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Discussion Starter #21
Well, yes and no. The fluid needs be at operating temperature and since it runs thru the cooler which is inside the radiator if the coolant is up to temp and the fans have cycled a few times, the fluid should be to temp too. I try to keep things simple in my writeups because not everyone has a garage full of tools. I do and I have a laser temp gun
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After the fans cycled a few times I shot the transmission housing.... it read 160 degrees which is about at the bottom of the acceptable range to set the fluid level. I dont know the exact expansion rate for ATF, but adding another 10 degrees or so isnt going to add any significant volume to it. As for the level itself, you need to first level the vehicle. Close counts, and I'll explain why. The inside of a transmission is a very dynamic place. Driving up hill, down hill, cornering, acceleration and braking has the "fluid level" going all over the place. It's not like a stationary generator where the fluid level is rock solid. If you get the fluid temp up, and the car basically level, then when you set the fluid level at the "level" hole, your right there in the ball park.

0.25 quarts high or 0.25 quarts low makes no difference and that's a 0.5 quart spread.I drained out 5.5 quarts from the factory fill. Then put 6 quarts in, let it get warm, and when I pulled the fluid level plug 0.5 quarts came out, as was expected. You do not want the tranny over or under filled.... but thats hard to do if you follow these simple quidelines.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I agree the factory Dex6 is a crappy fluid, but I would still be looking at a Dex6 approved product UNLESS your dealer AND/OR Mobil1 both tell you this is Dex6 approved. Just my opinion, I tend to be cautious.
I tend to be cautious too, especially when a vehicle is under warranty. I looked at all the fluid specs again, and my "go to" Valvoline Synthetic Dex VI states it has specific anti shudder additives.Maybe it's true? Maybe it's marketing? Who knows but it's a licensed Dex VI to keep the warranty happy and has anti shudder qualities to keep me happy so I'm going to stick with this... UNLESS, this thing shudders one time, and then I'm going with the Mobil 1 !!
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Why use a non-contact thermometer when the transmission temperature is right on the dash display? Seems using the display temp would be more precise. Also, do you have a shop manual for the vehicle or are you just going off previous vehicle experience? I ask because my Outback actually has a range for the temp to be in and it will go over the range if left to idle. A good but if oil come out of that transmission if it gets too hot.
 

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This is from a GM bulletin. It's all I need to know to swap out the DEX VI before problems arise. View attachment 8976
That's fair enough if this is enough evidence for you, I just feel I have to point out again that the document ONLY applies specifically to 8L transmissions, use of it in 6L, 6T or 9T transmissions is not specifically addressed in the document. I just want to lay all of the evidence on the table for people to make their own decisions with the most information that we can provide. Please don't take this as argumentative because it's not meant to be, in the time you've been on this forum you've contributed a lot of great information, this could potentially be a part of that for some users.
 

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I tend to be cautious too, especially when a vehicle is under warranty. I looked at all the fluid specs again, and my "go to" Valvoline Synthetic Dex VI states it has specific anti shudder additives.Maybe it's true? Maybe it's marketing? Who knows but it's a licensed Dex VI to keep the warranty happy and has anti shudder qualities to keep me happy so I'm going to stick with this... UNLESS, this thing shudders one time, and then I'm going with the Mobil 1 !!
View attachment 8980
Excuse part of my prior post, this new forum format messes me up so I didn't see this post.

I use the Valvoline Dex6 as well, I'd like to use the M1 Dex6 but it's not a full synthetic. I suppose if my transmission was behaving poorly with the Valvoline in it than I would certainly consider using an alternate fluid as you suggested to see if I can put off a rebuild as long as possible.

Why use a non-contact thermometer when the transmission temperature is right on the dash display? Seems using the display temp would be more precise. Also, do you have a shop manual for the vehicle or are you just going off previous vehicle experience? I ask because my Outback actually has a range for the temp to be in and it will go over the range if left to idle. A good but if oil come out of that transmission if it gets too hot.
1st gens don't have the trans temp display, only the lucky 2nd gen owners.
 

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I thought this how-to is specifically for the 2nd gens, the only version with the 9 speed. Since all 2nd gens have the transmission temp displayed, there's no reason to use some other thermometer.

Do you have the service manual or is this just your experience with other transmissions?
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Why use a non-contact thermometer when the transmission temperature is right on the dash display?
My 2020 3LT even though it has the tow package, it does not have a trans temp gauge. It only comes on the higher trim levels, which seems really dumb.
 

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AlisoBob - you have encouraged me to service my transmission (once the weather breaks). I have a 2019 with 14,000 miles. Have a couple questions:

  • The trans fluid fill plug. Looks like it is below the battery area? Is it just a twist plug or a threaded plug?
  • Your personal recommendation is to use Valvoline Synthetic Dex VI and not Mobil 1 synthetic lv atf hp?
Thanks
Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Yes, the Fill Plug sits below the battery and simply unscrews. With the engine cover removed, that long funnel is the perfect shape and length to reach it.
Yes, I like that Valvoline synthetic Dex VI after reviewing the specs of several brands but any licensed Dex VI product will work.
Good job on deciding to service your tranny. It will thank you !
 

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My 2020 3LT even though it has the tow package, it does not have a trans temp gauge. It only comes on the higher trim levels, which seems really dumb.
Is that a change made for the 2020 refresh? The 2018 and 2019 models have transmission temperature as something you can monitor from the digital dash display.
 

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I see in the service manual thread that you did get one. Does that manual just say to reach operating temperature or does it give a temp range for checking transmission oil level? Thanks.
 

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I dont have the manual in front of me. It was a range, like 150 to 170 degrees.
Would you mind posting or sending me the temp range when you get a chance? I would like to do this in the near future and figure it is super easy to follow the recommended temp range in the 2018/2019 versions. Thank you.
 

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Ive been using Valvoline Dexron VI (Full Syn)- ever since I started doing my transmission drain and refills (On my 2010).
I was not aware it had anti-shudder additives. (then again I wasnt looking for it on the spec sheet).
Im about to hit 157,000 and have never felt a shudder.... knock on wood.

By the way- NAPA branded Dexron VI is about $1 cheaper--- but last I looked- was made by Valvoline.
 

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Discussion Starter #36 (Edited)

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More reasons to service your transmission. It seems a fair number of GM 6, 8 and 9 speed transmissions are suffering from transmission or torque converter shudder. The GM "fix" is to flush out all the crappy Dex VI we've been discussing and putting in Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ( Low Viscosity) ATF.
Thanks for posting this. We just got back from a 3K mile (well, actually 2951.5 miles, but who's counting?) road trip to North Carolina and back. Several times today, when starting and at low speeds, I thought I felt a "shuddering" in the acceleration. We had that in our 2012 Camaro and it required a torque converter replacement. With your input, I guess I'm going to need to take it back to the dealer; I'll need to confirm that it is recurring and that I can duplicate it; then to the dealer.

PS--AlisoBob--Would you mind posting the complete bulletin, with bulletin number, that addresses this issue. I'd like to be able to take it with me when I go to dealer service department. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
On most cars, one way to identify torque converter shudders is to lightly touch the brake pedal when the shudder is occurring. If the shudder stops , then the problem is the torque converter clutches. Whenever the operating system sees the brake being applied, it will release the torque converter lock up clutches. Transmission liquid has friction modifiers in it to help avoid shudder. Time, mileage, and heat make the additives in auto transmission fluid become depleted. Without these additives, clutches may wear and shudder may result. There is no reason NOT to service your transmission regularly. I plan on doing mine every 40k or so. 6 quarts x $8 is pretty cheap insurance against shudder problems, that you know will happen right after the warranty expires!
 
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