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Fluid Change in Windstar Transmission?

03-18-2005, 10:28 AM
I have a 2000 Windstar that suffers from harsh downshifting when going from 2nd to 1st gear, often around a corner. I have read on other threads that this can be caused by a low level of fluid or the use of the wrong ATF. Is there a way to drain this transmission without removing the pan? If there is, will this method remove a significant percentage of the current fluid so that a change will prove beneficial?

03-18-2005, 12:49 PM
I have done the following, added 8 quarts of tranny fluid, then disconnected one of the rubber hoses that connects tranny lines to
tranny cooler lines. start engine and wait for 8 quarts of tranny fluid to come out. reapeat with another 8 quarts.

03-18-2005, 12:52 PM
Just to make sure I have this clear.....
The tranny is currently filled to the appropriate level so how do you get 8 additional quarts in? Measuring what comes out of the disconnected hose (to the cooler) is easy enough.


lord Kelvin
03-18-2005, 02:38 PM
The Ford service manual for my 98 Windstar states the following:

1) Disconnect trans-cooler line at radiator
2) Connect a hose to line and put end into large containter
3) Start car and run until fluid flow sputters (removes 2-3qts)
4) Add 10 qts
5) Start car and run until fluid flow sputters (removes more 10qts)
6) Re-connect trans-cooler line
7) Add 2-3 qts until full

I dropped the pan to change the filter after the 3rd step. Expect to use 12.5qts if you do just the above. It takes an additional quart to drop the pan.

Also, if you don't want to mess with the quick-release fittings, you might want to get a hose splice-fitting and some clamps and just cut the hose in the middle.

WARNING: do not continue to run the vehicle after fluid-flow sputters. It's probably best to have a second person help you with this.

03-18-2005, 08:49 PM
lord kelvin
(Are you the person they named the temperature scale after?)
My '99 shop manual has a similar flushing procedure. I have never followed this procedure. Did the liquid volumes, as listed, agree with what you observed when doing this procedure? I often wondered why only 2 - 3 qts drains out in step #3. ???

03-18-2005, 09:28 PM
I have done a similar process on my '96.
But I drop the pan.....can be done at step #3 as listed......

Also, you want to make sure to disconnect the line that comes back into the tranny from the cooler. I removed the BOTTOM line on my '96.....I did that at the flexible hose that goes into the thermal switch.....on the metal lines in front of the transmission.....I disconnected the end of the hose that had a removable hose clamp. Then I slid a section of clear hose over the tranny that I could see the fluid, and get a little extra length.

I wipe the pan and anything I can touch down, install new filter, and reinstall the pan.
Then I fill with new fluid in the amount that I measure that I took out.
From this point, you have clean flluid to run through to flush the rest of the transmission.

The fluid does not come out real fast, so you have plenty of time to turn off the engine.

For your 2000, Make SURE that you use Mercon V, and not Mercon, or a fluid that claims to be both.

This is a MESSY job.....(dropping the pan).
If this is an issue for may want to have it done for you.

03-18-2005, 09:33 PM
Good info wiswind!

I did not know which line was "in" on the tranny. I think I will use this procedure on my next change.

03-18-2005, 10:18 PM
Correction....sorry.....I just verified this on Alldata.....I mistyped.
The fluid flows OUT of the transaxle in the TOP line.
The fluid flows IN to the transaxle in the BOTTOM line.
I have corrected my original post.

It also states that the transaxle should be in PARK and engine at idle for the process.

03-19-2005, 09:21 AM
You might also consider dropping the pan and installing a drain plug, you can get one for <$10 at any auto parts store. Then just drain and add fresh fluid when you want, very easy and clean. I do this every other oil change.

03-19-2005, 11:11 AM
Yes, I also currently use a pan drain plug. Mine is nothing more than a large round-headed sheet metal screw installed on the front wall of the pan. Works good enough. I dope the screw with RTV at each re-installation.

But I want to try this "flushing" procedure, as outlined above, once ... "just for science"!

05-12-2005, 09:10 AM
I have a 02 sport with 60mi(100,000Km)and want to change transmission oil &filter.I do not have a ford service manuel for my windstar. I have been told the oil pan holds 6 quarts of oil.Is my oil pan the same size as the 98 windstar.Do I follow these instructions for my 02

05-12-2005, 11:40 AM
For those of us who are a little scared of our transmissions and are not brave enough there is another way:

1)Drop the pan (messy but easy)
2)Change the filter and clean the magnet
3)Re-install the pan using the otiginal re-usable gasket.
4)Fill with approximately 6 litres of Fluid (In my case MerconV).
5)Check level and add as required.

This will in effect change 50% of the fluid.

Drive for about a month and repeat (less the filter).

This will then give you 75% of a total change from before the first time.

You can then put one change on a schedule keeping in mind that you change 50% each time.

One day I will get up the nerve to disconnect a hose but I feel that this method does replenish the fluid.

05-12-2005, 12:26 PM
In my case I tweaked your steps a little:

1)Drop the pan (messy but easy)
2)Change the filter and clean the magnet
** Buy a drain plug kit (<$10), drill a 1/2" hole and attach to pan.
3)Re-install the pan using the otiginal re-usable gasket.
4)Fill with approximately 6 litres of Fluid (In my case MerconV).
5)Check level and add as required.

Then just periodically drain the fluid via the drain plug, no mess and easy to do while you're doing an oil change.

05-12-2005, 03:02 PM
Good Tweak Lewisnc100. Of course one would have to be brave enough to drill into their pan but the benefits of easy and clean changes from then on would be the motivation.

06-05-2005, 07:44 AM
I changed my transmission fluid by dropping the pan, cleaning it and magnant....installed new filter. The filter I took off wasn't held on my any clamp or bolt. So I put the new one on the same way.....only to find later that a clamp came with the new one. Do I have to drop the pan and intall the clamp in order for the filter not to fall down?
It was allready filled up before I noticed the clamp.
Also I fill it up with dexron III/ Mercon. Someone mentioned it should be mercon V. Should I drain it and put Mercon V in?

06-05-2005, 09:43 AM
My replacement didn't have any type of clamp when I installed it, did you get an OEM filter from Ford? If you have a 2000 as your profile states you should get that fluid switched to Mercon V as soon as possible.

06-05-2005, 12:06 PM
Thanks Lewis.
I do have a 2000.
Can I just change the mercon in the pan or do I have to flush it all completely out before adding the mercon V?

I got a generic tranmission kit that had the clamp with it.
Maybe it doesn't apply to my model.

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