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Fred J

Has anyone changed their transmission fluid yet?

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hi there,answer to this thread from the uk.I changed my transmission fluid and used 1.4 litres of Castrol TQD III. That's a Dexron 3 compatible transmission fluid that is Mercedez Benz 236.5 standard. There is no service schedule for the fluid but at 67,000 km the fluid that came out was pitch black! The job was really easy to do. Take a look at the Evilution website for a really good workup of the procedure.

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I never checked with Jeff (the service technician), but the invoice says "Gear Oil" (unlikely), so I would expect it's ATF.

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Mike - Before we started this thread, the concern was that when I asked my dealer to look up what oil the techs used, he came back with the info. that they use the spec'd oil..... ATF or Gear lube 75/90. To try to sort this discrepency of 2 totally different oils, we did an oil analysis on the used oil and the specs. leaned toward it being ATF. That is what I have used for the past 2 changes .. Mobil 1 A.T.F. synthetic. It would be interesting if TPM can or will tell you exactly what they used. Brand, product, viscosity if they used a gear oil.

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Well it shifted beautifully in colder weather, so I doubt it's 75/90W!

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RichHelms thanks for the great photos and write up.Changed mine last night. It was quite black in colour with just a hint of purple. No odour. Looked to be about a 10 to 20 weight oil nothing like 75/90W. Capacity is exactly 1.4L then it starts to run out.Did not expect it to be so dirty, glad I changed it.Retired RCAF

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Hi,Mine was changed at 45.000 km, Castrol Transmax Z (their full synthetic ATF) was brought to the mechanics by me and they confirmed that this an excellent oil. Shifting was much improved afterwards as well.Back then Castrol's website made multiple suggestions which oil could be used for what purpose in your vechicle, and Transmax Z would have been the first choice for the smart's gearbox.Today I only got one, and it's something different, see the attachment.Couldn't find that advisory program on the Canadian Castrol site, so I attached the German.Cheers,Josef

Edited by FlossyTheSmart
removing broken attachment

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I asked Jeff at TPM yesterday what he put in my transaxle a couple of services ago, and he told me it is "like ATF sort of, but it comes in speclial smart bottles and costs way more than ATF". So it seems there is a special fluid used in the transaxle, which generally has the characteristics of ATF and yet is somehow different. It should be orderable at any dealer though.I just had my 4th B service @77,260 km and finally had the fuel filter changed. I kept the electronic bit from the old one. My belts were apparently OK still.

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What did they charge for this 'sorta like ATF' fluid... I saw it in MB bottles for $38.50 a litre. I thought D21065 came in a 20 litre pail for $250.00, but I never did see the pail.

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Hi,Mine was changed at 45.000 km, Castrol Transmax Z (their full synthetic ATF) was brought to the mechanics by me and they confirmed that this an excellent oil. <...> Couldn't find that advisory program on the Canadian Castrol site, so I attached the German.

The Canadian Castrol website doesn't list Transmax :scratch: maybe it's just an EU formula?Bil :sun:

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What did they charge for this 'sorta like ATF' fluid... I saw it in MB bottles for $38.50 a litre. I thought D21065 came in a 20 litre pail for $250.00, but I never did see the pail.

I've been googling the D21065 and it seems to be an older ESSO mineral oil product with a DexronII rating.

My neighbour, a sports car fanatic with several Miatas which he rallys and races, swears by MOTUL (DEXRON III) "Technosynthèse" The Motul.ca site says it is,

"More fluid at low temperature than Dexron IIE oils (2000 mPa.s [+] maximum at -20°C instead of 3000), which allows easier gear changing when cold.

Higher oxidation resistance than Dexron IIE standard.

Oil film stability under high temperature.

Anti-wear, Anti-corrosion, Anti-foam."

AMSOIL also makes a superior synthetic DexronIII ATF. Castrol has apparently won a court battle in USA which now permits them to market an extra-processed fossil oil and still label it "synthetic" although it is not synthetic. The AMSOIL and MOTUL products OTOH are actually true synthetics.

Bil :sun:

[+] this is a measure of viscosity

"Oil's viscosity is an arbitrary measurement that defines oil's ability to flow through a metered hole at a given temperature. A lower number means the oil flows quicker, implying 'thinner' oil. These measurements are standardized in tests detailed by the SAE."

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I've been changing my tranny oil every 20,000 kilometres. It's easy to do (easier than changing the oil!) and cheap. I am just using Mobil 1 synthetic ATF. It takes all of five minutes or so to do. Actually, that interval is a little overkill - it isn't even dirty at 20,000 - but what the hell. Not going to hurt it.

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I am running Total's ELF synthetic transmission fluid.It was between ELF which is favoured by the VW crowd, and Motul which is favoured by the Subaru STI drivers (and myself)...I sprung with ELF because there was an MB spec it met that Motul did not...Otherwise, I would most definately recommend Motul for anything!Eddie

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You are welcome. I am just under 80K and need to do mine again. Definitely one of the easiest maintenance items to do on the smart

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Thanks for posting the 'how to' on page 1, Rich.I did a slight variation, partly because I bought a different pump (see photos). It screws on to the top of a 1 liter bottle of Mobile 1 ATF. I attached a 3 ft length of clear 3/8 " tubing which I then fed through the engine compartment (cover the end of the tube with tape so you don't get any grunge in the tube as it feeds through the engine compartment). I was doing this myself, so I then attached the bottom of the tube to the tranny inlet with duct tape, then pumped in 1.4 liters. I realize now that you could do this same thing with the tubing just attached to a funnel and forget about the pump completely.

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Course you could always use the pump on the ground and forget threading the hose down through the engine...After lubing the clutch actuator, changing the transmission fluid, and installing the digipower unit, I just can't believehow much smoother the shifting is especially when using soft touch.

Edited by lebikerboy

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My thinking on feeding the tube up through the engine compartment (dead simple) was that when finished, the tube would drain downwards into the tranny, and I could do the pumping/ bottle-change-thing comfortably standing up.I, too, noticed smoother, quicker shifts ---- and I, too, lubed the actuator at the same time ----- so I'm not sure which contributed to the improvement.

Edited by deezle

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I think I might bump up my interval to 30,000kms on changing the transmission fluid. I just did a 40,000km interval change (80,000 to 120,000) and the fluid was a light purple.

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I have only changed the transmission fluid once in the time that I have owned both of my smarts. One had 100 miles on it when I bought it and I got them to do the tranny fluid change as a condition of purchase. The other Smart I bought at 16k miles (~25,750km) and had the tran fluid changed at about 22k miles (~35400km). I did not notice the smoother shifting. I think that the Smart dealer here in the US that did the transmission fluid change used the fluid they put in the 451s. Anyone know what type that is?After reading this thread I'm still debating between Mobil and ELF trans fluid. Maybe I'll put the Mobil in one car and the ELF in the other :P

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I had the drive shaft seals done by Car Guys in Hope BC and they replaced the gear box oil. The MB dealer was not very cooperative in giving them information. Eventually, they replaced the oil with Royal Purple Synthetic Oil "Max ATF" high Performance Automatic Transmission Fluid. This is available at Lordco. I have had this in the gear box for about 40,000 km now with out incident.Peter

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My thinking on feeding the tube up through the engine compartment (dead simple) was that when finished, the tube would drain downwards into the tranny, and I could do the pumping/ bottle-change-thing comfortably standing up.I, too, noticed smoother, quicker shifts ---- and I, too, lubed the actuator at the same time ----- so I'm not sure which contributed to the improvement.

I would put my money on the fresh ATF, after a year of hit & miss shifts from 1st to 2nd & a few visits to MB where theyreplaced the "shift lever module", tightened the shift motor & some software work, the problem remained.Finally after the warranty expired I figured fresh fluid couldn't hurt, & after I drained & refilled with Mobil 1 synthetic ATF ....not a single missed shift for over a year and counting! Edited by strawboss

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Briand"I think that the Smart dealer here in the US that did the transmission fluid change used the fluid they put in the 451s. Anyone know what type that is?"I sincerely hope that they didn't use the 451 gear oil which is a 75W90 weight oil and not intended for the 6 speed transmission...

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