ATF Life in Sealed Bottle

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I've got quite a few quarts of Pennzoil DEXRON III ATF in the bottle that has never been opened, but I think it's got to be at least 20 years old, maybe 25. eek Was thinking of using it to swap out the power steering fluid on my 2005 Tacoma, since DEXRON III is what the Tacoma manual calls out for the power steering. But is there any risk to use ATF that has been sealed in the plastic bottle that long? How much fluid you think it would take to do a "suck out and refill" of the reservoir in order to get most of the original power steering fluid changed out?
 
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Seattle-ish, WA
I checked w/Valvoline a few years ago on this as I found I still had some sealed Dex II. They said no shelf life, really, if sealed and not over-heated. They suggested jokingly to toss it out when it got to 100 years old. Really. I put it in a 4wd transfercase and had no worries (which was Dex II spec'd and little used). You can date it by checking the spec - DexIIIF, '93. DexIIIG, '98. DexIIIH, '03. Not that it matters terribly, but maybe out of curiosity you can see how old it really is. Three "suck and fills" (as you have now forever labeled it ;0 ) should get you to 85% new fluid roughly. Most systems are only a quart total and you can get about a pint out if you pull the hose and drain, then re-attach and re-fill (easier than a baster, just put paper towels and a small-ish peice of tupperware to catch). I do a single reservoir drain/fill whenever I service the trans fluid; easy to remember to do both at the same time.
 

JC1

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Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Originally Posted by ZeeOSix
I've got quite a few quarts of Pennzoil DEXRON III ATF in the bottle that has never been opened, but I think it's got to be at least 20 years old, maybe 25. eek Was thinking of using it to swap out the power steering fluid on my 2005 Tacoma, since DEXRON III is what the Tacoma manual calls out for the power steering. But is there any risk to use ATF that has been sealed in the plastic bottle that long? How much fluid you think it would take to do a "suck out and refill" of the reservoir in order to get most of the original power steering fluid changed out?
Probably less than 2 quarts for the whole system. I got some free ATF from someone at work. Three quarts, I'm using it for my penetratimg fluid, just mix with acetone.
 
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SW Ohio
Originally Posted by Chris142
If it can work in a transmission for 20+ years sitting unopened on your shelf is ok. Shake it up and use it.
That is so true but why do people never think about this or consider it ?
 
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GA
There is still a lot of fluid left in the hoses and the steering rack. It would be more effective to drain the fluid out of those as well, and then refill.
 
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Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Originally Posted by Chris142
If it can work in a transmission for 20+ years sitting unopened on your shelf is ok. Shake it up and use it.
That is so true but why do people never think about this or consider it ?
But who's to say or prove that 25 year old ATF in a transmission hasn't degraded some from time? Just because the car still moves doesn't mean the ATF is still perfect. Some motor oil manufacturers say their bottled oil has some kind of shelf life (way less than 25 years), so why not ATF?
 
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Originally Posted by drtyler
There is still a lot of fluid left in the hoses and the steering rack. It would be more effective to drain the fluid out of those as well, and then refill.
Doesn't the typical power steering system recirculate the fluid as the steering is operated?
 
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Illinois
You could send a sample off for analysis, but that would defeat the purpose of being frugal and using what's on hand. Also the best way to flush a PS system is to unhook the return line and with the car off and jacked up steer lock to lock and continue filling reservoir until desired cleanliness is achieved. It's relatively mess free and as close to a 100% as you can get. It does require an extra set of hands though.
 
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Indiana
The atf in my 67 Camaro Powerglide was by all indications original when I did a full restoration of the car 5 years ago. The transmission functioned properly (as it should have for 37,000 miles) but I did a full teardown just to be sure. Same thing with the rear axle lube. If this stuff doesn't get hot, it doesn't oxidize.
 
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I found a bottle of Dexron III/Mercon from 1999. Should I be worried to use this?
Is it sealed? I'd be most concerned about WHO actually produced this stuff, it is is bottled by a reputable oil company I wouldn't hesitate to use it. I agree with making sure you shake it well and then perhaps let it sit in the sun for some hours before you pour it into the transmission.
 
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