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 Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change

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Rickw
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:52 pm

VJD2 wrote:
So I'll be picking this up tomorrow and installing hopefully on Sunday. Can't wait to get this done. Poor transmission!

http://www.napaonline.com/Search/Detail.aspx?A=ATP15927_0271079044&An=599001+101997+50008+2008026

While the drain plug sounds good, I think I might pass on it this round.

Anyone have a favorite / preferred brand of ATF?
I actually found a Dorman Drain Plug Kit for $3.00 at Advanced Auto Parts when my local NAPA was out of stock. After looking at these, they appear almost identical, don't require any welding and are a snap to install.
Regarding fluid, i just bought a Brand Name that met the spec's, not the Synthetic specs, I couldn't afford Synthetic that day.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:08 pm

VJD2 wrote:

Anyone have a favorite / preferred brand of ATF?

If you want to go full-synthetic super-fluid, Amsoil is supposed to be one of the best. If you want simple, safe and a little better than OEM, I think the general consensus is Dexron VI...

That's what I'm planning on trying next time I need fluid, cuz I'm a little leery of using the old Type-F-instead-of-Dexron trick with an electronic tranny.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:16 pm

I got the equivalent of Dexron #3, I believe. Who knows what I'll put it in it this Fall.
If I have the money I may go with a synthetic Dexron, IDK.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:32 pm

Thanks SO much for this write-up with photos . . . came in very handy today when thermal sensor fell out and Hubby wanted to be sure he put it back correctly. {{HUGS}}
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PostSubject: tranny fluid fill, question about "spring" orientation   Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:49 am

Last night I dropped the tranny pan to change the fluid, filter and gasket. When cleaning the mounting surface, my rag caught on a wide metal spring near the side of the tranny and under where the filter would be. The ends of it are u-shaped with a bend in the middle. Anyway, it popped out. Its condition looks fine...but I'm not sure the proper orientation to put it back. The pictures in the write up regarding doing this procedure shows a bit of the spring, but not enough for me to be sure .

I can't seem to find a picture in the manual either that would depict this thing. Any suggestions?

Here is the link from the write up that comes close
http://i89.servimg.com/u/f89/11/09/01/06/101_0114.jpg

Thanks,
Ben
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:28 am

I did the same thing when I changed my fluid! Its hard to tell in the pic you posted, but the spring is suppose to sit and hold that metal flap closed.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:05 pm

Agreed, hold the metal flap down is what I figured it did. I was uncertain however which way the clip went...as the bend isn't exactly in the middle. From the picture, "I think" the shorter distance from the end of the spring to the bend goes toward the filter hole. It would be good to have a concensus though...

On another note, I couldn't get the filter out without breaking it...so, had to fish out the rest of the plastic piece still up in the hole. There looks to be a metal sleeve still in the tranny...and a replacement one that came with the NAPA filter/gasket kit. I'm a bit concerned about being able to get the old sleeve out without marring up the surrounding surface. Is it necessary to replace this metal sleeve? Could I just push the new filter up into the existing sleeve?

Thanks,
Ben
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:52 pm

I don't remeber which way that clip went on, I did this job quite a while ago. As far as the filter, that sleeve is the seal for the filter. If the rubber lip isn't damaged, you can probably get away without replacing it. If you want to change it (I usually do) I highly recommend this tool, makes it much easier. Link
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:04 am

beninohio wrote:
Agreed, hold the metal flap down is what I figured it did. I was uncertain however which way the clip went...as the bend isn't exactly in the middle. From the picture, "I think" the shorter distance from the end of the spring to the bend goes toward the filter hole. It would be good to have a concensus though...

On another note, I couldn't get the filter out without breaking it...so, had to fish out the rest of the plastic piece still up in the hole. There looks to be a metal sleeve still in the tranny...and a replacement one that came with the NAPA filter/gasket kit. I'm a bit concerned about being able to get the old sleeve out without marring up the surrounding surface. Is it necessary to replace this metal sleeve? Could I just push the new filter up into the existing sleeve?

Thanks,
Ben

...the trick is getting the new filter in without damaging the old seal. For my money I'd replace the seal. The tool Moldymac pointed out will help - it's not just available at Sears, though, almost any NAPA or other full-line parts store is likely to have 'em - $10 to $20.

Albertj
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:27 am

Jeez... they couldn't just just use an O-ring on the filter tube, like they used to.

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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:14 pm

Is there any reason to replace that metal sleeve? I just put the new filter into the old sleeve.

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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:56 pm

LARRY70GS wrote:
Is there any reason to replace that metal sleeve? I just put the new filter into the old sleeve.

Not if you can get the filter out without damaging the rubber.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:15 pm

Well, finished it this morning. Since I broke the original filter pulling it out, I wasn't sure if the rubber in the original sleeve was okay or not. So, I removed the old sleeve. It wasn't as easy as one would think, it didn't just slide out. I ended up using a small screw driver to get under the lip and then pried it out trying not to scratch/mar anything. (NAPA didn't have a seal remover) I then inserted the new sleeve, and that didn't just slide in either. I used a big socket (flat side) and a rubber mallet to "help things along". Finally, the filter also didn't just slide in. It needed a "little help too". I was surprised at the effort required (and I did wipe some fluid on them to help). Anyway, when putting the pan on I made sure it didn't feel like the filter was sitting too low or anything, pan went on fine. I can't imagine why the fit was so tight for the sleeve and filter, but I don't think I did anything wrong.

I oriented the spring mentioned earlier similar to the picture shown...I still don't fully understand how that works...but I think its in okay. Will finish the oil pan gasket tonight maybe, and that will wrap up these two items, plus replacing rear shocks, and replacing rear brake lines from the passenger side seat back. I blew one last week coming home from work...just rusted old lines. After bleeding, pressure seems to hold fine with the car sitting there. I guess after driving around local for a bit and getting on the brakes I'll know for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Aug 10, 2010 6:22 pm

The filter and that "gasket" are meant to be tight. If they weren't, fluid would squeeze by without getting filtered, and the filter would more than likely rattle against the pan. You had to do exactly what most of us have done in the past...except without that spring ordeal happy
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:23 pm

beninohio wrote:
Well, finished it this morning. Since I broke the original filter pulling it out, I wasn't sure if the rubber in the original sleeve was okay or not. So, I removed the old sleeve. It wasn't as easy as one would think, it didn't just slide out. I ended up using a small screw driver to get under the lip and then pried it out trying not to scratch/mar anything. (NAPA didn't have a seal remover) I then inserted the new sleeve, and that didn't just slide in either. I used a big socket (flat side) and a rubber mallet to "help things along". Finally, the filter also didn't just slide in. It needed a "little help too". I was surprised at the effort required (and I did wipe some fluid on them to help). Anyway, when putting the pan on I made sure it didn't feel like the filter was sitting too low or anything, pan went on fine. I can't imagine why the fit was so tight for the sleeve and filter, but I don't think I did anything wrong.

I oriented the spring mentioned earlier similar to the picture shown...I still don't fully understand how that works...but I think its in okay. Will finish the oil pan gasket tonight maybe, and that will wrap up these two items, plus replacing rear shocks, and replacing rear brake lines from the passenger side seat back. I blew one last week coming home from work...just rusted old lines. After bleeding, pressure seems to hold fine with the car sitting there. I guess after driving around local for a bit and getting on the brakes I'll know for sure.
That's how those sleeve / seals come out. They are a tight fit and lifting the edge with a screwdriver and hammer carefully is a good way to get it started, as you figured out. Now you know. That is how they come out and yes you should replace them every time you do a filter change.
I hope you replaced the brake line from the rear caliper all the way to the front, or did you just cut out the leaking part and use compression fittings to splice a short section in.?
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:47 pm

I'll have to check cause it's been years, but I swear the trick to getting those seals out is to have a 3/8th short extension on a wratchet and angle in there so that the tip is just above the sleeve and then push away causing the extension to put downward pressure on the sleeve - it should just pop out from there.

I hope that makes sense. We used to do GM trannys alot and while I haven't had this pan off myself, it should be the same.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:02 am

beninohio wrote:
I can't imagine why the fit was so tight for the sleeve and filter, but I don't think I did anything wrong.

Because they're retards, that's why... As I said, every Turbo 400, Allison 540, and for all I know every Turbo 350, simple had a ridge on the filter tube with an O-ring that slid on above it, and into the bottom of the transmission.

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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:50 am

playa wrote:
I'll have to check cause it's been years, but I swear the trick to getting those seals out is to have a 3/8th short extension on a wratchet and angle in there so that the tip is just above the sleeve and then push away causing the extension to put downward pressure on the sleeve - it should just pop out from there.

I hope that makes sense. We used to do GM trannys alot and while I haven't had this pan off myself, it should be the same.
I noticed even on changing mine with only 18,000 miles on it, it took quite a bit of effort to remove it and to install the new GM one it required that I get a seal driver of the right diameter and tap it in. It is a tight fit and if they have been in there a long time they are even more difficult to get out. I wasn't familiar with this trans when I did it the first time myself and was surprised at how difficult it was with very few miles since the last change.
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PostSubject: Transmission fluid too old to change?    Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:28 pm

Which side do you fall on in this argument?

I went to VIP service center and asked about a fluid change in my 96 Riv SC w/113K, original fluid (I know, I know) and they told me "the fluid was so old it was the only thing keeping the tranny working correctly" and recommended a "service" where they add something called Renu by QMI. Now I had never heard of fluid being too old to change so I did some research on the 'net and found some supporting arguments and some people that laughed at the idea, so. what's the general consensus around here on that subject.


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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:36 pm

I changed the fluid on my '96 with very similar mileage about a year ago with no problems. They might be referring to a full flush rather than just dropping the pan with regard to the catastrophic effects.


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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:16 pm

Agreed, a fluid flush is completely different, as it could dislodge debris in the valvebody. But simply changing fluid, especially when that old, can only be a good thing.

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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:32 pm

Bawb2u wrote:
Which side do you fall on in this argument?

I went to VIP service center and asked about a fluid change in my 96 Riv SC w/113K, original fluid (I know, I know) and they told me "the fluid was so old it was the only thing keeping the tranny working correctly" and recommended a "service" where they add something called Renu by QMI. Now I had never heard of fluid being too old to change so I did some research on the 'net and found some supporting arguments and some people that laughed at the idea, so. what's the general consensus around here on that subject.

Oh, brother.

OK, let's break this down.

1) In regular service you are not supposed to have to change the transmission fluid at all. Hint: Read the "normal" and "severe" service assumptions in the owners manual or service manual and you may conclude that most usage is "severe" (or at least "heavy").

2) If you are not the original owner, you may not know for sure if the fluid was or was not changed. If the PO took the car for dealer service and bought the "package" for so-and-so mileage then depending on how long they had it the fluid's probably been changes, you just don't know it... Hint: You wrote:

I have a maroon '96 3800 Series II 105,000mi, supercharged with all options. Great car, I'm the second owner and have had it for 7 years now.

You got the car in ~2003 at ~7 years old; the '96 3800s with series ii had, if I recall, the 4t60E tranny. Those transmissions had problems; IIRC in the hands of some drivers, they used the power of the sc engine such that frequently they broke the output shafts in "normal" driving. This is why the 97 and later SC Rivs have the 4T65E, it is *much* beefier. I am not certain how many of the 4T60E transmissions were repaired or upgraded -- but if your car was dealer maintained there is a chance that the upgrade or a replacement was done -- under certain circumstances it pays dealers to do that stuff rather than not do it and hope you don't notice. Only way to tell is to check the transmission ID number; one of the mechanics that frequent this site may chime in and tell you if you have a 4T60 or 4T65. Point is, well, you're not the original owner and if your car was dealer maintained it's more likely than average that your transmission was serviced before you got the car due to the known problem and the service bulletin. SO tell us... how much do you know about the PO?

3) I had my transmission overhauled at ~97,000 miles because the torque converter lockup quit working. It is a simple repair but the part is *buried* in the transmission, and for the price of a couple fistfuls of parts, the machanic who overhauled it upgraded it with Transgo and other parts to improve performance and durability. It now has 230,000+ miles (that's right, it's run longer rebuilt than it did new) and is showing *no* signs of problems. I change the fluid every ~40,000 because the mech who overhauled it asked me to. What that does - in Dexron IV the friction modifiers tend to 'wear out' in severe service. My car does almost exclusively highway (read, "easy") miles, the transmission warms up fully but is not working as hard as one in a hilly city for instance. Changing fluids helps with that problem. I also changed from Dex IV to Dex VI, which provides other benefits. Hint: just like every engine is different, every transmission is too. You may be missing info about yoru transmission that would help with an intelligent decision here.

What to do?

I suggest:

- look at and smell the fluid. Any burnt smell, or if the fluid is turning goldish or brownish, then change ASAP. If it is still pink or red, it's not a panic situation.
- Locate the transmission model/serial number. I'm sorry I cant tell you where to look, though, maybe someone will chime in.
- if you decide to get the fluid changed, ask to look in the pan when they drop the pan. Some metal fuzz on the magnet and metal granules in the pan is not unexpected for a tranny in long service that has not been opened. Some black "sludge" from the internal "bands" is normal in the pan. If my experience with my CHryslers (an '86 and an '87) means anything, it will take 2-3 fliud changes to get all the granules and such out and on the first change there can be kind of a lot of them. Any large metal parts, however, and you need to get an envelope, grab those parts, tell the shop to button the thing up and get it (drive or tow) to a competent shop for repair or overhaul based on what the parts are. I had a Lincoln with the AX4N transmission, when I first got it I dropped the pan and found a piece of a wave spring in it. the way the transmission was designed, it would run bad/half broken for quite some time but would have eventually grenaded. By catching it when I did I avoided a lot of drama and could have it rebuilt by a local guy who builds transmissions for dirt track Mustangs (heh heh) and field service vans... I don't think there will be further issues from that rebuilt tranny... among other things he did the lube/calibration upgrade, H/D clutches & steels, and new torque converter.
- I think you are likely to find you have no problems, and I think it's possible you will find your tranny's already been replaced.
- if you find someone who knows what they are doing then having the transmission powerflushed is a good idea; you'll need to both flush it and replace the filter this time 'cause it's been so long - to do so reduces your risk related to what gets loosened during the powerflush. The trick is to find someone who knows what they are doing. Many people know how to losen fittings, not that many also understand how and why the transmission works and as well how to avoid the risks a powerflush presents.
- I am indifferent about the QMI additive. In my experience (230,000+ miles) with this transmission I have not used additives and have no evidence that using them would have helped anything.




Last edited by albertj on Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:38 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:55 pm

If the tranny is shifting okay, then any special additives or treatments they might offer is probably what I would be leery of...
You don't want to shock the materials in the system or dislodge a bunch of dirt at one time. Thus, I also come down on the side of doing a "plain old" fluid change, where they drop the pan, replace the filter (including any dislodged seals) and replace the half of the fluid that comes out in the process - about 6 quarts.
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:07 pm

there is a very interesting post on the subject, by some very knowledgeable people, at issf
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PostSubject: Re: Write Up: Transmission Fluid & Filter Change   Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:57 pm

Never good advice to pass on maintenence, but don't power flush.

Your transmission fluid/filter, although not as regular as an engine oil change is necessary maintenence.

A front drive transmission gets a little hotter than RWD because they're more compact and close to the engine causing the fluid to break down over time. Think of your tranny as a complex hydraulic valve, there are pistons that move in bores with rubber seals, fresh fluid rejuvenates the rubber among other things...that said, never let anyone tell you a power flush is anything but gambling that loose debris will force it's way into the worst possible spots and it's really not necessary...just pour in fresh oil, change filter and pan gasket and you're good for another 50k
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