ATF fluid inplace of fork oil


22 replies to this topic
  • WOLFYMAN

Posted November 16, 2010 - 02:05 PM

#1

Havent tried this but have a buddy who said a suspension guy tell him that it would work. He said its worked for him the same seals for 3 years. Just wondering if anyone else has herd or tried this thanks.

  • mog

Posted November 16, 2010 - 02:27 PM

#2

it works but breaks down fast.

  • dgcars

Posted November 16, 2010 - 02:45 PM

#3

Most oil will work....for a while. They won't have the ability to remain at the same viscosity over a period of time.....sucks for suspension:thumbsdn:

  • The Captain

Posted November 16, 2010 - 02:56 PM

#4

Is it really worth it to try to save a few bucks? I don't get the mindset of some people.

Run actual fork oil.

  • ray_ray

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:01 PM

#5

First, how do you know it breaks down?

http://www.pvdwiki.c...uspension_Fluid


It might be a little too heavy (> 10WT) so watch the brand you are using ...


For years, ATF has been the standard fluid for damper rod forks. Why? Of all the commonly available automotive fluids capable of being used in the system, ATF is manufactured within a very, very tight and suitable viscosity range, esentially ISO 34.
This means that if you are in Florida or Mongolia, AFT is going to be available and consistant. This is a very important bit of information for the mechanic.
ATF is far too thick to be used in a modern cartridge damper fork. These forks tend to use oils in the ISO 16 range.

  • llamaface

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:03 PM

#6

it works but breaks down fast.


what is your reasoning for that? I don't use atf, since fork oil is cheap anyway, but the atf in my truck has a much harder life than the oil in my forks.

  • ray_ray

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:10 PM

#7

Cheap? some of that stuff is $18 a L ... or ~$70 per gallon ...

How easy a life can oil have? It just pumped around through some valves \ holes ...

  • dgcars

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:11 PM

#8

Fork oil is developed to remain at the same viscosity thru' out its operating temperature range. ATF does not have this property....ever wonder why its thinner when it runs out of a gearbox than the container it was in?

  • mog

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:14 PM

#9

all people who use it, report it goes dirty very quick, smells really bad and looks really bad, that doesnt sound like a oil that keeps its properties.

  • llamaface

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:16 PM

#10

Cheap? some of that stuff is $18 a L ... or ~$70 per gallon ...


i don't buy that stuff. I buy torco 7w, in america, with a discount from the local dealer. I spend more on beer in 2 days than i spend on fork oil in a year, so i don't really sweat it too much.

  • llamaface

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:17 PM

#11

Fork oil is developed to remain at the same viscosity thru' out its operating temperature range. ATF does not have this property....ever wonder why its thinner when it runs out of a gearbox than the container it was in?


My atf looks almost identical when it comes out of the bike after 20-30 hrs to when it went in.

  • 525tom

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:37 PM

#12

I spend more on beer in 2 days than i spend on fork oil in a year, so i don't really sweat it too much.


Isn't that the truth for a lot of things! It's amazing how our priorities and skewed views on certain things get way out of perspective.

  • dgcars

Posted November 16, 2010 - 03:41 PM

#13

You know something....you're 100% correct.....i'm outa here...:p

  • dirt duchess

Posted November 16, 2010 - 04:08 PM

#14

I have used Dextron III over the years in many different bikes forks. It works out to about 7 weight and holds up very well. The seals stay nice and preserved with it too, plus it's convenient and economical.

  • Flyin-A

Posted November 16, 2010 - 05:15 PM

#15

I use in my outer chambers. Just changed it today.

  • slodog

Posted November 16, 2010 - 09:44 PM

#16

I've used it before in simple open-bath conventional forks for a woods bike. I really couldn't tell too much difference. But then again, it was back when I knew absolutely nothing about bikes in general, let alone suspension.

On the other hand, I would have to disagree with some of the posted comments as the transmission oil does get rather hot with heavy use. It can get so hot as to even scald you.

That said, I wouldn't use it. Simply due to the fact that ATF fluid is use primarily as a hydraulic fluid that exerts pressure in a single isolated moment to open or close a valve in-line with a ported orifice acted upon by an electronically controlled solenoid. Thus, it's not subject to the same abuse as a closed, heavily sheared, high velocity system of a motorbike suspension. The automotive transmission system isn't nearly as cavitation of shear force sensitive. Simply put the ATF fluid is used to apply pressure on a single valve in a single action. Once the transmission is engaged in a new gear, the ATF ceases to be a fact of concern any longer and circulates waiting for the next demand of a shift sequence.

If it were me, I wouldn't do it. Get the 215.VM2.K5 and just be happy!:thumbsup:

Just something to think about, I guess. :p

Edited by slodog, November 16, 2010 - 09:51 PM.
spelling and clarity geek!


  • Xfool

Posted November 17, 2010 - 08:01 AM

#17

all people who use it, report it goes dirty very quick, smells really bad and looks really bad, that doesnt sound like a oil that keeps its properties.


Frankly, my experience is the opposite.

When I drain my official motorcycle approved fork oil the viscosity seems OK but the oil is black. I believe those funky dies the manufactures put in there are designed to turn black right away for two reasons:
  • To make you think you are riding really hard.
  • To convince you it is a good idea to change your fork oil frequently and often.

I'm using ATF now. It goes in red and comes out red. For mid-valve changes I have just been filtering the oil and putting it back in. How green is that?

You are going to have to change the ATF a couple of times to get all of the go-fast fork oil out of there. Until then it is going to keep turning black. Fortunately ATF oil changes are cheap, but then again you don't have to change it all of the time either.

Go figure......:p

  • hammer41

Posted November 17, 2010 - 08:33 AM

#18

I've used it before in simple open-bath conventional forks for a woods bike. I really couldn't tell too much difference. But then again, it was back when I knew absolutely nothing about bikes in general, let alone suspension.

On the other hand, I would have to disagree with some of the posted comments as the transmission oil does get rather hot with heavy use. It can get so hot as to even scald you.

That said, I wouldn't use it. Simply due to the fact that ATF fluid is use primarily as a hydraulic fluid that exerts pressure in a single isolated moment to open or close a valve in-line with a ported orifice acted upon by an electronically controlled solenoid. Thus, it's not subject to the same abuse as a closed, heavily sheared, high velocity system of a motorbike suspension. The automotive transmission system isn't nearly as cavitation of shear force sensitive. Simply put the ATF fluid is used to apply pressure on a single valve in a single action. Once the transmission is engaged in a new gear, the ATF ceases to be a fact of concern any longer and circulates waiting for the next demand of a shift sequence.

If it were me, I wouldn't do it. Get the 215.VM2.K5 and just be happy!:thumbsup:

Just something to think about, I guess. :p


Ya right, tell that to a torque convertor. What do you think drives your 6000lb pickup down the road. Answer ATF fluid. You might what to have a look at how an automatic tranny works. Here is something to get you started
http://en.wikipedia..../Fluid_coupling

  • mog

Posted November 17, 2010 - 08:35 AM

#19

well i have had riders kill (loose nearly all the damping and it not come fully back)a well designed fork oil in short order, so i would not trust putting atf in its place, many said it comes out black in short time, lets not forget many different types of atf are out there.

You can save a few $$ but is it the best place to do it?

  • mog

Posted November 17, 2010 - 08:39 AM

#20

You can by hydraulic oils cheaper than fork oils as well, HV22 is the grade you need, but again a fast rider will kill that oil fairly soon, if you are not too worried about your fork deteriating then its ok to use.

In forks its not such a big issue i will concede.

It has been shown on dyno tests in shocks the only oils that give totally consistant performance after working hard is kyb and showa oil.





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