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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased an 86 Samurai and it has a high pitched whine in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears. I drained the oil and it looks like it has very fine gold glitter in the oil; nothing you can feel but you can see what looks like fine glitter in the oil. I can live with the whine but I don't want to get stranded in the middle of nowhere if that whine is a signal the tranny is about to die. The tranny shifts very smooth through all 5 gears and reverse. I don't want to spend time and money messing with the tranny if I don't have to. Do you guys think the whine and glitter in the oil is a sign it will go out soon? It has 85,000 miles on it. Thanks for any advice.
 

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sounds like bearings. Are you sure that it's in your tranny and not in your transfer case, differentials or wheels? How does the gear oil in your other cases look?
 

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Good point.
When I first swapped out t-case gears, I didn't think to check out the condition of the main bearing shaft. The noise slowly got louder and I didn't think much of it as I ran it on the street as a daily driver at the time. Eventually the gears couldn't take the punishment any longerand it stranded me across town in the dark on a cold night. The counter shaft had worn enough that it was out-of-round and the screaming was the teeth on the gears vibrating.
Has either the tranny or the t-case been rebuilt? Remember that these are 20+ years old vehicles and parts do wear down... Doing a rebuld is not as hard as you might think.

You don't want to see this the next time you crack open the case...
 

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As I was driving back from ZukiMelt '09 last summer (yes I am a glutton for punishment!), my transmission behaved the same way - noises in 1,2 3 and 5th gear with 4th running quiet. Since you did not say anything about how it sounded in 4th, I'll assume that your transmission is behaving the same way - quiet in 4th.

I swapped another transmission in and the noise went away.

My lubricant had a silver sheen indicating that steel parts were being worn. A gold sheen would possibly indicate that brass components were wearing out in your transmission. I understand that certain GL5 synthetic gear oils can do bad things to brass components in a transmission...

Anyhow, I haven't rebuilt the old transmission yet, but I do expect to replace something in there...

I hope that this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
sounds like bearings. Are you sure that it's in your tranny and not in your transfer case, differentials or wheels? How does the gear oil in your other cases look?
I'm guessing it has to be the tranny because it is silent in 4th and 5th gear. If it was the transfer case it should whine in all 5 gears right? The oil in the differentials looked fine. The oil in the transfer case was red and extremely thick. Don't know what the %$^# that was about. I'm wondering if it had an oil leak and the seller filled it with some thick syrup to keep it from leaking. :confused:

What does a tranny for a Samurai cost? I don't think I would have a problem to rebuild one except finding the spare time to do it. So it might be best to just buy one and swap it out for the noisy one. Definitely don't want to see the same thing Billjohn saw in his!
 

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A tranny rebuild is not really tough. It does help considerably if you have a factory service manual to follow. You can download them online now. Here is something to look over to give you an idea as to how much work it is.
Tranny Rebuild

 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
From start to finish how much time to do the rebuild? I looked around a little online last night and it looks like you can get a rebuilt tranny for about $350 to $400. Just don't know what quality you get vs knowing it was done right if you do it yourself. (I do have the factory service manual.)

What rebuild kit do you recommend?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My lubricant had a silver sheen indicating that steel parts were being worn. A gold sheen would possibly indicate that brass components were wearing out in your transmission. I understand that certain GL5 synthetic gear oils can do bad things to brass components in a transmission...
What are the brass parts?

I put synthetic gear oil in the tranny, Castrol Syntec 75W-90. Is that bad? Given it was already noisy I though maybe synthetic would be better to use. That was also the only 75W-90 at the store. Probably a waste of money and I could have used the same 80W-90 gear oil I used in the diffs and transfer case.
 

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I have done 5 now. The first time it took me about 4 hours, but I was trying to shoot that article at the same time so it took longer than it would have normally. The last one I did took less than an hour once I got the tranny on the work table.
I liked the kits I got from Hawks Strictly Suzuki the best. I also made sure I replaced the needle bearings and synchros.
HAWK STRICTLY SUZUKI | Welcome.
 

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What are the brass parts?

I put synthetic gear oil in the tranny, Castrol Syntec 75W-90. Is that bad? Given it was already noisy I though maybe synthetic would be better to use. That was also the only 75W-90 at the store. Probably a waste of money and I could have used the same 80W-90 gear oil I used in the diffs and transfer case.
I am given to understand that the synchro components are made of brass.

It has been reported that synthetic GL-5 gear oils have a component that does not "play well" with the Zinc component of brass - Brass being a copper/zinc alloy. Since the elements are not chemically bonded to each other (the definition of an alloy), any chemical that reacts in the presence of either metal (in this case I think that it is the zinc) will quickly run amok and destroy the part.

Google search results for GL-5 lubricants and brass from an actual manufacturer's website as opposed to a forum thread :D :

Will Sulfur in Gear Oil Harm Manual Transmission Synchronizers

Dammit, billjohn! Now you got me thinking about another DIY Samurai project! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm inclined to rebuild my tranny myself. I looked over the photos from your link Billjohn and it doesn't seem too bad. The one thing I am not sure about is how to press in the bearings. Is there a special tool for that? I've pressed in small bearings in my tiny remote control toy motors but never pressed in a bearing on a real car.
 
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