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Do-It-Yourself H.Q.
Share your DIY projects or ask questions about how to fix something on your own. Help fellow Bimmerfest members improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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  #151  
Old 05-05-2009, 06:54 AM
mugsy77 mugsy77 is offline
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A response from Vavoline, for those who may encounter the same question I had which had been answered more or less in the past.

In regards to having some Esso 71141 left in the torque converter and mixing with Mercon V.

"Sure, the Mercon V product is 100% compatible with the BMW LT71141 specification for mixing or completely replacing the fluids. You may add this product to the transmission with no problems."

In regards to MaxLife vs Mercon V with 91k miles on my car and should I move to MaxLife?

"Either product will work for the BMW LT71141 specification. The MaxLife Dex/Merc product is a full synthetic and would be the highest recommended, but to answer your prior question, the Mercon V also will meet the specs."



So let me make some statements and see what you folks think as I want to get this straight. Regarding mixing 1-2 quarts of Esso torque conv oil:

1.) It's safe to say that going from Esso 71141 to either Mercon V or MaxLife is a safe and efficient bet for my 5HP19.

2.) What is the price comparison on those using Red Line ATF or Royal Purple ATF and doing a 3 stage flush to make sure all of the OEM fluid is exchanged vs going to BMW and them doing theirs for $400 and only needing a one time flush?

Thanks for your time and assistance.[/B]

Last edited by mugsy77; 05-05-2009 at 06:57 AM.
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  #152  
Old 05-05-2009, 06:59 AM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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From all of my extensive research on this subject for about 4-5 months, on all BMW boards, and lubrication-specific boards:

- MaxLife is not only compatible, but can be mixed with the OEM ESSO fluid. I did it as well.
- Besides MaxLife for shorter interval use (change every other year), the Amsoil Universal ATF is the only other fluid I would ever use, and it would of course allow for longer drain invertals.

I went the MaxLife route and have about 20K miles since the switch. Everything still perfect
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  #153  
Old 05-05-2009, 07:36 AM
mugsy77 mugsy77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
- MaxLife is not only compatible, but can be mixed with the OEM ESSO fluid. I did it as well.
I'll move to MaxLife. Quick question, with less then 100 miles on Mercon V, is it recommended to replace the oil filter and gasket again? My guess is yes. Thanks again.
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  #154  
Old 05-05-2009, 07:53 AM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsy77 View Post
I'll move to MaxLife. Quick question, with less then 100 miles on Mercon V, is it recommended to replace the oil filter and gasket again? My guess is yes. Thanks again.
I definitely recommend the following steps:

- change filter, gasket, and fluid
- drive for a short while (50-100 miles)
- change filter, gasket, and fluid again
- then you can wait a year or so to do the next fluid change (no need to change filter just yet).
- change the filter at every other fluid change.
- You can extend the intervals with the use of the Amsoil ATF Synthetic, but MaxLife is easy to buy locally, and doing the fluid change every other year is easy enough

The goal of the second filter change is to catch and get rid off any debris that became loose with the first new fluid/filter change. I seen this advice being given time and time again, so I did it, and I recommend that others do it as well.

In fact, I am about due any time now to do my fluid change, and I will once again take a fluid sample to send for analysis.

Will
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  #155  
Old 05-05-2009, 08:05 AM
mugsy77 mugsy77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
I definitely recommend the following steps:

- change filter, gasket, and fluid
- drive for a short while (50-100 miles)
- change filter, gasket, and fluid again

Will
Will, thanks so much for the quick response and pointing me in the right direction.

Being as I replaced the ATF with Merc V 100 miles ago, as well as gasket and filter, is it safe to say when I replace the ATF again (but with MaxLife this time), this is the last time for about a year or so on this filter? Thanks, sir!
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  #156  
Old 05-05-2009, 08:45 AM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mugsy77 View Post
Will, thanks so much for the quick response and pointing me in the right direction.

Being as I replaced the ATF with Merc V 100 miles ago, as well as gasket and filter, is it safe to say when I replace the ATF again (but with MaxLife this time), this is the last time for about a year or so on this filter? Thanks, sir!
I don't know what you did before putting the Merc V 100 miles agao, so I have to make assumptions.

Assuming that the Merc V change was the first time you have done the filter change on this auto tranny, then when you go replace the fluid again with MaxLife, I would change the filter/gasket one more time along with the new MaxLife, and then wait for at least a year or 18 months before changing just the fluid again.

Basically I still strongly believe in the two back-to-back initial filter changes:
- first filter change
- drive for a while on new fluid/filter
- change filter/fluid again
- then wait a while before messing with it again

Will
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  #157  
Old 05-05-2009, 08:54 AM
mugsy77 mugsy77 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
I don't know what you did before putting the Merc V 100 miles agao, so I have to make assumptions.

Assuming that the Merc V change was the first time you have done the filter change on this auto tranny, then when you go replace the fluid again with MaxLife, I would change the filter/gasket one more time along with the new MaxLife, and then wait for at least a year or 18 months before changing just the fluid again.

Basically I still strongly believe in the two back-to-back initial filter changes:
- first filter change
- drive for a while on new fluid/filter
- change filter/fluid again
- then wait a while before messing with it again

Will
Very logical. Thanks! The flush I did with Merc V 100 miles ago was the first I had worked on this tranny and I imagine anyone has, as I am the third owner. I'll be flushing it and putting in MaxLife based on your input.

Thanks for the clarification and the time. You've been a great help!
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  #158  
Old 05-05-2009, 11:15 AM
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Question: is there any way to drain the fluid in the torque converter, or is it a sealed unit? I know some transmissions (non-BMW) have a drain bolt on the torque converter.
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  #159  
Old 06-21-2009, 11:40 AM
jaydeep jaydeep is offline
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I am thinking to change ATF in my 1999 323I. I have GM A5S360R tranny. Can I use Valvoline MaxLife?

Last edited by jaydeep; 06-21-2009 at 12:02 PM.
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  #160  
Old 08-14-2009, 02:11 PM
mikem2 mikem2 is offline
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I have a 2003 325xi and 76K miles on it now. Was thinking of changing the ATF fluid. After reading this thread, yeah I could do it, but going to pass doing it myself. I live in Boston, MA and does anyone know of good mechanic who can do this. I would like someone whos about bmw's.
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  #161  
Old 08-28-2009, 12:40 PM
Bukarts Bukarts is offline
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HuH

It was much easier for me! My AT broke down so there was a need of compleat remove! Now I am waiting till the mechanic will find the propper part needed. Dont know how is it named in english The round thing attached to AT , the one which is attached to flier
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  #162  
Old 10-13-2009, 09:18 PM
blurin03 blurin03 is offline
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Update:
I completed this DUI in Dec. '07 with Valvoline MaxLife at 80k miles. I estimated I changed out about 75% of the fluid.
Now have about 101K. Trany still working fine (knock on wood), thinking of changing it again.
The only thing I can say is that we have noticed is the transmission holds upshifting just slightly longer than it did before the change. Not a big difference, just a slight difference.
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  #163  
Old 10-14-2009, 08:21 PM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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By the way, I just recently completed a 3rd service, and also got another fluid analysis. Here is a summary of everything:

Summary: Over two years ago I did a lot of research on the so called "Lifetime" Fluid claims by BMW and dealers, especially as it relates to the AFT fluid in out trannys. After reading all of the objective data, I decided to ignore the Boggie Man stories about the tranny self-destructing if using anything other than the ESSO fluid, and put my money/car where my mouth was and switched to Valvoline MaxLIFE AFT fluid. After two years and more than 20K miles of actual daily use, the results has been outstanding, and I definitely recommend others switching to the Valvoline, the sooner the better.

Fluid change #1: Sample of the original/OEM fluid with 87,911 miles was collected during my first ATF service, which involved fluid change and filter change.
Fluid Analysis: Fluid was extremely aggressive, with heavy amounts of metal. Definitely not good for the longevity of the transmission.
First Service


Fluid change #2: After 1154 miles on new fluid/filter, I did another full service and change filter, fluid, and clean up the magnets again.
Fluid Analysis: Dramatic reduction in the damaging metal particles in the fluid. Definitely a great improvement, but only short term. More longer term data was needed.
Service #2

Fluid change #3: After almost exactly two years and 26, 143 miles of actual/daily use, I decided to do a fluid service (just emphty and refill pan with fresh ATF fluid). I took another sample to be analized – this would be the real valuable data point: was/is Valvoline MaxLIFE good on a long term basis?
Service #3


I just got back the analysis of that fluid with 26K miles on it:
AFT Fluid Analysis #3


As you can see in the area with the brackets, the metals remain low (compared to the fluid with just 1154 miles in service) and still dramatically lower than the original/OEM (so called Lifetime fluid). As you can read on the note from the lab, the fluid is in fact working properly, and the chemical analysis still shows the fluid in good shape after two years of service.


Conclusions:
1)There is no such thing as “Lifetime Fluid” for our automatic transmissions. Only regular ATF/fluid service will allow the tranny to work for many years, and the earlier you start, the better ***61514;
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.
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  #164  
Old 10-14-2009, 08:52 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.

Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.
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  #165  
Old 10-14-2009, 09:08 PM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.
If you click on the link above to "AFT Fluid Analysis #3" you will get the PDF of the flluid analysis, which has all previous analysis data points as well.

Will
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  #166  
Old 10-14-2009, 09:17 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
If you click on the link above to "AFT Fluid Analysis #3" you will get the PDF of the flluid analysis, which has all previous analysis data points as well.

Will
Haha, thanks Will for the "Ninja links", I thought those were topic headers. Sorry!

One other question, does the $22+ charge at Blackstone allow you unlimited analysis or only 2?
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  #167  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:09 AM
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m5james m5james is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwm3coupe View Post
By the way, I just recently completed a 3rd service, and also got another fluid analysis. Here is a summary of everything:

Summary: Over two years ago I did a lot of research on the so called "Lifetime" Fluid claims by BMW and dealers, especially as it relates to the AFT fluid in out trannys. After reading all of the objective data, I decided to ignore the Boggie Man stories about the tranny self-destructing if using anything other than the ESSO fluid, and put my money/car where my mouth was and switched to Valvoline MaxLIFE AFT fluid. After two years and more than 20K miles of actual daily use, the results has been outstanding, and I definitely recommend others switching to the Valvoline, the sooner the better.

Fluid change #1: Sample of the original/OEM fluid with 87,911 miles was collected during my first ATF service, which involved fluid change and filter change.
Fluid Analysis: Fluid was extremely aggressive, with heavy amounts of metal. Definitely not good for the longevity of the transmission.
First Service


Fluid change #2: After 1154 miles on new fluid/filter, I did another full service and change filter, fluid, and clean up the magnets again.
Fluid Analysis: Dramatic reduction in the damaging metal particles in the fluid. Definitely a great improvement, but only short term. More longer term data was needed.
Service #2

Fluid change #3: After almost exactly two years and 26, 143 miles of actual/daily use, I decided to do a fluid service (just emphty and refill pan with fresh ATF fluid). I took another sample to be analized – this would be the real valuable data point: was/is Valvoline MaxLIFE good on a long term basis?
Service #3


I just got back the analysis of that fluid with 26K miles on it:
AFT Fluid Analysis #3


As you can see in the area with the brackets, the metals remain low (compared to the fluid with just 1154 miles in service) and still dramatically lower than the original/OEM (so called Lifetime fluid). As you can read on the note from the lab, the fluid is in fact working properly, and the chemical analysis still shows the fluid in good shape after two years of service.


Conclusions:
1)There is no such thing as “Lifetime Fluid” for our automatic transmissions. Only regular ATF/fluid service will allow the tranny to work for many years, and the earlier you start, the better ***61514;
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.
On one of your posts over in Roadfly, you said something about disconnecting the lines. Is that supposed to give you a better drain of the system? I've done tranny fuild changes on two 7's using Castrol Import, but it was only a drain and fill on one and tried draining what I could from the torque converter on the other. I still need to do my X5 since it's almost at 90k.
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PERFORMANCE:///M5 6spd conv., Iron sleeves, L/W Teflon coated pistons, 3 angle valvejob, P&P head, cams, electric fan, CF intake tube w/aluminum heatshield, Magnaflow 14816'd
INTERIOR:
Hardwired V1 above rearview, 12" RE Audio DVC sub, MTX 81000D, silver trim, 5% tint
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  #168  
Old 10-15-2009, 11:11 AM
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m5james m5james is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.
Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that all ATF fluids that we had the option of putting in these cars is synthetic. What are the pros and cons of using synthetic vs mineral based in the transmission?
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325hp 98 740iL, black/black - Eatin 540's & $hittin 318's
PERFORMANCE:///M5 6spd conv., Iron sleeves, L/W Teflon coated pistons, 3 angle valvejob, P&P head, cams, electric fan, CF intake tube w/aluminum heatshield, Magnaflow 14816'd
INTERIOR:
Hardwired V1 above rearview, 12" RE Audio DVC sub, MTX 81000D, silver trim, 5% tint
EXTERIOR:19" Beyern Mesh staggered, Shadowline kidneys, Axxis pads
01 X5 4.4 - F90BT, L5
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  #169  
Old 10-16-2009, 05:54 PM
dvsgene dvsgene is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5james View Post
Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that all ATF fluids that we had the option of putting in these cars is synthetic. What are the pros and cons of using synthetic vs mineral based in the transmission?

I'm pretty sure because if you go to Catrol's website and click the choices of ATF fluids the only one described as Premium synthetic blend is Castrol DEXRON®–VI ATF. Given synthetic is a selling point nowadays, I would think Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle would be described in a similar fashion but is is not.

While this is not conclusive, I called Castrol and the receptionist said it was dino based. However, I am not sure the receptionist really knew the difference as I asked for the technical dept and got bounced around.

Whereas if you go to Valvoline and read the second line of Maxlife, you see:

"Long-life friction modifiers and premium base oils help improve smooth shifting, eliminate slippage and shudder, prevent clutch wear and improve drivability longer than conventional fluids" which I take as synthetic blend.

The advantage, like any synthetic would be extended drain intervals and better viscosity in lower temperatures.

Last edited by dvsgene; 10-16-2009 at 10:26 PM.
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  #170  
Old 10-17-2009, 01:58 PM
denvermgb denvermgb is offline
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Does anyone know if the auto tranny in my '04 X-3 would be similar to the 3 series in this discussion for the fluid change? Also, will the Max Life be suitable as well?

Thanks in advance.
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  #171  
Old 11-23-2009, 01:10 PM
Tallguy511 Tallguy511 is offline
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2004 325 xi Just completed this operation

We just did a friends 2004 325 xi with about 120,000 miles on it. Pretty sure this was first change of filter and fluid. All these writeups were a HUGE help. We used VIN number and got the right filter and gasket from dealer in kit, along with all new pan bolts. This vehicle has the GM transmission. Draining and pan removal was very straightforward. Removal of old filter also not too difficult. HUGE tip in earlier posts about getting the seals out of trans that come on the new filter. Removing old filter did in fact leave the two orange seals in the transmission, could feel them and got them out. Had trusty assistant (car owner) clean pan which had magnet covered in a grey mud. We reassembled without difficulty. We measured exactly 4 quarts being removed and had 4 liters of replacement oil of the special type needed. Pumping it in was the biggest challenge. There were some losses lets say and after we had put it all in it still was not overflowing the fill plug. Worried we buttoned it up, drove back to Import part store, got another two liters and went to friendly oil quick change shop who helped us pump another 3/4 liter in. BMW dealer quoted about $400. We did it in about 2.5 hrs for less than $200. Not particularly difficult to do, but messy without a good fluid pump and hearty assistent.
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  #172  
Old 02-06-2010, 09:51 AM
Larry F. Larry F. is offline
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Thanks!

Great original writeup, and following dialogue. This deserves a bump!

Thanks again, Larry F.
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  #173  
Old 02-10-2010, 07:24 AM
Torquewrench Torquewrench is offline
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Larry, thanks, I appreciate that, let me know if I can help.

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  #174  
Old 02-16-2010, 10:01 AM
jllnet jllnet is offline
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Smile

Very helpfull write-up.

I just did my filter/fluid change over the weekend and let me tell you that in my case it did make a difference, smoother shifting for sure ! I got the fluid part number from the bottom of the pan and got the fluid and filter kit directly from a local BMW dealer.

I can say that the most difficult tasks were (1) getting the 4 jacks all line up, (2) removing the filler screw for which I used a T40 Torx Allent-type L shape because there is no room for a socket wrench, and (3) removing the old plastic O ring which are left behind when the old filter is removed. Other than that it was a breeze !

I followed all the instructions, taking the time, getting ready, and I thought that after warming up the transmissiong fluid it was going to be a shooting of hot fluid coming out of the filler plug, but it wasn't the case, once it is filled, it just overflow slowly. Make sure that you only slightly hand tight the screw for the 2nd check. (use surgeon, non slip gloves, .99 cents at CVS)

Cautions: making sure to have enough clearance, and place a wide plastic sheet on the floor if you care.
And the heat from the engine is not too bad as long as you are carefull, no major hazard. And the oil pump from pepboys ($12) is a must to make it very easy.

Other that it was fairly simple job even for me doing it for the first time !
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  #175  
Old 03-06-2010, 08:58 AM
pohsib pohsib is offline
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Esso vt71141

Hey guys,

I tried to find info from Valvoline's site on Maxlife and Mercon V but in none of the PDF's does it say that the oils are compatible with Esso VT77141.

http://www.valvoline.com/products/co...ssion-fluid/37
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