Technical Service Bulletin – Transmission Fluid Guide

Transmission Fluid Guide – NO. TB 150122.1
Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF): is requirement of a transmission, such as valve operation, brake band friction and the torque converter as well as gear lubrication for synchronized self-shifting or automatic transmissions. It is typically colored red or green to distinguish it from motor oil and other fluids in the vehicle. This Technical Service Bulletin is designed to provide back ground into different transmission fluids past and present.

General Purpose Transmission Fluids: Xtreme Type A ATF, Unimark Type F ATF

  • Type A Transmission Fluid: Type A Transmission Fluid was introduced in the mid 1950’s for use in all automatic transmissions for General Motors vehicle brands. Type A was used through the mid 1960’s and subsequently revised to Type A, Suffix A.
  • Type F Transmission Fluid: Ford Motor and Toyota introduced the Type F Transmission in 1967 as equivalence to the General Motors Type A Transmission Fluid. Shifting was a bit more noticeable than with General Motor’s fluids which include the original Dexron and subsequent variations
  • Dexron: General Motors original ATF for automatic transmission fluids, covered typically as Type F transmission fluid.

Multi-Purpose Automatic Transmission Fluid: Unimark Multi-Purpose D-III/M ATF
Most lubricant manufacturers use this generic term for their automatic transmission fluid which meets the former General Motors Dexron III and Ford Mercon specifications which are no longer licensable by GM and Ford respectively.

  • Dexron II: General Motors Dexron II was developed in the 1970s to replace GM Dexron for TorqueFlite transmissions to provide better viscosity control and additional oxidation inhibitors. There were some early-90s variants of Dexron II called Dexron II-D and Dexron II-E.
  • Dexron IIE: First General Motors requirements fluid for electronic transmissions.
  • Mercon Type CJ: This is a specialty transmission fluid for Ford C-6 transmissions. It is designed similar to General Motors Dexron II specification. This type of drive train fluid should not be used in automatics that require Type F. It can be replaced with Mercon or Mercon V specification.
  • Mercon Type H: An obsoleted Ford specification that differs from both General Motors Dexron and Ford Type F transmission fluids. It can be replaced by Mercon or Mercon V specification.
  • Ford Mercon: Ford fluid introduced in 1987, very similar to Dexron II. As of July 1, 2007, the production and licensing of Mercon ATF by Ford ends.
  • Dexron III (H): Replaced General Motor Dexron II released in 2003 for use in Torque Flite transmission. This specification required improved oxidation and corrosion control in GM electronic automatics.
  • Dexron III/Saturn: A special fluid specification for Saturn aluminum differential cases transmissions.
  • C-4 Torque Fluid: Commercial designation by Allison Division of GM for the heavy and medium duty automatic transmission fluids. Based on Allison specification TES-389 in 1991; Allison Transmission implemented one of the first approval system for particular brands. Allison Division no longer supports this specification. General Motors Dexron III or Ford Mercon fluids sold today qualify to the specification requirements.

Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid Unimark Global Multi-Purpose ATF

A generic term for fluid which will meet the requirements of most manufacturers’ individual automatic transmission requirements in autos from North America, Asia and Europe not requiring a “low viscosity” fluid.

  • Dexron-VI: Introduced in 2006 for GM Hydra-Matic 6L80 6-speed rear-wheel-drive transmissions. Dexron VI replaced Dexron II and III, and can be used in General Motors domestically built or import transmissions that specified Dexron II or Dexron III. Dexron VI is a low viscosity transmission fluid and should also be used with the full synthetic low viscosity transmission fluid.
  • Mercon V: Introduced in 1997 to replace Ford Mercon for Ranger, Explorer V6 and Aerostar, and 1998 & up Windstar, Taurus/Sable and Continental. This is the current automatic transmission fluid covered under Ford TSB 06144 for most late model Ford products requiring high viscosity requirements.
  • Mercon SP: Enhanced friction-modified automatic transmission fluid building on Mercon V for Ford Torq Shift transmissions covered under Ford TSB 06144.
  • Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II & SP-Ill: Special formula ATFs for Mitsubishi transmissions, also Hyundai and Kia.
  • Nissan HP/J-Matic: Special formulation for Nissan, Infiniti and some Subaru transmissions.
  • Toyota Type T, T-III, T-IV: Special formula ATFs for Toyota, Lexus and Scion transmissions.
  • Genuine Honda ZL ATF: Special automatic transmission fluid for Honda automatic transmissions, except CVT application.
  • BMW LT7114l or LA2634: Special formula for BMW transmissions.

Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid Syngard ATF+4

  • Chrysler ATF+4 (ATE): Introduced in 1998, ATF+4 transmission fluid is a full synthetic fluid that replaces the previous ATF+3 fluid. Used primarily starting in 2000 and 2001 vehicles, it can also be used in earlier Chrysler transmissions (except 1999 and older minivans with 41TE/AE transmission). ATF+3 should continue to be used for 1999 and earlier minivans because of the potential for torque converter shudder during break in.
  • Chrysler 7176: Specialty automatic transmission fluid for Chrysler FWD transaxles.
  • Chrysler 7176D (ATF+2): Building up the requirements in 1997 for Chrysler 7176 automatic transmission fluid; Chrysler added improved cold temperature flow and oxidation resistance.
  • Chrysler 7176E (ATF+3): Chrysler 7176D automatic transmission fluid revision required for four-speed automatic transmissions that added improved shear stability and use of higher quality base oils.

Specialty Transmission Fluids

  • Fleet Automatic Transmission Fluid – SynGard Fleet Heavy Duty ATF: Refers to full synthetic PAO based fluid designed to meet the extended drain requirements of Allison Corporation’s TES-295 specification.
  • Dual Clutch Transmission – No current Martin Lubricant available: A specialty fluid originally used by Daimler Benz in transmissions having double clutch plate design transmissions for seamless shifting. Traditional transmission fluids are not suitable for use in this application.
  • Full Synthetic CVT Transmission Fluid – SynGard CVT ATF: A specialty drivetrain fluid for use in transmissions has either chain or belt driven continuously variable shift transmissions. Now used by all OEM vehicles manufactures but commonly found in Nissan, Toyota, Honda/Acura, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Subaru and Mini Cooper vehicles. Traditional transmission fluids are not suitable for use in this application.
  • Low Viscosity Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission – SynGard Dex VI/LV ATF: Ford ATF specification released for factory fill and Motorcraft service fill for 2008 models. The LV stands for “low viscosity” is a fully synthetic automatic transmission fluid with excellent low temperature properties. It is not compatible with earlier Mercon fluids, so it should not be substituted or mixed with Mercon or Mercon V. This fluid meets the General Motors Dexron VI specification and should be recommended for General Motors six speed transmissions requiring this specification.
  • Full Synthetic Fleet Manual Transmission Fluid – SynGard SAE 50 Manual Transmission Fluid: Design requirements for use in heavy duty trucks’ manual truck transmissions such as Eaton Road-Ranger, Meritor which call for SAE 50 viscosity grade fluids with long-drain-interval capability.
There are a number of aftermarket automatic transmission fluids that claim to meet numerous OEM requirements. Refer to the Martin Lubricants product label or Product Data Sheet for approved applications. Make sure the product meets the specific requirements for your vehicle application before using it as transmission shift problems and possible damage may result from using the wrong type of ATF.
Dexron®, Mercon® and ATF+4® are registered marks of General Motors, Ford Motors and Chrysler, respectively.
Martin Operating Partnership L.P.
c/o Cross Oil Refining & Marketing, Inc.
c/o Martin Lubricants
c/o Martin Specialty Products
Technical Service Laboratories
January 15, 2015
Document Control: WR-141112.10