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#4609808 - 12/21/17 12:05 AM Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans
91camarosRS Offline


Registered: 10/16/13
Posts: 69
Loc: oklahoma
So Iím borrowing my girlfriends 05 Saturn VUE as my subaru is being worked on (bodywork). Well, Iím tryin got get a good tuneup while Iím borrowing. So as Iím checking stuff, thereís a large 1 gallon jug of valvoline dex/merc blue bottle in the rear. Itís half full. So apparently, someone put it in the car a while back. What harm is this? Auto trans are kinda a mystery to me.

The car does some weird things. When the car is on a negative load. Like between shifts or if i leave it in low, it will make a ďgrindingĒ ish noise. But only when cold. Shortly after driving, itís much quieter. The car shifts ok, maybe a little sluggish.

The car is the Honda equipped 3.5 and Auto. The fluid is dark red. Iím not sure it smells burned, but doesnít smell right, but Iím also not an expert on Auto.

What should i do? Should i flush it via, cooler, qt at a time? Drain and fill can get very very expensive. Iíve already put a reasonable amount of money into this.

Thank you.
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#4609812 - 12/21/17 12:10 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
91camarosRS Offline


Registered: 10/16/13
Posts: 69
Loc: oklahoma
Also, i do plan to go to a maxlife atf if i flush or whatever. One that is rated ZF-1
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#4609816 - 12/21/17 12:53 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
PandaBear Offline


Registered: 08/05/02
Posts: 14219
Loc: Silicon Valley
From what I have heard, many Honda transmission using just dex merc will shift very hard (but it is not damaging to the transmission), actually earlier honda spec Dex Merc IIe from factory.

Z1 and DW1 soften it and MaxLife or other brands' import multi-vehicle ATF are designed to work with Honda transmission, so it should be ok as long as the bottle said so on the label.
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#4609818 - 12/21/17 01:03 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
91camarosRS Offline


Registered: 10/16/13
Posts: 69
Loc: oklahoma
The website and the bottle say nothing about z1.

Maybe they say Honda?
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#4609821 - 12/21/17 01:37 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
KneeGrinder Offline


Registered: 11/28/17
Posts: 221
Loc: North of you Idaho
I'm using Valvoline maxlife full synthetic, its dexron. I know it say's approved for Honda's. I have a high mileage 2003 Acura TL type -S, 234K miles. Been rev'ed hardcore in 3rd a lot! does 100-110mph in 3rd easy. When I bought it, it shifted harsh from 1st to 2nd when cold especially. I did a 3 time fill and drain over a few days and it has been shifting smooth cold, hot, luke warm....ever since. I drive this car more than any of my others, almost daily. Use with confidence. This is coming from someone that normally says to use factory trans fluild! Unless you have low miles, and or a warranty use it, cause the Honda trans fluid is $$$
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#4609853 - 12/21/17 05:12 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
Charlie2015 Offline


Registered: 04/24/15
Posts: 241
Loc: Georgia
I would recommend the red bottle Valvoline Maxlife Multi-Vehicle ATF for your application.
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#4609854 - 12/21/17 05:17 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
michaelluscher Offline


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 2420
Loc: Staten Island, NY
It's a Honda automatic, treat it like one

Drain and fill with DW-1
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#4609859 - 12/21/17 05:47 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
91camarosRS Offline


Registered: 10/16/13
Posts: 69
Loc: oklahoma
I know that the maxlife is better and recommended.

Iím asking about what harm is happening with a couple quarts of dex/merc that someone put in it? Maybe next week, but this week itís gonna be hard to fit in a flush/drain and fill.
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#4609874 - 12/21/17 06:42 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
krismoriah72 Offline


Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 1518
Loc: wv
Originally Posted By: 91camarosRS
I know that the maxlife is better and recommended.

Iím asking about what harm is happening with a couple quarts of dex/merc that someone put in it? Maybe next week, but this week itís gonna be hard to fit in a flush/drain and fill.


the plain ol dex/merc will make it shift more harshly.

I would drain and fill with the Maxlife Dex/Merc..its whats in our two Hondas. Then do it again in 25K miles.

Its almost $10/cheaper per gallon at walmart.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Valvoline-Max...Gallon/15125768



Edited by krismoriah72 (12/21/17 06:44 AM)

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#4609878 - 12/21/17 06:46 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: krismoriah72]
krismoriah72 Offline


Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 1518
Loc: wv
Edit to my post- I remember seeing this so found it again..

Always use Honda Premium
Formula Automatic Transmission
Fluid (ATF). If it is not available,
you may use a DEXRONIII
automatic transmission fluid as a
temporary replacement. However,
continued use can affect shift
quality. Have the transmission
drained and refilled with Honda
ATF as soon as it is convenient.

From Honda North America-
https://techinfo.honda.com/rjanisis/pubs/om/CR0000/CR0000O00207A.pdf

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#4609894 - 12/21/17 07:19 AM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
Sayjac Offline


Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 12267
Loc: The Old North State
Basically following up on previous two posts.

Valvoline Dex/Merc wouldn't be my first choice for aftermarket Z1 spec ATF. That said, I'd just start with a simple MaxLife d&f, and do it relatively soon. Run it awhile, put some miles on it, then do it again. d&fs are fairly easy to do. As noted ML is very reasonable in gallon size, <$18/gal ordered from WalMart .com.

There was nothing special about Z1, sheared quickly. Been using ML in two Hondas specing Z1 for years, lots of miles, original trans and working fine.

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#4610162 - 12/21/17 12:18 PM Re: Valvoline dex/merc in a Honda trans [Re: 91camarosRS]
sw99 Offline


Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 2120
Loc: Colorado
+1 on starting with a ML D&F. Our Civic had its first D&F at 30k and is now at 148k. I have done three D&F's by this point and the fluid always comes out looking great. Like Sayjac mentioned, I get it at WM.com for around the $18 shipped to my house. I also like to add a few ounces of Lubegard red. The car still shifts like new.
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