Questions about the third party ATFs and Mazda FZ

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Well, I'm back after a long absence, and boy, have I got a question for you guys. After searches here I could find some answers, but not others. The first question is, what is your opinion of the "universal" red ATFs that BG Products and Performance Plus (Safety-Kleen) offer? Their chart of specifications supposedly met by the ATF look very similar, and I wonder if the two companies use a common source. In other words, are BG's and Safety-Kleen's actually made by the same company? Compare and see: BG ATF compatibilities Performance Plus ATF compatibilities [see page 2] If you look closely at the second doc, you'll see a lot of typos and formatting problems suggesting it was copied, pasted, and edited (poorly) from another source. For example, Mercedes-Benz specs appear after Mazda specs as if these were more Mazda specs, without the words "Mercedes-Benz". Note that both claim to meet Mazda's blue FZ ATF specs. Some of you have said in other threads that you don't see how any one product could meet all those different manufacturers' specs because of conflicts between some OEM specs and others. Makes sense. Without getting into too much detail, let's just say I am familiar with Mazda and the Type FZ fluid, and the factory reman facility has seen several FZ (Skyactiv) transmission cores that had failed after being filled with red ATF. This was probably done at third-party shops and not at dealers, presumably using one of the two products above. It isn't certain that the red ATF caused the failure, but in my opinion it's suspicious. The Safety-Kleen rep was recently trying to get the facility to try its universal product because it, like BG's, supposedly meets the FZ spec. The facility uses drums of Idemitsu FZ to test remanufactured units. The second question is, what is your view of MOC Products and its blue ATF that is claimed to be FZ compatible? Here's a link: MOC Products blue ATF By the way, MOC claims that one of its other (red) ATFs is also FZ compatible: MOC low-friction red ATF Finally, I am aware that Ravenol makes a blue FZ equivalent: Ravenol FZ ATF Without intending to, maybe on my first post in a while I'm starting a flame war... Edited to add: I noticed that the boutique guys—Amsoil, Red Line, Royal Purple—do not have an FZ equivalent. Using their sites with Mazda Skyactiv models will not give a recommended ATF. This to me is significant because Amsoil's ATF years ago, before CVTs and other new products, was claimed to be universal, and it no longer is. Instead Amsoil has been offering new products for newer specs. Also, Red Line even has an ATF for Ford Type F, but not for Mazda FZ. Puts BG's and Performance Plus's claims in a new light...
 
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pbm

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The Ravenol FZ ATF seems to be made specifically for Mazda FZ applications and I would use it before the MOC products which are more 'universal' in nature. If the genuine Mazda product is close to the Ravenol FZ in price I'd probably stick with it.
 
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I would use Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It has worked well in other LV transmissions. I do not foresee why it would not work well with a Mazda.
 
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Does Maxlife indicate it is a replacement for Mazda FZ? Seems to me using OEM trans fluid is cheaper than a new transmission.
Quote
Valvoline has conducted extensive in-house testing, independent lab testing, and field-testing to support MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF performance in the broadest range of transmissions; however, it should be noted that MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF is not an OEM licensed product. The respective vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor endorsed MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF in these applications. If an OEM licensed product is preferred we recommend Valvoline DEXRON® VI, Valvoline ATF+4® and Valvoline MERCON®V for the corresponding applications.
 
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As a Skyactiv owner, I understand completely where you're coming from. The problem is that we don't know much information on FZ to make an accurate comparison. I know that when I go to do a fluid change on the trans, I'll be using either Ravenol or Mazda, whichever I can source for cheaper. I'd love the ability to use MaxLife as that is what I use in the Monte. It's a great fluid, but I don't have complete faith that it is a true substitute for FZ. I don't think it will cause the trans to grenade, but I do wonder what the long term usage would do to the trans. Why MaxLife in the Monte which calls for Dex-VI but not the Mazda? Frankly, because of the information available. If you look at the specs, you'll see that MaxLife and Dex-VI are very similar. With FZ, we don't have any information to make such an assessment. My $.02 says to stick with FZ and skip the universals.
 
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For an in-warranty car, I would definitely use Type FZ. The fluid is blue when new, but will turn light yellow with use. If you are out of warranty, you can try alternatives, but why risk it? A drain and refill takes between 3.5-3.7 quarts of Type-FZ for most applications. Just make sure that your fluid temp is slightly over 122F when performing the fluid level adjustment.

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Originally Posted by The Critic
Just make sure that your fluid temp is slightly over 122F when performing the fluid level adjustment.
Why is this? Why wouldn't you be able to simply drain when cold, measure, and refill with same the same amount?
 
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Originally Posted by pbm
The Ravenol FZ ATF seems to be made specifically for Mazda FZ applications and I would use it before the MOC products which are more 'universal' in nature. If the genuine Mazda product is close to the Ravenol FZ in price I'd probably stick with it.
MOC is a different beast from BG Two different companies. MOC is found mainly in Toyo/Lexus dealerships.
 
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Originally Posted by RamFan
Originally Posted by The Critic
Just make sure that your fluid temp is slightly over 122F when performing the fluid level adjustment.
Why is this? Why wouldn't you be able to simply drain when cold, measure, and refill with same the same amount?
You could do that, making sure that both fluids are at the same temperature as long as you KNOW that the outgoing ATF is at the full mark
 
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Originally Posted by RamFan
Originally Posted by The Critic
Just make sure that your fluid temp is slightly over 122F when performing the fluid level adjustment.
Why is this? Why wouldn't you be able to simply drain when cold, measure, and refill with same the same amount?
Because that is the OEM specified service procedure. Relying on the cold drain and refill method does not always work. The level may have been incorrect from the factory, or the axles may have been removed and fluid was lost or someone may have worked on it before you and set the fluid level incorrectly. It is important to do the job properly to prevent issues. Mazda says 113-131F is an acceptable temperature range for adjusting the fluid level, but 122F is ideal.

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Originally Posted by The Critic
Originally Posted by RamFan
Originally Posted by The Critic
Just make sure that your fluid temp is slightly over 122F when performing the fluid level adjustment.
Why is this? Why wouldn't you be able to simply drain when cold, measure, and refill with same the same amount?
Because that is the OEM specified service procedure. Relying on the cold drain and refill method does not always work. The level may have been incorrect from the factory, or the axles may have been removed and fluid was lost or someone may have worked on it before you and set the fluid level incorrectly. It is important to do the job properly to prevent issues. Mazda says 113-131F is an acceptable temperature range for adjusting the fluid level, but 122F is ideal.
Good find. I've not come across that material before. With that being said, if draining and filling with fluid that is the same temp. I don't see the harm in doing the job, going for a drive and checking the level once warm to verify proper level is achieved. Reminds me of Chrysler's recommendation of service on sealed Nag 1 transmissions.
 
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The fluid temp can rise fairly quickly once the car is driven, so you will need to have a scan tool capable of monitoring the ATF temp. Otherwise, you will exceed the specified temp range and the fluid level check will be inaccurate. I usually tell people to leave their vehicles alone if they do not have the proper tooling, but that is usually not well received on this forum.
 
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Originally Posted by Brigadier
Does Maxlife indicate it is a replacement for Mazda FZ? Seems to me using OEM trans fluid is cheaper than a new transmission.
Quote
Valvoline has conducted extensive in-house testing, independent lab testing, and field-testing to support MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF performance in the broadest range of transmissions; however, it should be noted that MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF is not an OEM licensed product. The respective vehicle manufacturers have neither evaluated nor endorsed MaxLife Multi-Vehicle ATF in these applications. If an OEM licensed product is preferred we recommend Valvoline DEXRON® VI, Valvoline ATF+4® and Valvoline MERCON®V for the corresponding applications.
Valvoline recommends Maxlife and Maxlife has proven itself in real world applications it will protect its a synthetic blend as it is blended with group III/IV/V baseoils with a very stout and balanced additive pack. Mazda FZ is not a cutting edge superior lubricate made from the joyous tears of a purple unicorn.
 
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Originally Posted by dave1251
Mazda FZ is not a cutting edge superior lubricate...
Probably not, but without knowing what the specs are, your speculation that it's not a superior lubricant is no different than my speculation that it is a superior lubricant. Given the lack of information on the fluid, I'd rather not gamble.
 
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Originally Posted by RamFan
Originally Posted by dave1251
Mazda FZ is not a cutting edge superior lubricate...
Probably not, but without knowing what the specs are, your speculation that it's not a superior lubricant is no different than my speculation that it is a superior lubricant. Given the lack of information on the fluid, I'd rather not gamble.
Its real easy. Industry is all about the bottom line. When there is something a oem is truly superior there is an onslaught of information how it is superior the testing involved and the great lenghts how the company's dedication of its research has led to this breakthrough and any thing else is just inferior. When next to nothing is revealed then next to nothing is superior or different.
 
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Originally Posted by dave1251
Its real easy. Industry is all about the bottom line. When there is something a oem is truly superior there is an onslaught of information how it is superior the testing involved and the great lenghts how the company's dedication of its research has led to this breakthrough and any thing else is just inferior. When next to nothing is revealed then next to nothing is superior or different.
You are welcome to have your own opinion on how the world is supposed to work. However, you have not presented anything factual to suggest that Type-FZ is interchangeable with other fluid types.
 

pbm

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I would normally agree with dave1251 that Maxlife (or another 'universal fluid') can be used in place of OE fluid and have done just that in several vehicles without issue (Mostly Hyundai's and Toyota's using fluids that claimed to be "Suitable for Use in...")

In the case of Mazda FZ I will stick with OE fluid or at least Ravenol FZ fluid when the time comes for the first D&R on my daughters new CX-30 for the reasons stated by The Critic.

One positive is that I usually do an initial D&R early (15 to 25K) but plan on going 40K or maybe even 50K on the factory FZ fluid. My reasoning for that is two-fold...1) I remember reading a tread about a member (I think it was DBMaster) who changed his factory FZ at 60K (I think) and felt it could have went much further. 2) My s-i-l has 170K on her CX-5 and probably has never changed the ATF (I say 'probably' because she claims she once had a 'dealer service' and thinks they may have changed the fluid but who knows...)
 
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