Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic? - Honda Civic Forum

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Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

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Old 11-22-2011
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Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

I can't find any honda z1 ATF but I need to change my ATF. I don't think it has been changed for a while, definitively for the last 4 years ( i got the car from my brother).

I read somewhere that fully synthetic ATF will cause the seals to disintergrate? So I was looking at the Valvoline Maxlife DEX/MERC ATF. Do you think that is a good idea?

Instead of a 3x3 drain and fill, I was just going to do one drain and fill then wait for it to mix and then do another drain a fill a thousand miles down the road. I am afraid if I do a complete drain and fill, the tranny will break down. I have heard some people on this forum saying that. Thanks
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Old 11-22-2011
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

i switched my 2002 civic a few months ago from z1 to maxlife. made a world of difference and fixed most of the cold slipping issues i had. trans shifts smoother with the maxlife, way better than z1 could ever do. its thinner and has better ingredients so it will start flowing much faster in cold weather. overall i would definately recommend it in an older honda that called for z1. it is the only trans fluid i know that is fully approved for honda auto trans (except the cvt). just be sure you get the regular maxlife dex/merc and NOT the version with 'stop leak' additive. good idea to space out the drain and fills if the fluid has not been changed for a while.
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Old 07-15-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

Hi all,
I figured I would update since I know I did a lot of searches on this issue and other's people's updates were especially helpful.

So I ended up changing the ATF about a month ago, 6/20/2012, and so far it has been shifting better! I only did one drain and a fill because I didn't want to wash everything completely out. There is less of a "kick" when it shifts from 1st to second gear.

I am traveling for work so I will wait until Aug. 2012 to flush it out again and refill. I will update when I do. Thanks!


(car only has 106K, original transmission, original motor, last time ATF was changed was at least 30K ago or almost never. Was my dad's car since new but he doesn't know anything about cars )
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Old 07-15-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

didnt quite understand "kick". did you mean falls into gears smoothly/better? understood..kick meaning-no slipping/jerks/screeching experienced when shifting is it?
which ATF used. was there an additive to it.




Originally Posted by coolfez View Post
Hi all,
I figured I would update since I know I did a lot of searches on this issue and other's people's updates were especially helpful.

So I ended up changing the ATF about a month ago, 6/20/2012, and so far it has been shifting better! I only did one drain and a fill because I didn't want to wash everything completely out. There is less of a "kick" when it shifts from 1st to second gear.

I am traveling for work so I will wait until Aug. 2012 to flush it out again and refill. I will update when I do. Thanks!


(car only has 106K, original transmission, original motor, last time ATF was changed was at least 30K ago or almost never. Was my dad's car since new but he doesn't know anything about cars )
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Old 07-15-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

yeah generally speaking new oem fluid will make the shifts smoother but not for very long. maxlife is even smoother than oem and lasts much longer. old oem fluid (over a year) will give you hard shifts between gears. im coming up on 1 year with maxlife and it still feels as good as the day i changed it. and still much smoother than new oem fluid. i usually cannot even feel it shift anymore, i have to watch the rpms or listen to the exhaust.
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Old 07-15-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

i am a big fan of the maxlife. IMO valvoline has always been number one in my book (other than high priced oils like amsoil). right now i am running amsoil full synthetic oil and synthetic syncromesh transmission fluid in my civic; and am just about to change the oil and tranny in my cadillac with valvoline maxlife oil and maxlife tranny fluid. always heard nothing but good; the next oil and tranny change in my civic i'm switching to maxlife as well (way cheaper and good stuff). IMO maxlife is the best stuff you could use for a high mileage engine for the price.
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Old 07-16-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

Originally Posted by palsana View Post
didnt quite understand "kick". did you mean falls into gears smoothly/better? understood..kick meaning-no slipping/jerks/screeching experienced when shifting is it?
which ATF used. was there an additive to it.

The "kick" I'm talking about is when you press the gas pedal, the rpm goes up but the car isn't accelerating as fast. Then it goes into 2nd gear and there is a really fast increase in speed and also sometimes a thump sound coming from below your seat. It actually feels like a slight bump on your butt!

After the atf change, the kick is still there sometimes, whereas before, it would be there even if I accelerate slowly and back off during the gear change rpm sweet spot.

The atf I use, here is a link. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Valvoline-...allon/15125768
There is another kind with "stop Leak" do not get that one, I hear the stop leak additive might eat away the gaskets.

(Also I hear it is very common in the autos with this generation because the gearbox isn't a "true" automatic, but a computer controlled manual so it shifts hard like a manual? I just remember reading that somewhere when the article was talking about the ford fiesta and the problems it has with it's new tranny that gets 40 mpg because it's really two manual trannies using a computer to tell it when it keep shifting, hence the hard shifts.)
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Old 07-16-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

thanks cool. how off i was in understanding " kick" ..now i m clear.
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Old 07-16-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

our autos use a planetary gear set i believe, not quite like most cars around that time, but certainly outdated today. it was actually a fairly good design if they improved the weak clutch disks.
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Old 09-01-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

Hi again!

So I said I would update and here it is.

I did a drain and fill about a week ago, about 800 miles after my first one that I mentioned earlier in this thread. (More like 1.5 drain and fill because when I added the Wix Inline Filter, it drained out more ATF from the radiator)

I ended up filling with the reminder of my Vavoline Maxlife (about 1.5 quarts) and filled the rest with CASTROL TRANSMAX HIGH MILEAGE http://www.castrol.com/castrol/secti...tentId=7033928

The reason I used the Castrol was because in my research, I found that it has a higher viscosity. Also Castrol is not synthetic whereas Maxlife is partly synthetic if you are worried about synthetic eating your gaskets.

Valvoline Max Life
Viscosity @ 100 = 6.11
Viscosity @ 40 = 28.18

Castrol Transmax
Viscosity @ 100 = 8
Viscosity @ 40 = 36.6

(100 and 40 is the temp, this was found at the www.bobistheoilguy.com forums. An excellent place to talk about oil and additives and stuff!!!)

2. I also installed the Wix Inline Filter on the return line of the transmission. It has a magnetic filter and is rated for 30k miles. Normally it is an easy install, but was bit hard because the space under our hood is so small! I also double hose clamped every connection so it won't leak or come lose when driving. http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...0114&ppt=C0232(make sure you get the right one, the one in the link is NOT the right one because it uses 3/16 hose but you want 3/8 hose for the 93 civic. For some reason, it isn't showing up on the website search but if you call them, it's on their computer data base)

3. I also added Lubeguard Red. This can be bought on amazon or O'rielly's. Once again, I did a TON of research on it and it got 5 star ratings by everyone! What won me over was that a lot of transmission shops use it when they rebuilt a transmission . http://www.amazon.com/Lubegard-60902.../dp/B0007ZAJRM

Result:

Been driving it for the past week and has about 120 miles on it. Yesterday, I suddenly felt the car shifting better and more smooth! It was such an crazy experience! The car felt a lot newer! It was shifting smoother, and best of all, when I accelerate from a red light, I don't feel like I am about to get ran over by newer cars behind me!

Since this effect took a while since all the changes, my best guess would be that the Wix Inline Filter I installed took out all the metal particles in the fluid and the new atf and lubeguard was able to do their job.

Disclaimer: I do NOT have any relationship with any products mentioned here or with any auto parts company, etc.

Do your own research and use common sense. I think the Inline Filter is one of the most important things to look into! ( the brand I found to be best is Wix and Magnifine, though there are re-branded Magnifine).

Also, all the stuff I used was super cheap. Wix filter was $16 from O'rielly's (Napa sells it too), Lubeguard Red was $12 from Amazon and of course, the Castrol ATF is $6.29 a quart from Advance Auto Parts or Autozone

Last edited by coolfez; 09-01-2012 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 09-02-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

i would be cautious adding strange trans fluids, unless the castrol says it is rated as a z1 substitute in honda trans. the lubeguard ive heard good and bad, but again the same thing goes for adding strange things to the trans fluid. honda needs a very specific set of additives and friction modifiers in the fluid and any difference can cause issues down the road. only thing ive used in the trans is lubecontrol.com LC20 in low doses like 1oz. Been okay for about 7 yrs i think. but i really only had to use it with honda z1. the maxlife already shifted much smoother and adding LC20 did not improve shifts at all.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

my car is manual but i use amsoil synthetic syncromesh. just fyi, draining and filling only replaces some of the fluid, but i don't at all recommend doing a flush, lot of bad things always see to happen. i would do another filter and fluid change at the next oil change so when it circulates you will eventually replace nearly all of it. wix filter, good choice.

and reguarding the "synthetic eating gaskets" there is SOO much debate on this it's pathetic. all i know is that my car had who knows what when previous owners changed the oil and tranny. and i use full synthetic oil and tranny fluid, no problems.
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Valvoline MaxLife DEX/MERC ATF in 93 Civic?

well even the stock fluid eats gaskets over time, it happens and cant really be avoided.
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