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The Old Transmission Fluid Debate

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Old 07-16-2014, 01:59 PM   #1
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Default The Old Transmission Fluid Debate

So, I was about 100% ready to get the fluid changed in my new (to me) 2000 A6 with 125k miles.

I called a local German Indy shop that has great references and talked to the owner/mechanic.
He suggested that if it had never been done to not start now.
As an engineer, I know this makes no sense because there is no way old fluid is better then new fluid.
But he was fairly firm in his recommendation.

I have a recommendation for a second shop in the area, so I may see what they have to say.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by N_Jay View Post
So, I was about 100% ready to get the fluid changed in my new (to me) 2000 A6 with 125k miles.

I called a local German Indy shop that has great references and talked to the owner/mechanic.
He suggested that if it had never been done to not start now.
As an engineer, I know this makes no sense because there is no way old fluid is better then new fluid.
But he was fairly firm in his recommendation.

I have a recommendation for a second shop in the area, so I may see what they have to say.
When you have the fluid changed, change the filter and if the pan is full of 'stuff' consider removing and splitting the valve body and cleaning the screens inside it, one for each of the shift solenoids and one other one that is obvious with a split valve body but I forget exactly what it goes to.

There's a thread further down about a clogged valve body if you care to search for it.

Last edited by SloopJohnB@mac.com; 07-16-2014 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 07-16-2014, 03:58 PM   #3
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Second shop agrees with the first.

If it has not been driven hard, (Remember this is a 2.8 owned by a 70 year old) they said changing the fluid late does not seem to do much to add longevity.

If I were doing it myself, I might drain, clean, etc.

But guessing I am just as good leaving it as is for now.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:24 PM   #4
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they said changing the fluid late does not seem to do much to add longevity.
Did they say the same thing for engine oil?

Just change it.
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Old 07-16-2014, 05:44 PM   #5
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Correctamundo!
I stand corrected…ZF link below: I add, ZF the trans maker says do it 30-50k miles depending on severity of usage.

Last edited by SloopJohnB@mac.com; 07-17-2014 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 07-16-2014, 06:45 PM   #6
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Correctamundo!
I add, ZF the trans maker says do it 30-50k miles depending on severity of usage.
I just picked up my 4.2 from getting the transmission fluid and filter changed for the first time (61k miles). There was a noticeable difference in the smoothness and speed of upshifts and downshifts.

The Indy shop, owned by a master Audi tech, said change it every 50k.
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:41 PM   #7
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Correctamundo!
I add, ZF the trans maker says do it 30-50k miles depending on severity of usage.
Actually what I found from ZF is 50K to 75K miles or 8 years.
One reference said 50K to 75K if used in severe conditions and lifetime if not.
Other said 50K to 75K in normal and more often is severe.

Nothing from ZF suggests not changing the fluid if it has gone over that.

I sent ZF technical service the question.
It will be interesting to see if/how they answer.

EDIT:
Just found out, ZF services North America is only 20 minuets away.

Last edited by N_Jay; 07-16-2014 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 07-17-2014, 04:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by N_Jay View Post
Actually what I found from ZF is 50K to 75K miles or 8 years.
One reference said 50K to 75K if used in severe conditions and lifetime if not.
Other said 50K to 75K in normal and more often is severe.

Nothing from ZF suggests not changing the fluid if it has gone over that.

I sent ZF technical service the question.
It will be interesting to see if/how they answer.

EDIT:
Just found out, ZF services North America is only 20 minuets away.
This might help:
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ZF .pdf (339.1 KB, 49 views)
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Old 07-17-2014, 04:53 AM   #9
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This might help:
Yep, found that one along with a bunch of others that imply (but never directly say) that the fluid never "needs" changing as long as you don't do any severe driving.

I just received word from "on-high".

The great priests of ZF have answered my lowly question.

Quote:
Hello Neil,

There isn't any risk if you drain and fill the fluid. Sometimes flushing a high mileage vehicle can cause problems because you may disrupt settled debris. I recommend changing the fluid and filter. The viscosity of the fluid breaks down over time and the ability to maintain the features of the additives can deminish. You may notice some changes in the shift quality at first if you have a 6 speed. The module may take some time adapting to the new fluid.

Kind regards,
Joe Laubinger
ZF Services, LLC.
1-800-321-0784
And so it is written, and so it shall be done!

Last edited by N_Jay; 07-17-2014 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 07-17-2014, 04:57 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by N_Jay View Post
Yep, found that one along with a bunch of others that imply (but never directly say) that the fluid never "needs" changing as long as you don't do any severe driving.

I just5 received word from "on-high".

The great priests of ZF have answered my lowly question.



And so it is written, and so it shall be done!
It would be interesting to get his take on removing the valve body and cleaning the solenoid screens as well as the one screen inside the valve body.
I would only do that if the pan was crappy with debris…apparently the filter doesn't for those.

And PS…virtually all driving is 'severe service' these days.
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