Ram 1500 BW44-44 transfer case

JTK

Messages
13,607
Location
Buffalo, NY
Just bringing this topic up again given there really isn't any explanation out there that I can find that makes the borg-warner 44-44 T-case on Rams older than 2016 different than 2016+ 44-44? Externally they look identical and they function the same. The owner's manual for ANY year Ram with the 44-44 simply says "Mopar 44-44 transfer case fluid is recommended". I didn't realize until today that there's two different part number Mopar fluids. Same bottle and labeling. The older fluid is red like ATF and I've read online (u know how accurate that can be) that the 2016+ stuff is dyed blue? Can anyone confirm this? FWIW, this magical juice in either part number is like $30/qt. All you need is 1.5qts so cost isn't really a problem, I just hate dealer only and not having choices once you're out of warranty. I'm at about 46K miles on the 2017 Ram in my sig and would like to do the diffs and T-case soon. 8HP45 trans after that.
 
Last edited:
Messages
769
I'm in the same boat here, and I got a 2016 Ram 1500 Big Horn with the BW44-44. I decided to go with Amsoil Multi Vehicle ATF (red cap, red pouch). That one has the complete additive package and covers you regardless. Just waiting on my package to arrive from Amsoil 😃
 
Messages
769
Just bringing this topic up again given there really isn't any explanation out there that I can find that makes the borg-warner 44-44 T-case on Rams older than 2016 different than 2016+ 44-44? Externally they look identical and they function the same. The owner's manual for ANY year Ram with the 44-44 simply says "Mopar 44-44 transfer case fluid is recommended". I didn't realize until today that there's two different part number Mopar fluids. Same bottle and labeling. The older fluid is red like ATF and I've read online (u know how accurate that can be) that the 2016+ stuff is dyed blue? Can anyone confirm this? FWIW, this magical juice in either part number is like $30/qt. All you need is 1.5qts so cost isn't really a problem, I just hate dealer only and not having choices once you're out of warranty. I'm at about 46K miles on the 2017 Ram in my sig and would like to do the diffs and T-case soon. 8HP45 trans after that.

After a lot of digging, I finally got to the bottom of these "unicorn" Mopar fluids, including the transmission fluid.

Let's start with the ZF 8 speed: Shell makes the Lifeguard 8 fluid for ZF, and it's a semi-synthetic ATF. It's very similar to Hyundai's SP-IV M / SP IV RR fluids, with a viscosity between ULV and LV ATF. There are plenty of aftermarket options to replace it. However, if you go aftermarket, I recommend a complete fluid replacement, which can get expensive.

The miracle that Mopar fluids are:
FCA (now Stellantis) came up with the new "2016+ BW44-44" transfer case fluid in 2018. I'm pretty sure that if you drain your transfer case, red ATF will come out of it. Nothing changed with the BW44-44. However, RAM figured that what is essentially a universal tractor fluid will offer better wear protection for that miserable clutch in the BW44-44 transfer case because they already messed up the programming and didn't want to fix that. The front wheels are constantly engaged and disengaged, and that can wear out the wet clutch pretty fast if used regularly, not to mention that it overheats.

So what are these fluids?
Well, the Mopar 68089195AA BW44-45 and pre-2016 transfer case fluid is essentially Dexron III ATF with an Allison approval, but you can use and Dexron III ATF to replace it. The one in the Mopar bottle is Shell Spirax S2 ATF A389.

The Mopar 68049954AC BW44-40 and +2016 BW44-44 transfer case fluid is Mobil Fluid LT. Borg Warner transfer cases with on-demand 4WD have used this fluid for decades, including in the Kia Borrego. You can buy a 5-gallon pail for around $150, and it will last for about 13 fluid changes. Or you can go to Advance Auto Parts and buy 2 quarts of Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF (PAO based Dex III/Mercon V fluid), add 4 oz. of Lubegard Platinum ATF Protectant to your 1.5-quart transfer case fluid change and call it a day. You will have the best transfer case fluid ever, and the Lubegard will add some wear and tear protection for that clutch, as well as smooth engagement.

I hope this helps. These fluids aren't unicorn fluids or even anything special. The problem is that the Mopar division is greedy and the high level of bureaucracy there is insane.
 

JTK

Thread starter
Messages
13,607
Location
Buffalo, NY
Thanks for the info!

I think I messed up back when I started this thread. Now I'm not sure if my 2017 Ram 1500 and my current 2019 Ram 1500 classic had the BW44-44. It's my understanding that the 44-44 is only for the models with the auto 4x4 feature. My Rams didn't have auto 4x4, they had basically on or off 4x4, so I'm told they should have the BW44-45 T-case then.
 
Messages
769
Thanks for the info!

I think I messed up back when I started this thread. Now I'm not sure if my 2017 Ram 1500 and my current 2019 Ram 1500 classic had the BW44-44. It's my understanding that the 44-44 is only for the models with the auto 4x4 feature. My Rams didn't have auto 4x4, they had basically on or off 4x4, so I'm told they should have the BW44-45 T-case then.

It doesn't matter. If you want the maximum protection for your transfer case, just get two quarts of AMSOIL MV ATF and a bottle of Lubegard Platinum ATF Protectant and use 4 oz. of it and you should be good to go. It's by far better than any Universal Tractor Fluid with friction modifier (Mobilfluid LT) that Mopar sells for $40 a quart. :ROFLMAO:
 
  • Like
Reactions: JTK
Messages
145
Location
ct
Yep....no 4-Auto mode means you have the 44-45, which is old school enough to probably run on water lol

I think the 44-44 would be a fine t-case if it werent for the crappy programming. Since the fronts wont engage unless the rears are slipping, if traction control and ABS are involved, its like they fight the transfer case programming, causing brief moments of traction-no traction-traction, etc over and over again. Eventually overheating the clutches in the 44-44.

Someone on the RAM forum designed and sells a harness that allows you to toggle switch the transfer case clutch to 100% applied as long as the switch is thrown. It works quite well (videos of it on the forum). Fully disabling traction control when in 4WD modes also seem to improve how it all works, but the switch is probably the only true "lock" you can get out of it. Its ironic that the xfer case has a 4-lock mode, but it basically works the exact same way as 4-auto and doesnt really lock anything.

My truck only has 20K miles on it, so no interest in changing the fluid just yet (I do have the 44-44) But I also have MaxCare Lifetime so I dont really wanna give them an excuse to deny coverage in the future. I hate the factory fluids (price vs performance) as much as anyone else, but it might be my only option when the time comes.
 
Messages
769
My truck only has 20K miles on it, so no interest in changing the fluid just yet (I do have the 44-44) But I also have MaxCare Lifetime so I dont really wanna give them an excuse to deny coverage in the future. I hate the factory fluids (price vs performance) as much as anyone else, but it might be my only option when the time comes.

They can't deny your warranty based on the fluids you use. The Mobilfluid LT and Lifeguard 8 fluids are decent semi-synthetic fluids, and you can stick with them. Heck, even if you upgraded your transmission pan to a PPE aluminum pan, they still couldn't deny your warranty as long as you use the correct fluid. The factory fluid in the differentials is crap, and you may want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Even the Valvoline SynPower Gear Oil that you can buy at Walmart (or Mobil 1) would be a huge improvement, not to mention if you went for Amsoil Severe Gear or Red Line. Castrol Syntrax (the European kind) is my top pick as it has some heavy-duty approvals. The limited-slip version is approved and licensed for ZF axles and differentials, and I'm pretty sure that it tops even the boutique oils.
 
Messages
145
Location
ct
They can't deny your warranty based on the fluids you use. The Mobilfluid LT and Lifeguard 8 fluids are decent semi-synthetic fluids, and you can stick with them. Heck, even if you upgraded your transmission pan to a PPE aluminum pan, they still couldn't deny your warranty as long as you use the correct fluid. The factory fluid in the differentials is crap, and you may want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Even the Valvoline SynPower Gear Oil that you can buy at Walmart (or Mobil 1) would be a huge improvement, not to mention if you went for Amsoil Severe Gear or Red Line. Castrol Syntrax (the European kind) is my top pick as it has some heavy-duty approvals. The limited-slip version is approved and licensed for ZF axles and differentials, and I'm pretty sure that it tops even the boutique oils.

The whole MaxCare thing is a "service contract", technically. Not covered by Mag-Moss, so they COULD void it if they really want to. Maybe not so much with the fluid in the diffs, but my guess is if something goes wrong with the trans and they see fluid that does not match factory, they would have zero issue squirming out of covering it.

It brings up an interesting point that I did not think of before purchasing the MaxCare - the trans is "lifetime fluid" so technically changing it goes against the factory recommendations. Im not dumb enough to believe it lasts close to anyone's definition of lifetime (except FCA of course), so Ive always wondered how I could change/get it changed and still be covered. Or, just run it forever and hope and pray theyu will hold up their end of the bargain if (when?) it causes the trans to grenade.

I wouldnt mind doing the diffs....those are pretty basic and I dont expect much issue with them. Do you have a link to the Syntrax? I see some sold at OReillys but not sure its the Euro-spec you were speaking about.

Thanks.

-Chris
 
Messages
769
The whole MaxCare thing is a "service contract", technically. Not covered by Mag-Moss, so they COULD void it if they really want to. Maybe not so much with the fluid in the diffs, but my guess is if something goes wrong with the trans and they see fluid that does not match factory, they would have zero issue squirming out of covering it.

It brings up an interesting point that I did not think of before purchasing the MaxCare - the trans is "lifetime fluid" so technically changing it goes against the factory recommendations. Im not dumb enough to believe it lasts close to anyone's definition of lifetime (except FCA of course), so Ive always wondered how I could change/get it changed and still be covered. Or, just run it forever and hope and pray theyu will hold up their end of the bargain if (when?) it causes the trans to grenade.

I wouldnt mind doing the diffs....those are pretty basic and I dont expect much issue with them. Do you have a link to the Syntrax? I see some sold at OReillys but not sure its the Euro-spec you were speaking about.

Thanks.

-Chris

Well, I have 31K miles on the truck and I'm fixing to go to a PPE pan and AMSOIL MV ATL. I will do a flush to get out all the Lifeguard 8. I would highly recommend that at 30K you at least do a partial fluid change by dropping the pan and replacing it with a new OEM pan with filter and you will need about 5 quarts of Lifeguard 8 or the Mopar 8&9 speed fluid (they are the same thing). I will keep your transmission in good health and they will never know it in case you need to use the MaxCare warranty.

If you drain your BW44-44 case and red fluid comes out, then it's Dexron III ATF. If Amber/Blue-ish fluid comes out, then it's Mobilfluid LT. Either way, any fluid from Red Line or Amsoil, or even Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF, Valvoline ATF+4 or Castrol Transmax ATF+4, and a splash of Lubegard will be leaps and bounds better than what was in there.

Personally, the only Mopar fluid I like is their OAT antifreeze. I can get it for the same price as Peak Global Lifetime and it performs well, and it's 2-EHA free, so not exactly Dexcool, lol.

Front differential: Castrol Syntrax 75W-90 Long Life

Rear differential: Castrol Syntrax 75W-140 Limited Slip

Transfer Case: Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF - it's a 30% PAO + Group III+ mix - pretty awesome

Friction Modifier / Antiwear: Lubegard Platinum ATF Protectant (use 4 oz)
 

irv

Messages
2,190
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
It doesn't matter. If you want the maximum protection for your transfer case, just get two quarts of AMSOIL MV ATF and a bottle of Lubegard Platinum ATF Protectant and use 4 oz. of it and you should be good to go. It's by far better than any Universal Tractor Fluid with friction modifier (Mobilfluid LT) that Mopar sells for $40 a quart. :ROFLMAO:

Sorry for bumping up a slightly older thread but I am curious why the recommendation for the Lubegard P ATF P? I just purchased 2 Amsoil MVATF's for my 2013 Ram Bighorn with the BW44-44 but your post, out of the many I have read, is the only one to recommend the Lubegard. Just curious if it is a must for my Ram or only a recommendation for those that see severe duty often?
Thanks in advance. (y)
 
Messages
769
Sorry for bumping up a slightly older thread but I am curious why the recommendation for the Lubegard P ATF P? I just purchased 2 Amsoil MVATF's for my 2013 Ram Bighorn with the BW44-44 but your post, out of the many I have read, is the only one to recommend the Lubegard. Just curious if it is a must for my Ram or only a recommendation for those that see severe duty often?
Thanks in advance. (y)
Lubegard is good for cleaning, that's about all it's good for. I just wanted to add a booster to an already great ATF. I won't add Lubegard on my next T-Case fluid change. I would never add it to a transmission though.
 

irv

Messages
2,190
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Lubegard is good for cleaning, that's about all it's good for. I just wanted to add a booster to an already great ATF. I won't add Lubegard on my next T-Case fluid change. I would never add it to a transmission though.
Thanks for letting me know.
My Ram currently only has 86,000 km's on it so I think I am likely OK with the amount of cleaning it likely needs? Truthfully, 4x4 is rarely used other than occasionally in the winter towing a couple sleds and once or twice a year putting in/pulling out my boat.
So many questions/concerns with replacing the Mopar fluid with Amsoil or another manu's fluids, but from what I gather, many have used Amsoil MVATF in their BW 44-44's without issue for a long time now.
I never did price the Mopar fluid up here but from what I gather, it would likely be in the $45-$50 dollar ranger, per quart? The 2 Amsoil's cost me $54 txs in at Napa just a hour ago.
 
Messages
769
Thanks for letting me know.
My Ram currently only has 86,000 km's on it so I think I am likely OK with the amount of cleaning it likely needs? Truthfully, 4x4 is rarely used other than occasionally in the winter towing a couple sleds and once or twice a year putting in/pulling out my boat.
So many questions/concerns with replacing the Mopar fluid with Amsoil or another manu's fluids, but from what I gather, many have used Amsoil MVATF in their BW 44-44's without issue for a long time now.
I never did price the Mopar fluid up here but from what I gather, it would likely be in the $45-$50 dollar ranger, per quart? The 2 Amsoil's cost me $54 txs in at Napa just a hour ago.
Mopar's fluid is Shell Spirax S2, an Allison-approved TES-389 fluid. You may also replace it with Delvac 1 ATF if you're not comfortable with Amsoil. Heck, any Dexron III fluid works in there, but I'm picky when it comes to my vehicles.
 

irv

Messages
2,190
Location
Oshawa, Ont. Canada
Mopar's fluid is Shell Spirax S2, an Allison-approved TES-389 fluid. You may also replace it with Delvac 1 ATF if you're not comfortable with Amsoil. Heck, any Dexron III fluid works in there, but I'm picky when it comes to my vehicles.
I feel pretty comfortable with the Amsoil, and truthfully, over all the others you mentioned above, I think I'd still go with Amsoil regardless.
Not that I doubt those are also excellent choices, but based on the reading I did prior, I don't think I have anything to worry about with Amsoil.

Just debating with myself now, to do my trans fluid/filters, and whether to go with the same Amsoil or use something that is a bit cheaper price wise? In all honesty, I haven't really looked into it a whole bunch yet to see what the choice is for most. Mine is the 6sp, not the 8sp.
 
Messages
769
I feel pretty comfortable with the Amsoil, and truthfully, over all the others you mentioned above, I think I'd still go with Amsoil regardless.
Not that I doubt those are also excellent choices, but based on the reading I did prior, I don't think I have anything to worry about with Amsoil.

Just debating with myself now, to do my trans fluid/filters, and whether to go with the same Amsoil or use something that is a bit cheaper price wise? In all honesty, I haven't really looked into it a whole bunch yet to see what the choice is for most. Mine is the 6sp, not the 8sp.
Delvac 1 ATF is not cheaper than AMSOIL.
 
Top