Transmission fluid heads-up

I just had a chat with Castrol about transmission fluid that meets Hyundai spec for SP-IIM. Because this fluid is also used by one or more additional brands of auto, I figured that it was only
a matter of time before it appeared on the open market.
The Castrol rep said that they've just introduced a product named "Castrol Multi-Vehicle ATF." It's being distributed to their affiliated oil change companies now, and they expect to have it on the shelves of auto parts stores shortly.
I'm never clear that one fluid can be all things for all cars, since there is a compatibility issue between the fluid and the design of the transmission. For example, do we want to retain a certain amount of friction within the fluid or not? As an example of this, my Toyota required standard ATF in its power steering, but the newer Ford Aerostar uses the older Ford "Type F" fluid -- a fluid that's virtually obsolete in its intended application to transmissions.
I asked, "Do you swear on a stack of bibles that this my car will perform as intended with this fluid and that there'll be no damage to the transmission?" She replied with some words that amounted to "yes."
The reason that I called Castrol is that I trust their products; they don't seem to play games. I believe that their crankcase oil is better than any other natural-base oil, and also has a higher flash point -- it's less likely to burn in the cylinders of a worn engine, for example. I have other reasons for trusting this brand that I won't get into. The brand was acquired by British Petroleum around 1999-2000, so that gets me concerned that the new owner might drop the quality of the products. The rep said that at least that the manufacturing has not changed -- it's still made at the same factories. She also said that even though there are no "lubritoriums" in my region that are affiliated with Castrol, that any BP gas stations that work on cars should be able to fill my crankcase with Castrol oil and perhaps even swap out my transmission fluid with theirs.
Why this matters to me is that I bought a used Hyundai, and I have no idea what kind of fluid is in the transmission. All I know is that it looks pink and that it's very clean. But what if it's nice and clean, and it's the wrong fluid?
Richard
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On Tue, 15 Mar 2005 13:32:38 -0800, "Richard Steinfeld"

If it's no longer under warranty, you can put ANYTHING you want in the tranny.     S25
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S25 wrote:

That's right!
It provides a never ending source of amusement for the regulars here. <G>
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wrote: | > | <snip> | > > ==============================| > | > If it's no longer under warranty, you can put ANYTHING you want | > in the tranny. | > | > S25 | | That's right! | | It provides a never ending source of amusement for the regulars here. | <G>
Oh, you all jest. Man, I hope you're jesting! Transmissions are real expensive when they've been ruined with the wrong fluid!
Ford Aerostar transmissions are famous for self-destructing under load or hard driving. I've noticed that Ford has addressed this issue with continual advances in fluids -- in fact, Ford has seemed to lead the field with the introduction of stringent standards for transmission fluids.
I took my Aerostar in for a real transmission oil change -- not the usual sissified way: dropping the cover, dumping out the fluid, and changing the filter. This leaves all the old fluid in the torque converter (from which car makers no longer provide us with a 50-cent drain plug -- clever corporate bastards). I had the entire system pumped out with an expensive machine, and all the fluid replaced with Castrol ATF. This service has become more common recently. If you're really crafty, you can do it without a special machine by using the car's torque converter itself to pump the old fluid out and the new fluid in.
The difference in the car's performance was amazing. Shifts were smoother and more timely. There was a very marked improvement in power (which translates into an improvement in gas mileage). I attribute this not only to the fluid change, but also to the superior quality and reduced friction of the fluid.
When it comes to recent Hyundais, a specific fluid is indicated -- a fluid that's not yet commonly-found. I don't think that it's ever wise to substitute an older standard fluid in a case such as this. If it were OK, the manufacturer would certainly have gone with the cheaper fill at the factory! What we're dealing with here is a contraption made with greater precision than heretofore. It requires the appropriate liquid for its characteristics.
Transmission fluid provides a precise match in characteristics of both lubrication as well as a desired amount of friction. The good news is that Hyundai isn't alone in using the special stuff, so it is only a matter of time before we find the specified fluid on the shelves of our friendly neighborhood auto parts stores, and at a more reasonable price, too. That's where Ford's latest fluid can now be found, and it's become standard for other cars, too. And that's where we're going to find our Hyundai-spec fluid, too. Just wait a little longer.
Richard
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