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Old 07-17-2016, 06:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Exclamation What kind of tranny fluid?

I'm sitting here at a truck stop and found I am 2 quarts low on tranny fluid, but don't know what kind to put in. Can anyone help?

This is a 1991 International Thomas school bus, with a 7.3 diesel. I called a parts store and they seems confused but said Mercon V. However, online I read that you can't use the Mercon V on this engine unless it is 2006 or later. Does anyone know? Also, the dipstick says to check it in neutral, but is that with the engine on, or off?

I'm afraid to continue through these mountains until I get this taken care of. I would be most grateful if someone is able to answer.

Thanks!
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Old 07-17-2016, 06:58 PM   #2
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Engine has nothing to do with what kind of transmission fluid to use. If it's a full size bus it's probably an Allison. Info here
Approved Fluids

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Old 07-17-2016, 07:07 PM   #3
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I just looked at the tranny label and it says it is an Allison AT545D. I don't understand what their website means with those tabs that say TE 295, etc. What am I missing here?
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:19 PM   #4
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I run dexron 3 in my 1993 AT545.

TES 295 is a specific synthetic grade standard. you can run synthetics but they cost more.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:33 PM   #5
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TE 295 is an Allison rating for synthetic fluid. If it meets the spec it WILL say so on the label.
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Old 07-17-2016, 07:39 PM   #6
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And just in case you missed it, check fluid with transmission warm, on level ground, *WITH* engine running. Dipstick should even have this printed/stamped on it.
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
And just in case you missed it, check fluid with transmission warm, on level ground, *WITH* engine running. Dipstick should even have this printed/stamped on it.
In neutral. If not warm, there's a mark for cold on the stick.

Dex 3 is fine in a 545
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:43 PM   #8
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Just a quick comment: the TES-295 APPROVED (not the "equivalant" or "compatible" fluids are now the "official" fluid for the Allison transmissiojs. This fluid is really an amazing bit of chemical engineering. It shifts better, resists oxidation better, and it will retain its beneficial properties far longer than non TES-295 fluids. In a word this stuff is excellent. You WILL feel a difference (as will your wallet. Oy!)

There are some who use the cheaper fluids to good advantage, and I was one of them. Not a darned thing wrong with the original fluids, and in light of fact, thousands of school busses and transit busses use these "old" fluids every day without any issue. But honestly, if you are pulling hills or doing long desert drives, the TES-295 fluid simply can not be beat. Its amazing stuff.

Tl/dr; TES-295 is the preferred (and Allison-specified) fill. Great stuff. Works good. But you can use the old fluid just fine if you are not beating on it.
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:18 PM   #9
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FWIW, since I recently changed trans fluid to Super Tech (WM) Dex 3 my 545 hasn't made the classic 1st to 2nd squeal. Have quite a few miles and lots of 6% grades towing.
Unknown what was in the trans.
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:37 PM   #10
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I ended up using what the gas station had, which was something that said it was Dexron III and rated for Allison off highway C4. Not ultimate I suppose. I'm going to read through this read a few more times and see if I can wrap my head around this.
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