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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ravenol T-IV (JWS 3309) (semi) Synthetic ATF Review

Hello All,

I bit the bullet as the guinea pig and wanted to give some feedback on the Ravenol full synthetic T-IV transmission fluid. I have only completed 1,200 miles on the new fluid. I currently have 138k miles on my XC90 and previously did two fluid changes using Mobil 3309 since ~88k miles; an average 25k miles the past two changes. When switching to Ravenol in this 3rd fluid change, the 2nd set of Mobil JWS 3309 fluid still looked good with close to 30k miles. I do a lot of highway driving across the country and probably could have gone another 5-10k miles.

When pouring the Ravenol, I noticed the synthetic has a lower viscosity when cold. I had some fresh Mobil 3309 I kept for leveling the fluid in the past and did a direct comparison. One for the Ravenol for having better cold flow.

The shifting was good before, but the shifting has improved! The shifts are smoother yet crisper, feels like a new transmission. Overall, the transmission is more consistent when just starting to drive to when it is 90F+ outside stuck in traffic. Torque converter lock-up is better too. My initial personal opinion is it's a better fluid than the Mobil, but it should be.

The take away
The price seems high, but I probably will get more consistency in driving through varying temperatures and through the life of the fluid as well as I (hope) to get more life out of the transmission. The fluid may last twice as long, but I am guessing I can get 50% more out of the fluid instead of additional 100% because I would want to change it early due to friction disc material floating around. As I did almost 30k miles in the last 12 months, the extra life is better for me.

One thing to consider is the shear rating and how mineral oil shears down its hot temp viscosity over time (gets thinner over time at operating temp). Tim Thurber did an oil analysis and his factory JWS 3309 (T-IV) fluid came back with the hot temp viscosity (@100C) closer to thinner WS transmission fluid spec for 2011+ XC90s. So, all of you with old transmission fluid are running a thinner fluid at operating temp. Synthetic fluid keeps that operating temp viscosity more consistent for the life of the fluid. People who have tested Dexron III (mineral) vs Dexron VI (synthetic) have seen better operating temp viscosity with Dex VI synthetic. These types of results shouldn't be a surprise because it is similar to conventional vs synthetic engine oil.

The Verdict
So, better cold flow, better hot temp viscosity, more consistency, better shifting, better torque converter lock-up, and longer life. Well worth the switch to Ravenol full synthetic.:) My only suggestion is to do an initial change from factory fluid with Mobil 3309 or similar (to remove as much floating friction material, carbon, etc.) and then on the 2nd fluid change go for Ravenol.

I will update as I put on more miles.

Links and references:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBP64PG/ref=twister_B016V2U43I?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1 Ravenol on Amazon (sold by Blauparts).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xl8AfrRcJY4 Interesting video of hot testing Ravenol full synthetic. Transmission fluid is already much thinner than engine oils. Amazing how well it performs and doesn't carbon up.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USRsFf5ZQys Flow/viscosity testing at 3 yrs of use. The old fluid flows better than new, but that could be for many reasons like it has more friction material (denser), less friction modifiers, etc. The video does show how well it still flows when cold.
http://www.timthurber.com/volvo-xc90-3-2-transmission-flush-drainfill-tf-80sc-6-speed/ Tim Thurber's page on changing transmission fluid.

csm_1212102-001_8f2eef5604.jpg
 

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Maybe you could review Aisin T-04 on your next 25k fill, let us know how that fluid works after 1200 miles.

**Cost per liter? I'm seeing 4 liters for $57 on Amazon and $13/l on Blauparts, nothing like the ballpark $6-7 per quart many of us are used to with the Mobil and Toyota products. Entirely possible you do this for a living so get some price breaks on fluid but for most of us, it's almost double the cost.

Might consider price in the equation. I'm sure this fluid works great, just not sure it's double better than what many of us are using today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Maybe you could review Aisin T-04 on your next 25k fill, let us know how that fluid works after 1200 miles.

**Cost per liter? I'm seeing 4 liters for $57 on Amazon and $13/l on Blauparts, nothing like the ballpark $6-7 per quart many of us are used to with the Mobil and Toyota products. Entirely possible you do this for a living so get some price breaks on fluid but for most of us, it's almost double the cost.

Might consider price in the equation. I'm sure this fluid works great, just not sure it's double better than what many of us are using today.
It is double the price, but so is any PAO based synthetic motor oil. For the longevity of the transmission and smooth operation, it is definitely worth the price. This is coming from my experience with doing two 12 quart fills of Mobil 3309 ATF and with over 50k miles of using the Mobil fluid in all weather and conditions. Poor shifting, missed torque converter lock-up, and cold/hot temps causing hard shifts can still happen with Mobil. It is reduced a lot with Ravenol. If this wasn't worth the price, I wouldn't praise it. I was looking for issues so I won't pay the price again, but after driving with it, I really think this will help give a longer and smoother life for the transmission, especially for the 3.2 which makes a lot of downshifts. Since fluid is the only thing we can do (maintenance wise) to extend transmission life and operation, I think the investment was well worth it.

I don't do this for a living, but right now on the Blauparts website, there is a 4th of July sale for 15% off using code FIREWORKS. https://www.blauparts.com/shop-part..._content=2f84f5c6-6f3d-499c-acd0-b139cbff238a I like to wait for sales then stockpile scheduled maintenance, lol.

I believe some others on the forum have already tried Aisin's own fluid. I wanted something not mineral based so the trial of Ravenol commenced.

The test video shows semi-synthetic not full synthetic and your pic does too. Which did you actually use, Semi or Full?
You are right about the pic. Shoot, I already threw away the bottles so I can't check there.

The description shows this,

Technical Characteristics and Features:
-Fully engineered synthetic (PAO) for Aisin Automatic transmissions
-Excellent lubricating ability and transmission function even at low temperature winter climates
-Very low pour point, crucial for the propeller operation of Aisin transmissions in low temperatures winter climates
-High stable viscosity index for excellent transmission performance in all conditions
-High thermal stability even when the transmission is subjected to extreme conditions
-Excellent anti-friction characteristics lowering transmission operating temperatures, extending transmission life
-Highest quality PAO and additive package supply protection against wear in harsh conditions
-Excellent oxidation stability, anti-corrosion ability, keeping the transmission internally clean for extended change intervals.
-Excellent anti-foaming characteristics prevents slippage and provides efficient power transfer
-Corrosion inhibitors allow for the fluids excellent compatibility with non-ferrous metal alloys found specifically in Aisin transmissions
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I almost forgot to mention another benefit for 3.2 owners who experience the slight vibration on idle when in drive and stopped. The vibration is reduced by 50% (according to my subjective observation). It is still present, but passengers might not notice now. That alone is worth the extra money to me.

Again, for an additional $60-70 for the next 50k miles or more, I believe this will more than pay for itself. I am trying to reach 200k miles at the very least. Having better transmission fluid will definitely help meet the 200k milestone and make the drive more enjoyable every day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. Makes sense with Ravenol's bottle color system. Mine was Silver so it is semi-synthetic made with PAO synthetic base. I tried to correct the thread title, but cannot. It is made in Germany so not sure what their laws are regarding marketing for synthetics.

Regardless, the fluid is still a much better fluid than the Mobil 3309 in my back to back comparison. I hope my review can help people in the future make their own decisions since there wasn't any real-world feedback on Ravenol products for the XC90. I would still recommend this fluid over Mobil 3309 any day and twice on Sundays.
 

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So fluid is twice as expensive but it's twice as good.

Got it, thanks for clearing this up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So fluid is twice as expensive but it's twice as good.

Got it, thanks for clearing this up.
Haha, yes! Thanks for summarizing my lengthy explanation. Seriously though, I can't even feel many of these shifts now in normal driving.
 

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Thanks for this!

I'll start with Ravenol once I get through my Toyota T-IV supply. I'm just doing drain and fills every few weeks until the fluid is cherry again.

As for cost, these cars aren't exactly cheap to run. It doesn't make sense *not* to use the best fluids that you can. Otherwise, the money spent on other parts/fluids is all for naught.

The cost difference isn't that big in the end, especially if you just do a transmission drain-and-fill at oil change time. Three liters out, three liters in. Just an extra $20-30 to run Ravenol every 5000-7500 miles. Much less than I spend on coffee in that interval. :)

-Ryan

-Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for this!

The cost difference isn't that big in the end, especially if you just do a transmission drain-and-fill at oil change time. Three liters out, three liters in. Just an extra $20-30 to run Ravenol every 5000-7500 miles. Much less than I spend on coffee in that interval. :)

-Ryan

-Ryan
Cost for coffee, very true. When you do the change, judge it after at least 1k miles. It's a good time interval for the new fluid/friction modifiers to soak well into the clutches and to get enough cycles/data for the adaptations.
 

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You can do a complete change in one sitting at the upper rad cooler line using a clear vinyl tube and 5 gallon bucket from your favorite HW store. I did this on my first S60R and on my current XC90 V8. I used Amsoil ATF, but I'm not a fanboy for any one brand, any good compatible PAO will do.

I'm only adding this since there has been debate of whether Amsoil actually compatible, between the two cars I have about 80k trouble free miles on amsoil. 40k after change on each. S60R long sold, but still have the XC90, will do another complete change when the odo hits 100k (in about 10k).
 

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You can do a complete change in one sitting at the upper rad cooler line using a clear vinyl tube and 5 gallon bucket...
Can you elaborate on that? The problem, if there is one, is that not all the fluid goes through the cooler; some of it bypasses the cooler and drains directly back to the pan from various bearings, etc. Without a fluid flow diagram it is difficult to say how much will be changes and how much remains.
 

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You can do a complete change in one sitting at the upper rad cooler line using a clear vinyl tube and 5 gallon bucket from your favorite HW store. I did this on my first S60R and on my current XC90 V8. I used Amsoil ATF, but I'm not a fanboy for any one brand, any good compatible PAO will do.

I'm only adding this since there has been debate of whether Amsoil actually compatible, between the two cars I have about 80k trouble free miles on amsoil. 40k after change on each. S60R long sold, but still have the XC90, will do another complete change when the odo hits 100k (in about 10k).
I am curious about this method as well. I feel like someone else had mentioned it to me in passing.
 

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Here are some posts/pics from when I did the S60R:

https://forums.swedespeed.com/showt...sh-Procedure&p=2050033&viewfull=1#post2050033

You basically get like 6' of the 1/2" or 5/8" OD clear vinyl tubing (one fits snug in the cooler return orings, don't recall which right now. jam it in all the way, run the other end into a 5 gallon bucket). I 'graduated' my bucket in two quart intervals with a sharpie on the outside of it using water.

Then you turn on the car and shut off when it fills up to the next two quart line. Put two fresh quarts in the fill plug. Go back and run to the next fill line, shut off, put two new quarts in, etc. Repeat until it runs clean red, took me about 13-15qts.

This is as complete a change as you can do in the car. No flow diagram needed, All of the flow goes through the cooler. ATF is picked up at the pan by the pump, through the cooler, then off to all the bearings, clutch packs, servos, valvebody, etc. but it all collects at the pan. During the runs you can cycle the shifter between R and D to help circulate some of the circuits in the valve body as well, though that is a very small percentage of fluid in there.

Best part is you don't get nearly as dirty as if you drop the pan or drain from the bottom, and there is no reason to drop the pan since IIRC Alison don't use replaceable filters (just a screen).

GL
 

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Intercepting the cooling lines is definitely the way to go if you're doing a full flush. Most effective visually if you're changing very old fluid. Cheaper, too.... the TF-80SC drain plug crush washers and O-rings are spendy little buggers.

That said, I just do 3qt drain-n-fills every few weeks. Kinda fun.

-Ryan
 

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All of the flow goes through the cooler.
OK, but this is not true of every automatic transmission.

ATF is picked up at the pan by the pump, through the cooler, then off to all the bearings, clutch packs, servos, valvebody, etc.
So, doesn't that mean your new fluid (in the pan) will go straight to the bucket and the old fluid will stay up in the torque converter? I guess I still don't get it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am curious about this method as well. I feel like someone else had mentioned it to me in passing.
I think I mentioned this when we read your codes. You can use a very small funnel to add the fluid to the cooler return line that is removed for the tube and pour the new transmission fluid slowly into the line. Others have been doing this already so I cannot take credit.

The cooler line method (with tube) has been discussed many many times here, such as here: https://forums.swedespeed.com/showt...and-the-ugly&p=7334007&viewfull=1#post7334007. When I filled with Ravenol this time, I did the fill new fluid through the cooler line to try it out versus opening the filler plug. It worked just as well, just a little slower as you have to use a small funnel. I recommend this method if you risk stripping the fill plug or want a simpler way to change the fluid without getting dirty. I like to use empty washer fluid bottles marked at the 2,3, and 4 qt levels because it is completely contained and you don't risk spilling a bucket. Using the funnel in the cooler return line makes it a very clean job.
 

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OK, but this is not true of every automatic transmission.



So, doesn't that mean your new fluid (in the pan) will go straight to the bucket and the old fluid will stay up in the torque converter? I guess I still don't get it...
The top outlet of the radiator is the last stop before being dumped back into the pan. Using clear hose you can see the color difference when the flush is complete. Most do 12qts, I would recommend 14. If the car was equipped with a cooler the path is transmission to cooler to radiator lower inlet out the top back to the transmission pan. You can simply replace the old oil pumped out by just dumping down the return line removed from the top of the radiator.
 

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I think I mentioned this when we read your codes. You can use a very small funnel to add the fluid to the cooler return line that is removed for the tube and pour the new transmission fluid slowly into the line. Others have been doing this already so I cannot take credit.
Yes, it was. Thanks for the memory refresh.
 
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