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IMO if MaxLife ain't working for your unique situation just proceed to use the next higher VI transmission oil and report back with your success or not. If you got an impending transmission issue this may confirm it without going into the trans. (edit for spelling)
I like this option... as long as the fluid claims to be DW-1 compliant (whatever that actually means since they don't license like GM Dex VI or Chrysler ATF+4) and you stick with a name brand you can play with higher and lower viscosity to see how it affects the transmission and report back.
 

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Used Max Life in my old 07 Saturn Vue with the Honda 5speed and it shifted flawlessly for over 100k miles. I also use it in my 08 Corolla with with the same results.
I decided to use it in my 16 EXL as it was overdue for a flush and I was installing a cooler a anyway. Did a drain and fill x3 and everything is working as expected and the shifting seems a bit crisper than before. The old fluid was really dark after 50k miles and was probably the original DW1 .
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Sorry you feel that way, someone needs to be totally honest with you. You bought a vehicle with frame damage on the passenger side, broken front engine mount along with god knows what else we can’t see. The insurance company would have never had totaled it, if the vehicle was not totaled. I guarantee if you were to poll the members on this forum, they would never do what you did and put their family in this vehicle.
If you feel you got a great deal and this works for you ,than good for you. I don‘t believe any one is going to convince you otherwise. Honda Pilots are not known for shift shock period, especially ones that were not declared totaled.
You really don't know what your talking about. The frame is not bent. The radiator core support was. Body shops replace them all the time. Insurance companies write vehicles off because the labor to fix + parts is not within their guidelines. Then they have the fear of the customer rejecting the repair. This was a big job I spread out over 4 months.
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Discussion Starter #24
Used Max Life in my old 07 Saturn Vue with the Honda 5speed and it shifted flawlessly for over 100k miles. I also use it in my 08 Corolla with with the same results.
I decided to use it in my 16 EXL as it was overdue for a flush and I was installing a cooler a anyway. Did a drain and fill x3 and everything is working as expected and the shifting seems a bit crisper than before. The old fluid was really dark after 50k miles and was probably the original DW1 .
My 5 speeds on MaxLife are flawless as well.
Crisper (6-speed) is a good word. This is the kind of info I'm asking for. Thank you for your input.
 

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You really don't know what your talking about. The frame is not bent. The radiator core support was. Body shops replace them all the time. Insurance companies write vehicles off because the labor to fix + parts is not within their guidelines. Then they have the fear of the customer rejecting the repair. This was a big job I spread out over 4 months. View attachment 135150 View attachment 135151
You’re right, it‘s your game. Best of luck
 

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Discussion Starter #26
I guarantee if you were to poll the members on this forum, they would never do what you did and put their family in this vehicle.
I wouldn't expect a poll to be on my side. But I have lots of folks that have been in it and appreciate the work I've put into it.
What I do know is that I have been all over this vehicle and have zero fears of risking my family's lives. The alignment was perfect and no adjustment was needed when I had the tires installed. It was also inspected for its road worthiness. Please stop.
 

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Since you asked if anyone else was using MaxLife ATF in their 6 speed, I would like to somewhat answer your question.

MaxLife says on the bottle that it is RECOMMENDED for use where DW-1 is called for. It doesn't say it is Honda approved as a replacement for DW-1. It is Valvoline themselves who are recommending it. They also are NOT giving any type of warranty if it causes damage or other problems. There was a recent discussion about this over on an oil forum (BITOG) with postings from someone who confirmed with Valvoline that there is no warranty!

Now I see that MaxLife is also being recommended for use (again by Valvoline only) as a replacement for the 9 speed transmission fluid Honda 3.1 This is a very different fluid than Dw-1 yet Valvoline is saying their MaxLife will work where DW-1 or 3.1 is used.

I will stick with the 3.1 in my Touring and would stick with the DW-1 if I had a 6 speed. For those who use the MaxLife with no problems, glad to hear it and hope it continues to work well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Since you asked if anyone else was using MaxLife ATF in their 6 speed, I would like to somewhat answer your question.

MaxLife says on the bottle that it is RECOMMENDED for use where DW-1 is called for. It doesn't say it is Honda approved as a replacement for DW-1. It is Valvoline themselves who are recommending it. They also are NOT giving any type of warranty if it causes damage or other problems. There was a recent discussion about this over on an oil forum (BITOG) with postings from someone who confirmed with Valvoline that there is no warranty!

Now I see that MaxLife is also being recommended for use (again by Valvoline only) as a replacement for the 9 speed transmission fluid Honda 3.1 This is a very different fluid than Dw-1 yet Valvoline is saying their MaxLife will work where DW-1 or 3.1 is used.

I will stick with the 3.1 in my Touring and would stick with the DW-1 if I had a 6 speed. For those who use the MaxLife with no problems, glad to hear it and hope it continues to work well for you.
If your DW-1 looked like this black puke after 19k, and you had plans to keep your vehicle for 200k+, you might not be saying what your saying about DW-1.
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I bought this vehicle at a salvage auction with 19k miles. I rebuilt it and installed a factory cooler when I discovered that Honda, in all their infinite wisdom, decided to go against all their previous knowledge on the subject and left out cooling the ATF. After putting it on the road, it had some bad transmission symtoms. I never dreamed the fluid was bad at this milage. When I drained it, the DW-1 was black. Yes, heat was certainly an issue. I did a 1 x drain and fill with DW-1 with no improvement. So I did a 3 x drain and fill with MaxLife. After the 1st drain and fill with MaxLife I saw an improvement (no more slipping and shuddering), so I did it 2 more times. I've been monitoring my transmission operating temps with no issues so far. So for this thread, I'm trying to specifically talk about "shift shock." MaxLife may have the additive package to prevent wear, but I'm questioning the low viscosity index of 156 as the cause of some shift shock. Non-synthetic fluid like DW-1 is a ridiculously high viscosity in the 250s. Thick burnt ATF syrup = slipping and shuddering.
You purchased a car at salvage auction. Do you think it is perhaps possible that the transmission issue and burnt fluid is possibly due to possible prior misuse/abuse? There is a reason warranties and complimentary service campaigns do not apply to salvage title vehicles. The fact that the car was at auction makes it questionable to draw any conclusions about the adequacy of one fluid compared to another in your car. Pick a spec fluid, change it on schedule and keep your fingers crossed.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
You purchased a car at salvage auction. Do you think it is perhaps possible that the transmission issue and burnt fluid is possibly due to possible prior misuse/abuse? There is a reason warranties and complimentary service campaigns do not apply to salvage title vehicles. The fact that the car was at auction makes it questionable to draw any conclusions about the adequacy of one fluid compared to another in your car. Pick a spec fluid, change it on schedule and keep your fingers crossed.
The vehicle was at auction because it was wrecked. Not because there were transmission issues. The abuse was neglect. But I don't fault the previous owner as much as I do Honda. If I bought a new car, I'd expect to go more than 19k miles before needing my transmission serviced. The point is moot.
Yes, I knew before hand that there are no warranties buying salvage. It's reflected in the price you pay. As a rule, you never want to pay more than 1/3 of the total value. (Do your research, VIN, service records, carfax, etc) That gives you plenty of room for unseen issues. Like if you needed to replace a transmission. I also have the ability to put the vehicle back up for auction. It's not all doom and gloom. Regardless, at this point, my intention is to keep the vehicle and put 200k miles on it. I don't feel Any less a Honda Pilot owner as the guy who paid 40k for his.
This thread was made to talk about shift shock with the use of MaxLife. Using MaxLife at the moment with the instalation of a transmission cooler is saving this transmission.
 

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I poured Maxlife (or Valvoline ATF as it's called in Europe) in my 6 speed when changing transmission oil. I only changed fluid once, and didn't flush 3 times, so I have a bit over half Maxlife and the rest DW-1 now. Gear changes are a bit quicker but at the same time actually smoother and I've also experienced that it sometimes stay a bit longer in a lower gear before changing. Especially in 5th when going uphill at say 60 mph. Even after it levels out, it stays in 5th for a bit longer than I'm expecting.
 

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Kudos to Ms NG for tolerating such a big repair as I'm sure mine would have left town...lol. Great to see the before+after pics of a vehicle thats repaired and put back into service. Everyone has made some valid points but this thread could unlock some information on good or superior substitutes for DW-1.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I poured Maxlife (or Valvoline ATF as it's called in Europe) in my 6 speed when changing transmission oil. I only changed fluid once, and didn't flush 3 times, so I have a bit over half Maxlife and the rest DW-1 now. Gear changes are a bit quicker but at the same time actually smoother and I've also experienced that it sometimes stay a bit longer in a lower gear before changing. Especially in 5th when going uphill at say 60 mph. Even after it levels out, it stays in 5th for a bit longer than I'm expecting.
Ok, I'm not crazy then.
Now comes the question of who's going to be the guinea pig to test a higher viscosity synthetic ATF Fluid. Lol
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Discussion Starter #35
MaxLife is 156.
Some higher Viscosity Index Full Synthetics claiming to be ok for use as DW-1 alternatives
Schaeffer (180)
Amalie/Wolf's Head (180)
Motul (185)
Mag1 full syn (196)

Ravenol (made in Germany) claims to make a synthetic DW-1 but doesn't publish their specs.
 

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Some specs of DW1
Vis index 255, viscosity @40C 25.09, @100C 6.835
MaxLife
Vis index 156, viscosity @40C 28.82, @100C 5.91
Z1 has a Vis index of 215.5 and DW1 is the replacement for that.
If you look at the viscosities @40C (104F) you will notice that Maxlife is more viscous at lower temps then thins out a little faster than DW1 @ 212F.
I would think that most of the time the transmission oil will be somewhere between those temps and the VI's will be much closer at normal operating temp. especially when you are using a transmission cooler.
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Not me. I have a 20 liter container with Maxlife in the garage. I have planned to change transmission oil every year while changing engine oil, so I have enough for 5, maybe 6 more changes :).
Some specs of DW1
Vis index 255, viscosity @40C 25.09, @100C 6.835
MaxLife
Vis index 156, viscosity @40C 28.82, @100C 5.91
Z1 has a Vis index of 215.5 and DW1 is the replacement for that.
If you look at the viscosities @40C (104F) you will notice that Maxlife is more viscous at lower temps then thins out a little faster than DW1 @ 212F.
I would think that most of the time the transmission oil will be somewhere between those temps and the VI's will be much closer at normal operating temp. especially when you are using a transmission cooler.
Yes, this summer I plan to be monitoring those temps. Hopefully they will not go over 200° with trans cooler.
 

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This is very interesting and I'm curious to see long term results. I'm scared of using anything other than DW1 in my Pilot and CRV. Following this thread will definitely give me some insight on aftermarket fluid, though I probably will stick with DW1 since I haven't had any problems with the CRV (89,700 miles) or my Pilot (13,100 miles). Keep us updated with long term results and good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
This is very interesting and I'm curious to see long term results. I'm scared of using anything other than DW1 in my Pilot and CRV. Following this thread will definitely give me some insight on aftermarket fluid, though I probably will stick with DW1 since I haven't had any problems with the CRV (89,700 miles) or my Pilot (13,100 miles). Keep us updated with long term results and good luck!
If your Pilot is still under waranty, yes, stick to DW-1. If you do a lot of stop and go driving, I'd do a drain and fill every other oil change.
What year model is your CRV?
 

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If your Pilot is still under waranty, yes, stick to DW-1. If you do a lot of stop and go driving, I'd do a drain and fill every other oil change.
What year model is your CRV?
I plan to change the fluid every 30k miles like I have in my CRV (2013 MY).


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