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The original 1967 Dexron (B) Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF)

DEXRON is the trade name for a group of technical specifications of automatic transmission fluid (ATF) created by General Motors (GM). The name is a registered trademark (later becoming a brand) of GM, which licenses the name and specifications to companies which manufacture the fluid and sell it under their own brand names. Not all Dexron fluids are licensed for reselling under another brand name. All licensed Dexron fluids must have a license number that begins with the letters B through J. If no license number or "Dexron Approved" logo is found on the container, the fluid may not be GM approved and the fluid cannot be guaranteed to meet GM specifications. GM, like many automobile manufacturers, uses transmissions sourced from other suppliers or transmission manufacturers around the world; these transmissions are not manufactured by GM. Many of these automatic transmissions use unique fluids that might not be shown on this page.

Originally the DEXRON name was associated exclusively with automatic transmission fluids, later GM released DEXRON gear oils and other lubricants under the DEXRON brand.

Contents

GM Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATF)Edit

The original Dexron (B) transmission fluid was introduced on April 1, 1967. Over the years, the original Dexron (B) was supplanted by Dexron-II(C), Dexron-II(D), Dexron-II(E), Dexron-III(F), Dexron-III(G), Dexron-III(H), Dexron-VI(J), Dexron HP, Dexron LV ATF HP, and Dexron ULV which is the latest fluid. GM has upgraded the Dexron specifications over the years; the newer fluids are not always backward compatible with previous fluids. Newer 6, 8, 9, and 10-speed transmissions as well as Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV), and Electric Vehicle (EV) transmission technologies require specialized fluids to operate properly. There remains a market for older fluids that claim to meet the earlier fluid specifications. See the details below for backward compatibility of each fluid.

Before DEXRON - 1937 - 1967Edit

1937 - Motor OilEdit

 
(Example: 1937-1939 Gargoyle Mobiloil) Motor Oil was used in GM's Automatic Safety Transmission

The Automatic Safety Transmission was first offered as an extra cost option by the Oldsmobile Division of GM in the fall of 1937 for their Six and Eight models. It was only used during the 1938 and 1939 model years. The Automatic Safety Transmission used the same seasonal grade of motor oil as the engine for lubrication and hydraulic functions.

The Automatic Safety Transmission was a 4-speed transmission providing full-power shifting without the need for a conventional clutch. The transmission was called the Automatic Safety Transmission (AST) because the clutch operation was reduced to one-third of that required by a conventional transmission. The clutch was only necessary when starting or stopping the car.

The AST had two driving ranges (Low and High). In low range, the transmission would shift from 1st to 2nd gear and then hold in 2nd. In High range, the transmission would start in 1st gear, jump to 3rd, then shift to 4th gear. The driver could change ranges with a flick of a finger.

1939 - Hydra-Matic Drive “Fluid”Edit

GM's First Two Automatic Transmission Fluids
1940 GM Hydra-Matic Automatic Transmission “Fluid”
1949 GM Type "A" Fluid. GM License No. AQ-ATF-101

Released in 1939, the 1940-1949 GM Hydra-Matic Drive was used by the Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and Pontiac divisions. The Hydra-Matic Drive used a specialized lubricant called GM Transmission Fluid No. 1. By using the term "Fluid" rather than "Oil" they hoped to discourage the previously accepted practice of using S.A.E 20 engine oil. This fluid was composed of a Group 1 base oil and additives to reduce oxidation, foaming, rust, corrosion, varnish, and sludge build-up. This was the world's first automatic transmission fluid designed for the world's first mass-produced automatic transmission.[1]

This fluid had cold weather performance problems which led to the need for an improved fluid; the Type "A" fluid in 1949. The Hydra-Matic drive fluid was only available at GM dealerships. As a result, regular S.A.E. 20 engine oil was being used in its place at filling stations and repair garages. Engine oil was only approved as a temporary fill fluid and led to transmission problems.

1949 - Type "A" FluidEdit

1949 Texaco Texamatic Type "A" Fluid. GM License No. AQ-ATF-102
1949 Texaco Texamatic Type "A" Fluid. Lid. GM License No. AQ-ATF-102

In 1949, General Motors (GM) established an Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) Committee (GM ATF Committee). The GM ATF committee established fluid specifications and a qualification procedure to eliminate the unsatisfactory fluids and at the same time provide the car owner with a means of identifying qualified fluids. The GM ATF Committee released a new Type "A" fluid specification.[2][3] GM partnered with the Armor Research Foundation for fluid and qualification testing. Fluids that met the GM qualification requirements were issued an Armor Qualification (AQ) license number of AQ-ATF-xxx. Example (AQ-ATF-101). The license number had to be displayed on the fluid container.[4] As a result, qualified GM automatic transmission fluid was made available at retailers and service garages everywhere.

From 1949-1951 there were only two licensed fluids:

  1. GM Type "A" Automatic Transmission fluid License No. AQ-ATF-101
  2. Texaco Texamatic Fluid Type "A" License No. AQ-ATF-102.

This was the first GM automatic transmission fluid that was made available for sale at retailers besides GM dealerships. In 1951, GM began licensing more Type "A" fluids, this led to several hundred brands of licensed Type "A" fluid on the market. This fluid is backward compatible with the Hydra-Matic Drive fluid produced from 1940-1949.

It is important to understand that every automatic transmission produced by any vehicle manufacturer (Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, Pontiac, GMC, Ford, Mercury, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Desoto, Packard, and Studebaker used motor oil or the GM Type 'A" transmission fluids from 1949-1958.

In 1950 Ford released their 1951 Fordomatic 3-speed transmission; it used the GM Type "A" fluid. In 1952 Chrysler released their 1953 Powerflite 2-speed transmission; it also used the GM Type "A" fluid.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1948 Buick Dynaflow 2-Speed Semi-Automatic Transmission
  • 1950 Chevrolet Cast Iron Powerglide 2-Speed Semi-Automatic Transmission
  • 1953 GM Dual Range Hydra-Matic 4-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1953 Chevrolet Powerglide 2-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1953 Buick Dynaflow 2-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1956 Buick Dynaflow 2-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1956 GM Controlled Coupling Hydra-Matic 4-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1957 Chevrolet Turboglide 3-Ratio Automatic Transmission
  • 1957 Buick Flightpitch Dynaflow 3-Ratio Automatic Transmission

1957 - Type "A" Suffix "A" FluidEdit

1963-1966 GM Licensed Mobilfluid ATF Type "A" Suffix "A" GM License No. AQ-ATF-752A
1963-1966 Mobilfluid ATF Type "A" Suffix "A" Lid. GM License No. AQ-ATF-752A

In 1957, GM released a new Type "A" Suffix "A" fluid specification.[5] This fluid was better suited for the higher fluid temperatures caused by the unique torque converters[6][7][8] and higher power engines of the day. The fluid specification was revised again in 1958, 1959, and 1960.[9] GM continued the licensing program allowing oil companies to produce the new Type "A" Suffix "A" fluid under their own brand name. GM Licensed fluids had the Armor Qualification license number of AQ-ATF-xxxA. Example (AQ-ATF-752A) stamped on the can. This fluid is backward compatible with the Type "A" and Hydra-Matic Drive fluids produced from 1940-1957.

In 1959, Ford released their own automatic transmission fluid specification (M2C33-A) and stopped using GM fluid specifications. Also in 1959, Toyota released their Toyoglide 2-speed transmission; it used the GM Type "A" Suffix "A" fluid.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1961 GM Roto-Hydra-Matic 3-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1961 Buick Dual Path 2-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1962 Chevrolet Aluminum Powerglide 2-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1964 GM Hydra-Matic 400 3-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1966 GM Hydra-Matic 425 3-Speed Automatic Transmission

DEXRON fluidsEdit

1967 - DEXRON(B)Edit

1967 GM Dexron (B) ATF. GM License No. B-10001
1967 GM Dexron (B) ATF Lid. GM License No. B-10001

Released April 1, 1967. The original Dexron (B) fluid better retained the initial properties of the previous Type "A" Suffix "A" fluid (Several thousand cycles compared to 1000 cycles).[10] Dexron (B) was composed of a more stable, less reactive, hydrotreated Group 1 base oil plus additives for add non-foaming action qualities, high heat resistance, and anti-oxidation.[11] This was the first GM ATF to advertise 24,000 miles between changes.

This was the first GM ATF to require red dye as an aid in fluid leak detection. Prior to this fluid, GM ATF was the same color as engine oil. Aftermarket ATF was available with red dye.

GM Dexron (B) licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter B. Example: B10001. This fluid is backward compatible with all Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1969 GM Hydra-Matic 180 3-Speed Automatic Transmission

1973 - DEXRON-II(C)Edit

Quaker State ATF Dexron-II(C) GM License No. C-20109
1973-1975 Quaker State Dexron-II(C) GM License No. C-20109

The original Dexron (B) fluid, as well as earlier GM transmission fluids, used sperm whale oil as an additive to coat internal transmission parts to prevent corrosion and rust. The U.S. Endangered Species Act banned the import of sperm whale oil, so the Dexron (B) fluid additive package had to be reformulated.[12] In 1973, GM introduced Dexron-II(C) (GM Spec GM6032M).[13][14]

Dexron-II(C) was composed of a more stable, less reactive, hydrocracked Group 2 base oil plus a revised additive package with corrosion and rust inhibitors such as Jojoba oil; however, the additive package caused problems with corrosion-prone solder in a relatively small number of GM's transmission fluid coolers.[15] After discovering the corrosion problem, GM updated the fluid specification again and released Dexron-II(D) in 1975.[16]

GM Dexron-II(C) licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter C. Example: C-20109. This was the first GM ATF to advertise 50,000 miles between changes. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

1975 - DEXRON-II(D)Edit

1975 Dexron-II(D)
1975 Delco Dexron-II(D) ATF. GM License No. D-20002
1975 Delco Dexron-II(D) ATF Lid. GM License No. D-20002

In 1975, GM released the Dexron-II(D) specification (GM6032M). Dexron-II(D) was composed of Group 2 base oil plus an additive package with alternative corrosion and rust inhibitors. The revised corrosion and rust inhibitors made the new fluid hygroscopic, which while it was not a major problem in automatic transmissions, made Dexron II(D) unsuitable for other hydraulic systems in which it was commonly used.[15] GM Dexron-II(D) licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter D. Example: D-20002. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

As a result of the 1973 OPEC Oil Embargo and fuel shortages, the U.S. government created the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in 1975. The regulations were to be fully implemented by the 1978 model year. The automotive industry responded by changing to three typically unused transmission technologies:

  • A 4th gear (overdrive)
  • A Torque Converter Clutch (TCC)
  • Front Wheel Drive (FWD)

The 1978 introduction of the TCC led to customer complaints of a shudder while driving. All vehicle manufacturers made changes to their ATF specifications and the controls of their TCC to try and alleviate the problem. GM released a revision to the Dexron-II (D) fluid specification in 1978, Chrysler released the ATF+2 fluid specification (MS-7176D) in 1980, and Ford released the Mercon Type "H' fluid specification (M2C166-H) in 1981.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1976 GM Hydra-Matic 200 3-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1976 GM Hydra-Matic 250 3-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • 1978 GM Hydra-Matic 325 3-Speed Transaxle w/TCC
  • 1979 GM Hydra-Matic 125 3-Speed Transaxle w/TCC
  • 1982 GM Hydra-Matic 200-4R 4-Speed Transmission w/TCC
  • 1983 GM Hydra-Matic 700-R4 4-Speed Transmission w/TCC
  • 1984 GM Hydra-Matic 440-T4 4-Speed Transaxle w/TCC

1990 - DEXRON-II(E)Edit

In the 1990s, Electronic controls of the transmission phased out the old hydraulic/mechanically controlled system. Chrysler and Toyota were first to market with electronic controlled transmission systems in 1988, Ford followed in 1989, and GM in 1991.

Electronic control of shift pattern (when does it shift), shift timing (how long it takes to shift), shift quality (shift feel), line pressure, and TCC apply and release rates were all affected by cold temperature performance of the ATF flowing through solenoids.

In 1990, Dexron-II(E) (GM Spec GM6137M) was released. Dexron-II(E) was composed of Group 2 base oil plus an additive package. According to the GM Technical Service Bulletin: 92-7-2 issued Oct-2-1991. DEXRON-II(E) has better anti-foaming characteristics. Improved low-temperature flow characteristics (low-temperature viscosity) and improved high-temperature oxidation stability. This fluid's low temperature performance was also improved (20,000cP @ -40C vs 50,000cP@-40C).

GM Dexron-II(E) licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter E. Example: E20001. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1991 GM Hydra-Matic 4L80-E (GM's first mass-produced, electronically controlled transmission)

The Dexron-II(E) fluid specification was revised in August 1992 This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1993 GM Hydra-Matic 4L60-E 4-Speed, electronically controlled transmission.
  • 1993 GM Hydra-Matic 4T60-E 4-Speed, electronically controlled transaxle.

1993 - DEXRON-III(F)Edit

In 1993, GM released the new Dexron-III (F) fluid (GM Spec GM6417M and later GMN10055).[17] Dexron-III(F) was composed of Group 2+ base oil plus an additive package. According to GM TSB 57-02-01 issued Oct-2-1992. The improvements in Dexron-III(F) include better friction stability, more high-temperature oxidation stability, and better material compatibility. Dexron-III(F) has the same low-temperature fluidity as Dexron-II(E), for better transmission performance in cold weather. This specification failed to address a number of issues concerning long term durabilities such as shear stability and fluid oxidation.

Dexron-III(F) underwent a number of iterations in an attempt to address various shortcomings but was eventually replaced by new thinking i.e. DEXRON-VI(J). GM Dexron-III(F) licensed products have a license number on the can that begins with the letter F. Example: F-30001. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

In 1994-1995, some early OBD-II phase-in vehicles experienced a P0300 DTC (Random Misfire). Engineers determined that road forces being transferred through the TCC were affecting the normal rotational fluctuations of the crankshaft and tricked the ECM into thinking there was a cylinder misfire.

The solution was to create a new kind of TCC that would normally slip around 35 rpm. GM called it the Variable Capacity Converter Clutch (VCCC), other manufacturers had their own names. Some VCCC systems had a shudder or vibration during normal operation. Engineers tried several computer calibration changes, but a revised fluid was also needed to address the issue.

Ford released the new Mercon V Fluid Specification in 1996, GM released the Dexron-III (G) Fluid Specification (GM6417M) in 1998, and Chrysler released the MS-9602 Change C Fluid Specification in 1999.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 1997 GM Hydra-Matic 4T65-E 4-Speed transaxle with Variable Capacity Converter Clutch (VCCC).

1998 - DEXRON III(G)Edit

Released in December 1998, GM's Dexron-III(G) specification (GM6417M) was a synthetic blend automatic transmission fluid, especially developed to address the VCCC shuddering issue. It is also suitable for power steering systems, some hydraulic systems and for rotary air compressors where an excellent low-temperature fluidity is required.

GM Dexron-III(G) licensed products have a license number on the can that begins with the letter G. Example: G-30001. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

2003 - DEXRON III(H)Edit

Dexron-III(H)
Unlicensed ACDelco ATF Type III(H)
Unlicensed ACDelco ATF Type III(H) Rear

Introduced in 2003, GM's Dexron III(H) specification (GMN10055) replaced III (G). The (H) is an additive package for an updated friction modifier and with an oxidatively stable base oil (group 2). Oils according to this specification have longer maintenance of friction properties and anti-shudder properties, better foam control and a longer fluid life. Universal for all automatic transmission with and without controlled torque converter lockup clutch, the so-called GKÜB for gear-clutch-lock.

GM Dexron-III(H) licensed products prior to 2011 had a license number on the can that begins with the letter H. Example: H-30001.

NOTICE: This fluid specification and licensing program was Inactivated March 2011. The ATF Type III(H) fluid shown in the photograph is ACDelco's non-licensed fluid which is used to support older transmissions which still required the Dexron-III(H) fluid. This fluid is backward compatible with all previous Dexron fluids as well as the Type "A" Suffix "A", and the Type "A" fluids produced from 1949-1966.

2005 - DEXRON-VI(J)Edit

Dexron-VI(J)
2006 GM Dexron-VI(J) ATF. GM License No. J-60301
2006 GM Dexron-VI(J) ATF. GM License No. J-60301 Rear

In a joint venture, Ford and GM collaborated on the development of a new 6-speed FWD transaxle (6T70/6F50). Both companies would share the designs and build their own transmissions. The design of these transmissions required a new fluid.

In 2005, Ford released the Mercon Low Viscosity (LV) fluid and GM released the Dexron VI specification.[18] The fluid specification for Dexron-VI (J) was first used as the GM factory-fill automatic transmission fluid for the model year 2006. Roy Fewkes, GM Powertrain Staff Project Engineer and Chairman of the GM ATF/Driveline Lubricants Approval Committee patented the new Dexron-VI (J) fluid composition under US Patent US8642519B2[19][20]

Dexron VI is of a slightly lower viscosity when new compared to the prior Dexron fluids (a maximum of 6.4 cSt at 100 °C for Dexron VI and 7.5 cSt for Dexron III), but the allowed viscosity loss from shearing of the ATF during use is lower for Dexron VI, resulting in the same lowest allowed final viscosity for both Dexron III and VI (5.5 cSt) in test.[21] In reality most of the DEXRON-III fluids typically sheared to about 4.2 cSt in use. The lower, more stable viscosity improved pumping efficiency within the transmission and fluid stability over life. Since Dexron VI is not allowed to thin out (lower its viscosity) as much as Dexron III during use, it requires the use of higher-quality, more shear-stable (less prone to thinning while in use) formulations.[22] The container rear label reads "Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid"; however, the base oil composition is not stated. The current GM specification that defines the fluid is GMW16444, which superseded the original specification, GMN10060.

All Dexron-III (H) licenses expired permanently at the end of 2011, and GM now supports only Dexron-VI fluids for use in their older automatic transmissions.[23] Aftermarket fluids asserted by their manufacturers to meet Dexron-III(H) and earlier standards continue to be sold under names such as Dex/Merc. These fluids are not regulated or endorsed by GM.[22]

GM Dexron-VI(J) licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter J. Example: J-60301. This was the first GM ATF to advertise 100,000 miles (160,000 km) between changes for "Normal Driving" conditions and 50,000 miles (80,000 km) for "Severe Service".[24] This fluid is backward compatible with Dexron-III(H) and Dexron-III(G) fluids only.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 2007 6T70/6T75 Transaxles
  • 2007 6L80 Transmission

2013 - DEXRON-HPEdit

Dexron-HP
2013 Dexron HP ATF. GM License No. J-60168
2013 Dexron HP ATF. GM License No. J-60168 Rear

With increasing CAFE regulations, smaller engines with very narrow torque bands were being put in vehicles with 6 and 8-speed transmissions to improve fuel economy. A new fluid revision was needed for the proper operation of the new 2015 GM 8L90 and 8L45 8-Speed RWD/4WD automatic transmissions. This was GM's first "Lifetime" fluid with no fluid or filter changes required under "Normal" driving conditions. The current GM specification that defines the fluid is GMW16974.

There have been two versions of this fluid specification

  1. In July 2013, GM released the Low Viscosity (LV) Dexron-HP (High Performance) Fluid Specification. As shown on the photograph of the rear panel, the 2013 Dexron HP is composed of a group 4 Polyalphaolefin (PAO) Base oil and additives provided by the Afton Chemical Corporation. The rear panel label of early containers of this fluid incorrectly state that this fluid is backward compatible with previous Dexron ATF, it is not. The label was corrected on later bottles of the fluid.
  2. In May 2017, A revision was made to the GMW16974 fluid specification. A change to a Group III+ base oil rather than a group 4 PAO base oil was made as well as another additive package option from Afton Chemical Corporation.

GM Dexron-HP licensed products have a license number on the container that begins with the letter J. Example: J-60168.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 2015 8L90, 8L45, 8-speed RWD/4WD vehicles
  • 2017 1ET25 Chevrolet Bolt EV drive unit[25]
  • 2018 9T50 9-Speed FWD/AWD transaxle

2014 - DEXRON-ULVEdit

Dexron-ULV
2017 Dexron ULV ATF
2017 Dexron ULV ATF Rear

The fluid specification for Dexron-ULV (Ultra-Low Viscosity) was introduced January 2, 2014. Dexron ULV is composed of a Group 3+ Base oil and additives needed for the proper operation of the 2017 and above GM 10L90 and the Ford 10R80 10-Speed rear wheel drive automatic transmission.

This transmission and the transmission fluid specification was co-developed by Ford and GM. The current specification that defines the fluid is FORD WSS-M2C949-A. This fluid is also marketed as Mercon ULV.

IMPORTANT: The quart containers of Dexron ULV must be shaken to stir up the additives before pouring. This fluid is not backward compatible with any previous fluids.

This fluid was first used in the following transmissions:

  • 2017 10L90 10-Speed Automatic Transmission

2016 - Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP "Black Label"Edit

2016 Mobil 1 LV ATF HP with a black label
2016 Mobil 1 LV ATF HP with a black label
2016 Mobil 1 LV ATF HP with black label Rear

in 2016, a new fluid specification for a "Dexron Approved" Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP was introduced in a GM Technical Service Bulletin 16-NA-175. The revision was to help correct a torque converter clutch shudder in the GM 8L90, 8L80, and 8L45 automatic transmissions.

Dexron LV ATF HP is made by Mobil and is marketed as Mobil 1 LV ATF HP. Dexron LV ATF HP is composed of a Poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) Group IV Base oil and additives developed by Afton Chemical needed for the proper operation of the 2015 and above GM 8L90 8-Speed rear wheel drive automatic transmission. The current GM specification that defines the fluid is GMW16974 (2nd Edition, May 2017).

2016 - DEXRON III(K) for Manual TransmissionsEdit

On August 1, 2016, GM released the Dexron III (K) fluid specification (GM Spec GMW17639) as a fluid to support older GM manual transmissions and power steering systems requiring the previously discontinued Dexron-III(H) fluid.

WARNING:The additive package for automatic transmissions has been removed from this fluid; do not use it in any automatic transmission.

2018 - Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP "Blue Label"Edit

2019 Mobil 1 LV ATF HP with a blue label
2019 Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP "Blue Label" GM License No. J-62120
2019 Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP "Blue Label" GM License No. J-62120 Rear

On October 1, 2018, a special fluid specification (GMNA-9986555[26]) was introduced for a revised "Dexron Approved" Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ATF HP. This revised fluid was introduced in GM Technical Service Bulletin 18-NA-355 in December of 2018. The revision is to help correct a torque converter clutch shudder in the GM 8L90 and 8L45 automatic transmissions after a complete flush of the system.

Dexron LV ATF LV is made by Mobil and is marketed as Mobil-1 LV ATF HP. Mobil-1 LV ATF HP is composed of a Gas to liquids (GTL) Group 3+ Base oil and additives developed by Infineum needed for the proper operation of the 2015 and above GM 8L90 and 8L45 8-Speed rear wheel drive automatic transmission.

IMPORTANT: Containers of this fluid have a revised blue and silver label on the front of the container. This "Dexron Approved" Dexron HP product has a J-62120 license number on the rear label of the container.

GM "Lifetime" ATFEdit

In 1967, Ford produced the Type-F fluid specification. The Type-F specification was intended to produce a “lifetime” fluid which would never need to be changed. This was the first of many Ford “lifetime” fluids. The 1974 Ford Car Shop Manual reads "The automatic transmission is filled at the factory with "lifetime" fluid. If it is necessary to add or replace fluid, use only fluids which meet Ford Specification M2C33F. Many other transmission manufacturers have followed with their own "Lifetime" automatic transmission fluids". GM's first "Lifetime" ATF was the Dexron-VI specification.

How ATF Can Last a "Lifetime"Edit

To understand how a fluid can last a "lifetime", a study of the 1939 Chrysler Fluid Drive Fluid is helpful.[27] The November 1954 edition of Lubrication Magazine (Published by The Texas Company, later known as Texaco) featured a story called "Evolution of the Chrysler PowerFlite Automatic Transmission". This article described the fluid used in the 1939 Chrysler Fluid Drive and its subsequent revisions and enhancements through 1954.

A section of the feature described the lubrication of the Fluid Drive's fluid coupling, it reads "The fluid drive fluid coupling is partially filled with Mopar Fluid Drive Fluid, a special highly refined straight mineral oil with a viscosity of about 185 SUS at 100° F., excellent inherent oxidation stability, high viscosity index (100), excellent ability to rapidly reject air, very low natural pour point (-25° F.) , ability to adequately lubricate the pilot ball bearing and seal surface, and neutrality towards the seal bellows.

The fluid operates under almost ideal conditions in what is essentially a hermetically sealed case, the small amount of atmospheric oxygen initially present is removed by a harmless reaction with the fluid so as to leave a residual inert (nitrogen) atmosphere. As a consequence, it has not been necessary to drain and replace the fluid, and the level-check recommendation has been successively extended from the original 2,500 miles to 15,500 miles and finally to "never" - or the life of the car.

Since drains and level checks were not only unnecessary but frequently harmful ( through the introduction of more air, and seal-destroying dirt) Chrysler eventually left off the tempting level inspection plugs. This mechanism is therefore one of the very few that is actually lubricated for the life of the car. There are now myriad examples of couplings that have operated well over 100,000 miles without any attention whatsoever and were still in perfect condition when the car was retired." The lesson learned by Chrysler with their fluid drives is applicable to modern automatic transmissions as well.

Sealed TransmissionsEdit

 
GM Umbrella style transmission breather to prevent water ingestion

Any automatic transmission fluid will last longer if the transmission case could be hermetically sealed, but transmissions typically have two potential entry points for air:

  1. The Dipstick Tube. Any transmission with a dipstick tube has the potential to let additional oxygen into the transmission through a dipstick that is not fully seated in the tube, or dipstick tube plug that is not fully seated. Even the process of checking the fluid level with a dipstick can allow additional oxygen and dirt into the transmission. Many modern transmissions do not have a dipstick, they have sealed transmission fluid level check plugs instead. By removing the traditional dipstick, the transmission manufacturer has also removed a potential entry point for oxygen; this reduces the potential for fluid oxidation. A sealed transmission will typically have longer transmission fluid life than a non-sealed transmission.
  2. The Transmission Vent. Transmissions need vents to compensate for internal air pressure changes that occur with fluctuating fluid temperatures and fluctuating fluid levels during transmission operation. Without those vents, pressure could build resulting in seal and gasket leaks. Before the use of better quality base oil in ATF in the late 1990s, some older transmission breather vents contained a Transmission Air Breathing Suppressor (TABS) valve to prevent oxygen and water ingestion into their transmissions.[28] Oxygen reacts with high temperature transmission fluid and can cause oxidation, rust, and corrosion. Automatic transmission fluids using lower quality base oil oxidized more easily than fluids using higher quality base oils.[14] GM, and other transmission manufacturers now use smaller, remote mounted, breather vents specially designed to keep out water, but allow the a small amount of air movement through the breather as necessary.[29]

Sealed ATF ContainersEdit

Any automatic transmission fluid will last longer if it comes from an unopened container

  1. Use Sealed Containers. Containers storing automatic transmission fluid (ATF) should always be sealed; if exposed to the atmosphere, ATF may absorb moisture and potentially cause shift concerns.
  2. Use New Fluid Only. When performing repairs on ATF equipped transmissions, it is important to use only new, clean ATF when refilling the transmission. Never reuse ATF.

Example maintenance scheduleEdit

GM ATF Change Interval under "Normal Driving" Conditions*
Fluid Specification Miles
1940 Hydra-Matic
5,000
1949 Type "A"
10,000
1957 Type "A" Suffix "A"
15,000
1967 Dexron (B)
24,000
1973 Dexron-II(C)
50,000
1975 Dexron-II(D)
50,000
1990 Dexron-II(E)
100,000
1993 Dexron-III(F)
100,000
1998 Dexron-III(G)
100,000
2003 Dexron-III(H)
100,000
2006 Dexron-VI(J)
100,000
2013 Dexron-HP
150,000
2014 Dexron-ULV
150,000
*See your vehicle maintenance guide for definition of "Normal Driving" conditions and recommended service interval
GM ATF Change Interval under "Severe Driving" Conditions*
Fluid Specification Miles
1940 Hydra-Matic
2,500
1949 Type "A"
5,000
1957 Type "A" Suffix "A"
7,500
1967 Dexron (B)
12,000
1973 Dexron-II(C)
25,000
1975 Dexron-II(D)
25,000
1990 Dexron-II(E)
50,000
1993 Dexron-III(F)
50,000
1998 Dexron-III(G)
50,000
2003 Dexron-III(H)
50,000
2006 Dexron-VI(J)
50,000
2013 Dexron-HP
45,000
2014 Dexron-ULV
45,000
*See your vehicle maintenance guide for definition of "Severe Driving" conditions and recommended service interval

GM Lifetime automatic transmission fluids made from higher quality base oil and an additive package are more chemically stabile, less reactive, and do not experience oxidation as easily as lower quality fluids made from lower quality base oil and an additive package. Therefore, higher quality transmission fluids can last a long time in normal driving conditions (Typically 100,000 miles (160,934 km) or more).

The definition of 'Lifetime Fluid" differs from transmission manufacturer to transmission manufacturer. Always consult the vehicle maintenance guide for the proper service interval for the fluid in your transmission and your driving conditions.

Chevrolet Colorado Example: According to the Scheduled Maintenance Guide of a 2018 Chevrolet Colorado with "Lifetime Fluid" could have two different fluid service intervals depending upon how the vehicle is driven:[30]

1. Normal DrivingEdit

  • Carry passengers and cargo within recommended limits on the Tire and Loading Information label
  • Driven on reasonable road surfaces within legal driving limits.

Under "Normal" driving conditions, the automatic transmission fluid and filter never needs to be changed.

2. Severe DrivingEdit

  • Mainly driven in heavy city traffic in hot weather
  • Mainly driven in hilly or mountainous terrain
  • Frequently towing a trailer
  • Used for high speed or competitive driving
  • Used for taxi, police, or delivery service.

Under "Severe" driving conditions, replace automatic transmission fluid and filter every 45,000 mi (72,420 km)

Base Stock Oil Categories for GM ATF based upon timeline of availability vs. fluid life under "Normal" driving
API BaseStock Oil Miles
1940 Group 1
5,000
1949 Group 1
10,000
1957 Group 1
15,000
1967 Group 1*
24,000
1973 Group 1*
50,000
1975 Group 1*
50,000
1990 Group 2
100,000
1993 Group 2
100,000
1998 Group 2+
100,000
2003 Group 2+
100,000
2006 Group 4
100,000
2013 Group 3+
150,000
2014 Group 3+
150,000
*Hydrotreated Group 1

Aftermarket Automatic Transmission FluidsEdit

 
Licensed Mobil ATF 220 Dexron II(D) for GM, Chrysler, and AMC Vehicles. GM License No. D-20104

For over 70 years, the oil aftermarket has produced both licensed, and non-licensed, formulations of automatic transmission fluids (ATF)[31]. Today, aftermarket fluids asserted by their manufacturers to be compatible for use in General Motors automatic transmissions continue to be sold under names such as Dexron/MERCON, Multi-Purpose, and Multi-Vehicle fluids. Non-licensed fluid are typically less expensive, these fluids are not regulated or endorsed by GM for use in their transmissions.[32]

Vehicle manufacturer approved and licensed fluids must have the license number printed on the product information label of the container or on the container housing. Non-Licensed fluids do not show a license number. Industry specific terminology on the labels can also help determine if the product is licensed[33][34]:

  • Suitable for Use - If the fluid label states the fluid is suitable for use in your vehicle, it is not an approved or licensed fluid
  • Meets Requirements - If the fluid label states the fluid meets the requirements for use in your vehicle, it is not an approved or licensed fluid
  • Exceeds Requirements - If the fluid label states the fluid exceeds the requirements for use in your vehicle, it is not an approved or licensed fluid
  • Approved - If the fluid label states the fluid is approved for use in your vehicle, it is a formally approved and licensed fluid. The license number should be shown on the container.

Buyer BewareEdit

Details of fluid compatibility on the front panel of an ATF container often conflict with the fluid compatibility claims or fluid recommendations on the rear label.

Example 1Edit
Unlicensed O'Reilly Multi-Purpose ATF
Package front
Package rear

As shown, the front label of the O'Reilly Premium Automatic Transmission Multi-Purpose bottle assert that the fluid is "Compatible for use in General Motors and Ford automatic transmissions".

As shown, the rear label of the same bottle asserts "This high quality product is suitable for use in all General Motors and Ford automatic transmissions calling for Type "A" Suffix "A", Dexron-II(C), Dexron-II(D), Dexron-II(E), Dexron-III(G), Dexron-III(H), and other non-GM applications. The back panel does tell you to check your owner's manual to ensure you are using the correct transmission fluid for your vehicle."

Interpretation: as shown, this fluid is not recommended for 2007 model year and newer GM vehicles which require Dexron-VI(J), Dexron-HP, Dexron-ULV, or Dexron LV ATF HP.

Example 2Edit
Unlicensed Mobil 1 Multi-Vehicle ATF
Package front
Package rear panel

As shown, the front label of the Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF Multi-Vehicle Formula bottle assert that the fluid is for "Ford, GM and a wide variety of domestic and imported vehicles".

As shown, the rear label of the same bottle asserts the fluid is recommended by ExxonMobil for use in applications requiring GM Dexron(B), Dexron-II(C), Dexron-II(D), Dexron-III(G), Dexron-III(H), and other non-GM applications. The back panel does have an asterisk indicating the fluid is not compatible with Dexron VI(J).

Interpretation: As shown, this fluid is not recommended for 2007 model year and newer GM vehicles which require Dexron-VI(J), Dexron-HP, Dexron-ULV, or Dexron LV ATF HP.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygkRuwCpKxU The World's First Mass-Produced Automatic Transmission
  2. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/560225/ The Present Status of Automatic Transmission Fluid, Type A
  3. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/490011/ Is The Torque Converter Going To Be “It”?
  4. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/490137/ AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID, TYPE-A, FOR PASSENGER CARS
  5. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/600069/ DEVELOPING TRANSAXLE FLUID
  6. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/520218/ Polyphase Torque Converter
  7. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/590050/ The Buick Flight Pitch Dynaflow
  8. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/500182/ CHEVROLET AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
  9. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/600049/ Automatic Transmission Fluid Viscosity at Low Temperature and its effect on transmission performance
  10. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/680038/ Dexron Automatic Transmission Fluid
  11. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/710838/ Automatic Transmission Fluid Viscosity Requirements
  12. ^ "Biochemicals for the Automotive Industry" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  13. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/740053/ Dexron-II Automatic Transmission Fluid Performance
  14. ^ a b https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/740055/ Transmission Air Breathing Suppressor (TABS) Valve - A Device for Improving Automatic Transmission Fluid Life
  15. ^ a b Michell, Richard (2011-10-15). Which Oil?: Choosing the Right Oil and Grease for Your Antique, Vintage, Veteran, Classic or Collector Car. ISBN 9781845843656. Retrieved 2011-11-09.
  16. ^ https://nyti.ms/1MOG8ez The New York Times April 17, 1975: Transmission Problems in Cars Linked to Ban on Whale Killing
  17. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/941887/ Friction Characteristics of DEXRON®-III Automatic Transmission Fluids
  18. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2006-01-3242/ General Motors DEXRON®-VI Global Service-Fill Specification
  19. ^ https://patents.google.com/patent/US8642519 Power Transmitting Fluid Composition
  20. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2006-01-3241/ The Oxidative Stability of GM's DEXRON®-VI Global Factory Fill ATF
  21. ^ "Redline Oil product description of D6 ATF". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on 2012-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  22. ^ a b "Lube Report: GM Rolls Out Dexron-IV". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on November 16, 2012. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  23. ^ "General Motors Dexron-IV Global Service Fill Specification". Webcitation.org. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
  24. ^ General Motors Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) 04-07-30-037E: Release of DEXRON-VI Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) - (Apr 7, 2011)
  25. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APhRPSdmdmk Chevrolet Bolt EV Traction Motor
  26. ^ https://standards.globalspec.com/std/13085832/9986555 DEXRON High-Performance Automatic Transmission Fluid (DEXRON HP-ATF) GTL-Exxon Mobil-Infineum
  27. ^ "Evolution of the Chrysler PowerFlite Automatic Transmission". Lubrication. Vol. 40 no. 11. New York, NY: The Texas Company. November 1954 [1954]. pp. 129–135.
  28. ^ https://patents.google.com/patent/US5129422A/en?oq=US5129422 Transmission breather control valve
  29. ^ https://patents.google.com/patent/US20110173935A1/en?oq=US20110173935A1 Transmission breather assembly
  30. ^ https://my.chevrolet.com/learn/2018/Colorado LEARN ABOUT MY 2018 CHEVROLET COLORADO
  31. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oWFTOY-3tY%7C 80 Years of GM Automatic Transmission Fluid - ATF History Part 2
  32. ^ https://www.sae.org/publications/technical-papers/content/2007-01-3987/ Comparison of OEM Automatic Transmission Fluids in Industry Standard Tests
  33. ^ https://www.aftonchemical.com/SBU/Driveline-Additives/AutomaticTransmission%7C Afton Chemical Automatic Transmission Fluid Products
  34. ^ https://www.aftonchemical.com/SBU/Driveline-Additives/AutomaticTransmission/HiTEC-419R%7C HiTEC® 419R ATF Additive Package

External linksEdit