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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is just a friendly PSA to say, change your ATF a lot sooner than the maintenance schedule recommends!!

The diesel supplement says change your ATF at 45,000 miles for "severe" use, with no mention of when to change it for non-sever use. My 2017 just turned 36,000 miles and I tow a good bit, though most of what I tow is probably under 2000#, so I figured I would swap whatever ATF was in the pan and put off the filter change since I'm still far earlier than the scheduled transmission service for even the "severe" case. So I bought a little pump, pumped out just over 5qt through the fill hole and pumped the exact same amount back in. The ATF that came out looked horrible! It's a really dark burgundy or brown color, nothing like the cherry red of the new fluid. I captured some in a sample bottle to send off to Blackstone (picture below) to see if it's really as bad as it looks. It doesn't have a strong smell at all, just dark in color. The service schedule may say 45,000 miles for severe use, but if it looks this bad after only 36k miles of non-severe use then it really needs to be changed sooner! I'll post back once I have the Blackstone results, maybe it's not as bad as it looks?


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Which transmission do you have? Getting my 8 speed fluid do e in July, will hit 37,000. Getting dealer to do mine.
 

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I had my fluid and filter changed a little early at the dealer. My already good shifting transmission improved noticeably.
 
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This is just a friendly PSA to say, change your ATF a lot sooner than the maintenance schedule recommends!!

The diesel supplement says change your ATF at 45,000 miles for "severe" use, with no mention of when to change it for non-sever use. My 2017 just turned 36,000 miles and I tow a good bit, though most of what I tow is probably under 2000#, so I figured I would swap whatever ATF was in the pan and put off the filter change since I'm still far earlier than the scheduled transmission service for even the "severe" case. So I bought a little pump, pumped out just over 5qt through the fill hole and pumped the exact same amount back in. The ATF that came out looked horrible! It's a really dark burgundy or brown color, nothing like the cherry red of the new fluid. I captured some in a sample bottle to send off to Blackstone (picture below) to see if it's really as bad as it looks. It doesn't have a strong smell at all, just dark in color. The service schedule may say 45,000 miles for severe use, but if it looks this bad after only 36k miles of non-severe use then it really needs to be changed sooner! I'll post back once I have the Blackstone results, maybe it's not as bad as it looks?


View attachment 410130
Don't look at the color in a bottle, it will be misleading. Get a paper towel and put 1-2 drops on the paper towel, look at that color as well as any color transition (dark center with lighter color towards the edge). I think you're freaking out based on an inaccurate representation of the "color" and it may not be as bad as you think.

color isnt necessarily an indication of the actual fluid condition. it can be fairly dark like your fluid is and still function just fine. im interested to see what blackstone has to say about it.
That's true with motor oil, not true with ATF. Color is a very good indication of condition and shows any substantial oxidation from heat, if the fluid is more of a rust or brown color then you can bet the fluid needs to be changed as it has oxidized due to being worked hard and isn't performing up to spec any longer. Sometimes random hard up or downshifts can be noticed when fluid is in that state as well. You could get an analysis done, but checking the color is free and has been used to determine general fluid condition for decades.
 

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Do you know what fluid they put back in it?
I noticed the same thing with my 6-speed, my dealer put in the bulk Dexron-VI fluid they had on hand, which is supposedly an updated fluid (perhaps fully synthetic vs blend? Not sure), but whatever the case when I had them do a fluid exchange and filter replacement around 45k miles it shifted better than new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No one is freaking out, just glad I decided to get on it early. I was getting some harder shifts lately, not worrisome bad but enough to get my attention, which is what motivated me to do it this weekend. I'll get a picture on a paper towel tomorrow.
 

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No one is freaking out, just glad I decided to get on it early. I was getting some harder shifts lately, not worrisome bad but enough to get my attention, which is what motivated me to do it this weekend. I'll get a picture on a paper towel tomorrow.
I dunno, your use of multiple exclamation points made it seem like you were a little freaked out. :D Curious to see what the paper towel test shows. You've probably seen mine, but if not I can post it up again and I took that sample around 36k miles or something, I think, and that was after towing our 5,000LB parachute over 11,000ft summits in the Rockies where I saw trans temps of around 230F at times (Total trip was over 5,000 miles towing and trans temps basically between 210F-220F most of the time).
 

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Which transmission do you have? Getting my 8 speed fluid do e in July, will hit 37,000. Getting dealer to do mine.
The OP has a Diesel and the diesels come with a 6 speed.
 
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Don't look at the color in a bottle, it will be misleading. Get a paper towel and put 1-2 drops on the paper towel, look at that color as well as any color transition (dark center with lighter color towards the edge). I think you're freaking out based on an inaccurate representation of the "color" and it may not be as bad as you think.



That's true with motor oil, not true with ATF. Color is a very good indication of condition and shows any substantial oxidation from heat, if the fluid is more of a rust or brown color then you can bet the fluid needs to be changed as it has oxidized due to being worked hard and isn't performing up to spec any longer. Sometimes random hard up or downshifts can be noticed when fluid is in that state as well. You could get an analysis done, but checking the color is free and has been used to determine general fluid condition for decades.
That has always been my method of testing, plus smell. A good nose can smell the difference in good oil and that which has a 'burned' tinge to it. I don't know if color is still valid however because I've seen some of the newer trans fluids that look darker brand new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here's a drop on a paper towel, though in all fairness between the cell phone camera and different screen settings for everyone there's no way to say if what you see is what it looks like in real life. It person it's pretty brown with a hint of red. No smell.

Also I drove it this morning and it definitely shifts smoother. I might swap another 5 quarts when I get time for that reason alone. When I first got the truck I remember thinking wow this thing shifts smooth (my first automatic) but lately the shifts were starting to get a little clunky for lack of a better term. Not horrible, but enough that I noticed it. Swapping the 5 quarts definitely smoothed it back out a good bit.


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Keep in mind that you only changed about 1/2 of the fluid. I would suggest doing it again in short time period. Then it will be about 3/4 new fluid.
 

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Here's a drop on a paper towel, though in all fairness between the cell phone camera and different screen settings for everyone there's no way to say if what you see is what it looks like in real life. It person it's pretty brown with a hint of red. No smell.

Also I drove it this morning and it definitely shifts smoother. I might swap another 5 quarts when I get time for that reason alone. When I first got the truck I remember thinking wow this thing shifts smooth (my first automatic) but lately the shifts were starting to get a little clunky for lack of a better term. Not horrible, but enough that I noticed it. Swapping the 5 quarts definitely smoothed it back out a good bit.


View attachment 410140
Yeah, that's not too bad. Looked like mine, still more red than brown but a good time to get it replaced before it gets worse.

Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 
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I dunno, your use of multiple exclamation points made it seem like you were a little freaked out. :D Curious to see what the paper towel test shows. You've probably seen mine, but if not I can post it up again and I took that sample around 36k miles or something, I think, and that was after towing our 5,000LB parachute over 11,000ft summits in the Rockies where I saw trans temps of around 230F at times (Total trip was over 5,000 miles towing and trans temps basically between 210F-220F most of the time).
I have not seen yours. Would you mind reposting it up ?
 

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I have not seen yours. Would you mind reposting it up ?
Fresh vs lots of towing over mountains w/ 36k or 38k on the fluid, I forget exactly.

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This is one of my fav subjects.
Absolutely YES change early! Not necessarily often, but definitely early.
Break-in fluids are crap after a few thousand miles with most of the contamination happening within the first hundred. Why would anyone want that contaminated oil any more than necessary? All the break-in fluids are crap in a short time, especially the differential. What does the manufacturer tell us? Its good for 45-50K? Lifetime? That garbage is for those who will never do the drain to find out, its sales pitch, nothing more.
Sure there is a difference between base deterioration and contamination. The base oil can have all its properties intact while supporting a soup of metallic and organic sludge, while still protecting your gears valves and pumps.
But why continue with the contamination? Especially when changing oils is very easy. Not always cheap, but is your engine, trans, xfer box and diff worth it? Yeah! Since my next truck will probably be Electric, hybrid or have start/stop, I want to keep my 'Rado as long as possible.
Transmission pan removal 2018 Colorado 3.6 LGZ 8spd | Chevy Colorado & GMC Canyon (coloradofans.com)
 
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