Versatrac

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Is there a Gear oil that is a good substitute for GM Versatrac @ 37.00 a quart. I need help and the local dealer won't even give me any info about the grade.
 

MolaKule

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I am not aware of any substitute. It is specially formulated for the all drive GM vehicles and their transfer cases.
 

csmtxsg

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A tech at Royal Purple tells me that RP Syncromax is the oil I need for the differential on a AWD Buick Rendezvous.
 
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Versatrak is a very unique fluid. There is no direct replacement for it in the aftermarket. The only product that people seem to be able to use in place of it is Royal Purple's Synchromax fluid. Lots of people on the Saturn forums with AWD Vue's that have had good luck using RP Synchromax to replace Versatrak. However, make note that while it seems to replace it trouble free in the transfer case of the GM AWD systems it is hit or miss in the rear drive module. In the RDM it seems to not quite be up to it at times and you can get some grinding/gear chatter. Some say it replaces it perfectly in the RDM while others have to go back to Versatrak. I have not heard of any issues using it in the GM AWD t-case's however. Hope that helps for whatever good it does for you? GM has actually stopped using Versatrak in the RDM on a lot of( maybe all of? )their AWD vehicles and gone to their 75W-90 synthetic gear oil( grape juice )instead. Why??? I had an AWD 2008 Equinox and it was Versatrak for the t-case but grape juice for the RDM. I was going to use the Synchromax when I changed the t-case fluid but sold it before I got there.
 
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 Originally Posted By: GMorg
I do not recommend RP synchromax as a replacement. Below is a thread discussing my Synchromax adventures in a GM RDM. http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubb...rue#Post1396960
This is one of the situations I was refering to where it did not work well in a RDM. Many VUE owners who have had better luck however and there are no reports of problems in the t-case where the OP wants to run it so...
 
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From the cited thread above: "I have also contacted David Canitz at RP. He explained that VersaTrak fluid (GM 12378514) is the same part number that is used for the Corvette manual transmission fluid and that RP Synchromax is recommended as a replacement in that application. I did not fully understand if he was suggesting that VersaTrak fluid is the same as the manual transmission fluid or that the part number is used for more than one fluid. He also said that he had heard of others using Synchromax in some other applications, but he added "we are not claiming that the Synchromax is a warranty replacement for all Versatrak."" And from NHHEMI in the same thread: "Go visit any Saturn forum and specifically the Vue sections and you will find posts from people who have run RP in place of Versatrak for 60K+...However, understand your AWD system is different than that in the Vue's, Equinox, Torrent, etc...Your AWD system( I decided to go look )was used in the Montana, Aztek, and Venture. Different system so different parts. That can be a big reason." I would think that the OP's Rendezvous is the same unit as in the Montana and Venture. I have no experience with Synchromax in the transfer case, but I was not pleased with groan it left in the RDM. I also was not impressed with RP's response when I communicated my experience. I did find it interesting that they said that they had never actually tested Synchromax for my application.
 
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 Originally Posted By: GMorg
From the cited thread above: "I have also contacted David Canitz at RP. He explained that VersaTrak fluid (GM 12378514) is the same part number that is used for the Corvette manual transmission fluid and that RP Synchromax is recommended as a replacement in that application. I did not fully understand if he was suggesting that VersaTrak fluid is the same as the manual transmission fluid or that the part number is used for more than one fluid. He also said that he had heard of others using Synchromax in some other applications, but he added "we are not claiming that the Synchromax is a warranty replacement for all Versatrak."" And from NHHEMI in the same thread: "Go visit any Saturn forum and specifically the Vue sections and you will find posts from people who have run RP in place of Versatrak for 60K+...However, understand your AWD system is different than that in the Vue's, Equinox, Torrent, etc...Your AWD system( I decided to go look )was used in the Montana, Aztek, and Venture. Different system so different parts. That can be a big reason." I would think that the OP's Rendezvous is the same unit as in the Montana and Venture. I have no experience with Synchromax in the transfer case, but I was not pleased with groan it left in the RDM. I also was not impressed with RP's response when I communicated my experience. I did find it interesting that they said that they had never actually tested Synchromax for my application.
I understand it did not work for you in your application. I don't think anyone intentionally mislead you however which is what it sounds like you are feeling? I sure didn't. I went out of my way to help you. I told you to try it because I had read about guys with Vue's using it with no problems. After you reported your issues I did some digging and found you have a different AWD system than the Vue and other GM AWD systems so that can be the issue right there. YOur syystem was used on a certain type of vehicle in a certain time frame. No clue if the OP's Rendevous uses the same system? GM used different systems in their various AWD offerings. I would not assume anything at this point. RP told you to use it because to that point they, apparantly, had not run into a problem and have successfully seen it replace that fluid. They even pointed out it is not a warranty acceptable replacement which most companies would not do. I will wager that if someone with a vehicle like yours asks David again about replacing Versatrak he either says Synchromax won't work or that results may vary. A small company like RP does not have the resources to test their fluid in every single application. Versatrak apparantly is callled for in the Vette tranny and they have used Synchromax to replace it successfully( my take on your info from DC above ). I am guessing here they "assumed" it would work in your RDM as well as it replaced that fluid successfully in other applications it is called for in. Apparantly it didn't work for you. It does work in the Vue RDM so there is soemthing different about yours. Also, I seem to recall even Versatrak fluid doesn't hold up well in your RDM and that you need to change it frequently( what was it - every 30K I believe ). While obviously the RP fluid made noise and the OE fluid was quiet I wonder if your RDM does not have issues.
 
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I don't think that anyone intentionally misled me. I think that I was looking to save a few bucks and several people suggested that Synchromax would work. Each suggestion may have been quite informed and even produced after great consideration. At the end of the day however, I don't think that anyone actually knew if Synchromax was an appropriate fluid. My post above was just an attempt to save some other poor soul from having spend money to find out that they need to spend even more money. I don't think that even the people that warned me actually knew that there would be a problem. I thought that the NHHEMI quote would remind the original poster that his RDM was not application where Synchromax has received praise. As for RP's representation, I have concluded that they were not willing to say that they did not know if their product was appropriate. I don't think that they knowingly misled me. Instead, I think that they hoped they could sell a product that just might work - hopefully. I was disappointed with there explanation as to why they thought their product would work in my application.
 

MolaKule

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 Quote:
A tech at Royal Purple tells me that RP Syncromax is the oil I need for the differential on a AWD Buick Rendezvous
Ask that tech next time if the RP Synchromax has the exact base oil and additive package as Versatrak. I don't think the tech is trying to mislead you, he is simply trying to sell you an RP product from a spreadsheet of "read-across" products on his computer screen. The critical thing for those GM AllWheelDrive vehicles are the friction modifiers used in the fluid. Unless RP has reverse engineered it, I doubt that Synchromax is an exact replacement fluid.
 
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csmtxsg

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Well my experiment is over. RP Synchromax did not work in my Rendezvous RDM. It is loader than ever. I am also a little peeved that the RP rep stated that Sycromax was thier recommendation. I will now go back to Versatrac. I guess this is what happens when you try to save a few bucks.
 
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Contact them and tell them it did not work. See if they won't refund your money.
 
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I realize this thread is aging, but I thought that I would add that RP was not willing to refund anything for me. This thread now has two first hand experiences of RP's product as unsatisfactory in this RDM and zero first hand accounts of the product as satisfactory.
 
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Hello, We have a 2002 Chevrolet Venture (Pontiac Aztec, Buick Rendez-Vous, Buick Terraza, etc) that has the VersaTraK rear differential system. Notes to point out; 1--The oil in these differentials SHOULD be changed every 15K, essentially every third oil change. Just like towing capacity DO NOT trust what GM says. 2--I have asked at many dealers and the versatrak fluid is a VEGETABLE based fluid. It is apparently environmentally friendly! However, anyone that know vegetable based hydraulic fluids knows that they do not last very long and are not as good as carbon based oils. Thus the problems. To answer the question about a suitable replacement. Unless you live in Europe or can reverse engineer the fluid, THERE IS NO REPLACEMENT! None, NADA Zilch. If your RWD still functions, noise or no noise. Change the fluid and change it often or you will find yourself like me with an expensive repair! For all the people including myself that have driven their vans in circles to get rid of the noise, stop doing it as it will further make you dissy. Change the fluid and change it often. The price for the fluid compared to the cost of changing this special versatrak system is just not worth it. My two cents!
 
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Vegetable based? I doubt it. What it most likely has is a specific friction modifier compatible with the frictional surfaces to engage AWD 'smoothly'. Why? ask the clowns in the engineering department or the managers that sign these supplier contracts for disposable drive-trains that we're stuck with. Its just too difficult for GM to figure out how to pick components that can use regular ATF or normal gear oil. I can see the cost accountants approval stamping these "components" because they saved 10% in the cost of that "component" from a supplier. But, it requires a $30 per quart fluid which is not an issue since no maintenance is required since the statisticians said that the "component" will 'most likely' last the warranty period. Quit buying vehicles that have overpriced unobtainium fluid and teach the automakers a lesson. Oh wait, we'll just have the gov't bail them out.
 
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The Versatrak supplier was Magna Steyr, which called it Geromatic. Has anyone looked into using fluids from other manufacturers that use Magna Steyr AWD systems? Kia Sportage, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mercedes 4matic show up in a quick search. Another possibility might be fluids from vehicles with AWD/4WD systems of the same gerodisc design, like the 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the Quadra-Trac II (NV247) transfer case. The Jeep fluid is a special fluid: Mopar 05016796AC, $13/qt.
 
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It looks like the Jeep NV247 fluid is Mobilfluid 424 tractor fluid. Amsoil lists ATH as a substitute. Anyone with a "disposable" AWD GM U-van want to give it a try?
 
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2011 Kia Sportage coupling fluid Shell TF-0870 Makes me wonder. My '08 Kia uses GL5 80w90 in the rear-end and transfer case(simple). The transfer case uses electric-magnetic clutches to engage/disengage AWD. But, the rear-end also has a $1600 coupling bolted to it that is sealed for life(time to break out the drill and taps). The coupling has a connector so I will assume that it is electric-magnetic too. I've noticed that many AWD systems have '2' devices that work together to engage the AWD. Complex engineering to keep AWD working with traction control, stability control, and ABS all together. Can't just use a simple transfer case anymore. Still doesn't make sense why they use 'different' clutch materials. Whats good enough for my transfer case, isn't good enough for my coupling.
 
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