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2000 Windstar - Transmission Fluid

11-01-2004, 11:39 PM
Which trans fluid is standard for my wifes Windstar ?

Any special type 'mercon' ?


11-02-2004, 05:34 AM
In 1997 Ford introduced the new Mercon V (Mercon 5 ), Hope this helps.

11-02-2004, 06:37 AM
Be prepared for 7-8 quarts to come out also. It was a bit of a suprise after chaning my Toyota and it was 2 quarts. My 2002 has a re-useable gasket also.

11-02-2004, 04:21 PM
The 2000 Windstar should have Mercon V. (This is a specification....not a brand).
Mercon and Mercon V are NOT interchagable.....They have different frictional charactoristics.
Avoid ATF that claims to be BOTH Mercon V and Mercon.
The ATF fluid type requirement should be printed on the dipstick.

Proper way to check Transmission Fluid level.....Engine warm, car on a level surface, engine at idle, Transmission in PARK.
Do not overfill. More is not better.

The Total capacity of the transmission should be about 12.25 quarts.
The pan holds about 6 quarts. Dropping the pan will drain about half of the capacity of the transmission.....The most of the rest is in the torque converter.
Dropping the pan is a Messy job. The pan is BIG......bigger than the largest drain pan that I could find...... And the pan is an odd shape as well.

Don't add any "miracle in a can" stuff.
The Mercon V fluid has all the additives that you will need....and adding other stuff....could work against the additives already in there....and cause problems.

There are instructions on how to change your fluid various and Autozone has instructions on their website.
Not real difficult.....but very messy.

To just top it off, just make sure that you use Mercon V.

11-02-2004, 08:37 PM
If you have not swapped out the ATF (Merc 5) in your 2000 winny yet, you will want to ASAP. The AX4S/AX4N transaxles often dont make it even close to 100K miles on the factory ATF. To make the pan drop MUCH less messy, get yourself a pump, something like this: and a 3/8" pc of polypropylene tubing to send down the ATF dipstick tube, hook the pump to the tubing & pump out the pan. Real easy. Pretty much any auto parts place sells mercon V now as well.

11-02-2004, 08:45 PM
Thanks very much, guys.

Mercon V it is.

11-03-2004, 07:37 AM
Is it safe to have the ATF replaced with one of those machines that pumps the ATF out at the same time as its getting new ATF pumped in? I heard somewhere that this is hard on the seals in the AT.

11-03-2004, 11:09 AM
As mentioned I got exactly 6qts when I dropped my pan. Since I only wanted to make that mess once I installed a drain plug in the pan. Now I can drain just under 5qts with ease to get new fluid in there and dropping the pan in the future won't make a mess.

11-03-2004, 12:01 PM

I think the machine flushing process, hyped by various dealers, is a big mistake for the consumer. You have no assurance that the fluids ending up in your transmission are new transmission fluids ... though that's what you led to believe. In fact, you don't know what contaminants are pumped into your tranny from the machine.

It's usually safe to follow the shop manual. I have a set for the '99. I can't find any recommendation by Ford that any flushing machine should ever be hooked to a tranny.

Now there is a section that describes disconnecting the tranny oil coolers from the tranny and flushing the coolers ... followed by an intense blow out procedure. This has nothing to do with hooking up to the tranny itself.

11-03-2004, 03:16 PM
I changed my tranny fluid a couple of months ago in my 99. I had never changed tranny fluid before on any vehicle but it was not too difficult.......just messy. I also changed the filter. I bought the fluid, Mercon V, from Ford and it was $4.09 Cdn per litre. The only other types I saw in stores were the Mercon/Mercon V dual specification that I did not wish to use.

The gasket is reusable. I simply loosened one end of the pan more than the other while removing to try and coax the fluid to drain out on one end but of course I still spilled a litre or 2.

I think the drain plug idea is a good one but I was not brave enough to install one. I plan to extract the fluid from the dipstick tube the next time I change my fluid.

Ensure that you properly torques the bolts and in the proper sequence. I think it was 8-10 ft lbs (Please verify).

I would say that if you can change your own motor oil and change a valve cover you will have the experience required to do this job yourself.

I have heard a lot of bad coming from a flushing machine and as someone mentioned there is no reference to using the machine in Ford maintenance procedures.

11-03-2004, 09:17 PM
Is it safe to have the ATF replaced with one of those machines that pumps the ATF out at the same time as its getting new ATF pumped in? I heard somewhere that this is hard on the seals in the AT.
Yes, It is safe the machine is put in line with the cooler lines and doesn't add pressure. It just loops the fluid through the machine, out goes the old and in the new...It is very effective

11-03-2004, 11:55 PM
I agree with the other guys that the machine is not a good idea. It sounds good in theory, but in practice the consumer is taking a risk... you have no assurance that the fluid contained within the machine is the right type, is clean or filtered.

11-04-2004, 12:16 PM
Transmission Fluid Pump Machine:

There seems to be different opinions on this machine. I have had my 98 Windstar's transmission fluid changed 3 times since I have bought it brand new. There is 119,000km on the vehicle so far. I have not had a problem with my transmission thus far but this is proberly low mileage and I shouldn't have trouble with the transmission yet.

When they connect this machine to my transmission they infact do put it in the cooler lines. I am there to watch them fill it up with the correct fluid so I know what is going into the machine. There is a long window on the front of the machine with 2 wide glass tubes in it. One is the inbound pink fluid and the other is the outbound darker (old) fluid. As the car idles you can see the plunger in each tube moving in opposite directions as the fluids change.

I'm no expert but it seems to me that with this method I get a complete fluid transfer. Where as with the other method (dropping the pan) there is still 6 or more litres of fluid still in the torque converter.

So the question is : which method leaves more contaminants in the transmission?

I respect everybodys opinion on this but I have to say that if there is several litres of old fluid still in the AT then it must be more contaminated than the pump machine method.

The reason i originally asked this question was not because of a contaminant concern but rather a concern that the machine was harming the seals in the AT with high pressure.

There has been no comments regarding this concern. I suspect that it is the same pressure as the transmission runs at because the oil change manager told me that it takes some cars 20 minutes to do this fluid change and some take an hour. He claims it all depends on the pressure of the AT. If this is the case then I have to assume that the machine runs on the particular AT's own pressure.



11-04-2004, 02:25 PM
A couple of points
- The chamber with the new fluid is not flushed between uses, meaning there is always some residual fluid of different types left in there. Probably not enough to be a concern assuming all the new fluid was actually sent to the last vehicle and is not sitting there waiting to go into yours.
- These flushes do not change 100%, a high percentage yes, but some new fluid mixes with the old before going out the cooler line. I think most places will quote something like 93%+ change.
- The machine you describe is a cooler line flusher which uses the transmissions own pump and pressure, but some locations and even Ford dealers claim to use reverse flushes with pressure that clean the filter, I think these are the ones that people might be worried about with seals and pressure, not sure how many use these anymore.

I think your point about only changing the pan fluid being 50% is valid, but I drain the pan every other oil change via a drain plug so I would argue that my fluid is more consistent than changing 100% of the fluid at 30k via a flush machine. I think it comes down whatever works for you to keep your fluid in good condition.

11-04-2004, 02:55 PM
Additionally, the instructions in the Ford manual state that you are to flush the transmission something along the lines of fifteen quarts of fluid through the system before filling it up with fresh. This is coming off the top of my head, so don't get torqued if I'm off a little :)

Point is, that the maintenance instruction does tell the operator to flush out and replace all the fluid. It doesn't specify a machine to do this with.

11-04-2004, 07:59 PM
I changed the fluid in my '96 transmission using a modified version of what I read on the Autozone website....and the AlldataDIY instructions (the same).

1. Drop pan and change filter (pumping out fluid or drain plug method are both good ideas)......Measured amount of fluid that came out...Had to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull out the filter neck seal.....wipe things down to remove the gray film....and clean the pan and magnet.
Reuse the gasket (if it is the original...reusable one). Do not over torque the bolts that hold the pan on.....they are small....and can break.
If unsure....use a torque wrench....torque specifications can be found on Autozone's website....for free.

2. Fill pan with new the same amount that I took out....and re-install pan.....

3. The pan holds the fluid....which will be sucked up through the filter and run through the torque converter (bulk of remaining fluid), rest of transmission, and out through the cooler(s), and back into the pan.
So....I now have a clean supply of fluid going from the pan.

4. I disconnected the line for the fluid going FROM the coolers (the factory radiator cooler and my auxilary cooler) to the transmission. I ran a hose from a container in which I could measure the amound of fluid drained.

5. Start engine and let fluid comming out. When it slows down (it comes out slow......about 1 quart in 45 seconds is what should come out at idle.....much may have a clogged cooler.....or other transmission problem).....I turn engine OFF.....and add the amount of fluid that came out in this step. When you start to see many bubbles...or no want to turn the engine off. You do not want to run the engine for any length of time without fluid in the tranny pan.

6. I repeat step 5.....until the TOTAL amound of fluid that I have used is about 15 quarts. The total capacity of my tranny is 12.25 quarts.

There is a mixing of old and new fluid in the torque converter. From what I have read.....older cars...had a plug that you could remove on the torque converter that you could remove to drain the tranny.......and in those did not need to flush your tranny fluid as a regular maintenance item.....but the new (all windstars included) cars do not have this drain plug......and if you want to have your tranny need to change your fluid on a regular basis (every 30K miles for normal usage.....21K miles for severe usage).
Running the extra fluid through helps to overcome the constant mixing of old and new fluids in the torque converter.
True, I could run more fluid through.....but Mobil 1 mercon (which my '96 uses) is a bit any good Mercon or Mercon V will be.

Ford does NOT list the filter as an item to change every time.....but I would want to at LEAST every other time...... But that is only my opinion.

If you drop the pan.....wipe it not be alarmed at a small amound of gray "sludge" in the bottom....especially around the magnet.....which looks like a large washer.....some of this sludge is normal.....a lot is reason for concern.

I am sure that the "machine" method discussed here is fine....again only my opinion. As with anything you leave to others....the job is only as good as the people doing it. The machine is an easy way of doing what I described above in steps 5 and 6.
I have read about machines that "reverse flush" and ones that "run a cleaner through".....And I would agree.....that I would not want to do that.....Just a fluid change (and for me a filter change and wipe down).

I plan to keep this routine as a yearly item (which is just over 20K miles).....

11-05-2004, 02:53 AM
So what is your stand on this Dngrsone?

11-05-2004, 10:52 AM
So what is your stand on this Dngrsone?

Wow, I've been here for three or four days and people think I know something. :sly: :smile:

Well, because I'm a cheap bastard who would rather do the work myself if I can, I'd just as soon buy a case of Mercon V and flush it manually as per wiswind, which looks identical to the instructions from the Ford manual. I am leery of using one of those machines if only because I don't know what fluids have been cycled though there previously.

I'm sure a small amount of contamination from Mercon wouldn't make a huge difference, but I've seen what happens if you mix regular hydraulic fluid with synthetic, and it isn't pretty. Nor is it pretty when you put power sterring fluid into the brake reservoir...

Granted, those are extreme apples to oranges examples, but you see where I'm coming from on that.

11-05-2004, 11:39 AM
After reviewing WisWind's post I have come to the conclusion that it is perhaps important also to do a transmission fluid change in that method occasionally also.
Using the machine method does not give you the advantage of cleaning the inside of the pan and removing this grey sludge from the magnet. It also doesn't allow you to change the filter.
I think that next time I do a fluid change I will have it done in this method. Then I will revert back to the machine. I'm pretty convinced that this is very effective.

Dangerous One: I don't think that this lub shop will use the machine to put in synthetic fluid. All of their synthetic oils and fluids are in 1 litre bottles and the other fluids are in holding tanks and pumped up to the machine for refilling. I will however ask them about that next time I'm there because I take your point about having contaminated fluid mixed with synthetic in the machine.

Thanks to everyone for your input. Its helped me to make informed decisions.


11-05-2004, 11:41 AM
One other question. What is the cost of a filter for a 98 Windstar transmission?


11-05-2004, 12:31 PM
I'd go with OEM which will be around $30 at the dealer, or around $23 at not including shipping.

11-05-2004, 02:56 PM
Dangerous One: I don't think that this lub shop will use the machine to put in synthetic fluid. All of their synthetic oils and fluids are in 1 litre bottles and the other fluids are in holding tanks and pumped up to the machine for refilling. I will however ask them about that next time I'm there because I take your point about having contaminated fluid mixed with synthetic in the machine.


Well, I hope not... if they are, I wouldn't want to visit their shop. :rolleyes:

BTW, mixing significant amounts of certain synthetic and natural hyd. fluids can make a big boom. :uhoh: :nono:

11-05-2004, 10:12 PM
I would have a shop do it versus putting off changing the fluid.....machine or no machine.
It is that important to change the fluid.
My guess is.....the "mix" from the other new fluid that they used for the customer before you....would be VERY small.....and much smaller by volume in your 12.25 quarts in your tranny.
I guess.....that for some.....having the transmission service done for them by a reputable shop is the only way that they would get it it is more involved than a oil change....and many people have a shop do that. I would not let our (yes I have my own horror stories) horror stories scare them away from having their services done.

My Mobil 1 Mercon is a synthetic ATF. (for my '96 windstar) I was looking for a improved life in well as improved cold flow for in the winter.
I may be one of you experts jump in and correct me if I am wrong....but I did read that Mercon V is a synthetic ATF.

Another good source for parts online is..........

They have a pretty good selection.

I have found that has sometimes listed a part I was looking for at a higher price than in their stores.....
Their stores include Checker, and Advance Auto.
The nice thing is....that you can see if they have the part in stock.....and at which store within a reasonable range of your zip code.....before driving to the store. That has saved me a LOT of running around.

Also, reading about a repair on (a subscription based service) usually includes a standard price for parts, and labor.
Also, it helps me decide if this is a job for me to try myself or not....they list the tools needed.....and the instructions for doing the job.

11-06-2004, 12:04 AM
Best prices I've found for engine parts has been

Mercon V is synthetic, at least the stuff I use is.

11-06-2004, 09:54 AM
I believe that Mercon V is synthetic. The stuff I bought from Ford does not say this on the bottle but I was told that all Mercon V is synthetic.

11-06-2004, 01:25 PM
If you're concerned about getting your trans. flushed because there may be other fluid types mixing in from the flusher, your best bet would be to have it flushed at a Ford dealer. The machine we use separates the fluids with a diaphragm. The vehicle is run until the trans. pumps all the new fluid out of the tank and into the vehicle. We do flush the machine whenever a different fluid type (Mercon V vs. Mercon) is used. The only pressure increase in the system is created by the bypass valve in the machine when the flush process is complete. Since the flushing is done with the engine idling, the pressure is still far below maximum. Even though flushing doesn't remove 100% of the old fluid, it is still much more effective than dropping the pan and refilling. However, flushing AND replacing the filter and cleaning the pan is the best practice, which we recommend every 60K, along with flushes every 30K. Some trannies require longer to flush than others mainly because some have thermostatic bypasses built into the cooler circuit to prevent them from running too cool. This reduces flow through the cooler when idling in park.

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