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#1277424 - 11/08/08 05:34 AM Mitsubishi ATF SP-III
Falcon_LS Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 3520
Loc: Kuwait
My vehicle’s a ’00 Mitsubishi Pajero (Montero in the States), and I have quite a lengthy question regarding the type of ATF I should use. Over the years I’ve owned it (bought new), I used to trust the dealer to carry out my maintenance. This year, I decided I would take it to a trusted mechanic and supply my own parts/fluids – mainly because I wasn’t happy with their choice of lubricants. E.g. they still use 20W-50 motor oil, when 10W-30 makes the engine feel lighter and perform better – not forgetting to mention the gains in fuel economy.

The dealer’s choice of ATF was Gulf Dexron III, and my truck wasn’t too fund of it – if at all. Shifts were anything but smooth. The manual calls for “ATF Dexron II”, which I believe is no longer available and has been superseded/replaced by Dexron III.

Locally available products meeting this specification are all made in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Although people do use them with good results, I do not exactly trust the quality standards as much as I would with a European or American oil. The Gulf ATF was manufactured in the UAE for instance, and actually had a yellowish color to it.

After much research, I switched to Motorcraft Mercon and the shifts improved significantly. My next step was to treat my transmission with Auto-Rx, and the results were substantial! Not only did it smoothen out the shifting, but there was a significant improvement in acceleration. When the time came to flush the ATF after treatment, I did a complete flush using Motorcraft Mercon V.

Now, I’ve had some vibration issues with my engine for a while. Nobody was qualified enough to tell me what exactly was the problem (even the dealer), so I replaced various items – such as the emissions solenoid and engine idle resistor for instance. This was based on a so-called OBD-II reader a “professional” shop was using. They just plugged it in, revved the living daylights out of my engine and told me I need to replace the said parts. Others told me it was “normal”, when I know it isn’t. Now they reckon my MAP sensor is fubared. It got on my nerves, because nobody could figure out WTF was causing it, and I just ignored it having thrown so much money at it.

Yesterday, I checked my maintenance records and noticed I’m due for an ATF flush in about 8,000 km (5,000 miles). As my transmission was already treated with ARX, I reckoned it wouldn’t hurt to add 45 ml (1.5 ounces) of ARX to the ATF until the 8,000 km mark. I thought nothing of it, but when I drove the truck afterwards there was a very noticeable difference. The light shudder that was there when waiting at a stop light (foot on brake, transmission in drive) almost disappeared and the sudden shifts went away. Also, when I shifted into reverse, I would have to wait a second or two before giving it a bit of gas – or else it would spin the rear wheels followed by a bang. Now that’s gone away too.

Speaking to the parts guy at the Mitsu dealer, I was told they now supply Mitsubishi’s own ATF – called Dia Queen SP-III. He said it has a more slippery formulation than that of Mercon V and said I should give it a try because it would help cure my shuddering problem. I know the new Monteros call for this, but older ones are fine with Dexron.

At the moment, I’m not sure if I should stick with Mercon V, or just go with the SP-III ATF. The SP-III is more costly, but if it will really help cure the shudder, then I will pay for it. If anybody has some experience with SP-III, or knows anything of its chemistry, I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me. Thank you.
_________________________
99 Mustang: M1 0W-40/FL820S
00 Pajero: M1 0W-40/26300-35503
01 Marquis: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/FL820S
05 Envoy: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/51522XP

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#1277509 - 11/08/08 09:58 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Falcon_LS]
skeeter080 Offline


Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 18
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario
I know that's what Hyundai's, Kia's and Mitsu's use. As far as Hyundais go, people warn not to use anything but the SP3 fluid as others will damage the transmission. I've done a drain and fill on my wife's Elantra with this fluid 3 times over the last few years. Yes it is on the espensive side, but much cheaper than a new tranny.

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#1277517 - 11/08/08 10:07 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: skeeter080]
Cup of Joe Offline


Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 1797
Loc: United We Stand
After my UOA and some back and forth with Terry I have switched to Amsoil ATF. I am more then pleased with the results thus far. The cost between the 2 at the time was neglegable when buying SPIII at the dealer.

UOA SPIII
_________________________
2011 Ford Ranger 75K dealer installed Motorcraft 5W-20, M1 ATF in the manual trans, M1 Gear lube.

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#1277524 - 11/08/08 10:19 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Cup of Joe]
skeeter080 Offline


Registered: 10/12/06
Posts: 18
Loc: Hamilton, Ontario
How long have you had the Amsoil in there? Why are you more please with it than the SP3?

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#1277528 - 11/08/08 10:30 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: skeeter080]
Cup of Joe Offline


Registered: 01/16/06
Posts: 1797
Loc: United We Stand
Its been more then 13k miles so far and shifting was immediately smoother. I have not found a down side to the switch and I waited till I had more data before I made my decission to switch. I did a drain/sample/fill with SPIII to gain the data before I decided amsoil was the way I would go.
_________________________
2011 Ford Ranger 75K dealer installed Motorcraft 5W-20, M1 ATF in the manual trans, M1 Gear lube.

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#1277902 - 11/08/08 07:16 PM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Cup of Joe]
bmwtechguy Offline


Registered: 06/15/04
Posts: 2526
Loc: South Carolina
Falcon, can you get any of the universal type of fluids there? I'm talking about Maxlife (Valvoline) or even one of the premium fluids like the new Mobil 1 ATF formula or Amsoil's ATF. I believe all these fluids would be good replacements for the Diamond SPIII.

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#1278122 - 11/09/08 04:00 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: bmwtechguy]
Falcon_LS Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 3520
Loc: Kuwait
Many thanks for the responses. Unfortunately, I haven't come across any premium fluids just yet - you have to really look for them and most of the time they are unavailable. Main reason is because people do not buy them - they are obsessed with the idea of using what the dealer uses. That being said, I'm still unsure as to whether or not SP-III is fully compatible with my transmission. Has anybody with a 2000 MY and older Mitsubishi/Hyundai/Kia used SP-III in their transmission before?

I've checked with Mobil and the only ATF they have available is 220 Dexron II D and Dexron III - none of which I beleive is better than my choice of Mercon V. But I could be wrong.

I've also looked at Castrol, and I'm surprised to find out they do not even have transmission fluid available! I use their products a lot in the UK and to find out they only supply 20W-50 and 0W-30 motor oil under the brand name here is simply unbeleivable.
_________________________
99 Mustang: M1 0W-40/FL820S
00 Pajero: M1 0W-40/26300-35503
01 Marquis: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/FL820S
05 Envoy: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/51522XP

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#1278133 - 11/09/08 05:42 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Falcon_LS]
Falcon_LS Offline


Registered: 10/03/08
Posts: 3520
Loc: Kuwait
Also, would it be possible using Mopar ATF +4 in my transmission? Any benefits to this? Thanks as always.
_________________________
99 Mustang: M1 0W-40/FL820S
00 Pajero: M1 0W-40/26300-35503
01 Marquis: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/FL820S
05 Envoy: M1 ESP Formula 5W-30/51522XP

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#1278140 - 11/09/08 06:45 AM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Falcon_LS]
Seth Offline


Registered: 02/05/07
Posts: 421
Loc: Ontario, Canada
sp3 is old atf which has been replaced by mitsu with J2. Its called Dia Queen J2 atf. funny name but hey someone had too much time on their hands I guess ...
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#1280462 - 11/11/08 07:38 PM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Seth]
bmwtechguy Offline


Registered: 06/15/04
Posts: 2526
Loc: South Carolina
My bottles of ATF+4 say for Chrysler vehicles and some Mitsubishi and Hyundai transmissions. Do you have the 3 liter engine or 3.5? If it is the 3.0 it calls for Diamond SPIII. I could not find which fluid is recommended for the 3.5L engine/transmission. ATF+4 would be reasonably close enough to SPIII to use for me, if SPIII is the required fluid for your unit. Definitely a better match than the DexIII.

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#1280512 - 11/11/08 08:39 PM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: bmwtechguy]
Jon Offline


Registered: 10/21/03
Posts: 369
Loc: Madison, Wisconsin
If it's the 3.5 then it's probably the same fluid my KIA Sedona (3.5) takes. SP III. I've been using Maxlife ATF and, if anything, it shifts nicer than with the OEM fluid. However, Amsoil makes some which is probably just as good if not better, and you may consider Renewable Lubricants as well.

DO NOT RUN straight Dex III - no friction modifiers or some such and they shift real bad with that.

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#1284012 - 11/15/08 06:34 PM Re: Mitsubishi ATF SP-III [Re: Jon]
lewdwig Offline


Registered: 10/23/07
Posts: 644
Loc: Southwest Michigan
In my wife's Endeavor I'm using Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle ATF instead of the recommended SP-III. No problems.
_________________________
1996 Saturn SL2
2001 Saturn SL2
2001 Subaru Forester L
2004 Mitsu Endeavor

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