Chrysler Front Wheel Drive Cars 4-CYL 1981-1995 Repair Information

Manual Transaxle



Some early vehicles may be equipped with the A-412 manual transaxle. This unit can be identified by locating the position of the starter which is found on the radiator side of the engine compartment. If it becomes necessary to add fluid to this unit, SAE 80W-90 gear lube is recommended.

If your vehicle has the A-460 or A-465 manual transaxle (4- and 5-speed transaxles respectively), the starter will be next to the firewall. When it becomes necessary to add fluid to this unit, AFT+3 is recommended. On the A-520 and A-555 manual transaxles used in 1987-88 models, add SAE 5W-30 SG or SG/CC or the equivalent.

On all 1989-92 FWD vehicles except 199092 Laser and Stealth with manual transaxle, Chrysler Motors recommends Mopar® engine oil, SG or SG/CD SAE 5W-30 or equivalent.

On 199092 Laser and Stealth use Mopar Hypoid gear oil or equivalent API classification GL-4 or higher.


The manual transaxle should be inspected for oil leaks and proper oil level when under vehicle service is performed. To inspect the transaxle oil level, position the vehicle on a level surface. Remove the fill plug from the transaxle side cover. The oil level should not be below 3 / 16 in. (4mm) from the bottom of the oil fill opening, refer to the following procedures.

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Transaxle components and their locations

The manual transaxle does not require periodic maintenance. The oil should be changed only when water contamination is suspected. If the oil has a foamy or milky appearance, it probably is contaminated. a circular magnet located behind the differential cover collects metallic particles circulating in the oil. For proper service procedures, refer to Drive Train .

  1. On 1981-85 vehicles, use the right size wrench rather than an adjustable one. If you use an adjustable wrench, fit it very snugly and make sure the movable jaw is on the side toward which you are turning (that is, on the right side, if the wrench handle is below the plug).
  3. On 1986-95 cars, just grab the plug with your fingers rather than using a wrench. Loosen the plug and remove it.
  5. If a little fluid runs out, the level is okay. If not, feel for the presence of fluid by sticking your finger or a clean object into the hole. The level must be within 3 / 16 in. (4mm) of the bottom of the hole. If necessary, add fluid with a clean syringe. Wipe off the threads, replace the filler plug, and tighten it just snug.


See Figures 1 and 2

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Form a bead of sealer on the manual transaxle rear end cover

The manual transaxle does not require periodic maintenance; refer to the vehicle owner's manual for maintenance schedules. The oil should be changed only when water contamination is suspected.

  1. Raise and support the vehicle safely on jackstands.
  3. The unit has no drain plug. To drain the fluid, you will need a tube of RTV sealant and a supply of clean rags. Place a drain pan under the rear end cover of the unit (the side away from the engine and clutch).
  5. Remove the bolts or studs. Gently pull the cover away from the transaxle and remove it to allow the fluid to drain.
  7. Clean the magnet and the inside surface of the cover. Make sure to remove all of the old sealant. Then, use the tube of sealant to form a new gasket on the inside of the cover, as shown in the illustration.
  9. Install the cover mounting bolts and tighten them to 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm) on the A-543 models (1990-95) and on the A-520 manual transaxles used in 1988-89 models, or to 21 ft. lbs. on the A-460/465/525 models. Refill the unit with the approved fluid until it appears at the filler plug, then install and tighten the plug.