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Automatic Transmission Fluid

Trend and Specification

May 2011

Ir. Mohamad Surif Abdul Wahab

Technical Service Group
BP Castrol Lubricants Sdn Bhd

Map Of The Presentation

Automatic Transmission

Why do transmission need dedicated lubricants?

Types of Automatic Transmission System

Global trends


Functions of ATF

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Automatic Transmissions

To provide a method
Of disconnecting the
power train from engine

To provide torque multiplication

When greater driving torque
Is required at the wheels than
Is available from the engine To provide smoother and
More hassle free
Driving condition

To provide gears change

According to the vehicle’s To provide method of reversing
Acceleration And road speed The drive

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Types of Automatic Transmission System

Fully automatic

Types of Automatic Manual

Continuously AT System
Variable Transmission
(CVT) gearboxes

Dual Clutch

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Main Automatic Transmission Components
Torque Epicyclic
Convertor Gearset
Bands &



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The Component Difference

Torque Planetary Manual/ Belt/ Electronic
Converter gear set Clutch
Helical gear Toroidal control

Sequential Manual

Dual Clutch

Continuous variable

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Automatic Manual Transmission
Passenger Car:-
1. Operates similarly to a manual 1. Tiptronic (manumatic)
transmission. 2. Vacamatic (preso Matic)
3. Electro Matic
2. It does not require clutch actuation
or shifting by the driver. 4. Autostick
5. Citro-Matic/Traffic Clutch
3. Automatic shifting is controlled 6. Honda Matic
electronically (shift-by-wire) and
performed by a hydraulic system or
electric motor.

Truck, Lorry and Busses:-

1. I-Shift for Volvo
2. ASTronic – ZF
3. Autoshift – Eaton

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Dual Clutch transmission

Getrag BrogWarner Getrag Getrag

-Sdrive -DCCT (dual dry clutchtrans) - PowerShift - PowerShift
-M Dual Clutch T - C-Max

Getrag Getrag BorgWarner

-SpeedShift -Twin Clutch SST BorgWarner
-Direct Shift Gearbox

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Car Segment and Automatic Transmission

Micro/Small Medium Luxury Sport Light

Car Commercial
Cars Cars Cars
AMT-Automated Manual

DCT-Wet Double Clutch

AT-Step type automatic

CVT-Continuous variable

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Geographical differences
North America Japan Europe

Automatic market • High (>85% in pass • High (>90% in pass • Low (varies between
penetration cars) cars) countries, overall
average ~15%)

CVT market • Very low • Significant (~30% PC) • Low

and growing

Segment trends • Passenger car • Service fill volume • Commercial vehicle ATF
needs dominate smaller than factory-fill bigger due to volumes &
product definition service fill

OEM influence • N American OEM • Japanese OEM specs • Both N American and
specs dominate dominate (Toyota, Aisin, Euro OEM specs are
(GM, Ford, DC) JATCO, Honda) important (ZF, DC,VW,
GM, Voith & MAN)

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Development of Automatic Transmission Technology
Dual Clutch
Transmission (DCT
6-Speed Conventional
Transmission (AT)
Mid 1990’s Belt Drive
Continuously Variable
1948–Present (CVT)
Conventional Or
Stepped Transmission

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Driveline Fluids - Global Trends

Size and weight;-
• Innovative set up of
planetary gear sets
Cost effectiveness;- • Lighter weight materials
• More OEM development • Stronger materials
partnerships. • Mechatronic advances Fuel economy gains;-
• improved longevity of materials • adding more gear ratio
• maximizing production volumes. • reducing parasitic loss in
• building on hydraulics
components/technology already • increasing use of slipping
in production (e.g. AMT, DCT) torque converter clutch

Drive comfort;-
• Responsive shifting/gear skipping
• Smooth torque transfer Emission reduction:-
• Improved electro-hydraulic control • Increasing gear ratio
• Reassuring feel and noise • better control of gear shift points
• Optimizing engine operation without
Power train integration;- compromising performance
• More manufacturers developing hybrids
instead of isolated transmissions.
• Increasingly, engines are being matched
with particular transmission types from
the design stage.

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Lubrication development trends
• Wear protection
• High thermal stability
• Corrosion protection
• Friction durability Future
• Shear stability
• Cold flow

• Even stronger anti-
anti-wear/EP requirement
• More flexible friction characteristics
• Compatible with new friction materials/
• Maintain anti corrosion/hydraulic
• Friction characteristics for CVT technology
to reduce clamping forces
• Improved traction fluids for toroidal

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Fuel Economy Impact

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The function of Oil in Automatic
ATF requirements

Provide proper friction for specific Be compatible and not corrosive with parts
materials in each transmission and materials

Transfer force Maintain thermal stability

Have high pump ability in cold

Circulate quickly in cold temperatures

Have good detergency in order to keep

Lubricate all components
pieces free of varnish and mud

Act as hydraulic fluid Minimize foam and wear

Dissipate generated heat Offer stability against oxidation

Correct friction coefficient to respond to

Displace from discs at the proper time
specific materials

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Typical formulations
Typical Formulation ATF DCT
Base oil 65-90% 65-90%
Anti wear/EP agent 0.5-1.5% 0.5-2.0%
Friction modifier/Controller 0.3-0.8% 0.3-1.0%
Dispersant 2-6% 2-6%
Anti oxidant 0.2-1.0% 0.2-1.0%
Viscosity Index Improver 3.0-20.0% 3.0-20.0%
Corrosion Inhibitor 0.2-0.4% 0.2-0.4%
Pour Point Depressant 0.1-0.5%
Anti foam agents 0-0.3% 0-0.3%
Seal swell agents 0.001-3.0% 0.001-3.0%
Red dye 0.02-0.03%

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Why do transmissions need dedicated lubricants

• Friction-which needs to be
optimized to satisfy specific
requirements of friction elements
such as synchronizers, clutch
linings and brake bands.

• Friction retention and resistance

against oxidation under extreme
thermal conditions.

• Shear stability-to withstand

rigorous shearing in gears and

• Air release and foam control.

• Cold flow properties-for easy gear

change and hydraulic functioning
at low temperature.

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Frictional Properties
1. Asbestos based linings
• Are woven variety. Made from asbestos fiber
• The highest working temperature 260 deg C.
2. Asbestos substitute friction material-Kevlar
• Lighter
• Good grip characteristic
• Working at high temperature 500 deg C
3. Metallic friction material
• Moderately successful
• Made of Sintered Iron or Copper based
sintered bronze. Produce from powder known
as sintering process.
• Operate at high temperature
• Greater torque capacity and have extended life.
• Disadvantage – high inertia, expensive.
4. Cerametallic friction material
• Popular for heavy duty clutches.
Clutch driven plate with ceramic
• Made of ceramic and copper.

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Oxidation Stability
Oxidation Test
Oxidation of the fluid can increase;-
• High temperature and low
temperature viscosity of the fluid.
• Cause the formation of sludge,
varnish and particulate matter
• Cause corrosion of bushings, thrust
washers and bearings
• Cause degradation of elastomeric

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Excessive foam in transmission can be very detrimental to
transmission function and to safety.
Foaming also cause;-
• Premature failure of the clutch due
to lack of proper apply pressure.
• Heat capacity of the ATF to be
reduced (hence less effective in
removing heat from clutches and
other parts)
• Increase ATF volume

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Compatibility with Organic Materials
1. ATF can interact with a seal material in several ways which
can be detrimental. It can either swell or its can shrink the
2. A different types of elastomer are used in transmission
• Silicone
• Nitrile
• Polyacrylate
• Fluorocarbon types (e.g. Viton)
• And others

3. Transmission fluid are generally tested for seal compatibility

by soak test such as ASTM D471

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Corrosion Protection
1. Most ATFs contain specific anticorrosion agents to retard
the rusting of ferrous alloys, and the corrosion of copper,
zinc, lead and tin.
2. The tests used to measure anticorrosion for ATF are the
ASTM D665 and the ASTM D1748 humidity cabinet for
rust of ferrous alloys and the ASTM D-130 for copper

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• Prevent wear in multiple parts including vane and gear
pumps, one way clutches, planetary gearsets, bushings,
bearings, thrust washers, and power transfer chains.
• ATF wear test include FZG four square gear test and test to
measure wear of a sprag type one way clutch.
• Earlier ATFs used ZDDP antiwear technology.
• After 1980, use metal free antiwear agents employing
combination of phosporous, boron and sulfur materials.

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Independent Manufacturer of vehicle transmission

Passenger Commercial
car automatic Vehicle Automatic

1. ZF 1. ZF
Western Europe 2. Borg Warner 2. Voith
3. General Motors 3. Renk

1. Aisin 1. Allison (GM)

USA 2. Borg Warner 2. Twin Disc

Japan 1. Aisin 1. Aisin

2. Jatco

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Service fill specification
OEM Specification Scope Remarks

• 1967- Dexron introduced • Allison TES 295

• 1973 - Dexron II • Allison TES 353
Dexron® Passenger Cars • 1990 – Dexron IIE • Allison TES 389
• 1994 – Dexron IIIF
• 1997 – Dexron IIIG
Allison Commercial • 2003 – Dexron IIIH
• 2005 – Dexron VI
• Dex-CVT
• Prior to 1977 – Type F
Passenger Cars • 1978 – 1980 – Type CJ
• 1978 – Mercon
• 1996 – Mercon-V
• 2004 – working on next generation ATF
• JASO 1A Cover most OEM service fill
Jatco Passenger Cars

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Service fill specification

General Motors Specification Remarks

Type A and Type Suffix A • The original fluids. They came out on 1949 and 1957
respectively and are long obsolete.

• Now obsolete as far as General Motors is concern, it was

the closest we had to an industry specification.
Dexron®-IID • Indeed, it formed the basis of many other OEM ATF
specifications. It is still used by GM Europe up until
recently and by other European and some Japanese

Dexron®-IIE • A development that had better low temperature properties

than IID. Now superseded.
• For many years it was in “F” and “G” specifications,
which had the same low temperature characteristics as the
IIE version, but with modifications to antioxidancy and
Dexron®-III friction material.
• The 2003 IIIH specification was for 160,000km drain
intervals and extended durability and superseded “G”. This
specification became obsolete at the end of 2006.
• Initially released in 2005, this is a special low
viscosity fluid which will replace Dexron®-III in all
Dexron®-VI GM manufactured automatic transmissions. It has
a very long oil drain capability of up to 400,000km.
Dex-CVT® • Special specification for CVTs

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Service fill specification
OEM Ford Motor Company Remarks

M2C33-F and M2C33-G • F came out for the USA and G for Europe. These are non-
friction modified fluids and as such cannot be used in most

M2C138-CJ and M2C166-H • Introduced to deal with problems with the C-6 and C-5
transmissions, these are satisfied by Dexron®-IID

Mercon® • The original Mercon® fluids were again satisfied by

Dexron®-IID and the revised Mercon® -IV fluids by
Dexron®-IID/E and Dexron®-III. Now obsolete.

Mercon®-C • Special specification for CVTs

• This is the first Mercon® fluid not satisfied by a standard

Dexron® type fluid. Ussualy semi or fully synthetic, it has
more severe requirements on friction, fluidity, shear loss
Mercon®-V and oil drain. While fluids meeting Mercon®-V must pass
Dexron®-III initially, they are then subjected to many other
tests. Updated in mid 2008.

Mercon®-SP and Mercon® -LV • Both fluid are low viscosity fluids. Mercon® -SP was
based around a ZF specification and was used in
six speed automatic transmissions, for both front
and rear wheel drive. LV was introduced in 2007
and Ford plan to make it backwards compatible.
BTR 5M-52 • Special fluid for Ford Autralia that uses the BTR 4
speed automatic models, 85/91/95LE. Modified
Dexron®-IID type.

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Service fill specification

They have the 236.x series of approvals. Some are Dexron® -IID/III type and some are not. With some of
the newer transmissions, highly specific products are used.

OEM Mercedes Benz Remarks

236.1 • For MB, Allison and ZF transmissions

236.2 • Older specification used in power steering and manual

transmissions, although it is also used in some MAN automatics
and in the Differential Lock in UNIMOG
236.6, 236.7 • Most common ones used, and satisfied by Dexron ® -IID

236.9 • Long drain fluid usually a Dexron®-III type with more severe
shear stability limits.
236.10 • For 5 speed Mercedes EC3 transmission (NAG-1)

236.11 • For 5 speed ZF automatics used by Mercedes Benz

236.12 • Fro 7 speed Mercedes automatics (NAG-2)

236.20 • For CVT

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Service fill specification
ZF stands for Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen a large transmission make and supplies to many car and
trucks OEMs.

OEM ZF Remarks

TE ML-11 • Contains the special products listing for many passenger car
automatic transmissions (such as MB 236.11 type) and also for
where automatic transmission fluids are used in manual
TE-ML 14A • Full mineral, Dexron®-IID/III type, 5.3 cSt after shear, 30,000km
TE-ML 14B • Part synthetic Dexron®-III type, 5.3 cSt after shear, 60,000km
TE-ML 14C • Fully synthetic, Dexron®-II/III type, 5.7 cSt after shear 120,000km

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Service fill specification

OEM Mitsubishi Remarks

MM SP and MM SP2 • Dexron® -III fluidity but with different frictional

MM SP 3 • A more developed version with better low temperature
properties and longer drain life and shift durability.
Semi-synthetic at minimum.

OEM Allison Remarks

C-4 • Designed for heavy duty transmissions in commercial and off

highway vehicles. ATFs and special fluids are qualified against
it. Supersedes C-3
TES 295 • Special formulation-specific, PAO based fluid for heavy duty
TES 389 • Introduced in 2006 to cover Dexron®-III applications.

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Service fill specification

OEM Caterpillar Remarks

TO-4 • Specialised fluid for Caterpillar units. Oils meeting TO-4

and C-4 find wide application in heavy duty construction
equipment manufactured by many OEMs such as
Komatsu. Also used in manual transmission.

Other OEM Specification

OEM Specification

Honda ATF 96, Z1

Nissan Nissanmatic C,D,J,K



Voith G607, G1363

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Dexron® IIIH and Dexron® IIIG

Dexron® IIIG Dexron® IIIH
Vane Pump Wear Test • 15mg • The smaller weight lost, the better the oil did it's job.
This is 50% decrease in wear test criteria
• 10mg
Plate Clutch Friction Test • 100hrs • 150hrs
• This is a 50% increase in test hours.
THCT Cycling Test • 20,000 cycles • 32,000 cycles
• The cycling test (shift feel) had an increase of 60%
THOT Oxidation Test • 300 hrs • 450 hrs

These tests show an approximate 50% to 60% increase in test requirements from Dexron IIIG to pass the
Dexron IIIH. Oils that pass the Dexron IIIH will be much better service fill oils than were the Dexron IIIG oils.

The new H spec also introduced new tests: a low speed carbon fiber friction test (to measure anti-
shudder properties), and an aeration rig test. In addition, some new elastomer were added to the
seal compatibility tests.

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ATF Specification GM
Shear Stability

Wear Control Oxidation Stability



Friction Durability
Film Strength

Foam/Aeration Control

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ATF Specification
Test Dexron® IID Dexron® IIIG Dexron® IIIH Dexron® VI

Cycling test, cycles 20,000 20,000 32,000 42,000

Plate Friction test, hour 100 100 150 200

Band friction test, hours n/a 100 100 150

Oxidation test, hours 300 300 450 450

TAN increase, max 7.00 3.25 3.25 2.00

Aeration test, new and aged n/a n/a Report >Reference

Seals tests 3 6 10 10

Kinematic viscosity at 100 deg Celcius, cSt Report Report Report 6.4 max

Brookfield viscosity at -40 deg Celcius, mPa.s 50,000 max 20,000 max 20,000 max 15,000 max

Kinematic viscosity at 100 deg Celcius n/a n/a n/a 5.5 min
after40 hour KRL shear, sCt

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Test Parameter for ATF
Dexron-IIIH Ford Mercon Ford Mercon V
Flat Plate 15K Flat Plate 20K Flat Plate
Composition Plates SD1777 SD1777 SD1777
Grooving None Cross Hatch Cross Hatch
Test length (h) 100 63 83
Test length (cycles) 18000 15000 20000
Clutch release (kPa) 27000 20740 20740
Clutch pack clearance (mm) 1.02+ 0.13 0.70 + 0.13 0.70 + 0.13
Motor Speed (rpm) 3600 3600 3600
Clutch apply (kPa) 345 275 + 5 275 + 5
Fluid temp (0C0 140 115 + 3 135 + 2
Fluid volume (ml) 600 305 + 5 305 + 5
Cycle rate (cycles/min) 3 4 4
Plate configuration S-F-S-S-F-S S-F-S-S-F-S S-F-S-S-F-S
Energy per engagement (l/cm2) 85.6 88 88

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Dexron® -VI offers these improvements and benefits:

Performance Enhancement

Longer ATF Life

Improve shift quality

Extended Transmission Life

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Multivehicle ATF

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Castrol ATF Product

Castrol TQ D-III
General Motor Dexron III H (36155)
Ford MERCON (M040406)
Allison C4 (30222004)
MB 236.1
Castrol TQ-D
General Motors (Dexron II)
General Motors GM-6137-M
ZF (TE-ML-09; TE-ML-11; TE-ML-15, Group A & B)
Ford ESP-M2C-138CJ & M2C-166-H
Allison C3
MB Sheet 236.6
Castrol TQ
GM Type A Suffix A Specification
MB Sheet 236.2
Allison C3

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Honda and Castrol ATF
Honda Auto type Castrol ATF
City 5-speed Automatic Transmission with Shift Hold Control Multivehicle
Jazz 5-speed Automatic Transmission with Shift Hold Control Multivehicle
Civic 1.8 - Electronically Controlled 5-Speed Automatic Multivehicle
2.0 - Electronically Controlled 5-Speed Automatic with Multivehicle
Paddle Shift Control
Type R - 6-Speed Close Ratio Manual with Limited Slip N/A
Hybrid - Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) N/A
Accord Electronically Controlled 5-Speed Automatic with Shift Hold Multivehicle
CRV Electronically Controlled 5-speed Automatic, Multivehicle
Stream 5 Speed Automatic with Paddle Shift Multivehicle
Odyssey 5-Speed Automatic with Sequential Shift Multivehicle
Freed 5-Speed Automatic with Shift Hold Control Multivehicle

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Comparison ATF Specification

KV at 400 C KV at 1000 C -400 C
OEM Specification (cSt) (cSt) VI Brookfields
Toyota WS 23.66 5.4 173 8,950
Ford MERCON® SP - 5.5 - 6.0 - 9,500 max
JASO M315-2002 - 5.7 min. 120 min 20,000
Ford MERCON ® LV - 6 155 15,000 max
GM DEXRON®-VI 32 max. 6.4 min. 145 min. 15,000 max
GM DEXRON®-III - 6.8 min. - 20,000 max.
Ford MERCON® - 6.8 min. - 20,000 max.
Ford MERCON®V - 6.8 min. - 13,000 max.
Allison TES 295 - 7.0 min. - 8,700 max.
ZF ZFN 13015 - 7.0 min. - 20,000 max.
Honda HONDA Z-1 30.8 7 224 7420
Toyota T-IV 35.4 7.1 170 19,500

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If the wrong ATF is used…
• The fluid could get too thick or thin – oxidation / shear
– The hydraulic system does not work
– The fluid can not transmit power efficiently
– The bands and plates could get damaged
• The fluid could lose its frictional balance
– Slow uptake of power
– Excessive clutch slippage
– Harsh gear change
• The fluid could cause excessive wear
– Planetary gears, bushing thrusts, washer sprag, etc. could be damaged
• The fluid could destroy the seals
– Downtime for repair
– Environmental impacts
• The fluid could corrode the transmission parts
– Downtime for repair

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Driveline Lubricants Summary

Manual Transmission Rear Axle Automatic Transmission

MTF Optimised for: Insufficient: Possible limitations:

Synchroniser Load Carrying Friction
compatibility & durability
Pitting Protection Low Temperature fluidity
Shift quality
RAF Possible Problems: Optimised for: Possible Problems with:
Synchroniser Load Carrying Friction, Low Temp fluidity,
compatibility due to high high EP additive can be
EP additive content Pitting Protection aggressive towards yellow

ATF Possible problems: Insufficient: Optimised for:

Low viscosity can lead to Load Carrying Friction
insufficient load carrying
but newer ATF Pitting Protection Low temp fluidity
technology sometimes Oxidation

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Ir. Mohamad Surif Abdul Wahab MIEM

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