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Old 03-03-2021, 01:20 PM   #1
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Transmission Additives Yes / No, what kind

Searched for this, but no definitive posts found.

Background:
Allison MT643 Tranny with 190k on it. This is my first transmission service since owning it. Once I get my modulator issue resolved, I'll be draining, dropping the pan, replacing the internal and spin on filters and then putting it back together.

Since the converter doesn't have a drain, some of the old fluid will remain. I'm using Dextron III and the new filters to clean out the old fluid as much as possible for about 5k miles. I then plan on changing out the fluid with Transynd and the spin on filter.

I understand that changing all of this in an older tranny can sometimes actually cause issues, yet I think my transmission will make it through.

Question:
Are transmission additives suggested for an older transmission? If yes;
Is it wiser to add it with the Dextron III for the 5k, or to wait and make sure the tranny is still doing well and add it with the Transynd?

What type and brand of additives are suggested for this general model of transmission?

Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:43 PM   #2
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The only one I use is Lucas Stop Slip. I like the stuff.
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Old 03-03-2021, 01:55 PM   #3
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There are a bunch of different additives out there for transmissions: stop leaks, slip fixes, shudder fixes, flushes, etc. I only add them if they're needed. A typically healthy transmission won't need them, just good clean fluid and filters.

Transynd is top notch fluid, I wouldn't add anything to it right out of the gate.

How's the current fluid look? If it's not burnt or black, I wouldn't bother with the dex3 swap for 5k. Drain the pan, install a new filter, refill with transynd, and continue on with it.

If it's burnt or black, then we can talk about dropping the pan, doing flushes, etc.
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Old 03-03-2021, 03:53 PM   #4
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if you do drop the pan?
as tempting as it is.
dont clean the small metal particles out of the inside of the pan.
they still serve a purpose as they get entrained into the fluid as it is circulating.
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Old 03-03-2021, 06:09 PM   #5
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Lucas is kind of hit and miss in my experience. I put it in a trans in the interest of prevention and it refused to go into gear or shift until it was at operating temp. So not a one-size-fits-all there.

I would not advise flushing any auto trans that has never had it before unless it is done from the first service. And I'm not even sure I would do it at all. I had one lose reverse within a day of a flush. Haven't done one since.

I forget what they call it, but I got this stuff once that came in a little red tube similar to what you get ointments and such in. It worked wonders for the shuddering torque converter in the Mercury I had at the time.

Your results may vary. I say the best course of action is stringent maintenance, done on time, with correct filters and fluids. Anything less and you're asking for it. Anything more is usually a crap shoot. Just my $0.02 from my experience.

However... I have questions here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
if you do drop the pan?
as tempting as it is.
dont clean the small metal particles out of the inside of the pan.
they still serve a purpose as they get entrained into the fluid as it is circulating.
I have never heard of this, and the fluid analysis report on a member's recent purchase I transported indicated a high large particle count, indicating poor / sporadic maintenance or moderate / severe wear. So why would you want to leave that stuff in there?
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Old 03-03-2021, 09:03 PM   #6
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I still say Valvoline full synthetic. The transyd stuff may be just as good.


I used some "smooth as silk" additive stuff once (forget the brand offhand, the shop I was working at used it), and I never noticed a difference.


I lost reverse once when I used regular Dex/Merc III. Then I switched to Valvoline full synthetic, and the tranny came back better than ever.


I have always serviced my SUV/minivan trannies at 12K-20K miles. The first time (bought used car with 120k miles) the magnet was full of gunk. The rest, it was fairly clean.


I second the "service the pan if the fluid is black or watery (lost viscosity)."

I dropped the pan in my bus when I got it. Magnet was half-full. Now I will only replace the spin-on filter when changing the oil, at least for another 100k-150k. Hopefully I will get the MT643 by then.



I think your a great guy, Jolly, but I think you're crazy about the metal particles.





does this pic show the metal you are talking about? I see copper dust from bushings, and steel shavings from gears grinding. Can you please elaborate more about the metal stuff, or point us somewhere that talks about it.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:35 PM   #7
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So D3M is $75 for a 5 gal pail. TES 295 is 50+ a gal. You still don’t know for sure about the transmission yet. How about all the cooling circuit hoses? Mine were like a preacher at a wedding, so I replaced all of them. Save the money on the fluid and make sure the hoses are sound. Replace both filters and be sure to clean the governor screen too. Also make sure your shift cable is not out of adjustment or worn out. That will toast it too. If you blow a hose or have to replace the transmission you will waste all the TES 295. But it is your money.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
So D3M is $75 for a 5 gal pail. TES 295 is 50+ a gal. You still donít know for sure about the transmission yet. How about all the cooling circuit hoses? Mine were like a preacher at a wedding, so I replaced all of them. Save the money on the fluid and make sure the hoses are sound. Replace both filters and be sure to clean the governor screen too. Also make sure your shift cable is not out of adjustment or worn out. That will toast it too. If you blow a hose or have to replace the transmission you will waste all the TES 295. But it is your money.
I second the "replace the hoses" statement.


Mine wire harder/stiffer that an oak branch, and leaking from cracks in the middle.
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Old 03-04-2021, 03:51 PM   #9
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i have killed more than a few transmissions over my years.
two of although they were older high mileage vehicles.
77 ford c6 transmission and an old chevy turbo hydro transmission.
both were working fine and i just wanted to change the filters in the pan.
easy jobs.
the chevy i did and while it was down and out and anytime a pull a cover off i clean it and paint it before it goes back in.
so i did and even used OEM fluid got a few weeks out of that transmission after that before it quit.
i had just bought a 77 truck that i was going through and teaching my kids how to mechanic (the whole purpose of buying it) and for my birthday or something like that they bought me a tranny filter and gasket for it so i said why not. show them how to do it and it wont hurt it.
yes i have done quite a few of tranny filter fluid changes with no problems.
we dropped the pan and my boys were already in the routine of clean and paint any cover that comes off and i didnt think to say dont clean inside the pan.
and buy the time i climbed out from under the truck it was already to late.
so we went with it.
went back with the ford spec fluid and made it about 20 miles out and had to turn around and head home and made it about a mile from the house and lost everything but reverse so the last mile was backwards.
the 60 year in business transmission shop that has built many a transmission for me.
the old man told me that i should not have cleaned the shavings out that they circulate in the fluid and help cushion the bands in the transmission and said if i would have used the zinc additive when i filled it up i would have been fine for a year or two.
so it was old age but the particles actually helped it keep going.
for our purposes yeah if there are alot of shavings in the pan then its just a matter of how long but leaving the particles or using the zinc will buy you time to get a replacement in hand.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:39 PM   #10
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I've been following a transmission channel on Youtube (Precision Transmission), they do lots of cool teardown videos. His videos show that transmission additives often swell up the seals inside a transmission. This is helpful to a small extent as seals wear down and can shrink a little over time. However the seals can, and often do if exposed to enough additive for long enough, swell up so large that they jam parts inside the transmission. It's crazy watching him pull out a piston, and the seal just falls right off without him even touching it.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:48 PM   #11
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Any major drivetrain component, (engine, transmission), that needs "additives" in a bottle to "cure" a leak, slip, excessive smoke is likely on its downhill slide.
Meaning a major mechanical overhaul is likely not too far in the future.

Depending on your driving habits and amount of usage, you might get away with using mechanic in a bottle for awhile.
Personally, I'd not take a vehicle on any extended road trip using these additives.

As the saying goes: Your Mileage May Vary.

Good luck...
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:37 PM   #12
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I only randomly picked a few sections in this comprehensive book. Only the Ford section does not specifically say to clean the inside of the pan.

Your trannies were already on their way out, Jolly, methinks. This is what every senior mechanic (when I was young) has warned me about, and why they don't like doing tranny services. "My tranny was fine! Then YOU touched it! I'm suing!"

I warn my clients about this before touching their trannies. But either ignore the fluid change and let the tranny eat itself from the inside out and die, or gamble that it already has, and change the fluid, and let that new high-detergent oil clean the gunk out of the worn passages, lowering the pressure, or the gunk clogs something and increases the pressure, and...no more working tranny.....or the tranny will be fine, and with regular new fluid, will stay that way.

Aloha!
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
.....or the tranny will be fine, and with regular new fluid, will stay that way.

Aloha!
Crossing my fingers this is what will happen this weekend!!

Gnome, here's my tranny fluid. Looks bad yet no grit, no shiny or reflective when held up to the light and no burnt smell (almost no smell actually), so I'm praying your Valvoline will do it's magic!
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:33 PM   #14
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Simplicity, do you have the Allison service manual for your transmission? Below are the instructions and change information. Apparently in your tranny there is an internal paper filter that needs changed at normal change intervals (if I'm reading it correctly) which can be replaced by a stainless steel screen filter after which you do not need to drop the pan unless you're doing an overhaul. This presupposes you have an external screw on filter.

Personally I decided a long time ago I wasn't going to use additives. I believe the best you can do for your tranny (or engine, or differential, etc) is follow manufacturer's change recommendations and don't drive like an anal sphincter.

There's more in your manual about the characteristics of the fluids you should/can use. Sometimes it gets confusing but if you study it for a while you'll figure it out. LOL, sometimes I felt like I was chasing my tail, and I don't have one.

I did my first service this past summer. I was fortunate enough to have my heavy equipment mechanic neighbor come out to where I had the bus to help with the first service. I wanted him to participate because with 25 years experience I figured he'd pick up on things I would miss.

BTW, for my Allison 2000 I discovered the change interval for Transynd was 100K miles, for non synthetic fluid it was 50K miles. I doubt I'll live long enough to do even 50K miles so I considered synthetic fluid unnecessary.
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File Type: jpg MT643P1.JPG (189.8 KB, 6 views)
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Simplicity, do you have the Allison service manual for your transmission? Below are the instructions and change information. Apparently in your tranny there is an internal paper filter that needs changed at normal change intervals (if I'm reading it correctly) which can be replaced by a stainless steel screen filter after which you do not need to drop the pan unless you're doing an overhaul. This presupposes you have an external screw on filter.

Personally I decided a long time ago I wasn't going to use additives. I believe the best you can do for your tranny (or engine, or differential, etc) is follow manufacturer's change recommendations and don't drive like an anal sphincter.

There's more in your manual about the characteristics of the fluids you should/can use. Sometimes it gets confusing but if you study it for a while you'll figure it out. LOL, sometimes I felt like I was chasing my tail, and I don't have one.

I did my first service this past summer. I was fortunate enough to have my heavy equipment mechanic neighbor come out to where I had the bus to help with the first service. I wanted him to participate because with 25 years experience I figured he'd pick up on things I would miss.

BTW, for my Allison 2000 I discovered the change interval for Transynd was 100K miles, for non synthetic fluid it was 50K miles. I doubt I'll live long enough to do even 50K miles so I considered synthetic fluid unnecessary.
Thanks for that info OY. It says there's a governor filter. Hmmm, better look that up.

My tranny has both the internal and spin on. Both are being replaced.

It's funny about the service manual internal filter recommendation because the feedback I've gotten is after changing the internal filter, adding new fluid and spin on, just changing the spin on and keeping up on the fluid is good to go. Yet, the manual is talking changing the internal paper filter pretty routinely.

I'll look into the screen. Be nice to not have to drop the pan as often as the manual suggests.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Thanks for that info OY. It says there's a governor filter. Hmmm, better look that up.

My tranny has both the internal and spin on. Both are being replaced.

It's funny about the service manual internal filter recommendation because the feedback I've gotten is after changing the internal filter, adding new fluid and spin on, just changing the spin on and keeping up on the fluid is good to go. Yet, the manual is talking changing the internal paper filter pretty routinely.

I'll look into the screen. Be nice to not have to drop the pan as often as the manual suggests.
The point that I failed to clearly state was to go to the manual for stuff like this. I noticed with my own Allison service manual that are a lot of 'ifs' in the manual. You have to work your way through them all and figure out what your particular tranny has and needs. For instance I figured out that on the 2000, Allison recommends dropping the pan ONLY when doing an overhaul. Normal fluid changes only call for changing the external spin on filter. That surprised me but what do I know, I'll follow their recommendations.

Whether you have a governor filter or not is something you'll have to confirm, likely with a visual inspection.

If you don't have the service manual I found it here, a free download. It's further down the page and titled, "Allison MT(B)600 Series Transmissions Service Manual PDF"

https://www.pdfmanual4trucks.com/allison-transmission/

Ah, I just stumbled across another tidbit you might find useful. Apparently if I'm understanding this table, your pan could be one of 3 sizes which directly impacts the fluid capacity.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:03 AM   #17
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Any Allison spec tes 295 fluid is compatible with older Allison seals. Many of the other full synthetic ATF fluids are not. Has to do with the base oil used for the fluid. Double check that first before you pour it in. As for the screen vs the paper I don't know. Taking the pan off on a regular basis is good to check to see how many pieces are landing in the bottom. It may head off a break down far from home.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:27 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
If you don't have the service manual I found it here, a free download. It's further down the page and titled, "Allison MT(B)600 Series Transmissions Service Manual PDF"

https://www.pdfmanual4trucks.com/allison-transmission/

Ah, I just stumbled across another tidbit you might find useful. Apparently if I'm understanding this table, your pan could be one of 3 sizes which directly impacts the fluid capacity.
Thanks for the link to manuals!


NAPA looked up my internal tranny filter. It was not quite correct. The difference seems to be the diameter of the rubber grommet where the filter mounts to the uptake tube. Different diameter tubes for different trannies. The external diameter of the grommets is the same. I had to re-use the old grommet. Glad it was still OK. The filter itself seemed identical. Somewheres I heard it was the difference in pan size.


Catch you tranny fluid in a pan (I use the big black cement-mixing pans from HD - the oil-draining pans for cars and trucks you find at the auto parts stores won't be big enough for motor oil, tranny oil, or coolant in you bus, unless maybe a van cutout with a gasser). Then transfer the oil to gallon jugs to be recycled. Measure the total amount. That should tell you how much to add, but still check the dipstick with the tranny hot and motor running, and adjust as necessary.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
Any Allison spec tes 295 fluid is compatible with older Allison seals. Many of the other full synthetic ATF fluids are not. Has to do with the base oil used for the fluid.
Here's a link about Valvoline (and other manufacturers) per tes 295. Summary is that you have to pay Allison to play, get on their list, and a lot of the manufacturers don't pay. Apparently, by law, if you claim something on your product, you have to be able to back it up. Valvoline is too big a brand to need to dupe customers. It would kill their brand if they were caught doing it.
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:54 PM   #20
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Here are some pictures of my first tranny service since owning the bus. As I was working on my modulator problem, when I pulled out the modulator a milky brown with cherry highlights (if you caught the light right) came pouring out. I was planning on changing the fluid anyway, but this color was a bit disconcerting.

I wanted to see what the pan looked like, so I figured I'd change the internal filter too. As it turns out, my pan was really very clean. A light coating of sludge on the magnet, but other than that, it all looked good. The inside of the internal filter looked good and the governor screen was clean too.

The first photo was after removing the pan, the second after letting it drain out the remaining fluid, the third a close up of the magnet and finally the cleaned out pan.
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