123k Miles, Transmission Flush or Pan Drop?


zombie13
06-30-2006, 10:26 AM
I've seen differing opinions and am wondering what I should do. I have a 2003 SE with 123k miles and want to change the Tanny fluid out. Should I have if Flushed, or just drop the pan and replace what is needed after the filter clean?

Z.

Willyum
06-30-2006, 01:04 PM
What have you been doing in the past? Serviced every 30,000 Mi or ignore? Fluid clean or dirty? If it's clean and service has been kept up a pan drop, pan clean w/magnet, new filter and refill ought to be good.
Be sure to use Mercon V.

way2old
06-30-2006, 02:04 PM
Think they just bought it Willyum

zombie13
06-30-2006, 02:32 PM
Think they just bought it Willyum


BING BING BING!!! We have a winner, step right up, sir, and claim your prize.

I just purchased it, and do not know the service records. The fluid level appears to be normal, but it's really dirty (it's brownish instead or red). I'm not noticing any problems, but I am guessing that it's old fluid and just needs to be changed.

Z.

Millermagic
06-30-2006, 04:49 PM
Well, there's actually a few schools of though on what you should do.

One is, you should immediately change the fluid, dop the fan and change the filter and clean off the magnet. That way everything is in good shape.

The second is, sometimes old transmissions that have never been serviced don't like new fluid.

Myself, I'd change it, but it may or may not have bad side effects on your car.

Huney1
06-30-2006, 08:46 PM
When they do a 'change' they get out about six quarts that's in the pan and a 'flush' gets about 16 quarts out of the whole tranny. I'd much rather replace all 16 quarts with fresh ATF in than mix 6 fresh quarts with 10 old quarts. DUH? Make absolutely sure they use Mercon V ATF and nothing else.

Someone said when they do a flush on a tranny that hasn't been changed in a long time it's a good idea to get the valve body cleaned to.

Willyum
07-01-2006, 03:55 PM
Zombie13,
You can be a smart alec if you want but smart buyers have vehicles thoroughly checked out one way or another BEFORE buying, not after.
You asked opinions of what members of this forum would do, that's what you got.

zombie13
07-01-2006, 09:04 PM
Zombie13,
You can be a smart alec if you want but smart buyers have vehicles thoroughly checked out one way or another BEFORE buying, not after.
You asked opinions of what members of this forum would do, that's what you got.

Wasn't trying to offend anyone, just be funny. I did ask for opinions, and am very glad I did. I appreciate the input of the knowledgable people on here, especially when I have problems.

And I should have had it thoroughly checked before I bought it, but I got what I think is a really good deal, so I didn't want it sitting on the lot where anyone could buy it out from under me.

Thanks for all the information.

Z.

Huney1
07-02-2006, 02:07 AM
"BING BING BING!!! We have a winner, step right up, sir, and claim your prize."

I think it goes Badda-Bing! :grinyes: HeHeHeHe . . . That sounds like something I'd say in jest trying to keep things 'light.'
Wasn't trying to offend anyone, just be funny. I did ask for opinions, and am very glad I did." No offense taken here and I'm tickled you got the info you wanted. Sounds like you're happy with the deal and at 123K mi she has a lot of miles left in her. Our 03 SES has 40K and I really enjoy it. Just checked the mileage and getting 19.5 MPG in town and I'm sort'a heavy footed, and on the hwy shud get 25 anyway.

AGAIN: When you get the flush job make sure they use MERCON V :) and not Mercon or Mercon III. :nono: Mercon V is more expensive because it is part synthetic fluid and sometimes they'll try and slip the other in on you to save the shop money.

While it's on the lift have them change the fuel filter. Should be done every 30K miles but few people do it. Adhere to the maintenance schedule in the owners manual and you'll be good to go.

Millermagic
07-03-2006, 08:13 AM
DO NOT have a shop change the fuel filter unless you can't. They will charge like $50 for it ... it only took me half an hour and $12 for the filter. Just make sure to get the clips for the filter. And yeah, don't use Mercon III, you will get shuddering. What a dealer will do, is use Mercon III and add an additive to make it Mercon V

wafrederick
07-03-2006, 10:02 PM
Chamge the fluid and filter.It takes special fluid,Mercon V and I know Penzoil makes it.DO NOT throw the old pan gasket away,it is a reuseable pan gasket.If the new transfilter kit comes with the black pan gasket,throw it away.It is a pita to get staighthened up and leak

zombie13
07-03-2006, 10:58 PM
Was talking the the chic manager at Valvoline Instant Oil Change today, they just connect to the cooling lines and flush the fluid out. They don't change/clean the filter or magnet, or even drop the pan. Opinions? Also, what's the benefits/problems with doing this yourself?

Z.

brokenantimatter
07-04-2006, 12:31 AM
There are a lot of problems doing it yourself the main being if you break it the shop isn't liable. :-p

Huney1
07-04-2006, 07:50 AM
They don't change/clean the filter or magnet, or even drop the pan. Opinions? Also, what's the benefits/problems with doing this yourself? Z

The filter and magnet should definitely be cleaned because they accumilate debris and the purpose of the flush is to 'thoroughly' clean the inside and flush the old fluid out. I don't savvy their rationale there, but perhaps it is "back-flushed" and that supposedly cleans the fliter & washes debris off the magnet. Personally I'd like to look at the filter and magnet and see what kind and how much debris and/or metal filings are on them that might give me a heads up for developing problems.

As far as doing it your self, you can do a change and drop the pan and clean the filter, but that only gets out approx 6 qts of fluid and the tranny holds 16 qts, so you leave 10 qts of old fluid in the torque converter and add 6 fresh qts. They've kind'a got us by the kahunas because to get all the fluid out you got'ta pay for the flush. Most tranny shops here charge around $130. and I know they drop the pan and clean or replace the filter. A 'change' is $60. they drop the pan and clean the fliter and replace what fluid comes out of the pan. Ask the Ford place what they charge and you might be surprised.

If you're hard core DIY-selfer, here you go:
"I finally took the plunge today to use this procedure on my '94 Taurus
GL with 60k miles on it (w/the AX4S tranny ... yeah, the last "bad" one with
the aluminum fwd. clutch piston) for normal maintenance purposes. Like you, I had no idea which hose I ought to cut, so what I did was I looked at where
the hoses exited the tranny to the transmission cooler lines. I noticed one
was located below the other one when returning back to the transmission, so I ended up cutting off the clamps of the lower one (the lower hose entering
the transmission housing from the transmission cooler lines). I ended up
cutting both clamps off (biggest pain in the @$$ job I've ever had to do)
because I didn't think a screw-type O-clamp would do much good when the end of the hose had been molded into what the original factory clamps looked like, so I figured I should replace the hose as well. That took about an
hour or two due to the difficulty of having to cut those clamps off.

I then went down to the store and bought about 1 ft. length of 5/16"
transmission cooler line, as well as a package of those screw-type O-clamps,
12 quarts of Mobil 1 ATF (for $5/quart; I prefered the Mobil 1 synthetic ATF
simply because I'm concerned about premature failure of the fwd. clutch
piston in my AX4S), and a transmission filter kit (last time it was replaced
was at 36k miles, so I figured it was due time anyways). Following the
procedure outlined at the website, I reinstalled the transmission cooler
hose, but only attaching the transmission cooler end of it. The other end
of the cooler hose, I inserted it into a gallon jug. I had someone start
the car for me, and about 3-4 quarts of the fluid drained out from the hose
into the gallon jug. I then had someone shut off the car engine for me.

Then I dropped the transmission pan, replaced the tranny filter and gasket,
and reinstalled the pan. (During this process, I drained out an additional
1-1/2 quart of ATF from the pan, which meant so far, I've drained appx.
5-1/2 quarts of old ATF). Next, I poured about 10 quarts of the Mobil 1 ATF
into the tranny. Therefore, if you've been doing the math, I should have
about 4-1/2 quarts *too much fluid* in the transmission now. Knowing that
the transmission takes roughly 12 quarts of ATF (owner's manual specifies
12-1/4 quarts ATF), I then used a few more gallon jugs and drained out 6-1/2 to 7 more quarts of ATF using the previously outlined procedure. Once that was done, I reinstalled the transmission cooler line (with new screw-type O-clamps on both end), and refilled the transmission with 2 more quarts of ATF.

So, total, I've drained out 12 quarts of old ATF and put in 12 new quarts of
new ATF. I then checked the ATF level on a flat, level ground (after
driving the car for about 5 minutes or so) and add more ATF fluid if
necessary, while also checking for leaks from the pan or the new
transmission cooler hose. When I test drove the car, it seemed to shift
much more smoothly under normal acceleration then it used to. Then again,
it could be my imagination ...

< ! > What I learned: it's much more helpful to have another person help
you to start/shut off the car when draining the ATF. Also, by installing
the screw-type O-clamps, it will be much more easier the next time I do a
complete transmission flush to drain the ATF since I won't have to cut off
those factory-molded clamps again. By actually draining the transmission
fluid through the cooler lines first, I didn't have such a tranny fluid mess
as I had had the first time I did a transmission filter change by dropping
the pan (I think I lost about 5 quarts of ATF the old way, and 3 quarts
found its way all over myself. :-6 During this way, I only lost 1-1/2
quarts through the pan, and none wound up on myself) The total number of
hours it took me to do it this method was 4 hours. Cost? 12 quarts of
Mobil 1 synthetic ATF at $5 each, plus 1 foot of transmission cooler line
(~$1.50), and a transmission filter kit ($18) = almost $80 before tax, which
compared to what it cost to get it done at a quick-lube place ($60-$70
before tax), isn't really all that bad especially since I was using
synthetic ATF. Considering I had never tried this method before, I guess
that was pretty good. I figure with a transmission flush like this, I
shouldn't have to worry about replacing all the fluid again until after the
next tranny filter change.

Hope this might help anyone who was thinking about doing the DIY ATF flush
for your Taurus/Sable ..."

Sounds a bit 'squirreley', but I never flushed or changed tranny fluid and I don't plan to and don't know if he is right or wrong. Hope this helps and have a happy 4th. OH! I was in Advance Auto prowling around and they now make their own brand Mercon V sells for $2.98 qt.

zombie13
07-05-2006, 08:15 AM
They don't change/clean the filter or magnet, or even drop the pan. Opinions? Also, what's the benefits/problems with doing this yourself? Z

The filter and magnet should definitely be cleaned because they accumilate debris and the purpose of the flush is to 'thoroughly' clean the inside and flush the old fluid out. I don't savvy their rationale there, but perhaps it is "back-flushed" and that supposedly cleans the fliter & washes debris off the magnet. Personally I'd like to look at the filter and magnet and see what kind and how much debris and/or metal filings are on them that might give me a heads up for developing problems.


I think they do backflush. She said the filter was a metal filter that didn't require either cleaning, or replacing, but I can't remember which it was. I do agree that looking at the filter and magnet would definately be a good thing.


As far as doing it your self, you can do a change and drop the pan and clean the filter, but that only gets out approx 6 qts of fluid and the tranny holds 16 qts, so you leave 10 qts of old fluid in the torque converter and add 6 fresh qts. They've kind'a got us by the kahunas because to get all the fluid out you got'ta pay for the flush. Most tranny shops here charge around $130. and I know they drop the pan and clean or replace the filter. A 'change' is $60. they drop the pan and clean the fliter and replace what fluid comes out of the pan. Ask the Ford place what they charge and you might be surprised.

If you're hard core DIY-selfer, here you go:

... Removed extremely detailed description...

Sounds a bit 'squirreley', but I never flushed or changed tranny fluid and I don't plan to and don't know if he is right or wrong. Hope this helps and have a happy 4th. OH! I was in Advance Auto prowling around and they now make their own brand Mercon V sells for $2.98 qt.

That did help considerably. It told me that I don't really want to try and flush my transmission. Too messy and time consuming.

Now, next question: Drop it off and pick it up later, or wait and watch?

And thank you for all the help with this. I have learned a lot.

Z.

Huney1
07-05-2006, 03:35 PM
"Drop it off and pick it up later, or wait and watch?"

I'd tell them I had never seen it done and I wanted to watch and if they said no then I'd look for a shop that would let me watch. They say insurance regulations won't allow you in the shop then stand outside the shop and look in and watch.

Don't know what the Ford dealer charges but I wouldn't rule out letting them do it. In any event, if you don't get it done at the Ford dealer YOU LOOK at the container and make darn sure it says Mercon V and don't take their word for it.

Mercon, Mercon III and Mercon V all look the same new, sort'a reddish-pinkish color and after they put it in there's no way of telling what they put in *UNLESS YOU* looked at the container yourself and watched them put it in. If they won't let you then there's a reason and I'd get my hat and ease on down the road and find a shop that has nothing to hide. Someone may tell you they use Mercon III and use an additive that makes it Mercon V. NO WAY! Mercon V or you go elsewhere.

"And thank you for all the help with this. I have learned a lot."
The pleasure is all ours Bro' Zombie and let us know how goes it with the flush. Family emergency and have to go out of town for a few days but will punch in when I get back.

mwt878991
07-06-2006, 06:21 AM
Don't let them Back flush or Power Flush.

If you have a 1/4 drive set of sockets do it yourself in your drive way.

Paul Nimz took this from a Ford Manual and I have personally done it three or four times.


http://www.taurusclub.com/wiki/index.php/How_to_Flush_your_transmission_at_home

One other small thing. I bought buckets from teh dollar store that are marked so I knew exactly how much fluid came out of it vs what I was putting back in.


Mike
:smokin:

Huney1
07-10-2006, 07:14 AM
"I bought buckets from teh dollar store that are marked so I knew exactly how much fluid came out of it vs what I was putting back in." With the tranny stone cold sitting level, check the fluid level and take a small file and make a scratch mark on the dip stick at the 'cold full' level it so you'll know when it's full when it's cold with engine off. That way you can check the tranny fluid before you crank the engine in the morning. Double check by driving until the engine and tranny are hot then check the fluid and if it's OK you know the cold full mark is right. :wink:

On our 03 Vulcan the tranny cold full mark is at the letter "H" in crosshatch.
Someone please check me out on that and let me know if yours is the same.
Today after it gets hot I'll check it again and report back.
EDIT: Yup, the hot fluid was half way up the crosshatch area.

PS Thanx for the good link there Mike, I printed out the instructions for safe keeping and if I ever take a mind to flush mine I'll use it.

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