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Old 03-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
Rkh
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F53 Maintenance

My Ford dealer wants to charge me $290 to replace transmission fluid..Includes "flush kit", "internal filter", and 16 quarts of fluid..I know I need this service but this seems very high.. My manual states to change fluid every 21k. No mention of a filter replacement nor can I find any filter as a maintenance part. I won't perform this service myself.
Does this sound right?
Also, manual talks about needing a pressure relief gauge and a removal tool to replace fuel filter..This was something I was going to do myself but now I'm not sure. Dealer wants $54 to do this..
Lastly, my coach has 62,000 miles on it and no where in the manual does it require a serpentine belt replacement. Just a accessory belt inspection. Doesn't even refer to a serpentine belt..Chassis is a 1999.

Any comments appreciated..
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Old 03-11-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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Do not let them flush the transmission. Worst thing you can do to it. It tends to flush dirt out of places where it would cause no problems and put it into the internal parts of the transmission. Many a transmission has failed after a flush. Just change the fluid and filter including draining the torque converter. The tool to change the filter can be bought at any auto parts store and is very cheap. Just change it after it has sit for a few days and the small amount of pressure still in the system will just squirt a small amount of fuel out on the ground. No big deal I change mine all the time that way. As far as the belt, just inspect it for serious cracks or torn spots. If in doubt, change it, it is not that expensive. I would highly reccommend a transmission temperature gauge if you do not have one as overheating will damage these transmissions very quickly. If you overheat it get the fluid changed right away.
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Old 03-11-2013, 01:34 PM   #3
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There's a reason they're routinely referred to as "stealerships".

Just take it to any reputable transmission shop and they should be able to do it for about 1/2 of that. You should know it's not as simple as changing the engine oil though. The filter on your transmission is inside the pan under the valve body.

The rule of thumb we used to use was to evaluate the existing fluid, if it's dirty, but only a little smelly, just change fluid and filter. If the fluid is very dark and quite pungent, then flush and change fluid and filter.

I'm not sure about the other comment about causing a failure, the debris is almost exclusively in the bottom of the pan (the filter stops it from going back up) and in almost every transmission built in the last 30 years, the only way to drain and flush the torque converter is to remove the transmission or at least unbolt and slide to the rear about 4".

Now the cooler, I'd absolutely recommend you flush it and be sure it's clean and clear.
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Old 03-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlyons View Post
Do not let them flush the transmission. Worst thing you can do to it. It tends to flush dirt out of places where it would cause no problems and put it into the internal parts of the transmission.
...
+1 .
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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Appreciate the advice so far guys.. I won't be working on the transmission myself. I have a history with this Ford shop and basically trust them.

Not sure I want to have a conversation with them about flush vs drain... Maybe I'll just push for a better price.
Also, still confused why there is no mention of a filter in my owners manual...
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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Can't speak about the Ford transmission but I had Allisons for years and never flushed them. Just changed the fluid and filter which was a spin on and was $7 at the Allison parts dealer. I always changed the fluid and filter every 20-25K miles, cheap insurance...I recall a Ford truck i had, I had to drop the pan on the transmission to change the filter and fluid. I can say it was not a pleasant experience,,
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Old 03-11-2013, 05:31 PM   #7
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I think I would pay them to remove pan, drain, remove filter, replace, empty torque converter. I would not do a flush. It's a 2 man job to align the torque converter plug with the bell housing opening. Regarding the belt. You have to ask yourself, what will it cost to to have this changed in podunk, USA at THEIR price vs. you changing now at a price you can somewhat control. It is getting old, the belts don't last forever.
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Old 03-11-2013, 06:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf2u View Post
There's a reason they're routinely referred to as "stealerships".

Just take it to any reputable transmission shop and they should be able to do it for about 1/2 of that. You should know it's not as simple as changing the engine oil though. The filter on your transmission is inside the pan under the valve body.

The rule of thumb we used to use was to evaluate the existing fluid, if it's dirty, but only a little smelly, just change fluid and filter. If the fluid is very dark and quite pungent, then flush and change fluid and filter.

I'm not sure about the other comment about causing a failure, the debris is almost exclusively in the bottom of the pan (the filter stops it from going back up) and in almost every transmission built in the last 30 years, the only way to drain and flush the torque converter is to remove the transmission or at least unbolt and slide to the rear about 4".

Now the cooler, I'd absolutely recommend you flush it and be sure it's clean and clear.
You can flush it if you want and the shop will love to do it but I can tell you from over 40 years in the automotive service business that flushing an automatic transmission is bad news. There is dirt and sludge in places like the torque convertor and other places that can and will migrate. Flushing the cooler if your transmission fluid is very dirty is ok. I change mine every 20 thousand miles and have never had a transmission failure in any vehicle I have ever owned. I have however replaced many transmissions that were working fine before the flush.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:09 PM   #9
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I use an independent shop that has been around a long time and I have great confidence in. At 30k/miles they recommended to just drain, not flush.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:31 AM   #10
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I just drained 6 qts. of Mercon V tranny fliud from my 4R100. It was easier than changing the engine oil. Easy access and no spilling. Fluid was only slightly dark after 75k miles and 3 previous 6 qt changes. To easily re-add oil, use a screw-on cap with a shut off clear hose extension available at auto supply houses used at gear oil changes.
I monitor temps with a Scan Gauge II. Love my reliable Ford chassis.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:29 PM   #11
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I just drained 6 qts. of Mercon V tranny fliud from my 4R100. It was easier than changing the engine oil. Easy access and no spilling. Fluid was only slightly dark after 75k miles and 3 previous 6 qt changes. To easily re-add oil, use a screw-on cap with a shut off clear hose extension available at auto supply houses used at gear oil changes.
I monitor temps with a Scan Gauge II. Love my reliable Ford chassis.
That all depends on which version of the 4R100 you have. The earlier models don't have a drain plug in the pan. Changing the fluid lying on your back in the drive or without an oversized catch pan can be a real messy adventure.

Having said that flushing a transmission is a throwback to the late 70's and early 80's. Most shops tossed the flushing machines 20 years ago or more. As mentioned earlier they often caused more trouble than they were worth. It's hard to convince a customer to pay $3,000.00 (or more) to rebuild a transmission that worked fine a week ago when they brought it in, and failed right after the shop did a $300.00 flush.

We've had the fluid and filters changed (it has a second filter inline to the oil cooler) several times at our local Ford garage. No one has ever suggested flushing the system. The last time it was changed at the Ford garage the bill was less than 1/2 what you're being asked to pay, and that included 12 quarts of fluid and 2 filters.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:49 AM   #12
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No Flush, as already said bad things happen after it. May not show up right away but will happen down the road. If your trans fluid is still nice and red, just drain, change filter and refill. You won't get a complete change to first time, just put a few miles on it, drain and refill a second time. I did mine three times. Since you're not doing it yourself find a shop that can let it sit overnight and drain the fluid without starting it up. You'll be amaze how much fluid will drain back from the converter, I got over half the capacity the first time.
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:11 AM   #13
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It's my understanding that my 1999 F53 transmission does not have a drain plug on the torque converter, hence the requirement to flush....

True?
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:26 PM   #14
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It's my understanding that my 1999 F53 transmission does not have a drain plug on the torque converter, hence the requirement to flush....

True?
I've read that "some" '99 models had the drain plug. Just gotta crawl under there and check.

If not, you can also drain pan and refill. Drive it some then drain and refill again. Drive, drain, refill. After 3 sessions you've pretty much got all new fluid. There will always be some old fluid left but not much concern unless your fluid is currrently dark and burnt smelling.

FYI, the correct fluid is Mercon V (the V=5).
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