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Old 07-09-2005, 08:56 PM   #1
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Question Mercedes' "special" transmission fluid = Chrysler ATF+4?

The question about what fluid to use in our beloved 1997 & newer 722.6 (W5A580) transmissions pops up on this forum every few days like a weed that refuses to die.

We always reiterate Mercedes' warnings not to use anything other than their $10/qt synthetic fluid that's formulated specifically for the 722.6 transmission. We do this for good reason: occasionally we hear horror stories from people who dumped in Dexron III and their transmissions blew up 200 miles later.

So what exactly is so special about Mercedes "special" fluid?

The owner of a shop that works almost exclusively on foreign luxury cars told me that Pennzoil's Multi-ATF is fully compatible with the 722.6 transmission. He said he has used it in numerous late-model Mercedes transmissions without any problems. I ended up having him put the Pennzoil fluid in my car, but not before I did my own research. Just thought I'd share my findings...

I found a post on another forum claiming that the Mercedes synthetic fluid is identical to Chrysler ATF+4. But when it comes to my $5,000 transmission, I'm not going to trust some random guy on a TDI forum.

Then I remembered that Chrysler uses the same Mercedes W5A580 transmission in a number of cars, including the 300C, the Crossfire and the Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.7L. Does Chrysler specify the Mercedes fluid in those non-MB applications? I wondered to myself.

I looked up the transmission fluid spec for the Grand Cherokee. Here's what I found:

Quote:
W5A580 - Mopar® ATF +4, type 9602
So it looks like the guy on the TDI forum was right. Unless Mercedes made significant changes to the transmission for Chrysler applications (doubtful, given that they share the same model number!), the MB fluid is either identical or interchangeable with Chrysler's ATF+4 (MS-9602).

Unfortunately, the Chrysler ATF+4 fluid is a proprietary (e.g. expensive) mix, just like Mercedes fluid. As if that didn't jack the prices up enough, only Chrysler stealerships are authorized to sell it. The Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association filed a complaint about this monopolistic practice with the FTC in the 2003. The ILMA of course represents all the lubricant manufacturers who want to tap into the Chrysler trans. fluid market.

Since Chrysler keeps the ATF+4 standard a secret, a number of fluid manufacturers have reverse engineered the ATF+4 formula and sell "ATF+4/MS-9602 compatible" fluids. These fluids include:
Given that all the ATF+4 fluids are "multi-vehicle" formulas, I would still recommend sticking with the Mercedes-label stuff (or single-spec ATF+4) to be on the safe side.

I've been running the Pennzoil Multi-Vehicle for about 2,500 miles in my E320 without any problems. Transmission shifts just fine. I have doubts in my mind about how long the Pennzoil fluid lasts, so next time I change it, I'll probably put the Mercedes fluid back in.

Since this is all a bit controversial, let me clarify: I'm not suggesting that people shouldn't use the Mercedes fluid. I'm just pointing out some evidence that suggests that the Mercedes ATF is really DaimlerChrysler ATF+4, and that less expensive compatible aftermarket fluids are available. Use non-Mercedes fluid at your own risk!
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Old 07-10-2005, 01:24 PM   #2
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Good Post!!!
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Old 07-10-2005, 03:47 PM   #3
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Actually, the MB fluid was around before the +4. I have a feeling that +4 is re-badged MB fluid. On the Ram truck forums, it's known that the Amsoil has been successfully used to replace the +4 without a hitch, so you're probably right. However, it would be an expensive lesson to find out that this is not the case. If the car is in warranty, I wouldn't chance it. Out of warranty, I can't believe the Amsoil would hurt anything. I believe at least one or two forum members have already used the Amsoil without a problem. The operative word is SYNTHETIC. Good info.
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Old 07-10-2005, 05:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast55
Actually, the MB fluid was around before the +4. I have a feeling that +4 is re-badged MB fluid. On the Ram truck forums, it's known that the Amsoil has been successfully used to replace the +4 without a hitch, so you're probably right. However, it would be an expensive lesson to find out that this is not the case. If the car is in warranty, I wouldn't chance it. Out of warranty, I can't believe the Amsoil would hurt anything. I believe at least one or two forum members have already used the Amsoil without a problem. The operative word is SYNTHETIC. Good info.
I agree with you. Chrysler never had this until the Benz transmission came thier way, so to say that the MB fluid came from Chrysler is perposterous!

MB developed the fluid for that trans a long time ago, thus had to come up with a way for Chrylser to source it for thier dealers now that they have a need for it. It's as simple as that.
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Old 07-10-2005, 06:30 PM   #5
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Yeah, I agree about the timeline. It's at least comforting to know that there are other options out there.
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Old 04-23-2006, 04:10 PM   #6
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Exclamation

Guys, I would encourage you to go to the SAE web site and download paper #982674. It is a detailed account of the development of ATF+4 by Chrysler and was delivered at the Intl Fall Fuels and Lubricants Meeting in San Francisco in Oct 1998.

The development of Type 9602 (ATF+4) by Chrysler as a replacement for Type 7176 (ATF+3) began in 1994 and was conducted jointly with Lubrizol (the maker of the additive package) and Equilon/Texaco (the maker of the base oil). ATF+4 was first used as factory fill in June 98 for model year 99 LH body Chrysler transmissions. By model year 2000 ATF+3 had been completely phased out as factory fill in all Chrysler transmissions/transaxles.

Last edited by G-Man; 04-23-2006 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 04-23-2006, 07:42 PM   #7
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Great post on ATF for Chrysler,and Mercedes. Very informative,and once I change my ATF,I'll seek some out....Thanks.
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Old 04-27-2006, 08:40 AM   #8
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Guys, how much is the Chrysler product? Will a dealer always have this stuff in inventory?

thanks.
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uberwgn
Guys, how much is the Chrysler product? Will a dealer always have this stuff in inventory?
From 99 until the fall of 05 Chrysler kept ATF+4 a proprietary fluid and did not license it for aftermarket service fill sale. Even though there were three approved blenders, all production went to Chrysler for factory fill and service fill sale under the Mopar brand name. That all changed last fall when Chrysler started issuing licenses for aftermarket service fill sale of ATF+4.

However, unlike what other manufactures do with their ATF specs (like Ford's Mercon V and GM's Dexron III), where the license just includes a set of performance specs and the individual oil and additive companies are free to create their own formulas that meet those specs, Chrysler's ATF+4 license specifies that only the approved additive package from Lubrizol can be used and only a specific grade of Group III base oil made by either Motiva, PetroCanada, or SK can be used. What this means is that no matter who makes ATF+4 and whatever brand name is on the bottle, the fluid inside that bottle will be exactly the same as was put in at the factory. This results in unprecedented uniformity from one brand to another since they are all made from the same recipe using the same ingredients.

Valvoline was already an approved OEM blender of ATF+4 so they were in a position to be the first to get their own brand of ATF+4 to market and right now they are still the only one. I just got 5 quarts of Valvoline ATF+4 from Advance Auto this week and changed the fluid in my Chrysler. The price was $4.68 per quart, which is about $1.00 less than the dealer charges for Mopar ATF+4.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by G-Man; 04-27-2006 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Photo added.
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Old 04-28-2006, 10:27 AM   #10
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Guys, thanks for sharing this info. I'd consider it to be fantastic discovery...especially considering the $20 price tag the dealer puts on this stuff.


Thanks again!
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Old 04-28-2006, 11:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uberwgn
Guys, thanks for sharing this info. I'd consider it to be fantastic discovery...especially considering the $20 price tag the dealer puts on this stuff.
I agree. Since Chrysler puts ATF+4 in the 722.6 transmissions used in Chrysler and Dodge vehicles, I think it is safe to assume ATF+4 is perfectly suitable for that transmission in Mercedes vehicles (even if the factory fill Mercedes fluid and ATF+4 are not the same thing).
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:44 AM   #12
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G-man, I am getting ready to buy some of the Valvoline product and thought I'd ask Valvoline the question:

Quote:


The following person submitted a question or comment via the Contact us
form of type Web Site Feedback


Comments:

Hi, where can I find the spec sheet for Val. ATF+4 syn trans fluid. I'd
like to see what specs it meets and need to know if it can be used in a
2002 Mercedes Benz E320.

I believe the MB spec is 236.10.

Thanks.








Quote:
Subject: Re: Site feedback from Valvoline.com


It will not meet you Mercedes requirements. Sorry!




To: VWEBMAIL@Ashland
cc:

Subject: Site feedback from Valvoline.com


The following person submitted a question or comment via the Contact us
form of type Web Site Feedback



One of two things has happened. A flunky got my question and assumes the answer to be NO and investigates no further.

Alternate: It's not suitable for our transmissions.

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Old 06-08-2006, 10:32 PM   #13
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I have a long experiance with this subject

to make story short I will say the end result

Chrysler ATF+4 IS NOT COMPATABLE

Quaker State ATF+4 IS NOT COMPATABLE

Pennzoil ATF+4 IS NOT COMPATABLE

Quaker state multi-Vehical ATF IS NOT COMPATABLE

Pennzoil multi-Vehical ATF IS NOT COMPATABLE

Castrol multi-Vehical ATF IS NOT COMPATABLE



call the following numbers and ask for yourself

Pennzoil Quaker State co 1 800 458 4998

Castrol wakefields 1 800 268 5339

also at the present time no company producing ATF+4 other than chrysler

ATF Multi-Vehical replaces ATF+4 so if you find ATF+4 in anywhere other than CHRYSLER ATF+4 it means old stock so if you need it grab it , you wont see it again


Finally I work in the Oil Industry < the ATF+4 ingrediant is well known

no company will tell you to use their oil insted of the mb ATF oil

Last edited by wallye320; 06-09-2006 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 06-10-2006, 11:18 PM   #14
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After reading this thread I decided to take on the oil change on my 1998 E300D, it too has the 722.6 transmission.
I used the Amsoil Universal ATF, got the special dipstick, new filter and gasket.
Found the 722.6 fluid change thread (excellent instructions) and did the full change including the converter myself.
When I changed it the car had 116K miles, 125K now with no problems.
The old fluid looked like flat cola and stunk, it was thin and very very black.
Changing the fluid fixed a couple of the problems that I was having with the transmission.
In the morning when I start up the car in the garage I immediatly put it in reverse, it was taking 10-20 second before the car would actually move, that is fixed.
It was also shifting kind of vaguely and soft, that problem is also fixed, it shifts perfectly now.
Recently my power steering pump went out at about 119K miles.
The front seal decided to blow out and leak all the fluid out as I was driving.
Replaced the power steering pump with a rebuilt one and completely flushed the system and refilled with the same Amsoil Univeral ATF.
Using 5W-40 Euro formula Amsoil for the engine oil and just changed out the rear end with 75W-90 Severe Gear.
Zero problems thus far, so bah to MB fluids from the dealer, I have all Amsoil fluids in my W210 now.
Oh did I mention I also burn 100% biodiesel and SVO in my E300D as well?
Bah to big oil too..

See my website here:
http://www.turbofroggy.com/e300.htm
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Old 06-11-2006, 07:17 AM   #15
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbofroggy
The old fluid looked like flat cola and stunk, it was thin and very very black.Changing the fluid fixed a couple of the problems that I was having with the transmission.
I'm hardly an expert, nor am I a do-it-yourselfer, but simply based on the condition of your old transmission fluid don't you think any new (compatible) fluid would have solved at least some of your problems?

Last edited by Musikmann; 06-11-2006 at 07:18 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musikmann
I'm hardly an expert, nor am I a do-it-yourselfer, but simply based on the condition of your old transmission fluid don't you think any new (compatible) fluid would have solved at least some of your problems?
my thoughts exactly...
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:51 PM   #17
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i did use ATF +4 in may car for around 4to5 weeks at the advice of sales rep at Pennzoil Quaker state company then discoverd that it was not compatable

any way this my advise

get the spec's on MB ATF and the same for all other oils you want to use

when you try to match up the 2

you will know that no oil is compatable

finnaly I wish there is other oil we can use so we do not have to pay $20 a litter
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Old 06-12-2006, 05:42 AM   #18
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I used to have a 1996 E320 . when I reached about 90000 km (about 56250 miles) I decided to change the ATF + the filter.

I didnt have any problem with the transmition , I just wanted replace the ATF to be on the safe side.

one month after the ATF change ( I think it was dexron not the MB ATF ) , my transmition went bad and I had to rebuild it. it was very expensive.

I learned from this always to use only the original MB ATF it costs alot less then rebuilding your transmition.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:23 AM   #19
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I think the friction modifiers in the old ATF were completely used up causing my minor slipping problem, thus it was fixed with the new fluid.
Regular non-synthetic dextron is definatly the wrong type of fluid on so many levels.. No wonder you needed a rebuild after using that poo-poo..
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Old 06-15-2006, 02:10 AM   #20
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I have a 2001 C320 and I just had the transmission oil changed because the car has 82K miles on it, and now the tranny shifts are more noticably than they were before, I liked it before though. I used MB fluid. do you think i was having the same slipping issue? which i liked, lol. Or am i suppose to feel the shifts alittle, I feel the 1st to 2nd shift the most. It bugs the hell out of me.
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Old 06-15-2006, 05:07 AM   #21
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have you replaced the filter too ?
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Old 06-15-2006, 09:40 PM   #22
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They didnt replace the filter because they used some kind of tranny cleaning solution and ran the car at idle for 15 min, and they said that will clean up the filter. But this saturday i am taking the car back so they can replace the filter also. Just for peace of mind. Can they replace the filter after a flush???
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:37 PM   #23
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I would not have replaced the oil without replacing the filter ,

have you done the work at the dealer ? didnt he recommand to replace the filter after 82k ?

I believe that the filter after 82k has many particles in it and I dont think flushing will clean it.

I would recommand the replace the filter , and please let us know if you feel a change after the work has been done.
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Old 06-17-2006, 07:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smelkony
... and they said that will clean up the filter.

It had better not do that. If so, all the junk would be recirculated within the trans and I don't believe these filters were designed to be cleaned. You might want to find a qualified mechanic.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:24 AM   #25
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i went back and got the filter replaced also, and the car does feel much better than before.
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Old 06-19-2006, 03:24 AM
 
 
 
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