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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mach1219 View Post
Heres the quote, from wikipedia

"One aspect of the advanced nature of the electronics is at idle (along with required foot brake depression on e.g. Opel Astra), it automatically selects neutral gear to reduce internal temperatures and improve fuel economy.

It utilises a special AW-1 transmission fluid which is labelled as being maintenance free."

Oddly they dont list the 3G as one of the applications for it, although it says includes AW6A-EL in the description
There is no such thing as maintenance-free fluid. I will take this wikipedia quote with a grain of salt.

seriously. are you really going to be shifting into Neutral and then Drive at every stoplight? that's just going to wear out your solenoids faster, effectively negating any sort of benefits. The transmission was designed to stay in Drive while driving.

Last edited by Get Inline; 07-26-2018 at 12:37 PM.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Get Inline View Post
There is no such thing as maintenance-free fluid. I will take this wikipedia quote with a grain of salt.

seriously. are you really going to be shifting into Neutral and then Drive at every stoplight? that's just going to wear out your solenoids faster, effectively negating any sort of benefits. The transmission was designed to stay in Drive while driving.
They state the fluid is "labeled" as maintenance free. I think its obvious they are referring to the no recommended change interval, of "lifetime" fill, which IMO should still be changed at least every 100k miles if not sooner.

I dont know if it actually does it or not, would be nice if we had a AW6A-EL expert in the house

Last edited by mach1219; 07-26-2018 at 12:44 PM.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mach1219 View Post
They state the fluid is "labeled" as maintenance free. I think its obvious they are referring to the no recommended change interval, of "lifetime" fill, which IMO should still be changed at least every 100k miles if not sooner.

I dont know if it actually does it or not, would be nice if we had a AW6A-EL expert in the house
100K on original fluid and filter is very lengthy. I'd recommend every 60K miles. If you're not going to replace the pan-filter, I wouldn't suggest opening the transmission at all. If you dropped your pan at 60K and took a peek inside, you'll be glad you did.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Get Inline View Post
That's stupid and absolutely a terrible idea. The transmission fluid is not circulating when you are in Park or Neutral.
Utter nonsense. An ATX (even the old-style ones) has its oil pump coupled off the input shaft. As long as the engine is running the unit has oil pressure.

This, by the way, is why you CANNOT tow an ATX car with the engine off and the drive wheels on the road. You WILL destroy the transmission doing that because the oil pump is driven off the input shaft, which is not turning if the engine is not running.

As for fluid changes there's a serious problem with the so-called "lifetime" fills; not only does the fluid break down but the filter on all ATXs inevitably gets loaded since the clutch packs are in the wetted part of the unit and inevitably shed some material into it. Simply draining and replacing the fluid is NOT sufficient; if you do not change that filter eventually it will restrict fluid flow enough that lubrication will be compromised or line pressures will go out of spec and then the gearbox will quickly be destroyed.

One of the design choices that has always pissed me off about ATXs is that I've never seen one with an external filter that is easily replaced. That's flat-out stupid. On the other hand nearly every ATX runs the fluid far too hot for good lonegevity as well although the newer synthetic fluids DO help a great deal in that regard since they're far more heat-tolerant than the older dino-based fluids. The other thing to be aware of is that most ATXs really ought to have their valve body attachment bolts re-torqued when the fluid is changed (you'd be surprised how often they loosen up over time as the torque for them is quite low since they're typically into aluminum) and of course you can't do that if you don't drop the pan.

In short none of the manufacturers care much if their gearboxes make it past 100k miles in terms of design.

Last edited by tickerguy; 07-26-2018 at 01:31 PM.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by tickerguy View Post
Utter nonsense. An ATX (even the old-style ones) has its oil pump coupled off the input shaft. As long as the engine is running the unit has oil pressure.

This, by the way, is why you CANNOT tow an ATX car with the engine off and the drive wheels on the road. You WILL destroy the transmission doing that because the oil pump is driven off the input shaft, which is not turning if the engine is not running.

As for fluid changes there's a serious problem with the so-called "lifetime" fills; not only does the fluid break down but the filter on all ATXs inevitably gets loaded since the clutch packs are in the wetted part of the unit and inevitably shed some material into it. Simply draining and replacing the fluid is NOT sufficient; if you do not change that filter eventually it will restrict fluid flow enough that lubrication will be compromised or line pressures will go out of spec and then the gearbox will quickly be destroyed.

One of the design choices that has always pissed me off about ATXs is that I've never seen one with an external filter that is easily replaced. That's flat-out stupid. On the other hand nearly every ATX runs the fluid far too hot for good lonegevity as well although the newer synthetic fluids DO help a great deal in that regard since they're far more heat-tolerant than the older dino-based fluids. The other thing to be aware of is that most ATXs really ought to have their valve body attachment bolts re-torqued when the fluid is changed (you'd be surprised how often they loosen up over time as the torque for them is quite low since they're typically into aluminum) and of course you can't do that if you don't drop the pan.

In short none of the manufacturers care much if their gearboxes make it past 100k miles in terms of design.
are you sure? I read somewhere that when the transmission is in park, the transmission fluid is not being circulated hence which is why it is not good to rev your engine in park (also, revving the engine when it is not under load is bad as well)

I 100% agree with you on the drain/fill comment, however. Always very important to replace the pan filter.

the transmission fluid runs hot for efficiency (and also shortens unit lifespan)

the filter is connected to the pan because buying a new one = more profit for however makes the pan

I know Mazda specifies that only skyactiv fluid is recommended for their auto transmission, but I will be trying some Redline ATF soon to see how that helps. Apparently Mazda's fluid is not very good quality. I think using good fluid and replacing transmission solenoids when needed should keep the transmission healthy for a long time. shame that these manufacturers want your shit to break once you're out of warranty though. This is one of the reasons why I am so skeptical with 0w20 oil.
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:07 PM
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are you sure? I read somewhere that when the transmission is in park, the transmission fluid is not being circulated hence which is why it is not good to rev your engine in park (also, revving the engine when it is not under load is bad as well)
Yes, I'm sure. You couldn't shift out of park otherwise since you need line pressure to engage the clutches. You'd disengage the parking pawl but that's all you'd get -- ever.

The pump is driven off the input shaft on every ATX I've ever seen, even the very old mechanical ones with a vacuum modulator for shift point modification (which was how they used to work before electronics came into the game.)

Solenoids are rarely an issue. What IS frequently an issue is that the pistons in the valve body are typically steel and the body itself is aluminum. Guess which one wears preferentially to the other? Uh huh.... Then line pressure goes down due to leakage past the pistons and if that goes far enough the clutches start to slip. Once that occurs you're done and the gearbox will be severely damaged within a few thousand miles -- if it doesn't fail outright.

If a solenoid actually fails then yes it obviously needs replaced but they rarely do. Be careful playing with those unnecessarily; the connectors frequently get brittle with time and heat and if you break the locking tab on one you're in a lot of trouble in terms of the work required to replace the connector or harness.

OE fluid in modern ATXs is typically fully synthetic and of good quality, just as with modern 0w20 engine oils. The proof that 0w20 is perfectly fine is found in UOAs, which I've posted on the other thread (and elsewhere on the site before); spectrometers don't lie.

The issue with ATXs in general, other than the decision to put the clutches in the wetted section where they inevitably MUST shed material into the lubricating fluid, is that they all run the gear oil through the radiator for heat rejection which means the oil typically runs a solid 10-20F hotter than the coolant is, and as load goes up that disparity goes up too. Engine coolant temps have been intentionally run higher over the years for emissions and efficiency reasons so it's not at all uncommon for coolant temps in the ~210F range to be normal; this means the gear oil usually runs in the 230F area which is right on the edge of "ok." Get materially beyond that and dino oils start to break down; synthetics will tolerate a higher temperature but hotter is definitely not better in this case. With older dino-based ATF fluids adding an auxiliary cooler *after* the radiator core one if you drive in summer months and especially where the torque converter is unlocked (which is pretty much all the time in the city and in heavy traffic) will frequently *double* an ATX service life. If you pull the stick on an ATX and the oil has *any* discoloration at all compared to what it looked like coming out of the bottle it's been compromised by excessive heat and both it and the filter should be *immediately* changed. (Not all ATX fluids are red in color these days and on many modern ATXs there is either no "stick" at all or it's a bear to get to it....)

There's a reason trucks with towing packages have an auxiliary transmission cooler on them.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tickerguy View Post
Yes, I'm sure. You couldn't shift out of park otherwise since you need line pressure to engage the clutches. You'd disengage the parking pawl but that's all you'd get -- ever.

The pump is driven off the input shaft on every ATX I've ever seen, even the very old mechanical ones with a vacuum modulator for shift point modification (which was how they used to work before electronics came into the game.)

Solenoids are rarely an issue. What IS frequently an issue is that the pistons in the valve body are typically steel and the body itself is aluminum. Guess which one wears preferentially to the other? Uh huh.... Then line pressure goes down due to leakage past the pistons and if that goes far enough the clutches start to slip. Once that occurs you're done and the gearbox will be severely damaged within a few thousand miles -- if it doesn't fail outright.

If a solenoid actually fails then yes it obviously needs replaced but they rarely do. Be careful playing with those unnecessarily; the connectors frequently get brittle with time and heat and if you break the locking tab on one you're in a lot of trouble in terms of the work required to replace the connector or harness.

OE fluid in modern ATXs is typically fully synthetic and of good quality, just as with modern 0w20 engine oils. The proof that 0w20 is perfectly fine is found in UOAs, which I've posted on the other thread (and elsewhere on the site before); spectrometers don't lie.

The issue with ATXs in general, other than the decision to put the clutches in the wetted section where they inevitably MUST shed material into the lubricating fluid, is that they all run the gear oil through the radiator for heat rejection which means the oil typically runs a solid 10-20F hotter than the coolant is, and as load goes up that disparity goes up too. Engine coolant temps have been intentionally run higher over the years for emissions and efficiency reasons so it's not at all uncommon for coolant temps in the ~210F range to be normal; this means the gear oil usually runs in the 230F area which is right on the edge of "ok." Get materially beyond that and dino oils start to break down; synthetics will tolerate a higher temperature but hotter is definitely not better in this case. With older dino-based ATF fluids adding an auxiliary cooler *after* the radiator core one if you drive in summer months and especially where the torque converter is unlocked (which is pretty much all the time in the city and in heavy traffic) will frequently *double* an ATX service life. If you pull the stick on an ATX and the oil has *any* discoloration at all compared to what it looked like coming out of the bottle it's been compromised by excessive heat and both it and the filter should be *immediately* changed. (Not all ATX fluids are red in color these days and on many modern ATXs there is either no "stick" at all or it's a bear to get to it....)

There's a reason trucks with towing packages have an auxiliary transmission cooler on them.
My primary experience with transmissions is the ZF 8 speed unit found in BMW's. With those units, after 70K miles sometimes an aggressively driven transmission starts to shift roughly when the unit is really hot (or sometimes really cold) and is more prone to do it in specific gears rather than all 8. A solenoids replacement would make these units feel like new and made even more of a difference than just fluid/filter change alone.

As for valve body, definitely a good idea to rebuild/replace that when you have the pan opened up to replace fluid. I guess the solenoid point does not apply as much for the SKYACTIV transmission.
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:36 PM
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Yeah if you got solenoids that are hanging up then obviously replacing them is a good idea -- that's an application-specific issue though. In general thought ATXs simply aren't as durable as an MTX and if you don't speed-shift or stick a GL5 oil in an MTX (both of which will destroy the synchros quite quickly) it will almost-always outlast the rest of the car.

If you have an older ATX one of the best things you can do is replace the fluid with a modern, full-synthetic fluid compatible with whatever is originally specified (and change the filter!) -- the issue with doing it is that you usually cannot completely drain it since the torque converter holds quite a bit of fluid and that will not drain out, so you wind up having to change it several times to dilute it to the point that its immaterial. The "inline" flush and change systems don't do the job either unless you run a crazy amount of fluid through it in the process (5-10x the system's capacity!) for the same reason. The good news is that pretty much all of the ATXs made in the last 5 or so years have come with a fully-synthetic factory fluid fill. Nonetheless keeping an eye on the fluid color and smell and immediately changing it at ANY sign of degradation is a good idea, and if it happens on any sort of short mileage (under ~50k miles or so) installing an auxiliary cooler after the factory one should be on the list of "musts" if you want the ATX to survive much beyond 100k miles.

My other general issue with "modern" ATXs is that they're all nearly impossible to successfully rebuild as quite frequently the necessary parts and tools (e.g. to set clearances and such internally) are unobtainium. Couple that with a replacement gearbox often being materially north of $5k and an out-of-warranty failure economically destroys the car. This is the same general reason I won't buy a modern "clean" diesel vehicle (fuel pump failures inevitably result in contamination of the entire fuel system and usually wind up with a $5k+ bill for PARTS as a consequence), etc.

Last edited by tickerguy; 07-26-2018 at 02:44 PM.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tickerguy View Post

One of the design choices that has always pissed me off about ATXs is that I've never seen one with an external filter that is easily replaced. .
I have, although I cant remember exactly what application it was. It was either an allison or a ford transmission on a school bus (medium to heavy duty application).

considering all the crap that sits in the bottom of the pan though, you might as well drop it to clean the pan anyway, so dropping it to gain filter access doesnt bother me as much in a ATX application

Last edited by mach1219; 07-26-2018 at 02:55 PM.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-26-2018, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mach1219 View Post
I ran across something interesting about these transmissions when doing some research....apparently when at idle, they shift into neutral to keep it running cooler. Im assuming this happens without driver noticing and regardless of shift lever position, and it must kick back into gear as soon as the throttle is pressed, again with no noticeable shift feel from the operator

That explains the occasional hiccup/minor stumble when taking foot off the brake and hitting the accelerator.
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