Manual transmission won't take gear oil/fluid

My 2008 Suzuki SX4 (AWD, hatchback) was showing signs of low transmission fluid. (Specifically, a chirping noise from the right side only when in gear. Shifting fine, no bad smells, etc.) This is a manual, 5-speed transmission.

Following various guides online, I drained the gear oil / transmission fluid and captured about 2.5Q, which matched the manufacturer’s specs. There was no significant sign of internal distress based on what I’ve researched, e.g. significant metal shavings. But the fluid looked a bit used. I have had the car less than I year and know little about past maintenance.

So far, so good. I drain the oil and then put the drain plug back in. (I went to pour oil into the fill hole and it began dribbling back out immediately. I was using a flexible funnel and trying to get it to flow in via gravity. After losing about 0.5Q and nauseating myself with the smell, I gave up and bought a pump (the kind with a small hose that looks like the top of a liquid soap dispenser.) No luck with that, either. Neither pumping from below nor from above. Neither pumping gradually nor rapidly. It just dribbles out, more rapidly as I put more in.

As I understand, this would normally be a sign that the reservoir is full. But again, I just drained it of what should have been the full capacity. Plus, it’s up on jack stands at the front, so the fluid should be even less likely to dribble out since the fill hole is at a slight upward angle. I even tried driving it around the block – now with very little transmission fluid, as far as I am aware – and it shifted fine. (But the chirp is still present.)

Any thoughts? I got myself into this mess following what I saw online, but I haven’t found anyone saying “my manual transmission won’t take more fluid.”

Thanks in advance for any help!

Are you sure you didn’t drain the transfer case and try to fill the transmission or do the opposite?

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No, I’m not. :slight_smile: It’s fair to say I’m flying pretty blind here.

I had my doubts until I compared the smells of the fluid I drained with what I was planning to put in.

I was working near the front of the vehicle, just behind the fan. From what I’ve seen I’d expect the transfer case to be near the wheel. But I can’t rule out that kind of fundamental error. Any suggestions?


Well you probably looked at the same videos as I did by googling the procedure and they do show where the fill and drain plug are.

The clearest one I saw, the guy used a small funnel and a long skinny plastic hose stuck down in the fill hole.

If that doesn’t work or you want to confirm the transmission has really been drained, jack the rear of the car up higher than the open fill hole. If the fluid has not been drained it should start coming out the fill hole.

I noticed in the video that he did it with the transmission in reverse but I don’t know if that was just normal safety precautions or if it was to make the fluid flow better (doubtful but it can’t hurt.)

That last part reminds me of a woman faithfully copied he mothers written instructions for making pot roast. They included cutting the roast in half and putting it into two pots. She made it this way for many years and it was delicious One day her husband asked her why she cut the roast in half?

She said, I don’t know, I’m just following the recipe. It made her curious though so she called he mother who said " Oh, that written recipe came from your grandmother, she didn’t have a pot big enough for a whole roast."

Did you ever figure this out? I am having the same issue changing trans fluid. All tutorials I watched said my vehicle should take 2.2 Qt of Gear Oil, but when I drained it and went to refill, it only took 1quart before it started overflowing. I did the procedure twice because I was worried, but the same thing happened the second time. I unfortunately did not pay attention to how much came out the first time.

Yes and no. I finally gave up and took the car to a transmission shop. They told me that I’d been trying to fill the transfer case/box, so that explains why I couldn’t get it to take the specified amount of gear oil.

I still couldn’t tell you for my life where the transmission fill hole for this vehicle is! Good luck. Happy to email you photos I took from the undercarriage it if helps you find the right spot.