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#4562064 - 11/02/17 01:02 PM Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV
jaj Offline


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
My GT350 comes with a Tremec TR3160 and it's spec'd by Ford for Mercon LV. My problem is notchy shifting from 1 to 2. 2 to 3 can be notchy too, but it's not as bad. The notchy sensation comes when you try to shift straight through from 1 to 2. If I pull against the gate for 2 without pausing, it's hard to get the gear engaged and sometimes it will grind. And this isn't speed shifting - my datalogger says I'm spending about 2 seconds on each shift. However, if I pull against the gate, relax for a moment and pull again, it engages easily on the second try.

So far, Mercon LV is notchy and so is Dex 6, which is Tremec's spec for this gearbox. Now, before someone raises the "mechanical problem" point, it turns out that if I change the fluid, for about the first hour of use, all the way from cold to warm, it's brilliant - from gear to gear smoothly. Shifting with brand new ATF is perfect. It just doesn't stay that way. After a couple of days of driving, it's back to the old habits.

So, I'm thinking of trying a GL4 and I'm wondering which one is most likely to work best:

- Ford Motorcraft DCT fluid - XT-11-QDC which is about the same viscosity as Dex 6/Mercon LV
- Redline PSF - a hair more viscous at 7 cSt.
- RP Synchromax - I've tried it before and I haven't been impressed, but I'll try it again if it wins the bake-off
- a DCT fluid (thinking about BMW MTF-LT-5): Pentosin FFL3/Ravenol DCT/Redline DCT etc.

The key to success is going to be the right friction performance. ATF works for a short time, so I need something with the friction performance similar to brand new ATF that won't fade after an hour of use.

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#4562067 - 11/02/17 01:09 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10136
Loc: OH
Originally Posted By: jaj
The key to success is going to be the right friction performance. ATF works for a short time, so I need something with the friction performance similar to brand new ATF that won't fade after an hour of use.


Agreed, how about trying some AC Delco Friction Modified MTF. There was a TSB from Honda for the Accord V6 manual that had notchy shifting from 1-2. There solution was using the above which was much cheaper than a mechanical repair. The results seemed to last a good 30k or so. There's a few AC Delco MTFs so just be sure to get the FM version.

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#4562077 - 11/02/17 01:24 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
Rand Offline


Registered: 08/20/03
Posts: 12638
Loc: NE,Ohio
I would try the ford gl-4 fluid they spec'ed for focus transmissions.. or redline MTL

Notchy while hot seems like the fluid is abit thin.. for fuel economy or cold shifting performance.
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#4562093 - 11/02/17 01:40 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
jaj Offline


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I hadn't considered AC Delco FM MTF or the other usual suspects like MTL because they're higher viscosity than the OEM specs. The candidates I put up have about the same viscosity as LV ATF.

This transmission doesn't have a heat problem, it's more like a cold problem. It has a full-time cooler circuit and on a normal 70 degree day an hour on the highway gets you about 110F. In the city it gets a bit warmer, say 130F, because there's less airflow and the heat from the engine and exhaust warms it. Oh, and the shift feel improves as it warms up.

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#4562169 - 11/02/17 03:04 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
Tremec 3160 specs

This is confusing (from 2013) that it specs Dexron II and Dex VI "AFT." Dex II is decades old. Wasn't that a similar viscosity to Dex III/Mercon? More confusing in that the Tremec 6060 with the same hybrid, sintered bronze synchronizer friction material specs Dex III ATF.

Tremec 6060
_________________________
----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

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#4562174 - 11/02/17 03:15 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
rooflessVW Offline


Registered: 12/24/11
Posts: 4040
Loc: North Carolina
Try Honda MTF.
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"Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead."

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#4562179 - 11/02/17 03:22 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
In looking at other tremecs, they only recommend 3 basic fluids: ATF/Dex 3, Synchromesh, and Pentosin FFL4 which is also in the Dex 3 ATF range. So I don't understand why they listed the TR-3160 recommended fluids as they did (ie Dex II and LV VI). I would call them as their own literature doesn't make sense to me....especially with very similar transmissions/synchro's using a different fluid. A quality synthetic Dex 3 is probably a better choice for the 3160. I'm actually surprised they listed a Dex VI / LV ATF for any of their transmissions. They didn't proof read the pages very well citing "AFT." Even a LV ATF will be too thick for shifting until it comes up to normal temps (100-130 deg F?)...and hence it should normally be notchy and slow when cold. Tremec made the transmission, not Ford. I'd be inclined to follow Tremec's inputs.

Tremecs transmissions
_________________________
----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

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#4562222 - 11/02/17 04:21 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
slacktide_bitog Offline


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6145
Loc: USA
You could try Amalie DCT fluid

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#4562224 - 11/02/17 04:24 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
MrHorspwer Offline


Registered: 12/18/06
Posts: 1421
Loc: Michigan
For the Camaro, GM follows right along with the Tremec site in their recommendations:

2.0L and 3.6L with 3160 recommends Dex VI
6.2L with 6060 recommends Dex III

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#4562232 - 11/02/17 04:30 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
jaj Offline


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I have a 2013 Tremec TR3160 datasheet I downloaded in 2016 that doesn't list Dex II as an option, just Dex 6, but the 2013 datasheet that's posted now shows both, complete with spelling error.

Tremec really seems to like the Texaco Dex II ATF and that seems to be their baseline. They qualify everything else that OEM's ask them for, which is probably why we have Dex 6 for GM and Mercon LV for Ford. My TR6060 shifted way better with AC Delco Manual Transmission and Transfer Case fluid, which is supposed to be a GL4 version of Dex 3. But that fluid doesn't work in the 3160 - I've tried and it's about the same as LV and Dex 6 except its even stiffer when it's cold, which is most of the time.

In addition to Motorcraft Mercon LV and AC Delco Manual Transmission and Transfer Case fluid, I've also tried Mobil 1 ATF and AC Delco Dexron VI. As for Mercon LV work-alikes, I've used Castrol Transmax Full Synthetic Multi-Vehicle Automatic Transmission Fluid, which should have been brilliant because it's Mercon LV approved by Ford and licensed by GM as Dex VI. Well, it was brilliant for about 2 hours, then back to hard shifting.

When I go to the track (road course) with this car, the gearbox gets up to about 100C, so there are times when it runs hot. Shifts fine up there, or at least fine enough that it's not at the top of my list of things to think about. But when I'm out to pick up groceries, shifting requires too much attention to make a simple clean 1-2 transition.

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#4562436 - 11/02/17 07:58 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
Originally Posted By: jaj
This transmission doesn't have a heat problem, it's more like a cold problem. It has a full-time cooler circuit and on a normal 70 degree day an hour on the highway gets you about 110F. In the city it gets a bit warmer, say 130F, because there's less airflow and the heat from the engine and exhaust warms it. Oh, and the shift feel improves as it warms up.


One would think with only 2.5 qts of trans fluid it would heat up easily. In any case, the "problem" seems like the cooling circuit which may be designed for track duty. It's probably not even needed when driving around town moderately with occasional spirited runs. Does it have a regulator of some sort or is it always at full cooling flow? If you had an accurate temp monitor you could block some of the cooling fins to raise operating temps to 135-165 deg. Though I'd consult with someone well versed in such things before attempting.
_________________________
----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

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#4562591 - 11/02/17 10:29 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
jaj Offline


Registered: 08/21/03
Posts: 1060
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
The car rolls out of the factory equipped for track time, and it works great in that situation. I'm just picky about shifting when it's not really hot. And the fact that I get great shifting at all temperatures for a few hours with new fluid says to me that there must be a fluid with the right friction characteristics and viscosity out there that will deliver great shifting all the time and I just haven't found it yet. ATF's are inexpensive, so I've tried a bunch. GL4's are a lot more expensive, so before I start rolling out $100 a crack for fluid changes, I'm seeing what the collective wisdom is regarding GL4's that might work.

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#4562617 - 11/02/17 11:41 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
There's a lot of literature (and moaning) about the TR-6060 performance in GT350's and high end Camaro's, which use the same synchronizer material as the 3160. I don't understand why they recommend different fluids for what seem to be very similar applications. If you've been unhappy with cold weather peformance with both conventional/synthetic Dex 3's and the Dex 6's, it's unlikely you'll get any improvement with a GL-4 approved fluid.

Redline D4 ATF and Amsoil ATF ATD are 2 other synthetic ATF's you apparently haven't tried yet. One claims GL4 qualities. Both have pretty solid track records in most 2001-current Tremecs specifying ATF's. I don't think the GM MT and Transfer case Lube claims GL-4. It's just a conventional ATF with a slightly better add pack than cheap ATF's + friction modifiers. I would think a conventional ATF would produce easier cold shifts than a synthetic down to reasonable ambient temps.

It also makes no sense to me that your ATF could be brilliant in the first few hours of use when "new," then fades away after several hours of use. They just don't shear down that fast or use up their additive packages, oxidize, etc. That's a puzzler. But, it's what you have. The Max Life ATF is an LV fluid (5.8 cSt) with a strong add pack similar to M1 ATF, Amsoil, and Red Line. You could try that too considering it is a lower viscosity to boot...and inexpensive.
_________________________
----------------

2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
1999 Camaro SS M6 /19K /Mobil 1 0w40 /Fram UG /GM MTL-ATF
1969 Ply GTX/RRs

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#4562619 - 11/02/17 11:54 PM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1351
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Originally Posted By: jaj
The car rolls out of the factory equipped for track time, and it works great in that situation. I'm just picky about shifting when it's not really hot. And the fact that I get great shifting at all temperatures for a few hours with new fluid says to me that there must be a fluid with the right friction characteristics and viscosity out there that will deliver great shifting all the time and I just haven't found it yet. ATF's are inexpensive, so I've tried a bunch. GL4's are a lot more expensive, so before I start rolling out $100 a crack for fluid changes, I'm seeing what the collective wisdom is regarding GL4's that might work.


Why not try Valv. Or Pennz. Syncromesh? Gl-4, atf viscosity like DexII/III, designed for synchronized transmissions. Not much more than plain atf in cost (~$7.50US/qt).

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#4562623 - 11/03/17 12:02 AM Re: Manual trans notchy with Dex 6/Mercon LV [Re: jaj]
Killer223 Offline


Registered: 05/07/15
Posts: 389
Loc: AZ
on of the best shifting trans i ever had was full of swepco's 711 50wt oil,
next was my 93 Toyota with 40wt non-detergent motor oil in it.
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08 6.7 cummins G56
04 5.9 cummins
11 ranger 4.0
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