Q: I have a 1992 Chevy S-10 pickup with a five-speed transmission. I was going to change the transmission fluid for the first time, but when I pulled the plug, the fluid was reddish and smelled like automatic transmission fluid. I always thought that manual transmissions used gear oil. What fluid should I be using?
A: Sounds like your S-10 is equipped with the Borg Warner 77mm five-speed manual transmission that uses about 4.4 pints of Dextron II automatic transmission fluid during a service. There was also a Muncie five-speed that was used less often on the '92 S-series with 5W-30 motor oil. To confirm the transmission we're dealing with, take a look at the regular production option code ticker that should be located in the glovebox. The codes ML3, ML2, or MW1 will confirm the Borg Warner five-speed and the use of Dextron II as the appropriate lubricant. In the past, heavy gear oil was the norm for manual transmissions, but today's engineers have found advantages in the use of less heavy lubricants (ATF and 10W-30, 5W-30 motor oil) in passenger-car and light-truck applications.
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