2021 Chevy Equinox ATF at 35K miles

JTK

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I did a series of spill and fills today on my new to me Equinox LT AWD with the 1.5T and 6T40 transmission. I've done a lot of transmission fluid changes in my day and this might be the worst looking factory fluid I've seen. It didn't smell bad at all and luckily had no forbidden glitter in it. Obviously it would have been more effective to do a cooler line-off fluid exchange, but access to the jiffy-tights was a battle I didn't want to fight. Drain/fills are super simple on these GM products anyway. I've been using Castrol Transmax universal ATF/CVT fluid in my GMs for a year or two with success, so that's what went back in. I also replaced the transmission drain plug with a votex magnetic plug.

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Does this Car have an External Trans Cooler?
Can you tell or do you know what your Trans Fluid Temps are?
 
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Wow yeah a little grungy. Surprised for low mileage. Maybe from initial wear/break in?

Whats your plans going forward for exchange? Every or every-other OCI until a condition you feel is acceptable?
 
I did a series of spill and fills today on my new to me Equinox LT AWD with the 1.5T and 6T40 transmission. I've done a lot of transmission fluid changes in my day and this might be the worst looking factory fluid I've seen. It didn't smell bad at all and luckily had no forbidden glitter in it. Obviously it would have been more effective to do a cooler line-off fluid exchange, but access to the jiffy-tights was a battle I didn't want to fight. Drain/fills are super simple on these GM products anyway. I've been using Castrol Transmax universal ATF/CVT fluid in my GMs for a year or two with success, so that's what went back in. I also replaced the transmission drain plug with a votex magnetic plug.

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That's some black atf.......
Wowzers
 
Does this Car have an External Trans Cooler?
Can you tell or do you know what your Trans Fluid Temps are?
Best I can tell, I has an in-radiator cooler only. I must have the base level instrumentation as the DIC doesn't show any fluid temperatures.
 
Wow yeah a little grungy. Surprised for low mileage. Maybe from initial wear/break in?

Whats your plans going forward for exchange? Every or every-other OCI until a condition you feel is acceptable?

I will do another drain/fill in a week or three, then one every year or so. These transaxles have no pan to drop and no easy access to the rock catcher, magnets or internal cartridge filter.
 
very similar to how the accord in my signature looked. i did a double drain and fill 2k miles apart then on the last fill i pumped out the cooler lines until new fluid came out. added an external filter (FL1a) sized and an external cooler. transmission temps used to be 185-200 going down the road, now it hovers around 150-160. might be worth adding a external cooler if you plan on keeping the car long term.
 
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There was a TSB from GM a few years ago about that tranny and unusually black trans fluid at first change. It was something about manufacturing and no impact on life expectancy, etc. I remember the same situation when changing the fluid on my sisters Cruze for the first time. The bulletin made sense to me when I read it because like you, I was just totally taken aback at how black the fluid was vis a vis the mileage.
 
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The other anomaly I discovered while under the Equinox, was oil looks like it's seeping out of the turbo compressor discharge, where the inlet pipe to the charge air cooler clamps to the turbo. The a/c compressor that sits directly below that area is covered in grimy oil. There's no drips to the ground. Just evidence of seepage. The fresh air side of the PCV system looks like it's tied in basically right at the turbo inlet, so I wonder if instances of blowby, put oil mist right into the turbo compressor. Oh that pesky General..
 
Are they using black shoe polish as assembly lube? Dex VI is supposed to be a Grp III base you wouldn't think it's oxidizing that quickly. To answer your question about temps grab a cheap laser temp gun (15 bucks) should be a good indicator.

This bulletin from 10 years ago says dark fluid color due to rust inhibitors on parts in transmission.
Not something I've ever encountered. Some of these are built in Korea and China so a long period of storage/transport to the assembly plant perhaps.
 
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I believe GM and Ford Jointly designed these FWD transmissions for their SUV's. We have a 2017 2.3 EB Explorer, bought new, with Fords 6F35 transmission. The initial ATF change is listed at 150,000. I did the initial change at 12,000 miles The factory Mercon LV was totally black with silver swirls. I changed it again at 22,000 miles and again at 32,000 miles with Mercon LV. The ATF fluid went from being black with silver swirls to a dark gray without the silver swirls. I did further D&F's with Castrol Transmax licensed for Dexron VI and Mercon LV at 20,000 to 27,000 mile intervals. It's much better looking but still a real dark red. It doesn't smell burned though. I'm going to stick to the approximate 25,000 mile range for drain and fills. Unfortunately Castrol seems to have dropped the licensed Dexron VI and Mercon LV synthetic ATF for a generic ATF/CVT that is not licensed for Dexron VI or Mercon LV and is a greater viscosity. The transmission shifts real well and it's easy to do D&F's since there is no pan to drop. Unfortunately the Explorer is a heavier vehicle with decent power and the 6F35 transmission is a lighter duty transmission, all the more reason to service the ATF sooner than later.
 
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there has been talk that the factory fill in transmission has additives in it that make it dark , every report i have heard , of a drain out of th is transmission is that it comes out freakishly black for a tranny oil , i wouldnt be too concerned , mine came out similiar when i did mine drain
 
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I did a series of spill and fills today on my new to me Equinox LT AWD with the 1.5T and 6T40 transmission. I've done a lot of transmission fluid changes in my day and this might be the worst looking factory fluid I've seen. It didn't smell bad at all and luckily had no forbidden glitter in it. Obviously it would have been more effective to do a cooler line-off fluid exchange, but access to the jiffy-tights was a battle I didn't want to fight. Drain/fills are super simple on these GM products anyway. I've been using Castrol Transmax universal ATF/CVT fluid in my GMs for a year or two with success, so that's what went back in. I also replaced the transmission drain plug with a votex magnetic plug.

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My wife's 2021 Equinox looked just like this at 30.000 miles. Had full exchange done with Valvoline Maxlife. At 70,000 had 15 quarts of Valvoline Maxlife run through on exchange it was coming out better but still not bright red. Owners manual says change fluid 45,000 miles severe driving. Transmission seems O.K. so far.
 
The GM 6T40 best the snot out of trans fluid. Oh my Malibu I had to do 3 D&F just to get it pour out Red again . I’ve been doing Yearly D&F from then on .
 
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Looking at the design of that transmission there's no obvious reason it should stress atf any more than any other converter / planetary automatic. As a matter of fact these 6, 8, 9, 10 speed automatics have so much ratio coverage they don't need to run in converter (heat generating) mode as much as the older designs. Also smaller ratio steps allow gear change with less clutch slip (another heat generation source). Plus Dexron VI is a Group III base improved over previous generations of atf. I'd be inclined to believe the fluid color change is from something other than oxidation. Of course oil analysis would be the most credible way to decide this.
 
Looking at the design of that transmission there's no obvious reason it should stress atf any more than any other converter / planetary automatic. As a matter of fact these 6, 8, 9, 10 speed automatics have so much ratio coverage they don't need to run in converter (heat generating) mode as much as the older designs. Also smaller ratio steps allow gear change with less clutch slip (another heat generation source). Plus Dexron VI is a Group III base improved over previous generations of atf. I'd be inclined to believe the fluid color change is from something other than oxidation. Of course oil analysis would be the most credible way to decide this.
There’s no way of changing the filter unless you drop the trans that’s my main concern and seeing that fluid coming out black and the smell omg 🤢🤢 so I’m trying to prolong the life of the trans by doing yearly D&F
 
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