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What happened to licensed ATF clones? #5353618 02/18/20 01:08 PM
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TimN3QE Offline OP
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I recently got a "new to me" 1999 car and went out and got a new gallon of Transmax Dex/Merc after being a little confused why I couldn't find anything that was officially titled Dexron III anymore.

Was looking at old bottles of Wal-Mart brand Dexron III and other brands on the shelf in my garage that did say it was officially Dexron-III. In decades past it was extremely common to find store brand and name brand ATF that was officially approved Dexron-III and proudly said so on the bottle usually in really big type.

I would presume that this stuff had been approved as Dexron-III compatible and they licensed the Dexron-III name.

But today the verbiage is different. For example Transmax Dex/Merc. Nowhere on the bottle, front or back, does it say anything about Dexron III. (But it does say on the back that it's not compatible with Dexron IV).

In fact it seems likely that today that even GM dealers don't have anything that is officially Dexron III.

Is this some new legalistic marketing, or all the oil companies got fed up with officially licensing the name, or is it because of the preponderence of "multi-vehicle" ATF today?

Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353622 02/18/20 01:11 PM
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ragtoplvr Offline
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GM owns the license on Dex 3 and has cancelled it and no longer licenses it anymore. They think the like water Dex 6 is good for all. Maybe it is, I still use Dex 3

Just like there is no "official" type A anymore.

Rod

Last edited by ragtoplvr; 02/18/20 01:12 PM.
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353629 02/18/20 01:17 PM
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exranger06 Offline
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In order for a fluid to be "officially licensed," the automaker (GM) needs to GIVE that license to the oil company (Castrol, Valvoline, etc). The reason you don't see any "officially licensed" Dexron III anymore is because GM will no longer license it to any oil company. GM considers it an obsolete specification, and they say that Dexron VI supersedes it. As far as GM is concerned, Dexron III doesn't exist anymore. If you go to a GM dealer and ask for some Dexron III at the parts counter, the parts guy will tell you that it doesn't exist anymore and he'll hand you a quart of Dexron VI instead.

Oil companies are still allowed to make their own fluids, and "recommend" them for Dexron III applications. They're basically saying, "If your vehicle was originally spec'd for Dexron III, our fluid will work great in it. Even though GM considers it obsolete, and will not issue a license for it, WE "recommend" it for this application."

You CAN easily find "officially licensed" Dexron VI from Valvoline and other oil companies, since that is the current spec that GM uses.


2006 Ford Ranger Sport
1992 Honda Accord EX
2013 Toyota Sienna XLE AWD
1994 Ford Bronco XLT (project)
2011 Cadillac Escalade ESV (wife's)
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353630 02/18/20 01:17 PM
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nthach Offline
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Type A, F and Dex-III/Mercon are obsolete specs. The additive suppliers self-certify for those specs as long as the blender uses the right recipe.

GM says most Dex-III serviced vehicles can use Dex-VI, Ford says Mercon V can service Mercon applications. It gets hairier with multi-vehicle ATFs and some trannies are happier on high-viscosity fluid(which is why I don't MaxLife all the things), while some will be fine on low-viscosity fluid - GM, Nissan and Honda think that way and say their LV fluids are A-OK for all.

Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: ragtoplvr] #5353656 02/18/20 01:49 PM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
GM owns the license on Dex 3 and has cancelled it and no longer licenses it anymore. They think the like water Dex 6 is good for all. Maybe it is, I still use Dex 3

The initial viscosity of DEXRON-III was higher yes, but it did shear down in use more than DEXRON-VI is allowed. Therefore in terms of shear stability DEXRON-VI is a superior fluid, as it is in every other aspect.


1994 BMW 530i, 252K
1996 Honda Accord, 288K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 434K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353658 02/18/20 01:53 PM
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hallstevenson Offline
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According to GM, your vehicle now uses Dexron VI.

Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: kschachn] #5353674 02/18/20 02:10 PM
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Trav Offline
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
GM owns the license on Dex 3 and has cancelled it and no longer licenses it anymore. They think the like water Dex 6 is good for all. Maybe it is, I still use Dex 3

The initial viscosity of DEXRON-III was higher yes, but it did shear down in use more than DEXRON-VI is allowed. Therefore in terms of shear stability DEXRON-VI is a superior fluid, as it is in every other aspect.


What about synthetic dex IIII like Amsoil ATF, its not shearing down like conventional fluid so it maintains the viscosity it was intended to have?
IMO Valvoline's argument that dex III shears down so their AMM fluid will at some point meet the spec of used dex III is ludicrous and totally misleading but hey if people want to buy that crap argument that's their business.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: Trav] #5353676 02/18/20 02:12 PM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by Trav
What about synthetic dex IIII like Amsoil ATF, its not shearing down like conventional fluid so it maintains the viscosity it was intended to have?
IMO Valvoline's argument that dex III shears down so their AMM fluid will at some point meet the spec of used dex III is ludicrous and totally misleading but hey if people want to buy that crap argument that's their business.

Why is it ludicrous? It is exactly what GM said about the licensing specification.

And shearing isn't about the base oil it is about the amount of VII in the ATF. No base oil shears.


1994 BMW 530i, 252K
1996 Honda Accord, 288K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 434K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353678 02/18/20 02:13 PM
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Snagglefoot Online Content
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Yep. Dex Merc is what you want. Check the reference to Dex III on the back of the bottle. There are other brands as well such as Castrol.


9E600F09-1A69-490E-BE72-B28F3680399B.jpegBBAEDC0F-0A21-40FA-9CFF-18E3EBF2C8D7.jpeg
Last edited by Snagglefoot; 02/18/20 02:22 PM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353683 02/18/20 02:20 PM
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Castrol version:

38DE9B85-6DF3-46AE-8E6D-2C3E9E2A3CDB.jpeg

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353685 02/18/20 02:21 PM
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bullwinkle Offline
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All the Dex III is going to say "meets or exceeds", not "licensed", GM quit licensing it a few years back. I haven't been brave enough to use Dex VI in an older Dex application, but I have used it in the PS system of the Mercury Grand Marquis in my sig, and the cold weather performance is far superior to the Mercon it called for. And it hasn't turned pitch black like the Mercon did either! welcome


06 Ram 3500 CTD 4X4(FG Venturi), 89 F-450 7.3, 98 XJ 4.0(XG8A), 05 xB(XG3600), 18 Transit 3.7, 03 Merc Grand Marquis 4.6 2V(XG2), 11 Express 3500 6.0 (various Baldwin for now)
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: kschachn] #5353687 02/18/20 02:25 PM
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Trav Offline
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by Trav
What about synthetic dex IIII like Amsoil ATF, its not shearing down like conventional fluid so it maintains the viscosity it was intended to have?
IMO Valvoline's argument that dex III shears down so their AMM fluid will at some point meet the spec of used dex III is ludicrous and totally misleading but hey if people want to buy that crap argument that's their business.

Why is it ludicrous? It is exactly what GM said about the licensing specification.

And shearing isn't about the base oil it is about the amount of VII in the ATF. No base oil shears.


Of course it ludicrous its like saying use 0w20 because at some point in time the 5w30 will shear down and it will be the same. Its crap man and we both know it.
Nuff said.


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: Trav] #5353693 02/18/20 02:34 PM
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I don't know what to tell you except repeat that improved shear stability is part of the GM specification for DEXRON-VI. Whether that is "nuff said" is up to you.

Motor oil is not quite the same as ATF since most ICE do not cause shearing like an AT will. It is an important property of the ATF just like oxidation resistance.


1994 BMW 530i, 252K
1996 Honda Accord, 288K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 434K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: kschachn] #5353701 02/18/20 02:57 PM
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Sayjac Offline
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Originally Posted by kschachn
Originally Posted by ragtoplvr
GM owns the license on Dex 3 and has cancelled it and no longer licenses it anymore. They think the like water Dex 6 is good for all. Maybe it is, I still use Dex 3

The initial viscosity of DEXRON-III was higher yes, but it did shear down in use more than DEXRON-VI is allowed. Therefore in terms of shear stability DEXRON-VI is a superior fluid, as it is in every other aspect.
Yep, and thus at least for GM they now recommend Dex VI for the old mineral based Dex III. Whether one chooses accept the GM rec, their call.

Mola posted a thread on the topic on the White Paper and Tech discussion board. For those interested in reading it's linked.*

Improvements in Dexron VI over Dexron III.

Re: What happened to licensed ATF clones? [Re: TimN3QE] #5353815 02/18/20 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TimN3QE
I recently got a "new to me" 1999 car and went out and got a new gallon of Transmax Dex/Merc after being a little confused why I couldn't find anything that was officially titled Dexron III anymore./quote]

I run a Dexron VI equivalent in my 1999 S-10 with V6 engine and the 60 series electronic transmission and it shifts perfectly with 210,000 miles on it.

There is no need to use obsolete ATF's in your transmission that requires a Dexron III formula..

[quote=TimN3QE]Was looking at old bottles of Wal-Mart brand Dexron III and other brands on the shelf in my garage that did say it was officially Dexron-III. In decades past it was extremely common to find store brand and name brand ATF that was officially approved Dexron-III and proudly said so on the bottle usually in really big type.


I would presume that this stuff had been approved as Dexron-III compatible and they licensed the Dexron-III name.


Back then it was officially licensed but no more. The officially licensed products today are Dexron VI and HP.

Originally Posted by TimN3QE
But today the verbiage is different. For example Transmax Dex/Merc. Nowhere on the bottle, front or back, does it say anything about Dexron III. (But it does say on the back that it's not compatible with Dexron IV).

In fact it seems likely that today that even GM dealers don't have anything that is officially Dexron III.


True, because there is no longer an officially licensed Dexron III-H. Dexron III-H licenses expired eons ago.

Originally Posted by TimN3QE
Is this some new legalistic marketing, or all the oil companies got fed up with officially licensing the name, or is it because of the preponderence of "multi-vehicle" ATF today?


Nothing to do with legalities at all.

Some time ago Valvoline and Lubrizol embarked on a development project in an attempt to develop a Multi-Vehicle ATF with a set of specific friction modifiers that would cover most of the vehicle AT's that the old Dex III-H/Mercon fluids covered.

After a lot of testing in various transmissions Lubrizol came up with an overall formulation using their additive packages (Lubrizol® 9683, 9684) and Group III, IV, and V base oils and it seems they had a fluid that would cover about 98-99% of all transmissions on the market.

The other 2% or so they DO NOT meet chemistry-wise is Chrysler's ATF+4 and Honda's Z-1/DW-1 ATF's.

Last edited by MolaKule; 02/20/20 12:23 AM.

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