Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc meets Z-1 and DW-1

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For Honda owners, Valvoline's MaxLife Dex/Merc apparently meets both the Z-1 and DW-1 specifications now. I emailed them about it today and they said they're updating the product information for it and that it meets both specifications. I think I'm coming around to using that instead of the expensive Honda DW-1 fluid in both of my vehicles (though I still don't like universal fluids).
 
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Maxlife ATF hasn't let me down. It's a great universal fluid. Used it in several automatic transmissions, ranging from GMC, BMW LT7114l and LA2634, Honda Z-1, etc, etc.
 

JRed

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Great stuff. I've used MaxLife in three different Hyundai five-speed automatics and several GM autoboxes and it's worked like a charm.
 
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Charlotte, NC
Maxlife is very good stuff. I can't say enough good things about it. It made my truck shift so smooth that I seriously thought something was wrong for the first week or so. It made that much of a difference. That was the first Valvoline product I ever tried and it impressed me to the point of buying Type F fluid to use in my power steering and that worked beautifully as well. Just my 2 cents.....
 
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Technically, I don't think it meets the Honda specs. Honda won't approve any fluid as such. However, Valvoline recommends it for use in Z-1 applications, and I'm sure they wouldn't put their reputation on the line if it wasn't just fine to use it. Many Honda owners have liked it in their transmissions. I've read that the shifts aren't quite a smooth, and that's due to the different friction modifiers not letting things slip as much. Many prefer the shift performance with the fluid and argue that it's healthier for the transmission. It's what I plan to use in our Saturn's 5-speed Honda tranny when I do a 3x drain/fill procedure at 60K.
 

Hokiefyd

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Originally Posted By: barlowc
Technically, I don't think it meets the Honda specs. Honda won't approve any fluid as such.
I think meeting the specifications and gaining Honda approval are different. This is the exact wording from Valvoline's email back to me: "The Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF will actually meet both the ATF-Z1 and DW-1 specifications." The product can meet the specifications without gaining approval. Similar to how some motor oils might meet all the specifications of dexos 1, but maybe they haven't paid the licensing fee to have the logo on the bottle. (I know, there is a difference; Honda doesn't license their fluids to anyone.) I'm thinking about using the MaxLife in our vehicles because the shifting performance with the Honda DW-1 is almost "too smooth". I would prefer to feel the shifts a little more. It shifts like butter in the Acura, and ever skips a beat, but my simple mind has to believe that a slightly firmer shift would be easier on the clutches. And the only reason I'm halfway comfortable with using a universal fluid like this is because of the overwhelmingly positive comments about how it works in these transaxles.
 
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Good to hear, though with the discontinuance of Z-1 I had already decided Maxlife would be my next move for the two Hondas I maintain. I paid about $6.50-7.00/qt. for Z-1 for years (had no issues) and that was about the low dollar the dealer would go. It will be nice to buy ML gallon(s) from AAP, use an online code and save some money. Now both Hondas I maintain are pre 2011 and are out or will be out of warranty so I feel confident about going with readily available ML rather than the more expensive DW-1. Thanks for the info.
 

Hokiefyd

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I didn't know you can buy it by the gallon at AAP. That will certainly be cheaper than $8-9/quart for DW-1 from the dealership. Now lets see Valvoline do some VTM-4 and some DPF-II for the rear ends of AWD Hondas!
 
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Originally Posted By: sayjac
Yep, ~$18/gal. Add P20 code and take 20% off that. Bigger order, other codes take off more.
I got to try it, i thought the code does not work on Maxlife ATF previously.
 

Hokiefyd

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Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
Too soon to say that Max Life will not be going in my Honda?
No...we all have our preferences. It actually doesn't go in my Honda either. Shifts with MaxLife in the sump were fairly firm and it would hang just a touch between gears. Not very much, and probably not so much that anyone else would notice it, but I notice small stuff like that. I use Castrol Transmax IMV in the Honda. And actually, I'm going to try the Castrol in our Acura next as well, after a few drains/fills of MaxLife. I'm more comfortable with the starting viscosity of the Castrol, as it's closer to the original Honda Z1 fluid.
 
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Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
Too soon to say that Max Life will not be going in my Honda?
Well, I just did a 3x Drain and refill on my Acura with Maxlife, so it definitely is too soon for me. So far im liking it. Much smoother and firmer ( not harsh ) shifts vs dealer filled Z1. @Hokiefyd : Maxlife seems closer to the viscosity of the new DW-1 which Castrol IMV seems closer to older Dex/Merc/Z1 spec Viscosity.
 

Hokiefyd

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Originally Posted By: bourne
@Hokiefyd : Maxlife seems closer to the viscosity of the new DW-1 which Castrol IMV seems closer to older Dex/Merc/Z1 spec Viscosity.
Correct. Which is why I think I like the Castrol product better for Z1 transmissions. If I had a DW-1 transmission, I'd probably use DW-1, as long as I was happy with how it shifted. But for a Z1 transmission, I think the Castrol product may be a closer match than MaxLife. I certainly like Castrol better than MaxLife in our Honda. Time will tell if I like it better than MaxLife in our Acura. I still don't know what the deal is with JASO-1A, and how relevant that is to a Honda transmission. It seems to be a specificiation that the Japanese have gotten behind. Here's an older thread on that, but still without a lot of information: http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1128386 The point is the Castrol fluid meets it, and the Valvoline fluid apparently does not (at least Ashland doesn't claim on the bottle that it does). Does that make the Castrol fluid better suited to a Honda than the Valvoline fluid? It'd be reasonable to think so, but I also don't know for sure.
 
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So when will that fact be put on the official Valvoline website indicating that MaxLife meets Honda DW1? It isn't on there yet, and I also don't see that it meets Honda Z1 either, which I actually thought was present at an earlier time... The e mail you received is NOT the same as having that printed on the "official" Valvoline website or the actual product bottle itself.
 
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Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
I DID spot the compatibility with Honda Z1 now at the bottom of the Valvoline Maxlife ATF home page. Still looking for the compatibility with DW1.
Valvoline always recommended Maxlife in Z1 Applications anyways. Funny thing is , if you look at the specs, Maxlife is closer to DW-1 than Z-1 in terms of viscosity specs.
 

Hokiefyd

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Originally Posted By: antiqueshell
Still looking for the compatibility with DW1.
It's not on the bottle. If you're so interested in it, call Valvoline.
 
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