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#4657068 - 02/05/18 02:52 PM atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle
edwardh1 Offline


Registered: 01/17/03
Posts: 2941
Loc: Coastal South Carolina
it surprised me how nice atf looked on the dipstick but terrible (near black) in a glass bottle.

is there a simpler test for the atf condition-? assuming the blacker it is , the worse it is?
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#4657079 - 02/05/18 03:02 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10097
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Originally Posted By: edwardh1
it surprised me how nice atf looked on the dipstick but terrible (near black) in a glass bottle.

is there a simpler test for the atf condition-? assuming the blacker it is , the worse it is?
Yes there is a simpler test, take a sample and send it off to Blackstone.

It's just how liquids are. Think of dipping an oil dipstick into a jar of honey, looks pretty good on it. But if you try to look through a glass jar of honey, you can't see through it.
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#4657082 - 02/05/18 03:03 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
That's a pretty simple test. And probably accurate. If it looks black in a jar on a business card, it's probably spent. My engine and transmission oils always look "nicer" on the dipstick too. It might have something to do with light getting through the fluid then refracting off the metal dipstick.
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#4657087 - 02/05/18 03:09 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
SirTanon Online   content


Registered: 06/23/14
Posts: 2151
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona - USA
Not always a sound conclusion.

For example, Mercon LV has a tendency to darken quite quickly, especially in certain transmissions - The 6F35, for example. In my 2010 Fusion, which has the 6F35, new Mercon LV, which is bright red going in, will be noticeably darker (dark red/purple) only 10,000 - 15,000 miles later. UOA analysis of the drained fluid still shows it in good condition, too.. it's just darker.

If you want to test how bad your drained trans fluid is, most UOA labs will test trans fluid.
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#4657179 - 02/05/18 04:17 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
dlundblad Offline


Registered: 09/30/13
Posts: 10011
Loc: Indiana
An oily film over a shiny surface is bound to look good IMO.

I would just do an ATF change. If you know the history and it isn't time yet, get a UOA if you are really curious.
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#4657185 - 02/05/18 04:25 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
zeng Offline


Registered: 09/01/15
Posts: 2187
Loc: Malaysia
I did blotter spot test on ATF from time to time, and it serves my purpose.

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#4657240 - 02/05/18 05:24 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20450
Loc: Upstate NY
If it looks like driveway sealer it's probably not doing much good for your transmission.

Otherwise a UOA.

Smell however can be valid. If it smells burnt that's not good.
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#4657339 - 02/05/18 07:12 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: edwardh1]
Trav Offline


Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 18848
Loc: MA, Mittelfranken.de
Originally Posted By: edwardh1
it surprised me how nice atf looked on the dipstick but terrible (near black) in a glass bottle.


That always seems to be the case.
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#4657426 - 02/05/18 09:00 PM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: 69GTX]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 19042
Loc: Iowegia - USA
Originally Posted By: 69GTX
That's a pretty simple test. And probably accurate. If it looks black in a jar on a business card, it's probably spent. My engine and transmission oils always look "nicer" on the dipstick too. It might have something to do with light getting through the fluid then refracting off the metal dipstick.



Exactly. thumbsup

Put some new ATF on a black card or paper.

Put some ATF on a white card or paper.

Put a thin film of ATF on a polished dipstick.

What do you see?

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#4657896 - 02/06/18 11:33 AM Re: atf looks fine on dipstick but worse in a bottle [Re: SirTanon]
Whimsey Offline


Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 4047
Loc: The Garden State
Originally Posted By: SirTanon
Not always a sound conclusion.

For example, Mercon LV has a tendency to darken quite quickly, especially in certain transmissions - The 6F35, for example. In my 2010 Fusion, which has the 6F35, new Mercon LV, which is bright red going in, will be noticeably darker (dark red/purple) only 10,000 - 15,000 miles later. UOA analysis of the drained fluid still shows it in good condition, too.. it's just darker.

If you want to test how bad your drained trans fluid is, most UOA labs will test trans fluid.




Here's an example of what you are saying. The dark fluid is Motorcraft Mercon LV at 12,200 miles of usage in a new vehicle, a 2017 Explorer with the 6F35 transmission you mention. You can see within only 12,200 miles it darkened considerably compared to the fresh Motorcraft Mercon LV that is red. From what I understand that is the nature of Motorcraft Mercon LV to darken up quickly. It does not mean it's worn though.

Whimsey

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