Experience with RV8 gearbox and back axle oils
It has been a while now since Stuart Middlemiss (Nightfire Red 1215) from Norfolk
changed the oils in both the gearbox (his has the R380 which was fitted to RV8s
from VIN 0644 onwards) and the back axle. He thought it might be useful to circulate
the results. (Jun 07)
As you may be aware, Land Rover changed the specified oil from ATF (very thin
and watery) to MTF 94 sometime after the RV8 production run had finished. It's
conjectured (but not confirmed as far as I know) that this change was to alleviate
the inherent problem of weakness in the 2nd gear synchro usually experienced as
a crunch when changing up from 1st to 2nd unless done very gently. Many drivers
are in the habit of starting off in 2nd to avoid it.
However, the specification
of MTF 94 is bettered significantly by Castrol's SMX-S fully synthetic 75W-85
GL4. This Castrol oil is very well regarded by enthusiasts on several Rover V8
forums and Geoff King, an authoritative poster of V8 and RV8 information on the
V8BB, absolutely swears by it. It is said that the oil pump in the gearbox can
well handle the slight increase in
So this is what I
used. The capacity of the box is just under 3 litres. Result: gear changes are
very slightly stiffer in the first 3 or 4 minutes of driving compared to the ATF
which was still in mine, due to the Castrol being a little thicker, but beyond
those first few minutes of warming up, the gear change is slick, the slight notchiness
changing down into 2nd from 4th has disappeared and, best of all, changing up
from 1st to 2nd is now as slick and crunch-less as all other changes! So it has
But do not expect it to totally eliminate the effects of a very weak or worn 2nd
synchro, but it has certainly improved mine dramatically.
As I hope everyone's aware, the RV8's Quaife differential is an automatic torque
bias (ATB) type, significantly different from normal types of limited slip diffs,
and Quaife prohibit the use of the special LSD oil. Quaife now specify fully synthetic
oil for all their diffs, past and present, and recommend Silkolene's Silktran
Syn 5, 75W-90 GL5. Capacity is fractionally under 1 litre, so don't let any oil
drip from the 1 litre container! See http://quaife.co.uk/
The mistaken belief that the RV8's diff is a normal LSD and requires LSD
oil, still exists today. It was created, I would guess, by Rover's literature
on the MG RV8, including the Technical Reveal issued to dealerships, referring
to it as an LSD with no qualification as to make or type (as far as I've noticed).
There may be several RV8s driving around with the wrong type of oil in the back
axle, which may have been the cause of Clive Wheatley's experience of having to
overhaul a few.
of these oils are cheap, but they're not changed often so the extra cost is worthwhile.
I bought both from Guy at Opie Oils, reliable next-day delivery from www.opieoils.co.uk
or email firstname.lastname@example.org or 01209
215164. Orders of £30 and over are free delivery, and Guy will probably
discount on mention of the V8 Register of the MG Car Club. You may find that the
likes of Halfords will not stock them.
reserved by the V8 Register, PO Box 888, London SW14 7YT