Transmission and differential fluid change - Club Touareg Forums
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post #1 of 46 Old 02-04-2019 Thread Starter
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Transmission and differential fluid change

Hi Everyone!

I've been reading up on this topic extensively for days now, but unfortunately didn't find any definitive answers. I'm planning on getting my transmission, transfer case, and (non-locking) rear and front differential fluids changed on my '08 2.5 with the 09D auto transmission. The original OEM fluids for these are:

Transmission fluid: G 055 025 A2
Transfer case fluid: G 055 515 A2
Differential fluids: G 052 145 A2 (supposedly superseded by G 052 145 S2)

My understanding is that the following replacement fluids meet the appropriate specs:

G 055 025 A2 (transm.) - Mobil 1 ATF 3309, Liqui Moly Top Tec ATF 1200, Febi ATF 29934 (1L) / 101161 (5L)
G 055 515 A2 (transfc.) - Ravenol Transfer Fluid TF-0870
G 052 145 A2 (diffs) - essentially all high quality 75W-90 gear oils with API GL-4+ certification, like RAVENOL VSG SAE 75W-90, Liqui Moly 4433 - High Performance Gear Oil GL4+ SAE 75W-90, Febi 32590 - SAE 75W-90 GL-5

However, I did not find any definitive info on how people who decided to go with these non-OEM fluids fared with them.

So, my question is: Did you use any of the above mentioned (or any other) alternative fluids, and what were your mid- or long-term experiences with them? Is it safe to use them instead of the insanely expensive OEM fluids? I'm not looking for a direct comparison between OEM or non-OEM fluids (even though if you have any info, it's welcome), but whether non-OEM fluids caused any noteworthy problems for you.

My car has 125.000 miles / 200.000 kms, and afaik none of these fluids have ever been changed in it. It does not seem to show any symptoms that could be directly related to these components (like wheels do not skip, transmission does not slip, not even in sub-zero temps) and am planning to replace the fluids only as a preventive measure.

Any information welcome, and thanks!
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post #2 of 46 Old 02-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Based on the lack of answers I have to assume that either nobody tried aftermarket fluids, or everybody who did that died in a horrible accident because of the aftermarket fluids, and is thus unable to tell me/us about his experience with them anymore. JK

Anyway, I'm going to bite the bullet and go with an all-aftermarket fluid change for the transmission, for the transfer case and also both differentials. So, if you won't hear from me anymore, you know that the same thing happened to me than to everyone else who tried the aftermarket stuff.

These will be the fluids I will be using:

Transmission: Mobil 1 ATF 3309 - meeting or exceeding G 055 025 A2 specs, according to manufacturer's datasheet
Transfer case: Ravenol Transfer Fluid TF-0870 - meeting or exceeding G 055 515 A2 specs, according to manufacturer's datasheet
Differentials: Fuchs Titan Sintopoid SAE 75W90 - meeting or exceeding G 052 145 A2 specs, according to manufacturer's datasheet

Dealer wanted ~$1000 for these fluids, but with the aftermarket alternatives I can get supposedly the same stuff for around $300 or less.

If anyone's interested I've also enquired at Liqui Moly whether their LM 4433/4434 "High Performance Gear Oil GL4+ SAE 75W-90" meets the "G 052 145 A2" specs - despite being not listed as such on the product's data sheet -, and they told me that it indeed does meet it. So, theoretically that fluid is also officially confirmed to be appropriate - but I've already ordered the Fuchs oil by the time they got back to me with this information, so, that's why I went with that anyway.

Anyway, if my car blows up because of the aftermarket fluids, it was nice meeting and knowing ya all....

PS: One more thing I want to leave here for clarification is, because there seems to be a lot of confusion about it in similar threads here, that the OEM VW lubricants "G 052 145 A1" and "G 052 145 A2" do not seem to be different specs oils and one superseding the other, just different bottles of the same product. The one with "A2" ending is a 1.0 liter / 33.81 oz bottle, and the "A1" is a 0.5 liter / 16.9 oz bottle. There's also a variant of this fluid with the "S2" suffix, which is a 1 liter bottle (and there does not seem to be a 0.5 liter bottle with an "S1" suffix), but it's doubtful that even that would be really different from the fluids in the "A1" and "A2" suffixed bottles, because aftermarket fluids that are supposedly substitutes for the "A1"/"A2" specs are also listed as substitutes for the "S2" variant. So, there's either no difference, or the "S2" formulation is backwards compatible with the A1/A2 specs.

PS2: The Mobil 1 ATF 3309 bottle exactly matches in shape and form the original VW "G 055 025 A2" bottle, which only differs in color of the bottle and the cup - which makes me think that the VW OEM fluid with this numbers is actually the Mobil fluid. The Febi 32590 bottle also looks almost identical to the original VW "G 052 145 A2" bottle, which also makes me think that the VW OEM fluid with this number is actually febi's product. Just my two cents.
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post #3 of 46 Old 02-13-2019
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IMHO, who cares if the OEM fluids are expensive? Thing about how long until you do this again! Do you really care about the cost difference if you're going to do it again in 5-10 years? (especially since you went 200k without changing). I would strictly advise against using anything but OEM in your trans especially at your milage...... I used to have a Dodge RAM, and I did something similar to what you're talking about.... I serviced everything at a high odometer reading with the best ROYAL PURPLE & RED LINE synthetics I could buy..... I immediately started having transmission issues and ended up dumping $$$ worth of new fluid and putting OEM crap back in it.... then I drove it for another 10 years without any other issues.

Given that the Touareg transmission is so much more advanced, I would not deviate from the OEM fluid in it at all based on the info you've provided.

Just my opinion.
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post #4 of 46 Old 02-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Well, this is exactly the thing / here is my thinking:

For one, I do not plant to keep this vehicle for another 10 years - so, I will not get my return on any really long term investment. Even if I would keep it, I would regularly replace these fluids, so they wouldn't have to last another 125.000 miles or so. In reality I only drive the car around 3000 miles a year - so, I will be probably putting another 10.000 miles in total into it max. before I get rid of it. Maybe even less.

And the other thing is: just because the car is getting 11 years old this year, anything and everything can break in it, even "on its own". And if it does, again, I see no benefit in having the very expensive OEM fluids in it while this is happening. Also, even if it happens to some related component down the road, nobody will be able to tell it was because of the fluid anyway. At least I don't think that when you're using these high quality fluids you could really see a failure in such a short time and/or in such a violent manner that it could be directly linked to the fluid change as the sole reason for it.

That said I've researched this topic extensively now, and based on what I've read, I do not expect anything to break here obviously. Of course I've read some horror stories about transmission fluid changes at high mileage going very wrong, but I believe these to be the result of people having used the wrong fluids (meaning not only aftermarket ones, but of totally wrong specs) and/or not following proper procedures, and not because of the high mileage fluid change per se. Also, if this high-mileage-fluid-flush-breaks-the-transmission thing happens to me, it will happen also with OEM fluids, and it will be the more a waste of money if I will/would have used those instead of the affordable, but still very high quality aftermarket fluids.

And again, we're talking about a ~$700 difference here in cost, which I think is a lot for a simple fluid change, and for which (and some) you can get a full transmission from a break.


Then again, we'll see. But honestly, with fluids that are claimed by their manufacturers to meet OEM specs, and appear to be in some cases actually be the very same products that the dealership sells you, just with a different sticker label on them and for 3x the price.... I will be very surprised if there will be anything going wrong, because of these fluids.
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post #5 of 46 Old 02-13-2019
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Sure... but if it was me, and I used it that little, and planned on not keeping it for a long time, I wouldn't even bother.... You will not get a return on your investment, even if you use aftermarket fluids.... if your gear is on it's last legs are is ready to bust anyways, I very much doubt that fresh fluids will "save it" over the next 10k or whatever.

I say drive it for a few more years without touching it....
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post #6 of 46 Old 02-13-2019
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I always used to say stick with OEM [and still do for the 850 ml bottle needed for the transfer box] but one of the highly experienced Oz Treggers who actually fixes the cars for a living uses aftermarket fluids so, as long as the specs are correct, carry on.


Good point well made though on whether it's worth your while if the car isn't a long term/many miles keeper.
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post #7 of 46 Old 02-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboABA View Post
Sure... but if it was me, and I used it that little, and planned on not keeping it for a long time, I wouldn't even bother.... You will not get a return on your investment, even if you use aftermarket fluids.... if your gear is on it's last legs are is ready to bust anyways, I very much doubt that fresh fluids will "save it" over the next 10k or whatever.
Following that logic I might also avoid changing regular engine oil in it, because as long as the engine doesn't seize, I will not get my return on investment. Will I?

I'm not doing this to "repair" the car or the transmission, but as part of the regular and preventive maintenance. Which, as it says, is done to prevent problems down the road, and which you don't know exactly when or whether will hit you - but the more you put the maintenance procedure off, the higher risk you're running to actually encounter them, with no (or very expensive) recourse.

Anyway, as said, I don't think damaging the transmission with these fluids and the change per se is an actually something I have to expect realistically, or any more, than the "breakage" of any part of the car at any time. On the other side: keeping to drive the car with 10 year old fluids with 125.000 miles in them is definitely not a lesser risk to its health either.

We'll see.

Was nice to know you all!
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post #8 of 46 Old 02-13-2019
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Sometimes I wonder about you Bruh.... but anyways.....
If you want to get all technical, nothing we do to a vehicle is an "investment"

If you want to do proper PM, use the OEM fluids..... there's a reason why a bunch of experts decided on those fluids and not the aftermarket ones you're looking at. If the dealer prices are not what you want to pay, then find another supplier. Technically, specs are specs, and if your alternate brands claim to meet them, and you TRUST that they do, then save yourself the coin (and us the aggravation of trying to reason with you) and go for it.

At the end of the day, I personally give ZERO FLUIDS about your POS and if it blows up today, tomorrow, or 10k miles from now.... trust me!
Don't ask for input or advise if you don't want any!

P.S. I still wouldn't touch the transmission.... just sayin!
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post #9 of 46 Old 02-13-2019 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboABA View Post
If you want to get all technical, nothing we do to a vehicle is an "investment" If you want to do proper PM, use the OEM fluids..... there's a reason why a bunch of experts decided on those fluids .
Correct. But the fluids I'm using meet the OEM specs. That's the whole point. I'm not using just ANY aftermarket fluid, but those that were specifically designed to be exactly like those experts decided them to be. I'm just not buying them from VW.

VW does the same thing. VW does not manufacture any of these fluids. VW buys it from the very same vendors I'm buying them from. All he does on top of that is stocking them and "upcharging" up to 300% on them. Nothing more, nothing less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboABA View Post
Don't ask for input or advise if you don't want any!
For one I did not ask for theories and hearsays (because as said, I've been researching those myself extensively for weeks now), but for input from those who did actually use aftermarket fluids. Even that a week ago. I didn't get any. Now, I'm not so much looking for input anymore (albeit still welcome), because I've made the decision and actually already bought the stuff I will be using. I only wrote what I wrote for others to possibly learn and profit from - regardless of what the outcome will be.

That said I have no problem you voicing your opinion, regardless of admittedly having no actual experience in the field (with aftermarket fluids). I'm just presenting you with my very own (counter)arguments on what you think are arguments against using said fluids. Am I allowed to?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboABA View Post
P.S. I still wouldn't touch the transmission.... just sayin!
Your objection is noted. Thank you.
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post #10 of 46 Old 02-13-2019
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnits View Post
.... but as part of the regular and preventive maintenance......
You went 200k first..... I say you're not allowed to use terms like "regular or preventative maintenance" (even though you didn't do the whole 200k yourself) Did you just pick up your Touareg recently?

Disclaimer:
I admit to not having any actual experience when it comes to anything Touareg related.
I've only owned one for a few months and about 8.5k kms.
I've only put diesel into it thus far, windshield washer fluid, and installed a brake controller..... also some VCDS messing around stuff....
Don't believe or listen to anything else that I say outside those things, as I have zero practical experience outside of what I listed above!
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