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360 Gearbox oil filthy after 100 miles?

Discussion in '360/430' started by KILOCHARLIE, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    I'm still having a real issue with my manual 360 gearbox. The issue started a few years ago when after a gearbox oil change I found it was hard to disengage a gear after a motorway run. Now it's progressed to being almost being unable to change gear at all when the gearbox is hot.

    I changed the gearbox oil about 100 miles ago hoping a change might help. Used redline 75w90ns as recommended on here. Level showed max on dipstick and it was replaced with the same amount. The oil change did nothing to help my issue.

    Thinking maybe the oil was overfilled since the original change, and perhaps the oil was expanding when hot causing over pressure and making it difficult to shift, today I decided to take out some oil from the box. The oil was muddy coloured and looked really bad.

    I'm unsure why this would possibly be. When I changed the oil it was left for over 20 mins so the box was completely empty and I even went thru all the gears in the hope of getting every last drop out. It was very dirty and slightly creamy when it came out but I can't see how whatever was left in there could have contaminated the new oil so much in such a short time.

    Searching on here led me to think that it might be a heat exchanger failure. The heat exchanger was replaced by the previous owner around 7 years ago. I've checked the coolant tank and there doesn't seem to be any gunk in there at all to indicate contamination apart from some very small globules that are always in there and have been probably since the heat exchanger failed with a previous owner.

    I took out about 250ml of gearbox oil anyway and plan to do yet another change. The oil has gone from max to mid way between min and max. My gear shifting problem seems to have improved slightly but not cured it. This might be because I left the undertray off the car when testing though and the gearbox isn't getting as warm.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what either my problems changing gear or dirty oil in such a short amount of time could be please?

    We checked the linkages when doing the drain today and nothing really seems to be broken or anything as far as my limited experience would lead me to believe. They were cleaned and regreased. I also spent last weekend pulling apart my shifter to replace the bushing in there with a hill engineering part, only to find it must have been replaced by a previous owner as the part was aluminium already and not plastic which is supposedly what was fitted from the factory.

    Thanks for any suggestions
     
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  3. flash32

    flash32 F1 Rookie

    Aug 22, 2008
    3,012
    Central NJ
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    Dominick
    Oil should never be creamy

    Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
     
  4. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    Maybe left over moisture in the from when the heat exchanger gave up all those years ago? It wasn't creamy enough to be necessarily worried I think.
     
  5. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed Owner

    May 25, 2019
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    Memphis, TN
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    John
    It could be coolant mixing with the oil or something else. I suggest running an oil analysis. I don't know if this is common with cars but it is with airplanes. Once you have an analysis, you'll know if and what the contaminants are.

    You could also spin an oil sample in a centrifuge (cheap tool) and then identify the contaminants by feel, color, smell and even taste (if you dare).
     
  6. flash32

    flash32 F1 Rookie

    Aug 22, 2008
    3,012
    Central NJ
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    Dominick
    I was about to say oil analysis also...I use Blackstone

    Maybe test , change again and test again

    Sent from my moto g(7) using Tapatalk
     
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  8. 360trev

    360trev F1 Rookie
    Project Master

    Oct 29, 2005
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    Sounds like multiple possible issues here.

    I'd Check the following first;

    1. Oil cooler
    2. Gearbox linkage
    3. Gearbox shifter bush
     
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  9. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    Thanks. Doesn't the oil cooler only cool engine oil? Then the heat exchanger cools the gearbox oil through it? Any idea what I could check on it please?

    Good idea on getting the oil analysed. I think to start with I'm going to do two or three gearbox oil changes with some cheap oil to clear any contaminants out. From the original heat exchanger failure years ago it may not have been flushed out properly and I'm thinking gunk may still be in there and dirtying up any fresh oil that goes in there. I'll also do a coolant change and run a load of water thru the system too to ensure all that's clean too.

    Are there any common failures or things to look for on the linkages? There seems to be plenty of play in all the links but it's seems its designed that way with ball joints etc.

    Thanks again all. Really want to get this sorted as I'm losing faith in the car at the moment which isn't good.
     
  10. RedNeck

    RedNeck F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Jul 8, 2016
    6,515
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    Pull the shifter assembly apart and see if you have the original plastic shifter bushing. It’s a 2 hour tops, $60 job that will at least give you peace of mind...and may just cure what ails ya. Common issue. You can also grease up the assemblies while you are in there and check operation with the shift linkages disconnected. I found a c clip that had popped off and was causing friction when I shifted.
     
  11. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    Yep, I checked it last week and regreased everything. It was the aluminium one and looked in good shape. Some of the black coating had worn away showing the silver underneath but otherwise ok. I think it's more gearbox related as it only does it when warm.
     
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  13. Skidkid

    Skidkid F1 Veteran
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    Aug 25, 2005
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    So heat exchanger failures tend to push coolant into the gearbox much more than gear oil into the coolant. The gear oil should NEVER be creamy. Heat exchanger failure is where I would start, regardless of when it was replaced. Does the cooling system hold pressure or does it leak down? You have to dig into this if you want to find the issue. Have you checked the screen on the transaxle?

    IF the creamy part was from the prior failure and never properly flushed you could have a number of issues in the gearbox from rust to syncro failure. You can flush the gearbox with ATF (much higher detergent level) get it warm then drain. Once the ATF is coming out clean, flush with gear oil and refill. You should flush the cooling system as well to get rid of that residual.
     
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  14. tazandjan

    tazandjan Three Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jul 19, 2008
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    Sounds like a heat exchanger problem to me. Has all the symptoms.
     
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  15. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    Thanks, yes I'm starting to worry it might be another failure despite it being changed about 6 years ago. The coolant was last changed about 5 years ago so it's been a while foolishly and the anti corrosion has probably broken down by now and wrecked the exchanger.

    I checked the screen when I originally did the gearbox and despite all the effort it was spotless so I didn't do it this time. The oil was filthy then too but the screen was shiny and free from debris.

    I'm going to flush both as you say as I think that's the best course of action. I just purchased a load of cheap 75w90 fully synthetic to do it with (about a fifth of the price of redline) but will add a bit of ATF if you recommend it. Will any stuff do or does it have to be specific? I was planning on a change, drive for a few days, change and do it again, then finally refill with redline.
     
  16. mike32

    mike32 F1 Rookie

    May 13, 2016
    3,767
    Uk
    Any creamy oil is indication of water, so drain the oil into a clean pan and allow it to settle for a few days, you might then see water droplets on the bottom, if the oil is clear enough.
    Time to get the heat exchanger pressure tested . Any oil film or rainbow colour on the surface of the coolant expansion tank.
    The colour of the oil will be water getting whipped up in the oil creating an emulsion.
    Buy a new heat exchanger and be done with it as not expensive
     
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  17. Skidkid

    Skidkid F1 Veteran
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    Aug 25, 2005
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    None of this is worth the effort if the heat exchanger is leaking and you haven't replaced it. Diagnose and fix THEN flush it.

    ATF has much higher detergent levels and will absorb more water than gear oil. The point isn't to add some, that doesn't achieve anything. The point is to use ATF instead of gear oil, get it warm to help clean things out, then flush; much like washing dishes you are getting it cleaned out. ATF isn't nearly as good of a lubricant as the gear oil so I wouldn't drive it around for days with ATF in there. It may take more than one flushing to get clean. THEN you can refill with gear oil, get good and warm, then flush and refill to get out residual ATF. It's a process but the alternatives aren't good so ….
     
  18. SoftwareDrone

    SoftwareDrone F1 Veteran
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    Jan 19, 2004
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    I've had two heat exchanger failures. Same symptoms.
     
  19. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
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    Dec 29, 2006
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    Both coolant and gear oil should have been changed several times since you had the problem the first time.
     
  20. KILOCHARLIE

    KILOCHARLIE Formula Junior

    Oct 14, 2012
    314
    Cardiff, UK
    Full Name:
    KC
    Thanks all. Which ATF can be used? Does it have to be the same spec 75w90? My garage says it should be fully synthetic as any mix of semi and fully is not a good idea.

    If anyone has any other way of checking the heat exchanger rather than checking the oil for any contamination then I'm all ears. It looks quite labour intensive to remove the heat exchanger and get it pressure tested when flushing and checking the oil after is quite straightforward.

    Thanks
     
  21. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Jan 16, 2012
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    Just wondering, if changing the coolant, would using an 'Airlift' vacuum system be sensitive enough to detect a leak in the heat exchanger?
     
  22. Skidkid

    Skidkid F1 Veteran
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    Aug 25, 2005
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    Since the ATF is just for the high detergent to clean up the system it doesn't matter much. Mixing synthetic and regular oil isn't a disaster but it can have the characteristics of the lower grade oil. And yes, cleaning up the system is a lot of labor.
     
  23. BrettC

    BrettC Formula 3

    Aug 13, 2012
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    I have one and I would think so.....should loose vacuum somewhat unless the gearbox holds vacuum itself and it might.
     
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  24. EastMemphis

    EastMemphis Formula 3
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    May 25, 2019
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    I suspect opening the fill cap would break any airtight condition. I doubt it would be airtight though. There has to be a breather somewhere.
     
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  25. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    If anything it would also draw gear oil into the coolant system (if there is a leak), and since the airlift vacuum is applied after draining the system it (the gear oil) would remain in the system after adding new. So evidence of the gear oil should appear in the expansion tank after a few runs.
     
  26. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
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    Dec 29, 2006
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    I doubt it would tell you anything you didn't already know by examining the drained fluids.
     
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