ATF Recommendations. What fluid, cooler, filter? Share your experience on the Mz5!

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2008 Mazda5 GT
I've been reading a bit into the Mazda M-V (aka Ford FRN5) from BITOG and where I can find. It seems the only "approved" fluids (by their own labeling) has shrunk down to Redline/Amsoil/Royal Purple/Mazda/Ford OE stuff - all pricey premium fluids. Word is Valvoline IMV, Castrol IMV, and Mobile 1's ATF revised spec sheet removed Mazda M-V! :(

I need to do an ATF drain/fill or flush. I'm at 55K so about 25K past due! Too cold to work outside for a flush+cooler so leaning towards a drain/fill for now. I wanted to use a cheap (but supported) fluid since it is going to waste sooner than later. I'm leading towards Castrol IMV based on the good reviews, fully synthetic, and $$ factor ($5.50/qt at Warlmart, which sadly no longer carries Valvoline IMV). These three previously listed Mazda M-V as supported fluids. Heresy but apparently Mobile 1 decided to forgo the expenses of certifying it and instead rather took the label off. I would assume the same reason for Valvoline and Castrol but this is just internet heresy (but makes sense since this is such a specific spec). Seems this Mazda tranny needs some premium lubrication. There are some Mazda3 owners who used Castrol IMV for 20-30K without a problem (this swayed me) as well as other Ford FRN5 owners and many glowing reviews from other makes (yes, apples to oranges). Have not come across any negative reviews on it. Then again, heat and the car's added weight still concerns me a bit but it's winter. If it was warn-er, I would just go straight to Amsoil and be done but I'm kinda torn. Castrol or Valvoline are my top picks at the moment for drain/fill.


Question for auto owners.

How many miles before you replace the fluid?
What fluid did you go with?
How long have you being using it?
Notice any improvement or degradation?



I did a seach here and see that some have used Castrol, Valvoline, and Mobile 1. Hope you can report back and let us know how you are doing.
 
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07 M6 09 M5
I just bought an 09 MZ5 with 60,xxx and want to do a drain/fill as well so I would love to hear what people have to say on this subject.
 

Robotaz

Lover of 5's
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2009 Mazda5 GT
1st change: flushed by dealer at 27,000 miles, M-V, it was dark gray, shifted a little rough before and a lot smoother after.

2nd change: drained by me at 37,000 miles, Redline, it was gray already, started shifting a little rougher again. With just a drain/fill of Redline I notice it's got a firmer shift, but not rough. With 44,000 miles now the fluid looks exactly like I did when I changed it.

I'll be doing a drain/fill again at my next oil change. I think it takes about three quarts. I don't mind the cost knowing I'm not killing the tranny with fried fluid every time I turn around.
 
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Robotaz

Lover of 5's
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2009 Mazda5 GT
I just bought an 09 MZ5 with 60,xxx and want to do a drain/fill as well so I would love to hear what people have to say on this subject.
I would probably do an M-V flush at the dealer and then drain/fill with something better when your fluid starts turning gray. If nothing else it will give you a good baseline for how it should perform with a complete, fresh OE fill. Just don't expect it to hold up for a long time.
 
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2006 Mazda 6 - auto
I used Mobil 1 ATF for 1st 3x drain & fill - can't find it any more at a reasonable price (if you check the manufacturer's site, they have removed m-v compatiblity). The Mobil one seemed to still have it's color after about 30k miles. I replaced with Castrol IMV - doing a drain and fill for 3 consecutive oil changes - Amazon has it delivered - 3 gallon for about $60 = ~$5/quart. I'm debating on whether to buy 3 gallons = 4 total 3x drain & fills. Just to be on the safe side, I've decided to try and change the ATF every 30k or so - don't want to pay for a transmission swap :-( since I'm out of warranty.

I don't know about you guys, but it's impossible for me to read the ATF stick - it picks so much fluid off the wall of the tube, I can't tell the actual level. I measured the amount drained - its a bit less than 3 quarts - so I put back a little less than 3 quarts.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
I used Mobil 1 ATF for 1st 3x drain & fill - can't find it any more at a reasonable price (if you check the manufacturer's site, they have removed m-v compatiblity). The Mobil one seemed to still have it's color after about 30k miles. I replaced with Castrol IMV - doing a drain and fill for 3 consecutive oil changes - Amazon has it delivered - 3 gallon for about $60 = ~$5/quart. I'm debating on whether to buy 3 gallons = 4 total 3x drain & fills. Just to be on the safe side, I've decided to try and change the ATF every 30k or so - don't want to pay for a transmission swap :-( since I'm out of warranty.

I don't know about you guys, but it's impossible for me to read the ATF stick - it picks so much fluid off the wall of the tube, I can't tell the actual level. I measured the amount drained - its a bit less than 3 quarts - so I put back a little less than 3 quarts.
How long have you been using the Castrol IMV? Has the 'color' held up and does it smell burnt? Notice any irregularities?

I found a local Wal-Mart that had Castrol IMV in stock for $5.58/bottle. They only had 7 bottles on the shelf but charged me for 8, which is what I actually wanted. Didn’t catch that till I got home (argh).
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
Here's what I'm thinking.

Fluid:
Go straight to Amsoil ATF. Given the price difference of a few bucks per bottle, is it really worth using Castrol IMV? Amsoil ATF can be had for ~$10 a bottle. Will have to make a return and try to get my missing bottle’s worth back…

Cooler:
Going with B&M but a tossup between the 70268 or 70264, essentially the same except the *68 is taller while the *64 is deeper (cost more and slightly higher BTU rating). Reviews and pics show the fins seem to be MUCH sturdier than the cheap coolers while only cost ~$20 more. B&M is an old and reputable brand.
http://bmracing.com/wp-bnmcont/uploads/bm_cooler_techdoc.pdf

Filter:
I was leaning towards the B&M auxiliary filter ($37) but didn’t want the hassle of having to mount it and causing confusion by having two spin on filters below (I think it can use the same oil filter).
http://bmracing.com/?wpsc-product=remote-transmission-oil-filter-kit

Instead I am going with an inline filter. Leaning towards the ATP JX-150 (magnafine) or WIX 58964 which is very similar (both w/ magnet) and only differ by ~$4. While WIX is great, it sounds like it is a lesser rebrand (as it the ATP), but most seem to use the magnafine with good results so I’ll go with popular vote.
Here’s a Magnafine cut open. Seems to do a pretty darn good job!!
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2437581#Post2437581

WIX spec.
http://www.wixfilters.com/Lookup/PartDetails.aspx?Part=58964

Total would be about $91 (Amsoil) + $59 (B&M cooler) + $18 (Maganfine) = $167 for total protection for a long time. These are all kits so I hope the included hoses are long enough. The only other thing I can think of is Dollar Store/Lowes for a funnel and foot or two of vinely tubing. Anyone taken these precautions? Too much or missing something?
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
I guess no one else has taken extra measure? Seems quite a few has tranny complaints and do frequent drain/fill. Why waste money on drain fill and when you can do it right, using quality components, and coming out costing less?...

This tidbit from B&M summarizes the concern nicely but of course not all fluids are created equally. The problem seems to be that our transmission runs quite hot. Premium ATF has better viscosity and higher temp protection. This may explain why Mazda M-V/Ford FRN5 is so finicky and that the multi vehicle fluids took their off the label, only leaving the top of the shelf premium stuff as alternate options.

If you want to protect that transmission, you need to do your part. Keep in mind, this is just my opinion.
Monitor the transmission fluid as the fluid leaves the cooler and returns to the transmission. Monitoring the returning fluid will give you an accurate indication of how efficient your cooling system is functioning. A good operating temperature of an automatic transmission is 160 to 200 F as the fluid exits the cooler. If you can maintain fluid temperature below 175 F the fluid should last for as much as 100,000 miles. At 195 F the fluid life should be 50,000 miles. At 240 the fluid life is only 5,000 miles. Higher fluid temperature drastically reduces the life of the fluid. Cooler temperature equals longer fluid life.
I ordered both the WIX and Maganfine filter just to see the difference; the WIX will go on the Fit along with Amsoil MTF. Hopefully everything gets to me by this weekend as it is unusually warm this week.

Insurance is the main reason but theres another reason Im doing all this. Has to do with an RX8 steering wheel, which should be coming in too YAY! (cabpatch)
 
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2006 Mazda 6 - auto
I just switched to Castrol IMV - I have 1 more drain&fill left in my 3x oil change cycle (I change the ATF fluid along with the oil 3x). So after ~10k with ~2/3 new fluid - the color is still pink & no burnt smell.

I was thinking about an ATF cooler too, but if you keep the fluid too cold, the transmission will not shift correctly. Probably not an issue in Southern CA - but we do go up to the mountains (Mammoth, etc).

Amsoil ATF is ~ 2x the price of Castrol - same for Royal Purple ATF - not sure it is worth the price - probably its better to change it more often.

An inline filter seems to make sense - where are you putting yours? Easy to install?
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
I just switched to Castrol IMV - I have 1 more drain&fill left in my 3x oil change cycle (I change the ATF fluid along with the oil 3x). So after ~10k with ~2/3 new fluid - the color is still pink & no burnt smell.

I was thinking about an ATF cooler too, but if you keep the fluid too cold, the transmission will not shift correctly. Probably not an issue in Southern CA - but we do go up to the mountains (Mammoth, etc).

Amsoil ATF is ~ 2x the price of Castrol - same for Royal Purple ATF - not sure it is worth the price - probably its better to change it more often.

An inline filter seems to make sense - where are you putting yours? Easy to install?
It could be that the Mobile1 in there is holding up + new flush/fill with the Castrol. I do think (purely my opinion) that the IMVs should be sufficient depending on your location (extreme heat or not), how hard you drive and on the transmission, and how frequently you do drain/fill. Mazda's 5sp auto is a Jatco transmission and is known to run hot. Heat deteriorates the fluid, which leads to little protection, which leads to accelerated wear, which leads to problems. Premium (full synthetic) fluids hold up better and offer more protection. Both Valvoline and Castrol IMVs are NOT systemic fluids.
Here's an interesting read:
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...&Number=936260


Unless you live in a place where it is cold year round, I dont believe an additional cooler will result in too cold transmission fluid. It is enclosed and gets heated up to operating temperature quickly by all the moving gears/parts. General word of advice to those who do not know, letting your car idle in park (remote start) does NOT warm up your transmission fluid only your motor oil. Always take it easy the first few miles until fluids are up to operating temperature. Also, you can get a cooler with a lower BTU rating :)


Amsoil does cost a bit more but I believe it is a justified cost. Transmissions are damn expensive to repair so Id like to protect it. Its only $167 for triple layer protection shipped to my door, thats damn cheap IMO. Shopped Amazon for the cooler and filter and I have a contact for an Amsoil jobber (their lingo for whole seller, PM me if you are interested) that sells it for ~$11.50 shipped per bottle, which is about equal to the Amsoils paid preferred customer price+s/h and tax. While Amsoil does cost more, I am more than confidant that itll last much longer to offset and make up the difference. Im at 55K but with the Amsiol+cooler+filter I am confident it can last up to 100K (or next 45K) minimum before I need to think about it again. I can most likely last longer after that. It may appear cheaper to use the IMVs at first glance due to low initial cost per bottle but the constant drain/fill can add up quickly.


Here's how I calculated my next 45K miles (100K) and came to the conclusion to return the Castrol.
*Amsoil $92 for 8 quarts per flush shipped to my door. One time flush affair.
*Castrol - $18 for 3 quarts per drain/fill ($6 per quart and drive to Walmart). Multiple efforts and you never actually have clean fluid in the system.

**In intervals of 5K drain fill with motor oil, 45K/5=9 changes. 9x$18=$162!! Spent by the time I hit 100K.
**In intervals of 10K drain fill with motor oil, 45/10=5 changes (rounded up). 5x$18 = $90, which is equal to Amsoil from the get go without having to consistently doing drain/fill with an inferior product.
**Or, I would do two full flushes with Castrol, 25K interval, $6x(8x2)=$96.

The cooler and filter will only make both fluids last longer. Part of me do feel using Amsoil with a cooler may not be necessary. Either Amsoil alone or cooler and IMV may suffice but what that heck, its not that much considering I dont have to think about it for a very long time; except occasional checks.


The Amsoil came in yesterday, still waiting for the other parts. And yes, the inline filter looks like a no brainer considering it is protection for <$20. Install is very easy. You want to inset the filter in the line right where fluids comes out of the transmission case. The idea is to intercept the fluids as soon as it exist the trans case and filter it before it pass on to the next component. I'm not sure about the weight of these things once the fitler gets saturated as this will surly add some weight. Will likely need to find a fixture to zip-tie/clamp/mount to the filter base.
This will give you an idea.
Mz5 Filter and Cooler addon.JPG


Below is a good reference on doing a flush. Note that this was created back when there was confusion on Mercon V vs Mazda M-V. Do NOT use Mercon V ATF. Good to get an idea of the process invovled and where the hosese are.
http://www.flex-innovations.com/atx_flush.htm
 
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Robotaz

Lover of 5's
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2009 Mazda5 GT
Damn, you are going off on this stuff man!

Can't wait to hear how it all goes. My only concern is head loss from all of the extra fluid, piping, and filter elements. I'd like to hear about head loss in tranny systems and pump performance. I don't have time for the research though.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
Damn, you are going off on this stuff man!

Can't wait to hear how it all goes. My only concern is head loss from all of the extra fluid, piping, and filter elements. I'd like to hear about head loss in tranny systems and pump performance. I don't have time for the research though.
I've disregarded most of the auto post in the past since I had a manual but now that I have one, this concerns me.

From what I've read on BITOG and some truck forums, pressure loss from adding a filter and cooler is not an issue. Also, both the LDP cooler and inline filter have by-pass valves. Hopefully I'll remember to 'eye' the rate of the fluids coming out (before) and in (after) to the pump to get an approximation of pressure. It won't be scientific but it'll give me a piece of mind. Now that you mention it, I will check with B&M to see what they say. Best to take it from the source. There is the concern of more parts to service and failure points (clamps coming off hoses, filter/cooler developing a leak) but this is unlikely unless there's a product defect, IMO.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
For B&M Customer Service, call:
1-707-544-4761 Option 2


Spoke with tech Phil. I referenced the combo of adding their universal cooler and add-on filter kit (same thing as the inline filter) and it is a resounding "NO" concerns with line pressure OR over-cooling. I suppose you can play devils advocate and say he's trying to sell me but give them a call and chat for yourself. Takes but a few mins.
 
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2008 Mazda5 Touring
I've been doing a drain/fill with Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc at every 5k oil change myself since 15k miles. Just did a 45k service yesterday, and expect I will continue this routine. Spoke with Valvoline and researched Maxlife a couple years ago before I decided to do this and haven't experienced any evidential issues. Would love to install an AFT cooler, but it would require removing the bumper cover and bending hard-lines, which I haven't done before and can't see myself taking the necessary time to perform. My DD has 265k and an AFT cooler installed at about 30k, so I can testify to the fluid life extension it does provide, but the installation in this vehicle was 10X simpler.
 

Robotaz

Lover of 5's
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2009 Mazda5 GT
Just mount one with a fan on it. I found some good ones for way under $100.

Then tell us how it turns out. :)
 
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2006 Mazda 6 - auto
Thanks for posting the letter, the last time I checked, MaxLife didn't include M-V compatibility. I may try them next - however just bought 3 gallons of Castrol IMV for $63.36 delivered - can't beat the price. I may try Valvoline next, it seems to be be more reasonable than redline/royal purple/mobil 1.


I spoke to a tech at valvoline who recomended maxlife dex/merc full synthetic and even emailed be a letter regarding its compadability. Not sure how to add an attachment from this app, I'll try on my home computer later. Here it is! View attachment 200471
 
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2008 Mazda5 sport auto
Glad to inform... this is all new to me. I also discovered Valvoline Import Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid on the valvoline website. I called the valvoline tech line back and they said that this was also compatible, and still recommended maxlife dex/merc because is was more readily available. When i asked them the difference in the 2 products he said that basically consumers wanted something that was more specific and that's what they came up with...and that the formulas were very similar... To me he pretty much said they were the same without actually saying it, however i did actually find it at my local oreilly for the same price as maxlife dex/merc and it did list mazda m-v on the back of the bottle.

http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/automatic-transmission-products/automatic-transmission-fluid/137
 
I did a partial change using the trans drain plug at 50k and refilled with Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. The next change wasn't until 115k and I did a full change with the filter. My wife drives the wheels off the van and is probably 75% highway. Given our moderate temps in SoCal I wasn't surprised to see the fluid had good red color the second time, definitely darker than the new stuff but not black. With 120k now the trans shifts great, I used an autozone filter but be careful it lists the filter for the 4 speed auto in their computer. Make sure you cross reference for the 5 speed auto.

I might still install a cooler when I get the time.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
I did a partial change using the trans drain plug at 50k and refilled with Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. The next change wasn't until 115k and I did a full change with the filter. My wife drives the wheels off the van and is probably 75% highway. Given our moderate temps in SoCal I wasn't surprised to see the fluid had good red color the second time, definitely darker than the new stuff but not black. With 120k now the trans shifts great, I used an autozone filter but be careful it lists the filter for the 4 speed auto in their computer. Make sure you cross reference for the 5 speed auto.

I might still install a cooler when I get the time.
Thanks for reporting back. If I understand you correctly, you did 3 quarts drail and fill at 50K with Mobile 1 ATF and again 3 quarts drail and fill at 115K with Mobile 1 ATF (you also dropped the pan to replace the filter), is that correct?

Do you recall what condition the filter was in? Did it look clogged or think it was unnecessary to replace? What year is your car?
 
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