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Smart Blend
Technical Tips

Common Solutions to transmission and power steering problems

Providing Brake Services at Your Lube Center?
CVT - What does it mean?
Coolant Loss In 2003 & 2004 GM Vehicles With 2.2L Engines
Keeping A Customer Cool!
Reducing the Liability of Mechanical ATF Exchange Services
Keeping Transmissions Clean, For Extended Service Life
ENHANCING A CABIN AIR FILTER SERVICE!
Improving YOUR BOTTOM LINE With a Power Steering Service
HOT Honda CR-V'S
Increase Value And Profitability By Providing A Differential Service
Correct Diagnosis
What is Torque Converter Shudder?
Transmission Flush Machines
Transmission Service for the New Ford 5R55N
Chemicals, Chemicals, & More Chemicals.
Eliminating The Confusion
Keeping Cool
Power Steering Flush Service
A Simple Solution
Seal Conditioners/Stop Leaks In Transmission Additives
To Change Or Not To Change, The Transmission Filter
Flush Chemicals - What is the Difference?
Diagnostic Codes as Troubleshooting Aids

 

Providing Brake Services at Your Lube Center?

A customer comes into your facility complaining about a high pitch squeal every time they apply the brake. This is not an uncommon problem and one that can be remedied with a few extra steps when performing standard brake services.

This problem has become more common in the last decade due to the fact that federal law restricts the content of asbestos in brake pads. Today brake pads are made from harder semi-metallic compounds and when the brake is applied the pad presses against the brake rotor and causes vibration thus creating the brake squeal.

SOLUTION:
Remove the wheel and inspect the brake system, insure that the brake components are in tacked and do not display visual damage or leaking fluid. Clean all surfaces (rotors, drums, pads and shoes). Spray a light coat of Smart Blend Synthetics Brake Finishing Treatment (PT#17015) to the rotor/drum. Smart Blend's micro fine aluminum particles form a molecular bond with the rotor/drum friction surfaces that resist water and high temperatures, filling in microscopic thickness variances dampening vibrations between the caliper/brake pad interfaces eliminating aggravating vibration and brake squeal.

For best results apply Smart Blend Synthetics Brake Grease (PT#17016) to all moving caliper hardware, mating surfaces and steel backing plates of the brake pad helping ensure proper lubrication and parts performance suppressing brake noise and vibration. It will not harm rubber seals, melt and run or wash out due to weather and washes.

  • Extends brake life
  • Prevents brake noise
  • Ideal for rubber to rubber or rubber to metal contact
  •  

    CVT
    What does it mean?

    In recent months it seems that we have been receiving an increased number of phone calls regarding CVT's on our SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS Tech Service Line. The main question that we are often asked is, what do the letters CVT stand for on the vehicles transmission fluid dipstick?

    The letters CVT stand for or identify the vehicles automatic transmission type as a Continuously Variable Transmission better known as a CVT Transmission. When the letters CVT appear on the transmission dipstick this means install specialty CVT transmission fluid.

    How is the CVT Different From Traditional Automatic Transmissions? In most applications CVT's are belt or chain driven transmissions compared to traditional automatic transmissions that are gear driven. CVT's have an infinite number of drive ratios within a particular range of operation unlike the step changes that traditional geared automatics utilize. CVT's prove to be more efficient than the cumbersome 4 or 5 speed automatic transmissions by reducing overall weight and saving space. CVT's can potentially improve fuel economy by operating the engine at lower RPMs with a wider throttle opening while operating at cruising speeds.

    Listed below are a few vehicle models that offer CVT transmission options in the United States. To correctly identify the vehicle's transmission type always refer to the manufacturers owners' manual.



     

    Coolant Loss In 2003 & 2004 GM Vehicles With 2.2L Engines

    Often when the rising temperatures of summer visit us, people become more aware of their vehicles operating temperature and cooling systems. This provides Fast Lubes the opportunity to promote radiator flushes or coolant exchanges. In most cases this service is relatively easy to perform and is a valuable service to offer to your customers. As with most services performed at Fast lube Facilities technicians should always perform a visual inspection of the system that they are servicing, checking for leaks and or low fluid levels prior to performing the services.

    When inspecting coolant systems one should always inspect for abnormal coolant loss. Abnormal coolant loss can often be associated with leaks in the upper or lower radiator hoses and petcock drain valve. Inspecting these areas prior to performing coolant system services can keep your facility out of HOT WATER with the customer and avoid mechanical problems.

    Some vehicles experiencing coolant loss may however have much BIGGER PROBLEMS than leaking hoses or low coolant levels due to evaporation. Some vehicles may have problems with the cylinder heads. In May of 2004 the AERA (Engine Rebuilders Association) posted a technical bulletin #2168 concerning coolant loss in 2003 2004 GM vehicles with the 2.2L engine. These vehicles can be identified the by the letters D&F in the VIN # (Vehicle Identification Number). In these vehicles the first sign of cooling system trouble may be the low coolant light illuminating on the vehicles dashboard. When visual inspections were performed on these vehicles no visible signs of external coolant leaks could be found.

    The cause of these conditions in the GM vehicles identified above may be the result of porosity in the aluminum casting of the cylinder head or a cylinder liner that is lower than the block deck. In this case cylinder head replacement may be needed. Customers with coolant loss in these 2003-2004 GM vehicles should be referred to authorized GM repair facilities for further diagnostic testing. Correctly identifying this problem and recommending repair prior to performing coolant services could keep your Fast Lube out of HOT WATER this summer.

    Listed below are a few signs that can help you identify cylinder head problems. One or more of the following conditions may accompany low coolant levels when the vehicles engine is cold:

  • The engine is difficult to start
  • The engine will misfire for several seconds
  • White smoke or coolant odor will be emitted from the exhaust tailpipe
  •  

    Keeping A Customer Cool!

    As outside temperatures rise so do the operating temperatures of a vehicles' vital components. Keeping a car's coolant system functioning properly is key to helping your customers and their cars cool through the heat of the summer months. Not only does the car's coolant system keep the engine cool it also maintains and reduces the transmission temperature along with the AC and electrical components. A clogged, corroded or leaky radiator can have a dramatic effect on a vehicles performance especially if it is under heavy load like towing or traveling up a steep grade.

    The first step is to inspect the coolant system for leaks, loose hoses and clamps, worn belts, or low fluid level.

    Secondly using a high quality radiator flush such as Smart Blend Synthetics One Formula Coolant System Flush (PT# 17005) can safely and effectively remove accumulated sediment, light rust, corrosion byproducts, antifreeze, hard-water gels and oily residues: thereby restoring cooling system efficiency & performance. One Formula Coolant System Flush with Advanced Molecu-Tech Technology is environmentally safe for all cooling systems & materials including aluminum. Next, drain the system completely and tighten the petcock valve. Now add a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water then top off with a coolant treatment like Smart Blend Synthetics One Formula Coolant System Treatment (PT#17004). It features advanced Synteum H2O Technology which decreases coolant's surface tension, providing more efficient heat transfer than water or antifreeze alone. This results in decreased operating temperatures and increased performance. Smart Blent Synthetic Coolant Treatment protects against efficiency-robbing deposits, while providing unsurpassed corrosion protection for aluminum and metal components. This ASTM tested, Race Proven Technology, reduces operating temperatures up to 20oF, improves horsepower, protects against deposits, provides maximum corrosion protection and can help lower transmission and other primary system temperatures in ONE FORMULA. Smart Blend Synthetic One Formula Coolant System Treatment is compatible with both ethylene glycol, propylene glycol and DEX-COOL.

     

    Reducing the Liability of Mechanical ATF Exchange Services

    In today's world, good communication skills with customers can not only help increase your ticket average and customer satisfaction rating, it can also help you identify and prevent potential service claims. The check list below is a communication tool that can be used as guideline prior to providing mechanical ATF fluid exchanges. If the answer is YES to one or more of the following questions the service technician should perform a thorough inspection of the automatic transmission and related components prior to performing the service. When preexisting signs of potential transmission problems are evident, the best policy is to request that the customer sign a Automatic Transmission Service Agreement that eliminates your liability and protects your facility against preexisting transmission problems that are in no way to be attributed to/or the result of the mechanical ATF exchange performed by your facility. This type of waiver can prove to be mutually beneficial and is in the best interest of both you and the customer.

    1. Has the customer requested a transmission service? Yes / No
    2. Has the customer noticed harsh shifting, slippage or other preexisting transmission performance issues? Yes / No
    3. Does vehicle odometer read 80,000 miles or higher? Yes / No
    4. Can customer supply service records for previous transmission services? Yes / No
    5. Does the vehicle have visible preexisting transmission fluid leaks? Yes / No
    6. Is there evidence of prior transmission repairs or alterations? Yes / No
    7. When checking the automatic transmission fluid level was the ATF: low in fluid level, dark in color or light pink color with a thick consistency? Yes / No
    8. Is radiator fluid level low or show visible signs of contamination? Yes / No
    9. Does vehicle have a class III trailer hitch? Yes / No
    10. Has the vehicle been altered with performance products for racing or sporting purpose? Yes / No

    SERVICE TIP: Disconnecting both the upper and lower transmission cooler lines and flushing out the transmission cooler prior to performing a mechanical ATF exchange can help identify preexisting transmission problems and the presence of wear metals or system contamination. The transmission cooler is responsible for helping maintain the proper transmission operating temperature. A contaminated, damaged or clogged transmission cooler can effect the cooling of the ATF thus causing damage to the transmission.

    Properly flushing the transmission cooler with shop air or a high power transmission flushing product like: SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS ONE FORMULA Cooler Flush # 17001 prior to performing mechanical ATF exchanges can help increase transmission cooler performance, identify preexisting transmission problems and prevent service related transmission repair claims.

     

    Keeping Transmissions Clean, For Extended Service Life

    In today's world of rising costs, everything seems to be higher priced and more technically advanced than ever before. The same is true for automobiles and automotive drive components such as automatic transmissions. Innovative technology and complex engineering have replaced the basic hydraulically controlled automatic transmission of old with the new more advanced electronically/computer controlled automatic transmissions, which can sometimes mean more expensive components to replace and or repair.

    With this being said some of you are probably wondering what does this have to do with the title of this month's Tech Tip (Keeping Transmissions Clean, For Extended Service Life). The answer to this question is simple, THE CLEANER THE BETTER. If one looks back through history items such as automobiles, boats, homes and virtually everything else experiences longer life when properly maintained and kept clean from abrasive dirt and deposits. The same is true with automatic transmission technology, old or new. One of the best ways that I know to keep things clean is to wash or cleanse the item. When performing automatic transmission fluid evacuation services, the best way to properly cleanse the transmissions vital internal components is to install transmission cleaner/ flush chemistry, such as our SMART BLEND SYNTHETIC TRANSMISSION FLUSH with (MOLECU - TECH) technology. Installing transmission flush chemistry makes good sense. One very important and vital performance characteristic of ATF is its detergency. It helps prevent the build-up of varnish, sludge and contaminants on transmission parts and components. Chemical flush additives can pick up where ATF falls short by effectively cleaning and removing the harmful contaminants that are often left behind in the transmission and transmission fluid cooler by fluid evacuation services alone. Chemical flush additives incorporated into transmission fluid exchanges/evacuation services means better and more effective cleaning of the automatic transmission.

    Routine scheduled automotive service and maintenance is good for our customer's vehicles, and our industry. By incorporating chemical transmission flush additives with our transmission fluid evacuation services, we can help extend the automatic transmission life expectancy, improve performance and increase our ticket averages.

     

    ENHANCING A CABIN AIR FILTER SERVICE!

    Often customers may complain of an strange or foul smelling odor when their vehicle's A/C or Heating system blower is turned on. You can just blame it on the kids, but the real cause is mold and bacterial growth on and around the A/C system evaporator core. During normal A/C operation, condensation (water) forms on the evaporator from humidity in the air. This condensation allows mold, fungi and bacteria growth which produces the bad odor and poor air quality inside the vehicle's cabin. It can also affect the occupant's breathing. With the onset of summer, consumers will use their A/C systms more regularly. This will cause them to become even more aware of the odor problem.

    Smart Blend Synthetics One Formula A/C & Heating System Cleaner ( PT# 17019). For use in all Car, Truck, SUV & RV air conditioning and heating systems. The professional formula cleans and removes allergens and contaminants in one easy-to-use step. Simply locate the evaporator, generally located under the dashboard or on the firewall. Determine an access hole into the unit through the drain plug or blower motor. Insert the provided application hose until it reaches the evaporator and activate can completely. After the cleaning solution dissolves, the contaminants are removed from the A/C and heating system: improving cabin air quality, restoring cooling efficiency, removing odors, returning that new car smell. This product is a great addition and enhances profitability when performing a cabin air filter service.

     

    Improving YOUR BOTTOM LINE
    With a Power Steering Service

    In recent years Fast Lube operators have identified that by offering power steering flush services they can increase the bottom line, and is relatively simple service to perform. Recent surveys show that at least 30% of Fast Lubes surveyed currently offer power steering flush services, with an average service price of about $45.00. The cost of goods for performing power steering services is low and is relatively simple to perform. Often this service will provide a measurable tool of customer satisfaction by eliminating the irritable whining sound that resides under the hood.

    Eliminating the power steering whine: There are a couple of trouble shooting steps to correctly identify the problem of eliminating whining power steering systems.

    1. Check for proper power steering fluid level and identify dirty or contaminated fluid.
    2. Examine the belt system, making sure that the belt is not loose, slipping or damaged.
    3.Check the power steering system for leaks or damaged seals, lines and hoses.
    4. Install OEM fluid or equivalent such as multi vehicle fluid as recommended.
    5. Do not over fill.

     

    HOT Honda CR-V'S

    This months Smart Blend Synthetics Tech Tip addresses an issue that was recently reported in a USA TODAY article. USA TODAY reported that Honda has had reports of 60 fires from oil filter leaks in some 2003 & 2004 Honda CR-V sport utility vehicles.

    This prompted a preliminary investigation by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning the matter. Despite 22 reports of fires after oil changes in 2003 CR-Vs' Honda then said that it was notifying dealers that oil filters could stick and that oil drips could cause fires if the work wasn't done properly.

    A Spokesman for Honda said that Honda did not change manufacturing or repair procedures for the '03 and '04 models and is looking into whether there were flaws with the filters or how they were installed. The fires have occurred only after original filters were first replaced. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated that if service technicians failed to remove the old seals when changing oil filters, oil leaks from stacked or otherwise damaged seals could cause exhaust system fires. The CR-V's exhaust manifold is positioned in a way that makes it easier for leaking oil to hit the exhaust manifold.

    Summary: Given the information above taken from the USA TODAY article, it seems like to me that a lot of focus is being put on service technicians and oil change service facility's regarding this '03, '04 Honda CR-V fire issue. By Fast Lube Operators educating themselves and their lube technicians on this issue, it could keep them out of the line of fire. In the event that a lube technician is not aware of the OEM recommended oil filter type for these applications, refer to the vehicles owners' manual or service guide. To obtain further information or to obtain a technical service bulletin contact your local Honda dealer.

    Listed below are a few simple steps that could aid in avoiding this problem.
    1.Inspect the vehicle and oil filter and exhaust manifold for pre-existing leaks prior to performing an oil / filter change service.
    2.Visually inspect the used oil filter, seal and oil filter soffit for seal particles prior to installing a new oil filter.
    3.Install the OEM recommended oil filter type or the equivalent.
    4.Upon completion of the oil change and filter change, start the vehicle with the parking brake applied and the brake pedal depressed bring the vehicles RPM's to about 2000 while visually inspecting the oil filter for leaks.

     

    Increase Value And Profitability By Providing A Differential Service

    Often in our daily activities whether it is in our personal or professional lives, people can become very comfortable in a routine way of doing things. While an organized structured way of performing daily tasks can be a good thing, we must ask ourselves, can we do more? Yes, especially when it pertains to increasing profitability in our business. In today's Fast Lube marketplace we offer and provide a wider variety of services than ever before. Many of the services that we offer to our customers are derived from Auto Manufacturers Recommended Services Schedules. One quick easy to perform service recommended by most OEM'S that is often overlooked is the Limited Slip Differential Service. While the awareness to have this service performed may not be as evident to your customer as engine oil changes or transmission services, we owe it to our customers and our bottom line to offer this valuable service.

    Why should one have Limited Slip Differential Service performed or Limited Slip additives installed?

    As with all lubricants contained within automotive parts and components, gear oil is exposed to degradation or (breakdown) through usage and time. Therefore the need to replace or change the gear oil contained within the differential unit is needed to maintain optimal performance and reduction of metal-to-metal wear and friction. Limited slip differentials not only require the change and replacing of lubricants, but most require additional friction modification additive packages such as SMART BLEND'S ONE FORMULA LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL SUPPLEMENT PT#3500. These unique additive packages provide the correct frictional profile for clutch operation.

    Example: In a limited slip axle, differentiation is restricted when the vehicle operates on a slippery surface. Most designs are based on clutch systems which force both axle shafts to turn when the vehicle is on a slippery surface (mud, ice, snow or wet pavement) but must slip during differentiation on a dry surface. These sliding velocities between the clutch surfaces are low and the clutch may stick and slip repeatedly causing a loud "CHATTER" and severe vibration if a lubricant with the proper frictional characteristics is not used. SMART BLEND'S ONE FORMULA LIMITED SLIP DIFFERENTIAL SUPPLEMENT provides the proper frictional characteristics, reduces chatter and enhances differential performance. For more information on differential services and for your free copy of SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS Capacity & Conversion Guide for automatic transmissions, transfer cases, power steering systems, radiators and differentials contact your SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS Distributor.

     

    Correct Diagnosis

    A few weeks ago a Lube Manager requested technical assistance regarding automatic transmission slippage or late shifting, on a vehicle that his facility recently serviced. The lube Manager explained that they performed a transmission fluid exchange service on a late model Chevrolet truck. A week after the service had been performed, the customer returned to his facility complaining that the vehicle's transmission was slipping or late shifting while pulling a trailer. As you would expect, the vehicle's owner stated that the vehicle performed fine prior to the fluid exchange service.

    Diagnosis: After hearing the customer's complaint and identifying the services performed, which is equipped with an electronically shifted transmission, I suggested that the lube manager test drive the vehicle. After the test drive the manager called me back confirming the customer's complaint. I then suggested to the manager that what he and his customer had experienced was not a transmission problem, but a fuel problem. This can be very common in vehicles that are equipped with electronically shifted transmissions. The fuel flow can be restricted and cause the vehicle to feel as if its transmission is slipping or shifting in and out of gear.

    Cause: A restricted fuel flow and carbon build up in the intake system can be the cause, rather than an actual transmission problem. Sometimes when the fuel system is restricted by carbon or dirt the vehicle my feel as if its transmission is slipping or shifting in and out of gear. The real problem is the engine is not getting the correct fuel flow to keep it running smoothly.

    Correction: Preform a intake cleaning and fuel system treatment with SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS ONE FORMULA 2-STEP FUEL SYSTEM SERVICE (PT #17025-K). The 2-Step system provides complete intake and fuel system cleaning by safely and effectively removing performance robbing deposits and carbon build up, cleaning upper engine and intake system. It eliminates hydrostatic engine lock, with only a Five Minute Service Time and requires NO special application Tools! Also perform a fuel flow and a fuel pressure test and replace the vehicles inline fuel filter as needed.

    NOTE: After the Lube Center manager performed an intake and fuel system service and replaced the inline fuel filter the vehicles performance returned to normal, thus confirming that the automatic transmission was not damaged by the lube centers fluid exchange service.

     

    What is Torque Converter Shudder?

    Torque Converter Shudder occurs when the clutch inside the converter on an automatic transmission is being applied and the transition from slipping to locked up does not occur smoothly. The clutch locks up for a brief moment and then slips, or breaks away, because it could not hold enough torque to complete the lock up. The ability of the clutch to hold torque is the converter’s torque capacity, which is a function of the oil pressure applied to the torque converter clutch combined with the friction characteristics of the oil and friction surfaces. This process of locking up and breaking away repeats itself rapidly, typically 30-50 times per second, until the engine RPMs are reduced and the clutch finally locks up. Torque Converter shudder can be both felt and heard as these rapid vibrations are transmitted to the drive line.

    CUSTOMERS WILL OFTEN COMPLAIN about this shudder after a transmission service because the friction in the new fluid is different.

    AN EASY SOLUTION to this problem is to use Smart Blend Synthetic Supplements & Protectants. They work instantly to eliminate Torque Converter Shudder by adding the proper friction modifiers to the new ATF.

     

       

    TRANSMISSION FLUSH MACHINES

    This months Tech-Tip deals with a common problem that can be related to improper usage of automatic transmissions flush machines. Now don’t get me wrong transmission flush machines are a great tool to utilize when performing a transmission service, however if a technician becomes disoriented or connects the flush machine to the incorrect cooler line this could cause a potential pressure problem.

    POTENTIAL PROBLEM: Dislodged filter or O-ring. Some cooler line machines incorporate an alarm to let the technician know that he or she has connected to the cooler lines in reverse order (backwards). If the engine is shut off and the machine is still running, it can force transmission fluid back through the filter and could dislodge the filter and or the O-ring causing a potential pressure problem.

    SYMPTOMS: Late engagement, delayed shifting or shuddering problems while the vehicle is in gear while stopped. Often when this problem occurs it will mimic low or inadequate transmission fluid levels.

    SOLUTION: Perform a transmission pan drop service, inspect and replace the transmission filter and gasket, fill the transmission to recommended fluid levels and install SMART BLEND SYNTHETIC AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID PROTECTANT (RED).

     

       

    TRANSMISSION SERVICE FOR THE NEW FORD 5R55N

    In the ever-changing world of automotive technology, professional automotive service providers must be prepared for whatever curve ball is thrown their way. This months tech tip deals with just this sort of thing as it relates to transmission services for the new Ford 5R55N transmissions, found in the 2000 and newer Lincoln LS and some Jaguars. Some technicians may be thinking, now how many Lincoln LS and Jaguars does the common fast lube facility service each month? The other thought process is that this new type of transmission application must start somewhere. This type of transmission technology as it applies to virtually sealed and or self contained units will eventually find its way to many other makes and models of vehicles. Fast Lube operators and technicians will start to see them more frequently, so familiarizing ourselves now will only put us ahead of the game. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!

    POTENTIAL PROBLEM: The service technician releases the hood of a vehicle containing the 5R55N transmission, with the intent of performing a transmission flush or fluid service, and he or she notices that something doesn’t look right; there is no dipstick to check the transmission fluid level. How do I service this vehicle?

    SOLUTION: Have the pit technician look closely at the 5R55N transmission pan and identify the drain plug, to check the correct fluid level they will notice the check plug which is located in the center of the bottom drain plug. Holding the drain plug with the proper size wrench so as not to loosen the drain plug, proceed to remove the check plug with the proper size Allen wrench. If the transmission is operating at the proper fluid capacity the transmission fluid should just trickle over the stem and out through the center of the drain plug. In the event that no fluid is released, this is a good indication of low or improper fluid levels.
    Installation of new fluid: To install new fluid in the Ford 5R55N transmission, locate the (Fill Plug) in the extension housing of the transmission, the plug is identified by instructions for transmission fluid application.

     

       

    Chemicals, Chemicals, & More Chemicals.

    Exactly what is the difference between Transmission Flush Chemicals and will transmission flush products harm or cause damage to a transmission?

    This is the most frequently asked question by Fast Lube Operators and Service Tech’s.
    Answer: There are basically two different types of Transmission Flush Chemicals available. Solvent Based and Synthetic Oil Based, and depending on which one you choose to use they can or can not cause harm to a transmission.

    Solvent Based Transmission Flush Products are the most common. However this does not mean that they perform the best. Solvent based flush chemicals work mechanically, scrubbing internal parts. This type of mechanical scrubbing action can often prove too harsh, having an adverse effect on seals and clutch plate friction material. Solvent Based Flush Chemicals if not completely removed can cause transmission damage. Solvent based chemicals contain mineral spirits or alcohol and are inexpensive to manufacturer. Carefully read labels of Solvent Based Products before application.

    Synthetic Oil Based Transmission Flush Products are the newest technological advancement in transmission flush products. Oil based flush products clean internal parts by utilizing a unique polar action to lift, suspend and remove unwanted contaminants. The Synthetic Oil Based Flush products will not have adverse effects on internal parts and are safe for seals, clutch frictions and electronics. The synthetic oil based flush safely removes varnish deposits cleansing all internal transmission components, preparing the transmission for new ATF. Gentle cleansing reduces the risk of transmission failure, improving and extending transmission life. Chemicals, Chemicals, & More Chemicals.

     

       

    Eliminating The Confusion

    Many Original Equipment Manufactures commonly refer to transmission fluids and lubricants by utilizing letters or symbols like SLF, Type F, Diamond SP, Diamond SP II, ATF -3, ATF-4, CVT, Type T, Type T-II, Dex II, Dex III and Type A just to name a few. Below is an example of a frequent transmission fluid identification problem.
    Example: What is (SLF) fluid?
    Many Fast Lube Managers and Lube Technicians are perplexed by the (SLF) automatic transmission fluid recommendation listed in some original equipment manufacturers service manuals. Often the manufacturers service manual provides limited information regarding (SLF) fluid. In most foreign vehicle applications the (SLF) symbol is simply referring to Highly Friction Modified ATF (HFM).
    With the development and implementation of so many different automatic transmission fluids, it is becoming increasingly difficult for lube technicians to determine the correct fluid application for each automatic transmission fluid service. In the event that you are unsure of the correct fluid application please contact our technical service hotline toll free at 1-800-525-6816 or refer to the Smart Blend Synthetics Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Service Guide. This convenient easy to use service guide will provide you with OEM fluid recommendations, transmission service intervals, fluid capacities and transfer case recommendations. To eliminate the confusion and to obtain your FREE copy of the Smart Blend Synthetics Fluid Service Guide simply contact our Technical Department at 1-800-525-6816 or E-mail us at smartblend@aol.com

     

       

    KEEPING COOL

    SUMMER IS HERE AND THINGS ARE HEATING UP. THIS TECH TIP WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH A FEW QUICK DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION IDEAS THAT COULD ASSIST TECHNICIANS IN IDENTIFYING AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION FLUID OVERHEATING PROBLEMS, PRIOR TO PERFORMING A TRANSMISSION FLUSH SERVICE.

    Heat is the number one reason for automatic transmission failure. By implementing the following pre service diagnostic procedures in your facility, Fast Lube Owners and Managers can greatly reduce the number of heat related transmission failure claims, by identifying pre existing fluid flow problems.

    PRIOR TO PERFORMING A TRANSMISSION FLUID SERVICE

    1. Check the vehicles transmission temperature for normal or hot operating temperature.
    2. Check the vehicles current transmission fluid level. If the fluid level is very low, dark in color or smells burnt. (Warning Sign)
    3. Inspect the vehicles radiator fluid level. The transmission cooler is usually located within the radiator housing, and can be dramatically affected by the radiator’s operating temperature or low fluid level.

    Fluid Temp VS. Transmission Life Expectancy

    175o= 100,000+ miles, 190o= 90,000 miles,
    210o (Pressure Drops) = 55,000 miles, 230o (Valves Stick) = 25,000 miles
    250o (Varnish Forms) = 17,000 miles, 270o (Seals & Clutches Burn) = 4000 miles
    300o + = TRANSMISSION FAILURE

     

       

    Power Steering Flush Service

    Power Steering Flush Services On The Rise: In recent years Fast Lube operators have identified that by providing a power steering flush service it will increase the bottom line and is relatively simple to perform. Recent surveys show that at least 30% of Fast Lubes surveyed currently offer power steering flush service, with an average service price of $43.89. Power steering flush service has a low cost of goods (COGS), is relatively simple to perform and in most instances, will provide a measurable tool of customer satisfaction by eliminating the irritable whining sound that resides under the hood.

    Eliminating the power steering whine:
    There are a couple of trouble shooting steps to correctly identify and eliminate whining power steering systems.
    1.Inspect the power steering system for dirty or contaminated fluid.
    2.Perform a power steering flush service to remove unwanted dirt or other contaminants along with the old fluid.
    3.Install one bottle of Smart Blend Synthetic POWER PLUS Universal Power Steering Fluid Protectant.
    4.Properly purge the power system by starting the vehicle and turning the steering wheel left then right several times, purging air out of the system.
    5.Examine the belt system, making sure that the belt is not loose or slipping.
    6.Always check the power steering system for proper fluid levels.

     

       

    A SIMPLE SOLUTION

    Often there are relatively simple solutions to repair what may appear to be BIG PROBLEMS. For example, the automatic transmission Shift Strategy found in Ford F-150 Trucks, containing the 4R100 automatic transmission. If you or your customer has disconnected the vehicles battery recently, you may here drivability complaints about the vehicles transmission performance. Don’t worry, this is usually a self correcting problem, and not the result of your transmission fluid service or exchange.

    CAUSE: This problem is often related to loss of memory in the electronic controls, mainly caused by disconnecting the vehicles battery or power supply. To account for different customer driving habits and conditions the 4R100 automatic transmission electronically controls the shift quality by using an adaptive learning strategy. When the vehicles battery is disconnected the transmission must relearn its adaptive shift strategy.

    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Under normal operating conditions optimal shifting will resume within one hundred miles of operation.

    Often there are relatively simple solutions to repair what may appear to be BIG PROBLEMS. For example, the automatic transmission Shift Strategy found in Ford F-150 Trucks, containing the 4R100 automatic transmission. If you or your customer has disconnected the vehicles battery recently, you may here drivability complaints about the vehicles transmission performance. Don’t worry, this is usually a self correcting problem, and not the result of your transmission fluid service or exchange.

    CAUSE: This problem is often related to loss of memory in the electronic controls, mainly caused by disconnecting the vehicles battery or power supply. To account for different customer driving habits and conditions the 4R100 automatic transmission electronically controls the shift quality by using an adaptive learning strategy. When the vehicles battery is disconnected the transmission must relearn its adaptive shift strategy.
    SIMPLE SOLUTION: Under normal operating conditions optimal shifting will resume within one hundred miles of operation.

     

       

    Seal Conditioners/Stop Leaks In Transmission Additives

    I recently received an E-mail from a Fast Lube Operator that proposed a question about Seal Conditioners/Stop leaks in transmission additives. The operator simply ask “Are products that contain Seal Conditioners/Stop Leaks good or bad for automatic transmissions”?
    Response: To answer this question correctly we must take a look at the automatic transmission as a pressurized hydraulic system. If a transmission is leaking from a seal point this usually means that seal is damaged and should be replaced. Adding products that claim to condition seals or stop leaks usually do so by containing chemicals that SWELL seals for a quick fix. The problem with swelling or expanding seals is that they will return to their normal state in time and your leak returns. This goes back to the old saying “What goes up must come down”. When seals are expanded through heat and chemistry, they can and will often dry out, crack or even worse flake depending on the seals compound.
    Example Seal Compounds: Polyacrylate, Nitrile, Fluorinated, Silicone or Ethylene/Acrylic. This can cause multiple problems inside the automatic transmission such as pressure problems, hanging valves, contaminated fluid, plugging filters, coolers etc. Installing Products that contain seal conditioners/swell chemicals to stop leaks could have an adverse affect on proper transmission performance.

     

       

    To Change Or Not To Change,
    The Transmission Filter

    In time all things change, and the Fast Lube Industry is no stranger to change. One of the major changes in the industry is the way that we perform Automatic Transmission Fluid services. Once upon a time when providing an ATF service we routinely removed transmission pans, provided visual inspections and replaced transmission filters prior to installing new ATF. While there were many benefits to providing automatic transmission services in this manner, it also had some negative connotations such as, limited fluid removal, increased service time and Lube Technician training, not to mention elevated transmission filter inventories. When transmission fluid evacuation “FLUSH” machines were introduced they revolutionized the way we looked at and performed Automatic Transmission services in the Fast Lube industry, almost overnight. Most of these machines were easy to operate, decreased service time, provided a greater perceived value to the consumer and evacuated the majority of the ATF from the transmission. What could be better?

    Try changing the transmission filter in conjunction with utilizing your transmission flush equipment to insure proper ATF FLOW, maximizing transmission performance.
    The key to this Tech Tip is Filtration! Filters collect and remove unwanted contaminates & particles from the ATF and should be replaced or cleaned at manufacturers recommended service intervals.
    Often when an automatic transmission service is performed without changing the transmission FILTER, contaminates can become dislodged within the transmission and can collect in various areas such as the valve body or the transmission cooler effecting line pressure. These contaminates can restrict the FLOW of the FLUID thus effecting the vehicles shift quality and overall performance. Proper filtration and correct line pressure is just as important to transmission performance and shift quality as is the correct frictional profile of ATF for specific applications. To find out more information contact our SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS Tech Hotline at 1 (800) 525-6816, or revert to the SMART BLEND SYNTHETICS Fluid Filter Service Guide.

     

       

    Flush Chemicals
    What is the Difference?

    Exactly what is the difference between Transmission Flush Chemicals and will transmission flush products harm or cause damage to a transmission?

    This is the most frequently asked question by Fast Lube Operators and Service Tech’s.
    Answer: There are basically two different types of Transmission Flush Chemicals available. Solvent Based and Synthetic Oil Based, and depending on which one you choose to use they can or can not cause harm to a transmission.

    Solvent Based Transmission Flush Products are the most common. However this does not mean that they perform the best. Solvent based flush chemicals work mechanically, scrubbing internal parts. This type of mechanical scrubbing action can often prove too harsh, having an adverse effect on seals and clutch plate friction material. Solvent Based Flush Chemicals if not completely removed can cause transmission damage. Solvent based chemicals contain mineral spirits or alcohol and are inexpensive to manufacturer. Carefully read labels of Solvent Based Products before application.

    Synthetic Oil Based Transmission Flush Products are the newest technological advancement in transmission flush products. Oil based flush products clean internal parts by utilizing a unique polar action to lift, suspend and remove unwanted contaminants. The Synthetic Oil Based Flush products will not have adverse effects on internal parts and are safe for seals, clutch frictions and electronics. The synthetic oil based flush safely removes varnish deposits cleansing all internal transmission components, preparing the transmission for new ATF. Gentle cleansing reduces the risk of transmission failure, improving and extending transmission life.

    Summary: Synthetic Oil Based Transmission Flush Products out perform solvent flushes. Synthetic oil based flush products are completely safe and will not harm a transmission. Improvements in ATF technology has contributed significantly to the reduction of varnish and corrosion build up within automatic transmission systems. Solvent flush chemicals are too harsh for modern applications and if not completely evacuated can cause hardening of seals and loss of clutch friction material.
    Providing Synthetic oil based flush products to consumers ensures safe gentle cleaning, improved drivability and customer satisfaction.

     

       

    Diagnostic Codes as Troubleshooting Aids

    A few weeks ago I was attending an automatic transmission service seminar in Atlanta. One of the many topics of discussion was Diagnostic Trouble Codes (or Service Codes). With today’s advanced technology it seems that there are diagnostic trouble codes for everything, especially pertaining to automatic transmissions. However, in this months Smart Blend Synthetics Tech Tip we are going to shift gears form transmission related problems to the subject of Fuel System Diagnostic Codes.
    Virtually every Fast Lube in the country offers or provides its customers with some type of fuel injector cleaning or fuel system additive service. Most of these fuel services require the technician to install some type of additive in the gas tank. In order to reduce unnecessary alarm to you and your consumer “MAKE SURE YOU TIGHTEN THE GAS CAP COMPLETELY & CORRECTLY. If the gas cap is not tightened completely or correctly, you could experience what is known as an (EVAP CODE).

    Some vehicles such as the 2003 Honda Accord are equipped with sensors that can detect Evaporative Emissions System Leaks and trigger the check engine light to illuminate as the result of a loose or incorrectly fastened gas cap.
    In Hondas the EVAP codes that could be generated by this problem are P0442, P0456 and / or P0457.
    SOLUTION: Most late model vehicles gas / fuel caps contain clicking or sounding mechanisms that will let you know when the cap is securely fastened. Simply listen for the clicks.