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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 S10 4.3 Automatic 122,000 miles of which I assume the transmission has never been serviced because the fluid is dirty but not burnt it still has some red to it.

Anyways I want to do a drain/fill and replace the filter. However I am really stuck on what fluid to get I know these call for Dexron III which is no longer licensed but Valvoline makes there own as Dex/Merc.

I also see people swearing by Valvoline MaxLife but looking at the viscosity index it seems to be much thinner while Dex/Merc is almost identical to actual Dexron III.

I also see people saying use Dexron VI it is backwards compatible but again it is much thinner compared to Dexron III and I seen multiple people reporting it changing how the vehicle shifts. I do not want to hurt this transmission I need it to last me as long as possible.

I also don't know how I feel about mixing fluids because a drain/fill will probably only get a few quarts out.

So any transmission experts here willing to give there opinion?.
 

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B4U Task Force Admin
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Not an expert, but just did a drain, filter, fill with AC/Delco Dex VI. @Tranzman is probably the best to ask.
 

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Randy
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Any multipurpose fluid that meets Dexron III specification will do the trick. (look at the back of any multipurpose fluid bottle) Conventional fluid pours thicker at an ambient temperature than synthetic fluids. Synthetics are more stable over their entire operating range compare to conventional fluids.This is why some people say that they shift differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Any multipurpose fluid that meets Dexron III specification will do the trick. (look at the back of any multipurpose fluid bottle) Conventional fluid pours thicker at an ambient temperature than synthetic fluids. Synthetics are more stable over their entire operating range compare to conventional fluids.This is why some people say that they shift differently.
So Valvoline Maxlife would be fine?.

How are fluids like MaxLife compatible with so many different fluids but yet mixing those actual fluids together is bad?

For example Maxlife supports Dexron III, Dexron VI, Toyota T-IV, Toyota WS. Which from my understanding T-IV and WS cannot be mixed and Dexron III Dexron VI cannot be mixed with WS.
 

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Randy
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fluids meet or exceed a specific set of standards. which include friction modifiers. The OEM's have very unique papers made for the clutches that are used. in order to keep or stop a type of clutch from slipping/squawking during engagements they add the friction modifiers. Clutch materials that use a specific modifier may be compatible with one but not another. This leaves a fluid that may work in a GM but doesn't work in a Honda. if you put Dexron III in some Hondas they work just fine, but shift quality is harsh. Put Dexron VI in a 8speed GM and it will make a squawk on certain shifts.
Most of this is a way to keep you coming to the dealer for service...
Back in the early days we used Type F fluid for Fords in GM trans' to get a firmer shift than Dexron or Dexron 2 would give. 4L60E's were designed long enough ago that the compatible specifications is wider and contain less friction modifiers. Maxlife fluid is good, but keep in mind that it is full synthetic. Wal-mart, Farm & Home, Rural King ETC all have a good price on fluids
 

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Been there Done it
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If you were happy with the transmission before changing the filter and want to keep it like it was go to Walmart and get some Valvoline DEX/MERC Automatic Transmission Fluid for $14 a gallon. It's good quality plain old ordinary Dex 3. You won't be mixing types and won't change how it shifts. And when it does start to fail, as most do sooner or later, you won't be able to blame the fluid or yourself for making the wrong choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
fluids meet or exceed a specific set of standards. which include friction modifiers. The OEM's have very unique papers made for the clutches that are used. in order to keep or stop a type of clutch from slipping/squawking during engagements they add the friction modifiers. Clutch materials that use a specific modifier may be compatible with one but not another. This leaves a fluid that may work in a GM but doesn't work in a Honda. if you put Dexron III in some Hondas they work just fine, but shift quality is harsh. Put Dexron VI in a 8speed GM and it will make a squawk on certain shifts.
Most of this is a way to keep you coming to the dealer for service...
Back in the early days we used Type F fluid for Fords in GM trans' to get a firmer shift than Dexron or Dexron 2 would give. 4L60E's were designed long enough ago that the compatible specifications is wider and contain less friction modifiers. Maxlife fluid is good, but keep in mind that it is full synthetic. Wal-mart, Farm & Home, Rural King ETC all have a good price on fluids
If you were happy with the transmission before changing the filter and want to keep it like it was go to Walmart and get some Valvoline DEX/MERC Automatic Transmission Fluid for $14 a gallon. It's good quality plain old ordinary Dex 3. You won't be mixing types and won't change how it shifts. And when it does start to fail, as most do sooner or later, you won't be able to blame the fluid or yourself for making the wrong choice.
Well the transmission seems to shift good and strong, no hard shifts it doesn't seem to have any slippage, no transmission codes, I did have 2 previous vehicles with 4L60E's 1 was a 1998 Blazer 4x4 and it would always shift hard from 1st to 2nd, also a 1994 Silverado same thing it would always shift hard from 1st to 2nd but this S10 does not do that nice and smooth.

Before the distributor starting getting really bad rubbing I did take it out on he highway and got it to nearly 70mph without any issue shifting but now I just drive it in town because the distributor is bad I got to order a new one.

I don't want any changes in shifting other then what it was originally designed for I just want this thing to last me as long as possible and because of that my main concern is the transmission filter never being changed I am sure it is getting fairly clogged up with 122,000 miles. Also a little dilution of some new fluid with the drain/fill procedure I think would help it out.

I just do not believe in transmission flushes unless a transmission has been regularly flushed during its lifetime.

So yea probably will be going for Valvoline Dex/Merc since that seems to be the only fluid on the market with the closest specifications to actual Dexron III.
 
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