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Honda atf.... the real deal?

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We all know how much bullsh!t, misinformation and bias info is floating around on the internet ::cough:: "fram" ::cough:: , and I was wondering about the honda tranny fluid.... is it really that different or is EVERYONE that misinformed and believe it is some magic snake oil??


Here is the situation. I checked the dipstick from my accord (auto tranny) to see how the fluid was looking, and to see if it was ok. Well it was a little brown, so I thought I should flush the stuff. Butt..... after some research, I found that the crap averaged $6.00 plus per quart. We all know how much dealerships markup prices, because it has the "HONDA" name on it.... (hence why I don't buy from dealerships) ....and when you need to use ~12 quarts for a flush, that sh!t just wasn't going to fly. So I called up the nearest FLAPS, and asked what the book says to use. They said their computer was saying dextron 2. (might have been since they can't sell the honda stuff, but who knows).


Today my father (diesel mechanic for 40ish yrs) is calling up the place that he buys all of his oils, and where he sends all of his oil to for analysis to pull up the data on dextron 3, and honda atf, and see what they say on it.


anyways, what do you guys all run in your autos?



EDIT: Who builds a tranny without an external filter too?

Edited by Pyrorocketeer
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I will check into this from my academic sources (I have a BS in Chemistry, might as well us it for good and not evil).


So far, at first glance, Honda ATF does have an additive called Z1. I have to find out if the formulation is proprietary and if the specs are available. There does not seem to be much agreement as to what the Z1 is there for.


Check back later, I will have an answer.

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Summary: Honda ATF-Z1 is a fluid that Honda has developed specifically for their internal combustion engines. An unconfirmed source indicated the Z1 designation supersedes prior Honda ATF fluids in an effort by Honda to unify their lubricant standards. You do not need to purchase Honda ATF-Z1 as there are several lubricants that meet the Honda standard in one way or another.


Recomendation: You need to find out which alternative meets your requirements.


Example: say you have Honda ATF-Z1 (Z1) and Lubricant A (LA), Lubricant B (LB), and Lubricant C (LC). LA may meet Honda’s requirements for outboard engines, but falls out of spec when used in an 2007 Honda Accord. LB may meet Honda’s ATV requirements, but cannot be used in Honda’s outboard motors. You get the idea; Honda saves money by developing one standard (Z1) that meets all requirements covered by LA, LB, and LC; thus avoiding the costs associated with producing 3 different lines of lubricant.


Meathod: I confirmed that the ATF-Z1 is a Honda designation, but falls under JASO-1A performance standard, c.f. BP Lubricants USA Inc. Note: The Japanese Automotive Standards Organization (JASO) is analogous to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Moreover, JASO is part of SAE of Japan (JSAE). The fluids that meet the JASO-1A standard are tested with the JASO-T904 test. The JASO-T904 test is a pre-defined test procedure for determining clutch slippage. I am not certain what that test procedure is, but it is probably listed in book below. There is evidence that there are several International Standards Organization (ISO) test standards may meet some of the requirements of the JASO standards, but I was not able to confirm this and many test labs refer to their compliance both in terms of ISO and JASO, personally, I would stick to JASO and JASO compliance as often standards are lost in translation, especially when the international standards seem too broad and general, rather than meeting the requirements of a particular niche. As far as how the A1 class places among other lubricants, I was not able to find any publications to support my conclusion, but I did see it referenced as the highest Japanese Automotive standard. How that standard relates, for example, to the highest US standard, I would not be able to tell since ISO charges for their publications and I don’t like ya’ll that much.



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Here are some options:


Honda ATF-Z1 - all Honda compatable, JASO-A1 compliant

Honda ATF - Not compatable with Honda CVTs

Penzoil Multi-Vehicle ATF - Not compatable with Honda CVTs, not tested with JASO-T904

Castrol Multi-Vehicle ATF - JASO-A1 compliant, but still not compatable with Honda CVTs


I could not find any prices, but you can do that.

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Thanks! I'll look into some of those. The oil lab is going to call my dad on monday, because he had to find the data.


Anyways... I'm going to flush my tranny with dextron 2 then I also got 3 quarts of honda atf today to fill it up after I get all the brown burnt additives out of there. Probably do this tomorrow morning after a trip to wally world for an oil filter.


As of now it shifts sorta rough and jerky, and is CONSTANTLY locking and unlocking the torque converter (very annoying at highway speeds). I've heard a fluid change can sometimes solve that problem, so we will see.


I'll post some post fluid change comments tomorrow afternoon if anyone is interested.



all in all.... fuk auto transmissions.

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Ok guys I almost got done flushing the system on sunday, and will finish on wed.


1. Dumped the tranny fluid.... it wasn't brown, it was almost black, and magnet was covered in a thick graphite-looking mix of metal shavings and gray goo.


2. replaced with ATF type F. <- Ford's transmission fluid, and I used this for its high detergent content.


3. Drove around for ~8 miles, around my house, which I put it through just about every driving situation.... 65mph cruise, mountainside up, and down, and just putting around town in stop and go traffic. This was mixed with high speed 85mph, and aggressive acceleration mixed in.


Shifted smoother from 3rd to 4th, but slipped a little on the transition from 2nd to 3rd. First gear downshift was still harsh.


4. Dumped type F. It was a lot less black this time around, but the magnet picked up even more of the thick gray goo.


5. Replaced with Dextron II


6. Repeat step 3.


The slip from 2nd to 3rd was less noticible, and you couldn't tell the tranny even shifted into 4th, or locked up the torque convertor, it was that smooth.


7. Dumped Dextron II. A slightly darker red than what was put in, and a skim of gray goo.


8. Filled back up with Dextron II


Driving it till wed ~200miles on the Dextron, then I'm going to dump it, and replace with OEM Honda fluid.


I'll follow up on Thursday, after my drive to school.

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2nd day running on the dextron. Really smooth shifting when on the throttle (when warm). Only complain now is that when your coasting, the tranny still shifts hard.... That could be just from the wear and tear of the tranny over 250k miles tho.


Torque converter still kicks in and out a lot tho.


The thing that still bothers the heck out of me is this.....

You'll be cruising, and come to a hill. Give it some throttle, and it will drop about 200 rpms.... indicating that the TC has locked up so that the engine is directly engaged.....

This to me would be the torque converter lockup, correct?


Give it some more throttle, and it jumps back up 200rpms indicating that its unlocked and the TC is "slipping" so the engine doesn't bog as much and can make more power in a higher rpm to get you up the hill.....


Let off the throttle and it stays the same rpm, and what I would assume the TC to be unlocked.


To me, the TC should be locked during a cruise, unlocked when more throttle is needed, then lock back up when back into the cruise. Why would mine be completely backwards, or am i overlooking something in my theory?

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The only thing that I can think of is that there is a difference in the compressability of the dextron versus Honda ATF. The difference may result in a more pressure within the transmission.


Question: have you verified your torque converter is still within spec? I am starting to suspect a compound issue.

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Well I've been running on the Honda atf now for about 3 days, and so far it has been about the same as the dextron.... The ONLY difference has been with the torque converter. It hasn't been locking and unlocking as much as it did before, or on either of the other two fluids.

2nd to 3rd still slips a little.....

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