school me on atf.

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by stainlesscycle, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    i'm most interested in the viscosity and overall properties - atf, +4 +f, dexron, mercon, etc. is the difference just friction modifiers? i'm well aware of usage per recommended in owners manual for cars/trucks -i own a dodge :) . i'm more interested in which works best in clutches/transmissions for 2t bikes.....modern and vintage.. i'm already using atf+f in some bikes, and it works fine, just wondering if there is a 'best' formulation.... and any drawbacks to using atf? it's dirt cheap - i switched from amsoil 0w-40 in my gasgas to atf, and it's working great so far. i'm changing atf every 2-3 hours, so i'm most interested in what works best during this limited (albeit difficult) lifespan..
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  2. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    I have no idea.

    Do know the early ATF had whale oil in it, my guess is 15%.
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  3. kpt4321

    kpt4321 Long timer

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    ATF is a fluid for automatic transmissions.

    If your bike has an automatic transmission, it may be a good choice.
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  4. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    thanks for the advice. :rofl :huh
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  5. Gamble

    Gamble b00b

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    No idea sorry, but did you know ATF makes a good substitute for seafoam (only sucking through a vacuum line, don't add it to oil or gas)
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  6. CycleDoc59

    CycleDoc59 Wrench Rider

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    AFT is used in some automobile manual transmissions. The 6-speed Getrag
    transmission used in the Ford Focus SVT uses ATF. It's used in '00-04 Honda
    Insight manual transmissions as a substitute for the expensive "special" stuff
    from Honda (it's in my Insight tranny)

    Many threads on the 'net about ATF in manual trannys, here's one:
    http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=69574

    But all oil and it usage is very specialized, and switching around can be risky,
    such as with which type ATF goes in which type automatic transmission......
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  7. CycleDoc59

    CycleDoc59 Wrench Rider

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    The active ingredient in Seafoam is Naptha, a powerful solvent, also used in paint stripper.
    (the rest of Seafoam is light oil and alcohol ) Some folks make their own; just buy Naptha,
    and add a little oil and alcohol.
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  8. PTC

    PTC Turd polisher

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    i surely wouldnt run it instead of motor oil! it is the highest detergent and additive fluid used in vehicles, im in the auto trans business and your asking for trouble. its expansion is much higher than oil, overpressuration, check your oil(atf) cold, then hot. theres going to be a big difference. the detergents will suspend the dirt and crap in the oil and "lubricate" your internals with it. detergent oils are great for element type filter because it suspends the dirt and its captured by the element, with no element your speeding up wear. a if your gearbox is seperate, im interested in how long its going to last. atf will seriously shorten the life of the insight cvt trans. if your bike calls for a non detergent oil in the gearbox, atf will kill it.
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  9. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    2 stroke gearbox. what does the insight cvt trans have to do with it? expansion, and overpressurization have no effect (that i know of) in 2 stroke trans - never vented any off, it's all splash lubrication in vented trans. i doubt detergents have any effect either. no filter. none of this relevant. i'm more interested in effect on clutches. maybe shock issues with the dogs - but i doubt that's an issue.

    maybe i didn't stress it enough. 2 stroke
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  10. scapegoat

    scapegoat Pushin forward back

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    One of the R&D guys I worked with years ago told me ATF is either basically pressure or friction fluid depending if its Type F or Dex,cant recall which was which though. Seems lots of guys run Dex or 10/40 in their HD primaries with good results,maybe their closest in viscosity etc. As automatics got more and more shitty (thanks big three) newer more synthetic based stuff was needed to prevent cratering. Dex IV probably would not be good in a wet clutch application but who knows. Maybe Bobs the oil guy has some good info to read up on.
    #10
  11. gloud

    gloud Been here awhile

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    I would not use it due to being too thin a Viscosity. (Your application may vary if newer bikes want thinner oil) Unless you are running the bikes in the winter (and I have with regular weight oil with no bad effects) I would run the recommended weight oil from the manufacturer . Been doing it that way for 30 years with No transmission failures. I do tend to change it often and when I was racing MX I used to change after every race weekend.

    I am curious What is your reasoning to go to ATF in the trans? (forks I understand ) Edumacate me please.:D
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  12. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    Actually, the high detergent is sort of a myth. You can do a simple experiment, get your hands dirty and wash with clean motor oil, makes them squeaky clean. ATF not so much. Transmission stay clean because they are not burning fuel.

    Sediment and sludge do not stay suspended in transmission fluid, they drop out on the bottom of the pan, this does not happen with motor oil.

    Transmission fluid does have lots of additives for extreme pressure, if used in the engine it can poison the catalytic converter. It has additives for varnish, and health of valve bodies. But pretty low levels of buffers for acids from combustion and things so if it is burned it does not stick rings. This is why you should not use it for a seafoam substitute or in the crankcase.

    As far as in a MC transmission and wet clutch. Type F has the most abrupt clutch action. Chrysler ATF+ is much more gentle. Dexron in between. The new Dexron 6 is much lower viscosity, and syn. About affecting other things, some atf will attack some metals parts, and can delaminate some types of frictions. so you kind of have to know what is in the transmission. Best to use what they recommend.

    Rod
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  13. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Well ATF doesn't have the load carrying capacity for my taste but here goes. Synthetic ATF has a viscosity of 7.5 in cSt @ 100*C making it about a 17 WT in the motor oil grade and in between 75W and 80W in gear oil grading. It has additives that prevent foaming due to it's use as a hydraulic fluid. It has a virgin TBN of 2.2 which means little in it's normal use. It does have a good bit of acid reducing additives and does a good job of dissipating heat. I know many who use ATF for suspension fluid,gear lube and even cleaning parts. All of them using it successfully as far as I know. You're on your own.

    :D
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  14. PTC

    PTC Turd polisher

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    i know almost nothing about two strokes. that said, this is just an example to ponder: if a designated gear oil expands 15 percent. an atf may expand 35%, overpresurizing the gearbox and pushing past seals. as far as clutches are concerned, most cellulose (paper) clutches will respond fine with dex,merc fluids, plus 4 was introduced to prevent chatter in the tcc clutch, band and clutch drums. its more slippery, as are most late model fluids because the clutches are pulsed and slipped on at earlier than acceptable times to increase economy. so now im thinking a typical bikes clutch being operator contolled, if its not chattering or slipping during apply and release, a plus 4 fluid may actually do a better job of lubricating the hard parts. i jumped at my 1st reply but now thinking about it, if your changing it that often you might be on to something good? wednesday im going to ask a friend who is a hydraulic engineer for catipillar what he thinks. interesting...
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  15. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    with atf i've found clutch engagement to be more progressive, and less dragging clutches...and they seem to shift easier/smoother.

    i know many many people use atf in 2t, just wondering if there was any real world drawbacks. never heard of any clutch failures or trans failures due to atf in gearbox.

    as for atf in forks, i never use it on dirt - street sometimes..
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  16. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    which synthetic atf has that viscosity? is there a viscosity chart for atf's somewhere???
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  17. stainlesscycle

    stainlesscycle Long timer

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    that's what i wanted to know! how clutch engagement is effected by which atf. thanks!
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  18. gloud

    gloud Been here awhile

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    I should have qualified the use in forks, On Vintage bikes it is common. For newer Cartridge/USD forks not so good.

    Well if it works for you run it. the worse I can see is possible increased wear on gears, and clutch issues.
    With the newer type of 2T clutch material they should be able to handle it. (kevlar Etc..)

    One thing I read years ago on trans oil is that the gears tend to "chop" up the long chain Molecule that is oil so it will need to be replaced sooner in a transmission than in a regular Auto motor. As such when I was racing I just used regular 10-40 and swapped it every race weekend. (I was racing a beast a 82 Maico 490) And continued on my other racers. My last race bike was a early 90's WR250 2t Yam. for hare scrambles. So I am somewhat out of date LOL..
    Thanks for the response BTW.


    #18
  19. Swinerider

    Swinerider n00b

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    I know the Can Am people recommend the type F, not sure what the diff is between that and the others. Have used it before with good results.....
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  20. PTC

    PTC Turd polisher

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    ok stainless, i talked with the man for over an hour and cant come close to rehashing all the science. what i can restate is that atf will cause accelerated wear to copper alloys compared to conventional gear lube, what your bike uses for bushings,bearings, shims... i dont know. he also stated that many motorcycle clutch plates use copper alloys, so premature clutch wear is possible, compatibility with seals was another big thing, atf may work fine depending on the seal compound but could also shrink,harden,swell or dissolve certain compounds used for seals.
    viscosity in atf: when temps are low the molecules curl up thightly so as not to restrict flow. not allowing the fluid to thicken.
    as temps increase the molecules increase in size which enhances the thickening of the fluid to provide better lubrication and increased shear stabilty. bottom line, he doesnt recomend it for long term protection and cautions the compatibility with seals and copperalloys. he said youd be better served by investigating different cluch linings and possibly polishing the clutches/steels teeth and the clutch centers teeth for smooth travel. thats all i can really rehash, hope it helps your decision:freaky send a fluid sampleout for a particle test, run the same with oil and do the same test then compare the copper alloy particle counts was a sugestion. if done in a scientific manner would be the easiest way to determine wear...

    and the type a type f history lesson:in 1949 gm coined type a fluid as a must for automatic trans. ford really didnt like thier customers going to gm so by 1961 ford coined thier type f. (and called it type g in thier european market).back then it was the same. todays dex/merc is 99 plus% the same but gm uses a slightly different additive package to achieve their famous shift quality
    #20