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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
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    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

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    Hey guys, what kind of symptoms would you expect if you're low on automatic transmission fluid? Are there obvious signs when you're driving? Will you experience slippage as a result? At what point if you're losing fluid will there be damage to one's transmission?

    I won't be able to check/fill my tranny fluid until a later date so I'll have to keep driving for the time-being. So far, it still seems to shift ok but at times the shift timing seems slightly 'off.' No irregular mechanical noises or anything coming from the tranny though. Just hope there's not going to be permanent damage...
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  2. #2
    Veteran Member Three Rings grip_racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 17 2007
    AZ Member #
    17342
    My Garage
    1997 A4 1.8TM
    Location
    Atlanta, GA

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    the motor will rev up but the tranny wont deliver power immediately, and then it will snap back into delivery within a few seconds.

    if you get anything like that, get it filled immediately, its not expensive, and you might burn out some valving if its low on ATF
    1997 A4 1.8T FWD Manual - K03 - (TOTALLED, BUY MY PARTS!)

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    ^ That sounds like major "slippage." Thankfully I haven't experienced anything like that yet. I have all the tools to refill my ATF so hopefully I'll have some time very soon to do that. The transmission is one thing I don't want to repair!
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Three Rings grip_racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 17 2007
    AZ Member #
    17342
    My Garage
    1997 A4 1.8TM
    Location
    Atlanta, GA

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    cool, yeah if you do it soon it probably wont be damaged at all!
    1997 A4 1.8T FWD Manual - K03 - (TOTALLED, BUY MY PARTS!)

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    How critical is it to use VW/Audi OEM automatic transmission fluid? I hear from some camps that it's a definite-must while others say there's not much of a difference. Some others (including online retailers) recommend Pentosin.
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  6. #6
    Veteran Member Three Rings
    Join Date
    Feb 11 2004
    AZ Member #
    90
    My Garage
    '08 A4 SE, '00 Focus Wagon
    Location
    Chicago 'burbs

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    Quote Originally Posted by woofster View Post
    How critical is it to use VW/Audi OEM automatic transmission fluid? I hear from some camps that it's a definite-must while others say there's not much of a difference. Some others (including online retailers) recommend Pentosin.
    Pentosin is the synthetic that is approved for the trans. I did trans services on our 3 cars with that in June and July. and I did Lefko's in September. This is what I used times 4 install kits from Blauparts.
    2008 A4 SE

    APR, Milltek, S4 rear brakes, RS4 rear sway, Nav, Sirius, Xenon, & all weather mats


  7. #7
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    I've also heard of people using Mobil1 with no problems whatsoever. Have there actually been cases of transmissions failing due to owners using non-OEM fluid?
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  8. #8
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Sep 08 2004
    AZ Member #
    3417
    Location
    WA

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    Quote Originally Posted by woofster View Post
    I've also heard of people using Mobil1 with no problems whatsoever. Have there actually been cases of transmissions failing due to owners using non-OEM fluid?
    Couple years back people were saying OEM or Pentosin ATF1 ONLY or the trans would f'ed up. Well, now we have people using all kinds of ATF with no problem reported. M1 ATF, Redline D4, Amsoil Universal, Valvoline Mercon V, Castrol Import MV, Pennzoil MV, QuakerState MV all work fine in the A4 Tiptronic.

  9. #9
    Active Member Two Rings
    Join Date
    Sep 08 2004
    AZ Member #
    3417
    Location
    WA

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    sounds like a bit low.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Three Rings DrFeelGood's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 02 2007
    AZ Member #
    18485
    My Garage
    1997 2.8Q Audi A4
    Location
    Bamberg, Germany

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    It's no way to tell if your low or not is there? I hate not knowing.
    1997 Audi A4 2.8Q.

  11. #11
    Veteran Member Four Rings loustylez's Avatar
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    Oct 03 2006
    AZ Member #
    12268
    My Garage
    2001 A4 2.8 QT
    Location
    kansas city

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    i had my tranny fluid flushed a while ago and it seemed to help some but it could have been related to other problems. i'd like to do it again just to make sure it's done right as i'm not sure if they put another filter in or filled to the proper level.

  12. #12
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    Quote Originally Posted by DrFeelGood View Post
    It's no way to tell if your low or not is there? I hate not knowing.
    Exactly, which is one of the reasons I started this thread. When I did my timing belt, I also replaced my old radiator, so I had removed the transmission cooler lines from the back of the radiator and yes, I lost some ATF as a result. It wasn't a lot so I didn't re-fill the tranny at the time. But lately, the transmission seems to feel sluggish and I suspect it may be because of low transmission fluid, however I don't know for sure.
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  13. #13
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    Quote Originally Posted by bender View Post
    Couple years back people were saying OEM or Pentosin ATF1 ONLY or the trans would f'ed up. Well, now we have people using all kinds of ATF with no problem reported. M1 ATF, Redline D4, Amsoil Universal, Valvoline Mercon V, Castrol Import MV, Pennzoil MV, QuakerState MV all work fine in the A4 Tiptronic.
    I'm very interested in this as well. I read Bob Is The Oil Guy forums (http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/) and try to learn as much as I can about this stuff. I'm also curious about our VW/Audi G12 coolant requirement. When I flushed my system recently, I did use Audi OEM coolant mixed with distilled water but I seriously wonder what consequences (if any) would there be if I used a high-quality non-OEM coolant instead.
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo

  14. #14
    Veteran Member Three Rings woofster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 10 2007
    AZ Member #
    18699
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    Re: Low automatic transmission fluid (ATF) = ???

    Hey guys, need to call on your help again.

    I'm going to top up my tranny with ATF tomorrow and was curious about the various pumping devices you guys fabricated in order to fill the transmission. I basically have a hand pump, similar to the one pictured below:



    Would it be possible to simply insert the rubber hose of the discharge end up into the tranny fill hole and pump ATF right in? Or will I have to fabricate a 135-degree nozzle similar to the one pictured below, in order to get any ATF into the transmission?


    (Thank you Audipages.com for the image!)
    2003 Acura MDX Touring
    2008 Mercedes-Benz B200 Turbo



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