ATF as an Engine Oil substitute? Let's see what happens!

  • Published on: 02 April 2018
  • WIll automatic transmission fluid (ATF) work as a replacement for engine oil in the crankcase? Does ATF as good or better than engine oil? Does it "clean" sludge better than engine oil? Let's find out! Thanks for supporting the channel:
  • Runtime : 10:4
  • Seafoam additive oil crankcase lock up sea foam lucas marvel mystery oil marvels marvel mystery oil engine believe seefoam Sea foam Seefoam See Foam seafome noisy lifter does seafoam work engine rebuild smoke vibration shake knock carbon carbon buildup oil consumption compression lifter compression test prolong zmax amsoil synthetic jb weld weld everclear gasoline gas engine automatic transmission fluid atf automatic transmission transmission fluid stuck valve


  • Broc Luno
    Broc Luno   3 hours ago

    Am old enough to have been around when this was a valid system. It was based on whale oil as a constituent of the ATF in the old days (up to maybe 1959). Old ATF would clean stuff. But once they stopped blending in the whale oil, it became just another oil. Marvel Mystery Oil took over the cleaning job (mostly). Rislone and few others did OK too. We have much better engine cleaners now days. I like BG109 to clean stuck lifters, free stuck rings and such. We need to remember that what was being cleaned back then was a slew of old flathead and BlueFlame sixes that never had oil filters and prolly lived their whole life on non-detergent oils. Those are all gone and the problems that went with them :)

  • lieberfreialsgleich
    lieberfreialsgleich   1 days ago

    We use ATF to clean engines, we add a quart to the engine oil, let it run 5 minutes. That cleans Diesel engines very well. But we would use the engine filled only with ATF. And certainly not longer than some minutes.

  • Terry Waters
    Terry Waters   2 days ago

    I would love to see a lubricity test between 10w-30 and 0W-20 oil of the same brand. Also test between Dexos certified verses non Dexos oil of the same brand. Also testing an oils anti foaming properties in a blender would be interesting.

  • kay van
    kay van   3 days ago

    Back in the day I seen guys drip some atf down the carb, followed by the palm of the hand method of carb cleaning, rev up and choke so the fuel flushes through the jets. All three did seem to make a difference crankcase, drip and chokeBut this was back in the toilet paper roll oil filter filter days lol

  • Scott Downey
    Scott Downey   3 days ago

    I used ATF in a 1995 Saturn and it slowed down the oil burning which was caused by weak piston rings, they loose tension and then the thinner oil is more easily scraped off the cylinders. It drove fine. I would not run it straight, usually not more than 2 qts in a 4 gt total capacity of the crankcase. I eventually did open it up and it was very clean inside, and I had run that ATF mix for tens of thousands of miles. Bearings were still perfect. Cylinder walls very glazed smooth. No scores.

  • greymatter110
    greymatter110   3 days ago

    ATF is my go to for stuck lifers. 1 qt ATF with at least 4 quarts of oil. Drive very easy on it for a maximum of 1k miles, then change the oil. There's no need to leave it in the engine after the noise dissipates, which tends to be around 200-300 miles. Works great on GM 6.0l engines which are known for noisy lifters.

  • Michael Melvin
    Michael Melvin   4 days ago

    I added atf for the old motor seal softening. It seemed to help keep main seals from leaking. This was for junkyard motors for the first hundred miles then back to pure oil.

  • john galt
    john galt   6 days ago

    one other thing i would like to see you test is archoil.a nano borate additive that in the tests i have seen works really well to decrease friction and build up. works very well in the superduty community for stiction with the heui injectors on the 7.3 and 6.0 motors

  • john galt
    john galt   6 days ago

    well I am kinda one of those old school guys who has used trans fluid as a cleaner for years. i always run proper oil and change it on time but at the time of change i have pulled the oil filter and refilled it with tranny fluid and then run it for the last couple humndred miles or so and my motors have always lasted a good long time.did this on my 73 suburn=ban and at 560,000 miles the internals still looked great and the thing ran well enough i would have driven it across country without worry...had the body mounts not rotted off from rust . i have never used a huge concentration of trans fluid but i try to never let huge amounts of gunk build up in my engines either.i had a buddy who ran a shop in the 70's who did what he called "the 20 dollar carb rebuild" he was straight up with the customers that what he did was get the thing up to temp and then add trans fluid to the car until the thing died leave it over night then run it through with a bit of racing fuel in the morning and damn if it didnt get those formerly sputtering cars to run great.

  • blackbirdxx928
    blackbirdxx928   1 weeks ago

    I hook us all up with a trick... putting s motor together after the cylinders have have been honed clean the cylinder walls with your bestest method. Carb cleaner brake caliper leaner hot soapy water gasoline alcohol... whatever...clean cylinder walls are super important for getting the rings to seal. Any metal continuation from the honing process can stick on the ring sealing surface and wreck the finnish. Got those cylinders super clean? Now take a clean white rag or paper towel, pour some atf on it and wipe the shit... quite a bit of it, right? Putting atf in a motor to clean it can cause problems. If the motor has a lot of built up crap the atf could loosen more than the oiling system can handle. Big chunks could plug the pickup or the filter. Lot of people don't know that not all the.oil that goes to the bearings goes through the filter. Especially when cold and oil filter restriction is high much of the will bypass the filter so if you put atf on the oil and the oil has a lot of things in it that is not oil it goes straight to the bearings

  • Lenny D.
    Lenny D.   1 weeks ago

    What about car engines? 😂

  • Eric Schnidrig
    Eric Schnidrig   1 weeks ago

    WRONG! The theory that ATF cleans engines is actully true.  You did the wrong test if your comparing a Lawn mover 4 stroke to a Automotive 4 stroke. The reason to use ATF, is to dissolve carbon and condensation within the Crankcase and not the Combustion Camber.  You ran the engine(s) on Straight ATF and that’s Not how this is done on an automotive engine…   How to do it:  Make sure your oil level is 1qt. low, warm the engine to operating temp, then add 1qt. ATF. Drive it for 20 miles, stop and replace just the oil filter.  Drive it another 30 miles and then replace the Oil AND Filter.  You’ll be amazed at how filthy the oil is.   Change oil and filter, drive and replace again after 100 miles.  Pull the valve covers if you want to see the difference!  That’s my story and it does work.  Eric…  ASE CMAT I love your videos, yet most 4 strokes are completely different than a lawn mower. :D

  • George Nelson
    George Nelson   1 weeks ago

    I used some in an old roto tiller about 2yrs ago. It had been left outside in the weather for several years. There was also considerable condensation in the engine oil. The engine was a flat head 5hp Briggs type. I only ran it for between 5-10 minutes on ATF. When I drained it out, it was quite BLACK. I am sure it cleaned something out of the crankcase.

  • jc Hoffman
    jc Hoffman   1 weeks ago

    Definitely will free a sticking lifter. Never run full ATF. Add it to oil. Typically remove 1qt engine oil add 1qt ATF. Would not recommend synthetic. I have had great success with adding ATF on anything from an Infinity to a fork lift. Lifter will free up within 5 minutes of run time. Then I recommend an oil change. Another great video. Would be nice if you could find an engine with lifter noise for the test. I don't think any lawnmower engines have hydraulic lifters

  • Mark Robbins
    Mark Robbins   1 weeks ago

    Awesome video! Video idea. Engine running on fuel stabilizer. Like sta-ble brand.

  • Moon Watcher
    Moon Watcher   1 weeks ago

    Did you do a second run on the first mower with atf? That fluid was awful black after just an hour of idling. I’m kinda thinking it scrubbed the insides a bit and picked up crud that was left behind from the last oil. I’ve run atf in my truck way longer than I should have and even then it still had a hint of red

  • Joshua Hardy
    Joshua Hardy   1 weeks ago

    In Iraq our humvee's were our lifeline. On mission, we NEVER EVER turned them off, because they may not start back up when you're in trouble. So, these vehicles could easily stay on 22 out of 24 hours a day. We were told to pour a whole bottle of ATF into the gas. So, we did it with every refuel. The mechanics claimed it cleaned out the injectors....... Some of these guys had over 20 years as a mechanic.I suspect it's just a myth. But we were doing it....

  • Justin  Hemming
    Justin Hemming   2 weeks ago

    I've used atf as a flush for years. Not a replacement to oil but as a additive for short term use. It's saved me and several employers a great deal of money. When I suggest it I always get a confused look from the customer. One particular issue I had was a Cadillac Escalade a company owner bought at auction and took to his wholesale shop. It sat at the shop in the back till the battery died. 3 guys misdiagnosed a dead battery as a locked up motor, because the jump box the had was fried. I took my own jump box and fired it up. It had a hell of a lifter tap the owner said go ahead and replace the motor "my guys say it's blown up that must be why". He went cut and dry I have a motor at another location I'll give you 3k if it's done today. I said what if I can fix it. He said I couldn't. I said a thousand bucks says I can. Mind you this was a 30k mile 2014 ls gm. That things got a ton of life left! I said bring me a quart of atf. He brought out a quart I dumped it in and 30 seconds later it was quiet as a mouse. Ran it for a hour and changed the oil. Good as new. I did 3 more that day total bill with parts 1500 bucks and a shocked customer that's now been loyal for 4 years

  • SkywalkerTibor
    SkywalkerTibor   2 weeks ago

    Full Synthetic contain highly refined mineral? WTF?

  • Raul Arreola
    Raul Arreola   2 weeks ago

    I have used atf for flushing enjens for over 12 yrs in meny viacls/ including desal

  • Rifleman1964
    Rifleman1964   2 weeks ago

    Back in the early to mid 80's, the oil would coke (carbon) up the oil drain back holes in V8 heads, causing the valve covers to fill up with oil and leak. After cleaning and flushing out as much as possible, we would add a quart of ATF to the new oil and have the customer drive it for a few hundred miles. When we changed that oil, large chunks of coke would be in the oil. That being said, Oil has come a long way from the 10w40 in the paper cans your dad used 30+ years ago and so have the engine cleaners. It may no longer be the best answer but it does work. Thanks for the videos !

  • itsLean ★
    itsLean ★   2 weeks ago

    I've heard that red ATF is good to clean valves and carbon buildup with mixed with GAS. Does that make sense?

  • itsLean ★
    itsLean ★   2 weeks ago

    Wait wait wait. FULL SYNTHETIC = highly refined MINERAL oil ?????????? WTF???? Is that correct? Shouldn't synthetic mean NO MINERAL=?

  • vinesh Narayan
    vinesh Narayan   3 weeks ago

    Hi can you do oil additives shoot out for the best oil additives to use thank you

  • Robert Clymer
    Robert Clymer   3 weeks ago

    I have heard of this being done, but never tryed it myself. I have added kerosene to the crankcase and run it for one minute and completely drained. Removed all kinds of sludge and crud. This was an old Navy trick my Dad used during WW2 and Korea as an aviation mechanic. Never harmed any engines and Dad said they would be exceptionally clean. FYI

  • greg porsche
    greg porsche   3 weeks ago

    I do that always for years before I change oil , I’m adding 1 bottle ATF to oil and drive for half hour, I have 6 cars 5 Mercedes 2003 2004 2005 2009 1989 and 1993 Porsche and no problems engine clean but I’m also adding ATF to gas tank half bottle every 5-6 K , all my cars fee of check engine for o2 or cat

  • backyard garage
    backyard garage   3 weeks ago

    You need to use old dex3. Synthetic atf is non detergent.

  • Alfred E. Neuman
    Alfred E. Neuman   4 weeks ago

    I like the idea of your test, but I think the main purpose of running the ATF is to clean up the area's that you initially cleaned up with your wire brush and solvents pre-disassembly. You were trying to used it to remove hard carbon deposits....but its intended purpose is to wash away sludge build up.

  • Brian Scott
    Brian Scott   1 months ago

    Did you reverse the rotation on the lubricity tester I see some videos it spins clockwise and some counter clockwise

  • thestigmach1
    thestigmach1   1 months ago

    I love your channel and get a lot of enjoyment out watching you. I have a strange request. The girlfriend and I were talking and we are wondering if personal lubricant would do well in an engine. If you are willing to try I have a link for amazon for some that you can get a large enough volume at good price. I'd be happy to send it if you are interested. Thank you for what you so I look forward to your next video.

  • bri 13
    bri 13   1 months ago

    Marvel mystery oil works great.

  • MrJeffcoley1
    MrJeffcoley1   1 months ago

    What will happen? ATF is a low viscosity high detergent oil. Probably you’ll get a bunch of clatter and noise, putting a load on the engine will cause damage because the oil is too thin to form a proper film and you’ll get metal on metal wear.It’ll clean the heck out of your engine, though, with all the detergent. Just add a quart of ATF and let it idle for 15 minutes before changing the oil (don’t drive it!) for a super clean crankcase.

  • Brandy Sloan
    Brandy Sloan   1 months ago

    i was told ,and have been doing it since,i was told to add less then half a qt of ATF plus 4 as a additive ,was told the friction modifier in ATF plus 4 helps engine oil to work beter, i have been doing it for over 12 years with only good outcomes,only works with plus4 because of modifiers

  • Justin Fincher
    Justin Fincher   1 months ago

    My mother has a 2008 Dodge Charger and is AWFUL about changing the oil. The last two oil changes I’ve flushed the engine with 2 quarts of transmission fluid mixed with 4 quarts of oil to stop the knocking. I let it idle for 15 minutes, then let it heat soak for another 15-20 minutes, then change the oil. The car has 228,000 miles and has had 2 oil changes since 151,000 miles. Once at 181 last year and one at 228 on Tuesday of this week. The car still runs great and after each time of doing it the lifter noise goes away.