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1998 Chevy Cavalier transmission

I have a 1998 Chevy Cavalier 2.2IL with a manual transmission. I did some research and found out that specifically, it is the Getrag F23 5-speed manual transmission.

I went in for an oil change, and it was discovered that my transmission was leaking. My oil change place is one of those quick oil change only places, and said that they don’t do repairs, but recommended a few places.

As the owner of a manual, my understanding is that they generally do not need to have a fluid change, or need one far less often than an automatic, so I have never needed a transmission repair. I’m hearing from trusted friends that this could be a scary bill. More than I can afford, which would leave me without a vehicle, which would put me out of work.

1) The oil change guy says that you can never be sure, but he believes that since there appears to be no external damage, it might just be a gasket or seal leak. Is that something I can do?

2) If I can’t do it, how do I add a little bit of tranny fluid/gear oil to replace the slow leak I have until I can get a repair shop I feel comfortable with?

3) What kind of questions should I be asking to see if I am dealing with a reputable shop?

4) What would be a reasonable range of repair costs for the most common problems associated with this transmission? I am not looking to go cheap, because you often get cheap work, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of either.

Thanks for your time.

Did the oil change mechanic check the level of the tranmission fluid and add some if it was low? You have to get an idea on how much is leaking over what time span. Then you can decide if you need to correct the problem or can afford to let it go until it gets worse.

The most likely candidates for a leak are half axle seals or the input shaft seal. To better trace this leak you are going to have to look underneath and see where oil is dripping from. Clean off all old oil stains; drive the car a short trip; and look underneath to see if you can see new deposits. Get back to us when you know where the oil is coming from.

Hope that helps.

Thanks for your reply.

I am unable to check the level, as far as I can tell. Unlike the automatics I grew up driving, I see no dipstick (other than me!) to check the level on this manual. I can see the drain plug, and I believe the fill plug is likely accessible when the car is up, which I do not have the capacity to do. If there is such a place, and anyone knows where it is, let me know. I don’t normally mess with transmissions at all. I can change filters, bulbs, fuses, tires, etc. Typical stuff.

I can get under there and clean up and see what’s up after a drive though. I was just hoping to get a rough idea of output seal vs input seal repair costs. Gosh forbid I have some other type of repair. I mean, it would have to be the seals, right?