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How often should I change the transmission fluid? I have an '81 rabbit pickup with a 4 speed transaxle. It's coming up 30k miles since it was changed last. The repair book says to change it only if there's been a repair. Other than that, make sure it's topped off. Also, what kind of fluid is best? I was thinking redline mt90.
 

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I personally only changed my manuals if it was for a clutch change, or if it developed a leak. So I suspect that I changed it twice in 300K. I used Lucas, dino oil, I never trusted changing over oils to synth after a lifetime of running dino.
If you have a 5spd then you would want to verify that you are topped off, as low oil in a 5spd can burn out 5th gear.
If you don't have any leaks leave it be.
 

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Never ever ever use syncromesh as its too light and not rated for the VW transmission. I would advise against redline transmission fluid unless you have a rebuilt vw 020 transmission. The cheapest and closest oil I could find that was GL-4 rated was sta-lube 85w-90 from NAPA and I have had it in my VW golf for 7 years. Personally if the transmission is not leaking leave the oil alone. Ive seen too many issues from people changing the oil and putting the wrong type in.
 

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Never ever ever use syncromesh as its too light and not rated for the VW transmission. I would advise against redline transmission fluid unless you have a rebuilt vw 020 transmission. The cheapest and closest oil I could find that was GL-4 rated was sta-lube 85w-90 from NAPA and I have had it in my VW golf for 7 years. Personally if the transmission is not leaking leave the oil alone. Ive seen too many issues from people changing the oil and putting the wrong type in.
Good to know, the long/tiresome debates on 020 gear oils led me to the syncromesh (fairly cheap at AA). It does shift nicely and keeps the gearbox clean but I may switch to that thicker GL-4, then again maybe not - no leaks. I just read that the penns syncromesh does NOT have the friction modifiers the GM syncromesh (123777916) does, but many say that's only for limited slip diffs. It does have great additives that help with contamination (even water up to 5%). Btw, I did drive in flood, and it showed when I changed the fluid a few weeks later.
I suspect gear-load isn't much of a problem with my ~50HP 1.6D. Smooth shifts when cold are nice, too.

Edit:
Seems like the best thing about the pennsoil synchromesh is that it makes the gearbox extra clean inside. but upon further research, this is what I want to use next fluid change
 
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