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I did a little research on transmission fluid and what my 2008 S550 requires and I find the following:
The spec fluid required for my 2008 S550 is 236.14. S550s after about 2010 require 236.15
Shell 134 ATF meets the 236.14 spec. and I can get it from a distributor for about $70 for 12 quarts (about $6/quart)
According to the data sheet ( attached) Chevron Havoline Global MV transmission fluid meets both 236.14 and 236.15 and I can get that for $35 for 12 quarts (about $3/quart)
Valvoline maxlife meets both 236.14 and 236.15 spec (data sheet attached) and costs about $35/12 quarts. The Valvoline distributor here in Denver tells me that if a transmission fails because of a Valvoline fluid that was spec'd for the vehicle, Valvoline covers the repairs.

If the fluid meets the spec, why should I purchase MB trans fluid at $30/quart? Is there a difference if the spec is met? Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Data Sheets:
Chevron Havoline Global MV ATF data sheet link: https://cglapps.chevron.com/sdspds/P...&docFormat=PDF
Valvoline maxlife ATF data sheet link: https://sharena21.springcm.com/Publi...2-ac162d889bd1
 

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If the fluid meets the spec, why should I purchase MB trans fluid at $30/quart? Is there a difference if the spec is met? Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
I have not used Shell ATF 134, but it is on the Bevo approved list and so should be fine.

There are two Valvoline ATFs, each for a different spec.
Valvoline ATF Pro 236.14
Valvoline ATF Pro 236.15
Data Sheets:
Chevron Havoline Global MV ATF data sheet link: https://cglapps.chevron.com/sdspds/P...&docFormat=PDF
Valvoline maxlife ATF data sheet link: https://sharena21.springcm.com/Publi...2-ac162d889bd1
These links are broken for me, however the specs published by the oil companies are not something I rely on because I seriously doubt that they would fix my transmission without lawyers involved. And considering their lawyers are likely far better than mine I would not prevail.

So I stick with the specs provided by Mercedes.

I've been using Fuchs Titan 4134 in my transmission (also on the 236.14 spec) and it can be had for ~$100 for 12L. Your Shell ATF price is the best I've seen for an approved 236.14 oil.
 

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I have not used Shell ATF 134, but it is on the Bevo approved list and so should be fine.

There are two Valvoline ATFs, each for a different spec.
Valvoline ATF Pro 236.14
Valvoline ATF Pro 236.15

These links are broken for me, however the specs published by the oil companies are not something I rely on because I seriously doubt that they would fix my transmission without lawyers involved. And considering their lawyers are likely far better than mine I would not prevail.

So I stick with the specs provided by Mercedes.

I've been using Fuchs Titan 4134 in my transmission (also on the 236.14 spec) and it can be had for ~$100 for 12L. Your Shell ATF price is the best I've seen for an approved 236.14 oil.
Thanks for the reply lafever! I called Valvoline customer support (8008326825) and asked about the Valvoline Pro 236.14 and they said it is not marketed in the US and that the Maxlife is the fluid that covers spec 236.14 for the US. I asked why the Maxlife wasn't on Mercedes' list of approved fluids (BeVo). The response from Valvoline was Valvoline didn't pay the money to have it put on Mercedes' list. Notwithstanding Valvoline covering any damage, my point is that the Havoline Global and Valvoline Maxlife do meet the MB spec (236.14 and 236.15) as evidenced by their data sheets and are far cheaper than MB and Fuchs. So why not use them instead? That said, I might shy away from the Havoline because it is a synthetic blend. My understanding is the Valvoline and Shell are full synthetic. If it meets the spec, why does the fluid need to be put on the MB approved list? What am I missing here? The distributer here in Denver for the Shell ATF 134 is West Oil Direct (Jim Lien).
 

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If it meets the spec, why does the fluid need to be put on the MB approved list? What am I missing here? The distributer here in Denver for the Shell ATF 134 is West Oil Direct (Jim Lien).
So I look at it like this, if you build a car and I work with you to develop fluids for it and we agree on how the testing should commence and what the results should be, we can then certify your car with my fluids. Testing confirmed, results as intended.

However, if a guy down the street gets the specs you have for your car and makes his own fluids he might actually make a fluid that works, but without your validation that his fluid works (he didn't build the car, just the fluid) there is no certification.

I've worked in engineering for 30+ years, the point of an approved list whether for fluids, bolts, operating system patches, ASIC rev levels, etc. is to ensure the desired performance is sustained through maintenance.

Since the price of the fluid for me is ~$100 every 40k miles and my car originally cost $120,000, it seems like a good value. However I would not hesitate to use the Shell ATF 134 since as you mentioned you can get it for a lower price. It's approved, so all good.
 

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So I look at it like this, if you build a car and I work with you to develop fluids for it and we agree on how the testing should commence and what the results should be, we can then certify your car with my fluids. Testing confirmed, results as intended.

However, if a guy down the street gets the specs you have for your car and makes his own fluids he might actually make a fluid that works, but without your validation that his fluid works (he didn't build the car, just the fluid) there is no certification.

I've worked in engineering for 30+ years, the point of an approved list whether for fluids, bolts, operating system patches, ASIC rev levels, etc. is to ensure the desired performance is sustained through maintenance.

Since the price of the fluid for me is ~$100 every 40k miles and my car originally cost $120,000, it seems like a good value. However I would not hesitate to use the Shell ATF 134 since as you mentioned you can get it for a lower price. It's approved, so all good.
Thanks for that insight dlafaver! What you say makes sense. Since the Shell 134 is only $35 more than the MaxLife for 10 quarts and the Shell 134 is on the Mercedes' list of approved fluids, it makes sense in my mind to go ahead with the Shell 134.
 

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I have used Shell ATF 134 last year. I don't know if you are doing this yourself, but if you are make sure you get the plug that fits into the oilpan and pump the fluid in. You are going to need a pump too.
 

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I have used Shell ATF 134 last year. I don't know if you are doing this yourself, but if you are make sure you get the plug that fits into the oilpan and pump the fluid in. You are going to need a pump too.
Yes I have done it before...I use a 1 gal. bug sprayer pump I bought at Harbor Freight ($12), took the spray nozzle off and attached a pan drain plug adapter (works like a champ!). In addition, the temperature of the fluid needs to be monitored since the fluid level is varies with temperature. I use an Icarsoft diagnostic tool that plugs into the OBD connector to access the car's transmission temperature sensor. Attached is a picture of the pump I made. Sorry for the multiple pictures - I couldn't get the system to delete nor rotate.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion, litespeedone; fixed the photo rotation for you.

For other members, maybe it would help if I said how! It has not been unusual for photos taken with my iPhone to be rotated in a manner different from the orientation of the original, when posted on this site. To fix it, I open the original in photo editing software (Photoshop, in my case) and rotate the photo by the amount it is "off" in the post. Then I save it with a different name (usually, just adding a character to its file name). Next, delete the original photo from the post, using the "manage attachments" feature; and then select and re-load the saved rotated photo. Oddly, this might not always solve the problem on the first try, so I preview the reloaded photo, and if it didn't work, I try again.
 
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