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Hi friends. I know this topic has been mentioned quite a bit. But I haven’t seen anyone clarify if you have to do multiple D&F the first time you switch.
My transmission gives just a slight stuttering when in the higher gears. I’m thinking of switching to the valvoline full synthetic ATF. But I’m curious. Can I just do one drain and fill now. And then again at the next scheduled maintenance. And so on and so forth? Or is it best to do 3-4 d&f all at once the first time?

thanks in advance for the help!!!
 

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One drain and refill is all that’s needed.
 

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Hi friends. I know this topic has been mentioned quite a bit. But I haven’t seen anyone clarify if you have to do multiple D&F the first time you switch.
My transmission gives just a slight stuttering when in the higher gears. I’m thinking of switching to the valvoline full synthetic ATF. But I’m curious. Can I just do one drain and fill now. And then again at the next scheduled maintenance. And so on and so forth? Or is it best to do 3-4 d&f all at once the first time?

thanks in advance for the help!!!
I had a slight stutter somewhere in the DT as well. I did 3 d&rs per the dealer's suggestion using Honda ATF and a transmission sw update. No change.

Came here and was convinced to try Valvoline Max Life full synthetic ATF. I did ONE d&r to play it safe. The problem diminished slightly. I did another d&r with VML a few weeks later. Further improvement. By the 5th d&r using VML, the problem completely disappeared, or at least the symptoms did. I would suggest doing 3 d&rs now, driving a few miles inbetween each, and then evaluate. Continue 1 d&r at each oil change until the stutter is gone.
 

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The amount of actual "driving" needed between D&R's is really none. You need to run the engine to get the transmission pump to circulate and mix the new fluid with the old fluid between D&R's, no more. So if you have the car up on ramps or stands for the exercise, OK to leave it up and just run it for a few minutes.

Each D&R removes about 1/3 of the fluid in the transmission, replacing with new. After three D&R's, about 30% of the original fluid remains in the transmission. The fourth gets it to about 20%, fifth to about 14%, sixth to about 9%. Each change leaves .67 of the previous amount of old fluid, so it's 0.67, 0.67^2, 0.67^3, 0.67^4, etc.
 

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I'd say if you already feel symptoms in your transmission, do Valvoline Maxlife ATF 3x D&F, then keep doing ATF D&F with every second oil change. I had no symptoms but dark ATF from previous owner, so I just did Maxlife D&F with each oil change the first year, then it's been with every second oil change since. Transmission continues to shift excellently.
 

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I had a slight stutter somewhere in the DT as well. I did 3 d&rs per the dealer's suggestion using Honda ATF and a transmission sw update. No change.

Came here and was convinced to try Valvoline Max Life full synthetic ATF. I did ONE d&r to play it safe. The problem diminished slightly. I did another d&r with VML a few weeks later. Further improvement. By the 5th d&r using VML, the problem completely disappeared, or at least the symptoms did.
When you had the slight stutter, how many miles were on the old transmission fluid before the dealer changed it?
How many miles have you driven since the 5th drain and refill with MaxLife ATF?
 

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When you had the slight stutter, how many miles were on the old transmission fluid before the dealer changed it?
How many miles have you driven since the 5th drain and refill with MaxLife ATF?
The odometer had 96k on it when I got it. I don't think the ATF was ever changed based on how what came out looked and I couldn't find that it was in the service records or CarFax. I just did the 5th d&r fairly recently so not many miles since but it still is vibration free. So far so good. I don't plan on doing anything different than the advice I gave.
 

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The odometer had 96k on it when I got it. I don't think the ATF was ever changed based on how what came out looked and I couldn't find that it was in the service records or CarFax. I just did the 5th d&r fairly recently so not many miles since but it still is vibration free. So far so good. I don't plan on doing anything different than the advice I gave.
But would your transmission still be stutter free if you ran MaxLife ATF for 96K miles?
Is the problem the brand of ATF or the way the old fluid was (ab)used?
 

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But would your transmission still be stutter free if you ran MaxLife ATF for 96K miles?
Is the problem the brand of ATF or the way the old fluid was (ab)used?
Hard to say for sure, but I think most agree that heat is not your ATF's friend, and Honda ATF does not seem to hold up as well to heat as VML. However, changed often enough to replace oxidized, varnish forming ATF, the transmission should last to its design life. I am fairly well convinced that "often enough" is more than less often with Honda ATF.
 

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It's not the mixing of the two fluids that's any problem. We want to have a positive result. I'm in the 3 x D&F. Especially if your having some judder. I'd do one, then drive a few miles, getting the engine/transmission warmed up to operating temperature. Then do the 2nd. This gets you over 50% MaxLife. What ever your driving habits are, no rules. Drive 100, 250 miles (a weeks worth). Then do the 3rd.
 
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Respectfully, people make too much of the fluid. If it is the correct spec, the transmission's lifespan will be a result of how it is driven and whether the service intervals are followed correctly, plus some luck, like all else in life. Wifey pilot has 100k plus now. Transmission serviced per the book with the Honda fluid and she drives gently. It shifts as new. I think it helps the Touring has the factory cooler.

Not to say the maxlife is a bad product. It is probably fine.
 

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Respectfully, people make too much of the fluid. If it is the correct spec, the transmission's lifespan will be a result of how it is driven and whether the service intervals are followed correctly, plus some luck, like all else in life. Wifey pilot has 100k plus now. Transmission serviced per the book with the Honda fluid and she drives gently. It shifts as new. I think it helps the Touring has the factory cooler.

Not to say the maxlife is a bad product. It is probably fine.
A 2012 with only 100k sounds gently driven. A factory cooler in addition to the transmission fluid being routed through the radiator, this would certainly be an advantage. It's fact that Full Synthetic ATF like Valvoline MaxLife can withstand heat better than Non full synthetic Honda DW-1. There are scenarios in which a single event can cause a non synthetic fluid to loose its integrity. For me, it may be summer trip through Houston, coming into stop and go traffic that takes an hour and a half to get through. This can elevate ATF temp 210°F+. And then the return trip. Some folks daily drive in this kind of traffic. I would recommend to anyone daily driving in any extreme condition, to get a transmission cooler. But at a minimum, use a full synthetic ATF, or you will eventually have problems. IMO, I see much more to gain by switching.
ADDED...
What I've said here is based on my personal experiences with DW-1 in reference to Honda's 5 and 6 speed transmissions. I'm currently testing Amalie Universal Synthetic ATF in my 6-speed.
 
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Respectfully, people make too much of the fluid. If it is the correct spec, the transmission's lifespan will be a result of how it is driven and whether the service intervals are followed correctly, plus some luck, like all else in life. Wifey pilot has 100k plus now. Transmission serviced per the book with the Honda fluid and she drives gently. It shifts as new. I think it helps the Touring has the factory cooler.

Not to say the maxlife is a bad product. It is probably fine.
Since VML "fixed" a shudder issue in my transmission that 3x d&rs and a software update by the dealer didn't (using Honda ATF), I believe VML has a better (or at least higher) friction coefficient than DW1. I also hear from other people that they were able to fix transmission shudders adding friction modifiers/improvers to DW1.

Honda adds friction modifiers to its ATF to lower the friction coefficient and increase the clutch plates slippage to soften the varying and destructive torque on the transmission as the engine shifts in and out of VCM. Unfortunately this increases the wear of the metallic friction material on the clutches and contaminates the ATF turning it dark to black faster than VML. These contaminates clog valve body passages and cause accelerated wear on sealing surface preventing adequate pressures triggering symptoms similar to running with low ATF levels. The thicker/dirtier ATF clogs coolers and other narrow passages slowing flow which impedes cooling. Heat is the number one cause of transmission death.

Unfortunately, Honda has recommended ATF change intervals of anywhere from 37.5k miles under "severe conditions" to 120k miles under "normal conditions." I find that ludicrous, not only because the range covers an over 80,000 mile difference, but also what defines "severe" vs "normal"?

The over 100k service intervals are more sales gimmicks than credible advice, so while wise people like you probably err more on the low end range despite gentle service, many (most?) people believe the 120k or lifetime fluid claims and even exceed that, so it's no wonder Honda gets what it asked for in the way of transmission warranty repairs.

If your transmission hasn't exhibited any problems (yet) running DW1 and following whatever your interpretation of a d&r with DW1 every 37.5k-120k miles under whatever "severe" vs "normal" means, then you're probably ok sticking with DW1 (for now).
 

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Unfortunately, Honda has recommended ATF change intervals of anywhere from 37.5k miles under "severe conditions" to 120k miles under "normal conditions."
Where did/does Honda recommend "ATF change intervals of anywhere from 37.5k miles under "severe conditions" to 120k miles under "normal conditions."?
 

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Where did/does Honda recommend "ATF change intervals of anywhere from 37.5k miles under "severe conditions" to 120k miles under "normal conditions."?
Since the advent of the MM it's difficult to pin Honda down to service intervals. When I first got my Pilot and noticed a transmission shudder I asked the dealer when I should change the atf and got three different answers from the salesman, service writer and parts counter. So I just Google "change interval Honda Pilot transmission fluid" ... and this popped up. Maybe ask him?

How often should I change my transmission fluid? honda tr... (yourmechanic.com)
 

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Since the advent of the MM it's difficult to pin Honda down to service intervals. When I first got my Pilot and noticed a transmission shudder I asked the dealer when I should change the atf and got three different answers from the salesman, service writer and parts counter. So I just Google "change interval Honda Pilot transmission fluid" ... and this popped up. Maybe ask him?

How often should I change my transmission fluid? honda tr... (yourmechanic.com)
37.5k to 120k. Lol, that is such a large spread. I don't know of any Hondas that should go 120k. Might need to be more specific.
The website says the information needs to be independently verified. I'd say so.
 

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Since the advent of the MM it's difficult to pin Honda down to service intervals. When I first got my Pilot and noticed a transmission shudder I asked the dealer when I should change the atf and got three different answers from the salesman, service writer and parts counter. So I just Google "change interval Honda Pilot transmission fluid" ... and this popped up. Maybe ask him?

How often should I change my transmission fluid? honda tr... (yourmechanic.com)
To your earlier post, I am happy you and others are having good results with maxlife. Fwiw, the service idiot light in our Pilot generally calls for a transmission service every 30-35k. So I do not know where you get 135k. 30-35k is a pretty conservative interval for a modern car (on our 4runner, the factory standard interval is 100k - I will likely do it well before that time). So again I have no issue using a different fluid that meets the required specification, but I do take issue with attributing magical power to any fluid or to saying n=1 is a sound basis to say the factory fluid is deficient. And fwiw we live in the DC metro area. It is very hot here a good chunk of the year and when I pull the stick on the transmission, I have never really seen it dark at all. It is typically almost pink to red when new, and a touch darker pink to red when it is ready to be changed. Never burnt, never brown. That is the stock fluid. If you have good luck witn maxlife, great. But web forums and anecdotal experience is not a sound basis to pronounce the factory fluid as deficient in any manor. Neither Honda not any of the majors is going to use crappy lubricants as stock fill. They have too much at stake reputationally with the customer to take such a chance.
 

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Hence why I edited my post #12 way before you posted this.
There is nothing magical about MaxLife. It simply does what it says on the back of the bottle. If a transmission is not broken or worn out, it will fix judder and improve the efficiency of shift solenoids due to the long term use of DW-1. Honda could have used a better higher quality (full synthetic) fluid than DW-1. They recently decided to discontinue installing any transmissions in their vehicles that required DW-1.
Glad DW-1 is working for you. It didn't for me. We have multiple drivers in multiple vehicles that are on the road most every day.
 

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To your earlier post, I am happy you and others are having good results with maxlife. Fwiw, the service idiot light in our Pilot generally calls for a transmission service every 30-35k. So I do not know where you get 135k. 30-35k is a pretty conservative interval for a modern car (on our 4runner, the factory standard interval is 100k - I will likely do it well before that time). So again I have no issue using a different fluid that meets the required specification, but I do take issue with attributing magical power to any fluid or to saying n=1 is a sound basis to say the factory fluid is deficient. And fwiw we live in the DC metro area. It is very hot here a good chunk of the year and when I pull the stick on the transmission, I have never really seen it dark at all. It is typically almost pink to red when new, and a touch darker pink to red when it is ready to be changed. Never burnt, never brown. That is the stock fluid. If you have good luck witn maxlife, great. But web forums and anecdotal experience is not a sound basis to pronounce the factory fluid as deficient in any manor. Neither Honda not any of the majors is going to use crappy lubricants as stock fill. They have too much at stake reputationally with the customer to take such a chance.
I do believe that train has already left the station. Hondas have a great reputation for long lasting motors. Their transmissions, not so much. It's the not the fault of the atf per se, but in situations were it is subject to high temperatures, it does not hold up as well as a pure synthetic like VML. Other synthetics may do as well or better.
 

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If you have good luck witn maxlife, great. But web forums and anecdotal experience is not a sound basis to pronounce the factory fluid as deficient in any manor. Neither Honda not any of the majors is going to use crappy lubricants as stock fill. They have too much at stake reputationally with the customer to take such a chance.
It’s good to be an informed owner and know that there are options when choosing replacement parts or automotive fluids. VML has been touted on many different forums with positive results from owners and this could help one decide whether to make the switch. Discussion on topics such as VCM and transmission weak spots can help owners make a better decisions moving forward.
 
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