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shumax

Transmission flush?

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2007 SEL AWD with 119,000. I am about to have the PTU flushed out. It was done last at 55k when they replaced the seal under warranty. I'm more comfortable flushing this unit out as I know it can get eaten alive with heat and gunk. What came out at 55k was nasty stuff.

The transmission fluid has never been flushed. The reason why goes like this: 15 years ago, I had a higher (100k) mileage tranny flushed out as a preventative measure. Before I did so, it operated fine. No rough shifting, etc. Immediately after the flush, it started to slip. Several thousand dollars later, I had a new transmission installed on my nickel. Needless to say, I'm a bit uneasy about a tranny flush these days. :)

I plan to keep this car another two years, so it will have about 140-150k on it at that time. It's drive mostly on country roads to and from work for my wife. Speeds vary between 25-55mph. I looked at the fluid and it's full, but slightly brown, but does not smell burnt. The tranny shifts smooth and works fine to me.

 

What are everyone's thoughts on having it done versus leaving it alone?

Shumax

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No flush. 3x drain & fill if initial drain shows the fluid looks good and does not contain clutch debris etc. White towel, coffee filter, blotting paper can be used to check visually. Once the D&F method proves out, you can hand off to the next owner with the reassurance that the trans is not mucked up.

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What I like to do with other vehicles is at least take the pan off and have a look to see if there is any crap in the bottom, clean off the magnet and pan, then change the filter and what ever fluid I can. And if I can, I install a tranny drain plug so taking the pan off doesn't involve a bath in tranny fluid (after the warranty is over).

 

With these tranny's though, that is nearly impossible for a DIY'er. The 3X drain and fill is really easy to do and is an easy DIY procedure - just the cost of 5 quarts of fluid * 3. Fortunately Ford installed a drain and we still have a fill port that many tranny's don't have now - so points for Ford on this one. So drain, fill with 5 qts, drive bit, are repeat 2 more times. I do this about every 20k (every summer) because it is so easy and is WAY cheaper than taking it to the dealership. My local dealership posts a charge of $319.95 for a Transmission Tranxaxle service and of course plus taxes and that money maker - shop supplies. Ford recommends this 3x D&F procedure in a service manual too I believe. There are many opinions on many forums discussing the pros and cons of a true flush (which may push crap into the tranny and cause problems). This drain and fill procedure falls under heading of "the solution to pollution is dilution".

 

For your quiet enjoyment here are what my dealership posts as charges for other services:

Fuel Filter - $149 every 50,000 miles

Cooling System Flush - $200 every 60,000 miles plus parts

Differential Services - $200 every 60,000 miles plus parts

Transfer Case Service $150 every 30,000 miles (some vehicles extra - probably not valid for our PTU's)

Spark plug Tune-up $200 every 60,000 miles (variable by engine)

Brake Fluid Flush - $150 as needed

Edited by Brian K
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A long time Ford transmission engineer told me if the filter needs cleaning/changing it's time for a new transmission. He recommends changing every 30K although I think that's overkill and would probably do it around 60K.

 

The dealer uses a machine that simply takes the old fluid from the cooler line going to the transmission and swaps in new fluid using the return line. This changes 95% of the old fluid without any chemicals or high pressure so it shouldn't hurt an older transmission.

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Thanks for the replies! So, what kind of fluid goes into the tranny? Think I will buy 15 quarts and do the drain and fill three times on my own. Thanks again!

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All of the parts and fluid specs are in the owner's manual.

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2007 = Mercon V for both transmission & power steering. If not buying Motorcraft Mercon V, make sure the fluid you DO buy is compatible with Mercon V specifically. Mercon LV is NOT compatible with Mercon V, officially.

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Ordered a jug (Mercon V) that is 5 quarts off of Ebay for $41 shipped to my house. I will drain and fill. What, drive it 500 miles and do it again? Then, another 500 miles and do it yet again??

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Should work fine. That will give the detergents in the fluid some time to dissolve any varnish/gunk in the trans.

 

BTW, you can get by cheaper with Amazon for Motorcraft Mercon V:

 

Motorcraft 5qt Mercon V

https://smile.amazon.com/Ford-XT-5-5QM-MERCON-V-Automatic-Transmission/dp/B000NU67V8/

 

If you used the "universal" fluids, Valvoline MaxLife or Castrol Transmax Import MultiVehicle would be 2 good choices.

http://content.valvoline.com/pdf/maxlife_atf.pdf

http://msdspds.castrol.com/bpglis/FusionPDS.nsf/Files/4B94307E61A0AF6480257ADD007535BA/$File/Transmax%20Import%20MV%20PDS.pdf

 

Much cheaper by the 5qt jug, whether on Amazon or at WalMart.

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Dooh! I hate when I over pay for things like this. Poop. :) Thanks for pointing this out; I definitely plan to stick with the OEM fluids. Thanks again!

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Ordered a jug (Mercon V) that is 5 quarts off of Ebay for $41 shipped to my house. I will drain and fill. What, drive it 500 miles and do it again? Then, another 500 miles and do it yet again??

I go to the oil change place I frequent and get it done in one shot for 150.00 dollars. If you figure your effort and the fluid cost you are spending money on, you might consider going this route rather than changing it three different times.

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macbwt - sounds like your version is more of a "flush" and that's what worries me. I.E., would it disturb something and cause more issues than it is worth? Even an exchange, with suction, would chance disturbing sediment in the tranny. I'm sure I'm a bit cautious based on my experience in the past...

Edited by shumax

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I've been trying for 30min. to link a photo from my photobucket account, but the link won't transfer. UGH!

 

Does anyone have a photo of the drain bolt? I climbed under our 2007 and all I saw was what appears to be a 10-11mm bolt that is sticking down from the tranny.

Thoughts?

Thank you,

Shumax

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macbwt - sounds like your version is more of a "flush" and that's what worries me. I.E., would it disturb something and cause more issues than it is worth? Even an exchange, with suction, would chance disturbing sediment in the tranny. I'm sure I'm a bit cautious based on my experience in the past...

The exchange doesn't use suction - it uses the transmission pump so it's no different than normal driving. Obviously you do it with the engine running.

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So, perhaps it's because mine is rusty looking, but the one in the photo looks like a bolt that is flush with the case. Mine actually has about 3-5 threads exposed - i.e., the head of the bolt is NOT sitting flush with the case.

Just want to be sure it's the correct one. I think I had better soak that bolt. Last thing I want to do is snap it off!

Shumax

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PB Blaster has worked wonderfully for me, WD40 might as well. Ya, I don't know why the bolt is not flush, but it IS the correct bolt. Possibly crossthreaded, so go easy on it.

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I ended up doing this last weekend. Soaked that bolt in PB Blaster and had no issues getting it to come out - thank goodness. I got nearly 5 quarts to come out as that's basically what I put back in - just short of it. The fluid was dark colored, but did not smell burnt. I plan to do it again in another 500-1000 miles.

Thanks for the guidance!
Shumax

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Just to clarify on the transmission service I have done. The machine takes a quart out then put a quart back in. then repeats the procedure while the engine is in operation. Basically it is a drain and fill but automated. 150 dollars and about 20-30 minutes of time.

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On 8/1/2016 at 5:06 AM, macbwt said:

Just to clarify on the transmission service I have done. The machine takes a quart out then put a quart back in. then repeats the procedure while the engine is in operation. Basically it is a drain and fill but automated. 150 dollars and about 20-30 minutes of time.

This doesn't sound like a very efficient way to replace fluid. If you are removing and adding one quart at a time, every time you do it after the first quart you are actually removing a bit of the brand new fluid as it has already circulated with the old fluid. It seems to me that it's far better to do a complete drain and fill, as you are replacing half of all the old fluid with new in one go. The method you do would require a lot more than 5 quarts to achieve that 50-50 mixture of old and new fluid.

 

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In my manual somewhere (I think it was a Shop Manual) , Ford recommended that 3 Drain & Fills be performed and that qualifies are a Tranny oil change. So lets see -

1st D&F - results in 50% new & 50% old fluid. (assuming that a drain gets 50% of the fluid out) 

2nd D&F- results in 75% new & 25% old

3rd D&F - results in 87.5% new & 12.5% old

Seems reasonable I guess - better than not doing it but it sure would be nice to have all the old sh!t out!

I never did change the filter because of the difficulty - no bottom removable drain pan but seemed to required disconnecting some electrical stuff etc. Silly to have this sort of design (or maybe I got it wrong).

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1 hour ago, erikrichard said:

This doesn't sound like a very efficient way to replace fluid. If you are removing and adding one quart at a time, every time you do it after the first quart you are actually removing a bit of the brand new fluid as it has already circulated with the old fluid. It seems to me that it's far better to do a complete drain and fill, as you are replacing half of all the old fluid with new in one go. The method you do would require a lot more than 5 quarts to achieve that 50-50 mixture of old and new fluid.

 

 

Depends on how they're taking it out and where they put it back in.  If it uses the transmission cooler lines they don't mix.

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1 hour ago, akirby said:

 

Depends on how they're taking it out and where they put it back in.  If it uses the transmission cooler lines they don't mix.

That's true.

As far as getting all the fluid out, I don't see why this is important. I'd bet doing a single drain/fill every 30k-50k miles you'd never have a transmission failure. The statement "its better than nothing" is way understated - it's a hell of a lot better than never changing it, and could very well be the difference between ending up with a failed transmission and never having an issue. 

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FordTechMakuloco suggests 30K 1st change interval.  Why?  watch his video to see all the breakin materials that are floating around in the fluid, contaminating the sensors, solenoids, and valve body

 

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