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Dexron II and Dexron III Compatibility

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Ferdman's picture
Chester Springs, PA
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1995 E320 Sedan
1991 300CE

Is Dexron III transmission fluid compatible with Dexron II transmission fluid? I am replacing the transmission fluid cooling hoses on our 1992 300CE and the Owner's Manual/associated literature calls for Dexron II transmission fluid. I have a new bottle of Dexron III transmission fluid that I'd like to use to top off the fluid level, but certainly don't want to cause any problems by mixing the two different types. I've learned that it's better to ask sooner rather than later.

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Fred Hoelzle

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Jim Grillot (not verified)
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Dexron III is backwards compatible with earlier Dexron fluids. jg

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Ferdman's picture
Chester Springs, PA
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1995 E320 Sedan
1991 300CE

Jim, I understand your post to mean that it's OK to substitute Dexron III or IV for Dexron II when changing fluid since the later formulas supercede the older ones. But what about mixing 2 different types? Are there any potential problems?

Not being up on transmission fluids, is Dexron II even available these days? If not, then I can presume that the local indy used Dexron III or IV when he changed the transmission fluid.

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Fred Hoelzle

Jim Grillot (not verified)
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Fred, Put yourself in General Motors' shoes for a minute. It would be commercial suicide to bring out a new generation Dexron which isn't compatible with prior generations. Think of the adverse publicity this would generate. GM has enough problems dealing with DexCool and some of their other mistakes. They don't need more.

You can count on the fact that a lack of backwards compatibility would by boldly announced on the Dexron label.

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Ferdman's picture
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1995 E320 Sedan
1991 300CE

Jim, I have a bottle of Quaker State Dexron III, not a GM product. From what I gather Dexron II, III and IV are generic transmission fluids that meet GM's specifications and that many manufacturers produce. What are some of the improvements that distinguish the different types?

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Fred Hoelzle

Jim Grillot (not verified)
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Dexron is a trademarked GM product. It is not a generic product. GM controls the product specifications and licenses packagers to sell the product.

It is common knowledge in the lubricants industry that GM has the most aggressive quality assurance program in the industry. They have persons all over North America buying Dexron off store shelves and sending it to the Tech Center for analysis. A packager's license will be pulled in a heartbeat if their product doesn't pass testing at the Tech Center.

I don't know what the upgrades from II to III and to IV have been. You would probably need to consult Hart's Lubricants World or Lubes'n Greases to find out.

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Ferdman's picture
Chester Springs, PA
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1995 E320 Sedan
1991 300CE

Jim, thanks for the clarification.

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Fred Hoelzle

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