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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lately there's been a lot of transmission posts so I thought I’d post this info regarding what fluids you should and should not use. Please note FCA Chrysler states NOT to use anything but the licensed ATF-4 fluids. That means - NO unlicensed ATF -4 fluids, even if the fluid states ATF-4 compatible. If not licensed by the FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program do not use. Do not use any ATF additives like Lucas – even if it states ATF-4 compatible - do NOT use any additives.

See this link
Center for Quality Assurance
FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program
Frequently Asked Questions | FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program

It clearly states in the faq:

Question
I read that using an automatic transmission fluid (ATF) conditioner or additive with ATF+4® will enhance my vehicle’s performance. Do you recommend this?

Answer
No. Using an ATF conditioner is not recommended. If you have added a product to your ATF+4®, it is recommended that you drain the existing fluid and replace it with ATF+4®.

Question
If an automatic transmission fluid (ATF) isn’t on the ATF+4® approved list but the bottle says it is “ATF+4”, or suitable for FCA or Chrysler vehicles, or suitable where ATF+4® is required, should I use it anyway?

Answer
No, only licensed ATF+4® products (with "ATF+4®" as part of the brand name and a valid license number on the back of the label) contain the unique formulation. Other look-alike products that claim to be suitable for use in FCA or Chrysler transmissions have not gone through FCA’s rigorous testing process, are not monitored for quality, and are not approved or recommended for use in FCA transmissions.

ATF+4® is a unique formulation that has been designed specifically to meet the exacting requirements of FCA transmissions. The fluid has gone through an extensive developmental and testing process, including more than one million miles of severe field testing. It is a high performance fluid that provides significant reduction in component wear, superior temperature performance, consistent shift quality, and exceptional friction modifying properties.

Question
My mechanic didn’t use ATF+4® when changing my transmission fluid. What should I do?

Answer
To ensure you have removed most or all of the existing ATF, it is recommended that you perform a total of three (3) changes using ATF+4®. It is further recommended that you do not mix ATF+4® with another automatic transmission fluid (ATF).

Here are all the questions / answers
Frequently Asked Questions | FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program

Use only these ATF-4 brands
Licensed Brands | FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program

Do not use any other ATF ATF-4 brands, even if they say they are ATF-4 compatible.
Non-Licensed Brands | FCA ATF+4® Licensing Program

Do not use any additives like Lucas
– even if they claim that they are compatible.
-even if they claim they are warranty approved.
They are NOT

Only certified ATF+4 is recommended for service of FCA vehicles as where ATF+4 is specified in the owner’s manual. The use of automatic transmission fluids other than ATF+4, including those claiming to be like ATF+4, could result in lower levels of performance, jeopardize transmission life and void warranties.

 

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as a side note, if you used some kind of transmission fix or whatever and it worked for you, that's great! congratulations, we're all happy for you and your van

that doesn't mean that it should be recommended as the fix-all for people coming on with issues with their solenoid pack, tcm, speed sensors, transmission filter, etc

fluid additives should be considered a last-ditch effort
 

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The Chrysler Dealership here sells Lucas. The Parts Guys say to use it "as a last resort".

Additives don't contain any miracle cure, except for Marvel Mystery oil, and that's still a mystery. :)
  • "rubber" seal conditioners?
  • heavier fluid to fill excessive wear gaps better?
  • lighter fluid to flow better?
  • detergents? not likely, maybe
  • gasket seal conditioners/stop leak? maybe
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As a last resort, one could try molasses. :)

Question
My mechanic didn’t use ATF+4® when changing my transmission fluid. What should I do?

Answer
To ensure you have removed most or all of the existing ATF, it is recommended that you perform a total of three (3) changes using ATF+4®. It is further recommended that you do not mix ATF+4® with another automatic transmission fluid (ATF).
I have quoted that section many times on here. Honda considers 4 drains/refills a near total fluid exchange and provides a drain plug to facilitate that. Of course, their filter is pretty much buried in the transmission.
Chrysler ....... a transmission drain plug please, too many flushers (including your Dealerships) out there, adding chemicals that they shouldn't.
 

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The Chrysler Dealership here sells Lucas. The Parts Guys say to use it "as a last resort".

Additives don't contain any miracle cure, except for Marvel Mystery oil, and that's still a mystery. :)
  • "rubber" seal conditioners?
  • heavier fluid to fill excessive wear gaps better?
  • lighter fluid to flow better?
  • detergents? not likely, maybe
  • gasket seal conditioners/stop leak? maybe
-
-
As a last resort, one could try molasses. :)


I have quoted that section many times on here. Honda considers 4 drains/refills a near total fluid exchange and provides a drain plug to facilitate that. Of course, their filter is pretty much buried in the transmission.
Chrysler ....... a transmission drain plug please, too many flushers (including your Dealerships) out there, adding chemicals that they shouldn't.
Something you may-may not know:

Many moons ago, when people (in Mexico) had a noisy differential and no money to fix it, they would remove the differential cover and stick some ground meat in there, replace cover, add some oil and noise was gone, at least for some time. It worked.

Would ground beef be the main ingredient of mystery oil? We might never know.

Mystery remains.
 

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Something you may-may not know:

Many moons ago, when people (in Mexico) had a noisy differential and no money to fix it, they would remove the differential cover and stick some ground meat in there, replace cover, add some oil and noise was gone, at least for some time. It worked.

Would ground beef be the main ingredient of mystery oil? We might never know.

Mystery remains.
I'm a little bit sceptical about the fact that. CHRYSLER is so adamant about atf4. And nothing else but, yet there transmissions are the worst ever

Mike S Grand caravan 3.3
 

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I'm a little bit sceptical about the fact that. CHRYSLER is so adamant about atf4. And nothing else but, yet there transmissions are the worst ever

Mike S Grand caravan 3.3
Yes, me too. Chrysler make money out of every bottle of ATF+4 regardless of who make it.
 

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Something you may-may not know:

Many moons ago, when people (in Mexico) had a noisy differential and no money to fix it, they would remove the differential cover and stick some ground meat in there, replace cover, add some oil and noise was gone, at least for some time. It worked.

Would ground beef be the main ingredient of mystery oil? We might never know.

Mystery remains.
I remember tell of used car lots putting saw dust into gear boxes to hide a singing transmission and noisy gears. A pound of ground round sounds even better....
 

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I remember tell of used car lots putting saw dust into gear boxes to hide a singing transmission and noisy gears. A pound of ground round sounds even better....
How about chopped up snakes? :)


I'm a little bit sceptical about the fact that. CHRYSLER is so adamant about atf4. And nothing else but, yet there transmissions are the worst ever

Mike S Grand caravan 3.3
Compared to what, not Honda for sure? When people stopped putting the wrong transmission fluid in the Chrysler electronic transmissions, there were way less problems. That was a racket (scam) actually, Mechanic saw you coming. Transmissions were being replaced when a ground wire was the fix.
Prior to the electronic transmissions, the Chrysler Torqeflite transmission was legendary for reliability.
Personal experience with Chrysler electronic transmissions (4 of them) - no down time, no replacements.

As to the ATF+4, the base oil is synthetic (maybe not full synthetic or Base IV synthetic, don't know), so that's nothing much special, Amsoil base oil could be higher quality. The special thing is the Lubrizol additives that were used during the design and found so successful at providing longer life while having the same frictional characteristic of ATF+3.
Chrysler automatic transmission fluids: 7176, ATF+3, ATF+4
Contrary to popular myth, one of the stated goals of Type 9602/ATF+4 fluids was that it would have the same frictional characteristics as ATF+3. The paper explicitly states that this was because new clutch materials would not be introduced for this fluid and it had to be backwards compatible with ATF+3. Graphs in the paper show that the friction coefficient of fresh ATF+3 and ATF+4 is essentially identical, but as the fluid ages ATF+4 retains the “as new” coefficient while ATF+3 degrades.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Compared to what, not Honda for sure? When people stopped putting the wrong transmission fluid in the Chrysler electronic transmissions, there were way less problems. That was a racket (scam) actually, Mechanic saw you coming. Transmissions were being replaced when a ground wire was the fix.
Prior to the electronic transmissions, the Chrysler Torqeflite transmission was legendary for reliability.
Personal experience with Chrysler electronic transmissions (4 of them) - no down time, no replacements.
Never had a Honda but the worst transmissions I owned were GM. Never had any fail but…
I owned 4 various GM transmissions and 5 various Chrysler transmissions and although all transmissions still worked when I junked or sold my cars the Chrysler transmissions performed way better then the GM. See my experience below.

GM
1- 1975 Pontiac Ventura 3-spd auto.

Sometimes it would not shift from second to third until you hit a bump.
Still the tranny never failed.

2- 1980 Chevrolet Chevette Scooter 4-spd standard (4 on the floor)
Downshifting sometimes it would pop out of gear. The second to first syncro was almost gone.
The 4th gear ratio was horrible it revved out at about 60mph should have had a 5th and 6th gear.
Still the tranny never failed.

3- 1969 Buick Lesabre 2-spd auto
What the **** were GM thinking??? A two-speed tranny in a 4-ton car????
This car had a powerful V8 close to 300hp and lots of torque but with that 2-speed slush-box it felt like my Chevette with a 1.6 litre 20 and a half HP and 3 and a half pounds of torque had almost as much power due to the extra gears.
This 2-speed Buick had a terrible gear ratio as well – seemed like first would go from 0 to 90 miles per hour and second would go from 90 to 118 mile per hour. WTF???
Still the tranny never failed.

4- 1973 Chevrolet Nova. 2-speed auto
See above.
Still the tranny never failed.

As for my Chrysler automobiles.

1- 1965 Dodge Polora 3-spd standard (3 on the tree)

Old school tranny no worse than a GM or Ford 3 on the tree of same era.
The tranny never failed.

2- 1968 Dodge dart. 3-spd auto.
Shifted real nice up and down. Actually a really nice smooth tranny with zero problems. Way better than the GM 3-spd auto I owned.
The tranny never failed.

3- 1983 Dodge aries 4-spd standard. (4 on the floor)
Zero problems – way better then the GM 4-spd standard I owned.
The tranny never failed.
As for the funky carburetor – ouch!

4 and 5 -As for my previous 1991 Caravan 4-spd auto and current 2006 Caravan 4-spd auto the only ATF that goes in there is certified ATF-4 and I couldn't be happier with these transmissions.

I only owned 1 ford (1971 custom 500) and 1 International (1971 travelall) both had V8 with 3-spd auto both worked as good as my Chrysler 3-spd auto.
 

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I used Walmart Supertech ATF4 in my van when I changed the fluid. I don't know whether it is officially licensed or not. Don't really care. Either way, I'm not paying stealership prices for ATF.

I only use Lucas in transmissions that were poorly maintained and questionable to start with. When I changed the fluid in my current van and Chevy truck, I didn't use it. I didn't see the need.

When I changed the fluid in our old Ford Escape, I used it because the old fluid looked like crap and it shifted funny at times. My friend used it in his Isuzu Trooper for years because the transmission was on it's last legs, shifting funny at times and taking forever to engage in reverse. The Lucas definitely helped quite a bit, and even after ~30k miles, the transmission wasn't what took the vehicle down in the end.

One of the only transmissions I've had that failed was in a Ford Escort. I bought it cheap with a leaking torque converter seal. While replacing that, I found that some moron had bypassed the transmission cooler when the lines rusted out.:mad: It didn't take long for the new seal to start leaking, and about that time, it started shifting erratically too. The car wasn't worth another transmission or a rebuild, so it went to the junkyard.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I used Walmart Supertech ATF4 in my van when I changed the fluid. I don't know whether it is officially licensed or not. Don't really care. Either way, I'm not paying stealership prices for ATF.
Good to go, it’s licensed.
Super Tech ATF+4® Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ATF+4® Global

When my 91 Caravan was leaking trans fluid I would buy the Castrol Transmax ATF+4® at Walmart – the only licensed ATF-4 at my local Walmart.

Now if I ever need ATF-4 I found that my local CT store sells the licensed Motomaster ATF+4® - even cheaper than the Castrol at Walmart.:)
 

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Good to go, it’s licensed.
Super Tech ATF+4® Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ATF+4® Global

When my 91 Caravan was leaking trans fluid I would buy the Castrol Transmax ATF+4® at Walmart – the only licensed ATF-4 at my local Walmart.

Now if I ever need ATF-4 I found that my local CT store sells the licensed Motomaster ATF+4® - even cheaper than the Castrol at Walmart.:)
Good to know.
I kind of figured it was or they would get in legal trouble for marketing it as such.
 

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With the 2021 Grand Caravan/ Voyager, forget about ATF+4 for the 9 speed transmission.
Fluid And Filter Changes
Under normal operating conditions, the fluid installed at the factory will provide satisfactory lubrication for the life of the vehicle. Routine fluid and filter changes are not required. However, change the fluid and filter if the fluid becomes contaminated (with water, etc.), or if the transmission is disassembled for any reason.
Use only Mopar ZF 8&9 Speed ATF Automatic Transmission Fluid, or equivalent. Failure to use the correct fluid may affect the function or performance of your transmission
 
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also, if you have a reman transmission, use whatever fluid the company that rebuilt it provides you with

they're the ones that rebuilt it, they know what fluid they want to use with it

it might void the warranty as well if you use something else
 

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also, if you have a reman transmission, use whatever fluid the company that rebuilt it provides you with

they're the ones that rebuilt it, they know what fluid they want to use with it

it might void the warranty as well if you use something else
Likely Amsoil?

But ... did they design it?
 

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With the 2021 Grand Caravan/ Voyager, forget about ATF+4 for the 9 speed transmission.
Under normal operating conditions, the fluid installed at the factory will provide satisfactory lubrication for the life of the vehicle. Routine fluid and filter changes are not required. However, change the fluid and filter if the fluid becomes contaminated (with water, etc.), or if the transmission is disassembled for any reason.
Bet the factory have been reading my posts regarding never change ATF. 🤣
 

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Likely Amsoil?

But ... did they design it?
whatever company made the replacement parts they rebuilt it with might call for a specific fluid

i also think that if the transmission starts its life using a fluid it should keep that type of fluid, it's why it's so important to not use anything but ATF+4 in these original transmissions

it would be just as important to me to only use the type of fluid that came with my remanufactured transmission, consistency is key to prevent damage


 

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Bet the factory have been reading my posts regarding never change ATF. 🤣
I sure thought of you when I saw that. Someone finally paid attention to you. You're been right all along. Maybe there's a bit of German engineering in your DNA. Congratulations. :)
 
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