348 Gear Oil Change

To perform the job properly, here's what you'll need:

1. Five liters of your favorite gear oil. We used Redline 75w90. We chose not to use the "ns" formulation, per the owners manual which suggests Agip FE LS SAE 75w90. 
(5 liters will require about 5.xx quarts)

2. A fresh crush washer 10263460 for the magnetic drain plug, and again Daniel Pass at www.ricambiamerica.com are the man for the job. (item number for the drain plug 10263460)

3. A fresh magnetized gearbox drain plug, (item number 104280) (optional

4. A 10mm hex wrench for opening the bottom drain plug.

5. A 19mm mambo-sized hex wrench or similar tool for 
the top filler plug. (more on this later)

6. A few assorted slotted and Phillips screwdrivers 
for removing the air box.

7. A bucket to catch all the oil and a crappy car or pickup truck to transport it to a disposal site.

8. A nice long funnel for refilling the gear oil.

1. The filler port can only be accessed by removing the air-box. It is located on the top of the gearbox as marked by "C" in pic#1 below.

2. The dipstick to check gear fluid is located on the lower left (US drivers side) of the gearbox, as marked by "A" in the below picture. Its a 17mm, and you will need a long extension to reach it easily because there is framework blocking easy (i.e. wrist-sized) access.

3. Accurate measurement of gear oil requires the dipstick to be screwed down. The measuring marks are located in pic#2 below.

4. The main drain plug is located on the gearbox itself -- not the engine, not the A/C compressor, not the coolant tank. I'm not trying to be funny,but too many people have toast their boxes or engines by draining the wrong fluid. 
The gear oil is marked by the words "OILIO CAMBIO". (pic#3)

The Process:

1. Have the gear oil warm, but certainly not hot! drive the car for about 30 min and park the car for about 15 minutes before you begin. Its still plenty hot. In fact, maybe a scoch too hot!

2. Remove the air-box and place it in a secure undisclosed location.

3. Use the 10mm hex wrench to open the main gear oil plug under the car. Be careful not to loose the plug in the deluge of oil. If you loose it (and didn't buy a spare) you're going fishin'. Honestly, this is the most exciting part because you'll get instant validation about your driving & shifting skills: the big magent on the bottom of the plug will tell no lies!

4. Mine had a nice coating of metal bits. Mind you, no big chunks or anything bigger than a bowling ball came out (just kidding). Really, it was just fine particles that looks more like sand than anything else. (pic#4) So, a new drain plug is highly recommended.

5. Have a soda or beer.... let the box keep draining.

6. Using the 19mm hex, open the main filler plug on the top of the gearbox. There are blow-by hoses in your way, so you'll need to lift them slightly to reach the nut. 

7. Where is the 19mm hex when you need one??? Well, improvise, although I really don't reccommend this procedure, we were able to fashion a tool from some spare 3/4" bolts in his tool box. We built the tool and welded the nuts together for a secure hold.(pic#5)

8. Once the big-mambo filler plug is removed, clean it nicely and look at the gaping hole in your gearbox. (pic#6)

9. Using a new drain plug (or your cleaned up old one), pop a fresh crush washer on, and reinstall it into the bottom of the gear box. You only need 1 of the item number: 10263460 crush washers.(pics#7-8)

Tight is good, tighter is not better. If you strip the threads, you're screwed.

10. With the drain plug back in the case, begin filling the box with oil. We put the first two quarts into the car then stopped.

11. After a few minutes, we dumped 2 more quarts into the gearbox. At this point, we were (mathematically) shy of the necessary 4.5 liters, but felt it was a good time to check things on the dipstick, 17mm.

12. Using a really long extension, remove the dipstick, clean it, reinsert it, finger-tighten it, then remove again and check your fill level.

13. On my box, I still needed to add about 1/2 liter to finish her off. The dipstick was registering about one-third of the way between min and max.

14. Add enough to get the oil nicely between the min and the max (it doesn't have to be on the max level to be filled!)

15. Replace the big mambo oil filler plug. Again, tight is good; tighter is not better. If you gorilla-drip this one and strip the threads, call 911.

16. Put the air-box stuff back on the car.

17. Put all your tools away and dispose of the waste oil properly.

All in all, it's a very easy process. Have fun in your garage!

Text and pictures are copyright to Daniel Pass

Last Updated, June 15.08.

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