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MG MGA - Ford gear oil for Type 9 gearbox

I posted the following on the Spridget forum and thought it might also be of interest here.

Ford gear oil for Type 9 gearbox.

The current Ford gear oil for "all Ford models with 5-speed Type 9 manual transmission" is -

Ford 75w90 Transmission Oil - 1790199

1 litre bottle of 75w90 transmission oil.

Ford specification:

Compatible with all Ford models with 5-speed Type 9 manual transmission.

Around 20-26 in the UK at the moment.

For those that have seen enough or get bored more easily with such things stop here, for those that want a bit more detail and history carry on.

Some Type 9 builders insist on semi-synthetic 75W90 fluid to GL4 specification, in particular Ford (red dyed) oil and Comma SX75W-90 GL4, others insist on a GL4.

Both the Ford and Comma oils are to Ford spec Ford (ESD)M-2C175-A.

Going back a good few years Castrol SMX was red, 80W90, semi-synthetic, GL4, M2C-175A, "Recommended primarily for Ford Sierra and Vauxhall 5-speed gearboxes", so was the(?)/an alternative (or perhaps actual?) oil to the stuff in the Ford labelled bottle at the time (and now?).

Later came Castrol SMX-S (75W-85, GL4), "fully" rather than semi-synthetic was replaced by Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle at now 75W-90 with Ford spec Ford WSD-M2C200-C (remember this spec is on the current Ford oil at start of this post).

(copy & paste link) -

Personally, in my road going only modestly uprated midget, I now use Millers CRX 75w90 NT (now +), fully synthetic, GL5(!) as Millers' technical people have told me it will not cause harm to yellow metals in the box, I believe them, this is my particular oil belief, obviously you may choose to believe otherwise if you wish or not trust this info or Millers, we won't fall out over it. :)


Nigel Atkins

Thanks Nigel,
that's really useful.

I will print that out so that I can refer to it as I plan to change the oil in my T9 box every couple of years.

Colyn Firth

No problem Colyn.

Do bear in mind other oils and suppliers are available, as are other oil opinions and oil beliefs, from totally non-technical people like me to those who are qualified in the field.

I can tell you from personal use (and opinion?) that the Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle (75W-90, "fully" synthetic, GL4) is better than the Comma and particularly good for cold weather gear changes and use. Others have also found Syntrans Multivehicle to be good and especially for cold weather use.

I've never knowingly used any Ford's own bottle oil in a Type 9 box.

The one I'd recommend is the Millers CRX 75w90 NT+ (fully synthetic, GL5) - but it is a GL5 so does depend on your oil belief. I put it in my back axle too.

Nigel Atkins

I certainly agree with Nigel. As he knows, I now have Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle in my R380 box (in my other MG) and the gear change is most certainly smoother.

Graham V

Thanks for posting Graham.

Graham's improvement with Castrol Syntrans Multivehicle wasn't compared to Comma SMX 75w-90 (GL4) but good to know it is an improvement against other oils too.

Of course just changing old oil for new of the same could bring an improvement by my (unplanned/distress) oil change was after only two years use of the Comma oil so the Comma oil wasn't that worn. I decided to try the Castrol as I had to refill the oil and even in mild to warm April weather I felt improvements the gearstick.
Nigel Atkins

The Type 9 was 'sealed for life' and as such there was no drain plug until us enthusiasts started putting them in. My Type 9 which I sourced from a scrap yard ran for nearly 15 years before I did the mod. No ill effects as far as I have determined. When I did my original Type 9 conversion in 2000 I did empty and refill with the Ford product. I put the plug in 2015 and refilled with the same. All is fine.

Steve Gyles

Good news there Steve and confirmation that the Ford stuff does a good job.

Filled for life is fine but the life of what or who and it's often mentioned that Ford was very keen on penny-pinching so didn't bother with a drain as it saved money not as far fetched as it seems when you learn about manufacturing costing and actually how much a car costs in as a collection of brand new parts and components.

I prefer the extra protection of a top quality oil as my gearbox leaks like a sieve and I use the Midget through the winter and it sits outside 365 days a year.

I've got a quickshift gearlever on mine which is really a waste of time for shifting quickly as the box just doesn't like to but the reduce amount of space it moves is useful as with the standard Sierra lever I practically have to open the passenger door to put it in reverse.

I keep meaning to go back to my modified/shortened Sierra lever as it has the rubber vibration buffer still fitted to save the 3.500rpm tizz.

Nigel Atkins


When I did the modification the long shift was the only option. About 8 years ago I fitted the shorter stick and have no issues, no buzzing. I made my own leather gaiter as I found the MGA boot kept pulling it out of 2nd, 4th and 5th whenever I took my foot off the power.


Steve Gyles

I also found the modern MGA rubber gear lever boot pulled the lever out of gear on the overrun when I used one on a steel Midget gaiter turret.

MGA and MGB owners are luckier than Spridget owners as they have a conversion kit from a much better company than the one that comes from the Spridget original source. As one example the gear levers are the cheaper made ones, although charged at a higher price.

To be fair the quickshift levers are for sports use so do rattle and tizz (if only the original kit supplier knew or admitted this). Some other quickshift sellers now advertise with a note explaining the rattle/tizz.

I've had three of the cheaper ones (from the original kit supplier), below are two of the quickshift levers I've had, both I had shortened later.

Nigel Atkins

sorry I've just seen something I missed in your post, even I wouldn't change the T9 oil every couple of years (although I've been luck to get passed a couple of months previously).

With the Ford, Comma and Castrol oils I'd look at changing every 3-5 years and the Millers every 5+ years or so.

Bear in mind many don't change the oil ever! - and what Steve put in his earlier post in this thread.

On the axle oil I remember one poster putting that he changed the oil every year and it seemed to stop the diff whine, can't remember whether he put what oil he used. Every time I've changed the axle oil it seemed to quieten the whine, perhaps more noticeable initially at change but it's never got rid of it entirely.

Nigel Atkins

Thanks Nigel,
I suppose I was thinking in terms of engine oil changes, I guess the gearbox oil doesn't have as hard a life as the engine oil. (I change my engine oil around twice a year.)

The gearbox oil has only been in the box for about a year and so I think I will leave it in there until next year.

So changing gearbox oil reduces whining?

Maybe my SWMBO needs an oil change then 😁
((Dont be too surprised if you never hear from me again, just check out any freshly dug earth in my garden. 😀
Colyn Firth

(assuming you're still above ground) I know what you mean I have a verbal handbrake but the last time I moaned about it I can't remember the exact details only get back up off the floor.

MGB and Spridgets have engine oil in the gearboxes and with the B the WSM says changing the gearbox (engine) oil every 2 years or 24k-miles whichever is sooner, so you're probably thinking of that. The heat, pressures, stresses, gaps, wear and waste products in the g/box are different to the engine.

With my Midget I used to change my engine oil (and filter) twice a year when I used mineral Castrol XL and Halfords but using "full" and full synthetic oils I only change once a year so better protection and (marginally) lower cost, win, win. I wanted to get the recondition engine full tested and run in before switching oils.

Sorry I've mislead you, the reduction in whine refers to using fresh oil in the rear axle.

My Midget came with a standard gearbox with a very loud first gear whine, my mate who used to drive a banger MGA in the 60s said he was used to the sound but mine was the loudest he'd heard. It never bothered me as I'd soon change to second. I think reverse gear was noisy too but not as loud as first.
Nigel Atkins

I fitted the 5-Speed to my A back in the '90s. Back then, Bruce White (deceased) was a US distributor, getting the kits from England. It came with the short shifter. The knob was plastic, leather-covered, with the 5-speed diagram on top, like in your photo. The core (insert) of the knob was billeted aluminum, machined to screw onto the shifter. I have worn the leather of my knob, but can't find a new, quality replacement knob that has the aluminum core (all available knobs that I've seen in the US have plastic inserts).

Does anyone know of a source for these 5-speed knobs with the aluminum core?

By the way, I run Redline MT-80 in my Sierra Type 9 gearbox.

C.T. Irwin

There is a gear knob made for a five speed Jaguar conversion with a brass insert that is a perfect match for the original MGA knob apart from the pattern

Dominic Clancy

That knob doesn't fit to the Sierra Type 9 gear lever thread as in photo of my 27 Jan as I asked them and they may have added the (5/16 Whit. thread) to the description to stop the confused like me.

But if the MGA levers for your conversions have a 5/16 Whit. thread then ignore my comment and carry on.

The standard Ford Sierra gear knob is horrible, shape and feel.
Nigel Atkins

The Jag knob has a brass insert, so very easy to modify to 5/16 UNF, I have done one for every five speed kit I have fitted
Dominic Clancy

My T9 5-speed from Hi Gear came with two liters of Comma brand GL4 oil. This oil is available on Amazon (imagine that!). See here -

JL Cheatham

Comma is very common over here, that is common and commonly available.

A chap I once knew always said it was made from second-hand/recycled oils bought from dealership garages, I don't know as I wasn't in the car trade but he was, from his early 1970s mechanic's apprenticeship to sales director for well known performance brakes company.

Nigel Atkins

Sorry Dominic I missed your last post, would the gear knob be able to be altered to M10 thread?

I wanted to treat myself to one but at £36 I can't risk not being able to fit it or it not fitting well.
Nigel Atkins

I think I have one that was badly painted and replaced. It's probably saveable with a little TLC and I can look to see of I can tap it to M10 for you
Dominic Clancy

thank you, are you able to put up a photo please or email me please. I'm not sure if you mean TLC from me or you, delicate, or any painting really, is beyond me. It's just a fancy of mine to have this gear knob so I want it to look reasonable, it's not a need.

If not and you think there is enough metal in the insert I'll just risk a drill and tap on a new one and get my mate to do it at his works.

I didn't know if you'd found some sort of insert.

Nigel Atkins

Strange. I bought one of these knobs from the Jag website you mention and it screwed straight on to my Type 9 gearbox lever. No re-threading needed. It is a nice addition - looks just like the original and itís only when anyone peers in closely that they might notice the five speed markings on the top.
B Mayo

my gear lever is a (modified) original Ford Sierra one and has a M10 thread.
Nigel Atkins

Hi. I have found a litre of EP 80W-90GL4 on my shelf. Is this alright for my Type 9?
s page

I've emailed you - short answer - yes.

Do bear in mind I'm not an expert in anything, including car oil!
Nigel Atkins

That was the oil recommended to me by Peter at HiGear. The GL4, not GL5 variant particularly due to the yellow metal erosion issue.
B Mayo

Hi Bruce,
with a modern GL5 that information could be out of date and of course it depends on your belief, see my original post for details and GL4 alternatives. Whatever works can be good stuff just that sometimes it can be improved on, depends on your need of course and each to their own.
Nigel Atkins

Thanks all.
s page

This thread was discussed between 25/01/2019 and 23/04/2019

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