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Transynd Fluid and Allison Spin-On Filter Change

Posted 08-27-2011 at 05:40 PM by DriVer
Updated 08-28-2011 at 11:57 AM by DriVer

TranSynd 1 Gallon Container Front & Rear

When we first bought our motorhome in 2003, the Allison LCT1000 came equipped with Dexron III. I never thought much about the fluid however I shortly became aware of synthetic transmission fluid. The first change that I made was using Amsoil Torque Shift and I changed the control (external) filter. This was sometime during 2004. In 2005 I did the second change and that was done in Hartford, Connecticut. At the time of the 2nd change I had approximately 18,000 miles. Now since 2005, Iíve been running the same load of synthetic fluid in my transmission oblivious to the fact that the fluid does have a change interval that is keyed on time.

The Allison Transynd fluid replacement schedule is 150,000 miles OR 4,000 hours OR 48 months whichever comes first. I show 93,000+ miles on my odometer and I had not given the 48 month part of the equation much consideration however after having spoken with an Allison representative, I became all too aware of the 48 month rule which I exceeded by about 13 months. Fortunately for me our traveling schedule was greatly reduced in 2010 however time marches on.

I recently traveled to Madison, Wisconsin in our toad for the FMCA 86th Family Reunion and as expected one of the vendors there was an Allison dealer. Without thinking too hard about it, I purchased 3 gallons of Transynd ($109.77) and took it to go! I spoke with the Allison rep there as well and he told me that most often folks forget about the 48 month rule.

1. Find a suitable container and mark off the gallon marks.
2. 3 gallons of water were used to make marks which are scribed on the outside of the bucket.
3. Total contents of transmission were just short of the 3 gallon mark. The 3 gallon mark is just visible.

In the Workhorse Chassis Guide, the pan off capacity of the 1000 is stated at 10.6 quarts and the control filter takes about ľ of a quart. Doing the math, 10.85 quarts ought to do it nicely however as the vehicle sits there the fluid drains back into the pan from the coolers. Since my motorhome hasnít moved in over a month I was confident that whatever fluid could drain back certainly did.

What I was concerned about was measuring how much fluid came out of the transmission. The thought here was to replace the same quantity that I took out however I did not want to buy a 4th gallon of Transynd for just a small quantity of fluid. My strategy was going to allow the transmission to drain and then restore the drain plug at the 3 gallon mark. In order for this to happen I needed a large capacity container that was marked. I went to my shed and rinsed out an old chlorine bucket that was used for pool tablets. This container would hold I expect about 5 gallons. I found a marked 2 quart container, filled and measured off 1 gallon on a milk jug. I took the gallon and began filling the bucket with water. Using a magic marker I marked off each 1 gallon graduation up to 3 gallons.

I placed my jack pads down and raised the motorhome up as far as it would go. I took the bucket and a 15mm - 3/8 drive socket and ratchet and crawled under the motorhome. I removed the plug and began draining the fluid. A good steady stream flowed into the bucket as I watched the level rise. First it passed the 1 gallon mark and then the second and the stream continued pretty strong up close to the 3 gallon mark when it slowed. Coming to a trickle, I allowed the fluid to drain for about another hour or so. The amount of fluid that I collected approached the 3 gallon mark but it stopped short. I estimate that the level stopped about Ĺ to 1/3 of a quart short of the 3 gallon mark.

1. GM / Allison transmission pan bolt package.
2. New and old transmission plug. Note the damaged seal on the old plug requiring a new plug.
3. New transmission plug is in place. 15mm socket required.

I saw this as excellent news knowing that I have enough new fluid to do the job. A couple of years ago Oemy came to the Workhorse Club rally that I hosted at Ocean Lakes in Myrtle Beach and at that time I got a control filter and an 8 ounce bottle of Fleetrite TES-295. This was back in October of 2009. I had thought about changing my fluid and filter since 2009 and here we are in August of 2011 and I am just now getting it done.

Now let me tell you about the drain plug. When I removed the drain plug and held it in my hand I observed that the neoprene gasket at the head of the plug was torn about a third of the way around or so. Iím saying to myself, this is not a good thing since I canít possibly use this plug again. Knowing that the closest Allison service center is about 100 miles from here I thought why not call my local Chevrolet dealer. After speaking to the parts counter guy he came back and told me that he had a new Allison plug in stock and that he would put it aside for me. Great! I wouldnít care if the thing cost $20 bucks at this point since the Chevy dealer was only about 3 to 4 miles from my house. The plug is GM Part Number 24233099 and it cost $6.78.

As soon as I returned home from the Chevy dealer I went under the rig and installed the new drain plug. Once it was snugged up, I tightened it about 1/3 to Ĺ more of a turn so itís nice and tight but not too tight. Iím figuring; let the gasket do its job. Next to come off was the control filter. I first tried to budge it by hand but I knew right away that that was not going to work. Right on Ö forget it. I got up and retrieved my 2 inch nylon, Ĺ inch drive oil filter strap wrench. Itís the king of over tightened oil and fluid filters. Once the strap wrench was on there, a slight grunt got it moving and the filter started spinning off. The nipple on the filter base plate seemed to me to be a mile long as I continued to turn and turn and finally I got it off. Once the filter was off I saw that the magnet was diagonal on the nipple and it did not come off with the filter. The magnet looks for all intents like a small diameter 1 inch fender washer and itís about 1/8th of an inch thick.

1. Old filter waiting to be removed.
2. Filter Magnet; Located on nipple between the filter and the base.
3. Oemy Fleetrite TES-295 fluid and new filter.

I struggled a bit, but I got the magnet off and inspected it. I did not see any residue or metallic particles on the magnet. That was an excellent outcome I thought. The magnet is then fitted to the base plate nipple and pushed up to the top of the baseplate. Once the magnet is in place it is held there by magnetism. I pre-charged the new Allison (29539579) filter by tilting and slowly adding fluid to the outside holes in the top of the filter. This assures that whatever oil is in the center of the filter has been filtered. I filled the can to about 90% capacity. The gasket being wet, I moved my finger around the circumference of the gasket. I positioned the filter up toward the baseplate and engaged the threads and snugged the filter. After the filter stops, you need to turn it 1 complete turn by hand and thatís it. I used a rag so the filter would not slip and continued 1 more full turn noting the print on the filter case. I finished up by wiping the filter case and that was that.

Finished and ready to come out from under the vehicle, I pushed out the open pail, old filter, wrenches and rags. At this point I am ready to begin filling the transmission. The challenge here is that the transmission dipstick fill tube is at such a shallow angle that you need a funnel that has a flexible tube that can be inserted in the fill tube. I just so happened to have one. The funnel I used is made out of plastic and has about a 32 ounce capacity and a fine mesh screen on the bottom of the funnel. A clear plastic tube is fitted on the funnel which has about a ĹĒ ID. If you are looking for this type of funnel, itís inexpensive and is available at the Walmart.

New Allison spin-on control filter installed. Hand tighten snug plus 1 full turn.

Having a funnel is essential however even with the best funnels unless the neck can completely come out of the engine compartment, you cannot easily add fluid from a gallon container. My solution was to get a more manageable smaller bottle. I used a clear 1 liter water bottle after it was dried out. What I did was transfer from the gallon and partially fill a liter bottle some 12 times. Good exercise I thought and I didnít spill any except for a few drops from the funnel I used to fill the liter bottle. I added just about 11 quarts of fluid when I figured that I would be good to start the engine. I stuck the dipstick into the transmission to check the fluid and although there was fluid on the stick, this was a useless gesture since the level was way past the ďhotĒ mark. I left the dip stick in place and went inside and started the engine. I quickly went outside and checked underneath the rig for leaks and there were none. I went around to the driverís side and got underneath and checked the filter and it was dry.

I ran the engine for about 30 or more minutes until the engine was indicating about 195 to 200 degrees. The TFT (transmission fluid temperature) was nearing 140 degrees at this point and well within operational temperatures. With the motorhome level and in park, I began checking the fluid level. It was difficult to get the fluid to give me a line on the dipstick so I kept sticking and checking. After about 20 more minutes, I finally got a got a line on the dipstick I could see. The fluid and dipstick were now getting ďhotĒ and I could see that the level was right in the middle between the cold and hot hash marks. I elected to add an additional 1/3 of a quart and I checked the level again. The fluid level was now into the ďhotĒ hash marks and I figured that this was right where the level needed to be. There is no need to fill the transmission to the top of the hash marks. Do not overfill is rule #1. I estimate that I added 11 1/3 quarts of Transynd all together. I have approximately 2/3s of a quart of fluid left over that will probably last me until the next ice age.

A life saver time and again, 2" nylon, 1/2 drive oil filter strap wrench. Source: NAPA.

I made an entry in my service records for a fluid change at 93,155.7 miles, I am good to go for another 4 years. In all, this is my 3rd fluid and filter change on my transmission. You can do this; just take your time and donít rush it.

Thank you for reading and offering your comments and ratings. Please keep them coming folks!

I am providing answers to questions back in the original discussion
in the Workhorse Custom Chassis Motorhome Forum located:. --> HERE<--
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Total Comments 13


  1. Old Comment
    edgray's Avatar
    Good article and pictures. However, I did find it a little hard to believe........the part about you being "oblivious"
    Posted 08-27-2011 at 07:48 PM by edgray edgray is offline
  2. Old Comment
    quadnkev's Avatar
    Very good write up and the pictures made for a clear description of the labor operation.
    Thanks for effort.
    Posted 08-27-2011 at 07:57 PM by quadnkev quadnkev is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Full-Timers's Avatar
    Nice job and it came at a timely manor since I plan to do mine soon.
    A couple of questions though.
    Question #1. I understand the capacity of the Allison 1000 is aprox 3 gallons. You say you drained about that. I am changing from standard to synthetic. If I can get aprox 3 gallons out why do I need to do it again to get 100% synthetic?
    Question #2. What happened to your drain plug seal? Can I expect this to happen to mine?
    Question #3. Why did you NOT tighten the drain plug to torque specs?
    Posted 08-27-2011 at 10:07 PM by Full-Timers Full-Timers is offline
  4. Old Comment
    pkmesser's Avatar
    I just went through the same procedure a few weeks back. I too had trouble with a good funnel to refill. I suspect yours was better. Didn't think about transferring to a smaller container until the last gallon was to go in. Now, what is strange, I took over 14 qts out, refilled with almost 15. I did tilt the MH with the jacks to get more out as the drainplug is one one side of the pan, and recessed.
    Posted 08-27-2011 at 11:50 PM by pkmesser pkmesser is offline
  5. Old Comment
    RVJeeper's Avatar
    Thanks for the excellent and very descriptive post, DriVer! The trans fluid/filter change is on my to-do list and your step-by-step description of the process is very much appreciated!
    Posted 08-28-2011 at 09:14 AM by RVJeeper RVJeeper is offline
  6. Old Comment
    mllk3rd's Avatar
    Thanks, great Blog, just one question - How much fluid is in the torque converter?
    Posted 08-28-2011 at 01:01 PM by mllk3rd mllk3rd is online now
  7. Old Comment
    As Alway, good job and good info for the DIY. I like the idea ( quanty out = quanty IN ) as a good indicator on whats the refill amount. Checking the full amount on the trans dip stick has alway been a challenge for me.
    Thanks - The Pictures help -I like your strap wrench.
    Posted 08-28-2011 at 01:39 PM by gg gg is offline
  8. Old Comment
    DriVer's Avatar
    Originally Posted by mllk3rd View Comment
    Thanks, great Blog, just one question - How much fluid is in the torque converter?
    I don't think that we have established that but it could be 2 or 3 quarts+ but I would think that's a lot. We need to find that out.
    Posted 08-28-2011 at 05:07 PM by DriVer DriVer is offline
  9. Old Comment
    rgvtexan's Avatar
    I use a small transfer pump. It was in the tool box (used to change il in the boat)
    Posted 08-30-2011 at 10:41 AM by rgvtexan rgvtexan is offline
  10. Old Comment
    DriVer's Avatar
    Originally Posted by rgvtexan View Comment
    I use a small transfer pump. It was in the tool box (used to change il in the boat)
    That'll work just fine!
    Posted 08-30-2011 at 07:47 PM by DriVer DriVer is offline
  11. Old Comment
    DriVer's Avatar
    Originally Posted by mllk3rd View Comment
    Thanks, great Blog, just one question - How much fluid is in the torque converter?
    According to our resident expert in these matters, "Mr. Transynd", he has shared with us that there are going to be 2 to 3 gallons of fluid that do not drain out of the converter depending on whether you are running a 1000/2000/3000/4000 series transmission.
    Posted 08-31-2011 at 12:11 PM by DriVer DriVer is offline
  12. Old Comment
    hzjcm8's Avatar

    Excellent write up and photos. A job well done. Thanks for sharing with everyone. The only thing I'd add is oil analysis once per year to ensure the fluid isn't contaminated in any way (water and/or coolant). I will try to verify with others from Allison about how much is left in the torque converter; also, it depends on whether or not the torque converter drains back to the sump. But, even if it drains back, there's still half of the volume below the transmission center line that you can't ever drain. That's why I always recommend a double drain and refill. You can check the affect of your method by doing an oil analysis and observing the viscosity reading at 100C. It should be around 7.0 cSt (centi-Stokes) or higher if you've got around 90% TranSynd (or another TES-295). If it's less than 7.0 cSt, then you're seeing the affect of the old sheared down fluid.

    Bottom Line: Excellent job; well written; great help to all.
    Posted 08-31-2011 at 05:03 PM by hzjcm8 hzjcm8 is offline
  13. Old Comment
    Edouard's Avatar
    I just read this DIY trans oil change you posted, as we changed ours in May 09, just after picking up the new to us MH in AZ. Great post, and yes I will make a note to change the trans fluid next May, it'll be 48 months. Thank you.
    Posted 07-23-2012 at 05:08 PM by Edouard Edouard is offline
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