Auto trans fluid recommendations?

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Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby ChristianL » December 5th, 2009, 5:24 pm

Went to the Mazda dealer today to get new tires installed on the Mazda3 (bought the tires off Tire Rack, and a friend at the dealer installed them), and he mentioned the automatic trans fluid looked dirty. The car has 112k miles, so it probably is. Interestingly, Mazda tells you that you never have to disturb the automatic trans oil.

Anyway, I have to change the oil on the 3 soon anyway, and figured I'd change out the auto trans fluid while I'm down there. Any hot auto trans fluid recommendations out there? Otherwise, I'll just buy some name-brand stuff in the proper weight.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby 91BRG » December 5th, 2009, 7:39 pm

ChristianL wrote:Went to the Mazda dealer today to get new tires installed on the Mazda3 (bought the tires off Tire Rack, and a friend at the dealer installed them), and he mentioned the automatic trans fluid looked dirty. The car has 112k miles, so it probably is. Interestingly, Mazda tells you that you never have to disturb the automatic trans oil.

Anyway, I have to change the oil on the 3 soon anyway, and figured I'd change out the auto trans fluid while I'm down there. Any hot auto trans fluid recommendations out there? Otherwise, I'll just buy some name-brand stuff in the proper weight.


What is this automatic thing of which you speak?
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby bill_keksz » December 5th, 2009, 9:29 pm

ChristianL wrote:... Interestingly, Mazda tells you that you never have to disturb the automatic trans oil.
....

Fairly common on modern cars. This is, after all, the Third Millenium.
Why do you feel the urge to change it?
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby ChristianL » December 5th, 2009, 10:00 pm

bill_keksz wrote:
ChristianL wrote:... Interestingly, Mazda tells you that you never have to disturb the automatic trans oil.
....

Fairly common on modern cars. This is, after all, the Third Millenium.
Why do you feel the urge to change it?

The Mazda tech friend who mentioned it to me said it was looking brownish. We've been friends for a few years now, so while I haven't poked my head under the hood recently, I don't really see him as the type who would say that just to try and get a job out of it.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby bill_keksz » December 6th, 2009, 5:53 am

Well, if you must, I'd suggest whatever Mazda uses. Automatics can be finicky.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby prostwest » December 6th, 2009, 1:42 pm

bill_keksz wrote:I think the money is better spent on beer.


As is most money. I have to ask- will the transmission shift as crisply filled with beer?
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby bill_keksz » December 6th, 2009, 2:44 pm

Depends on how much is used.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby 91BRG » December 6th, 2009, 9:20 pm

I'd recommend a porter for the right level of viscosity without requiring seasonal changes.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby Sam Powell » December 20th, 2009, 11:32 am

You know Christian, this is the one thing you likely cannot do a good job of yourself. You can drop the pan, and drain it, but the torque converter still maintains a lot of fluid that stays and mixes back in with the new oil. If it were me, I would take it to the dealer and let them do a power flush. There is some controversy about this, but I have never had problems with it. There is some concern about creating leaks with new fluid. The other things is, Mazda fluid is the best thing for your Mazda tranny. It is supposedly all the same, but the manufacturer is careful to use fluids that are indeed compatible with their seals. I have found that for power steering fluid, and auto trannies, it is really better to use the dealer product, even if it is more.

Sorry if I was not too late with this advice.

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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby JULI » December 26th, 2009, 9:31 am

I just had this conversation this morning, the automatic transmissions should be flushed and fluid drained every 30,000 or 36 month. MAZDA leaves this out of the owners manual, that fluid gets pretty nasty at 25,000, however, here's the catch, if the car has never had a FLUSH or transmission service at 30,000 miles.
DO NOT flush the system, just do a drain and fill..

DO NOT touch the transmission pan to drain the fluid, if you have 4000.00 for a reman transmission, please
go right a head, drop the pan.. That is why there is a transmission drain plug, if I remember right I think it
takes an 11mm socket. If you do the drain and fill you need 4 qts
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby ChristianL » December 26th, 2009, 9:37 am

Oooh, VERY good to know!

Haven't done much more thinking about it recently, and it'll probably wait until it gets warm again. I just can't figure out why Mazda says absolutely nothing about it. A friend of mine at work with a 3 was asking me about it a few months ago, and I was shocked to look through the manual and not see anything about it.

Anyway, our 3 just got treated to new tires, and I'm picking up a new battery for it today (OEM lasted 4.5 years), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's good to go until I can change the oil again soon.

Thanks again for the info!
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby prostwest » December 26th, 2009, 10:05 am

Neither the Factory service manual nor the glovebox maintenance schedule on our Escort proffered any recommendation for timing belt change. There was a 60k interval for the 1.8, but not word one about changing the 1.9 rubber. This oversight did not prevent the belt from failing, leaving us stranded on vacation both at 30 and 70 thousand miles.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby JULI » December 26th, 2009, 10:25 am

MAZDA doesn't put it in the owners manual.. THE ONLY time owners read the manual is FOR is it covered and the all time number one reason , I'm going to prove that the dealership's service department are blood sucking, overpriced VAMPIRES of my wallet... Trust me, I have consumed lots of Mark and Gingers and
Makers Mark straight over this..

Why MAZDA doesn't stick it in the owners manual is beyond me, I have asked field technicians, field
engineers and Mazda's engineers in California, about this, I think this was the ONLY reasonable answer.
MAZDA targets the tech savy 25-45 customers, so if a MAZDA technician is showing the customer their
transmission fluid is black as tar, maybe you should change the fluid. Tech savy people with college educations seem to do things when told.. in theory..

On the flip side of the coin, say you don't change it, still in warranty, transmission goes into internal failure
and the first thing MAZDA asks, "whats the condition of the transmission fluid?".. or whats the maintance
history.. no transmission service, no reman 3500.00 transmission put on the vehicle under warranty.
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby ChristianL » December 26th, 2009, 1:48 pm

So the bottom line is that with this odd assortment of planets aligning, the safe thing at this point is to have the Mazda dealer do it?

Geez Julie, why the heck did you have to go all the way to Dundalk? I got all excited when I knew you were 15 minutes away. :mrgreen:
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby bill_keksz » December 26th, 2009, 9:26 pm

JULI wrote:I just had this conversation this morning, the automatic transmissions should be flushed and fluid drained every 30,000 or 36 month. MAZDA leaves this out of the owners manual, that fluid gets pretty nasty at 25,000, however, here's the catch, if the car has never had a FLUSH or transmission service at 30,000 miles.
DO NOT flush the system, just do a drain and fill.. ...


So - If you don't flush at 30K, you should never flush?
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby 91BRG » December 26th, 2009, 10:01 pm

bill_keksz wrote:
JULI wrote:I just had this conversation this morning, the automatic transmissions should be flushed and fluid drained every 30,000 or 36 month. MAZDA leaves this out of the owners manual, that fluid gets pretty nasty at 25,000, however, here's the catch, if the car has never had a FLUSH or transmission service at 30,000 miles.
DO NOT flush the system, just do a drain and fill.. ...


So - If you don't flush at 30K, you should never flush?

I thought the rule was 'if it's brown flush it down" :shock: Seriously, is the issue that any gummy/gunky bonding that has occurred after 30k without a change would be disturbed (along with anything it might be preserving with its sludginess) by a FLUSH rather than a drain/swap, so best to leave it be?
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby Sam Powell » December 26th, 2009, 10:53 pm

Thanks for the warning Juli. It is nice to have inside info. I did say it was somewhat controversial did I not? I have heard this kind of thing before, and I have heard both sides of the story. Don;t flush after so many miles or stuff comes; loose leaks, etc. I have also heard tranny experts say this is not true.

Juli's contention sounds reasonable, but it seems like this kind of thing would be hard to keep a secret this long. The bottom line is, if in doubt, it is certainly safe to drain and fill. Maybe do it a little more often to get the oil changed out of the torque converter over a period of time. I guess if you do not know the history of the tranny or car, you are likely best to do just the drain and fill. Now, that is something you can do yourself. I am still a fan of using the manufacturer's fluid though. Any other thoughts on this? Anybody ruined a tranny by doing a power flush?

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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby Sam Powell » December 28th, 2009, 7:50 am

I have started a thread on Miata.net's automatic tranny section about this. I took no stand, but simply reported what has been said here. I wanted a broader feedback on this issue, since I drive an auto Miata, and want to get more response on the subject. I will likely take it to a local, private specialist who does only transmissions when I have it serviced.

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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby REDFUN » December 28th, 2009, 9:38 am

For what it's worth: I change the fluid on the mini van every 20,000 mile. Just a drain and fill. Three quarts of store brand. Been good so far with 134,000 on the clock.

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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby JULI » December 28th, 2009, 12:32 pm

91BRG wrote:
bill_keksz wrote:
JULI wrote:I just had this conversation this morning, the automatic transmissions should be flushed and fluid drained every 30,000 or 36 month. MAZDA leaves this out of the owners manual, that fluid gets pretty nasty at 25,000, however, here's the catch, if the car has never had a FLUSH or transmission service at 30,000 miles.
DO NOT flush the system, just do a drain and fill.. ...


So - If you don't flush at 30K, you should never flush?

I thought the rule was 'if it's brown flush it down" :shock: Seriously, is the issue that any gummy/gunky bonding that has occurred after 30k without a change would be disturbed (along with anything it might be preserving with its sludginess) by a FLUSH rather than a drain/swap, so best to leave it be?


Okay this is the rule of thumb with 95% of most MAZDA dealers on ANY type of MAZDA, over the automatic
transmissions and their fluid. MAZDA put out a TSB about 6 months ago about the FLUSHING and FLUSHING
ANY COMPONENT on the vehicle, TRANSMISSIONS, BRAKES, POWER STEERING, ENGINES, they don't recommend it, drain and fills only. This came out when the whole issue over the MAZDA 3 and MAZDA5 power steering pump and lines failure. A lot of dealerships were recommending powersteering flushes, OURISMAN being one of them, customers being hit at 22,000 miles to flush a powersteering system, another
item that is NOT mentioned in the OWNERS MANUAL...
SO here's the SAFE rule of thumb on AUTOMATIC tranmissions, if the fluid looks funny black or really dark brown, 25,000 to 35,000 its okay to flush it, providing that the service facility is using the correct fluid and
the machine that they are using doesn't contaminate (ie. Toyota dealership doing transmission service on a
Hyundia Elantra). After 45,000 miles if the system has NEVER been changed then go to drain and fill.
If you are going to do the transmission, also think about the rear differential, that is a drain and fill
as well, and just as important. 8)
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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby Sam Powell » December 29th, 2009, 8:37 am

Thanks Juli, And if you don't know the history of an older, higher mileage vehicle, I guess it is better to be safe than sorry. I feel like printing up your post and taking it to my service guy so he can see it in writing.

One thing I was curious about though: earlier in this, or another thread on this topic, it was suggested that , on a high mileage car that has never had the fluid changed, taking the pan down to clean the filter was a bad move as well. It seems like this should not disturb things the way a power flush would. Is this also a part of the no-no for servicing an older tranny. It seems if the filter gets clogged you could be in bigger trouble.

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Re: Auto trans fluid recommendations?

Postby JULI » December 29th, 2009, 4:39 pm

Sam Powell wrote:One thing I was curious about though: earlier in this, or another thread on this topic, it was suggested that , on a high mileage car that has never had the fluid changed, taking the pan down to clean the filter was a bad move as well. It seems like this should not disturb things the way a power flush would. Is this also a part of the no-no for servicing an older tranny. It seems if the filter gets clogged you could be in bigger trouble.

Sam


This is why I'm against this, I have seen many of transmission gaskets on reseal jobs go bad or really wrong.
If you plan to do this, take the car to a DEALER, not a backyard or shadetree mechanic, WHY? DEALERSHIPS have special tooling from the manufacture, that really costs $250,000 to $500,000 to do this when things go wrong. The average shop can't do it. If you can afford to lose a transmission please go for it, the new transmissions are pretty much sealed units, the pans really not dropped, cleaned and resealed.
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