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  #1  
Old 05-23-2004, 02:43 AM
Provo Spain?
 
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Question Using ATF to clean your engine??

I was reading another MB site and a poster suggested to another using ATF to flush an engine (for a supposed sticky lifter).

I have never heard of such a thing.

I searched here out of curiousity, and found that some people put ATF in their fuel filters. But didn't see anything about flushing the engines with ATF.

Has anybody ever heard of this before?
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  #2  
Old 05-23-2004, 07:06 AM
jcd jcd is offline
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My tech, good guy a ton of experience with MB diesels, suggested filling the main fuel filter with ATF when I change the filter. He said it would clean and lubricate the injectors.

I did it.................. didn't notice a change one way or the other.

However, it is kind of cool that these daggone cars will burn just about anything.

JCD
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  #3  
Old 05-23-2004, 09:51 AM
Randall Kress
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ATF is suggested by my tech too for the fuel filters. My other tech, another veteran, suggested I put a quart of ATF in my oil before changing it. He claimed it cleaned the engine as well.
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  #4  
Old 05-23-2004, 10:18 AM
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Why not use an engine flush, something that is made to flush engines. This old-mechanics tale about ATF being a cureall for everything is just so much BS.

P E H
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2004, 10:20 AM
LarryBible
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Back in the sixties and even seventies before oil went through the drastic improvement that it has seen, some people would add a quart of ATF at oil change to keep the engine clean. In fact in those days ATF was considered a magic elixer.

Since that time, however, oil has gone through drastic transformation. With modern, premium motor oil if you are changing it frequently enough, no additives are needed and in many cases can hurt.

That said, if you do have a problem with sludge, and if the oil has not been adequately changed this may very well be the case, you need to do a few short changes, preferably with a Universal grade oil. Universal is the oil designed specifically for diesels. It has much more detergent added.

If you were to change oil and filter using Universal, such as; Chevron Delo 400, Shell Rotella, Mobil Delvac, etc. Run it 500 miles and drain the oil while the engine is good and hot. Repeat this process until your noise goes away.

This is the safest way to "flush" an engine.

Good luck,
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2004, 10:41 AM
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Larry,

Changing Delvac at 500 miles would be very expensive at ~$5 a quart.

As you probably know, I change oil at 10,000 miles and use Rotella, Mobil! or Castrol synthetic oils. I also use Gunk engine flush when I change the oil and filters. The flush is in the engine for about 10 minutes then drained with the oil

Recently I had the valve cover off to adjust the valves and there was not a trace of sludge on the head or on any of the valve mechanism. This engine has 250,000 miles and if any sludge was forming, there would be some there by now or maybe its just cleaned away by the engine oil and flush.

P E H
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  #7  
Old 05-23-2004, 06:43 PM
LarryBible
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Delvac ONE probably costs $5 per quart but regular Delvac is about $7 a gallon like the other dino universals.

Extended oil changes with synthetic, once the gunk is cleaned out may very well be an option, but to clean out the gunk, a few short changes with dino universal and draining hot would be the safest way to do it.

Good luck,
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  #8  
Old 05-23-2004, 10:13 PM
JHZR2's Avatar
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Location: Collingswood, NJ
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A well known lube engineer who frequents an oil site I post on has said the following (quotes from www.bobistheoilguy.com):

Regarding ATF cleaning anything, PS boxes, injectors, etc:
Quote:
ATF does not have a high level of detergents or dispersants. I can see it lubricating the injectors and HP fuel pump, but cleaning, not in any real sense of the word.
difference between ATF and P/S Fluid:
Quote:
About the only real diference between for example, O'Reilley's Off-the-Shelf PSF and Dexron III ATF is that the ATF has a few more friction modifiers.
ATF Adds:
Quote:
The current lot of ATF (hydraulic) fluids contains lots of friction modifiers and very low additive levels. The Group II+ to Group IV/V fluids are 0W20 weights
Analyses of Current ATF (definitely weaker than current oils):
Analysis Courtesy of Dyson Analysis
Analysis performed 3/2003.

Oil Brand/Weight : Blend of PAO/Group I, II ATF
Dexron III/Mercon Compatible
Type Equipment : Clean
Miles/Hours on oil : Clean
Total Miles/Hours : Clean

Results ppm/% Comments (blank=normal)
Wear
Copper 0
Iron 1
Chromium 0
Lead 0
Aluminum 0
Silicon 2
Tin 0

Additives
Molybdenum 1
Sodium 7
Magnesium 1
Zinc 8
Potassium 0
Phosphorus 247
Calcium 214

Physical Properties
Sulfur NA
TBN 2
Vis@100 C (cSt) 8.5
TAN 0.5
Iron from [pipe] corrosion. nothing really stands out to me.



Oil Brand/Weight : Full Synthetic ATF
Dexron III/Mercon Compatible
Type Equipment : Clean
Miles/Hours on oil : Clean
Total Miles/Hours : Clean

Results ppm/% Comments (blank=normal)
Wear
Copper 0
Iron 1
Chromium 0
Lead 0
Aluminum 0
Silicon 4
Tin 1

Additives
Molybdenum 0
Sodium 6
Magnesium 1
Zinc 3
Potassium 0
Phosphorus 255
Calcium 224

Physical Properties
Sulfur NA
TBN 2
Vis@100 C (cSt) 8.5
TAN 0.2
Final Comments : nothing out of ordinary



In the 60, 70s, and probably any time before then as well, the adds in ATF were stronger than in engine oil. Its light viscosity and high additive package compared to engine oil made it good. However, now ATF is just made to be slippery, and engien oil is made to be very robust in the DD package. So the best thing to do is a quick flush with a cheap HD diesel engine oil.

JMH
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Last edited by JHZR2; 05-23-2004 at 11:39 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2004, 01:35 AM
TwitchKitty's Avatar
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Quote:
Myth #12

Adding a quart of ATF the day before an oil change will clean your engine. ATF added to the motor oil will clean the engine due to the high levels of detergent in ATF.

Fact
ATF does not contain detergent chemistry. ATF does contain dispersants, which have properties similar to detergents. But ATF is not formulated to withstand the combustion environment inside the engine. Quaker State® recommends that you keep the fluids where they belong: motor oil in the crankcase, and automatic transmission fluid in the transmission.
Motor Oil Myths and Facts - Quaker State

What I have been told by reliable sources is that ATF is as good a motor flush as any. Many of the snake oil products are mostly kerosene or other cheap solvents. If you do put ATF in your engine, I would drain it soon and not stress the engine meanwhile. There is probably little to be gained over what a timely oil change gets you.

I was taught to observe the oil film on the dipstick to determine the extent of oil break-down. When you can see streaks in the film, it is time for a change.

Another suggestion I have heard is to dump a quart in the top while the drain plug is out. The clean oil will displace more of the old dirty oil. I tried it and it seemed to be a waste of good oil.

Last edited by TwitchKitty; 05-24-2004 at 01:55 AM.
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2004, 04:33 PM
RLD RLD is offline
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ATF won't help with flushing the engine. If you want to flush the engine out good get some of this guys stuff at www.auto-rx.com it's costy,but it really works. I use it on my vehicles and on customer cars when they need to try to save a few bucks on repairs..

ATF in the fuelfilter helps the injectors a little, but mostly it's a convenience for priming the filter. After years of driving a semi, I can tell you that changing a fuel filter on the side of the road insub zero temps is alot nicer filling the new filter with atf from new bottles than it is having to dip your arm down in the fuel tank to fill the new filter up.....and having to live with the smell for the next 300 miles.

----Robert
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2004, 06:40 PM
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MB says ATF a no-no in fuel

I saw a short article in the MB Star Magazine last fall that stated that the practice of using ATF in the fuel of the diesels did harm to the injector tips. This was tested because so many owners were using it as a fuel additive.
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