6-speed Allison 1000: 3 Fluid Options

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2016 3500 HD Farm truck, frequently tows a 20 ft cattle trailer and a 20+5 gooseneck (roughly ±24k lbs loaded) loaded with round hay in the summer. Lots of short trips/stop and go driving and quite a bit of other various towing. 39k miles, 2,6xx hours. The truck is still under the 5 yr/100k powertrain warranty. The truck is still running on the factory fill Dex VI, the spin-on was changed and magnet cleaned at 2,000 hours. I think I may do a double drain/fill and filter change soon and then a single drain/fill and filter change every 1,000 hours from here on out, that should be about once per year give or take. I believe GM calls for a 45,000 mile transmission service if the vehicle is operated under severe conditions, but doesn't mention hours. I'd say going nearly 3,000 hours on Dex VI is pushing it. Allison fluid and filter chart I priced three locally available fluid options today, all prices include tax. What would you choose and why? I know that the Allisons do well on most any approved ATF, I'm just looking to hear peoples thoughts. The Starfire is the thinnest of the two Dex VI products I priced, however both are "full synthetic" and GM licensed and approved. 1: Starfire Dexron-VI 12 quart case: $44.15 2: Havoline Full Synthetic Multi-Vehicle ATF 12 quart case $62.70 3: Shell Spirax S6 ATF A295 (Allison Approved) 3-1 gallon jugs $115.96 I also need to change the transfer case and front and rear differentials soon. What do you all think about running TES-295 in the transfer case? As far as I can tell, it specs Dex VI. I'm thinking I should probably stay with Dex VI until the warranty is up. Is the pump rub issue still a problem on these or has that been fixed on newer models? I bought some Starfire full syn 75w-90 for the diffs today. Six quarts was $58.83 including tax, working out to ~$9.81/quart. I could have gotten a better deal on some Supertech, but still not a terrible price and this is all boxed up and sealed, I can be sure this wasn't tampered with. Plus this place gives me great prices on everything else, I like buying from them. Some of the gear oil bottles at my local Walmart are questionable. Plus, Walmart rarely has more than 1-2 quarts of 75w-90 available at a time.
 
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4: Mobil Delvac 1 TES-295 (Allison Builder Approval) 4-1 gallon jugs $123.96 on Summit Racing. Shell Spirax is also TES-295 but $8 for another gallon makes it a no brainer to run the Delvac 1. No problem running this in your Transfer Case.......Pump Rub was an issue with the '99-'07 GMT800 platform New Venture Gear produced TC's. Magna Powertrain produced cases found in the GMT900 & newer platforms doesn't have that issue.
 
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I used Allison's factory fill, Castrol Transynd, looking at your chart, I need to change it based on time! Price wise it looks cheaper for a generic Dex 6, I have only bought Dex 6 from the dealer for my wifes Cadi and I just seem to have some type of un explained prejudice against it, probably price. It won't make it's way into my trans. I go to big truck parts shops directly, prices are usually a lot better for the big truck fluids. The transfer case pump rub was fixed long time ago, your good on that. Many of us went to motor oil in the transfer case, synthetic 10W30 myself included as suggested by a few of the top transmission builders. Your under warranty, so TES 295 would be just fine, or maybe you better stick with Dex 6 and change it every 30k. Measure how much it takes to fill, measure how much comes out, that might change your thoughts on service intervals. Some T cases evaporate transmission fluid faster than others due to use and abuse. But definitely measure it a few change intervals. I used Mobil 1 75W90 for my diff's, I got a few cases really cheap on Amazon. You could use 90W140 in the rear for the constant heavy towing, that call is yours.
 
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Regarding your transfer case: FYI... your mentioned Shell Spirax link only mentions this fluid meeting the old and superseded DEXRON-III spec, not DEXRON-VI. I would use your mentioned Chevron Havoline Multi-Vehicle ATF. That is a top-notch product. I wouldn't compromise.
 
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Use the Allison 295 spec oil of your choice, caution only use oil with the spec.displayed, there are "meets" spec oils also which are not Allison approved. Allison engineers developed this oil and it is the best for their tranny. This is what is used for all HD Allison trans.other than GM factory fills in pickups. I get the best deal at a Navistar truck garage on Mobil 295 spec trans fluid 20 litre pail.
 
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Just to clarify, Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. The chart in your clicky from Allison is for 295 spec oil, and it does have a long drain interval, 75,000 mi, 3000 hrs. or 3 yrs. if you do a full change over.
 
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Correct, neil57. Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. Use the TES 295 in the tranny, and the Havoline DEXRON-VI in the transfer case. That is, if the owner's manual calls for DEXRON-VI in the transfer case (assuming it does). smile
 
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I drive a 07 with 192k Drain and fill every 29-33 k since they bought it used w/42 k. Exterior filter only. I changed it a few weeks ago it was BRIGHT red looked like it had never been used. I would come up with a miles rather than hours interval. Stay out of the pan that filter was designed to be replaced on rebuild. The external filter is amazing and relatively cheap just don't forget the magnet. Last service was 6 qts mag 1 dex iv, plus 2 more super tech dex iv. Also a 14$ filter from amazon. It was about 60$ with all parts. It was a mix of mag 1 and super tech because mag 1 was cheaper but only sold in 6 packs. I needed 8. When i had the bottles together they were exactly the same except the color.
 
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TES-295 is the equivalent of full synthetic Dexron III... Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DEXRON "Dexron VI is of a slightly lower viscosity when new compared to the prior Dexron fluids (a maximum of 6.4 cSt at 100 °C for Dexron VI and 7.5 cSt for Dexron III), but the allowed viscosity loss from shearing of the ATF during use is lower for Dexron VI, resulting in the same lowest allowed final viscosity for both Dexron III and VI (5.5 cSt) in test.[21] In reality most of the DEXRON-III fluids typically sheared to about 4.2 cSt in use. The lower, more stable viscosity improved pumping efficiency within the transmission and fluid stability over life. Since Dexron VI is not allowed to thin out (lower its viscosity) as much as Dexron III during use, it requires the use of higher-quality, more shear-stable (less prone to thinning while in use) formulations.[22] The container rear label reads "Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid"; however, the base oil composition is not stated. The current GM specification that defines the fluid is GMW16444, which superseded the original specification, GMN10060. " TES-295 is around 7.5 cSt, same as Dexron III, but does not shear down like Dexron III, because it is a full synthetic...
 

BlakeB

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Originally Posted by dave1251
If DEXRON VI is the factory fill and the recommended fluid I see no reason not to use it.
Originally Posted by userfriendly
You're right Dave, but TES 295 is also recommended. See owners manual for 2500 & 3500 GMC & Chev pickup trucks with 6.6L Duramax.
[Linked Image]
 

BlakeB

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Originally Posted by neil57
Use the Allison 295 spec oil of your choice, caution only use oil with the spec.displayed, there are "meets" spec oils also which are not Allison approved. Allison engineers developed this oil and it is the best for their tranny. This is what is used for all HD Allison trans.other than GM factory fills in pickups. I get the best deal at a Navistar truck garage on Mobil 295 spec trans fluid 20 litre pail.
I will stay with licensed products for the warranty period, then I may switch over to a Tes-295 clone. Chevron makes one that is supposed to be fantastic, my supplier swears by it. I've seen internal test documents and photos of two buses it was tested in. They used genuine TES-295 in one and their clone in the other, the chevron filled bus actually had less clutch wear than the bus filled with authentic Allison fluid. Of course the test was done by them, so there's some bias..... but I do think Chevron makes top notch products at a fair price point.
Originally Posted by neil57
Just to clarify, Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. The chart in your clicky from Allison is for 295 spec oil, and it does have a long drain interval, 75,000 mi, 3000 hrs. or 3 yrs. if you do a full change over.
Correct, I'd say the Dex VI that's currently in the Duramax is getting pretty sheared down by now. If I stay with Dex VI, I think a 1,000 hour drain/fill and filter change/ magnet cleaning would be more than adequate... after a double drain/fill to get most of the factory fill out. If I go with TES-295 I'll follow Allison's recommendations or maybe shorten the intervals slightly. Honestly, I'm leaning towards just staying with Dex VI for now. Some say the that TES-295 will smooth the trans out a little and a few have even claimed to gain about 1.5 mpg with TES-295 in the pan. I'm almost thinking I should just go with the Starfire and change it a little more often. Then again, the Chevron is a good price and more name brand... if that makes sense. I've been using Starfire gear oil for several years in heavy equipment with no issues. I think they have pretty good products. I think it would be hard to go wrong with either one.
Originally Posted by SteveG4
Correct, neil57. Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. Use the TES 295 in the tranny, and the Havoline DEXRON-VI in the transfer case. That is, if the owner's manual calls for DEXRON-VI in the transfer case (assuming it does). smile
In the regular manual it does, but then I have the Diesel engine supplement manual that has the requirements for diesel engine equipped trucks. The Diesel manual makes no mention of the transfer case. [Linked Image]
 
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Originally Posted by SteveG4
Regarding your transfer case: FYI... your mentioned Shell Spirax link only mentions this fluid meeting the old and superseded DEXRON-III spec, not DEXRON-VI. I would use your mentioned Chevron Havoline Multi-Vehicle ATF. That is a top-notch product. I wouldn't compromise.
Shell Spirax S6 ATF A295 is approved by Allison..........App Num: AN-121008
Originally Posted by SteveG4
Use the TES 295 in the tranny, and the Havoline DEXRON-VI in the transfer case. That is, if the owner's manual calls for DEXRON-VI in the transfer case (assuming it does).:)
It does call for Dex VI in the T-case, But TES-295 will work without issue.
 
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Originally Posted by BlakeB
Originally Posted by neil57
Use the Allison 295 spec oil of your choice, caution only use oil with the spec.displayed, there are "meets" spec oils also which are not Allison approved. Allison engineers developed this oil and it is the best for their tranny. This is what is used for all HD Allison trans.other than GM factory fills in pickups. I get the best deal at a Navistar truck garage on Mobil 295 spec trans fluid 20 litre pail.
I will stay with licensed products for the warranty period, then I may switch over to a Tes-295 clone. Chevron makes one that is supposed to be fantastic, my supplier swears by it. I've seen internal test documents and photos of two buses it was tested in. They used genuine TES-295 in one and their clone in the other, the chevron filled bus actually had less clutch wear than the bus filled with authentic Allison fluid. Of course the test was done by them, so there's some bias..... but I do think Chevron makes top notch products at a fair price point.
Originally Posted by neil57
Just to clarify, Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. The chart in your clicky from Allison is for 295 spec oil, and it does have a long drain interval, 75,000 mi, 3000 hrs. or 3 yrs. if you do a full change over.
Correct, I'd say the Dex VI that's currently in the Duramax is getting pretty sheared down by now. If I stay with Dex VI, I think a 1,000 hour drain/fill and filter change/ magnet cleaning would be more than adequate... after a double drain/fill to get most of the factory fill out. If I go with TES-295 I'll follow Allison's recommendations or maybe shorten the intervals slightly. Honestly, I'm leaning towards just staying with Dex VI for now. Some say the that TES-295 will smooth the trans out a little and a few have even claimed to gain about 1.5 mpg with TES-295 in the pan. I'm almost thinking I should just go with the Starfire and change it a little more often. Then again, the Chevron is a good price and more name brand... if that makes sense. I've been using Starfire gear oil for several years in heavy equipment with no issues. I think they have pretty good products. I think it would be hard to go wrong with either one.
Originally Posted by SteveG4
Correct, neil57. Allison TES 295 trans oil is not Dex6. Use the TES 295 in the tranny, and the Havoline DEXRON-VI in the transfer case. That is, if the owner's manual calls for DEXRON-VI in the transfer case (assuming it does). smile
In the regular manual it does, but then I have the Diesel engine supplement manual that has the requirements for diesel engine equipped trucks. The Diesel manual makes no mention of the transfer case. [Linked Image]
There is a issue with your theory DEXRON VI doesn't shear less than 5.5cst.
 
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Think about Dex 6 like this; Its GM's default transmission fluid for all of their transmissions. GM did not make the Allison transmission. Allison had a transmission fluid blended to meet a specific spec, theirs= TES 295. Now, think about how many Allison 1000 transmissions there are out there in trash trucks, fire trucks, busses, UPS trucks, GM/Chevy trucks ect. There is a lot of Allison 1000's out there. Allison didn't fill "any" of them with Dex 6, only GM did! Enough said? Ditch the Dex 6. Don't look back. GM gave you approval in the manual.
 

BlakeB

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Can't shear below 5.5 cst, or won't pass mfg requirements if it shears below 5.5 cst under simulated test sequences in a given amount of time (so many hours in testing)? I have a hard time believing that a transmission fluid that starts at 5.7 to 5.8 cst won't shear below 5.5 cst. Most Dexron VI starts around 6 cst, but some are as low as 5.7 cst fresh from the bottle.
 
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Originally Posted by KneeGrinder
Think about Dex 6 like this; Its GM's default transmission fluid for all of their transmissions. GM did not make the Allison transmission. Allison had a transmission fluid blended to meet a specific spec, theirs= TES 295. Now, think about how many Allison 1000 transmissions there are out there in trash trucks, fire trucks, busses, UPS trucks, GM/Chevy trucks ect. There is a lot of Allison 1000's out there. Allison didn't fill "any" of them with Dex 6, only GM did! Enough said? Ditch the Dex 6. Don't look back. GM gave you approval in the manual.
This is logic leap of faith.
 
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Originally Posted by BlakeB
Can't shear below 5.5 cst, or won't pass mfg requirements if it shears below 5.5 cst under simulated test sequences in a given amount of time (so many hours in testing)? I have a hard time believing that a transmission fluid that starts at 5.7 to 5.8 cst won't shear below 5.5 cst. Most Dexron VI starts around 6 cst, but some are as low as 5.7 cst fresh from the bottle.
You can believe what you like but it's not fact it does not shear below 5.5cst in 100K miles of use.
 
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