Nissan Z - ZX 1970-1988 Repair Guide

Transmission

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FLUID RECOMMENDATION



For manual transmissions, there are a variety of fluids available (depending upon the outside temperature); be sure to use fluid with an API GL-4 rating. For automatic transmissions, use Dexron® ATF (automatic transmission fluid).

LEVEL CHECK



Manual Transmission

See Figure 1

Check the lubricant level at the interval specified in the maintenance chart.

  1. With the vehicle parked on a level surface, remove the filler plug from the left side of the transmission case. The filler plug has a square head.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Remove the filler plug and use a finger to check the level

  1. If lubricant begins to trickle out the hole, there is enough. Otherwise, carefully insert a finger (watch out for sharp threads) and check to see if the oil is up to the edge of the hole.
  2.  
  3. If not, add lubricant through the hole to raise the level to the edge of the filler hole. Most gear lubricants come in a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle, making additions easy. You can also use a squeeze bulb. Add API GL-4 gear oil of the proper viscosity (see the viscosity chart).
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  5. Install the plug and check for leaks.
  6.  

Automatic Transmission

See Figures 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Check the level of the automatic transmission fluid every 2,000 miles (3,200 km). There is a dipstick at the right rear of the engine under the hood. The dipstick has H and L markings, which are accurate for level indications only when the transmission is hot (normal operating temperature). The transmission is considered hot after 15 miles (24 km) of highway driving.

  1. Park the vehicle on a level surface with the engine idling. Apply the parking brake.
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  3. Shift the transmission to PARK.
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Fig. Fig. 2: Automatic transmission dipstick-1970-83 models



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Fig. Fig. 3: Automatic transmission dipstick-1984-88 models

  1. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, then reinsert it firmly. Be certain that it has been pushed fully home. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level while holding the dipstick horizontally. The level should be at or near the H mark.
  2.  
  3. If the fluid level is below the L mark, add the DEXRON® type automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube. This is more easily accomplished with the aid of a funnel and hose. Check the level often between additions, being careful not to overfill the transmission. Overfilling will cause slippage, seal damage and overheating. Approximately one quart of fluid will raise the level from L to H.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the dipstick from its tube



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Fig. Fig. 5: High and low marks on the dipstick



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Fig. Fig. 6: Use a funnel to pour new fluid into the transmission

The fluid on the dipstick should be a bright red color. If it is discolored (brown or black) or smells burnt, serious transmission troubles are present, probably due to overheating. The transmission should be inspected by a qualified mechanic to locate the cause of the burnt fluid.

DRAIN AND REFILL



Manual Transmission

Change the manual transmission oil according to the schedule in the Maintenance Intervals chart. You may also want to change it if you have bought your vehicle used or if it has been driven in water deep enough to reach the transmission case.

  1. The oil should be hot before it is drained. If the vehicle is driven until the engine is at normal operating temperature, the oil should be hot enough.
  2.  
  3. Remove the filler plug from the left side of the transmission to provide a vent.
  4.  
  5. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the transmission case. Place a pan under the drain plug and remove it.
  6.  


CAUTION
The oil will be HOT. Push up against the threads as you unscrew the plug to prevent leakage.

  1. Allow the oil to drain completely. Clean off then reinstall the plug and tighten just until snug.
  2.  
  3. Fill the transmission with gear oil through the filler plug hole. Use API service GL-4 gear oil of the proper viscosity (see the Viscosity Chart in this section for recommendations). This oil usually comes in a squeeze bottle with a long nozzle. If yours does not, you can use a rubber squeeze bulb of the type used for kitchen basting to squirt the oil in.
  4.  

Refer to the Capacities chart for the amount of oil needed.

  1. The oil level should come right to the edge of the filler hole; stick your finger in to verify this. Watch out for sharp threads.
  2.  
  3. Install the filler plug. Dispose of the old oil in the same manner as old engine oil. Take a drive in the vehicle, then stop and check for leaks.
  4.  

Automatic Transmission

See Figures 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

The fluid should be changed according to the schedule in the Maintenance Intervals chart. If the vehicle is normally used in severe service, such as start-and-stop driving, trailer towing or the like, the interval should be halved. The fluid must be hot before it is drained; a 20 minute drive should accomplish this.

  1. There is no drain plug; the transmission pan must be removed. Partially remove the pan screws until the pan can be pulled down at one corner. Place a container under the transmission, lower a rear corner of the pan and allow the fluid to drain.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 7: Clean around the bolt heads with a wire brush



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Fig. Fig. 8: Remove the transmission drain pan bolts



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Fig. Fig. 9: With the pan removed, clean all gasket material from the mating surfaces



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Fig. Fig. 10: Remove the transmission filter screen retainer bolts



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Fig. Fig. 11: With the bolts removed, lift the screen away from the transmission



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Fig. Fig. 12: Inspect the filter screen carefully. This filter reveals that this transmission has been neglected



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Fig. Fig. 13: Install the new gasket according to the manufacturer's instructions



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Fig. Fig. 14: Fill the transmission through the dipstick tube

  1. After draining, remove the pan screws, the pan and the gasket.
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  3. Clean the pan thoroughly and allow it to air dry. If you wipe it out with a rag, you risk leaving bits of lint in the pan which will clog the tiny hydraulic passages in the transmission.
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  5. To install, use a new gasket and reverse the removal procedures. Tighten the pan screws evenly in rotation, from the center outwards, to 3-5 ft. lbs. (4-6 Nm).
  6.  


WARNING
If sealer is used on the gasket, apply it only in a very thin bead running to the outside of the pan screw holes.

It is a good idea to measure the amount of fluid drained to determine how much fresh fluid to add. This is because some parts of the transmission, such as the torque converter, will not drain completely and using the dry refill amount specified in the Capacities chart may lead to overfilling. Make sure that the funnel, hose or whatever you are using is completely clean and dry before pouring transmission fluid through it. Use DEXRON® or DEXRON® II automatic transmission fluid.

  1. Add the required amount of fluid through the dipstick tube.Replace the dipstick after filling. Start the engine and allow it to idle. DO NOT race the engine.
  2.  
  3. After the engine has idled for a few minutes, shift the transmission slowly through the gears, then return the lever to Park. With the engine idling, check the fluid level on the dipstick. It should be between the H and L marks. If below L, add sufficient fluid to raise the level between the marks.
  4.  
  5. Drive the vehicle until the transmission is at operating temperature. The fluid should be at the H mark. If not, add sufficient fluid until this is the case. Be careful not to overfill; overfilling causes slippage, overheating and seal damage.
  6.  

If the drained fluid is discolored (brown or black), thick or smells burnt, serious transmission problems due to overheating should be suspected. Your vehicle's transmission should be inspected by a transmission specialist to determine the cause.

 
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