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Old 12-07-2006, 11:13 AM   #1
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AOD Fluid change myth

My AOD has about 109k on it. I purchased the car last year at 103k, and I have no idea when the last time the fluid was changed. I can't contact the PO, because the car was purchased at an auction (dealer only).

Anyhow, the car shifts well--nice and firm, with no noticable slipping. I recently did a head/intake swap, and have found that occasionally (only after the swap), when the car is really cold (I live in Southern California, so "really cold" is actually about 50 degrees), the AOD has a bit of trouble engaging into 1st or reverse. I'll start the car, let it warm up for a minute or so, and then put it in 1st. Push the gas, and the engine revs as if the car is in neutral. After a couple of seconds it will engage and off I go. It'll do this for the first 3 - 4 minutes of driving, and then it exhibits no strange behavior.

The tranny fluid is dirty, and definately in need of a change. However, I've heard from a number of different people in real life and on different car forums that sometimes swapping old old fluid in a non-slipping old old AOD can make the AOD slip. This is due, from what I've been told, to the fact that much of the friction elements within the tranny wear off the clutches, but remain in the fluid, and allow the clutches to engage without slippage.

Now, I have no idea if this is true or not. This is the first AOD mustang I've owned, so I'm not too experienced with them. I'd like to swap the fluid, but I'm worried it might kill the AOD. That's not that big of a deal, because if it's bad, I want to fix it. However, I don't have the fundage to fix a bad AOD right now.

Soooo...should I change it? Is the myth accurate? If my tranny isn't slipping now, but has never had the fluid changed, is there a good possibility that it will slip after a change?

Thanks for any and all help!
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:21 AM   #2
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I wondered the same thing about my Tahoe the other day, so while i was in finding out a windshield washer motor costs $250 for it, i stopped and talked to the service manager about a 120k mile maintenance checkup and asked about when to change the trans fluid. He said that it only needs changed if its burnt/smells burnt.

I have however heard what you said about canging the fluid and ruining the trans. not sure if its bs or not.
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Old 12-07-2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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Ive always heard the same thing. That if you have a high milage auto and the fliud hasnt been regularly changed, that its better not to change it.

Reason I heard was that over time, varnish and build up has increase clearances and that the detergents in the new ATF will eat away at them, causing excessive clearance and slipping.

I know we have some AOD experts here so I would be interested in hearing the truth also.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:22 PM   #4
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im not sure about the myth but i was having some problems w/ my '98 and '02 explorer's and had the tranny flushed and filter changed and it helped quite a bit.
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:09 PM   #5
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If the fluid isn't burnt smelling you can change it.. If it is just dirty you're fine.. just change it..

DON'T get a flush done at quicky lube place.. do it the real way by dropping the pan.. meticulously clean the pan out (including the magnets), replacing the filter, and oh yeah it the pan has never been off there is a little plastic plug that you will find in there.. it can be tossed.. it was to keep things from falling into the pan during the cars assembly.. once the dipstick tube was ready to be installed they knocked the plug into the pan and installed the dipstick tube. So just chunk the plug..

it takes Dextron/Mercon III... if you drain just the pan it's 8 quarts if you drain the pan and converter it is 12-13 quarts total. best thing is to drain the converter also..

Best thing to do is go to Wally world and get (3) 1 gallon jugs of dextron/mercon III and 1 extra quart of Dextron/Mercon III

I'd also go to O'Reilly and get a tube of LUBEGUARD RED ATF additive..


to refill.. (per the ATSG AOD manual) pour in 4 quarts of ATF, remove the coil wire and try to start the car (turns the engine over a few times), stop cranking the car, then pour 4 more quarts of ATF in, then reconnect the coil and start the engine and dump in the final 4 quarts of ATF quickly. Run it through the gears while in the drive way to purge air from the valvebody.. and use the extra quart to top off the transmission
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Old 12-07-2006, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYLITTLEHO View Post
If the fluid isn't burnt smelling you can change it.. If it is just dirty you're fine.. just change it..

DON'T get a flush done at quicky lube place.. do it the real way by dropping the pan.. meticulously clean the pan out (including the magnets), replacing the filter, and oh yeah it the pan has never been off there is a little plastic plug that you will find in there.. it can be tossed.. it was to keep things from falling into the pan during the cars assembly.. once the dipstick tube was ready to be installed they knocked the plug into the pan and installed the dipstick tube. So just chunk the plug..

it takes Dextron/Mercon III... if you drain just the pan it's 8 quarts if you drain the pan and converter it is 12-13 quarts total. best thing is to drain the converter also..

Best thing to do is go to Wally world and get (3) 1 gallon jugs of dextron/mercon III and 1 extra quart of Dextron/Mercon III

I'd also go to O'Reilly and get a tube of LUBEGUARD RED ATF additive..


to refill.. (per the ATSG AOD manual) pour in 4 quarts of ATF, remove the coil wire and try to start the car (turns the engine over a few times), stop cranking the car, then pour 4 more quarts of ATF in, then reconnect the coil and start the engine and dump in the final 4 quarts of ATF quickly. Run it through the gears while in the drive way to purge air from the valvebody.. and use the extra quart to top off the transmission

I'll have to check to see if it smells burnt. I know it was dirty, but I didn't take a whiff of it. If it is burnt, should I just consider a rebuild?

Thanks for the step-by-step. Two quick questions: What is the best way to drain the convertor? And what are your feelings on synthetics in an AOD (Does Mercon III even come in synthetic?)

Thanks for the help!
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:03 PM   #7
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I learned my lesson about changing fluid on an auto. I had my trans (e4od overdrive auto) go out in my 91 bronco, so I bought a parts truck with a good trans and parted the truck out. I pulled out the parts tranny and dropped the pan. It looked good, no metal chunks, but it did have some clutch material.

I put the trans in, new filter, new fluid etc etc. the trans lasted about 400 miles and worked perfectly, then, about 4-500 miles later, it's nothing but a pile of garbage and I've got a useless bronco sitting in my garage.

IMO, I'll never change the fluid on a high miles auto that I don't know the history about, ESPECIALLY if it's displaying problems already. IMO, i'd leave well enough alone and start saving for a 5 speed conversion, or a new auto.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MYLITTLEHO View Post
If the fluid isn't burnt smelling you can change it.. If it is just dirty you're fine.. just change it..

DON'T get a flush done at quicky lube place.. do it the real way by dropping the pan.. meticulously clean the pan out (including the magnets), replacing the filter, and oh yeah it the pan has never been off there is a little plastic plug that you will find in there.. it can be tossed.. it was to keep things from falling into the pan during the cars assembly.. once the dipstick tube was ready to be installed they knocked the plug into the pan and installed the dipstick tube. So just chunk the plug..

it takes Dextron/Mercon III... if you drain just the pan it's 8 quarts if you drain the pan and converter it is 12-13 quarts total. best thing is to drain the converter also..

Best thing to do is go to Wally world and get (3) 1 gallon jugs of dextron/mercon III and 1 extra quart of Dextron/Mercon III

I'd also go to O'Reilly and get a tube of LUBEGUARD RED ATF additive..


to refill.. (per the ATSG AOD manual) pour in 4 quarts of ATF, remove the coil wire and try to start the car (turns the engine over a few times), stop cranking the car, then pour 4 more quarts of ATF in, then reconnect the coil and start the engine and dump in the final 4 quarts of ATF quickly. Run it through the gears while in the drive way to purge air from the valvebody.. and use the extra quart to top off the transmission

I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE YOU HEARD THE IT HOLDS 8 QTS IF YOU DROP THE PAN? IT ONLY HOLDS ABOUT 5 QTS. AS FAR AS NOT FLUSHING THE TRANS WITH A MACHINE. ONCE AGAIN YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THE MACHINE IN USE ONLY USES TRANS PRESSURE TO OPERATE AND ONLY REPLACES THE FLUID THAT IS PUSHED INTO THE MACHINE WITH CLEAN FLUID. ONCE AGAIN YOU DON'T KNOW WAHT YOU DON'T KNOW.
P.S HAVE IT DONE THE RIGHT WAY WITH A MACHINE. WOULD YOU ONLY CHANGE HALF OF YOUR ENGINE OIL.

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Old 12-07-2006, 04:16 PM   #9
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I'm not sure what you're saying. If I was to drain the pan, then drain the torque converter, that's easily 90% of the fluid, if not more.

You're a pretty angry fellow, relax and have a beer, enjoy life, it's only a message forum.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8only View Post
I learned my lesson about changing fluid on an auto. I had my trans (e4od overdrive auto) go out in my 91 bronco, so I bought a parts truck with a good trans and parted the truck out. I pulled out the parts tranny and dropped the pan. It looked good, no metal chunks, but it did have some clutch material.

I put the trans in, new filter, new fluid etc etc. the trans lasted about 400 miles and worked perfectly, then, about 4-500 miles later, it's nothing but a pile of garbage and I've got a useless bronco sitting in my garage.

IMO, I'll never change the fluid on a high miles auto that I don't know the history about, ESPECIALLY if it's displaying problems already. IMO, i'd leave well enough alone and start saving for a 5 speed conversion, or a new auto.
That's what I'm afraid of.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:21 PM   #11
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I'm REALLY damned bummed, i've got a kick ass 4x4 bronco sitting in the garage with a 5.8L efi that runs incredible, and a useless trans and NO budget to fix it. I should have never pulled the first trans out, it may have shifted bad, but at least the problem wasn't getting worse.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBird347 View Post
I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE YOU HEARD THE IT HOLDS 8 QTS IF YOU DROP THE PAN? IT ONLY HOLDS ABOUT 5 QTS. AS FAR AS NOT FLUSHING THE MACHINE WITH A MACHINE ONCE AGAIN YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THE MACHINE IN USE ONLY USES TRANS PRESSURE TO OPERATE AND ONLY REPLACES THE FLUID THAT IS PUSHED INTO THE MACHINE WITH CLEAN FLUID. ONCE AGAIN YOU DON'T KNOW WAHT YOU DON'T KNOW.
P.S HAVE IT DONE THE RIGHT WAY WITH A MACHINE. WOULD YOU ONLY CHANGE HALF OF YOUR ENGINE OIL.
So where is the rest of the ATF then.. When I drain the TC there is maybe 2 quarts of fluid in there.. plus the 5 your talk about that leaves another 5 quarts MIA somewhere..

and the machine I am talking about is not the ones that hooks up to the transmission lines that drains and replenish at the same time.. I am talking about the ones that POWER FLUSH the transmission.. Using it's own internal pressure to "power wash" the old fluid out... Plus the fact some places who do the flush.. ONLY flush the ATF.. they don't drop the pan and clean it out and replace the filter.

but even the machines that drain and fill at the same time aren't needed on our cars.. they're mainly for vehicles without a drainplug on the TC.. or for people who are too lazy to just drain the pan and converter and replace the filter... that alone will get rid of 95% of the old dirty fluid (plus you get to keep the extra $100 you saved by not paying someone to flush it)

If you are still not satisfied with that extra 5% of the dirty fluid you might have left in there.. run the car with the new fluid for a few days so the dirty fluid has time to mix with the clean fluid.. Then drain the ATF and put in ALL NEW FLUID.. Even then It'd still only cost you the price of the fluid maybe $10-$15 and all the old fluid would be gone.
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Old 12-07-2006, 04:58 PM   #13
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I have a 93 Lightning with an E4OD and the trans fluid got so hot that it was pukeing out the front pump seal onto the ground. Needless to say the fluid was totally toasted. I took it in and had it flushed with a machine, then added a deep pan,40,000 lb cooler, and a trans temp guage. I have put over 10,000 Novi 2000 supercharged miles on it w/o even one hiccup. I think it's all a matter of opinion.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:05 PM   #14
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I'd change it. The slow-to-engage-while-cold seems like a sticky actuator, could be sticky and gooped up in old cruddy fluid.

I think most of the time the myth comes from people who never change fluid, then start having problems, and change the fluid to try to help, but it doesn't help the problem and then it just keels over and dies the same way it would have without the fluid change, and they blame the fluid change.

I see the point about the friction material in the fluid helping the clutches not to slip, but if the trans is so worn that's what's keeping it together, it's past time for a rebuild anyway.
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:09 PM   #15
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FWIW...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Bill View Post
...when the car is really cold (I live in Southern California, so "really cold" is actually about 50 degrees), the AOD has a bit of trouble engaging into 1st or reverse. I'll start the car, let it warm up for a minute or so, and then put it in 1st. Push the gas, and the engine revs as if the car is in neutral. After a couple of seconds it will engage and off I go. It'll do this for the first 3 - 4 minutes of driving, and then it exhibits no strange behavior.
I had a C4 do exactly what you describe. It got progressively worse (talking longer and higher reving to get it in gear) when it finally quit/would no longer go in gear. I believe the internal seals leaked to a point of not being able to hold pressure on the band servos. IMO, and R&R is in your near future... (or a 5-speed conversion... )
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diabolic View Post
I have a 93 Lightning with an E4OD and the trans fluid got so hot that it was pukeing out the front pump seal onto the ground. Needless to say the fluid was totally toasted. I took it in and had it flushed with a machine, then added a deep pan,40,000 lb cooler, and a trans temp guage. I have put over 10,000 Novi 2000 supercharged miles on it w/o even one hiccup. I think it's all a matter of opinion.
Overheating it once doesn't = instant death.. the reason your transmission is still ticking is more an affect of you preventing it from happening again with a cooler and deep pan...

My moms Mazda 626 would overheat and puke all the fluid out the overflow tube on long trips.. we would stop and refill it once the transmission would neutral from too little fluid.. eventually we put a transmission cooler on it which helped but it still spewed the fluid out if driven for over 4 hours at interstate speeds... after putting the cooler on it we drove it for another 20,000 miles and then sold it to a used car lot and the used car guy gave it to his son as a commuter car.. overheating doesn't = instant death... but it definately shortens the life of the transmission... we made the transmission last longer in my moms 626 by changing the fluid all the time.. it's when the fluid gets so bad that the dirty fluid is all that is keeping the clutches gripping.. that is when a transmission flush/transmission fluid change, will finish off an already dead transmission..
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Old 12-07-2006, 05:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Bill View Post
when the car is really cold (I live in Southern California, so "really cold" is actually about 50 degrees), the AOD has a bit of trouble engaging into 1st or reverse. I'll start the car, let it warm up for a minute or so, and then put it in 1st. Push the gas, and the engine revs as if the car is in neutral. After a couple of seconds it will engage and off I go. It'll do this for the first 3 - 4 minutes of driving, and then it exhibits no strange behavior.

Sounds like a worn/sticky boost valve.. I had a similar problem that when it was cold it would not shift out of first.. it would rev and the slam into 2nd.. it would also have a "lazy" upshift and downshift... When I went through my valvebody when I installed my shift kit I installed one a new AOD boost valve.. it never stuck again.. and it would downshift upshift much quicker... Every transmission builder I have talked to say this is the one part that is ALWAYS replaced during a rebuild regardless of the miles on the tranny.. because they wear out so easily.. and affect the operation of the transmission so much..

You can get one from www.becontrols.com or www.ford-aod.com

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AOD Pressure Regulator Boost Valve Kit

This high quality valve and sleeve, manufactured by Sonnax, cures many line pressure related problems in the AOD transmission. Sticking or worn boost valves are a leading cause of failures and shift complaints with the AOD transmission. Over time, the steel valve will wear into the aluminum sleeve, causing the valve to stick and leak. Since the boost valve is responsible for increasing line pressure to match engine torque, it is obvious that the condition and calibration of this valve are even more critical in performance applications. This "better than new" replacement sleeve is manufactured from wear-resistant Deltalloy 4032 and is sealed to the bore with O-rings, unlike the original equipment sleeve. We recommend replacement of this valve during the installation of our valve body kit, or especially in a high mileage transmission or during an overhaul where contaminants will have accelerated the wear of the original valve even further.

$39.99
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:04 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadBird347 View Post
I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE YOU HEARD THE IT HOLDS 8 QTS IF YOU DROP THE PAN? IT ONLY HOLDS ABOUT 5 QTS. AS FAR AS NOT FLUSHING THE TRANS WITH A MACHINE. ONCE AGAIN YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. THE MACHINE IN USE ONLY USES TRANS PRESSURE TO OPERATE AND ONLY REPLACES THE FLUID THAT IS PUSHED INTO THE MACHINE WITH CLEAN FLUID. ONCE AGAIN YOU DON'T KNOW WAHT YOU DON'T KNOW.
P.S HAVE IT DONE THE RIGHT WAY WITH A MACHINE. WOULD YOU ONLY CHANGE HALF OF YOUR ENGINE OIL.
Maybe I am misreading this becuase it was typed in all capitol letters making it very hard to read, but. . . . . . .

A stock AOD with a stock converter and stock pan holds 12.4 quarts.
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Old 12-08-2006, 01:02 AM   #19
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When I was doing my training for firestone, since we had no other cars to work on we used my 87 for some of the tests. We did a machine type trans flush on it. I like the idea of it because it changes out ALL the fluid, not just some. The problem is what about the filter. I guess the best way would be to flush it, then pull the pan and put a new filter on it. I have heard very bad things about flushes when it comes to the filter. SOme have even torn, although I think it was a diffrent type.

Before the flush I was having a ton of problems with my aod. I could not get it to shift right, it leaked alot, and I was ready to throw it away. Right after the flush it was even worse. It slipped like a bitch, one time it even felt like I was in nuetral. I went and checked the fluid level and it was low. We checked it numorous time after the flush, since I was 90 miles from home. I ran down to vatozone and topped it off with 2 quarts of the hurst firmer shifting fluid and it has been golden ever since. No leaks nothing, just smooth as can be.

I still have the filter in it which is not good. The flushes do work, but can be fatal if you do not pay attention. I cannot say the best way to do it but a new filter and the flush would be the best. I just do not know the best way to do it, either change the filter, fill it and go have it flushed right after (but I heard flushes can harm your filter) or flush it then drop the pan and change the filter, but then you just paid for double fluid.

Just my .02
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Old 12-08-2006, 02:44 PM   #20
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Flushes are quick, easy, do the job...but not the best IMHO.

I suggest you change it if you want to.

Those showing issues with sticky valves, or sticky governor valve - it is dirrectly attributed to the fluid being dirty. varnish, clutch crap, bearing loss....

What i suggest, do what you want:
1)add one pint of B12 Chemtool from Oreily's (carb cleaner in a bottle) and drive a few miles (2or3)
2)pull top line from radiator cooler, extend hose from there down to catch pan
3) start car, run until fluid stops flowing, reassemble
4) drop pan, service filter, pull TC drain plug.
5) replace fluid

Done.
If it doesn't last long after that....it was trash and going to die soon anyway....
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Old 12-08-2006, 04:33 PM   #21
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i dont know if someone answer this ? like this or not so i will, sorry dont want to read all of it :-D. the reason for not changing fluid in a high mile trans is that the build up of old fluid and grime is sometimes holding it together. when u put new trans fluid in its high detergent so it washes the old gunk and grime and things begin to fail. sometimes you make get lucky and it not happen. but it does happen.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:12 AM   #22
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i dont know if someone answer this ? like this or not so i will, sorry dont want to read all of it :-D. the reason for not changing fluid in a high mile trans is that the build up of old fluid and grime is sometimes holding it together. when u put new trans fluid in its high detergent so it washes the old gunk and grime and things begin to fail. sometimes you make get lucky and it not happen. but it does happen.
Ding ding ding!! exactly!
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Old 12-10-2006, 01:07 PM   #23
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I had the fluid changed yesterday. I was going to do it myself, but I am in the middle of finals weeks as a 1L, and holy sh@tmonkey, I have no time for anything!!

Anyhow, I took it to Pep Boys and paid them $150 to do the flush. I asked about the procedure, and what they do is drop the pan, drain fluid from slushbox. Drain fluid from TQ. Hook up flushing machine and run it through the trans until nothing but clean fluid is coming out. Change the filter and refill. I got there at 9:00 am and told them "I have 2 hours...I NEED to be out by 11:00." He said "No prob! You're the first one here!"

Took them 4 forking hours!! Guy said the trans cooler line was making the actual flush slower than normal. I saw the guy working on the car in the bay for teh whole 4 hours, and the know the service manager there, so I doubt they were filling me with sh@t.

Anywho, I had them use Mercon V. The car runs 100% better. It shifts smoothly - it is now crisp and clean. There is considerably more power, and I did a 100 mile drive yesterday and I got about 20% better gas mileage than I did before the fluid change. No slipping, no funny sounds, runs like a champ.

We'll see how well she holds up for th enext couple of hundred miles. For all I know, slipping will tear it apart. But from what I felt yesterday, the car desperately needed one, and it feels much, much better now.

Once I get the MAF and TB on (probably on tuesday), I'll re-dyno the car. The 208rwhp I got before was with stock TB and MAF, and with old old trans fluid. I wouldn't doubt it if the old fluid was sucking up some power.

Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 12-11-2006, 02:31 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverFoxbody View Post
Flushes are quick, easy, do the job...but not the best IMHO.

I suggest you change it if you want to.

Those showing issues with sticky valves, or sticky governor valve - it is dirrectly attributed to the fluid being dirty. varnish, clutch crap, bearing loss....

What i suggest, do what you want:
1)add one pint of B12 Chemtool from Oreily's (carb cleaner in a bottle) and drive a few miles (2or3)
2)pull top line from radiator cooler, extend hose from there down to catch pan
3) start car, run until fluid stops flowing, reassemble
4) drop pan, service filter, pull TC drain plug.
5) replace fluid

Done.
If it doesn't last long after that....it was trash and going to die soon anyway....
You left out one very important step, I know it may sound implied but leave the tranny in park or netural! Otherwise you can say goodby to the tranny.

Good to hear it worked. I thinking about flushing and changing filter on mine. Then again I'm also thinking about just pulling it out and putting in the T5 I have in the garage.
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Old 12-11-2006, 09:46 AM   #25
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See....now don't you feel better

As for leaving it in park or nuetral....that doesn't make any sense from here?
if the car is not running.

If nothing is ROTATING, nothing can burn up.
Unless the machine they use accualy uses the AOD PUMP to push the fluid around.
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Old 12-11-2006, 10:58 AM   #26
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Unless the machine they use accualy uses the AOD PUMP to push the fluid around.
They usually do.. drains and refills in one step...
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Old 12-30-2006, 02:21 PM   #27
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Do stock AOD convertors have a drain plug?
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Old 12-30-2006, 03:09 PM   #28
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My stock AOD converter had a drain plug when I pulled it out.
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Old 12-30-2006, 10:58 PM   #29
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IMO, I'll never change the fluid on a high miles auto that I don't know the history about, ESPECIALLY if it's displaying problems already.
I think that's the key right there: if you're changing the fluid when you're already seeing problems it's only going to get worse.

I did that in my 89 GT. It was slipping and I thought a change would make it better.

I may as well have flushed the 150 bucks down the toilet, because when it was done it slipped way, WAY worse than when I brought it there.

I think if the tranny is fine then so is changing the fluid.

Also, if you have to rev the car to get the car to go into gear it could be a bad Torque Converter. A lot of people mistake a slipping tranny for a bad TC.

Hope this helps,
Alan
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Old 12-31-2006, 01:18 AM   #30
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Instead of Mercon III use Mercon V like is used in 4R70W's etc - has more additives, withstands heat better. That, BTW, is recommended by Jerry
on www.tccoa.com - he's a genuine Ford automatic trans engineer that
is considered tops in modifying Ford auto transmissions and making them
last. You can read it for yourself in their tech / transmission section,
1st article.
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