Three ATF's Analyzed

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MolaKule

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Originally Posted by The Critic
From the analysis performed and from the data you are willing to disclosed, it is evident that Idemitsu and Valvoline are using a very different additive system than the Genuine Honda ATF-DW1 fluid.
Yes, the disparity is evident.
Originally Posted by The Critic
Despite the different additive system, is it possible that the Idemitsu additive system is still capable of providing adequate wear protection?
Without extensive cyclic dyno runs and subsequent tear-downs, we cannot make that assumption.
Originally Posted by The Critic
Would an UOA allow the end user to adequate[ly] monitor transmission wear?
A UOA without extensive microscopic particle analysis would be essentially useless with respect to wear. A UOA without extensive knowledge of the transmission's materials composition would be essentially useless with respect to wear..
 
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MolaKule

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Originally Posted by AC1DD
I think that we can't see what specific proprietary additives and friction modifiers are used in all of these prevents the consumer from making accurate conclusions as to whether or not it is wise to use aftermarket fluids in our Honda/Acura automatic transmissions. Would I be correct?
The following statements are not meant in any way to disparage or to put down anyone whatsoever. How would the average consumer be able to determine how tetradecane and 1-hexadecylamine functions in an AT fluid? And how would the average consumer know how calcium components and dispersants react with the above compounds in an AT fluid? It takes a mix of the knowledge of materials science, advanced chemistry, tribology, mechanics, and experience to assess those kinds of things mentioned above, which the average consumer does not possess.
 
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Originally Posted by MolaKule
The following statements are not meant in any way to disparage or to put down anyone whatsoever. How would the average consumer be able to determine how tetradecane and 1-hexadecylamine functions in an AT fluid? And how would the average consumer know how calcium components and dispersants react with the above compounds in an AT fluid? It takes a mix of the knowledge of materials science, advanced chemistry, tribology, mechanics, and experience to assess those kinds of things mentioned above, which the average consumer does not possess.
I guess, as a consumer, there really isn't a way to tell unless I see my friend using a particular fluid and the vehicle lasted long enough for my friend to say it is "working fine". Many people I know consider a car "used up" by 75k, even in pristine condition, and many people I know consider a car "don't make them like they are used to" and "disposable" when the head gasket leaked at 160k. Personally, as I've done some corner case testing and bench marking in another industry, I can see OEM tweak formula or pick one over another because of some weird corner cases, that we know most customers won't ever run into (i.e. arctic circle, 75% humidity, 20G vibration, 20kV ESD, wierd stuff like that). The same product not passing these tests can be sold to customers and never see a complain or failure, because we don't see spec writers that are extreme like that. I would imagine 90% of the customers will never need to worry about this, and even if they do see issues (i.e. shift comfort, mpg lost) they will not see it bad enough that they come back with a pitch fork, and even if they do see problem the fluid manufactures can easily just buy a junkyard transmission for them to send them out the door (or buy out the car that is worth less than that), without any fear of class action lawsuits that OEM need to worry about. Heck, if people are fine getting away with never changing ATF for 200k, a fresh Maxlife D&F should still be better than a worn out DW-1, no matter how different they are theoretically.
 
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Originally Posted by MolaKule
Here is a purported analysis of Z-1 by a BITOG member. From the present analysis, the only changes made from Z-1 to DW-1 were an update in base oils.
I had read that the change was only (or primarily) that DW-1 used a synthetic base oil whereas Z-1 did not. Since everything else looks relatively the same, that explains why it's backwards compatible I guess. Just like the Nissan / Castrol change from Matic-J (non-synthetic) to Matic-S (synthetic)...
 

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Originally Posted by PandaBear
I guess, as a consumer, there really isn't a way to tell unless I see my friend using a particular fluid and the vehicle lasted long enough for my friend to say it is "working fine".
Which is why I did the analysis, to educate the consumer.
Originally Posted by PandaBear
Heck, if people are fine getting away with never changing ATF for 200k, a fresh Maxlife D&F should still be better than a worn out DW-1, no matter how different they are theoretically.
I would say those 200k transmissions are extremely lucky, but yes a fresh charge of ATF will help.
 

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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Originally Posted by MolaKule
Here is a purported analysis of Z-1 by a BITOG member. From the present analysis, the only changes made from Z-1 to DW-1 were an update in base oils.
I had read that the change was only (or primarily) that DW-1 used a synthetic base oil whereas Z-1 did not. Since everything else looks relatively the same, that explains why it's backwards compatible I guess. Just like the Nissan / Castrol change from Matic-J (non-synthetic) to Matic-S (synthetic)...
The base oil changes were from predominately Group II to predominately Group III with some minor components consisting of Group IV and V. Of course, the full additive package had to be tweaked slightly since;
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Not many people are aware, but the presence of calcium and dispersant compounds in Step-Shift transmission fluids have only a secondary task, and this is for minor cleaning and dispercency, respectively, since there are no combustion products present in an AT fluid. The main purpose of Calcium and dispersant compounds is to function as one of the many friction modifiers. The other friction modifiers are never shown in low cost analyses but compliment the total friction modification chemistry. Even the selection of base oils have to be considered as to the effect of overall friction modification. I.e, the base oils, plus any additives, plus the type of VII have to considered in the finished formulation.
 
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Thanks for posting. I always had a hard time wrapping my head around a one size fits all mentality when it comes to universal ATFs, or anything else that makes the one size fits all statement. I'd rather not take a chance to save a few dollars on something that may or may not damage my very expensive transmission. I took a shot at Maxlife in my 00 Century and was very happy with the results. There is no way it will ever find its way into one of my ATF+4 applications.
 

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Originally Posted by demarpaint
Thanks for posting. I always had a hard time wrapping my head around a one size fits all mentality when it comes to universal ATFs, or anything else that makes the one size fits all statement. I'd rather not take a chance to save a few dollars on something that may or may not damage my very expensive transmission. I took a shot at Maxlife in my 00 Century and was very happy with the results. There is no way it will ever find its way into one of my ATF+4 applications.
While the friction modification mix in modern Multi-vehicle fluids such as MaxLife has a broad spectrum of application, I also question the coverage or applicability to ATF +4 fluids.
 
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. I took a shot at Maxlife in my 00 Century and was very happy with the results. There is no way it will ever find its way into one of my ATF+4 applications.
Of course this comparison is for Honda DW1 and applicable aftermarket application comparison. ATF+4 is not currently one of the suitable for listings on the MaxLife spec sheet. Thus I wouldn't use it in a +4 application either. As for this comparison, basically confirms the previous VOAs for DW1 finding low to nil Phosphorus, and high Zinc. It also confirms that while Idemitsu appears imo to imply that it very similar to if not the same as DW1, multiple analysis prove that not to be the case. That said, it appears some get the warm fuzzies from Idemitsu marketing strategy of "single use". With that also come the price premium for the product which is significant as compared to MaxLife in the same applications. Obviously having had excellent results in a couple Honda applications using ML, I'm not one of those. As for comparison of MaxLife to H+, there's no reason for ML to list a suitable for H+ list when it is not the Honda oem ATF, ie., DW1. Though H+ promotes itself as single use for DW1, it's basically another aftermarket ATF, just for Honda. The one other Honda ATF which similar to H+ markets itself as single use for Honda is "Aisin "Honda DW1 ATF. The Amazon listing for said Aisin ATF goes so far as to bullet point the phrase "Genuine OEM automatic transmission fluid". As this previous analysis shows, similar to the Idemitsu product it is not the same as DW1. So imo based on all the analyses on bitog, if one specifically wants DW1, that's what needs to be purchased. Otherwise for the aftermarket "for Honda" and/or suitable/recommended for multivehicle ATFs, (eg. MaxLife, Castrol Full Synthetic MV), you pay your money and you take your choice. Thanks for the analyses and comparison.
 
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Originally Posted by Sayjac
The one other Honda ATF which similar to H+ markets itself as single use for Honda is "Aisin "Honda DW1 ATF. The Amazon listing for said Aisin ATF goes so far as to bullet point the phrase "Genuine OEM automatic transmission fluid". As this previous analysis shows, similar to the Idemitsu product it is not the same as DW1. So imo based on all the analyses on bitog, if one specifically wants DW1, that's what needs to be purchased. Otherwise for the aftermarket "for Honda" and/or suitable/recommended for multivehicle ATFs, (eg. MaxLife, Castrol Full Synthetic MV), you pay your money and you take your choice. Thanks for the analyses and comparison.
I do agree that the way Idemitsu market it makes people feel like they are buying an off label but identical fluid. That to me doesn't seem honest (if there ever is an honest oil company). At least people would think Aisin would be OK if Aisin makes the tranny (but they don't make Honda tranny). Maybe Honda stays with the formula because they are already invested in it, and have everything to lose if some corner cases failed but nothing to gain (other than maybe a few cents cheaper in additives).
 
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Originally Posted by PandaBear
[quote=Sayjac] I do agree that the way Idemitsu market it makes people feel like they are buying an off label but identical fluid. That to me doesn't seem honest (if there ever is an honest oil company).
Yes the Idemitsu H+ fluid seems to be a case of false advertising and makes me think much less of the company since the company makes BOTH the OEM and their own fluid but clearly isn't using the same or even similar additives in their own H+/H fluids.
 
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Is it possible that there are friction modifiers in the Idemitsu and Valvoline products that will not show up on a UOA, but will collectively let the fluid function appropriately in a Honda automated manual transmission?
 

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Originally Posted by Brian553
Is it possible that there are friction modifiers in the Idemitsu and Valvoline products that will not show up on a UOA,
We know what the friction modifiers are. There are similar friction modifiers in both the Idemitsu Type H-plus and Valvoline MaxLife, including the combination of the Calcium, the dispersant, and the organic friction modifiers.
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Not many people are aware, but the presence of calcium and dispersant compounds in Step-Shift transmission fluids have only a secondary task, and this is for minor cleaning and dispercency, respectively, since there are no combustion products present in an AT fluid. The main purpose of Calcium and dispersant compounds is to function as one of the many friction modifiers. The other friction modifiers are never shown in low cost analyses but compliment the total friction modification chemistry.
The main frictions modifiers in DW-1 are obviously the Calcium at 350 ppm and the Magnesium at 200ppm. These are the same friction modifiers we use in manual transmission fluids (MTF's) albeit at higher levels.
Originally Posted by Brian553
...but will collectively let the fluid function appropriately in a Honda automated manual transmission?
As I stated before, any hydraulic fluid of the correct viscosity will function in a hydraulically operated transmission. How long it will operate before failure is highly dependent on the friction modification and the other additives.
 
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Originally Posted by MolaKule
How long it will operate before failure is highly dependent on the friction modification and the other additives.
How many miles are FMs typically good for?
 
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So, with all the discussion about H+ and DW1, I decided just for giggles to send off an email to Idemitsu. It took them about 2 weeks to get back with me, thought they never would, but here is a C&P of the response. Hello, Shawn Thank you for reaching out to Idemitsu Lubricants America Corporation. Your concern is important for us, so we requested our technical department to provide additional information. The DW-1 fluid requires specific properties (for example, viscosity, viscosity retention, low-temperature viscosity, etc.) and dynamic and static friction beside standard transmission oil properties. Taking into consideration these aspects, we would like to share with you a comparison between DW-1 and Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus: [Linked Image] As you can observe in the chart above, Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus meets all the key performance properties for DW-1. Also, the static and dynamic friction performances for Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus are almost identical to that of DW-1 fluid. Each transmission fluid developed by Idemitsu undergoes strict quality testing to meet the exact frictional requirements as prescribed by the automaker. In addition to the above, we would like to reemphasize that Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus provides several other benefits that meet and exceed the average requirements of ‘standard market' multi-vehicle transmission fluids, such as: § Enhanced fuel economy and superior low-temperature flow properties § Smoother shifting and outstanding anti-shudder performance § Excellent resistance to oxidation and thermal breakdown of oil § Superior cleanliness § Advanced anti-wear performance § Excellent seal compatibility We understand there has been some open and passionate discussions related to the elemental analysis for DW-1, Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus and some market general multi-vehicle transmission fluids. We truly appreciate open discourse and productive feedback when it comes to the quality and performance of our products—it's the one thing we take most seriously and are proudly confident about. Once more, we would like to reaffirm that the Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus uses a different additive package than DW-1—however, this has no bearing or impact on the formulation's ability to meet the prescribed performance properties for this particular transmission. We hope the shared information will help clarify any doubts. Should you have any further questions, feel free to reach me via e-mail. Best regards, Thomas Khondaker Product Manager, Aftermarket Oil (Snipped personal contact information from the email.)
 

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Originally Posted by ctechbob
So, with all the discussion about H+ and DW1, I decided just for giggles to send off an email to Idemitsu. It took them about 2 weeks to get back with me, thought they never would, but here is a C&P of the response. Hello, Shawn Thank you for reaching out to Idemitsu Lubricants America Corporation. Your concern is important for us, so we requested our technical department to provide additional information. The DW-1 fluid requires specific properties (for example, viscosity, viscosity retention, low-temperature viscosity, etc.) and dynamic and static friction beside standard transmission oil properties...
I see they totally ignored (never made mention of) the huge disparity between the two additive chemistry's.
 
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"Once more, we would like to reaffirm that the Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus uses a different additive package than DW-1—however, this has no bearing or impact on the formulation's ability to meet the prescribed performance properties for this particular transmission." They didn't say why it is different, just that it is.
 

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Originally Posted by ctechbob
"Once more, we would like to reaffirm that the Idemitsu ATF Type H Plus uses a different additive package than DW-1—however, this has no bearing or impact on the formulation's ability to meet the prescribed performance properties for this particular transmission." They didn't say why it is different, just that it is.
It is unfortunate they didn't address the zinc-to-phosphorus ratio differences and how that affects Anti-Wear performance.
 
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Originally Posted by MolaKule
It is unfortunate they didn't address the zinc-to-phosphorus ratio differences and how that affects Anti-Wear performance.
Indeed, that would have been interesting reading.
 
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