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Technical Paper

The Oxidation Stability of General Motors Proposed Factory-Fill Automatic Transmission Fluid

Using standard industry tests, the oxidation stability of General Motors current factory-fill automatic transmission fluid (ATF) was compared to that of a proposed factory-fill ATF to be introduced for the 1995 Model Year. Full-scale transmission tests and Aluminum Beaker Oxidation Tests run at various temperatures showed that a proposed factory-fill fluid is substantially more resistant to oxidation than the current factory-fill ATF. Using Total Acid Number increase (Δ-TAN) as the measure of oxidation, a minimum of 35% improvement was obtained with a proposed factory fill. This improvement at least doubles the time to “perceived fluid failure” (Δ-TAN = 2.5).
Technical Paper

How Much ZDP is Enough?

Zinc dithiophosphate, or ZDP, for over 60 years has been used as an additive in engine oils to provide wear protection and oxidation stability in an efficient and cost effective manner. Unfortunately, ZDP contains phosphorus, and phosphorus is a widely known and accepted poison of automotive catalysts and other emissions system components. Because of this, phosphorus (and ZDP) levels in automotive engine oils have been gradually reduced by about 35% over the last 10-15 years, and further reductions are likely in the future. This paper traces the history of ZDP use in automotive engine oils, and addresses the issue of how much (if any) ZDP is actually required to provide wear protection in today's, as well as yesterday's, engines. The focus in the paper is on wear (including scuffing) protection, and not on the other aspects of ZDP performance, such as providing oxidation stability of the oil.
Technical Paper

Estimating the Useful Life of an ATF Using an Integrated Bulk Oxidation and Friction Degradation Model

An integrated approach to modeling end of useful life of an automatic transmission fluid (ATF) has been developed. The flexible fluid life model allows either predictive or real-time calculations of the end of useful fluid life under different transmission design strategies and customer driver behaviors as reflected in operating temperatures, shift characteristics, fluid volume and fluid distribution throughout the transmission. An estimation of remaining useful fluid life is monitored using two metrics, namely bulk oxidation, as a general indicator of fluid quality, and frictional degradation, as an indicator of shift quality. As operating conditions increase in severity, ATF is subjected to conditions that may shorten its life. Using the developed technique, ATF useful life can be better predicted.