Dexron II and III are these Standards?

jerry_njApril 7, 2007

My older car, a 1999 Mazda calls for Dexron II in the power steering system. I see Dexron III is what is now offered. Is Dexron III a replacement for II, i.e., an improvement over II?

Another question, the on-hand ATF I have is Shell Dexron III, so it must not be too new, I've had the bottle for longer than I can remember. To the question, going to Walmart (yes I know they are not THE auto parts store) I find several brands of ATF, including two from Castrol, a brand I trust. None display Dexron III, albeit the one of the Castrol bottles says in details that the fluid meets Decron III and Micor...(something, forget). This leads me to conclude Dexron is a "standards" not a brand-name, correct? Then, given my owners manual calls for Dexron II or III I assume I should not buy anything that is silent about its compliance with Dexron "standards".

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Seems I was wrong, no views/knowledge out "there" on ATF.

Looking a bit on the web I see Dexron is a GM standard and the Mecron (or something like that) is the Ford standard for ATF.

Guess the Japanese just decided to use the US standards, or did at least for cars/trucks imported to the US.

Still I get mixed signals about using Dexron III in place of the hard (or impossible) to find Dexron II. As my application for Dexron II is for the power steering, not automatic transmission, I may just use a special Power Steering fluid that specifies it meets GM/Ford/ standards/specifications. The bottle I have also touts that it helps condition seals, and stops associated leaks. Seems like a good choice.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 1:40PM
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    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:21PM
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This is a specification for General Motors vehicles, but many foreign manufactures specify a DEXRON approved ATF as well. DEXRON-III can be used in transmissions that call for DEXRON-IIE or DEXRON-II.
Seems to be the answer.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:44PM
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Dextron III is the replacement for Dextron II or even Dextron I.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 7:28AM
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Tranny fluid.....

I stock six different transmission fluids, and have used several more through the years.

Dexron III/Mercon is still the most widely used fluid, and contrary to what some of the additive companies claims, you cannot just pour an additive into Dexron III/Mercon and change it into any other fluid.

Typically I'll see additives that claim you can start with Dexron/Mercon and then you are supposed to have Mercon V, Chrysler's ATF+3 which gets superceeded by ATF+4. (+4 is backwards compatable for +3, but you must note use +3 where +4 is required). Dexron/Mercon is made from base oils, while these others are either partial syntheic based or full synthetic. No additive can correct for that.

Toyota T-4, different again.

BMW, VW, Mercedes, Honda, all have uniquely speced fluids, with no real generic substitute for any of them.

But the fun does not stop there. Engine oils are getting more and more varied, I stock eight different engine oils.

Manual transaxles, and transmissions, and rear axles are doing the same thing. While many differentials still take GL4 or GL5 90W, there are a number going to full synthetic such as the 75W140 my Explorer uses. Honda's VTM4 is a differential fluid, but has a similar appearance to ATF.

When in doubt check the owners manual, and use the recommended fluid. DONT BE SUPRISED, when places like Wal Mart don't actually carry exactly what you should be using. While I have my personal differences of opinion with places like Auto Zone, they do in fact carry many of the O.E. spec fluids. Read the fine print though before purchase!

Case in point.

Mobil 1 0w40 synthetic actually does not meed VW's 502xxxx spec required for the newest models. In fact nothing out there except for VW's own oil meets that spec. Mobil 1 does meet VW 500xxxx spec, call that a close bu no cigar.

BTW my Toyota fluid, which my daughters RAV4 uses is some $7.00 qt.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 12:28PM
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Hi John,

Well the auto manufacturers have made tremendous markup margins on parts for years, why not on the fluids too?

My Subaru OM simply says Dexron III for the ATF, but while it says GL5 for the front transaxle and for the rear (transaxle?) it also cautions not to mix. Checking with the Subaru parts man (not an expert mechanic, but I assume is the expert on what the shop uses) Subaru doesn't have its own oil, use any GL5. I got multi grade 75W90 (not sure I have the nomenclature correct, but you know what I mean.

To the reason I posted this thread: my 1999 Mazda manual transmission OM says use Dexron II for the power steering. I can't find any Dexron II, I used a Preston Power Steering fluid that also advertises it reconditions seals ;>)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 1:53PM
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i know hyundai/kia and mitsbishi specify a special trans fluid, and if the wrong one is used, kiss the trans good bye!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 7:54PM
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dextron III is backwards compatible.

do not use in in any JEEP. ever. needs special lube cuz it has
faster spinning pump and DEX will foam in that appl.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 1:15PM
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I have a '97 Gran Prix with 350K miles. I have never added Trans. Fluid as long as I have had the car. I just ck'd it & it is just a little above the "add" mark. The Owners Manual calls for Dexron III. I have Advance Auto Dexron II/E. Can I assume the II/E is compatible with III?


    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 5:00PM
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