Can someone tell me if I have a better option?

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car is a 1996 Saturn SL2 5MT... I have put Amsoil ATF in my 97 SL1 5MT with fine success. Cold shifts are good and of course warm shifts obviously all that much better. Are there any better options than the Amsoil Synthetic to put in my 96? For those who don't know, the Saturns use DexIII in their manual transaxles.
 

dnewton3

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Depends ... What does "better" mean to you? Are you inferring better noack results, better film strengths, better longevity, better cost/benefit ratio? This list goes on and on. "Better" is "best" decided by you. For many of my applications, I don't know that high end synthetics are warranted. For some of my applications, they are, but certainly not all. Depending upon your cost, availability, severity factor and OCI thresholds, there are plenty of good options out there. I have no idea which is "better" for you, becuase you really haven't described any of your operating parameters. DEX III based fluids are out there in many forms. There are good "dino" fluids. There are great "synthetic" fluids. Amsoil's ATF and Mobil 1 ATF come to mind. But there are also good fluids that meet the (former) DEX III specs in the new Allison TES-389 spec, or the creme-de-la-creme of TES-295 (and all the clones such as TorqueDrive, 204S-AT, and AutoTrans-5). "Better" is in the eye of the beholder.
 
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If the transmission shifts well, stick with the fluid you have. If you have shifting issues, try a non-universal ATF.
 
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Better options? Yes - use manual trans gear oil. It is designed for shifting and synchros, ATF is not. And the wear is better with dedicated fluids. ATF is good n very cold weather. For most other stats, it falls short. So Redline MTL is a good choice for you, and is readily available. Amsoil also has superb offerings.
 
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SLCraig

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 Originally Posted By: hate2work
Nothing better, but many/most think that Redline and Schaeffer's make an equal product. You made a good decision with the Amsoil.
This is really all I was wondering. Better to me just means which product is the best from the available Dexron synthetics. As in, the car requires DexronIII fluid, which compatible synthetic fluid is my best option. The Amsoil feels awesome in my 97's manual gearbox, so I think I will stick with what works and just use the Amsoil in my 96 as well. The shifts are not great right now, but it just has whatever it's had in it for god knows how long. (I just got the car) Thanks for your help all.
 
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So you want the best ATF for your manual trans? That's a vehicle specific trial and error type of thing. But really, consider a fluid specifically made for manual trannys.
 

SLCraig

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 Originally Posted By: mechtech2
So you want the best ATF for your manual trans? That's a vehicle specific trial and error type of thing. But really, consider a fluid specifically made for manual trannys.
Why? Don't people around here always recommend sticking with what the OEM suggests? The Amsoil seems to be working great in my other car, was just wondering if there were any other brands worth looking into (Amsoil is no longer at the local big box stores where I used to see it)
 
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People around here for sure don't always recommend sticking with factory recommended ATF in manual transmissions or transaxles. ATF is something that is usually recommended to dump and get real trans fluid in there. And for very good reasons!
 
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You could step up to a lower viscosity MTF (~9 cSt) if you are willing to move out of ~ 6 cSt ATF viscosity land. Try Amsoil MTF. I'm not saying it will shift better, but will protect a bit better.
 
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I would stick with a fluid that has a similar visc to ATF. And, I would make sure that it is a full synthetic to make up for requiring DexIII. Even though I have no problem going thicker, many people here whine about shift quality. He is located in Canada which has a reasonably cool climate. RoyalPurple Synchromax would be a great non-ATF choice. Redline MTL and Amsoil MTF, although great fluids, might not be the best option for 6 months of the year. Definitely if it was a warmer climate. Compare Amsoils ATF and Redlines D4 40°c and -40°c to their MTF/MTL. Drastic visc increase with the MT fluids compared to AT fluids as the temp drops.
 
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Is ATF+4 some of the better stuff? I've been reading all sorts of tests etc on the net that claim it's as good as it gets right now.
 
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For an ATF, ATF+4 is excellent. Since it is an HFM'd fluid, its trial/error for any manual transmission, even though it is used by various Mopar manual trannies.
 

SLCraig

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 Originally Posted By: Hitzy
Is ATF+4 some of the better stuff? I've been reading all sorts of tests etc on the net that claim it's as good as it gets right now.
Yeah, I don't know.. I was wondering if I could substitute something like ATF+4 for the DexIII/IV, etc.. I don't know squat about trans fluids, I just know I want what will shift well and lubricate the trans properly.. I know the car calls for Dex from the factory, and that's it. Although my experience so far is that the Amsoil syn fluid in my other car is great. (Just couldnt get it anymore)
 
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Just curious why the manufacture calls for ATF in their manual transmissions? Are there any issues you could run into using a MT fluid if the manual specifies ATF? My car shifts fine using Mobil 1 ATF, but if shifting or protection could be better I would do a switch.
 
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Its trial and error when playing with visc/weights in a manual transmission. Most mtf's have a more protective GL4ish additive package that you will not get with an ATF. But, thicker fluids can sometimes cause shift issues when cold.
 
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