S/V/C70 Aisin transmissions - Mobil 3309 alternatives

Changing out the valve body on my 2002 V70T - AISIN AW55-50/51SN transmission.

Last time I flushed it I used a 20 litre drum of genuine Mobil 3309 mineral oil - around $250 delivered at

Only need 4 to 6 litres now and dont want another 20 litre drum of it hanging around.

I can only get smaller amounts it from GL lubricants in 1 quart bottles @ $12 each plus delivery which is ok but it will take a week to get here unless I pick it up and they are hard to get hold of on the phone ( 9645 1806)

Could also have bought Toyota TIV (same as Mobil 3309)from local Toyota shop but all out & waiting Japan shipment

So found these alternatives bragging JS 3309 s/ Toyota TIV compatibility:

Valvoline 4L maxlife ATF ( full synthetic)- $34.99 at bunnnings!

Penrite 4L ATF FS ( full synthetic) - $39.99 at autobarn on special

Nulon Full synthetic multi vehicle trans fluid - $42 on ebay or $60 at autobarn or $91 at repco

All those are readily available whereas the 3309 is not so Im thinking should I just switch and run with local stuff I can easily get?

Any reason why full synth will be an issue and will it be an issue if mixed in with the mineral based 3309 already in the car?


  • Hi Boxy,

    I've used Penrite ATF full synthetic without problems in my 2007 S60 (usually takes about 10 to 12 litres to do a thorough flush using the disconnected top ATF cooling line to the radiator trick). So far on its fifth flush, car has done 375,000 Km. Shifts smooth.

    Have also done the rest of the immediate family cars (two type 2 V70's) with the same fluid, and a mates XC70 (2006) and all have run as smooth as. I have also done transmission flushes on the first series V70's using the same Penrite ATF, all running sweet.

    I suspect that as long as it is a synthetic ATF of a decent quality, you should be OK. The worst possible mistake that anyone can make with these cars is to NOT change the oil (in accordance with Volvo once recommended crap advice - did they ever recant this?)

    Also, make sure that you reset the transmission counter using the VIDA system, and you will hopefully extend the life of your gearbox dramatically....

    Good luck with it all.


  • Thanks Richard.

    That definitely gives me the confidence to switch.

    These trannies were designed in late 90's when full synth was less commonly used and so I suppose the engineers could only ever recommend whatever they knew and were familiar with 30 years ago.

    Lubricant technologies have moved on so I suppose I have to trust the specs and recommendations of the lubricant manufacturers.

    Like you - I wish I hadn't followed volvo's advice to never change the fluid - did my first flush at 160K so I think I missed the boat.

    Just hope 3 new rostra solenoids will fix the thumps and bangs - wish me luck!

  • Manufacturers claim shifts will be smoother with the full synthetic

  • So maybe I might do a single flush using 8 litres as well as changing the solenoids

  • Boxy,

    Regarding the smoother shifts with new ATF, I have certainly noticed that the shifting smoothness is markedly improved following a transmission flush. I have had family members and friends comment on this after I did their cars. I suspect that the decline in shift quality has much to do with the gradual decline in the condition of the ATF over time, (perhaps a reduction in the viscosity?) would appreciate reading any informed comment on this issue from other members of OZ Volvo....

    I have read that sustained high temp under load is a great way to deteriorate ATF performance... May be worth considering more regular changes with a turbo engine vs NA? I tend to do mine around 80K (NA car).

    As for the flushing, I first drain the ATF from the bottom of the transmission (24 or 25 mm plug as I recall), this takes out roughly 2 litres), then put in two litres of fresh ATF through the dip tube, place a good fitting tube from the top radiator ATF outlet (I use an old section of proper tube with the correct fittings and seals to avoid ATF leaks) connected via a clear polypropylene tube into a receiving container - I use a 2.5 litre clear plastic bottle, and then start engine (Transmission in park). Stop engine once air bubbles appear in the exiting dirty ATF, then refill with the equivalent volume of fresh ATF. Repeat process until only clean translucent happy ATF exits the tube. Reconnect system, warm up car properly (I would suggest a min 30 minute drive) etc, check levels for hot ATF, then top up as required. Then the VIDA reset as i mentioned earlier (possibly better to do this before the drive?). All relatively straight forward, I think that there are even youtube videos on it.

    My friend was quoted $960 to do this by a Volvo dealership, no wonder the average punter doesn't get it done.........

  • Thanks Richard.

    That's exactly the way I did it.

    Its well known and called the Gibbons method after the first guy who documented the method.

    FCP Euro has a video on their simpler method which avoids having to use tubes but its not as thorough a flush and would have to be repeated more regularly. Its more or less like a regular engine oil change, drain out around 3,75 litres or whatever gravity permits , refill and mix well and cycle the shifter while running for a few minutes , or take it for a run and then do it all over again a second time. I like that simpler method and might try it each time I do an oil change. If I use the Bunnings $34 auto synth its hardly going to break the bank and it will keep the fluid fresh.


  • When my car was brand new - like at the very first 1000k service it was already playing up. Volvo replaced the entire transmission on first service and on subsequent services actually did check the fluid ( maybe a fanatical mechanic) and asked me if I had a steep driveway which I did - long and steep. If I had actually thought about it at the time I would have questioned the advice of the salesman (Craig Fuller ) who told me "the modern transmissions on these never need servicing." Of course nothing could have been any further from the truth. Aisin's own manual says these boxes need servicing.

  • alcraigAl @alcraig Sydney, Australia


    Can I come to your place and we can flush my tranny together? I'll bring the fluid and the beer?

  • Too busy renovating atm! Google the gibbons method and you'll be fine - all you need is a funnel and some plastic hose and something to drain the fluid out into like a lemonade bottle.

    But I can report that Valvoline 4L maxlife ATF has been in the car for 10 weeks without hitch. I also replaced the 3 main solenoids and drilled access points in the valve body cover to allow future fine tuning of the solenoids if required. Frankly the car runs better with these USA made solenoids than it did when it was new.

  • Well done!

    Sounds like a pretty serious amount of work. I have been following your other post regarding the solenoid changes as well. Sounds like a lot of work, but satisfying. I will look up these solenoids on eBay and keep them on the list of maybe's if anyone of my cars goes wrong.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • For a handy younger man it would be a piece of cake. A dithery old bugger like me takes 2 to 3 times longer. We might have the wisdom and patience but not the speed. Speed is what's valued as time is money and that's why old blokes like me cant get a job....

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