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Thread: Idemitsu ATF?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro14 View Post
    Closer to OE than Mobil 3309?

    What evidence do you have to support that claim?

    Gas chromatography has nothing to do with it. You can tell levels of elements, not compounds, with a chromatograph. You certainly can't tell what base oil is used. I have oil analysis performed (that's using a gas chromatograph) on my Mercedes at every oil change. Done several for my Volvos. You claim a lot for a process with which I'm very familiar.

    I'm sure the Idemitsu works fine, because it meets spec, but once a specification is met, you can't be "more" in spec.

    FCP Euro is hardly credible when it comes to their product descriptions. That quote from the Idemitsu fluid sounds like the "boiler-plate" language for nearly every "OE supplier" part they offer. Probably written by a marketing guy, they don't have staff engineers.

    If you're looking for an alternative, I would recommend the Valvoline Import Multi-vehicle. It meets JWS-3309 and uses synthetic base stocks.

    But regular fluid changes are far more important than brand or even base stock. And your transmission will be just fine on the Mobil3309.
    Mobil 3309 is less good than OE or even Idemitsu. I now owned 3 AW55 where Mobil 3309 caused degradation of shift quality. Apparently I don't have a firm evidence of who is OE supplier or what base stock is used that you can bring to a court/ That's still a mystery surrounded by whispers.

    My understanding is Volvo puts extra friction modifier into ATF, that is the difference with most of others 3309-compliant. When my OE fill went out of grade recently (pulls weaker, started to feel shifts), instead of regular drain&fill I've added 4oz of Lubegard HFM over 3 weeks - that did the magic, transmission shifts smooth again. I guess I can take Mobil 3309, add some HFM and get a fluid that is very close to OE.

    Chromatography can show one fluid has esters and the other - not.
    2002 V70 (sold)
    2005 XC70 (Telos Road took it. Did a chassis swap)
    2016 XC60

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtl View Post
    My understanding is Volvo puts extra friction modifier into ATF, that is the difference with most of others 3309-compliant. When my OE fill went out of grade recently (pulls weaker, started to feel shifts), instead of regular drain&fill I've added 4oz of Lubegard HFM over 3 weeks - that did the magic, transmission shifts smooth again. I guess I can take Mobil 3309, add some HFM and get a fluid that is very close to OE.
    I always add Lubeguard (Red) after a flush, it definitely helps.


    2005 XC70 - 50/35 Tint, Yakima Rack

  3. #13
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    OE is mineral oil base stock. Parts guys at my local Volvo dealer and I verified that a few years back.

    So, the Mobil 3309 that Mobil supplies to Volvo is "less good" than the Mobil 3309 in Volvo bottles that get sold from the dealer at 5 times the price?

    Sure, if you want to believe that...

    You don't need esters in an automatic. Esters in motor oil provide a stable base stock and better cleaning. Many stable base stock formulations exist. Gas to liquid in the Pennzoil Ultra line of motor oils is outstanding, and the hydrocracked base oils in Castrol work very well. The combination of PAO and hydrocracked in Mobil 1 0W40 European formula works well.

    But there are no combustion byproducts in a transmission to create acids, or sludge, and require cleaning. ATF with a mineral oil base is what your Volvo shipped with from the factory, if esters were that much better in a transmission, don't you think that they would've used ester-based oil?

    Let me ask the question this way: in a 500+ HP twin-turbo V-12 car that costs over $140,000 new, don't you think MB would require an ester-based oil if esters were that much better? They don't of course, and MB spec 229.5 (which is what the car requires in an engine that costs over $75,000 to replace) is more concerned with base stock stability and sufficient TBN to handle an extended drain. I've done a UOA on every oil change in that car, and the Mobil 1 0W40 works very, very well. But it's not an ester-based oil.

    My BIL is a powertrain engineer - we've had this conversation. ATF is relatively unstressed fluid - compared with motor oil.

    I find it interesting that your "butt dyno" test set-up can tell the viscosity of oil in your transmission...sure is a sensitive bit of equipment...

    If you're doing drain and fills and the transmission is acting noticeably worse soon after, then I really recommend a complete fluid exchange. Your D&F is getting about 40% of what's in the transmission. IF that's done often enough, you'll keep the viscosity in grade - but you're already saying that the fluid in your particular transmission is NOT in grade.

    So, instead of a couple of quarts of good oil added to several quarts of bad, or a few ounces of magic elixer - try replacing ALL the fluid with something that meets specification.

    You can use unicorn tears, as long as they meet JWS-3309 and have a viscosity of about 7.0-7.5 CsT at 100C (Mobil 3309 is 7.1). Guys on this forum have used Valvoline maxlife (synthetic base stock, not mineral oil, but only 6.0 CsT at 100C) with success. In this thread, I suggested Valvoline Import Multi-vehicle (synthetic base stock, and 6.9 CsT at 100C) which has worked well in both my Volvos. Other folks have had success with AMSOIL, and I've had success with plain old Mobil 3309 and plain old Toyota T-IV (bought from my local dealer at a military discount for about $5/quart).

    You're splitting hairs over fluid, and making unsupportable claims, suggesting that magic fluids work better, while simultaneously admitting that your transmission still has old oil in it.

    The best advice remains:

    Regular fluid changes with one that meets spec.

    In your case, change ALL the fluid. I don't care with what. You'll see a big improvement.
    Current Fleet:
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    2005 MB S600 (96K, Michelin AS3, M1 0W40)
    2002 V70-XC (233K, AltiMax RT43, Castrol Edge 0W40)
    2002 V70-T5 (195K, IPD bars, Bilsteins, Contis, Mobil 1 0W30)
    1932 Packard Sedan (straight 8, dual sidemounts, original paint and interior, Shell Rotella 15W40)

  4. #14
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    I added Lubegard Black after a couple of changes on both XC's but then i stopped, to be honest i noticed no difference except in my wallet. The transmissions shifts fine with or without. Valvoline Maxlife in both.

  5. #15
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    I have used Toyota T-IV fluid with no problems.
    Last edited by Charle; 06-29-2018 at 02:12 PM.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro14 View Post
    In your case, change ALL the fluid. I don't care with what. You'll see a big improvement.
    I've used about 150l of ATF in my XC70 in 5 years and about 100l in wife's ex-V70, many 3309-compliant brands, out of curiosity. Oh, there was one more high-milage 200k+ miles donor, where I've tried another brand (then new Aisin), just to confirm my observations. Amsoil ATF as a first drain&fill was a reason why both cars needed a new valve body, btw. Both shifted perfectly prior the fill, then literally died in days. I don't care what others say if my "butt dyno" disagrees. My butt feeling is a very important, well calibrated sensor to me. And it says OE is the best ATF for all AW55 I have/had, and it lasts the longest.

    Maybe the situation is different if transmission received fresh ATF every 30k km - I don't know, the "youngest" one I got was with 80k miles, ATF first time replaced at 70k.

    Spent a part of my life in Europe... Have you been in BMW dealership in Europe? Half of technicians are replacing failed engines, because of crappy engines running on crappy oil for insanely long intervals. Failed engines were everywhere, like a dust. They often don't make it even to 50k km. I personally won't trust anything BMW says regarding fluids.

    4oz of HFM is $4, 8 liters of OE is $120. $4 experiment is worth trying if I have to change ATF yet again, right? Out of my experiments, I can tell that HFM does help, I may even try a cheaper substitution plus HFM next time.
    2002 V70 (sold)
    2005 XC70 (Telos Road took it. Did a chassis swap)
    2016 XC60

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtl View Post
    ...Amsoil ATF as a first drain&fill was a reason why both cars needed a new valve body, btw. Both shifted perfectly prior the fill, then literally died in days.
    Do you have a theory why Amsoil ATF trashed your VBs?
    2002 V70XC
    130,000 miles

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xfingers View Post
    Do you have a theory why Amsoil ATF trashed your VBs?
    Hydraulic shock: valve body was trained to work with worn thin fluid, I replaced it with a fresh thick one, TCM commanded to apply pressure as it would be with the thin fluid, new fluid reacted quicker, pressure surge tore VB gasket. Also it could that the first VB (V70's was dirty) was unclogged in non-critical part of some passage and the clot was floating inside until it clogged something critical. Amsoil ATF cleans well, first few drains were very dirty.

    VB in XC70 was mostly clean, I think it's pressure surge killed it. I tried to replace just linear solenoids in V70, it did not help, so the broken gasket. New Sonnax VB cured both transmissions.

    Nothing really wrong with Amsoil ATF per se, it's just how it was applied: old worn VB, no full adaptation reset prior change. Since then I never do a full ATF replacement when switching ATF brands. Drain&fill 3.5qt, drive for a week, repeat.
    2002 V70 (sold)
    2005 XC70 (Telos Road took it. Did a chassis swap)
    2016 XC60

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