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I had the exact same problem with maxlife, after I purchased my 2012 odyssey used at 60,000 miles i did 3 drain fills (not spilling a drop) in the first week to clean out the dark oil.
I used maxlife on my previous 2001 odyssey after the rebuilder of that flawed transmission said use nothing but maxlife.

Anyways the 3rd drain fill change I used DW1, as I suspect the transmission was running hotter on maxlife hence the smell in the interior.
The smell was gone...
Smelling it in my crosstour as well. With only 3.5 quarts of maxlife put in. Strangest thing. Didn't spill a drop either.
 

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I have not used ML in Honda but have used it in several other cars. The smell is always there for a few days after every flush, drain/fill, or top off but goes away in a few days. I would not let the initial smell deter me from using - it is great ATF!
 

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I have not used ML in Honda but have used it in several other cars. The smell is always there for a few days after every flush, drain/fill, or top off but goes away in a few days. I would not let the initial smell deter me from using - it is great ATF!
Good to hear.
 

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Several of us actually attached instrumentation to our Odysseys (my setup was bead K thermocouples attached to a multi-channel datalogger). Generally speaking, those of us who used MaxLife observed ATF temperatures that were the same as for Honda OEM ATF.

No matter how you look at it, at the end of the day it's still a 2.2-ton vehicle with a lot of horsepower transmitted through a not-so-large transaxle. ATF temps are purely a function of how hard you work the van, and what type of ATF cooling is installed.

Having used both Valvoline MaxLife ATF and AmSOil Signature Series ATF for probably a combined total of more than a couple hundred thousand miles on both vans, one item that strikes me is that both have a remarkably similar scent out of the bottle or jug...but I've never observed that "odor" in the cabin.

Right now I'm using Valvoline MaxLife ATF in our 2005 Altima 3.5SE. It works very well after multiple drains/refills to remove the old fill of Nissan Matic-K ATF (previous owner had not serviced the ATF, and it had 130,000+ miles on it when I purchased it, and the first drain was pretty dark).

As well, we are transitioning to Valvoline Import Multi-Vehicle ATF for our 2002 EX Ody as our stock of AmSOil ATF is now depleted. Have performed a single drain/refill already.

I stocked up on that Valvoline IMV ATF (synthetic) a while back as I could not pass up a fab deal at Advanced Auto Parts, many gallon jugs shipped for free to my door. Its viscosity numbers sit squarely between those listed for the AmSOil ATF and Honda ATF-Z1 (factory fill for Odysseys until 2011), so I am going to try it for the long term in our 2002 EX, which means for however long the old gal keeps running.

OF
 

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As always great data Odyfamily. I guess it's entirely possible even an unnoticed drop or two spilled while filling through the dipstick is what's causing the smell - on the crosstour. My 02 ody seaps from the bottom, so I always smell it, but turning the recirc on solves that problem too.
 

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I bet Honda had a few actual tribologists involved in the rollout of the ATs in '99, signing off on Z-1 as being just fine. We know how that worked out.
The difference is an independent blender like Molakule would rather blend a product that performance is the goal versus cost. Honda’s blenders we’re likely given a price point and had to do the best to stay within. that’s how you end up with a product like Z-1.
 
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