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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
I have a 1999 Camry 2.2L. The car has about 300k miles on it. No fluid losses and runs sweet and smooth. I know the transmission hasn't been worked on in the last 100k. Before that I don't know.
I want to service the transmission (fluid and filter). I am in Thailand so ambient temperatures are high, mostly in the range 90-110F. Under the hood gets stinking hot when in traffic - you have stand back when you open it with a hot engine. I am very keen to avoid ATF leaks so don't want a thin synthetic fluid. I can buy Toyota DII from the dealer here at a fair price. Do you think I should stick with that, or go with a DIII ?
Also I heard several different ATF filters types were fitted and you don't know which type until the oil pan is off. Is that correct?
 

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I had a Camry Solara with 319,000 miles that ran synthetic ATF without a leak. At any rate, DIII (Dexron III) is better and backward compatible with DII (Dexron II).

As for filters, I do know that the A140E transmission has 15 bolts in the pan. The A541E transmission has 17 bolts in the pan.
 

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Since you have the 2.2, get the filter kit for A140E transmission. You can always check you vin tag inside the driver's door. Look to the bottom of the label for "A/TM". Should say A140E
 

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'00 4 Cyl. Auto Camry LE
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I am very keen to avoid ATF leaks so don't want a thin synthetic fluid. I can buy Toyota DII from the dealer here at a fair price. Do you think I should stick with that, or go with a DIII ?
When we received our 2000 2.2 Camry back in 2015, 215k miles, last ATF change was 125k back in 2008 - I was concerned w/ exactly the same thing: going from a thicker spec. fluid to the thinner MaxLife ATF product. I didn't want to "shock" the trans. or introduce leaks using a thinner fluid.

I ended up using another Valvoline product:



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This product has a viscosity index of 6.9 @ 100 celcius, which more closely matches the Dex III spec of 7.1 - 7.3 range at the same temp., and is fully synthetic.

After doing an initial drain-and-fill, I did a full ATF fluid "transfusion" using the trans. oil cooler line method. I also used this product when doing the Differential drain/fill at time of service. I used the MaxLife ATF fluid when I did the power steering system "transfusion", which has also held up great.

There was immediate noticeable improvement, the fluid has held up great: no leaks, no issues, trans. is still shifting smooth 5 years, and 70,000 miles later: I am due to do another full ATF service this Spring. Not because I "have to" - just because it's due for preventative maintenance service.

This fluid is a bit 'pricey', best if you can purchase in the gallon jug, available at Advance Auto parts: I think I paid about $27.00 / jug last time, during a sale.

In short, I can recommend this ATF fluid to you, and I think it will do well in your climate there in Thailand. Hope the ATF fluid service goes well for you.
 

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A different example:

An hour ago I just finished doing transmission filter, pan gasket, and fluid in a 2004 Tacoma PreRunner. Bit different transmission (A340E vs the A140E in the Camry). Running 100K-old fluid, truck has little over 200K. I let it drain overnight, and had to put in 6 quarts; used MaxLife Dex/Merc (essentially Dex VI). Shifts fast and smooth now, no discernible issues and I don't expect any.

Good points above by the other posters. However MaxLife ATF has become my go-to fluid on Toyotas of this era, it just works so well IMO. My beatercam (A140E) has 194K and it shifts great with MaxLife. I'll be doing an external filter change, drain and refill at 210K and every 30K thereafter, and I expect it to continue to do so (pan gasket every 90K). Maybe worth noting that I beat the crap out of the car and it works like brand new.
 

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In my first reply, I said I used a synthetic ATF. It is the Valvoline Maxlife ATF. I use it in all the vehicles in my signature and have never had a transmission issue.
 

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1997 Camry LE 5S-FE Automatic Kentucky built
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Just did a 97 Camry LE with 2.2 and auto trans. Swapped it to Castrol maxlife ATF and used a generic filter and gasket kit. The fluid that came out of the trans and diff was like old chocolate milk, I'm thinking it was factory fluid and I'm at 293,000 km!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I notice a lot of people recommending the MaxLife ATF. I am astonished that one fluid can cover so many applications. Seems hard to believe that nothing is compromised..
 

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イリジウム
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Maxlife is a good fluid. I don’t feel comfortable using it in any high priced ZF transmissions yet. others have.

it’s essentially a Dexron VI type fluid, so any US or Japanese cars which ran on Dexrons should do well.

DexronIII is no longer licensed. It’s replaced by DexronVI. Search up US Mobil-1 ATF. It’s fully synthetic and basically a Mercon V if you want a thicker fluid. There should be equivalent ones there such as Revnol.
 

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I have a 1999 Camry 2.2 Auto with 320K miles and I use Valvoline MaxLife Full Synthetic ATF for the transmission, differential (don't forget the differential), and the power steering. I just do drain and fill after measuring what drains out. Do it about very year to two years, basically when I think about it or it doesn't have that bright red color anymore. If you've ever had leaky axle seals, the differential gets depleted. No leaks that I know about.
 

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'00 4 Cyl. Auto Camry LE
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I notice a lot of people recommending the MaxLife ATF. I am astonished that one fluid can cover so many applications. Seems hard to believe that nothing is compromised..
Valvoline MaxLife is an excellent ATF fluid, I have used it here for many years, on various vehicles requiring Dex/Merc, Dex III and IV. Including Toyota, Ford, Mazda, etc. My recommendation of the (Import Multi-vehicle) product, a slightly higher VI formulation: was in response to your location / the ambient temps. there, and concern of using a thinner fluid.

When I owned the '96 v6 Camry, I used Maxlife ATF in that vehicle: it worked excellent. As it did in the various 2005-2008 Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicles here, I would use it again, with confidence.
 

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I notice a lot of people recommending the MaxLife ATF. I am astonished that one fluid can cover so many applications. Seems hard to believe that nothing is compromised..

Maxlife is a good fluid. I don’t feel comfortable using it in any high priced ZF transmissions yet. others have.

it’s essentially a Dexron VI type fluid, so any US or Japanese cars which ran on Dexrons should do well.

DexronIII is no longer licensed. It’s replaced by DexronVI. Search up US Mobil-1 ATF. It’s fully synthetic and basically a Mercon V if you want a thicker fluid. There should be equivalent ones there such as Revnol.

MaxLife does cover many applications, and some of the information that even Valvoline reps provide on it is...cagey. My experiences:

- on "regular" transmissions in pedestrian cars (GMs, Fords, Toyotas, etc) it works great as a replacement fluid
- works great on older Hondas (with the transmission issues), is superior to DW-1 in those applications. The newer, "fixed" transmissions...works fine, but shifts bit harder and I've had one client complain of downshift quality so I switched back to DW-1 every 20K
- works well on ZF transmissions, with a but. ZF 4HP, 5HP (older transmissions) works great, 6HP and 8HP...works well until it ages about 5-10K. Continues to work well but amplifies the common issues on those trans (you feel harsh 2-1 downshift, etc). On these I usually just go with the LifeGuard 8 or equivalent nowadays. I suppose it's like I've been saying, changing fluid is good for a trans; people who think if a trans hasn't been serviced in a long time and you suddenly change the fluid and it starts having problems...nope. You already had the problems, the fresh fluid just showed you what they were.
- I noticed on ZF 6HP and Toyota A340x, U15xx, U25xx after changing with MaxLife, the trans seems not to want to use 3rd under constant, moderate throttle (revs and shifts through 1st, 2nd, stays in 3rd for a second, then shifts to 4th and continues). I think this may be a wear issue with the shifting logic (valve body). My A140E does not do this, neither do the various A541E I work on. If you increase throttle so you stay in gear longer, the affected transmissions make use of 3rd gear.
 

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2000 Toyota Camry LE 5S-FE engine; A140E transmission
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Transmissions seem to be the most hotly debated issue on this and I am sure other car Forums and I never realized how incredibly complex transmissions are until I started reading here. According to ISB and others here transmissions actually "remember" how a person drives and adapt their performance to suite. When I first got my 01 Camry A140E on the advice of the people I did a drain and fill of the transmission and replaced the fluid with MaxLife and all was good until this winter when I seemed to notice the transmission acting wierd. I did a drain and fill again (I do it once a year) and almost went back to Dex III but everybody told me to stay with MaxLife and I did and so far so good :)

I will also add that for 4th Gen Camrys MaxLife works great in the power steering system. When I first got my car I had a small, slow leak and I sucked the power steering fluid out of the PS reservoir with a turkey baster and filled with MaxLife and I did this 3 times spaced at 1 month intervals and so far the leak is gone and my power steering system is quieter and smoother.

These guy know a lot more than I do about cars and I am just glad they are here.
 
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