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Old 07-25-2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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Is all ATF +4 synthetic?

Hey guys. This was inspired by bowtieguy's thread here: http://www.gassavers.org/showthread.php?t=12182

Instead of his question, I have a few minor concerns regarding the use of Valvoline's ATF +4 in my '99 Stratus.

http://www.valvoline.com/products/co...ssion-fluid/32

The Stratus has a 41TE transmission and probably came with ATF +3, I believe, but not sure. That is, unless all Stratus' models by that year were incorporating ATF +4, but I don't know what year that type of ATF came out?

I may have been the only person to service the transmission on this car(which was a filter change/fluid top off with "ATF+4", a store brand version at around 95k), so it at the very least has a marginal amount 'newer' ATF fluid and currently has over 100k on the majority of the ATF currently in the system.

I was thinking of using the Valvoline product. Amongst its claims is: Officially licensed and Chrysler approved.

Specs:

http://www.valvoline.com/pdf/Valvoline_ATFplus4.pdf

Thoughts of doing a 'mini' flush; simply allowing the cooler line to drain and add new fluid as needed until all is new fluid/have gone through the total number of Quarts called for, and that way replace all of the fluid myself for about $80(fluid, filter, gasket)?

I'm having some symptoms of RPM drop entering 4th gear and I'm suspecting the torque converter.

ADDED:

Found this http://www.centerforqa.com/
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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I know ATF+4 was around by 2001...that's the year I picked up an '89 Dodge Caravan, with the first electronic controlled transmission (and what an ordeal THAT was!). I spent a lot of time researching how to make these transmissions work. That was the recommended ATF. Like other types of ATF, they are backward-compatible.
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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Yes, the ATF+4 is synthetic and backwards compatible with the ATF+3.

If you put any other fluid in there you will have trouble with the tranny.

The Valvoline ATF+4 is good and cheaper than the Mopar brand the last time I bought it anyway.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:12 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I went ahead and ordered the Wix tranny filter kit:

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...3230&ppt=C0073

It appears to come with a new o-ring, I also ordered the Fel-Pro gasket(which apparently I may not need as the Wix kit looks to include one according to the picture...ugh wasted $5.99 lol):

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...3233&ppt=C0073

...both from O-Reilly locally for about $18 in total.

They also sell the Valvoline ATF+4 for $5.99/Q. So, I figure since my car calls for 9.2q on a complete refill(4.2 on a pan drop/top off), I can buy 10 Quarts and do the 'flush' via the method described below:

Link location:

http://www.allpar.com/eek/atf.html

Quote:
While it's much better for the transmission to change the fluid using the method in [the above] article than it is not to change the fluid at all, this method only replaces about half of the fluid in the transmission. The best thing to do is to change out ALL of the fluid, and this is also something a person can do themselves.

First, drain the fluid from the pan, just like you would using Mr. Macfairlane's procedure. Once you've replaced the filter, the pan gasket, and reinstalled the pan, you're ready for the next step.

Fill the transmission to the proper level using the proper type of transmission fluid. Then disconnect the return transmission line (the line in which transmission fluid flows from the transmission cooler back to the transmission), located near the bottom of the radiator. There's two transmission lines connected in this location, and the bottom line is usually the return line. Once the line has been disconnected, attach a clear piece of tubing to the transmission cooler, the same diameter as the transmission line, approximately 5-6 feet long, using the transmission line clamp to secure it.

Place the unattached end of the clear tube in a plastic, one gallon milk container and place it where it can be seen (like not under the car).

For the next portion of the procedure, make sure that the parking brake is set prior to continuing. Start the engine. The transmission needs to be put into "Drive" so the torque converter fluid is changed as well. Some transmissions will only circulate fluid through the torque converter only in drive. This especially applies to the electronically controlled transmissions. [Craig Sherman noted that Drive is needed for most transmissions, based on technical manuals]

After approximately 4 to 5 quarts (obviously, if it's more than 4 quarts, you'll have to turn of the engine, and fetch another milk jug) of fluid have been pumped out, you should notice a change in the color of the fluid. It should go from a brownish red color, to a bright pinkish red color. When this happens, all of the old fluid has been replaced with new fluid.

Be careful not to overfill the tranny during this procedure.

When completed, reconnect the transmission return line to the transmission cooler. Check the fluid level as you normally would, and add fluid as required.

This fluid change method is twice as good for your transmission as the method of only changing out half of the fluid is.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:14 PM   #5
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ATF+4 works when ATF+3 is specified, and is synthetic. It will work better, in fact. How many miles on the '89 Caravan? That may tell you more.

You will do better to do a proper transmission service to flush the tranny and change ALL the fluid, filter & gasket all at the same time. Costs a little more but is well worth it, and may help fix the torque converter issues depending on what is actually wrong with it. The method you cite will leave about 10-15% of original fluid in the vehicle. This is one thing I leave to the pros, personally.

Dodge transmissions are notorious on that vehicle for being pieces of junk, and Dodge knew it. I had my '97 rebuilt by a former Dodge employee of 30 years and it worked better than the original.
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Old 07-25-2010, 04:27 PM   #6
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The car I have was a "dealer owned" car during its first 25k or so. I may be able to pull their service records from the local dealer, from there my sister had it. She drove it until 89k when I purchased it, and its been almost 30k since I changed the filter/fluid @ 95k, and I believe my mechanic used O'Reilly's ATF +4. I know other store brands list '15k service interval'.

I'd rather do this myself this once for about $80 since its my 2nd car and not my daily driver. So, when it comes due again I'll know if what I did helped the symptoms or not, and could choose to just do it again this way. I'd definitely not want to flush the system with anything other than pressure generated from a general flow rate. Especially, am I fearful of running that 'backwards' flush, since I've heard bad things about cars like my Stratus that didn't get regular service intervals finally having a flush on this side of 100k without prior servicing.
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:00 PM   #7
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By the way, should I worry about applying any RTV sealant or any type of liquid sealant when re-installing the pan w/ new gasket?
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #8
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I am rather paranoid about automatic transmission care. In your situation I would change the filter and top off, then every 5,000 or 10,000 miles I'd drain and fill the transmission again, for a long time. This would replace most of the fluid gently, avoiding potentially shocking the system and breaking free any built-up crud. It may be a superstition, I don't know.
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Old 07-25-2010, 05:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
I am rather paranoid about automatic transmission care. In your situation I would change the filter and top off, then every 5,000 or 10,000 miles I'd drain and fill the transmission again, for a long time. This would replace most of the fluid gently, avoiding potentially shocking the system and breaking free any built-up crud. It may be a superstition, I don't know.
What do you think of the person that siphoned fluid out from the dipstick slowly? He claims to have gotten as much as 4 quarts or so. Its the 3rd 'tip' on the allpar site I linked above.

I'd rather do it that way, if I'm going to service it that often for 'a while'.
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Old 07-25-2010, 06:03 PM   #10
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There is an inexpensive electric pump that can do that job. However, is it possible to install a drain plug?

Also, I don't know if it's appropriate to exercise my level of paranoia and superstition.
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