Maxlife or Amsoil for '89 Accord?

Messages
549
Location
Minnesota
I have a 1989 Honda Accord SE-i with an Automatic Transmission. The last time I changed the fluid I replaced all of it with Honda ATF-Z1, but the transmission still shifts hard. It has 202,000 miles on it and have been trying to decide between Valvoline's Maxlife Dex/Merc and Amsoil's Universal Transmission Fluid. While I do believe Amsoil's is the best fluid in general, I keep getting drawn back to the high-mileage factor (plus the cheaper price) with Maxlife. I've been reading all the technical information I can find on both Valvoline's and Amsoil's sites and I just can't decide, does anyone have any input for me that might break this mental stalemate and allow me to make a decision?
 
Messages
1,067
Location
Northern, NY
I tried Maxlife in our '02 Accord and was't happy with the shift quality; the shifts were too harsh. I have since replaced the Maxlife with AMSOIL ATF and the shift quality is much better. Another option is Mobil 1 Sythetic ATF.
 
Messages
3,358
Location
Maryland
I have a Turbo 350 transmission on my 1983 Chevrolet El Camino that has 367,000 miles and I notice that out of all the different transmission fluids I have used, Amsoil ATF has given me the best shifting compared too the others.
 

nfs480

Thread starter
Messages
549
Location
Minnesota
Thanks guys, I really appreciate it. I really love this car and want it to run for as long as it can (know people with 500,000+ miles on these). I have another question, does the cooler line flush method work on Honda's? I'm curious because I know you have to check ATF level on Honda's with the engine off versus most other cars with the engine on so I was wondering if having the dipstick unscrewed (the dipstick actually screws into the tranny case like a bolt) to fill the tranny while it's running could cause problems.
 
Messages
1,231
Location
Canada
Try running a chemical cleaner through the transmission before flushing it. And yes a cooler line flush works, but if you're going to use a chemical I would get a shop to use a machine. I did this a couple days ago on the exact same car. The dipstick is on the front of the tranny, lower down. And has a small 3" dipstick. And you check the level 10 seconds after shutting off the engine, from what i've been told.
 
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Messages
12,979
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
 Originally Posted By: nfs480
I have a 1989 Honda Accord SE-i with an Automatic Transmission. The last time I changed the fluid I replaced all of it with Honda ATF-Z1, but the transmission still shifts hard. It has 202,000 miles on it and have been trying to decide between Valvoline's Maxlife Dex/Merc and Amsoil's Universal Transmission Fluid. While I do believe Amsoil's is the best fluid in general, I keep getting drawn back to the high-mileage factor (plus the cheaper price) with Maxlife. I've been reading all the technical information I can find on both Valvoline's and Amsoil's sites and I just can't decide, does anyone have any input for me that might break this mental stalemate and allow me to make a decision?
Those auto trannys always shifted very firm(I has an 88). Used all kinds of ATF's. I wasn't looking for better shifts when I changed the fluid, I was just looking to keep the tranny running as long as I was going to own the car. It's just good PM! I ran the 88 Accord auto w/carb for 18 years and 340,000 miles. Never rebuilt anything in the drivetrain. Rust took it's toll!
 

nfs480

Thread starter
Messages
549
Location
Minnesota
Yeah, the rust is starting to take it's toll on mine as well, the rear-wheel wells and driver's door are rusting pretty bad, but I think it's still got a number of years left in it.
 

nfs480

Thread starter
Messages
549
Location
Minnesota
i'm actually considering doing just that, just not sure if I have the skills to do it without doing more harm than good.
 
Messages
12,979
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
IMHO, these 86-89 Accord auto trannys lasted as long as they do/did because of the firm shifting. Less heat build up. My 88's shifting pattern was always noticeable although not bone jaring, just noticed every shift. I used anything Dexron II or III/Mercon. These particular drivetrains were very robust. It's one car that I'd love to have back again.
 
Messages
238
Location
SE
Frequent changes are the most important thing . Maxlife is fine but change it frequently . Consider adding an inline filter like a Magnefine (or Permacool setup) .
 

nfs480

Thread starter
Messages
549
Location
Minnesota
I've decided to go with the Amsoil but before I do i'm planning on adding some Auto-rx to the transmission. However, I'm concerned about the internal filter in the tranny getting clogged with debris since the filters in these cars are not replaceable without disassembling the entire transmission. Will auto-rx dissolve the buildup in a fashion where it won't get stuck in the filter and will just drain out when I switch out the ATF-Z1 for Amsoil?
 
Messages
2,689
Location
South Carolina
Add the Auto-Rx to the transmission, then drive 1000-1500 miles. Then drain, refill, and flush via cooler line until fluid runs clean/red again. If you want to add cooler line filtration first, and then add the Auto-rx, that is up to you, and might catch some of the stuff the Auo-rx loosens up a bit earlier. Either way will work fine.
 
Messages
25,218
Location
Upstate NY
If you have rubber lines connecting the transmission to the cooler you can easily install a Magnefine filter and it will catch the bulk of what Auto-Rx is loosens. $20. I believe the filter in your transmission is more of a screen and won't catch much of anything unless its a pebble. Install Amsoil or any expensive ATF via a cooler line flush. Installing it via multiple drain & refills is not cost effective with expensive ATF. And also not green.
 
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