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Fluids and Lubricants Motor oil, transmission oil, radiator fluid, power steering fluid, blinker fluid... wait, there is no blinker fluid. Technical discussion and analysis of the different lubricants we use in our cars.

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Old 10-19-2008, 05:16 AM   #1
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using atf to clean engine before oil change?

ok so alot of guys on the toyota forums put a quart or half in the engine oil a day or 2 before changing the oil and it cleans the head and everything. so I was just wondering if anyone on here had done this with the vq30 form the 4th gens?? and if so what were the results?

and for you oil guru's do you think this is a bad idea??
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:31 AM   #2
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first time hearing about this.........but who knows may be possible
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:35 PM   #3
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That practice is an old "wives tale" and I wouldn't recommend it. People did it years ago because they said ATF had a higher detergency than motor oil did. So they would add a quart of atf to their oil and run it briefly before changing to clean the crankcase.

ATF and motor oil are different fluids obviously designed for different applications. They are not interchangeable. If you suspect you need a crankcase cleaner, use a product that is intended for that purpose.

Last edited by talkinghorse; 10-20-2008 at 07:18 PM..
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
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wow -- THAT is some crazy-a$$ wives tale FOR SURE!!!

ATF is just that -- Auto Trans. Fluid....leave it out of your crankcase.

gr
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Old 10-21-2008, 03:30 PM   #5
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nah.. actually its pretty popular among mechanics who work on older cars,.. it has a detergent in it,.. ive seen peolpe use 1qt of ATF plus 3 quarts to = a cars required 4 quarts. .ect.. and it works...do it at ur own risk though.. ive seen it stop knocking b4 too...
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:40 PM   #6
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people have been doing that for years. I kinda agree with what someone stated above use products that are made for this purpose less your broke or the stuff is way over priced cause back in the day then they really did not have all the products we have now so you have to use what you have at the time ie like using tranny fluid it place of power steering fluid

I say do whatever you feel safe with
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Old 10-22-2008, 05:42 PM   #7
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My poor grandmother mistakenly bought a case of ATF insted of oil and was using it to top off here leaky ford somehow it lasted over a year before the engine siezed she ended up using all but 1/2 a quart before she asked me to top it off for her and I realized it was ATF. Even tho it was full of ATF I never noticed the difference... till I changed the oil (ATF) with real motor oil which the car did not like at all cuz 2 days later the engine siezed. ATF in oil = bad things
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Old 10-22-2008, 10:16 PM   #8
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Funny.. I've been using ATF in the engine and manual tranny for years to help clean it up. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, done correctly.

Many manual transmissions specify it instead of gear oil or motor oil.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
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I use kerosene..


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Old 10-23-2008, 09:29 AM   #10
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To the OP, what car do you intend to use it on? How many miles?

I recommend Auto-RX for cleaning the engine. If you are looking for a quick way to clean the engine that is not full of sludge, try Amsoil Engine Flush.

Auto-Rx would be a much safer method of cleaning, but it will take longer to clean.
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Old 10-23-2008, 01:00 PM   #11
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I've heard of this before. I know a few people that do it every other oil change or so.
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:55 PM   #12
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thanks for all the replys. I just switched to penzoil plat (from dino)and went on a short 500mile roadtrip and it really cleaned everything up fine. My mpg went up slightly. So I don't think I'll be trying it. I doubt it could do much harm but I really don't think I need it.
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Old 10-24-2008, 02:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt93SE View Post
Funny.. I've been using ATF in the engine and manual tranny for years to help clean it up. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it, done correctly.

Many manual transmissions specify it instead of gear oil or motor oil.
You can not correctly perform something that is incorrect to begin with.

Your point that some manual transmissions require atf is not relevant to this issue. While some manual transmissions do specify atf, those units are specifically designed for that fluid...that's significantly different than pouring ATF into an engine.

Using ATF in the engine oil to clean the crankcase is definitely not a recommended practice. The fact that people have done it and the engines have lived-on doesn't make it right. ATF has different properties than motor oil does, and it should not be used in an engine. Contrary to popular belief, ATF does not act as a detergent. When added to engine oil, ATF simply thins the oil and will allow faster draining of the oil from the engine. Then consider what the residue left in the engine is going to do to the fresh oil added to the crankcase? Diluting it certainly isn't good.

If people maintain their engines properly, there should be no need to clean them internally. However, and there's different schools of thought on this, if it is thought an engine requires cleaning internally, a properly formulated engine flush is recommended since they contain both detergent and solvents specifically designed to remove soft deposits in an engine.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:40 AM   #14
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Well said takinghorse...

Don't monkey with non-engg solns to non-existing engg problems. If thereis sludge then it has to be dealt differently -- could be an engg ventilation flaw as seen in Toyota 3.0L engines, or just poor maintainence.

If one is on top of oil changes, this discussion is unncecessary.
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Old 10-25-2008, 09:40 AM
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