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transmission fluid change


Old 01-20-2000, 06:13 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin Tx
Posts: 3
Post transmission fluid change

I have a '97 Standard Cab F-150 with a V6.
I went a bought the new transmission filter from Ford today. They also sold me the gasket, which I am now not sure I need, as I think the gasket might be reusable. Anyway, I have never changed the transmission fluid on this vehicle and I want to do it right. I know to change the filter, but is there anything else that needs to be done??
Also, my user manual says it takes 13 quarts of transmission fluid. The guy at the service desk said it takes only six quarts. What am I missing here?
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Old 01-20-2000, 06:55 PM
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Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
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To change the tranny fluid yourself, you will have to drop the transmission pan. The new filter will "push" into the bottom of the tranny after the pan (and old filter) are removed.
Be sure to have a large drain bucket/container at hand. Loosen all the screws on the tranny pan a bit, then slowly remove the srews from one end of the pan until the pan drops a bit, allowing the majority of the fluid to flow into the bucket. Support the pan with your hand while this occurs. Then remove the rest of the screws until the pan can be carefully dropped and the rest of the fluid can be drained. DO NOT use a screwdriver to "pry" the pan will scratch up and possibly gouge the gasket seams, causing the new gasket not to fit properly and fluid will leak from around the transmission pan.

The drained fluid should be reddish in color, and should not have a “foul” smell to it. It will have a consistency of used motor oil (almost the viscosity of water). Tranny fluid has a particular smell to it...I suggest that you CAREFULLY take a whiff of the new transmission fluid (Mercon) ... the old fluid should smell the same way.

Once the pan is removed, clean it out with some carb cleaner. Make sure the top of the pan (where the gasket will go) is clean and that the surface is flat with no scratches, etc. There will be a circular magnet in the bottom of the pan, and there should be a small amount of metallic "sludge" on the magnet. These are the "shavings" from the tranny gears wearing. A small amount is normal, if there is really alot, or if there are large shavings, have the tranny looked at.
Clean and replace the magnet (easy to forget!)

The old F-150 tranny filters used cork gaskets, I believe the newer F-150's use re-usable silicone/rubber ones. Once you have the gasket properly fitted around the clean pan (and the new filter installed properly!), reinstall the pan in the same manner it was removed (screw by screw). Use a torque wrench if you have one, otherwise, tighten the bolts by hand with moderate pressure on the ratchet. Resist the temptation to over torque the bolts!! BE CAREFUL NOT TO STRIP THE THREADS... otherwise the pan will leak slowly and drive you nuts.
Be sure that the filter is seated properly, and is not pinched, bent, or otherwise not fitted properly. If it is, it will leak (trust me here) and you will have to do it all again.

TAKE YOUR TIME fitting the new gasket on the pan and reinstalling the pan.

Finally, fill the tranny with the new fluid (make sure to check the owner’s manual for the correct tranny fluid!!!). After the first few quarts, check that the tranny pan is not leaking. It’s easier to remove it if you have to with just a few quarts of fluid in it.

The reason for the discrepancy in the amount of tranny fluid called for is that you will not be draining the torque converter, which will typically hold an additional 5-6 quarts of fluid. You can drain the converter if you wish, but it is a more involved process.

Be sure to check the tranny fluid level again after starting the engine for a few minutes.

Good Luck....


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Old 01-21-2000, 12:49 PM
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There is also an additional quart or two in the lines and the intregal tranny cooler in the Radiator. This is why a "flush" is done with a machine under pressure with a cleaning solvent and then the fluid is replaced under pressure to get all this solvent out, fluid back in, refill all the lines and remove excess air.

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Old 01-24-2000, 10:14 AM
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Thanks for both answers and the detailed explanations.

1.So, once the filter has been changed and the pan put back on, how many quarts of transmission fluid should i pour in?

2. The last message made mention of running 'pressure' through the transmission to clean it out. Since I have no such machine, what do I do? Is this a necessary step?

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Old 01-26-2000, 02:23 AM
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You could probably use air to blow out the lines. Disconect both lines and put one in a container and blow from the other. Keep the pressure low, under 50 psi or so. If you empty the pan and converter, you should need around 14qts. Check your manual. Remember a few years ago the basic tranny service consisted of dropping the pan, replacing the filter and adding about 6 qts and you were good to go. If you drain most all of the fluid then you're way ahead of the game.
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Old 01-26-2000, 08:01 AM
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A flush is the biggest waste of time and a big mess to boot. There is absolutely nothing beneficial about it. Drain your old fluid, install a new filter and gasket, then refill. This isn't brain surgery.
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Old 01-26-2000, 11:59 AM
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You can drain the converter via an access plug at the bottom of the bell housing. Remove the plug and rotate the motor is some fashion to expose the plug. Be VERY CAREFUL when reinstalling the plug, cross threading it will cost you a ton of money.

To estimate the volume removed, take your pan and fill it using a gallon jug and mark on the pan what volumes you have. 4 quarts to a gallon.

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Old 01-26-2000, 12:01 PM
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Location: Clemson SC US of A
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I would never try and do a full flush at home. Pay someone who has a machine and the proper solvent. It will get more of the old fluid out and any particles up in the radiator and torq converter too. I believe they actually "back" flush it? I guess its a matter of opinion if that is a waste of time and money. The local Ford dealer charges $89 for this service which includes new filter and all new fluid. Local tranny place will want $59 for just a dump, filter and refill. Look around at your local prices and then judge for yourself. Do it yourself is obviously cheaper but messy and a disposal problem. And really, how much are you actually saving? Think about it. Are you diposing of your waste properly as well. Its important. I did the flush the first time but I may not bother on the second time. I just might change it more often but I wanted all the "stuff" out the first go round.
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Old 01-26-2000, 06:17 PM
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I used a mortor mixing pan to catch the trans fluid. It is about 3 ft wide by 4 1/2 ft long and about 8 inches deep. I fit more than the full legth of the transmission and the torque converter. When I installed the shift kit I pulled the pan and worked on the valve body and let the trans drain all night (I went to bed and finished the next day).

When you pull the filter make sure the o ring comes with it the new filter will have a new o ring. Also throw away the white nylon plug you find floating around in the pan. It was there from the factory.

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