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Allison Oils Engineer (Here to Help)

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a retired Oils Engineer from Allison Transmission. You can call me "Mr. TranSynd" since I'm the guy that developed it. Anyway, I'm over on the Engine Forum if you need me. I can answer most questions about fluids, filters, oil analysis, etc. for your Allison transmission. So ...... let me know what you need.

PS: Pass this on to others who have the need to know (ie: Pulling pickup trucks and HDTs with Allison/Duramax, etc.)

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Hi Mr. TranSynd:

I was driving my 36 ft. Itasca Suncruiser and felt like it was bucking, especially when it was down shifting. I checked the transmission fluid and noticed it was low. Is it normal for this to happen when the fluid is low?

It's on a Workhorse Chassis with an Allison transmission.

Thanks,

08 Suncruiser

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Hi Mr. TranSynd:

I was driving my 36 ft. Itasca Suncruiser and felt like it was bucking, especially when it was down shifting. I checked the transmission fluid and noticed it was low. Is it normal for this to happen when the fluid is low?

It's on a Workhorse Chassis with an Allison transmission.

Thanks,

08 Suncruiser

Could be getting air in it if it's too low. It's called "aeration". Fortunately, air will typically dissipate pretty quickly once you get the fluid level correct. If this is not it, you might want to get the fluid checked through oil analysis. Get the fluid level correct first and then go from there.

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Hi, Couple of years ago we bought a 1997 Safari Serengeti M-4040 that was very well documented. It now has 92,000 miles on the clock. I could not find anything regarding the Allison transmission service. In a couple of months from now (it is stored & not going anywhere) I plan on having the Allison serviced. The RV shop that I use said for the transmission fluid I have two options. The old normal Dinosaur Fluid or the newer Transynd. He rightly pointed out to me that the Old Dinosaur fluid is OK and should last for the time I will have the coach (probably 4 - 5 more years). But he also pointed out that the newer Transynd is quite a bit better fluid but significantly more expensive, and questioned the value of it over the old stuff. I am a fuss budget on maintenance and want reliability first and foremost but he has me at an indecision point. What direction would you recommend and why?

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JohnQFWB,

The old DEXRON-III type automatic transmission fluids (the old dinosaur fluids) have a bad habit of losing viscosity over a relatively short period of time; that's why Allison restricts the drain intervals vs. TranSynd. TranSynd will not lose viscosity and will remain very resistant to oxidation and friction fade for very long periods of time. It will probably be fill for life for you. Also, the only DEXRON-III fluids that are recommended are the ones that have passed the Allison TES-389 seal test. You can find them on the Allison website at: https://fdlrd.swri.org/Allison/ApprovedFluidsList.aspx?Id=2. But, just like all the other DEXRON-III fluids, they will also lose viscosity and thin out over a short period of time.

My recommendation is to switch to TranSynd. If you do it yourself, here's the procedure.

  • Drain the old fluid and refill with TranSynd
  • Drive the RV for 1/2 hour to warm it up
  • Drain again
  • Install new filters
  • Refill with TranSynd
  • Take an oil analysis sample to establish a baseline (optional)
  • Sample the transmission fluid once a year to ensure against contamination due a coolant leak (optional)

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When I changed to TranSynd I asked one of the engineers at the Allison booth at the FMCA convention how he would do it. He said to fill the trans 3 quarts over full and disconnect the cooler line and start the engine until 3 quarts comes out and shut off the engine and reconnect cooler lines then run and adjust the level. This would replace the the fluid in the converter. This was several years ago. The filters are also changed.

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Call Allison AND your chassis maker with your transmission serial number and chassis serial number to verify what fluid you have in your transmission now.

If you have Dexron and want to convert to Transynd (which most of us have done) there are several methods-- different, but likely all mechanically acceptable.

Allison's recommended method is to drain fluid, change filter(s) and fill with Transynd. Next service interval is the same as if it were 100% Dexron. At the second filter/fluid change, go to the Transynd change interval.

Tom's suggestion of back to back fluid and one filter change will certainly work, but will be a lot higher in initial cost.

As long as there is zero chance of dirt getting in the lines when disconnected, I see no reason that changing fluid and filter, then starting the engine with the return line from the transmission cooler off at the transmission until clean new fluid comes out would not work. Allison does not recommend this however (likely because of potential of dirt getting into the transmission.

Brett

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The engineer I spoke with said that over filling and disconnecting the cooler line was the way they do it at the factory. It might not be the way they want the average do it you selfer to do it. This is the least expensive way to change almost 100% of the fluid the first time. We always degrease the fittings and hose before disconnecting to prevent dirt contamination.

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When I changed the spin-on filter on my 2008 Workhorse with Allison tranmission at 6000 miles, I went to a Workhorse recommended Chevy dealer for the fluid and filter. They did not have Transynd, but had the BP variant and said that is what they used in all Allison transmissions. I changed the filter and topped up the fluid (small amount lost in filter change) with the BP variant. Is that okay? Is the variant as good? Is there a problem mixing in this small amount with the original Transynd? This motorhome was too expensive to take any chances with, so I will gladly flush it if I need to.

Thanks in advance for the response.

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If you can deal with the first cost of TranSynd its the way to go. It will lower your transmission fluid temperature and double the miles between changes. Looking at if as a life cycle cost, its actually cheaper than Dexron.

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Hi,

I have a question about time vs mileage on Transynd changes. I've done the drain/fill with Transynd twice so now it's pretty much 100% Transynd which I understood would be good for something like 100,000 miles.

Like many MH owners I only drive about 10,000 miles per year and figured I was probably set for 10 years except for filter changes. However, the folks at Allison told me that, regardless of miles, I should change the filters every two years and the Transynd every four years.

Does this fit with your experience/recommendation?

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JohnQFWB,

The old DEXRON-III type automatic transmission fluids (the old dinosaur fluids) have a bad habit of losing viscosity over a relatively short period of time; that's why Allison restricts the drain intervals vs. TranSynd. TranSynd will not lose viscosity and will remain very resistant to oxidation and friction fade for very long periods of time. It will probably be fill for life for you. Also, the only DEXRON-III fluids that are recommended are the ones that have passed the Allison TES-389 seal test. You can find them on the Allison website at: https://fdlrd.swri.o...sList.aspx?Id=2. But, just like all the other DEXRON-III fluids, they will also lose viscosity and thin out over a short period of time.

My recommendation is to switch to TranSynd. If you do it yourself, here's the procedure.

  • Drain the old fluid and refill with TranSynd
  • Drive the RV for 1/2 hour to warm it up
  • Drain again
  • Install new filters
  • Refill with TranSynd
  • Take an oil analysis sample to establish a baseline (optional)
  • Sample the transmission fluid once a year to ensure against contamination due a coolant leak (optional)

Well as Larry the Cable Guy sez, Get'r Done, I Got'R Done!!!! Swallowed hard on the costs but what a difference in shifting, in a word smmmmmmmmmmmmmooooooooooooooootttttttttttttttttttttttttttthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh but firm. Glad I did it.

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Hi,

I have a question about time vs mileage on Transynd changes. I've done the drain/fill with Transynd twice so now it's pretty much 100% Transynd which I understood would be good for something like 100,000 miles.

Like many MH owners I only drive about 10,000 miles per year and figured I was probably set for 10 years except for filter changes. However, the folks at Allison told me that, regardless of miles, I should change the filters every two years and the Transynd every four years.

Does this fit with your experience/recommendation?

No it does not. Allison will always give the standard "conservative" answer. What is true is that, generally, oil life does not correlate well with calendar time given the great amount of variation from vehicle to vehicle with respect to duty cycle (stop and go driving, hill climbing, average speeds, etc). In my experience, based on years of TranSynd fleet testing, that you'd be throwing out good TranSynd (and a lot of your hard earned money) by changing it every 4 years. Allison has city transit bus and refuse hauler (garbage truck) customers running 4 years on TranSynd. An RV is much more mild on the fluid than those applications.

What you need to know is that oil degradation, whether you're talking engine oil or transmission fluid, is based on chemical change (oxidation) and physical change (viscosity loss) that occurs with extended use. The rate at which the fluid (or oil) degrades depends the amount of mechanical and thermal stresses it sees over a given time period. Therefore, it depends on the amount of heat and loads to which the fluid is exposed over a given amount of time. To get the most from oils or transmission fluids, use oil analysis to measure these changes. Allison, in fact, recommends oil analysis as the preferred way to determine change intervals. This will maximize time between oil changes with TranSynd and protect your equipment. I will be at the Georgia State Good Sam Club rally in Perry, GA this Friday and Saturday (3/23-3/24) where I will give seminars on this very subject.

Here's my recommendation: Use genuine Allison filters and change them every 50,000 miles (or 75,000 miles if you have the newer "High Capacity" filters) and top off with TranSynd lost with the filter change. Do an oil analysis once per year and you'll see that the fluid will remain stable for much longer than 4 years unless it gets contaminated from something like a cooler leak which is unlikely.

Call me if you have any questions on my cell phone at 317-430-3029 and I can explain anything you question. Give me your email address and I'll send you some literature on this.

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Can TranSynd be used as synthetic Power Steering Fluid and would you recommend it?

Yes, it would work just fine and much better than a DEXRON-III fluid (or a D3M fluid as they're marketed today). The life will be much longer and you could verify it through oil analysis.

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Tom,

Thanks very much for answering my question on time vs. mileage transynd changes. I did think that the four year recommendation by Allison was a bit extreme for a motorhome.

In a number of your responses (including the one to my question) you have mentioned using an oil analysis to check the Transynd. Assuming that I am not the only one ignorant of such things I wonder if it wouldn't be worthwhile to discuss where to get that kind of analysis done and what it entails. For example, would it be the same oil analysis that one might get at Speedco for engine oil or does one need to draw a sample and send it off somewhere?

Thanks again,

Bill

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