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2013 RDX-TECH AWD - MaxLife ATF + S-VCM Controller

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Old 02-10-2018, 01:36 PM
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2013 RDX-TECH AWD - MaxLife ATF + S-VCM Controller

1st post and 1st Acura...but a longtime multiple Honda owner. I found a low mileage, cherry, 13 RDX-Tech AWD to replace my wife's 11 Pilot EX/L-RES AWD with 170,000+ miles. Love the car, but in getting familiar with it over the past few days...I found it exhibited the dreaded Honda trait of an unsettled, jerky, juddering transmission shifts going up through the gears -and- while transitioning in and out of ECO mode at highway speed.

This RDX was behaving a lot like the 08 Odyssey we owned once upon a time. With the Odyssey, a couple of software updates and a replaced torque converter under warranty failed to correct the bad transmission behavior. It was at that time I decided to give Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF a try...it had settled the transmission in a Nissan Pathfinder we had at the time...so why not. MaxLife literally transformed the behavior of that 08 Odyssey and I've used it in every Honda vehicle we've owned since...whether the vehicle exhibited symptoms or not...without issue and perfect results.

So a couple days ago I did a x3 drain / fill with Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF (full synthetic) on this RDX. Success! The car is now settled while going up through the gears and driveability has been transformed. The transmission's shifting is now "sequential" and "linear"...no vibration, no feeling the transmission is "going back and forth" or trying to find the right gear.

I had also installed the S-VCM controller for VCM deactivation in the 11 Pilot recently...for 2 reasons. The 1st was to obviously shut off the VCM system and the symptoms which come with it when it's engaging / disengaging...but also to see if it had a positive effect on the Pilot's oil consumption. It eliminated the symptoms of engaging / disengaging, but admittedly it wasn't in the vehicle for an entire oil change interval before we bought the RDX. With regard to oil consumption in the Pilot, there was no perceptible oil consumption during the ~1250 miles it was installed in the Pilot.

So, along with the MaxLife switch, I also installed the S-VCM Controller from the Pilot into the RDX...and once again, Success! This RDX is now running on all 6 cylinders all the time with MaxLife in the transmission...these 2 small changes have transformed this RDX into the refined driving experience it should be.
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
1st post and 1st Acura...but a longtime multiple Honda owner. I found a low mileage, cherry, 13 RDX-Tech AWD to replace my wife's 11 Pilot EX/L-RES AWD with 170,000+ miles. Love the car, but in getting familiar with it over the past few days...I found it exhibited the dreaded Honda trait of an unsettled, jerky, juddering transmission shifts going up through the gears -and- while transitioning in and out of ECO mode at highway speed.

This RDX was behaving a lot like the 08 Odyssey we owned once upon a time. With the Odyssey, a couple of software updates and a replaced torque converter under warranty failed to correct the bad transmission behavior. It was at that time I decided to give Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF a try...it had settled the transmission in a Nissan Pathfinder we had at the time...so why not. MaxLife literally transformed the behavior of that 08 Odyssey and I've used it in every Honda vehicle we've owned since...whether the vehicle exhibited symptoms or not...without issue and perfect results.

So a couple days ago I did a x3 drain / fill with Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc ATF (full synthetic) on this RDX. Success! The car is now settled while going up through the gears and driveability has been transformed. The transmission's shifting is now "sequential" and "linear"...no vibration, no feeling the transmission is "going back and forth" or trying to find the right gear.

I had also installed the S-VCM controller for VCM deactivation in the 11 Pilot recently...for 2 reasons. The 1st was to obviously shut off the VCM system and the symptoms which come with it when it's engaging / disengaging...but also to see if it had a positive effect on the Pilot's oil consumption. It eliminated the symptoms of engaging / disengaging, but admittedly it wasn't in the vehicle for an entire oil change interval before we bought the RDX. With regard to oil consumption in the Pilot, there was no perceptible oil consumption during the ~1250 miles it was installed in the Pilot.

So, along with the MaxLife switch, I also installed the S-VCM Controller from the Pilot into the RDX...and once again, Success! This RDX is now running on all 6 cylinders all the time with MaxLife in the transmission...these 2 small changes have transformed this RDX into the refined driving experience it should be.
I am very interested in adding the S-VCM to my 2014 RDX Tech. It's March 23 2018 today roughly a month after your last post. Could you give an update on how S-VCM is working and where I could get one? Thanks
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Old 03-23-2018, 10:36 AM
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What prompted you to deviate from the OEM ATF?
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by thoiboi View Post
What prompted you to deviate from the OEM ATF?
If you go back and read the 2nd paragraph of my post...my 1st use of MaxLife was an attempt to correct a mis-behaving auto-trans in my son's 2000 Nissan Pathfinder. MaxLife eliminated the TC shudder and smoothed out the shifting in that vehicle...much to my and my son's delight. My 2nd use of MaxLife was in our (purchased new) 08 Odyssey mini-van. After a couple of software updates and a replaced TC under warranty...the 08 Odyssey still behaved like sh*t with TC shudder at certain shift points and speeds. At approximately 33k miles, I decided what the heck and tried MaxLife in the Odyssey...it completely cured the ills of our Odyssey's transmission issues. In that time frame there were a lot of dissatisfied Honda owners over the performance of the V6 transmissions...oddly enough, it was about that time Honda switched from Z1 to DW1 ATF.

After those 2 uses of MaxLife, I have used MaxLife exclusively in 7 other different Hondas and 2 other different Japanese vehicle makes. I have used MaxLife regardless of whether any of my vehicles were "symptomatic" or not...with a total mileage of use of almost 500,000 miles. All without issue and with performance at least as good as the fluid it replaced.

As I mentioned, right after we bought this 13 RDX, it was exhibiting the same/similar symptoms as our 08 Odyssey. The MaxLife (and S-VCM Controller) transformed our RDX from a herky-jerky, shuddering experience up thru the gears to the smooth, powerful and refined driving experience it should be running on all 6 cylinders all the time.

That is my experience...others may not share the same experience or feel the changes I've made is right for them.
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Old 03-24-2018, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
So, along with the MaxLife switch, I also installed the S-VCM Controller.
Did you do both at the same time or were they installed thousands of miles apart. Normally, you would do one change at a time to see the effects.
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Old 03-25-2018, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
Normally, you would do one change at a time to see the effects.
Sure...that makes perfect sense when it's one's 1st experience with a part, etc. and making multiple changes. That's not the case here. I have almost 500,000 miles of experience with MaxLife ATF across 8 Honda and 10 vehicles in total. The S-VCM Controller was previously installed in our Pilot and it worked as advertised there. I did both at essentially the same time with our used 13 RDX because of previous experience with the MaxLife and S-VCM Controller.

The MaxLife most definitely took care of that shuddering/juddering going up through the gears and the S-VCM Controller took care of the shudder of VCM engaging/disengaging at highway speeds. I will say this as well...whether the VCM system was symptomatic or transparent, I would still install a VCM deactivation device...this based on my experience with the system in our previous 08 Odyssey and 11 Pilot. My personal opinion is the VCM system is detrimental to the long term health and drivability on any engine it's installed...the class action suit Honda lost and all the engine repairs and replacements Honda performed as a result is the "proof in the pudding."

But hey, don't take my word for it...do some research. There's plenty of info out there on MaxLife ATF being the saving grace of Honda V6 transmissions (I'm certainly a believer too) -and- VCM deactivation curing not only the shuddering of engage/disengage, but also the oil consumption and fouled plugs which are part and parcel of the system.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
But hey, don't take my word for it...do some research.
For starters, I'd like to know what "published" specification Honda/Acura has for their ATF because their "Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF DW-1" is not a specification.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
For starters, I'd like to know what "published" specification Honda/Acura has for their ATF because their "Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF DW-1" is not a specification.
Right...yeah, but that (no stated spec) is exactly what keeps consumers believing (and buying) a relatively expensive (and in many cases under-performing) OEM product is a requirement for their vehicle without alternative.

Per Valvoline...MaxLife is a full synthetic formulated to perform across the broadest range of transmissions. Per the label, this includes (non-CVT) Honda automatic transmissions with full compatibility with both Z-1 and DW-1 fluids. Further...use of MaxLife ATF will not void the manufacturer's warranty.

Short of a data sheet comparison, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that supports this product simply works in Honda transmissions...and works better than the OEM fluid in numerous cases to turn a mis-behaving transmission into one that behaves. That is also my personal experience and the reason why I use MaxLife ATF and endorse its use.

Having said that, I have no connection to Valvoline and derive no benefit whether you use MaxLife or not...I'm merely stating my personal experience and belief in the product.
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Old 03-27-2018, 12:33 PM
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jjrphs, how was your fuel economy affected, if it was, after you installed S-VCM controller on your vehicles?
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Old 03-27-2018, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by osnova View Post
jjrphs, how was your fuel economy affected, if it was, after you installed S-VCM controller on your vehicles?
I copied this quote from a previous response to the same question.

Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Because I installed the S-VCM Controller immediately into our 13 RDX after purchase...I have no comparative before/after MPG data with our RDX.

In the short time (1 month) it was installed in our Pilot, I logged <1 MPG difference with S-VCM Controller vs not. There's plenty of others who have installed VCM disable devices in their Odyessys, Pilots and 2nd Gen Ridgelines...of those who've posted data that I've read, it appears that the greatest comparative difference was less than 2 MPG less fuel efficiency. For myself, the modest MPG reduction is a small price to pay for turning off this system with its potential long-term driveability and engine issues.
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Old 03-27-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Right...yeah, but that (no stated spec) is exactly what keeps consumers believing (and buying) a relatively expensive (and in many cases under-performing) OEM product is a requirement for their vehicle without alternative.
Well my RDX is under warranty and besides, I have absolutely no transmission (shutter or whatever) or VCM issues at all....BUT, I do believe in having options.

This is what Acura emailed me:
Specified fluid: Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF DW-1

NOTICE: Do not mix Acura Automatic Transmission Fluid ATF DW-1 with other transmission fluids.

Using a transmission fluid other than Acura ATF DW- 1 may adversely affect the operation and durability of your vehicle’s transmission, and damage the transmission. Any damage caused by using a transmission fluid that is not equivalent to Acura ATF DW-1 is not covered by Acura’s new vehicle warranty. NOTICE Pour the fluid slowly and carefully so you do not spill any. Clean up any spills immediately; they can damage components in the engine compartment.
I highlighted the "equivalent", therefore there must be some that are and I want Acura (not an oil company) to tell me which ones are.

As for cost, about $7 a quart is not expensive.
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Old 03-27-2018, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
Well my RDX is under warranty and besides, I have absolutely no transmission (shutter or whatever) or VCM issues at all....BUT, I do believe in having options.
As I've already mentioned...VCM deactivation -and/or- switch to MaxLife ATF may not be for everyone. I'm not trying to sell you or anyone else. Period. From what you're saying, it appears that neither will be right for you...and that's perfectly fine with me and I'm sure with Valvoline or any of the VCM deactivation device vendors. You've asked questions and I've done my best to answer them with complete honesty.

Now, had I been satisfied with the driveability of that previous 00 Pathfinder and 08 Odyssey or our current RDX...I probably would have never tried MaxLife ATF and possibly have been suspect as well. But, I wasn't satisfied with the driveablility of those vehicles and I didn't arrive at trying MaxLife ATF by accident...I did my research and found others with the same vehicle/issues who found success with the switch and thus my reason for giving it a try. My 1st two uses of the product produced complete success. And just as a reminder, I own and have owned many Hondas and far more of them were asymptomatic than symptomatic....yet I continued to use the product because it proved to be at least equal to the OEM product in my vehicles which were asymptomatic and superior in those which were symptomatic. Again, my total mileage of use is approaching a half-million miles. Am I the only one who's had a positive experience using the product (in Hondas)? Absolutely not...just do a cursory search and what you'll find is typically any negative comments you'll read are most often from those who've never used it and are "OEM at all cost disciples."

I am curious...do you perform the maintenance or work on your own cars?

Originally Posted by Tech View Post
This is what Acura emailed me:
I'm sorry...exactly what kind of response did you think you were going to get? That's standard boilerplate disclaimer language...and to be completely expected as a response.

Originally Posted by Tech View Post
I highlighted the "equivalent", therefore there must be some that are and I want Acura (not an oil company) to tell me which ones are.
Well, good luck with Acura / Honda telling you anything about equivalents...they have a vested interest in having everyone believe that only DW-1 is suited for their transmissions. FYI...it's "oil companies" which make DW-1, not Acura / Honda.

Originally Posted by Tech View Post
As for cost, about $7 a quart is not expensive.
I pay $4 a quart for MaxLife ATF. I like saving a buck just like the next guy...especially for a product which is superior in my opinion
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
I am curious...do you perform the maintenance or work on your own cars?
I have never been to a shop in well over 40 years of vehicle ownership. That included my cars and motorcycles as well as everything from model aircraft engines to real aircraft engines which includes flying them after I work on them. What do you think, good enough? lol Nobody touched my vehicles, period! I have very little use for tradesmen (just fixed my gas furnace for nothing).

Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
I'm sorry...exactly what kind of response did you think you were going to get? That's standard boilerplate disclaimer language...and to be completely expected as a response.
I'm retired and wanted to see what they would write. So used to the same BS.

Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Well, good luck with Acura / Honda telling you anything about equivalents...they have a vested interest in having everyone believe that only DW-1 is suited for their transmissions. FYI...it's "oil companies" which make DW-1, not Acura / Honda.
I am fully aware they do not make their own oil, neither does Porsche or Corvette. I've used Mobil 1 synthetic in everything from my daily drivers to my Porsche 911 with great results (like no wear and scuffing).
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:12 PM
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I was under the impression that if a manufacturer stated that you can only use "their product" (like lubes), then they have to give it to you for FREE. I remember reading some legalities about that.
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:01 AM
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Jjrphs--: In a number of other auto cars that I have owned over the years, when refilling the auto trans I would remove one of the lines going to the trans and attach a long clear hose to that line that pumped from the cooler back to the trans. I would then crank the car and allow a couple of qts of fluid to be pumped through the line and hose to a bucket, I would then refill the amount that went through the line into the trans. By doing it this way I could refresh the fluid in the trans all at one time, instead of having to do a number of fills and refills. The reason I am bringing this up, I see the possibility of doing the above , through the line you have shown me, and change the trans fluid, when I replace the filter,,seem reasonable to you that this could also be done safely in our RDX's
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
I was under the impression that if a manufacturer stated that you can only use "their product" (like lubes), then they have to give it to you for FREE. I remember reading some legalities about that.
Hmmm...reference?

Originally Posted by Poolman View Post
Jjrphs--: In a number of other auto cars that I have owned over the years, when refilling the auto trans I would remove one of the lines going to the trans and attach a long clear hose to that line that pumped from the cooler back to the trans. I would then crank the car and allow a couple of qts of fluid to be pumped through the line and hose to a bucket, I would then refill the amount that went through the line into the trans. By doing it this way I could refresh the fluid in the trans all at one time, instead of having to do a number of fills and refills. The reason I am bringing this up, I see the possibility of doing the above , through the line you have shown me, and change the trans fluid, when I replace the filter,,seem reasonable to you that this could also be done safely in our RDX's
I've never used the method of draining a transmission via a cooling line...primarily because it seems like half the knowledgeable transmission guys you ask say its fine and the other half say you're running part of the transmission without lube and run the risk of running the pump dry.

Honda transmissions are so easy (in my opinion) to drain and fill that I've always just done that. My personal SOP is to do a x3 drain/fill with the vehicle's 1st introduction to MaxLife and then a single drain/fill at a ~50k mile interval thereafter.

Having said that, if you're comfortable and confident in the method you use...then why not?
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Old 03-28-2018, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Hmmm...reference?
As mentioned...I was under the impression.

Fact is, my mother's 1990 Toyota Tercel got a letter from Toyota stating any headlight bulbs were free. Sure enough they were since what was installed was not a standard bulb that I could only get from Toyota.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
As mentioned...I was under the impression.

Fact is, my mother's 1990 Toyota Tercel got a letter from Toyota stating any headlight bulbs were free. Sure enough they were since what was installed was not a standard bulb that I could only get from Toyota.
Was the free light bulb replacement a result of a Toyota policy or a consumer oriented federal or state law? You mentioned "legalities" and I for one would be extremely interested see a reference where that is codified as I'm sure others would be as well.
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Old 04-14-2018, 12:35 AM
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If I recall, the legalities thing stems from an Enzo owner challenging Ferrari over the cost of their oil changes. Brought a court ruling dealing with locomotives or something. It was stated that if a manufacturer stipulates that you must use only their oil to maintain the warranty, tHen they must provide it..
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Was the free light bulb replacement a result of a Toyota policy or a consumer oriented federal or state law? You mentioned "legalities" and I for one would be extremely interested see a reference where that is codified as I'm sure others would be as well.
You'll have to hunt it down yourself.

What I did hunt down are DW-1 approvals. For example: Liqui Moly Top Tec 1800 meets DW-1 which is a Dexron VI and Ford Mercon LV (these latter two are available from various manufactures).
https://products.liqui-moly.com/top-tec-atf-1800-2.html

I also came across Total Fluidmatic MV LV which has DW-1 approval.
http://www4.total.fr/asia-oceania/si...%20MV%20LV.pdf
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
You'll have to hunt it down yourself.
Wait a minute...you make an improbable claim and when asked to back it up or provide reference...this is your response? Really?


What happened to..."I want Acura (not an oil company) to tell me which ones are (equivalent)?"
Originally Posted by Tech View Post
I want Acura (not an oil company) to tell me which ones are.
Originally Posted by Tech View Post
What I did hunt down are DW-1 approvals. For example: Liqui Moly Top Tec 1800 meets DW-1 which is a Dexron VI and Ford Mercon LV (these latter two are available from various manufactures).
https://products.liqui-moly.com/top-tec-atf-1800-2.html

I also came across Total Fluidmatic MV LV which has DW-1 approval.
http://www4.total.fr/asia-oceania/si...%20MV%20LV.pdf
Since oil company PI sheets are apparently "proof of equivalency" to you now....here's the PI sheet for Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc Full Synthetic ATF

MaxLife ATF PI Sheet
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
You'll have to hunt it down yourself.

What I did hunt down are DW-1 approvals. For example: Liqui Moly Top Tec 1800 meets DW-1 which is a Dexron VI and Ford Mercon LV (these latter two are available from various manufactures).
https://products.liqui-moly.com/top-tec-atf-1800-2.html

I also came across Total Fluidmatic MV LV which has DW-1 approval.
http://www4.total.fr/asia-oceania/si...%20MV%20LV.pdf
You need to be very careful with language like these aftermarket ATF makers use; there is a huge chasm between "Approved" and "Recommended"; neither of the ATFs you referenced are "Approved".
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Since oil company PI sheets are apparently "proof of equivalency" to you now....here's the PI sheet for Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc Full Synthetic ATF

MaxLife ATF PI Sheet
Here again, nothing in the MaxLife ATF sheet says this fluid is approved for Honda transmissions.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
You need to be very careful with language like these aftermarket ATF makers use; there is a huge chasm between "Approved" and "Recommended"; neither of the ATFs you referenced are "Approved".
Sure. "Approved" connotes confirmation from the vehicle manufacturer. Call me a cynic, but as long as Honda/Acura markets their own fluid...that "blessing" will never come.

What the PI sheet for MaxLife ATF does contain is a recommendation with Honda/Acura transmissions (except CVT), compatibility statement with for Z1 / DW1 fluids, a "stands behind statement" for their recommendations, a "will not void warranty statement" for their recommendations and reiterates the FTC's interpretation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

For myself, there's the above, plus the almost 500,000 miles of personal experience with MaxLife across 7 different Honda's / 11 different vehicles total where MaxLife ATF has proven equivalent to factory ATF in my vehicles without any transmission symptoms and has proven superior to factory ATF in my vehicles which had transmission symptoms.

I'm not trying to "sell" anyone on MaxLife ATF...if it's not for you so be it. But I have the personal experience to back up my recommendation.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:42 PM
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Cynic or not, numerous manufacturers have certification standards which allow aftermarket companies to create compatible products. The thing about MaxLife is it is a jack of all trades, master of none. It is not physically possible for a one-size-fits-all ATF to comply with the friction requirements of so many different manufacturers; at best it will be a pour second cousin to true DW-1.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Cynic or not, numerous manufacturers have certification standards which allow aftermarket companies to create compatible products. The thing about MaxLife is it is a jack of all trades, master of none. It is not physically possible for a one-size-fits-all ATF to comply with the friction requirements of so many different manufacturers; at best it will be a pour second cousin to true DW-1.
MaxLife could very well be a "poor" second cousin to DW1...but until you produce a data sheet comparison, you're just guessing and making assumptions.

As I said, I have the personal experience and there's a multitude of others (Honda owners) with anecdotal evidence that suggest MaxLife is superior to DW1.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
MaxLife could very well be a "poor" second cousin to DW1...but until you produce a data sheet comparison, you're just guessing and making assumptions.
It's actually the reverse of that; until you prove Maxlife is compatible, you're just guessing and making assumptions. In engineering circles, the burden of proof is on the claimant; in this case, it is Valvoline claiming MaxLife ATF to be compatible with DW-1.
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Old 04-15-2018, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
It's actually the reverse of that; until you prove Maxlife is compatible, you're just guessing and making assumptions. In engineering circles, the burden of proof is on the claimant; in this case, it is Valvoline claiming MaxLife ATF to be compatible with DW-1.
You...made the statement that MaxLife ATF was sub-par (poor 2nd cousin?) to DW1. Please back that up with facts.
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Old 04-15-2018, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
You...made the statement that MaxLife ATF was sub-par (poor 2nd cousin?) to DW1. Please back that up with facts.
Please understand, I never made any such statement; what I said was, it makes claims be compatible when there is no proof; what I also said was there is a huge gap between "Approved" and "Recommended" for.

Think about it this way, possibly the most key property of any ATF is the Coefficient of Friction (COF), if the COF is such that the ATF is too slippery, the clutches will slip too much when engaging and wear out sooner than they should; if the COF provides too much grip, the clutches will engage too quickly and put more strain on the mechanicals of the transmission than it was designed for. Given all manufacturers design their transmissions with very specific COF properties of their ATF, it is unreasonable to think a one-size-fits-all ATF has the correct COF for a wide variety of transmissions. Are you really willing to bet the life of your transmission on an ATF which isn't certified/approved to be compliant with the standards set forth by the designers of your transmission? If I was inclined to drive cars with automatic transmissions I can tell you I sure as hell wouldn't.

Last edited by horseshoez; 04-15-2018 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Please understand, I never made any such statement; what I said was, it makes claims be compatible when there is no proof; what I also said was there is a huge gap between "Approved" and "Recommended" for..
Your quote: "at best it will be a pour (poor?) second cousin to true DW-1." That certainly reads like you're implying MaxLife ATF is inferior to DW1.

Valvoline is recognized as one of the best, if not the best automotive petro-fluid makers in the world. Valvoline claims compatibility with Honda/Acura transmissions and DW1. Valvoline backs up that claim with a "stands behind product statement." It's pretty simple...either you're willing to trust a manufacturer like Valvoline with its representations and guarantees or you're not.

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Are you really willing to bet the life of your transmission on an ATF which isn't certified/approved to be compliant with the standards set forth by the designers of your transmission?
Yes...and have done so to the tune of almost 500,000 miles and years of personal experience in mostly Honda transmissions. My experience is anything but uncommon for those who've had transmission issues in their Honda and have given MaxLife ATF a try.

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
If I was inclined to drive cars with automatic transmissions I can tell you I sure as hell wouldn't.
You have no personal experience with Honda automatic transmissions?...yet you question those who do and who've found an easy fix for the driveability and symptoms many of these Honda transmissions have?
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
I'm not trying to "sell" anyone on MaxLife ATF...if it's not for you so be it. But I have the personal experience to back up my recommendation.
Not that I care, but it sure seems like it. I too have 43 years of engine and transmission use without a single issue.
What I want to see is a Honda spec just as one would have for a gear oil GL4 or GL5, etc.
All of the approved or recommended ATFs seem to be a low viscosity type of fluid.

Anyway, since my RDX shifts as ultra smooth as can be, I'm not worried. Guess I got a god one.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Your quote: "at best it will be a pour (poor?) second cousin to true DW-1." That certainly reads like you're implying MaxLife ATF is inferior to DW1.

Valvoline is recognized as one of the best, if not the best automotive petro-fluid makers in the world. Valvoline claims compatibility with Honda/Acura transmissions and DW1. Valvoline backs up that claim with a "stands behind product statement." It's pretty simple...either you're willing to trust a manufacturer like Valvoline with its representations and guarantees or you're not.


Yes...and have done so to the tune of almost 500,000 miles and years of personal experience in mostly Honda transmissions. My experience is anything but uncommon for those who've had transmission issues in their Honda and have given MaxLife ATF a try.


You have no personal experience with Honda automatic transmissions?...yet you question those who do and who've found an easy fix for the driveability and symptoms many of these Honda transmissions have?
A few points:
  • My "poor second cousin" comment was more to illustrate the difference between an approved ATF and one which has no such approvals; nothing about that comment says MaxLife is or isn't compatible; we just don't know one way or another.
  • Valvoline makes lots of noise about standing behind their product, but there is absolutely zero proof published regarding compatibility. Not standing behind the product from my perspective.
  • A half million miles is but a drop in the bucket, and from an engineering perspective, is nothing but an anecdotal report. Said another way, utterly irrelevant.
  • Did I say I have no personal experience with Honda automatic transmissions? Hmmm, funny, last time I checked my 2001 V6 Accord has an automatic transmission. Maybe I'm imagining it and it really has a 6MT.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Tech View Post
Not that I care, but it sure seems like it.
Nope...just sharing information and experience on this (RDX) forum that is commonplace and common knowledge on most of the other V6 Honda vehicle forums.
That's kinda what these internet forums are for. Correct?...The sharing of real knowledge and experience...versus, making highly suspect "once upon a time I heard this" claims that when you're asked to provide reference, you simply invite the questioner to "go find it for yourself."

Originally Posted by Tech View Post
Anyway, since my RDX shifts as ultra smooth as can be, I'm not worried. Guess I got a god one.
Glad you got a "god" one. If, however at some point in the future you experience transmission vibration or shudder...seriously, give the MaxLife a try before letting the dealer monkeys have a go at it
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
..seriously, give the MaxLife a try before letting the dealer monkeys have a go at it
Trust me, that'll never happen, not on my Acura, Porsche or my BMW motorcycles...or anything from chainsaws to aircraft.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Valvoline makes lots of noise about standing behind their product, but there is absolutely zero proof published regarding compatibility. Not standing behind the product from my perspective.
Not just noise...Valvoline puts their Recommendation, Compatibility and their Stands Behind Product statement in writing.

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
A half million miles is but a drop in the bucket, and from an engineering perspective, is nothing but an anecdotal report. Said another way, utterly irrelevant.
Relevant...and valuable. Anecdotal evidence changes SOPs all the time. It's how products and procedures evolve and improve. BTW, were you under the impression mine was the only experience with MaxLife/Honda transmissions? There's hundreds to thousands more who share the same experience...any number of forums from V6 Honda vehicle related sites to Bob's The Oil Guy will demonstrate that.

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Did I say I have no personal experience with Honda automatic transmissions? Hmmm, funny, last time I checked my 2001 V6 Accord has an automatic transmission. Maybe I'm imagining it and it really has a 6MT.
Well...your statement certainly implied you would not own a vehicle with an AT. Regardless, carry on proudly with your 2001 V6 Accord with AT and DW1!

Originally Posted by Tech View Post
Trust me, that'll never happen, not on my Acura, Porsche or my BMW motorcycles...or anything from chainsaws to aircraft.
Since no one is advocating MaxLife ATF in Porsches, BMW motorcycles, chainsaws or aircraft...I'm assuming you're referring to the dealer monkeys
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:02 PM
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Dealer Monkies, or just someone who drank too much Kool-Aid.
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Old 04-17-2018, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
Dealer Monkies.
Monkeys?

Originally Posted by horseshoez View Post
or just someone who drank too much Kool-Aid.
Well, you know what they say...you can lead a horse to the kool-aid
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jjrphs View Post
Since no one is advocating MaxLife ATF in Porsches, BMW motorcycles, chainsaws or aircraft...I'm assuming you're referring to the dealer monkeys
Any clown with a wrench, be it a dealer, independent or a corner garage. I have seen enough happen to the vehicles of friends. No thanks...and I would be paying for that level of craftsmanship...duhhh.

Here is a clear example of what an independent shop did to a friend's car. Good thing it wasn't mine or the mechanic would have has a 45 ACP between his eyes. Got no use for butchers.
https://www.smugmug.com/gallery/n-Vxh3JV/
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Old Yesterday, 08:43 AM
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Jjrphs, Thanks for bring out the alternative to the OEM fluid. From what I have read around , The Max Life is getting good reviews in many different makes of auto's. I will be trading it out in my ride in a short time , when the warrentie runs out. The stuff will be going into my 2003 Sequoia in the next few days as well. Been doing my own work for such as this for over 50 years,. Some get head strong on such, when told there are good alternatives (or better) that OEM products for their auto's Thanks for the VCM controller as well. Rather read where someone is trying to help DIY'ing and such, that someone else trying to shoot it down,,Have A good day
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Old Yesterday, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Poolman View Post
Jjrphs, Thanks for bring out the alternative to the OEM fluid. From what I have read around , The Max Life is getting good reviews in many different makes of auto's. I will be trading it out in my ride in a short time , when the warrentie runs out. The stuff will be going into my 2003 Sequoia in the next few days as well. Been doing my own work for such as this for over 50 years,. Some get head strong on such, when told there are good alternatives (or better) that OEM products for their auto's Thanks for the VCM controller as well. Rather read where someone is trying to help DIY'ing and such, that someone else trying to shoot it down,,Have A good day
If you understood how automatic transmissions operate and the role the ATF plays on proper operation, you would never even consider anything but an OEM or certified compatible ATF. MaxLife is neither.
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