Transmission Fluid - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission Fluid

I have a 2015 Rav and I wanted to know if the only type of transmission fluid you can use is WS type which I don't believe is synthetic. I would like to go full synthetic if I can. Anyone have any experience with AMSOIL or Valvoline MaxLife? Both are full synthetic and each state can replace WS type fluid. Thanks in advance

Bought my RAV4 LE in August 2015. It's running well.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-30-2018, 10:37 PM
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Worrying about transmission fluid type is like worrying about mass shootings.

Both are incredibly unlikely events to cause you any harm. There are better things to worry about.


2017 RAV4 Hybrid Limited
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 04:33 AM
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I've run Valvoline MAXLife in Toyota transmissions to over 300,000 miles without any issues. It safely mixes with WS. Toyota's idea that WS never needs to be changed is pure bull! Change it every 50,000 or so.

I posted a full procedure for changing your fluid about a week ago.
How to Changing Transaxle Fluid in Your RAV4-u760-Transaxle

Hope this helps
Gill

Last edited by Gilligan2017; 04-11-2018 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Added Link
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 09:33 AM
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I used Valvoline MaxLife and have no problems and so have a few members here. Others have used Amsoil and Redline and they are also very good.

In terms of performance the Redline can withstand the highest temperatures and second comes Amsoil. For very heavy towing, the Redline will be the best choice but the price is expensive.

But for those that don't do any towing I think WS will do well if you have shorter OCI.

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2005 RAV4 Base 4WD -sold
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 12:06 PM
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I've changed to amsoil ( flush and filter change) a couple months ago, will see pretty quickly how it holds up with towing...

2007 Rav4 V6 Sport AWD (bought back after dealer messed it up)
2012 Rav4 V6 Sport AWD, setup for towing with p3 brake controler, airbags rear helper springs, 15k atf cooler.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-11-2018, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyridin' View Post
Although there is no 100% proof, the general consensus seems to be that the WS fluid is synthetic or at least semi-synthetic.


There are a ton of post on it on Bobistheoilguy.com


Interesting Toyota WS ATF Research. | ATF, Differential, Trans, Brakes, P/S | Bob Is The Oil Guy


Toyota WS | ATF, Differential, Trans, Brakes, P/S | Bob Is The Oil Guy


Toyota WS...my eyes hurt from reading | ATF, Differential, Trans, Brakes, P/S | Bob Is The Oil Guy
WS does not specify synthetic or will Toyota want to say. If it was synthetic I am sure Toyota would want to tell us that. One can only look at the MSDS specs and compare it with Redline, Amsoil and MaxLife and make your own conclusion. If I want synthetic I prefer it is written on the bottle so I know what I am getting.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-12-2018, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DL175 View Post
WS does not specify synthetic or will Toyota want to say. If it was synthetic I am sure Toyota would want to tell us that. One can only look at the MSDS specs and compare it with Redline, Amsoil and MaxLife and make your own conclusion. If I want synthetic I prefer it is written on the bottle so I know what I am getting.

WS is a semi-synthetic, that's why it performs so badly when any rough service heat hits it. If you have an external auxiliary cooler like the Toyota trucks have or all Lexus have you can get by with mild rough service heat. Rav4's have only a "ATF heater "as stated in their large service manual. There just is not enough surface area in that teeny tiny hockey puck heater to dissipate heat to the Rav4's cooling system which is minimalist design. We see it in the change and addition of these items in a factory tow package with an addition of an external air to air cooler and a larger radiator.


WS's Group 2/3 main base stocks have no place in modern day ATF/CVT transmissions. While all fluids like this have group 2/3 basestocks, their lack of group 4 and 5 are a determent for your transmission. "It is 2018 not 1980, Toyota". It is a classic case of "under engineering" The days are gone when you buy a family car and you get a robust transmission like a GM Turbo 400 or 350, that can take a beating and massive abuse and come out running like a to.


If you drive like grandpa well you may get by with WS just fine, but any rough service and I say no way. On a 10 scale, you have Redline and Amsoil down around 2 to 3 with all proceeding numbers for safety in a rough service scenario, WS is at an 8.5, with one foot off the cliff on killing itself if any rough service touches this fluid in a Rav4 with no cooling. Even Honda's DW-1 is better at a 7.5 But that not saying much. Honda and Toyota were just $2.00 a Qt away from a "mid level good" transmission oil. They choose not to. Hyundai choose to spend the extra $2.00, they have a robust ATF as an OEM trans oil.


All Toyota needs to do is put back a large trans cooler back in the radiator and call it a day. They chose to skimp instead.


Added Note : Some Toyota service people will tell you WS is a synthetic, but they don't know what they don't know.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2018, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyridin' View Post
So how did you come to this conclusion? Numerous....and I mean numerous websites are all saying there is no definite conclusion. People even had it sent out for testing and the best they could come back with was semi-synthetic, although it could be a synthetic.


Care to show us where you got your info as you seem to be the only one that is 100% sure. Some people even traced it back to the manufacturer and came up empty.

Who said anything about 100% sure? Last time I looked, any comment on the internet I take as an opinion. I have no problem if you take my post as an opinion. I have no trust in OEM oils because they ALWAYS fall short to any boutique oil at a very close price point. Why put borderline oil in or even keep it in when you have a choice to buy close to the best for what.....$4.00 more a Qt at best. $40 more on a 10 Qt flush when the cars we are talking about are $20,000 to 35,000 cars. I can see if you make $10 hour working at Burger King and you want to change your ATF in your 250,000 mile $800 1985 Honda Civic. The $4.00 a Qt more is an viable excuse.


I had a Audi hobby repair shop years ago and have done many ATF flushes on many brands of cars. I specialized on preventative maintenance for my customers since "leaving be" transmission fluid change outs CAN cost you 30 fold more. So I have seen many ATF dumps and or flushes. My wife's lease returned with 20,000 miles and when I dumped it , it was 21,800 (some where around there) the textbook clean Rav4 had no hauling/hitch/soccer mom/ ect signs in the back seat/cargo area. Clean as a 2019 on the showroom floor. The Rav4 was owned by a woman in upstate New York and not Texas or Florida that one would only think would be far harder on the trans. When I dumped the WS it was all burn't up for 22,000 miles. I got sick being around it and had to open the place up and take a break even after that because the WS was so stressed. ATF stinks, but used up stressed out ATF stinks like death. Our Rav4 was up there with #1 or #2 that I have ever smelled. Not to mentioned nice and dark brown.



I also talked with a person who I work with who owns an oil testing firm who is a our third party go between for our group of rotary screw air compressor samples to Polaris Labs. He is a retired Allison automatic transmission engineer and oil engineer, known as the godfather of the Allison transmission. He stated to me that the fluid was fried too. I did not send in a sample since that would be a waste of money since we knew it was time to change it out. And here too, he had no problem changing WS with Amsoil or Redline since there is no "special sauce" in OEM ATF fluid that dictates to only use OEM fluid. He stated use only approved oil that new oil manufacture of the oil states can be used with your car/truck and you will be fine. I also "cocktail" my ATF with (Type-F) or racing ATF that has no slip agents to get quicker firmer shifts, since smooth shifts create heat and wear on the the clutch pack. He said we did that all the time in testing and in special cases in the field. Again he had zero problem with the cocktailing. He suggested to stay with the same manufacture that made the fluid you are replacing so the additive package is closer to the same. Not that was a big deal but why not if you can.


I have spent many hours working with specialty oil companies, their management, and their oil R&D engineers, on one and after my research, then all of our name brand rotary screw air compressors I take care of at work. We had the starting of a bad varnishing problem that I found, and was told I was crazy by the OEM manufacture. I stated that their OEM group 4 (PAO) oil was sub-standard in so many words. I backed it up with science from various specialty varnish tests and I still was told in so many words I was nuts. They just said run the crap out of it. Even the the specialty boutique industrial oil company I am working with now said run the crap out of their group 4 (PAO) oil. Again the testing gave me very very high ISO particulate count (varnish) of the specialty oil companies oil that they even said was superior to the OEM PAO oil because of added Ester (group 5). Not to mention the OEM oil had a very minimalism additive package for wear. Or course, the boutique oils had a robust additive package for wear. I then chose to go with their special oil that was made for overly high heat condition compressors which was a POE group 5 Ester oil. That solved my problem with all of our compressors. No more varnish that will clog up heat exchangers and coat the internals with varnish glue. Very low particulate counts of debris sand blasting the bearings. 4um went down from 75,000 down to 1,800. 6um when down from 32,000 down to 800. That is a massive move.



OEM compressor oil that they push to use just at a the point of not saying to keep warranty because they know very well of the Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act. And IF you get an extended service plan, they mandate to use that oil at $525 for a 5 gallon pail of PAO ( 8,000 hour oil) . Industrial boutique PAO oil $250 for 5 gallon pail. (8,000 hour oil) Industrial boutique POE oil $300 a 5 gallon pail (12,000 hour oil) that fixes the problem long term. When testing I was dumping oil at 500 hours and 1,500 and 2,000 hours because of varnish and flushing with special Ester cleaner later in testing because varnish is like cancer and not cleaning it out just bring down the life and health of new oil. I dumped the 8,000 hour oil at 7,000 and plan on dumping the 12,000 oil at 9,000 hours.



So #1 I don't trust OEMs with my expensive stuff, they don't have my best interest involved, only theirs. #2 Boutique oil for the most part is far superior for a couple of bucks more in the automotive industry. Above we have only 1 example of "price point" selling of oil. PAO is at a set point roughly for any OEM manufacture. So to it is for Toyota, So when they have cheaper oil prices then the boutiques, I see CHEAP oil is being used.



Also, my wife wanted the Rav4 and was set on it. Since being a car guy and doing some body work in my day with race cars I looked at the underside of the 3 year old Rav4 and noticed all the bolt corrosion. It first hit me when lifting the tail gate at the dealer all the bolts where corroded holding the rear lights what ever was inside the rear hatch back area. I looked under the Rav4 and a lot of the bolts were corroded. I looked at another Toyota and the same thing. Later while under changing out diff and transfer case oil I noticed all the rust from the lack of quality of the sub-frame paint. I have never seen such bad rust on any newer car like this before. I also brought this up to a Lexus mechanic that is in my wife's family during a family holiday event and he said Lexus is the same rust everywhere on parts and subframes on 2 year old vehicles and older. Cutting out parts and use of the torch are regular events by all techs he said. I told him my 3 year old Rav4 front and rear CV joint stud going through the front and rear hubs holding the bearings and hubs tight, the threads where all rusted to the point of rounding off and not having threads on it. He said yep, see it every day. We try to get new nuts to use because the nuts that come off are all screwed up by the rusted and deformed threads on what he said are on newer vehicles. He has only worked at Lexus since out of school years ago, but hears techs coming from other brands that have not seen many Toyotas and Lexus get a rude awakening on their cost cutting. The one place they don't skimp on is the body panels because then the average Joe or Joan would see the rust. My daughters 2005 Honda has very good metallurgy and anti corrosion coatings on the bolts and hardware, same thing with my old 2009 Honda Fit and my 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT is just a hair worse then the Honda's. VW's and Audi of coarse have good metallurgy, bolt anti-corrosion and quality subframe paint.



Then add the top of the line Rav4 doesn't get window/ door lock lights for night use, when my bottom of the line anything I have owned had them. Cheap cheap cheap on the peripherals even though Toyota makes a very reliable car. It just is a notoriously SKIMP here and there where the "common person" can't see it. And you wonder why you can't find anything about their crap WS oil. WS is crap. You can run it, I won't and I will keep telling people to get it out if they can, why , because it is "SKIMP oil" in my opinion. Feel free to run it, I won't stop you. excuse spelling and grammar I wrote this fast and did not proof read it. I need to snowblow now in mid April in Minnesota!!! More global warming proof.



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