Organic? Or Synthetic? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-10-2008, 10:34 PM   #1
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My 2003 Honda Odyssey LX is the only vehicle I have ever bought brand new from a dealer. It had less than 5 miles on the odometer when I drove it off of the dealer's lot. I have pretty faithfully returned to the same dealer for most of my scheduled maintenance, except when the interval occurred when we were on a trip, when I took it to the closest Honda dealer in the area we were in.

5 years, and 75,000 miles later, I have decided that that dealer is too inconvenient to continue to take my minivan to. There is an independent service facility in my neighborhood that I thought I'd give a try. They have this recommendation for my NEXT visit:
Quote:
Automatic Transmission Fluid*
drain & fill - 12 months or 15,000 miles
drain & fill - 24 months or 30,000 miles
[b]complete flush - 36 months or 45,000 miles
repeat schedule


*Unlike manual transmissions, a typical Honda/Acura automatic transmission including the transmission, torque converter, lines and cooler hold approximately seven quarts of fluid. When you drain the transmission, approximately 2 to 3 quarts of fluid are extracted. This leaves approximately half of the fluid (still contaminated) in the system. The life of the transmission is directly related to the condition of the fluid. This is why we recommend the drain and fill, drain and fill, [b]flush schedule.
In addition to flushing my transmission, they recommend synthetic (Mobil 1) fluid. Since I want to keep this vehicle for a long long time, I am considering it. Is synthetic fluid better?
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:14 PM   #2
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People have strong opinions on stuf like this, but sometimes it's like asking "When I get a blood transfusion, should I go with ABneg or just A?" -- Depends on what works best for that body! IF it's OK with Honda, then likely the synthetic stuf is best, but Honda knows best about their transmission, IMHO. It's a pretty expensive piece of machinery to be putting the wrong stuf into...

Fluid PDF (undated)

My '98 Ranger's AT calls for Mercon V, a synthetic.
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Old 02-11-2008, 02:02 AM   #3
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I've always been concerned about this subject, but I have stuck with the Honda product. This does remind me to ask them about the use of a synthetic product, which may be better, if it follows the motor oil pattern.

That said, I have resigned myself to overall shortened life of the transmission because of the obviously increased strain. A total of three oil coolers and a temp gauge to give me a clear idea of what type of driving behavior does affect the temperature has done the trick so far.

When asked about the need for a complete flush the Honda people dismissed it except in cases of obvious neglect. Anecdotally, before I added the final cooler and the gauge we spent 9000 miles on the road on a trip cross-country. When I checked the fluid afterwards I found it slightly browned but without any obvious tell-tale odor. I adopted a twice-a-year fluid replacement schedule, and as a result the outcoming fluid has been indistinguishable from new stuff. Even if you start out with compromised fluid for some reason, if you are proactive about it, every time you do a change the fluid approaches closer and closer to the ideal new-fluid state. My on-the-paper-towel observations bear that out, even after some extended towing.

I prefer to do my own oil changes: you need a very long-necked funnel, some sockets and extensions, but I find it not to be that much of a chore. Much cheaper (my middle name).

I installed the temp gauge sensor in place of the regular drain plug, but I have now started to put the original back in for the cold part of the year when less towing is done anyway. The reason is that the original plug has a magnet on it and attracts and holds stray particles as well as gives you an idea what is going on inside the tranny.

I'm hoping for long life for the transmission, but if it collapses I'm resigned to replacing it, since the vehicle meets my ideal for a useful tow vehicle.
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Old 02-11-2008, 05:30 AM   #4
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While not an automatic, the transmission in my 06 jeep liberty was very specific on fluids.

I wanted to change the fluid over to a synthetic for better cold weather shifting. I found a fluid that was supposed to meet the manufacturers specs and did the change. 1 week later I changed it back to mopar original fluids. In this instance the aftermarket fluid was worse than OE, and the whole process cost me around 60 bucks. While I'm a believer in synthetics, there is a time and a place for OE only.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:27 AM   #5
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IMHO:
IF and when the vehicle IS under warranty, keep EVERYTHING company specific. That way if there is ever a warrantable issue, the company cannot come back at you and say you neglected to uphold your end of the warranty.

IMO also: ANY worthwhile repair facility can service your vehicle but be sure to keep all bills and receipts and if possible get them to fill out your little warranty book.

With the advances in new products, the new ones 'should' have more/better benefits than the old one(s). Just DON'T be mislead and thinking you can run ANY of these lubes longer than the vehicle manufacturer recommends. In fact more frequent oil changes will enhance engine life. The more 'rugged' use you put on a vehicle, I figure the more often you should do services.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:28 AM   #6
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That seems like a very accelerated transmission fluid change schedule. I would be inclined to go with what the manual says for severe (towing) service, rather than what ANY service center says as they have a conflict of interest, with the "making money" side of their interest overwhelming their good intentions side of their interest.

However, if you did go with that frequent a changing schedule, I don't see that a syn product would be of much use, but with extended service its probably a good idea. (I use Mobil 1 oil in the engine.) Honda does require a special transmission fluid: ATF Z1.
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Old 02-11-2008, 10:56 AM   #7
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Independent Oil Change place, (Is it a national chain?) The national chain oil places (Not WalMart) will have you changing everything including your radiator cap.

A private party mechanic that you can trust and what it states in your manual is what to read and where to go.
(Or WalMart)

Here is an example of a dealer: Our new Chevy truck has an onboard oil monitoring system where it tracks how long the engine has run, the miles, etc and it states in the manual that if the change oil light does not come on within 12 months, to go ahead and change the oil at the 12 month period. Now the dealer recommends changing the oil every 3000 miles. Something is wrong here, they do not follow what Chevy states in their manual to include Undercoating where Chevy states in the manual that non factory undercoating is not required and if applied may void the warranty.

I change our oil every 5000 miles regardless of what the computer tells me. Most manuals recommend 3000 for heavy dirty conditions, 5000 for moderate use and 7500 for light use.

As I do not change our oil myself anymore, I have a trusted mechanic that I go to (OR) I go to WalMart when on the road and they have several packages that you can choose from and they do not come and attempt to load you up with all kinds of unnecessary things. My vehicles are in their computer, we live in VA and on a trip to Iowa I had the oil changed and I was in their computer.

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Old 02-11-2008, 03:57 PM   #8
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IF one is changing fluid types in automatic transmissions, there IS a need to completely drain because the fulids may NOT be compatible!! Unlike changing engine oil and filter, normal transmission service leaves a relatively large amount of fluid behind.

My Ford Ranger OM wants non-syn in the manual transmission and syn in the AT, however there is a big note saying not to mix.

My advice is to follow auto manf's advice...

One can mix engine oil syn and non-syn, but the resulting mixture has to be treated as non-syn with regard to change intervals and max temperatures.

BTW, One advantage to syn engine oils is that they don't break down until much higher temperatures, so in that sense they are a bit of insurance. And they don't cost all that much more when you get them from Wally and DIY.
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Old 02-11-2008, 11:04 PM   #9
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I'm not much of a DIY guy when it comes to automobile maintenance. Not having any off-street parking; and no garage inhibits those efforts. Neither do I have the time or patience for environmentally correct disposal of waste.

Having had one vehicle prematurely fail due to poor maintenance, I do feel motivated to not repeat past mistakes.

Honda recommends OIL changes at 3750 mile intervals for "severe" (towing) use. Otherwise, normal intervals are 7500 miles. I had not paid attention to what was done during the rest of the scheduled maintenance. I just delivered the vehicle, and paid the bill.
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:33 AM   #10
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I use semi-synthetic in the engine, and regular trans. fluid, I have my changes done at a local chain---"just Lubes". their machine for transmissions, flushes all the tranny fluid out including the torque converter. cost about 80$ for thee tranny, including a filter, and 58 for an oil change for the van. I change thr tranny fluid every 100k miles, the engine oil every 3000 miles.
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