Third Party ATF Development

MolaKule

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Third Party ATF Development by MolaKule

Note: This is not an endorsement nor a criticism of any one ATF.


[DI package - the additive mix of chemicals in concentrated form that is added in the process of blending a formulated lubricant. The DI package may or may not contain the Viscosity Index Improver (VII). The DI manufacturer (Manf.) supplies the Blender with the DI along with the suggested VII (if not included) and the specific base oil mix].

There still seems to be some misconceptions in various corners of BITOG about the development of Third Party replacement ATFs. Many vehicle manf. publish a set of specification sheets with specific tests that an ATF must pass in order to qualify as an approved replacement fluid for subsequent licensing.

Many Asian transmission manf. do not publicly disclose a set of test specifications for their ATFs.

When a test specification is not published, a DI manf. may undertake an extensive forensic analysis of a fluid and then develop a set of formulations for testing in the actual hardware (transmissions). The formula that provides the best performance characteristics, such as proper shifting and least wear, is then selected for further testing (tweaking). Once the selected formulation is finalized, the DI manf. will commercialize it.

The DI manf. then provides potential Blenders with the total formulation which includes, 1) the DI additive package percentage needed, 2) the amount of VII needed, and 3) the preferred base oil mix.

The DI manf. also supplies the Blender with a list of transmissions that this specific formulation will 'cover' in terms of "Recommended For the Following:"

As I have stated before, 'coverage' or "Recommended For the Following" DOES NOT imply the exact same chemistry as the OEM chemistry, but what it does imply is the viscosity, dynamic friction characteristics (shifting and Mu(v)), and other performance items are commensurate with the OEM fluid.

In the case of Valvoline, they worked closely with a DI additive manf. to develop the Multi Vehicle Maxlife ATF, a first. A forensic analysis means they explored every avenue of chemical analyses to determine the chemical constituents of the Asian fluids, the North American OEM fluids, and European fluids using very expensive analytical instrumentation. They then tested their final formulation Multi Vehicle ATF in actual transmissions. It wasn't a nilly-willy testing program or a simple experiment. It was a complex, expensive, and time consuming endeavor.

Did Idemitsu and other Asian DI Manf. work closely with the Japanese transmission manufacturers to develop their respective ATF's? Of course, they had to, just as GM worked very closely with DI Manf. Afton to develop the DexronVI and DexronHP DI packages (as first blended by PetroCanada), and so did Ford and Chrysler work with DI package manf. to develop their fluids.

Idemitsu and other Asian DI companies have access to the same analytical instrumentation as other DI package manf. Most other DI manf. chose not to expend the time, energy, and the expense of developing a Multi Vehicle ATF.

So again, it is not a matter of doing some simple experiments--it is not a simple process.

I hope this answers the many questions that have been posted in


but if you have specific, non-IP questions related to this single topic, please ask.
 
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Q: Why are aftermarket ATF fluids silent with regards to drain interval? That has always bugged me about multi-vehicle ATF's.
 

MolaKule

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Q: Why are aftermarket ATF fluids silent with regards to drain interval? That has always bugged me about multi-vehicle ATF's.
I can only offer a theory: If the fluids are used for excessively long intervals, they cannot be blamed for a transmission failure due to poor maintenance.

For example, a Honda daily driver's transmission with 7500 miles per year operation has a totally different operating environment than a truck used for towing, or a jeep's transmission used out in a desert.

In other words, any lubricant's life is not a 'cookie-cutter' situation.

Amsoil does say: "SERVICE LIFE Normal Service: Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s normal-service drain interval. Severe Service: Double the vehicle manufacturer’s severe-service drain interval in passenger cars and light trucks. Change at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended drain interval outside U.S. and Canada." So some do say to change according to vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.

Redline says: "Extended drain intervals," but they do not say how long you should extend your drain interval beyond the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.

This language puts the responsibility of doing proper drain-and-fill intervals on the vehicle's owner, where, in my opinion, it has always belonged.
 
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I can only offer a theory: If the fluids are used for excessively long replacement intervals, they cannot be blamed for a transmission failure due to poor maintenance.

For example, a Honda daily driver's transmission with 7500 miles per year operation has a totally different environment than a truck used for towing or a jeep's transmission used out in a desert.

In other words, any lubricant's life is not a 'cookie-cutter' situation.

Amsoil does say: "SERVICE LIFE
AMSOIL OE Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid should be changed according to your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations." So some do say to change according to vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.

Redline says: "Extended drain intervals," but they do not say how long you should extend your drain interval beyond the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations.

This language puts the responsibility of doing proper drain intervals on the vehicle's owner, where, in my opinion, it always belonged.
I didn't know Redline and Amsoil had that verbage. That does provide some comfort for consumers regarding the performance of the product. Some people are perfectly comfortable with MV ATF. I just don't trust it. I can't trust it.
 

MolaKule

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I didn't know Redline and Amsoil had that verbage. That does provide some comfort for consumers regarding the performance of the product. Some people are perfectly comfortable with MV ATF. I just don't trust it. I can't trust it.
This info is usually found in the PI (Product Information) or Product Data Sheets (PDS).
 
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I'm not for more government regulations generally speaking but I would be in favor of requiring automakers to release test specifications for service fluids. It would be a huge win for DIYers.
 
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I didn't know Redline and Amsoil had that verbage. That does provide some comfort for consumers regarding the performance of the product. Some people are perfectly comfortable with MV ATF. I just don't trust it. I can't trust it.
With nearly 100k of use my transmission has not exploded, good enough for me.
 
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