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2013 Cadillac ATS 2.0T Manual Transmission
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Discussion Starter #1
Curious if anybody else has had a leak on their 6speed M/T rear seal? Im not sure if mine was bad or if it was the extreme cold temps we just had in Massachusetts. It was -13 degrees Sunday morning, but I now have small puddles of transmission fluid coming from the rear seal. Appointment at the dealer tomorrow.

Thanks,
Zack
 

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2013 ATS Performance 2.0 6M
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Interesting that you mention the cold temps. It was around -15°F here and suddenly had a small puddle of tranny fluid on the garage floor. Never a drip of fluid previously. I wonder if there’s a link between the temp and leak, or if I should start looking into new seals.
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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Haven't noticed, but I do have a mat under that part of the car. I'll be under it tomorrow taking another crack at fluid-changing my diff, so I'll take a look at the trans, too. I'm in RI, but the car is always garaged overnight, so it rarely sees temps that cold.
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T 6spd manual Performance RWD
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Haven't noticed, but I do have a mat under that part of the car. I'll be under it tomorrow taking another crack at fluid-changing my diff, so I'll take a look at the trans, too. I'm in RI, but the car is always garaged overnight, so it rarely sees temps that cold.
Are you going to be cleaning the vent on the diff while you're at it? I plan to tackle that when it gets warmer.
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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Are you going to be cleaning the vent on the diff while you're at it? I plan to tackle that when it gets warmer.
Yes. I actually bought a 16mm combination wrench just for doing the vent (of all my wrenches, I did not have a 16mm. I also wanted the box end for this job). I've had luck in the past with just jiggling the cap on the vent and having all the crud fall out, but I wanted to give it a good thorough cleaning. My main goal is to actually drain and replace the fluid (not sure how much is left in there). I've been struggling with getting the fill plug off (haven't even tried the drain yet). Can't put an impact on it without removing the exhaust and my breaker bar started warping the square hole in the plug. I ordered new plugs and I'm going to buy a torch on my lunch break today. I WILL BEAT THIS THING!
 

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2013 ATS Performance 2.0 6M
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Mine is always in a warm garage at night too. I was just under the car looking at/cleaning the diff and vent a day or two before and hadn’t noticed anything leaking on the trans, but then we got this cold spell and suddenly there was a little puddle.
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T 6spd manual Performance RWD
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Yes. I actually bought a 16mm combination wrench just for doing the vent (of all my wrenches, I did not have a 16mm. I also wanted the box end for this job). I've had luck in the past with just jiggling the cap on the vent and having all the crud fall out, but I wanted to give it a good thorough cleaning. My main goal is to actually drain and replace the fluid (not sure how much is left in there). I've been struggling with getting the fill plug off (haven't even tried the drain yet). Can't put an impact on it without removing the exhaust and my breaker bar started warping the square hole in the plug. I ordered new plugs and I'm going to buy a torch on my lunch break today. I WILL BEAT THIS THING!
Haha. Would be interesting to know the full fluid capacity of the diff (I’ve read you just fill it to the top?) and what actually comes out of yours. Are you hearing any noises from it, or are you doing this just for regular maintenance? Is your diff currently wet from the axle seals leaking?

Good call on making sure you can get the fill plug off first! Have any PB Blaster? That stuff has saved me on numerous occasions…namely, rotor screws. I hate rotor screws.

How do you plan to clean the vent? You should probably make a DIY guide for people like me. 😉
 

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2013 ATS Performance 2.0 6M
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Hopefully the fluid change goes well for you, I’m surprised the fill plug is that tight. I’m going to be changing my fluid soon, would be nice if my plugs aren’t quite as tight lol.
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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It takes one quart of 75W-90 (with LS additive for the LSD). I'm not sure how well PB Blaster would work. There is a rubber gasket that seals the plug against the diff. Keeps the fluid in and keeps contaminates out.



I was just going to spray the vent (once removed) with brake cleaner and maybe WD-40, per another user's suggestion on the forums.

Edit: Realised I didn't answer all the questions. Yes, the axle seals have been wet from time to time since the last time I've had them replaced. So far, whenever I notice they're wet, the vent's cruddy. I've only noticed a handful of times since I've taken this into my own hands, so I can't say this is 100% always the case. My plan is to check/clean the vent every time I change the engine oil and change the differential oil once a year. The gear oil is like $15 a quart. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to change it once or even twice a year than it is to pay someone to replace the seals (only to have them leak again anyways). I'd like to keep the car for a least another five to ten years, so I hope this type of maintenance will be good enough to keep it running well.
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T 6spd manual Performance RWD
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Good point. Though if the rubber o-ring is on the plug you're replacing, then it wouldn't matter. Or maybe the o-ring could be replaced and the plug reused. I would just rather ruin a plug than strip something if it's really stuck, that's my fear haha. And maybe I'm just inexperienced but I'd be nervous to use a torch around oils, and the gas tank is right there, etc. I'm probably just inexperienced haha. Anyway I hope it goes well!
 

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2013 ATS 3.6L Luxury
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I've been struggling with getting the fill plug off (haven't even tried the drain yet).
Can't you fill it thru the vent hole once you screw it off? Then if you can get the drain off, you're good to go. Hit the shelf the vent sits on with a small paint brush to clean off any crud sitting on there so it doesn't fall in when you have the vent off.
 

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2016 ATS4 2.0T and a bunch of other stuff....
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Since diff vents have proven problematic, you may find a vent on your trans contributing to the problem also. I personally don't know if it has one, but I'm betting it does.
 

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2013 Luxury ATS 2.0T Manual
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No leak at the rear seal of my manual trans (with ~86,600 miles, original fluid). Again, mine's in a garage overnight, but outside during the day on weekdays (in Providence, so same-ish cold for day temps. Garage doesn't get below the mid 40's).

As an update on my diff woes, plug still hasn't budged and is now a little bit more mangled. I torched all around the bolt for a couple of minutes (may not have been enough time?) and no go. Also, the vent is NOT 16mm. It's something much smaller that doesn't match any of my wrenches. Although, given the angle I was working at and how tight of an area that is (you're only access to the vent where you can actually get a wrench on it is through a thin slot in the, I think, subframe), I may have the right size, but I didn't get it on just right, so I thought it was wrong. I can say with certainty, though, that it is not 16mm. 16 is too big and made no contact at all. I'm biting the bullet on this one. It's too important of a job and too costly of a failure to let it go any longer. I'm going to try and find a mechanic this week to just do this for me. I already have a quart of fluid and two replacement plugs. I'm going to stress that this something I'm going to treat as regular maintenance in the future so hopefully they don't go full impact torque on the plugs (which I'm pretty sure the Cadillac dealer did do when they last changed out the seals and fluid).
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T 6spd manual Performance RWD
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No leak at the rear seal of my manual trans (with ~86,600 miles, original fluid). Again, mine's in a garage overnight, but outside during the day on weekdays (in Providence, so same-ish cold for day temps. Garage doesn't get below the mid 40's).
Your manual transmission fluid has not been changed ever in its lifetime? I was thinking of getting mine changed with my engine oil in a couple days, I'm at nearly 46k miles. Is that way too soon? I need to look at the service intervals in my manual again, evidently.

As an update on my diff woes, plug still hasn't budged and is now a little bit more mangled. I torched all around the bolt for a couple of minutes (may not have been enough time?) and no go. Also, the vent is NOT 16mm. It's something much smaller that doesn't match any of my wrenches. Although, given the angle I was working at and how tight of an area that is (you're only access to the vent where you can actually get a wrench on it is through a thin slot in the, I think, subframe), I may have the right size, but I didn't get it on just right, so I thought it was wrong. I can say with certainty, though, that it is not 16mm. 16 is too big and made no contact at all. I'm biting the bullet on this one. It's too important of a job and too costly of a failure to let it go any longer. I'm going to try and find a mechanic this week to just do this for me. I already have a quart of fluid and two replacement plugs. I'm going to stress that this something I'm going to treat as regular maintenance in the future so hopefully they don't go full impact torque on the plugs (which I'm pretty sure the Cadillac dealer did do when they last changed out the seals and fluid).
Sorry that has been such a pain! Good call on insisting that the shop hand tightens it. If the only access is, in fact, through a small slot in the subframe they shouldn't be able to get air tools in there anyway, right? Or maybe whoever tightened it last had super special tools.
 

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The access to the vent is through the subframe (I think that's what that is). The 2013 stock exhaust blocks the fill and drain plug (2014+ does not). Cadillac definitely had the exhaust off the car when they last replaced my seals and I'm pretty sure they went whole hog on the impact when they finished filling it up.
 

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Your manual transmission fluid has not been changed ever in its lifetime? I was thinking of getting mine changed with my engine oil in a couple days, I'm at nearly 46k miles. Is that way too soon? I need to look at the service intervals in my manual again, evidently.
The maintenance schedule I have doesn't saying anything about changing the transmission fluid in the manual trans. It's actually pretty specific about the auto, "Change automatic transmission fluid, if equipped.", and then it says to change it every 45,000 miles. Not sure if it's just an omission, but this isn't the first time I've seen manual transmission fluid be considered good for the life of the vehicle. Although, whenever I see that something is good for the life of the vehicle, I typically interpret that as really being good for some time between the end of the warranty period and about 100,000 miles. I actually meant to do that fluid this past summer, but time got away from me (same with the brake fluid, which I'm embarrassed to say is also still original and boy can I feel it. The schedule says to change it at 150,000 miles or 10 years, whichever comes first. That's crap based on how dirty and spongy it felt at 6 years and 75,000 miles when I originally planned to do it). Between vacations, the diff, and hunting down and fixing tire leaks (turns out they were cracked rims), I didn't get to that stuff.
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T 6spd manual Performance RWD
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The access to the vent is through the subframe (I think that's what that is). The 2013 stock exhaust blocks the fill and drain plug (2014+ does not). Cadillac definitely had the exhaust off the car when they last replaced my seals and I'm pretty sure they went whole hog on the impact when they finished filling it up.
Hmm maybe that's why they switched to the single muffler inlet pipe, like my 2014 has.

The maintenance schedule I have doesn't saying anything about changing the transmission fluid in the manual trans. It's actually pretty specific about the auto, "Change automatic transmission fluid, if equipped.", and then it says to change it every 45,000 miles. Not sure if it's just an omission, but this isn't the first time I've seen manual transmission fluid be considered good for the life of the vehicle. Although, whenever I see that something is good for the life of the vehicle, I typically interpret that as really being good for some time between the end of the warranty period and about 100,000 miles. I actually meant to do that fluid this past summer, but time got away from me (same with the brake fluid, which I'm embarrassed to say is also still original and boy can I feel it. The schedule says to change it at 150,000 miles or 10 years, whichever comes first. That's crap based on how dirty and spongy it felt at 6 years and 75,000 miles when I originally planned to do it). Between vacations, the diff, and hunting down and fixing tire leaks (turns out they were cracked rims), I didn't get to that stuff.
I looked at my manual this morning, there are two maintenance schedules that can be followed...one is called 'normal' and one is called 'severe'. On the severe schedule it says to change auto/manual trans fluid at 45k miles. But if I go by the normal schedule than I don't need to change it yet. I guess since I don't track the car or drive it year round I would not use the severe maintenance schedule. Not sure what really separates the two, and I saw no explanation in the book.

Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I do not believe in lifetime fluid. A guy I know with a Lexus ISF said the dealer told him his transmission is sealed and that you don't change the fluid for the life of the vehicle. I just couldn't do that, I don't believe with the heat and everything that the viscosity is going to stay within an optimal range forever.

I have a 20% off coupon for service at my dealer, I'll see how much the manual trans fluid change is and maybe do it anyway. Also going to ask if it's in their system whether someone cleaned the diff vent back when they did the axle seals recently.
 
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