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Red Line MT90 Getting a Bad Rap? Conflicting Opinions
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riceye
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:23 pm    Post subject: Red Line MT90 Getting a Bad Rap? Conflicting Opinions Reply with quote

Moderator edit: Related thread:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=457636

I'm throwing this out there for any others who have Red Line MT90 in their gearbox, and were frightened by a few posts by Jon_slider regarding some info that was gleaned from the Yahoo Syncro forum.

Quoting his last post:
Jon_slider wrote:
there are reports from AA transaxle, of SOME SVX's eating ring and pinion gears, I have not heard of that problem with TDi's. SVX and TDi have similar torque, but not similar horsepower, nor similar operating RPM.. my hunch is high RPM is more damaging than high torque.. the svx operates at close to 2000rpm higher than a TDi

I believe Ring and Pinion issues are solveable by using Swepco 201 in the transaxle. You should NOT use Redline MT-90.

> we are trying to determine how much torque an upgraded syncro tranny can handle.

Congrats on your upcoming over 200hp and ft/lb conversion, sounds like a lot of fun!

for emphasis, Do NOT use Redline MT-90, I went with Swepco 201.. here is why Smile
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from
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More info for Redline.....or not.....discussion ?? Message List
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I was recently speaking with Tom Lengyel about what oil to use in the rebuilt tranny he recently did for me.

He told me about a conversation he had just had with an engineer at Redline that seemed like big news to me.....

The engineer told Tom that VW transaxles SHOULD NOT HAVE OIL IN THEM DESIGNED FOR LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIALS...... which includes their own MT-90.

Redline makes a special oil for VW and other non-slip differential trannys. It's termed "75-90NS"....the "NS", of course for "non-slip". It is a GL-5 oil.

I asked Tom about the past opinions held that GL-5 oils have additives that damage brass syncronizers....his response was, "Old wives tale!?

So, per Redline engineers, if we choose to use a Redline oil....it should be the 75-90NS....NOT MT-90.


First, and quite important, thanks to Jon_slider for sharing this info with us. I truly believe the intent of the post was to inform us of a potential problem, not blast a good product. Again, thanks, Jon_slider.

However, as a result of my concern, I contacted Red Line via their website. I asked about the application of MT90 in the 091 transmission with respect to any limited slip modifiers. Here is the response of the engineer that fielded my inquiry:

Dave from Red Line Oils wrote:
Ric,

Thank you for contacting Red Line Oil, I am not sure who Tom spoke to, the MT-90 is designed for manual transmissions and transaxles such as your Vanagon, it doesn't contain a friction modifier for a clutch type limited slip, it is not too slippery for the synchros. The MT-90 and the 75W90NS would offer very similar shiftability, the MT-90 possibly slightly better. Some GL-5 gear oils can be corrosive to brass, bronze and copper, though not ours.

Regards, Dave
Red Line Oil


So, there appears to be conflicting info. I'm sure the Swepco 201 is a fine lube for the gearbox, but when I decided what fluid I was going to use in my freshly rebuilt transmission, Red Line MT90 seemed the logical choice. And, according to Dave at Red Line Oils, it remains a good selection. Perhaps Tom Lengyel was referring to a different product, such as Red Line's 75W90 (not NS). That would, indeed, be the wrong lube for our application due to the addition of friction modifiers for a limited slip differential.

I thought this would be worthy to share, to reduce any panic or confusion this may be generating.
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kd4yor
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swepco is an excelent oil. Highly recommended for the Porsche 901 and 915 gear boxes.

to further muddy the water. Currie Enterprises has found using synthetic gear oil in ring and pinions raises the operating temperatures. They do not recommend synthetic in their gears .
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Had my transmission rebuilt by AA Transaxle when I had the 1.8T conversion 3 years ago. Used MT-90 as I have used Redline products for a long time. Last year I had to have the R&P replaced due to chipped teeth and excessive wear.

Heed what the others are saying - DON'T USE MT-90 in your transaxle!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are guys without more HP nuking R&Ps when using MT-90? Who makes these R&Ps? Are only the MT-90 users having issues?
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riceye
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1621 wrote:
Had my transmission rebuilt by AA Transaxle when I had the 1.8T conversion 3 years ago. Used MT-90 as I have used Redline products for a long time. Last year I had to have the R&P replaced due to chipped teeth and excessive wear.

Heed what the others are saying - DON'T USE MT-90 in your transaxle!

That's interesting. Here are a couple of lines from AA Transaxle's FAQ page:

AA Transaxle wrote:
We suggest Redline MT-90 for Vanagon (hypoid) style units and MTL for the Jetta style units for "normal" usage. For higher power applications, a thicker weight racing type oil may be warranted. Swepco 201 or 203 is one choice the Porsche boys like.

The high power SVX and TDi conversions will eat up your ring/pinons if your not careful...beware...


And a line from Richard Atwell's (Ratwell) gear oil selection page.

Richard Atwell wrote:
Swepco:
Swepco 201 deserves special mention because it is one such GL-5/MT-1 gear oil that is used by the Porsche community and it's sometimes adopted by VW owners figuring what's good for Porsches is great for VWs. This is a mistake IMHO.

What most don't realize is that 201 does not produce successful results in all Porsche transmissions. Further, while Porsche and VW transmissions share a similar design, one is based on Getrag techology and the other Borg-Warner which can imply they have differently lubrication requirements.

Avoid using Swepco 201 with a VW factory transmission. Swepco makes great products but their oil isn't compatible with the VW 002 and 091 transmissions in my personal experience:

it has the wrong coefficient of friction for the synchronizers
the shifting is too stiff
it costs $40/gallon
Think about the wear that will occur when using that gear oil especially during warmup and compare it to the cost of a transmission rebuild.


This will, I'm sure, turn into another oil selection pissing match. I'm not going there.

I just wanted to present another side of the story to other forum users. From what I've found, there is nothing wrong with Red Line MT90 in an 091 transmission. I'm not saying which oil is best, only that the MT90, under normal circumstances, will provide sufficient lubrication.

As the AA Transaxle FAQ response offers, For higher power applications ,a thicker weight racing type oil may be warranted.
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kd4yor
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

interesting comment on the Swepco

why the opinion of a thicker oil?
(is it for heat build up? might relate back to what Currie is seeing)

Has Redline MTL been used?
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kd4yor wrote:
Has Redline MTL been used?


MTL has a weight rating of 70W80, while the MT90 is 75W90. The VW manual calls for 80W90, so the MT90 is a closer match.
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westyventures
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've rebuilt two Syncro trannies in the past two years that were subjected to above-average strain, both had been on Redline MT90 since their previous rebuild. Tranny # 1 was from my personal Syncro Westy, big tires, TDI 'pumped up' and used for lots of off-road and some towing. The main failures were in the low gear needle bearings and mainshaft bearing next to 4th gear. The mainshaft was toast as was low gear and the pinion shaft. Lots of non-shiny areas where needle bearings ran on shafts. Tranny # 2 was rebuilt by AA (40K miles ago), nothing big wrong with the tranny outwardly. But the owner pulls a trailer up a lot of mountains in the west, and this one was getting an m-TDI and tall 3rd and 4th gears. There it was, again, several areas on shafts that were not looking great and the mainshaft bearing was about to fail already. My tranny has been using Royal Purple 75W90 synthetic since it's rebuild, seems to be doing well so far and in the tests I've read it's as good as any synthetic, except the viscosity is a bit higher at high temps. Works for me, so the customer's TDI got it too. Shifting when cold is higher effort than the MT90, but when warm it's fine.

My feeling is MT90 might be fine for 'normal' use, but for more powerful or heavily loaded vans or towing it doesn't offer sufficient protection. But hey, I'm no oil expert either. Laughing
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Objective:
Oil analysis over periodic intervals to determine actual wear of components utilizing different lubrication types.
http://www.woodsbrosracing.com/amsoil/oai.htm
http://www.oaitesting.com/

Subjective:
20 forum years of babbling about blown out transmissions and redline oil vs the rest of the world.

Somebody with more time money and energy is needed to provide the objective analysis. Maybe some Samba heads are willing to volunteer so this issue can be put to bed.

I have been using MT90 in my "normal" van for over 100K miles and no issues. At 200K maybe something will be worn at the rebuild? Bad redline.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riceye,

Good of you to provide that information. You can now add the 1.8T to the list of high powered engine conversion that shouldn't use MT-90. Thus I stand by my (and Darryl's apparently) point to NOT USE MT-90 in the transaxle with anything other than a stock 1.9 or 2.1. But then you have to ask yourself, why take the chance?

R&P's are expensive by the way. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swepco 201 or 203 IMHO is much better than RedLine.
I used RedLine for about a year.
It is nice in the cold temps, but not what I was looking for.
My Syncro transmissions with Swepco shift beautifully and have had no issues.

FYI, the same Swepco products can be used in the front diff as well.

dylan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran Redline MT-90 for 3 months in my rebuilt tranny before changing to Swepco 201. The previous tranny had Redline in it when it failed. I have a 2.2 Subaru motor.

In the new tranny, with the redline, I had a clunk into 2nd gear, and it felt and sounded like there was metal to metal contact when shifting.

After changing to Swepco 201, my 2nd gear shifts are quieter, smoother, and the noise and feeling of hard contact is gone.

I actually enjoy shifting with Swepco, with Redline I cringed.

Bottom line, there are more than a few vanagons that have had transmission failures with Redline MT-90, most notably the one belonging to Warren Chapman, moderator of the Subaruvanago yahoo group, and Bill Langan of SDM truck hill fame, both of them with Subaru motors. I have not heard of one single failure with Swepco 201.

Pick someone whose opinion you respect, and copy them. Both Seth of Mastercraft Motors, they install subaru conversions, and Eric D, who builds some of the cleanest Vans Ive seen, including a WRX conversion, use Swepco 201 in their transaxles.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Redline MT90 is an acceptable oil to use the the tranny. I think the recent concern with the Redline is that the quality of the product has dropped off in the past few years, prompting the experts to recommend the Swepco 201/203 which are better products. Using Redline MT90 is not going to ruin your transmission unless your really hammering it. If you are, it probably a good idea to switch over to the swepco 201 or 203..which are much more expensive.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting debate.
I have used Swepco in porsche trannys with great results. I tried Swepco in my 73 bay window with a chevy 2.8v6 in it. I didn't like the shifter feel with the swepco, switched back to Dino oil and eventually burned out the tranny. But I thing the HP and towing a car trailer did the majority of that damage.

Iv ran Redline since 95 when i first used it in a toyota 4x4 tranny. I was going to sell the truck because you couldn't get it to shift . With redline it was porsche smooth. But not a transaxle!!

I have Redline in a AA 091 transaxle behind a 2.5 suby. Havent had any problems running mt-90. Also running mtl in a 020 7a no problems.

Could the issue be HP and tork?? I think so. I have read the new Subaru diesels have to have the STI 6 speed behind them because of the TORK. It eats the 5 speed box. So if its the tork and hp has any one set up a gear oil squirter system on the 091 tranny that squirts oil right at the ring/pinion?? This is a common high HP Porsche trannys mod.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

> swepco 201 or 203..

I do not recommend Swepco 203.

> which are much more expensive.

A quart of Swepco costs 89 CENTS more than a quart of Redline.

A Gallon of Swepco 201 costs $3.56 more than a gallon of Redline MT-90

My transmission rebuild cost over $2,500.. I would have preferred to spend an extra $3.56 on Swepco..

here is where I got the facts Im using..
http://www.racerpartswholesale.com/product/RedLine...ssion_Lube
redline per quart $9.45, which comes out to $37.80 a gallon

http://www.paragon-products.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=swepco&Search.x=0&Search.y=0
Swepco 201 Gallon $41.36
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jon_slider wrote:


I do not recommend Swepco 203.



I thought that 203 was just 201 with some extra additives that had proven to be helpful for the syncro transmission.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think if you read the trend here; the tranny in the Syncro cannot take much additional torque. If you drive it aggressively and pump up the power plant, it will fail eventually or wear fast. Oil is not necessarily the answer, beefing up some parts is.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:24 am    Post subject: Red Line MT90 Getting a Bad Rap? Conflicting Opinions Reply with quote

I've needed to change my tranny fluid for a few years but everytime I've searched for the best oil to use, I read threads like this one and give up. After putting it off for two years I finally ordered redline oil last week.

Why redline? I decided that if GoWesty is using it in all of their ($100,000) Syncros then it must be, at the minimum, acceptable for my van.


From goewsty.com - "This is some incredible gear oil right here. It is all we use in every tranny we build and every vehicle we service. We have realized a tremendous improvement in the smoothness of shifting across the board, but especially when the trans is cold. It is the only gear oil you should put in your Bus, Vanagon, or Eurovan manual transaxle."

Gowesty can use any oil they want. They certianly aren't worried about keeping the cost low to the customer!! Rolling Eyes

I'm due for a rebuild in the near future anyway because it's popping out of second gear. I guess Daryll will let me know how the insides look when he's in there.

One thing is for sure, putting fresh Redline in my tranny and front diff is a lot better than never changing the oil at all!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swepco was specifically formulated for racing transaxles (transmission + R&P), where high EP protection is required, while RedLine was formulated for transmissions that do not contain an R&P.

a914622 wrote:
I didn't like the shifter feel with the swepco, switched back to Dino oil and eventually burned out the tranny.


Swepco IS dino oil, while RedLine is just another commercial grade, cheaper to produce, synthetic gear lube ... one of a number specifically named by our gear manufacturer to avoid.

If you live in a cold climate and don't like the way dino oils shift during the few minutes required for warm-up, then use a HIGH QUALITY synthetic gear lube like Lubrication Engineers #9919. The feedback that we've received from numerous race teams switching to this oil has all been positive (and well documented). Note: It is difficult to find a synthetic gear lube that provides the same EP protection of a good dino oil. LE9919 provides excellent EP protection that does not rapidly diminish, as with other synthetics.

My opinion is that while Swepco may be an expensive oil, RedLine is an overpriced oil with great marketing.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK
So driving home in 105 deg heat i started to hear a little whine from the gear box. I got a wild hair and decided to change out the REDLINE oil to a dino Castrol oil and see if, in the heat i could notice any difference.

Wow. The tranny was hot with the redline. Way hot! The redline came out like water? very thin. Thinner than the engine oil in the little diesel.(delo)

So first impressions on the castrol. Very quiet gear box!! The hard spot between 1st and 2nd is gone. No gear clunk on the down shift . Form the seat-o-paints meter Im thinking its better!!! Im about to order a gal. of Swepco to go in.

THANKS Gears!!!! this form rocks


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