the same type and size of plug as the drain plug and is consequently tightened to the same torque figure of 35nm- once again, do not overtighten!

(*-by this I mean an extra 100ml or so, not an extra litre!!!)

Job done, check the gears all select ok and refit the undertray if fitted.

As always, I have tried to correct any mistakes but I am only human so errors and omissions excepted!

Always learning..... Often by mistakes!