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300,000+ mile club question: fluids...

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.

300,000+ mile club question: fluids...

Old 09-20-2016, 01:50 AM
  #1  
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300,000+ mile club question: fluids...

So I've been a "member" of the 300K club for the last 17,000 miles.

I can't seem to find any good info online about oil change intervals and transmission change intervals for engines with this amount of miles.

I've been doing 7,500 mile OCIs using strictly mobile 1 and pennzoil platinum since about 133,000 miles. But, this is only in a span of 4 years. So most of it is highway driving. Thus far, no major Internal engine work required. I occasionally hit 6,200 Rpm...basically flooring it to redline when needed. I've done 1 analysis awhile back that mentioned a possibility of small amounts of coolant in the oil. But nothing alarming and still good at 6,000 miles of use on oil.

But now I'm starting to wonder if it's a bad idea. When I change my oil now, it doesn't look invisible on the dipstick after a change. And today at 4,000 mile changing it, it was pretty black coming out of the pan. I also notice it's easier to start the car when the oil is new.

Also transmission fluid: it too holding up good, however I changed it about 3-4 times in the past with MaxLife to get it all clear. Thought about changing it again, but it looks good and no leaks. But, it probably has 75,000+ miles on it. Or more. I don't like messing with tranny fluid more than necessary because it's hard to get an accurate reading and gears stick after a change.

Thoughts?

Last edited by 97_GXE; 09-20-2016 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 09-20-2016, 04:56 PM
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JvG
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Originally Posted by 97_GXE View Post
So I've been a "member" of the 300K club for the last 17,000 miles.

I can't seem to find any good info online about oil change intervals and transmission change intervals for engines with this amount of miles.

I've been doing 7,500 mile OCIs using strictly mobile 1 and pennzoil platinum since about 133,000 miles. But, this is only in a span of 4 years. So most of it is highway driving. Thus far, no major Internal engine work required. I occasionally hit 6,200 Rpm...basically flooring it to redline when needed. I've done 1 analysis awhile back that mentioned a possibility of small amounts of coolant in the oil. But nothing alarming and still good at 6,000 miles of use on oil.

But now I'm starting to wonder if it's a bad idea. When I change my oil now, it doesn't look invisible on the dipstick after a change. And today at 4,000 mile changing it, it was pretty black coming out of the pan. I also notice it's easier to start the car when the oil is new.

Also transmission fluid: it too holding up good, however I changed it about 3-4 times in the past with MaxLife to get it all clear. Thought about changing it again, but it looks good and no leaks. But, it probably has 75,000+ miles on it. Or more. I don't like messing with tranny fluid more than necessary because it's hard to get an accurate reading and gears stick after a change.

Thoughts?
I have 210k miles on mine.

I have also used either Mobile 1, or O'reilly synthetic since I bought the car at 100k miles.

I also run mine mostly on the freeway. I sometimes shift close to red line as well.

I change the oil at 8,000 miles or so.
I need to add a quart at 5000 miles.

Some dark oil from blow by is to be expected.

Keep doing what you have been.
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Old 09-20-2016, 09:55 PM
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ramble alert

Not sure if this applies to Maxima's specifically, but in general automatic transmissions don't 'require' the fluid to be changed per manufacturer recommendations... There are some exceptions to that. After a certain threshold, you imagine clutch pack materials slowly build up in the filter and fluid. I very rarely felt any benefit from changing fluid other than knowing the fluid is fresh and clutch packs will grip.

I personally would change out the transmission fluid again somewhere between 80-100k... hell, it's gotten you this far and that's impressive! Usually my vehicles leak enough so they get all fresh fluids annually

Another subject... fluid standards change. The revision of manufacturer-specific AT fluid that the transmission was designed for at the time it was built most likely will be replaced by newer formulas, changed and tweaked. Some claim the aftermarket fluids are never as good as the OEM fluid. For imports, I usually try to make it a one-time go and get manufacturer fluid... if I just need it to drive desperately on a budget, I will use aftermarket equivalents. For american cars/trucks, I don't really care. I just put in auto parts store fluid. Probably doesn't matter much to maximas, but on other forums i've seen guys who would NEVER put non-OEM transmission fluid in.. Definitely a case by case basis.

i accidentally put dexron III into my ATF+4 tranny, just a quart. I just left it in there since capacity is 14 quarts in that truck. Dex has detergents in it whereas ATF+4 does not... part of the reason why dexIII is not the perfect power steering fluid - it will bubble and foam. Although I've put plenty of tranny fluid in the power steering in my old chevy's....

Anyone feel free to jump in and correct me on anything.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:02 PM
  #4  
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375K'ish on our '97. Oil changes every 3,000, trans every 60,000. Valvoline Maxlife for the oil and Castrol Import for the trans fluid.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:23 PM
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Holy cow for y'all that have over 300k miles. Insane. ^ almost 400k? Damn
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Old 10-02-2016, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pixelporsche View Post
Not sure if this applies to Maxima's specifically, but in general automatic transmissions don't 'require' the fluid to be changed per manufacturer recommendations... There are some exceptions to that. After a certain threshold, you imagine clutch pack materials slowly build up in the filter and fluid. I very rarely felt any benefit from changing fluid other than knowing the fluid is fresh and clutch packs will grip.

I personally would change out the transmission fluid again somewhere between 80-100k... hell, it's gotten you this far and that's impressive! Usually my vehicles leak enough so they get all fresh fluids annually

Another subject... fluid standards change. The revision of manufacturer-specific AT fluid that the transmission was designed for at the time it was built most likely will be replaced by newer formulas, changed and tweaked. Some claim the aftermarket fluids are never as good as the OEM fluid. For imports, I usually try to make it a one-time go and get manufacturer fluid... if I just need it to drive desperately on a budget, I will use aftermarket equivalents. For american cars/trucks, I don't really care. I just put in auto parts store fluid. Probably doesn't matter much to maximas, but on other forums i've seen guys who would NEVER put non-OEM transmission fluid in.. Definitely a case by case basis.

i accidentally put dexron III into my ATF+4 tranny, just a quart. I just left it in there since capacity is 14 quarts in that truck. Dex has detergents in it whereas ATF+4 does not... part of the reason why dexIII is not the perfect power steering fluid - it will bubble and foam. Although I've put plenty of tranny fluid in the power steering in my old chevy's....

Anyone feel free to jump in and correct me on anything.
Thanks for suggestions. I think my ATF is over 100,000 miles at this point. I was changing it every few oil changes, but once I got it all clear I stopped. It still looks good, but I think it may be wearing out because now I'm experiencing a tranny issue..,however, it's intermittent and nothing serious. May be more electrical or sensor related though. Regardless, I'm going to change the fluid anyway.

I use Vavoline synthetic ATF. Comes in a large jug and readily available. Never had any issues using it.

I'm going to start changing the oil at 4,500 now. I notice after an oil change my car starts a little faster and better. I can't seem to track down why my car hesitates or fails on startup after sitting for 20-30 minutes but not longer than overnight when running hot especially with the a/c on or in hot weather. But, it gets worse toward the end of an oil interval or when my gas is really low...

Last edited by 97_GXE; 10-02-2016 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by M in KC View Post
375K'ish on our '97. Oil changes every 3,000, trans every 60,000. Valvoline Maxlife for the oil and Castrol Import for the trans fluid.
I brought the I30's transmission back from the dead by gradually changing 4-5 quarts every 500 miles for 4 cycles. When I got the car the ATF looked like dark burned motor oil. It had an irregular shifting pattern. I thought the transmission was toast. So I used Castrol Import Multi-vehicle to clean it up. It did a nice job of cleaning up the transmission while resolving the strange shifting issue. I've stayed with it all these years. Today I changed the latest 4th gen to use Castrol Import Multi-vehicle. I will change it 3 to 4 times to swap out all of the old fluid.

I really like Valvoline Maxlife Power Steering fluid. Also, I use Valvoline brake fluid.

I have a V6 Honda with a chronic rear main seal leak problem. I'm on my 2nd rear main seal. Maxlife syn blend seems to have slowed the RMS leak to a manageable level.

I think it a lot on how you drive and the type of transmission build. The guy in the video below is running a Level10 built transmission. I can tell you from first hand experience Level10's owner recommends using Nissan Matic-S.

The transmissions are built for drag racing with aluminum billet torque converters, Kevlar clutches, and special valve bodies. Most people with a Level10 transmission change their fluid once a year.

How's this for a crisp automatic at the drag strip?


Last edited by CS_AR; 10-02-2016 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CS_AR View Post
I brought the I30's transmission back from the dead by gradually changing 4-5 quarts every 500 miles for 4 cycles. When I got the car the ATF looked like dark burned motor oil. It had an irregular shifting pattern. I thought the transmission was toast. So I used Castrol Import Multi-vehicle to clean it up. It did a nice job of cleaning up the transmission while resolving the strange shifting issue. I've stayed with it all these years. Today I changed the latest 4th gen to use Castrol Import Multi-vehicle. I will change it 3 to 4 times to swap out all of the old fluid.

I really like Valvoline Maxlife Power Steering fluid. Also, I use Valvoline brake fluid.

I have a V6 Honda with a chronic rear main seal leak problem. I'm on my 2nd rear main seal. Maxlife syn blend seems to have slowed the RMS leak to a manageable level.

I think it a lot on how you drive and the type of transmission build. The guy in the video below is running a Level10 built transmission. I can tell you from first hand experience Level10's owner recommends using Nissan Matic-S.
I've seen the Castrol import today. Looks good. But I'm sticking with vavoline Max life as I couldn't find a gallon jug of it to do a full flush. However, if my next car is an Infiniti, I will def consider switching to it.

Only thing about the vavoline MaxLife is the strong caustic smell that filtrates outside the bottle. But maybe all transmission fluids are that way.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by 97_GXE View Post
So I've been a "member" of the 300K club for the last 17,000 miles.

I can't seem to find any good info online about oil change intervals and transmission change intervals for engines with this amount of miles.

I've been doing 7,500 mile OCIs using strictly mobile 1 and pennzoil platinum since about 133,000 miles. But, this is only in a span of 4 years. So most of it is highway driving. Thus far, no major Internal engine work required. I occasionally hit 6,200 Rpm...basically flooring it to redline when needed. I've done 1 analysis awhile back that mentioned a possibility of small amounts of coolant in the oil. But nothing alarming and still good at 6,000 miles of use on oil.

But now I'm starting to wonder if it's a bad idea. When I change my oil now, it doesn't look invisible on the dipstick after a change. And today at 4,000 mile changing it, it was pretty black coming out of the pan. I also notice it's easier to start the car when the oil is new.

Also transmission fluid: it too holding up good, however I changed it about 3-4 times in the past with MaxLife to get it all clear. Thought about changing it again, but it looks good and no leaks. But, it probably has 75,000+ miles on it. Or more. I don't like messing with tranny fluid more than necessary because it's hard to get an accurate reading and gears stick after a change.

Thoughts?
I had really wanted to be a member of the 300 club, but it looks like my journey ends at 244k.

My question is...you have an auto, right? I never followed too closely since mine's a 5-spd....do they last as long as the vehicle without a rebuild?

The Maxima's replacement is an auto, so this is a new world for me. Since the replacement has no dipstick, there's really not much I can do to even see the fluid. supposedly it has a fill and drain designed for a machine to be hooked up.....

My Maxima's most persistent issues were airbag (which I reset for over 10 years), and EGR, plus throttle ps--I could not get it out due to a stripped screw. But everything started happening this year, with electrical stuff not working anymore. It was almost undriveable as the RF caliper locked up completely (replaced it myself so it was the hose). Got a couple of business trips out of it with mileage reimbursement last week hehe

edit: to be honest, it's state emissions that really brings down the cars imho...in states with no emissions I suppose one simply drives with the SES....(unless o2 sensors)
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