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

  1. #1
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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

    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.
    Last edited by Silentnoise713; 01-05-2013 at 08:44 AM.
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  2. #2
    Registered Member rapscallion5's Avatar

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    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.

  3. #3
    Lover of 5's Robotaz's Avatar

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    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.
    Last edited by Robotaz; 01-03-2013 at 09:52 PM.

  4. #4
    Lover of 5's Robotaz's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by rapscallion5 View Post
    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.

  5. #5
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    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.

  6. #6
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by kw_da View Post
    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 .
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  7. #7
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    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/uploa...er_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=re...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...81#Post2437581

    WIX spec.
    http://www.wixfilters.com/Lookup/Par...spx?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?
    Last edited by Silentnoise713; 01-06-2013 at 06:21 AM.
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  8. #8
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    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 160º to 200º F as the fluid exits the cooler. If you can maintain fluid temperature below 175º F the fluid should last for as much as 100,000 miles. At 195º F the fluid life should be 50,000 miles. At 240º 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 there’s another reason I’m doing all this. Has to do with an RX8 steering wheel, which should be coming in too –YAY!
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    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?
    Last edited by kw_da; 01-09-2013 at 04:48 PM.

  10. #10
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by kw_da View Post
    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 don’t 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 I’d like to protect it. It’s only $167 for triple layer protection shipped to my door, that’s 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 Amsoil’s paid preferred customer price+s/h and tax. While Amsoil does cost more, I am more than confidant that it’ll last much longer to offset and make up the difference. I’m 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, it’s not that much considering I don’t 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
    Last edited by Silentnoise713; 01-10-2013 at 03:47 PM.
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  11. #11
    Lover of 5's Robotaz's Avatar

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    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.

  12. #12
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robotaz View Post
    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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  13. #13
    Registered Member Silentnoise713's Avatar

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    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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  14. #14
    Registered Member GParktc's Avatar

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    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! MaxLife_ATF_Rev_2012.10.02.pdf
    Last edited by GParktc; 01-20-2013 at 09:39 PM.

  15. #15
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    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.
    Aaron

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