Fuel Mixture 2-stroke oil vs Automatic Transmission Fluid

Discussion in '2-Stroke Engines' started by Fabian, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    G'day all

    I've got a question for the oil tech-heads, and i know it may be a very stupid question.

    Today, i was pouring out some 2-stroke oil and also some ATF into smaller containers.
    They both seemed to have a zero weight viscosity and felt very similar rubbing between forefinger and thumb.

    I've heard some people use ATF as a diesel fuel lubricant and others have run diesel engines on straight ATF with the engine not suffereing any ill effects.

    Ok, can some knowledgeable person enlighten me as to the technical differences between ATF and 2-stroke oil and if you could substitute one for the other without reducing engine life, or could you mix ATF and 2-stroke oil if that's your only option.


  2. Gh0stRider

    Gh0stRider Banned


    Two stroke oil is for engines, transmission fluid is for transmissions. Transmission fluid costs about the same as two stroke oil, so why even bother.
  3. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    Don't do it in a 2 stroke motor or in a diesel with new emission systems somponents such as NO catalyst,regenerative diesel particulate filters, 29,000 psi common rail system w/ cp3 pump, and piezo injectors.

    No point in using it for a 2 stroke either.
  4. whizzer48

    whizzer48 Member

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  5. MikeJ

    MikeJ Member

    I read a long time ago an advice column from a pair of syndicated auto/truck experts here in the states. They go by Click and Clack. A writer posed a question, "I poured ATF into my gasoline truck engine because I heard the ATF would be good to clean out the engine. Now the engine ticks while running. Do you think I hurt the engine?"

    Their only response: "Yes."
  6. Dilly Bar Rob

    Dilly Bar Rob Member

    I would also say don't do this. ATF has friction modifiers and other ingredients so that it works with the band clutches in the transmission. Who knows what it's "weight" is. It would probably leave some nasty residues when burnt in a 2 stroke.

    On the other hand, my boss is a mechanic and he says that ATF can be added to the crankcase of a 4 stroke as a sort of engine flush. He says it does wonders for noisy lifters and stuck rings on engines that have been sitting a long time. Dump a quart in (to lets say 4q oil) and let the engine run for half a hour, then drain the oil. He runs a towing company and does this to his (diesel) tow trucks once in a while. Would I do it? Probably not, my car is old and turbo, don't want to take a chance with a fluid of "unknown" properties. Last time I wanted to flush I added seafoam to the crankcase, seemed to work good. If I was cheap (or should I say cheaper then I am) and had a clunker with noisy lifters then I might try it.

    Side story: In a pinch it probably could be used as oil in a 2 stroke, but you could do that with any oil, including cooking oil (preferably used-is free and you smell like french fries, have tried and indeed works). Back in the day I worked at a factory and rode an old 2 stroke 50cc moped. I was about to ride home from the evening shift one day and realized I had almost no gas (maybe 0.2L left in tank). No gas station around, also no money. I "scored" a 1L bottle of alcohol from one of the factories workshops, and a bit of heavy (gear?) oil from another,. Mixed it up, dumped it in the tank and....believe it or not, it got me home (20km) with no ill effects! The engine had a steel cylinder liner though and it was a real engine not a HT. My friend actually experimented with running the same kind of moped on a gas/diesel mix (among other mixtures, ahhh, those were the days), after going with more and more diesel in his mix he found that it would actually run on straight diesel when warm...He had diesel in the tank and a little squirt bottle of gas in his jacket. He would drain the carb and fill it with gas from the bottle when he needed to start it cold. When warm it could be started on diesel, however required lots of pushing (and swearing). It was totally gutless on diesel (when I rode as passenger I would have to jump off on hills so it would make it up), very smokey, ran very hot (we'd stop and jam snow in the fins when it started to overheat in the winter) and it would keep running with the ignition off when warm (so it really was dieseling). My friend was crazy, I remember when he got mad because his clutches (wet) kept slipping (one person moped with 2 people...) so he simply welded the clutch up-no more slip:) Result: 50cc 3 speed manual shift moped with no clutch (gearbox must have loved that) running straight diesel... awesome, you might not believe it but I was there and will never forget it!
  7. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    i can't beleive that i'm reading this.
    "hey, lets put coffee in the radiator to see if it helps cool the engine better"....same thing!!!
  8. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    I was curious to hear it from someone with a technicial background in the oil industry, more from the side of the fractionation process.

    What is the base stock for ATF and what is the base stock for 2-stroke oil.
    What properties does 2-stroke oil have that allows it to be burnt as compared to another similarly light weight oil like ATF.
    Are they quite close from a fractionation point or further apart.
    The technicial side of things would be interesting to hear.

  9. Hajuu

    Hajuu Member

    Er, i'd imagine the point of ATF is that its much more stable under high temperatures, unlike regular oils which tend to lose their lubricating properties as the temperature increases.

    This same effect would result in (probably) a better cleaning effect, by binding particulate matter and being excreted just as unburned oil would be.

    However two stroke oil is *meant* to burn (mostly). For what reason, i'm not sure.
  10. Dilly Bar Rob

    Dilly Bar Rob Member

    Actually, an old friend of mine says he used pepper (about a pound, ground pepper of course) in his trucks radiator to stop a bad leak. This was before "radiator stop leak" was readily available. He keeps joking that with the prices of everything going up the pound of pepper now costs more then the stop leak does :rolleyes7: He says "but hey, it worked!"

    Fabian: Wikipedia doesn't say much about ATF, from a random forum "most ATF and synthetic motor oils are made from the same group III base stock oil".

    Here is a link to a thread I found, guys discussing running 50 to 100% ATF as fuel in diesel trucks. Seems to have no ill effects, but don't forget they are using it as fuel, not for crankcase lubrication as it would be used in a 2 stroke.

  11. motorpsycho

    motorpsycho Active Member

    yeah pepper in the raditor is an old trick but will it last? probably not.
    just like putting a raw egg into a hot radiator...the egg will cook and seal up leaks.
    sometimes i don't fully understand why some people beleive that "tune up in a can" actually exists. (motor honey, stop leak, and stuff like that) the only true way to fix something is to fix it the correct way or to replace it.
    but i can see how on a tight budget, sometimes you just do a quick fix or put a bandaid on something until you have the funds to fix it correctly. but sometimes the band aid or quick fix can cause other problems down the road.
  12. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    1st hand experience with ATF in gasoline engine

    I used to work full time in Lawn Maintenance and had a hobby of hot-rodding lawn mower engines. I used to get some motors for free and do minor repairs to them, and then run them all out.

    Transmission fluid is a base oil similar to cheap single-weight motor oil, with LOTS of detergents in it. Thats why its red and can slick a whole garage floor with 1/2 quart.

    I used to use a spoonful of ATF sucked into the carburetor to clear up sticking lifters or to burn off the carbon deposits in a cylinder.

    One spoonful of the stuff did the trick, but now there is SEAFOAM made for this purpose. http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/we...E4&srccode=cii_16776730&cpncode=20-48617371-2

    I tried putting a little into the gas tank of a 3.5 briggs that was pretty old but still running fairly strong after cleaning out the carb bowl and jets. (It was in the trash.) It smoked a white smoke for a little bit (expected) then made a loud screeching noise (the rings running dry and sheering on the cylinder wall) and then siezed completely.

    2 stroke oil is meant to burn to reduce pollution, and elongate the life of your motor.

    If you run common motor oil in your two stroke engine, it will run, and perhaps quite well, but you will see black sludge build up in your muffler, and maybe on your frame or other areas where exhaust floats by (clothing, wheels etc). You will probably have to do more carb cleaning/maintenance, and you may foul more plugs. You may see or smell more smoke from running this.

    If you use Synthetic Motor oil (not specialised synthetic 2 stroke oil like ECHO), you will get a lot of white foul smelling smoke and residues coming from the exhaust, and it may suffer in performance.

    I used synthetic motor oil in an air cooled 5hp lawn mower engine once because I was out of the regular stuff and cutting a lawn. The mower (a good condition Snapper!) burned up before I finished the small residential lawn.

    Just buy ashless 2 cycle oil for dirtbikes or outboard motors and mix as directed.
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  13. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    That's pretty much 100% wrong. Where did you learn that?
  14. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    From a mechanic, and from cleaning up a garage floor. Yes, they put red dye in it also, so people don't put it in their engines.
  15. tractorboy8420

    tractorboy8420 New Member

    idk if i would do it, funny enough i actualy just acquierd 2 one quart ATF bottles to use as extra or (reserve) tanks because the 66cc engine loves to drink gass, i cleaned them out but you know you cant get every thing, after reading stuff here i am not too worried about it eny more. but yeah, i would not try it unless you have an expendable engine to test it on. (just incase)
  16. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    ATF does have red dye, that part is true. ATF has very little "detergent" (even looking at a simple VOA will show that). ATF is typically the same viscosity as a low XW-20, and most all contain VII's depending on the base oil (most good synthetic ATF's don't use much, if any VII's,) therefore ATF isn't "similar to cheap single-weight motor oil".
  17. happycheapskate

    happycheapskate Active Member

    Ok smarty pants. Would you run it in your 2s engine? I wouldn't. :)

    I think it has some kind of solvents then, if you don't like the word detergents. It will eat paint off a car or your bike.

    It does have some uses though! I make my own gun oil from it, mixed with Jigaloo in a sprayer.

    I tried it for chain lube. It penetrates well but slings too much.
  18. Pablo

    Pablo Motored Bikes Sponsor

    NO way would I use ATF rather than a good 2 stroke oil. Makes zero sense.
  19. Neon

    Neon Member

    ATF is more of a hydraulic fluid than a lubricant. In a pinch it can also be used in power steering systems but pressures are different in those two systems and can blow seals. Hydraulic fluid has very little lubricating properties as that is not what it was designed for. It's meant to build specific pressure when passed through certain passages causing a desired reaction such as a cylinder being pushed out. I've seen Hydraulic 23 fluid also have a red dye in it, but that was for telling it apart from regular hydraulic fluid that is more of golden color. Besides burning it in a two stroke or four stroke stinks to high heaven.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2010
  20. whizzer48

    whizzer48 Member

    If you want to try something else to look at castor-bean oil because it smell good.