Allison Transmission NOW Recommends DuraDrive HD For Your Trans

Merchant Automotive introduces the new kid on the Allison Transmission Fluid Block

Written by
Chris Tobin
Published on
November 12, 2020 1:50:00 PM PST November 12, 2020 1:50:00 PM PSTth, November 12, 2020 1:50:00 PM PST

The Allison automatic transmission found in your Duramax diesel pickup truck is a great transmission, widely regarded as one of if not the best transmission used in a 3/4- or 1-ton diesel pickup. The complex internal components of the transmission require transmission fluid (ATF) that is specifically designed and optimized to work with the clutches, gears, bearings and bushings to deliver peak performance while also protecting the components and providing longevity. Allison Transmission has recommended that customers use TES 295 rated fluids in their transmissions such as the popular TranSynd fluid that we at Merchant Automotive have been recommending for years. But starting in 2021 that recommendation will change to TES 668 rated fluids.



WHAT’S TES 295 & WHY IS IT BEING REPLACED WITH TES 668?


Technically any automatic transmission fluid will “work” in your Allison transmission, but it won’t necessarily last a long time or deliver the expected performance. Automatic transmission fluid is a rather unique automotive lubricant, it must be able to lubricate all the internal parts while also allowing the clutches to apply without slippage and hold up well to heat generated within the transmission and torque converter. With optimization for the specific needs of Allison transmissions they set the requirements for the TES 295 fluids as the recommended fluid. TES 295 is simply a fluid standard that Allison recommended customers and service facilities use in their Allison transmission, a TES 295 spec transmission fluid will meet those stringent standards and deliver optimum performance in your Allison trans.


Starting in January 2021 Allison will recommend a TES 668 specification automatic transmission fluid, the first fluid available to meet the new standard is DuraDrive HD Synthetic 668 ATF* (yes that is a mouthful, I’ll just call it DuraDrive HD from here…) from Petro-Canada.

In fact, all Allison transmissions will use a factory fill of DuraDrive HD when they leave the factory. This does not mean that TES 295 fluids like TranSynd are bad, or will harm your Allison transmission, it just means that the engineers at Allison have asked for something even better, and in their rigorous testing and validation the new DuraDrive HD is a better fluid for Allison transmissions. It will offer extended drain intervals along with improved protection and performance for the valuable transmission in your Duramax truck. DuraDrive HD is also completely backwards compatible for every Allison transmission that requires an approved TES 295 fluid.



WHAT MAKES DURADRIVE HD SO GOOD?


The engineers at Allison set very high standards for their next generation ATF and TES 668 fluids like DuraDrive HD Synthetic 668(okay, I said I wouldn’t use the full name again, but I just did, sorry about that…) meet those meticulous standards. Since Allison transmissions are known for their longevity one of the top priorities of the new fluid standard was reduced cost of ownership. This was achieved by creating a fluid that protects the vital internal components, is durable, reduces oxidation, and handles temperature variations.


DuraDrive HD uses a 99.9% pure base oil for exceptional volatility control in protecting internal transmission components. Anti-shudder durability proved to be 13-times better that the reference test fluid. Wear protection testing revealed trace to light scratching during FZG (ASTM D5182) testing at maximum load while the reference fluid suffered failure and heavy scuffing before even reaching the maximum load! Additionally, oxidization control and oil thickening control both proved to be TWO times better than the reference fluid in the ABOT test. Finally, the fluid handles multiple temperatures better than previous fluids and yields smoother operation meaning more time on the road and less time in the shop. These performance improvements work together to allow longer service life of the fluid between changes, but amazingly reduces wear to increase transmission component lifespans!


Allison approved DuraDrive HD through extensive testing and validation. It met and exceeded the technical specifications Allison demanded meaning it will provide years of trouble-free shifting and high performance. In addition to lab testing the new fluid was subjected to thousands of hours of extreme testing in actual Allison transmissions in severe operating conditions beyond typical operating parameters. From high desert heat to freezing winter conditions the fluid holds up to the abuse in all weather conditions showing its ability to handle even the widest temperature extremes.



FEATURES & BENEFITS


Excellent Resistance to Thermal & Oxidative Breakdown

  • Keeps transmissions clean and functional by preventing corrosion and the formation of harmful sludge and deposits
  • Suitable for extended drain and severe service


Remarkable Temperature Fluidity Both High & Low

  • Provides quick lubrication of internal transmission components even in extreme cold weather
  • Smooth gear shifting and earlier drive away in low temperatures
  • Maintains oil film strength and desired viscosity even in high temperature operation
  • Efficient heat removal from clutch surfaces
  • Extends clutch material life
  • Superb high and low temperature properties


Outstanding Anti-Wear Protection

  • Safeguards clutches from glazing
  • Fit for high operating temperature and heavy loading
  • Reduces wear on gears, bushings, and bearings


Stable Friction Properties

  • Excellent shift quality throughout service life of fluid
  • Avoids clutch slippage and wear with high torque capacity
  • Clutch bands and plates last longer
  • Inhibits clutch shudder in modulated torque converters
  • Maintains fuel economy and transmission efficiency
  • Suitable for stop/start severe service


Compatible with seal materials in all Allison transmissions

  • Maintains seal integrity



SUMMARY


If you are looking for the best ATF for your Allison transmission DuraDrive HD Synthetic 668 ATF from Petro-Canada is the stuff for you. We will have it available here on the MA website as soon as it is available, in the meantime you can still purchase TranSynd or CAM2 Dexron VI ATF for your Allison transmission, they are still full synthetic fluids and we have had great results with both fluids in our MAximum Transmissions.


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*NOTE: Product and wear test photos and graph from Petro-Canada.