Thursday, October 22, 2009

All day on a quart of oil

Ok, since I brought up this transmission deal, here is what I have learned.

In the motorhome, we have a 2100MH Allison transmission.  It is behind the Cummins ISB 6.7 diesel engine.  This is substantially the same engine that is in the Dodge pickups.  The pickups use a dodge transmission, and have had some reliability issues over the years.  (My opinion, don't flame me if you don't agree).

For what ever reason, Freightliner chooses the Allison transmission, which is a subsidiary of GM.  The Duramax pickup has a 1000 model allison, but this 2100 is 6 speed and somewhat bigger physically.  They both have a little cannister style spin on oil filter at the front of the pan, that filters the fluid before it goes to the control unit.

Transynd fluid was designed in 1999, and became standard in large applications in 2001.  It was made by Castrol, which has since become part of BP.  Around 2004 the fluid was used as a factory fill in the motorhome transmissions, both in the 3000 for the pushers, and the 2100 for my FRED.

Now the transmission specs require that right after the unit is broken in, that the little filter needs to be changed out.  6,000 miles is the suggested time.  This is to remove any shards of metal that might be floating in the fluid, or have become trapped by the filter or its little magnet that sits on top of the filter.  Clean the magnet with a rag and put it on a new cannister, and spin it back in place.

You will lose the cup full of fluid that is in the old cannister, since you would be nuts to pour it out and put it back in the transmission.  The filter is dirty inside after all .  So this caused the all out search for the fluid, which is made by several manufactures.

The standard is called TES 295, and is awarded by Allison, after you pay money to have them test the stuff.  In other words you pay to say certified by Allison.  So I was researching if I could get some that was certified, that didn't cost $50 a gallon.  Since the little cannister only holds about a half pint, paying $50 to have most of a gallon sit around and rot while I travel 100K seems rather dumb.

I did find a product that was packaged by the quart, that was meets or exceeds the TES 295 (code for they didn't pay the money to get it tested) made by Royal Purple.  It was called Max, but it is a universal oil that replaces everything from soup to nuts.  Frankly that scared me.

Amsoil also makes a compatible fluid, that isn't certified either.  You have to find a dealer, and have him order it.  And it costs $43 a gallon.  The hot arguement on the blogs and forums, is that it will void your warranty.  Do we want to partake of this fun?  I think not.

This afternoon, I placed a call to a large truck dealership, that sells GMC as well as Freightliner, and many others.  They knew exactly what Transynd was and had the gallon jugs and 5 gallon pails and so forth.  But the guy said he thought he had some packaged in a quart, that was labled by GM as original replacement.  Original replacement, is code for expensive, and it was.  $16.95 a quart.  That would be $68 a gallon, but since I only needed one, I went and got it.

It was 26 miles up to the dealership, each way, and I never left the city.  Luckily it was mostly freeway.  It rained like crazy all the way, and I got tied up in rush hour traffic on the way back.  But now I have a quart of oil.

If I wasn't retired, that would have been crazy, but I have to have these projects to keep myself off of the honey do list.  LOL

I ordered the filter online yesterday, so it should show up tomorrow, if I'm lucky.  But we are to have rain and cold, so maybe this will become an Arizona project.

Retired Rod


  1. You should buy a gallon, repackage it into quarts and sell it to other Allison users.

  2. 26 miles one way to the dealership & you never left the city!! Ohhhhhhh, I can't even imagine that & am totally exhausted just thinking about it. I'm gonna go outside right now, hug a pine tree, & thank my lucky stars for the quiet dirt road we live on:))

  3. I sometimes find myself paying way too much for an item, but rationalize that I don't have to drive miles to get it, thereby saving time and money!

  4. Let me explain a bit. The only place I found the fluid was at this dealership 26 miles away. I never did find anything in any size closer. So the long drive was my only option.



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