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Transaxle fluid change


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#1 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 10:12 AM

Who uses ATF in their JD 316 transaxle? I changed mine last night which looked a brownish red. I don't know what brand the old oil was, but it seems thin like ATF. I've not taken it out for a drive, but it seems a bit more noisy after purging air from the system. Could be my imagination too.....

I'd consider switching back to the factory spec oil if I run the risk of damage.

#2 Rozwell Ranch OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 11:10 AM

Somewhere I had read that ATF could be substituted. I still prefer to use the John Deere HyGard Fluid for peace of mind.

Info from a John Deere Service Manual...

Anti-Chatter Transmission Oil

NOTE: All GT Tractors are filled with John Deere Low Viscosity HY-GARDTM (J20D) transmission oil at the factory. DO NOT mix oils.
These tractors are equipped with a hydraulic wet disc brake transmission. To avoid chatter, use only Low Viscosity HY-GARDTM (J20B or J20D) transmission oil. DO NOT USE type "F" automatic transmission fluid.
John Deere Low Viscosity HY-GARDTM (J20D) transmission oil is specially formulated to minimize brake chatter, and to provide maximum protection against mechanical wear, corrosion, and foaming.

#3 flip OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 12:52 PM

The service manual states: "or an equivalent type ;F; transmission fluid"

#4 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 03:15 PM

I think it depends on the vintage of the tractor. The newer machines with the K series transmissions and wet brake are not rated for Type F.

#5 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 03:29 PM

1978? I used a universal synthetic ATF, but it didn't meet JD J20C or JD20D specs. Maybe that is the problem.

#6 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted September 08, 2011 - 03:43 PM

If it is equivalent to type F it should work in a 316. AMSoil makes a synthetic tractor fluid that does meet J20c and D. Sometimes you need to run the tractor several times to get all the air out. I think they are supposed to take 5 quarts, so if you don't have that much in it you may need to add some more after running it a while.

#7 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted September 09, 2011 - 09:00 PM

Yep. Amsoil universal ATF. Compatible with Dextron II, III, IV, Ford F and others. It may settle out okay. Just curious if anyone else is using it.

#8 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2011 - 03:05 PM

I mowed for 2 hrs last night and the transaxle seems as quiet as before. Guess I'll be okay. Glad to know that I can use up the ATF in my basement, and yes, it does take about 5 quarts to fill. I'll probably go to the HyGard after one more change just for peace of mind.

#9 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2011 - 04:43 PM

It sounds like you are fine. My 314 had a reddish fluid in it when I got it, so I assume it was ATF. I put J20D in and I had to burp it about 3 times to get the full 5 quarts into it. It isn't a very user friendly system for changing fluid. Taking off that cooling tube to drain the fluid was pretty tough due to rust.

#10 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2011 - 10:49 PM

Yes, I loosened the tube on the bottom and pulled back the nut to get it to drain also. I let it drip for a good 30 minutes to get as much of the old stuff out too. Filling was easy with one of those 1 quart disposable pumps. I jacked up the back to get the wheels off the ground and started it to switch between fwd and reverse for a good 5 minutes to burp it. Added just over a quart to get it back to full.

I was a little concerned a first because I could hear a some faint whine after the fluid change, but after a couple hours of mowing it's good as new. I'm convinced I made the right choice. My fluid was a reddish-brown before the change so I am sure it had ATF in it when I got it, but my tractor is a 1978 316. I don't know what the newer tractors are using.

#11 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted September 16, 2011 - 03:54 AM

Terry, I think all the older tractors up to the 318 used the Sundstrand transmission and can use ATF. The newer tractors use a Japanese Kanzaki (sp) transmission that has an internal wet brake. These units do not use ATF. Let us know what your long term impressions are of the synthetic.

#12 big red dog OFFLINE  

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Posted October 07, 2011 - 11:07 PM

try synthetic

#13 sgtrock1976 OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 01:22 PM

My 78 316k has the ATF in it. Has never had a problem. I've never heard the "burping" requirement, though. Is it like bleeding the brakes?

#14 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 05:03 PM

My 78 316k has the ATF in it. Has never had a problem. I've never heard the "burping" requirement, though. Is it like bleeding the brakes?


If you can get the entire 5 qts. in in one shot then you wouldn't have an issue. I only got about 3 in mine when it read full on the gauge. I then ran it for a while and added about another quart or so to get it back up to full. Ran it again and it took the last of the 5 qts. The owners manual actually tells you to do this when you change fluid.

#15 TerryD OFFLINE  

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Posted October 17, 2011 - 05:35 PM

I guess the pump, rotor and vanes all collect air when drained. When you refill, those passageways now hold air and it needs to be expelled somehow. Makes sense to me that you would jack the rear wheels up just enough to get them off the ground and run in fwd and reverse to work the air out of the system. I learn something every time I take a wrench to mine. YMMV.




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