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Yeah it's funny how long research can take sometimes. And it costs a lot of money.... but it sure is interesting and fun ....

About MaxLife full synthetic ATF... For me I'm willing to sacrifice the "sometimes slightly imperfect shifts" for easy and cheap DIY transmission services to extend the life of the transmission.... For me Valvoline Maxlife ATF and Lubeguard Red fills that niche. I've used it on a 2003 Blazer, 2003 Corolla, 2006 Sienna, 2012 Odyssey 6 speed.... all with lubeguard red in hopes of improving shifts. And I believe it does help. There have been no major problems. But there may be slightly imperfect shifts at times.

I have ventured into redline D4 and D6. Good but expensive.

I'm totally willing to venture into Amsoil oil products... I have just not really started down that road at this point...
 

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Yeah it's funny how long research can take sometimes. And it costs a lot of money.... but it sure is interesting and fun ...
You're doing your own bit of it with the validation phase by using MaxLife in the long term on multiple vehicles. BTW, when you post the vehicle types, it actually can prove helpful to those who are looking for an answer with decent Google Fu at their disposal (like Kung Fu, but different). Thanks.

About MaxLife full synthetic ATF... For me I'm willing to sacrifice the "sometimes slightly imperfect shifts" for easy and cheap DIY transmission services to extend the life of the transmission.... For me Valvoline Maxlife ATF and Lubeguard Red fills that niche.
I've had the "sometimes slightly imperfect shifts" in Honda vehicles, namely Accords and Odysseys, when using the OEM Honda ATF, so it would seem that there just may not be much of a shift quality difference between Honda OEM ATF and Valvoline. To me, going the full synthetic route like you have is saving $$$, and if you are performing periodic drain/refills, you are getting ahead of the wear and longevity curves for your transmission.

I'm totally willing to venture into Amsoil oil products... I have just not really started down that road at this point...
I have not found a real performance difference between AmSOil and Valvoline ATF, and I've got a lot of miles on both. Given my once considerable stocks of AmSOil ATF are approaching depletion, I am now running my 2005 Altima and 2002 Odyssey on Valvoline ATF (right now mixed with AmSOil ATF due to a recent single drain/refill; no difference in shift quality). I'm using Idemitsu ATF's on our 2012 Civic and 2013 Corolla; Idemitsu is an OEM supplier, and you can find great web deals occasionally, and stock up.

Lubegard Red is in every single vehicle we own, at the mfgr. rec'd. concentration of about 1 ounce per quart of ATF.

OF
 

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The Maxlife has no Zinc the DW1 has lots, and vice versa for the phosphorous.

going to stick by my latest theory that a combination / alternating in drain fills between the two oils is the ideal situation.
One more comment to ticket. that patent said that zinc is associated with detergents while phosphate/ phosphite is associated with friction modification. I say this not to burst your bubble, but I'm pretty sure even though Maxlife does not use zinc as much or at all I'm pretty sure they have different detergents with a different metal or non-metal element. Or some other detergent altogether.
 

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One more comment to ticket. that patent said that zinc is associated with detergents while phosphate/ phosphite is associated with friction modification. I say this not to burst your bubble, but I'm pretty sure even though Maxlife does not use zinc as much or at all I'm pretty sure they have different detergents with a different metal or non-metal element. Or some other detergent altogether.
no worries, no bubble being popped...always looking for answers and appreciate the input.

The tribology experts at Honda, must have formulated the DW1 with more minerals for a reason.
not only is DW1 higher in zinc but also in magnesium, but both minerals are deficient in the Maxlife

does this allow for smoother shifting? or is it to keep the PH of the fluid balanced?

The "why" is what I am looking for, but its a rabbit hole for this mere mortal.

until a reasonable (hopefully scientific) explanation presents itself on the topic, I have stock of both fluids in the garage, and will alternate between them.
;)
 

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Here is your science answer... 😜👍👌
I found another article... and yes calcium and magnesium are associated with detergents which maxlife seems to use. Instead of using zinc in their detergents. So it's just using a different detergent. It's not associated with friction modifications. As far as I can tell.


Scroll down to the tables and it lists the elemental analysis and the supposed associations with functions.
 

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Here is your science answer... 😜👍👌
I found another article... and yes calcium and magnesium are associated with detergents which maxlife seems to use. Instead of using zinc in their detergents. So it's just using a different detergent. It's not associated with friction modifications. As far as I can tell.


Scroll down to the tables and it lists the elemental analysis and the supposed associations with functions.
Table 1 and 2 are fantastic in relation to ATF fluid.

Magnesium being a detergent is also used to maintain PH / alkalinity .
Phosphorous for anti corrosion / anti wear.
Zinc for anti wear / anti oxidant.

This answers a lot... the friction modifier question would require research / data.
Still...that's plenty enough for me to give it a rest.

Thanks for that.
 

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Also they add antioxidants as well to prevent the breakdown of the oil from the oxygenation. I read that somewhere but I forget where. I'm not sure exactly which are antioxidants.
 

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Also they add antioxidants as well to prevent the breakdown of the oil from the oxygenation. I read that somewhere but I forget where. I'm not sure exactly which are antioxidants.
Trying to make sense of Tables 3-5 and the PPM wear element concentration.
was the phosphorous worse or better?

This is pretty awesome they used data from buses, that endure pretty severe service life.
 

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I put this picture together for future reference and comparison.

Whether Phosphorus "disappears" from the ATF solution somehow (they mentioned via filtration), I'm not sure how that would implicate anything for friction modification since we don't know how the phosphate/phosphite friction modification works. With MoS2 in engines, it bonds to the metal supposedly. So you would think initially there would be higher MoS2 in ATF solution, and after adding it to the engine and running a few times it will bond to the surface and thus be less concentrated in solution. However, I'm not sure how the phosphate types work, whether they bond to the surfaces or form some type of layer. An initial decrease from 258 ppm to 221 ppm could indicate a "binding" to surfaces, and then later at 300k km at 233 some of it has "come off". Not sure. I'd be curious how Liqui Moly Ceratec could be studied in terms of how it forms a metal surface layer and measuring how fast it "comes off". It is interesting. When I first head the term friction modication in transmissions I did not immediately think of the same thing at what MoS2 does in terms of a protective layer, but OF said that's what they do. I'm not sure how different they are from a MoS2 type of product.
 

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Tech papers I've read long ago all agreed that bearing friction modifiers essentially build the protective layer you mention to prevent direct metal-to-metal contact (I think they use the term asperity-to-asperity). MoS2, WS2 and others all use for the most part the same mechanism, and it is not permanent by any means. These are distinct from clutch plate friction modifiers, which alter the static and kinetic friction coefficients between clutch frictions and steels, but do not build any sort of layer between contact surfaces. I had a pretty large paper from a Finnish PhD student addressing clutch friction tribology, and it changed my view on how this works (before, I thought those properties were solely due to the material properties of the clutch frictions and steels, and I assumed the ATF was only for heat exchange).

Magnesium sees quite a bit of use in the detergents industry. As I recall, I think it also sees a use in organometallic complexes to help maintain TBN (total base number) of lubricating oils. I don't know how it does that, just remember that the description made it sound like it does nothing in terms of other properties of the additives package put into a base hydraulic fluid stock until needed, acting like a "reservoir" to prevent a drop in TBN by organic and inorganic acids that accumulate in the crankcase of an operating engine.

Back to topic, the OP experiencing what appears to be flaring on shifts in his Odyssey. He wanted to know of an additive that might help this. Usually, an A/T is in trouble if this is happening with perfectly operating shift solenoids. My best recommendation would be to accomplish Honda's version of a "flush", which is not really a pressurized flush at all. They simply will use a case of ATF to perform multiple ATF drains/refills, with shifting of gears and TCC lockup in between events.

OF
 
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nj, the only ingredient that performs the additive activity acknowledged by the people at Lubegard is their wax ester component of Lubegard. Sperm oil is a wax ester, and was used for years to help maintain lubricant film properties and act as a heat exchange agent (I'm still reading on how this works, but I'll have to ask this question of the techs at my workplace who have a background in this engineering topic). Although my thinking is that Lubegard either harvests (plant based) or synthesizes this due to sperm oil unavailability, the end product has the same physical properties as sperm oil.

Fun fact: in the late 1970's sperm oil was not difficult to purchase for home workshop use.

I don't think using Lubegard would help a flaring issue. That is usually due to insufficient line pressure in a hydraulic control circuit in the transmission, or worn, thermally decomposed transmission fluid that was never changed, and thus lacks the lubricity to allow fluid power circuit control (solenoid-activated valves, in our case) to work properly.

Our Honda transmissions are weird beasts. For example, during an upshift from say first to second gear, first gear stays momentarily engaged as the second clutch is commanded to engagement, and for a brief moment both are simultaneously partially engaged as the first clutch is commanded to release, all of this managed by control of hydraulic fluid pressure via actuation (on or off) of multiple solenoid-activated valves, controlled by the PCM (i.e., commanded by firmware). If there is slight delay of valve opening or closing, this can affect shift quality. Anything that helps with lubrication film maintenance on these linearly-acting valves would assist their operation in controlling shifts, ergo help shift quality.

Honda does it this way to prevent the totally jarring shifts that would happen if, in the above example, first gear simply disengaged completely, and then second gear engaged. Buh-bam, rough shift. The Honda mechanism is strangely like feathering the clutch between shifting gears on a manual transmission.

OF
 

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I believe this is the chief wax ester (or one of the, or a typical, wax esters) in sperm whale oil. Cetyl Palmitate. I'm not sure where to find which wax ester Lubegard red protectant uses. Wax esters would not be terribly difficult to synthesize from various choices of reactants.

The listed components in the Lubegard Red SDS are:
  • Lubricating oils, refined, used ( cas 68476-77-7)
  • 1,3,4-Thiadiazole, 2,5-bis(octyldithio)-
  • Ethylbenzene
So I'm assuming the wax esters are contained in the "Lubricating oils, refined"? Unspecified due to patent?
 

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As an addition to the ATF MaxLife compatibility discussion:

I was going to use MaxLife ATF in my dad's 2007 Chevy Tahoe 4X4. However the dipstick says Dexron VI ATF as the correct fluid. Its the same transmission as in the 1996 Chevy 3.8L Camaro and the 2003 Chevy Blazer 4.3L: the 4L60E.

And I thought, at the time, that MaxLife ATF was not approved for Dexron VI. Have they changed their approvals/recommendations over the years? I would have totally used MaxLife ATF over Valvoline Dexron VI* approved ATF which costs more, had I known that. anyway, just a comment.
 

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nj, my guess is that the unspecified mix of refined lube oils (a euphemism for selected fractions) would be the carrier for the other miscible items, and the wax ester(s) would be included. Percentages? No idea, I'd guess trade secret.

Regarding 1,3,4-Thiadiazole, 2,5-bis(octyldithio)- , sulfur-based compounds like that are frequently used as clutch friction modifiers in hydraulic fluid additives to address clutch chatter on limited-slip differentials. Interesting. Had no idea this was in a bottle of LG Red. I missed that. Sometimes, in heat-distressed ATF with moisture present, these can end up decomposing where the disulfide bonds are reduced off to yield multiple fragments of the former molecule with sulfhydryl groups present, i.e., thiols. In short, this is why heat-distressed ATF can sometimes really smell bad.

So, this means LG Red possesses the wax esters with their beneficial lubricity properties for items including solenoid-activated valves, and what may be a friction modification compound added to the mix for wet clutches. Interesting. It might actually help the Jadog's flaring after shifting, though I would still first perform drains/refills to start with fresh ATF and see if the problem(s) still exist. He might not need LG Red if the problem is fixed.

Myself, I actually needed LG Red for three different vehicles, but I now choose to use it in everything, even the other three vehicles that did not exhibit any problems prior to me adding it to their transmission sumps.

I think Valvoline did change their approvals/recommendations listing a couple years ago, as they changed the industry-standard measured viscosities and viscosity indices of both MaxLife and their Multi-Vehicle Import ATF (also synthetic) to reflect the industry change towards high-efficiency ATF (i.e., lower viscosity). Now, I think the numbers for Valvoline MaxLife are more in line, or even "thinner" than ATF DW-1, and the Valvoline Multi-Vehicle Import ATF is closer to what Honda ATF-Z1 used to be.

Regarding use in the GM 4L60E, our own resident semi-pro mech and answerer of many tough forum questions, John Clark, did use MaxLife in his GM 4L60E. Shift quality on upshift (can't recall which gears) was negatively affected. Not too long after a complete changeout back to Dex VI, his GM 4L60E went back to its previously good shift habits.

There are a lot of positive reviews on this forum for MaxLife ATF, but once in a while there is a user experience like this. Knowing the above, however, if I were in your shoes I would stick with the Dexron VI for the GM 4L60E.

OF
 
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Discussion Starter #76
So I wanted to come back here to post my results. I did a drain and fill, then drive it a mile to allow it to shift through all the gears. For the first fill I used the MaxLife fluid because it is so much less money. For the second fill I used the last quart from the gallon of Max Life and two and a half more of Honda’s DW-1 fluid. I used the extra half because the level appeared low. I want to note that the original fluid was brownish colored and by the time I finished the second fill, the fluid was nice and pink. I think the additional half was a little too much because it showed slightly above the high mark when cold. I slowly drained a little out to bring the amount to the high mark when cold. I allowed a little to drip on a paper towel as it came out and noted that the color was exactly the same as some from the bottle I tested on the same piece of paper towel. I also want to report that the shuddering is now gone. It shifts perfectly. So my question is now do I actually need to flush it a third time?

I’m also struggling to get an accurate read on the dipstick. I drove it around the block again so I could test it hot, and this time the level appeared to fall below the low mark. I thought transmission fluid expands when hot and would be higher, not lower.
 

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Discussion Starter #78
That’s correct. But I didn’t want to drain too much out, so I left it a little high and checked it again after being warmed up.
 

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It also may require a little more driving than just a mile. You really have to get out on the highway at higher speeds to make sure the torque converter is locking up. That is why it is our usual recommendation around here for DYI to do the drain & fills on subsequent weekends. Fluid needs to move through every passage. Leaving it a week (or until the next oil change even) allows the fresh chemicals to do some scrubbing.

Besides just removing degraded fluid, the idea is to refresh the chemicals in the fluid. While color is a good seat of the pants measure, chemical testing is the only real way to know the fluid condition. Something none of us are equipped to do.

I would do another with the next oil change and then do normal drain & fills every 30k at least.
 
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