View Full Version : Auto trans fluid for a 4-speed...!!??

08-04-2000, 08:35 AM
All Mopar shop manuals I've looked in says to use auto tranny fluid also in the 833 4-speed. A lot of guys I've talked with have never heard of this and uses "traditional" manual transmission oils (SAE 90 and/or hypoid). What are your opinions/experiences?.

08-04-2000, 03:13 PM
That's what they take. ATF.

I have heard of some people using gear lube if their transmission is getting extremely worn, but I don't know if that is a good idea or not. I have one in a '86 Dodge Ram 2wd, and it uses dexron. Keep in mind in the winter you'll be glad it uses dexron and not gear lube. (I am anyway. I live in MN)

"A government that fears arms in the hands of private citizens is a government to be feared." --- Thomas Jefferson

08-04-2000, 05:38 PM
stick to 90w!!!,some manual fwd's use atf,very few other app's do,most are using it due to the LACK of lubrication(read dip lube system)so atf is thinner and will reach hard to lube places easier yet it is much thinner(10w vs.80-90w).The A-833 doesnt have lubrication problems so definitely avoid it...PRO..

08-04-2000, 08:02 PM
I have a 4 speed and use gear oil. However, I've read in an old Mopar Muscle article to use automatic transmission fluid in a A-833 for quicker shifing. I think that it was in the Dick Landry collum. Anyway, I dont know if this is for race cars only or not. I dont know what that stuff would do in street car. My S 10 also takes dextron mercron. One thing that I do know is that you cant mix gear oil and automatic transmission fluid. Its almost as bad as putting sand in a tranny. (I know because one of my dads friends put 90 weight in an S 10 std transmission. It lasted for 2 months). If you do decied to put automatic transmission fluid (which I do not recomend) be shure that all or most of the gear oil is out. Mabey run it for a few days and then change it again. Good luck

340 party

Stay away from synthetic oil also. It causes nasty gear clash in the old tranny.

08-04-2000, 10:47 PM
Im gonna have to disagree with ya PRO..I am driving a meticulisly cared for Dodge Van with a 4 on the floor(Freaky...yes I know)
I am now borrowing the Van until my Bike is done..from day one he opened the tranny and put ATF in it..in 1981, since then the Van has had the motor (Just the valve guids needed replacing) taken completly apart and inspected..They didnt have to touch the bores even after 170,000 miles!!!because the guy changed the oil every 2500 miles..the van now in his sons(possesion has 210,000 miles on it and the tranny has had nothing done to it and shifts fine to this day...
ATF all the way!!

[This message has been edited by Maxwedge (edited August 04, 2000).]

08-05-2000, 11:03 PM
Quoting a 1970 Chrysler service manual....Use ATF only when shifting is hard in cold weather,otherwise use the 90wt gear lube.We raced with a stock Chrysler 4-speed for many years and always used the gear lube,with no problems.It gets down to the mid 20's here during the winter and I never had a problem shifting a Mopar 4-speed with gear lube.I would think that 75w90 would work well too.I've heard that Mopar's synthetic gear lube for manual trannys works well in the older 4-speeds without gear clash,but have never used it myself.

08-06-2000, 02:16 AM
For an A833 four speed I would definitely use gear oil.
Unless in some severely cold climate.
I personally have always used 90w gear oil.
Good luck.


08-06-2000, 10:23 PM
For what it's worth, I rebuilt a A-833, filled it with ATF, and drained it the same day. NOISY!! Then went back to the gear lube, and the noise went away. I have noticed that the car is harder to shift in the first 5 minutes of operation, but when the lube warms up, it shifts very well.

08-08-2000, 12:54 AM
If it doesnt make noise with ATF stay with that. If it makes noise [gear rattling]use gear oil! Taz of NM

08-12-2000, 08:49 AM
The A-833 was designed as a BRUTE by Chrysler. It's only competitor was perhaps the top-loader. They last so long because they were built massive. By no means were they meant for the "weak armed". Not the easiest unit to shift, but you could always "beat" on it without fear of parts breaking like a T10 or BW.
Its purpose was as a POWER transmission not as a SISSY sifter. Fortunately they put them in any 4spd cars and not just "race" production cars like Hemi's.
Gear oil can withstand greater pressures than other fluids, aka gear tooth contact. Think of the A833 as a minature rear end.
ATP serves as a hydraulic fluid in an Automatic, but with strong detergents added to keep them clean. Autos use planetary gears unlike the A833.
The detergent agents will also react with seals, "swelling", that hinders leakage, not so with gear oils.
If your not concerned about longevity, than use ATF. Easy shifting was important to racers and the average Joe who bought his "aroung town" mopar in the 60/70's. Chrysler couldn't very well have two different scenarios in their shop manuals.
My insight for the day.

08-12-2000, 11:17 PM
The real questions
when were those manuals made that everyone is referring to???and do you think it would be impossible for engineers to come up with something better nowadays??
sure when towing and drag racing things are a little different than joe shmo(Like me) driving around in a van to and from work.
and maybe you should use gear oil from the stone age when doing those activities. I dont know..But I know your all stoned if you think that there isnt better out now.

08-13-2000, 02:02 PM
Actually, some transmissons used 30 wt engine oil as well. I don't remember the models, I have a chart at work that shows. People get confused all the time over this. I could tell you some stories about do it yourselfers that would really think "you're stoned".

08-13-2000, 06:01 PM
I've always used 90wt and never had a problem.

As far as beter enginerring in lubricants go... The only thing that has changed, is the detergents and resistance to breakdown. The weight of gear lube and oil is a constant. SAE 10w must meet the same viscosity requirements that were set forth several decades ago.

Ed - MoPower

'96 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT CC 360 4X4
'68 Charger 383-4
'69 Coronet 500 Convertible 440-4

Ram Sport
08-13-2000, 09:49 PM
I know some people that use gear lube and some that use ATF, and none of then have had any problems. If the trans is rebuilt and tight ATF will work just fine and get better gas milage, but if it is old and loose the trans will make more noise with ATF. If your using the trans behind a high horsepower big block I would use gear lube.

2000 Ram Sport 5.9 RC SWB
1992 Camaro 5.0 5-Speed
1974 Dart Sport 360

08-15-2000, 06:06 AM
I use ATF in my S-10 because that is what the manual recomends. I also kind of figured that the newer trannys would have been designed with ATF in mind (just a guess on my part). But I would never dream of putting ATF in my 74 3/4 ton power wagon. I only use the 90wt. What I do is follow the manufacture recomendation. Other than that I would use 90wt in a manual trans designed before 1990. Though I do know that some of the reason that companies recomend ATF is that it will give better MPG.

09-15-2000, 12:45 AM
Actually, I've used both in my 833, and both
have worked well. In colder climates, like Montana and Colorado, the 90w can be REALLY stiff after -20 at night. The ATF works well solving that problem. However, it can tend to weep past the gaskets, etc. I'm back to
90w, mainly for that reason, though I've heard 75w is equally suitable.

I also agree that for heavy duty use, I have more faith in 90 w gear lube than ATF for high pressure contact points.

Some modern manuals REQUIRE ATF because they use syncro technology lined with materials similar to auto trans' clutch bands (so
I'm told), and the addititives in ATF are
necessary for these materials to survive.

Just my two cents.


06-12-2005, 11:22 PM
Chrysler filled 833's with automatic transmission fluid. Fluid installed at the factory was intended to give "satisfactory lubrication for the life of the vehicle". Fluid should be checked every six months and replenished "with automatic transmission fluid of the type labeled DEXTRON such as Chrysler Parts DEXTRON, Part Number 3549660, or equivalent." "If objectional gear rattle at idle speed is apparent, factory fill fluid may be drained and the transmission filled with Multi-Purpose Gear Lubricant SAE 140." SAE 140 was the factory fill in California only. -All info and quotes taken directly from 1971 Chrysler Corporation Chassis service manual.

I have DEXTRON in mine. I like to hear the gears. I think synthetic ATF would be even better. At the other end of the spectrum, Multi-Purpose Gear Lubricant SAE 140 is also correct according to Chrysler. There is a huge difference between these two fluids.

In conclusion, you can use Hawaiian Punch, Jiff Crunchy Peanut butter, and everything inbetween. I hope you guys find this information interesting if not helpful.

06-13-2005, 03:14 AM
I bought a new '64 Dodge Polara 500 with a 383HP and a 4 speed. Automatic tranny fluid came in it as factory equipment, likewise with my '68 Super Bee. :drool:

06-13-2005, 08:23 AM
One more option. If you do not like the extreams, atf to 140. Hydraulic transmission fluid is thicker than atf and lubricates the ring and pinion in heavey industrial equipment and agricultural equipment. But is not as thick as motor oil.

06-13-2005, 03:43 PM
hello, the synthetic gear oils are the best for a mopar 833 trans. the trans will shift in the cold and will be lubricated in the heat. 90 w std gear oil will not lubricate till trans gears get hot, then it will melt and lube. that is how wear in a trans happens. ATF is not the best for the 833. Mobil or conoco have about the best synthetic gear oils out there. I have used mobil in my 833 since 1979. first as a stock trans, later as a slick shifted trans. still in use today. synthetic will not squeeze out under pressure or heat. food for thought