Synthetic transmission fluid?

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Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby cohoskip - September 17th, 2011, 4:46 pm

The manual says to use only the specified transmission fluid. I am a fan of Mobil 1 transmission fluid. Would this cause problems or void the warranty?
Can it be mixed with the original fluid?
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby slavrenz - September 17th, 2011, 10:36 pm

The Ford Mercon MV is synthetic. I dunno, I suppose you could use Mobil 1, but why take the risk? It's no cheaper, and I am personally not a fan of the "one size fits all" tranny fluids, as I have known some to cause problems.

If you had a transmission problem, and it was discovered that you used Mobil 1 fluid, I think there is a high possibility that your tranny warranty would be voided.
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby mreed2483 - September 18th, 2011, 9:15 am

As long as the fluid you're using meets or exceeds the requirements of specified for your vehicle it will not affect your warranty.It can not be held against you so long as you follow the regularly scheduled maintenance plan and can provide proof that the maintenance was kept up. You can always call the dealership and ask either parts or a service tech about it or even call the number for your warranty if you have it and ask them. If it requires Mercon V and you use a lesser grade then it would affect you, but if you use Mercon V and it requires a lesser grade it will not affect you because Mercon V is backward compatible and supersedes regular Mercon standards. This is the same for any type of lubricant, coolant and what have you. Use the required or greater and you'll be fine.
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby cohoskip - September 18th, 2011, 12:34 pm

Thanks, I didn't realize that Mercon MV is synthetic So, that's what I shall use...
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby slavrenz - September 18th, 2011, 3:52 pm

mreed2483 wrote:As long as the fluid you're using meets or exceeds the requirements of specified for your vehicle it will not affect your warranty.It can not be held against you so long as you follow the regularly scheduled maintenance plan and can provide proof that the maintenance was kept up. You can always call the dealership and ask either parts or a service tech about it or even call the number for your warranty if you have it and ask them. If it requires Mercon V and you use a lesser grade then it would affect you, but if you use Mercon V and it requires a lesser grade it will not affect you because Mercon V is backward compatible and supersedes regular Mercon standards. This is the same for any type of lubricant, coolant and what have you. Use the required or greater and you'll be fine.


Sorry, I meant Mercon LV, not MV. The thing is, is that Mercon LV is not like Mercon V - it's a brand new formulation from Ford, and it has not yet been shown to have the same characteristics of backwards compatibility as something more generic like Mercon V. If you had a transmission failure and you told the dealer that you used a non-Ford fluid, like it or not, most dealers are going to void your warranty based on that fact. You may technically be in the right, but that's just the way it is.

Tranny fluid is not like Motor Oil - there is no universal certification process (yet), so while a company like Mobil 1 can say that their fluids meet OEM specs (which, I haven't actually seen any universal fluids yet that claim to meet the Mercon LV spec), in many transmissions, the OEM fluid will perform noticeably better.

What matters more than synthetic vs. non-synthetic is that you change the fluid regularly (e.g., every 30k miles).
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby mreed2483 - September 18th, 2011, 4:36 pm

http://www.imakenews.com/lng/e_article0 ... ?x=b11,0,w
Good article about Mercon LV.

Mercon LV and Mercon V are not interchangeable is correct and true statement. The dealership can not void your warranty because you did not use "Ford" Mercon LV unless they can prove the fluid you used directly caused the problem should a problem arise. Please refer to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. As long as the fluid you use is equal to or better than the required fluid than you can use that fluid. By this I mean that if you use ATF made by Oil Maker ABC and said ATF is Mercon LV compatible or Mercon LV equivalent than you can use that fluid without fear of voiding warranty. The fluid you use must meet Mercon LV standards. For example: AmsOil makes Synthetic Fuel Efficient Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATL) which is " recommended for automatic transmissions and other applications requiring DEXRON® VI, MERCON® LV, SP or Toyota WS."

If you look at Mercon LV (Ford) specs: http://www.fcsdchemicalsandlubricants.c ... N%20LV.pdf

versus AmsOil ATL specs (at bottom of page): http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/atl.aspx

you will see that they are very similar. Again as long as it is the right TYPE of fluid it doesn't matter the brand. This is not exclusive to motor oil. If you use Mercon V or equivalent made by AmsOil, Valvoline, Mobile 1, etc. your warranty can and will be voided due to failure to use the appropriate fluid if your vehicle requires Mercon LV.
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby mreed2483 - September 18th, 2011, 4:44 pm

As far as mixing the original Mercon LV with the Mobile 1 fluid yes you can, but be advised that it may affect the drain interval and stated protective properties of the Mobile 1 as it is not pure Mobile 1 it is now a mix of "Ford" Mercon LV and Mobile 1. This being said if Mobile 1 states you can go 200k miles between changes using their fluid, but Ford says you can go 150K miles with theirs the drain interval for Mobile 1 is compromised due to mixing of fluids. If you do go this route I would suggest to default to the Ford suggested drain intervals whether you use Mobile 1, AmsOil, Red Line, etc. Also, the Mercon LV is a 150K mile fluid in "normal conditions" so why change it if you don't have to?
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby slavrenz - September 18th, 2011, 6:31 pm

mreed2483 wrote:http://www.imakenews.com/lng/e_article000801818.cfm?x=b11,0,w
Good article about Mercon LV.

Mercon LV and Mercon V are not interchangeable is correct and true statement. The dealership can not void your warranty because you did not use "Ford" Mercon LV unless they can prove the fluid you used directly caused the problem should a problem arise. Please refer to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. As long as the fluid you use is equal to or better than the required fluid than you can use that fluid. By this I mean that if you use ATF made by Oil Maker ABC and said ATF is Mercon LV compatible or Mercon LV equivalent than you can use that fluid without fear of voiding warranty. The fluid you use must meet Mercon LV standards. For example: AmsOil makes Synthetic Fuel Efficient Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATL) which is " recommended for automatic transmissions and other applications requiring DEXRON® VI, MERCON® LV, SP or Toyota WS."

If you look at Mercon LV (Ford) specs: http://www.fcsdchemicalsandlubricants.c ... N%20LV.pdf

versus AmsOil ATL specs (at bottom of page): http://www.amsoil.com/storefront/atl.aspx

you will see that they are very similar. Again as long as it is the right TYPE of fluid it doesn't matter the brand. This is not exclusive to motor oil. If you use Mercon V or equivalent made by AmsOil, Valvoline, Mobile 1, etc. your warranty can and will be voided due to failure to use the appropriate fluid if your vehicle requires Mercon LV.


mreed,

You bring up some good points, but I would like to rebut a few. As far as voiding the warranty, I can almost guarantee that if you go to a dealer with a burned-up transmission and tell them that you used non-Ford fluid (it does not matter if it "should" work or not), they are going to void the warranty. The burden will be on you to prove that it didn't break the tranny. It may not be right or fair, but that is the harsh reality of most dealers and automakers. The only way I could see you getting around it is by either lucking out with an incredibly understanding dealer, or getting the tranny fluid company to go to bat for you. Automatic transmissions are fragile creatures, and most people will be quick to blame a failure on anything that isn't specifically OEM-approved.

As far as the statement about it not mattering what brand of fluid you use, I'm afraid that this is not entirely true. Honda transmissions are a good example - I have anecdotal evidence, both first- and second-hand, of many Honda trannies shifting weird or not performing well when generic fluids that "meet the OEM specs" are substituted for the OEM fluid. Again, it may not be right, but the fact is that there is no universal licensing agency for tranny fluid like there is for motor oil (I am talking about the API). While many non-API approved motor oils may work just fine (Amsoil is a good example), it's not a risk I am willing to take with tranny fluid, especially since no tranny fluid can be certified by anyone other than the company who makes it to begin with - conflict of interest, anyone?

Finally, regarding your next post about fluid change intervals, no automaker that I am currently aware of recommends 30k mile fluid changes - you are right about that. But unlike motor oil, the darkening of transmission fluid is indeed an indication of wear. If you let any vehicle go for 150k and change the tranny fluid, you're going to be hard-pressed to find one whose fluid isn't black or at least brown. In my opinion, most automakers (Ford included) aren't concerned about having your car make it to 300k miles or more - thus, there hasn't been a big push to mandate more frequent tranny fluid change intervals. Their thinking is that a car can go 150k without changing the tranny fluid (but probably not much longer). This contrasts with motor oil, which if you leave it in an engine for more than 15k miles or so, it's going to cause damage. It's the same deal with things like brake fluid changes - the manual doesn't specify it, but if you're aiming for maximum longevity, it's something that should still be done routinely.

Again, I appreciate the research that you've put into your posts. I suppose I do err on the side of caution when it comes to transmission fluid. But again, given that the Mercon LV is synthetic, and costs about the same as Amsoil or Mobil 1, why would you want to change to a non-OEM brand?
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby mreed2483 - September 18th, 2011, 8:32 pm

slavrenz,

The drain intervals I stated where as an example only to illustrate that mixing fluids does not retain the touted capabilities of the new fluid as the fluids are now mixed and it is not a pure fluid install, but I do believe that the Mercon LV is supposed to be a 150K fluid per Ford. As far as flush/drain of ATF I would do it every 30-60K or as recommended by the manual. Your reference about dark fluid equaling dirty fluid is not entirely correct though. Mercon V will become dark before it needs to be changed due to the properties of the fluid. There is a TSB that explains about it but I'm having a hard time finding it right now even though I've come across it before. I think I can't find it because I'm looking for it, whereas all the other times I came across it I wasn't looking for it. :doh: I believe it may even be somewhere within the vast expanse of this forum somewhere as well.

I do agree that the dealer would try to find any reason to void your warranty so that you have to pay them and I agree it's not right. I was merely stating that per the Magnuson-Moss Act the dealer would have to prove that the aftermarket fluid caused the issue. Granted I'm sure they could easily do it, but just passing on information as I see it. I also agree that if the fluid doesn't need to be changed then don't do it just to do it. When it needs to be changed and you want to use something else then use what you want for the change.

I know AmsOil has a warranty and they are supposed, key word supposed, to back you up if there is an issue with using one of their fluids. I believe it's something along the lines of if their fluid caused the problem they will pay to have it fixed and if it wasn't the fluid and the deal doesn't honor the warranty they will help you fight it. I believe there is at least one other company that is doing this as well. Yes I use AmsOil, but I do not rely on this nor is this the reason I use it. Also, the ATF in our Escape is ford ATF and not AmsOil, however the motor oil, trans axel and differential are AmsOil. Though I am a loyal AmsOil user I am not one of those high and mighty people that swears that their brand is the be all end all.

If more people could have a civilized debate/conversation such as this about things I believe the world would be a much better place. Also, I would like to thank you for being respectful, mature and open minded about this in stead of doing what some do and "flame" on the other person. To you sir/ma'am I tip my hat.
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Re: Synthetic transmission fluid?

Postby mreed2483 - September 18th, 2011, 8:51 pm

Correction Mercon LV had a special service message about its color not Mercon V. Here is the service message:

SPECIAL SERVICE MESSAGES
21138 AUTO TRANS - MERCON LV FLUID COLOR
SOME 2008-2010 VEHICLES, EQUIPPED WITH AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FACTORY FILLED WITH MERCON LV FLUID (PART # XT-10-
QLV), MAY EXHIBIT DARK COLORED TRANS FLUID THAT MAY LOOK BURNT IN APPEARANCE. THIS IS A NORMAL
CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS FLUID AND WILL NOT AFFECT TRANSMISSION FUNCTION OR DURABILITY. THE MERCON LV FLUID IS A
DEEP RED COLOR, COMPARED TO CONVENTIONAL MERCON V BRIGHT RED FLUID, AND THE COLOR NATURALLY DARKENS AT
RELATIVELY LOW MILEAGE. IN SOME CASES, THE FLUID MAY APPEAR TO HAVE A GREEN TINT DUE TO DYE USED TO CHECK FOR
LEAKS AT THE ASSEMBLY PLANT. TRANS FLUID COLOR SHOULD NOT BE USED AS SOLE INDICATOR FOR TRANSMISSION REPAIRS.
REFER TO THE CORRECT VEHICLE AND MODEL YEAR WORKSHOP MANUAL AND/OR MAINTENANCE GUIDE FOR DIAGNOSTICS,
REPAIRS, AND/OR SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 12/08/2009
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