Automatic Transmission Fluids Testing
Automotive Engineering



Contact Information

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Contact us:
ae-contact@swri.org

image: technician looking over engine driven transmission test stand

Automatic transmission fluid performance is assessed using a wide range of equipment, including component test rigs, drivetrain test stands, and complete vehicles.

Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) conducts the following procedures associated with the General Motors automatic transmission service fill fluid DEXRON®-VI specification:

  • Aeration test
  • Chemical and bench tests
  • Cycling test
  • Low-speed clutch friction and torque capacity test
  • Oxidation test
  • Plate clutch friction test
  • Vane pump wear test
  • Vehicle performance evaluation (shift feel)

Procedures associated with the DEXRON®-dDCT (dry dual clutch transmission) include:

  • dDCT fluid physical and chemical tests
  • Scuffing protection test
  • Synchronizer function test
  • Vane pump wear test

The following Ford Motor Company automatic transmission service fill fluid MERCON® V specification procedures are conducted:

  • Aluminum beaker oxidation test (ABOT)
  • Anti-shudder durability
  • Chemical and bench tests
  • Clutch friction durability test
  • Ford over-running clutch (AX4N OWC) wear test
  • Vane pump wear test
  • FZG gear scuffing wear test (ASTM D5182)
  • Four- ball wear test
  • Falex EP test
  • Timken wear test

Heavy-duty diesel oils and higher viscosity automatic transmission fluids are evaluated according to the Allison Transmission TES-439 Specification.

  • Chemical and bench tests
  • FZG gear scuffing wear test (ASTM D5182)
  • Graphite high-energy friction test
  • Oxidation test

The following tests are conducted to evaluate heavy duty automatic transmission fluids according to the Allison Transmission TES-389 Specification:

  • Chemical and bench tests
  • Frictional properties test
  • Oxidation test
  • Vane pump wear test

Severe duty, extended drain interval fluids are evaluated according to Allison Transmission Specification TES-295®:

  • Chemical and bench tests
  • FZG gear scuffing wear test (ASTM D5182)
  • Graphite high-energy friction test
  • Oxidation test
  • Paper clutch friction test

SwRI also conducts the following Caterpillar, Inc. transmission and drivetrain fluid TO-4, AT-1 and TO-4M (multigrade) test procedures:

  • Elastomer compatibility
  • Friction properties
  • FZG gear scuffing wear test (ASTM D5182)
  • Gear wear test (ASTM D4998)
  • Oxidation stability
  • Physical properties
  • Pump wear test
  • Viscometric properties

Other transmission fluid tests are available, including the following Japanese Automobile Standards Organization (JASO) friction tests:

  • JASO M348:2002 for automatic transmission fluids
  • JASO T903:2011 for four-stroke motorcycle gasoline engine oils

Related Terminology

automatic transmission  •  drivetrain fluid  •  transmission  •  DEXRON®-VI  •  fluid  •  MERCONV®  •  gear wear  •  aeration   •  clutch friction  •  oxidation  •  wear  •  aluminum beaker oxidation  •  ABOT  •  anti-shudder  •  pump wear  •  vane pump wear  •  anti-wear  •  high-energy friction  •  dry dual clutch  •  dual clutch  •  Allison  •  ASTM D5182  •  TES-389  •  TES-439  •  TES-295®  •  JASO

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 11 technical divisions.
04/21/14