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Automatic Transmission lubricant (ATF)

Al Savage <>

My '63 FordOMatic calls for Type A.  So, what type of ATF do I use?  Type A is apparently superseded by Type F?


Type F
Type F is specifically designed for all pre-1977 Ford vehicles and some makes between 1977 and 1981.  Effective March 1997, Ford discontinued administration of approvals for Type F fluids. However, there are  still many vehicles on the road that use Type F. Type F and MERCON® fluids are not interchangeable.

Beginning in 1997, Ford began building  transmissions for some of their large
cars, trucks and  vans that require a MERCON V fluid. MERCON V  generally can
not be used in transmissions that call for a  MERCON ATF.
SUPERFLO ATF Type F is an automatic transmission fluid specifically designed for use in certain pre-1981 Ford Motor Company vehicles that require a high-friction ATF meeting Ford specification ESW-M2C33-F.  These vehicles are identified  as:

all 1976 and earlier Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury models of cars, vans, and light trucks;
all 1977-1980 models having either ESW-M2C33-F or no number at all stamped on the transmission dipstick.

Ford ESW-M2C33-F Fluid
The frictional characteristics of an automatic transmission fluid are an important factor in the design and operation of the transmission. All Ford transmissions built prior to 1977, and certain models that continued in use during 1977-1980, were designed for a high-friction fluid that  allowed the shifting clutches to lock up or engage quickly. Ford specification ESW-M2C33-F covers this type of product, which is commonly  referred to as Type F fluid.

I posed the question of  what modern oil to use, to both AMSOil and Redline, the two leading mfgrs of synthetic lubricants.  Here are the responses:


From: "Dave Granquist" <>
Subject: Re: Recommendation for Type A

>Do you recommend a product for use in FordOMatic (FM/2) for which Ford
>spec M-2C33-D (Type A) ATF was recommended?

In a transmission calling for a Type A ATF, I would recommend the Red Line D4ATF [Redline's fully synthetic Mercon/DexronIV replacement].

From: "Selbrede, Byron" <>
To: "''" <>
Subject: RE: Technical Service Contact Form

> [What do I use instead of] Type A (for CruiseOMatic/FordOMatic)
> or Type F (pre-'77 Ford) ?

If the vehicle using Type F is a pleasure vehicle, AMSOIL Dexron/Mercon [AMSoil's fully synthetic Mercon/DexronIII replacement] works just fine. In racing vehicles, other choices are available, like the Powershift Transmission Fluid, CTG.

> My understanding is that Type F has a higher friction coefficient
> (is less "slippery"), and that running a Dexron lubricant would lessen
> the service life of the clutch materials in a transmission with lower
> clutch apply pressures.  That is, running Dexron (or equivalent) in a
> trans designed for Type F would lead to slippage.  [the reverse effect
> we know well: running Type F in a GM trans yields "harder" shifts.]
> That's why I guess I'm asking again about using your Dexron-rated
> product in a trans which specifies Type A or Type F.

Field experience says that premature clutch failure is not a problem when
using AMSOIL ATF to replace Type F in Ford transmissions.

> Mercon: is AMSOil product code ATF OK for use in a Mercon V
> (Mercon 5) application?  Mercon V looks to be different than "plain"
> Mercon, and I don't see a Mercon V callout in the ATF specs page.

AMSOIL ATF purchased from an AMSOIL Warehouse after Sept., 1, 2000 will meet both
Mercon and Mercon V.


From: (Valvoline's parent company)

Thank you for you interest in Valvoline, and the Valvoline family of products. Type A ATF is an older spec for DexronIII/Mercon.

All three manufacturers are recommending their Dexron/Mercon products as the Type A/F replacement.

Comments?  Email Al

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Last updated 15-Mar-2001