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Old 03-09-2014, 10:09 AM   #1
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Seasonal Maintenance Questions...

Now that the snow is melting and the temps are slowly rising I am thinking about what maintenance I need to do before the upcoming RV season starts.

I plan on changing the engine oil and oil in the generator, but I had a few other questions...

I have a 2013 Ford E-450 V10 chassis with ~ 5K on the odometer (Winnebago RV) towing a toad. Regarding the transmission fluid, the maintenance section of the manual stats that the transmission fluid only needs to be changed every 60K (no time requirement or difference if towing) for the 5 speed transmission. What are your thoughts on that mileage given that I have a toad?

Regarding the axle oil, it references lubrication for life. I assume this is synthetic fluid? No reoccurring maintenance required?

Is changing the differential fluid required? If so what is the mileage/age requirement?

And finally, given the large 60K change requirement for the transmission fluid change, is switching out the transmission and/or differential fluid to synthetic worthwhile? (Ex. Would I get more than 60K out of synthetic? Would there be noticeable decrease in heat?) A local shop that does good work on RVs charges ~$350 for transmission change and ~$150 for differential (both synthetic).
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:38 AM   #2
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30K-60K is what I do on the trans. You check for pinkness and sweet smell. If either are gone, about time to swap fluid.

Diff fluid should be changed at some point, I usually say 100K. I wouldn't assume it's synthetic.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:22 PM   #3
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Your transmission already has a synthetic transmission fluid. Mercon LV is a synthetic fluid that in many applications (including dump trucks in the 6R140) can go 150K between fluid changes. You cannot really check the fluid for color or smell as you would be replacing it every few thousand miles because Mercon LV is different. It naturally turns dark over time. This is normal. Ford had to issue a bulletin about this due to many concerns because if it. The smaller front 6 speed transmissions discolor within 5k miles.

As far as time goes, that is a good question. Average time is 6 years between transmission services. I figure this by an average of 10K miles a year and the recommended 60K miles for the fluid change. You can go 12K a year for the calculation also. The rear differential should be filled with 75-140 synthetic gear lube. In many cases it is recommended to replace that fluid at 100K. You could figure every 10 years on replacement for that fluid also based on a 10K miles per year schedule.

Towing makes no difference for that transmission. A class C is no where near the weight of a 30K GCVR of a F53 chassis that that transmission is also put in.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:32 PM   #4
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A friend who owns a transmission shop and works on RVs, especially after they are towed to his shop, gave me some advice on how to maintain the transmission in my class A motorhome, a 2013 Itasca Sunova, Ford V-10. He recommended anytime pulling a car or trailer, or driving in the mountains, keep the transmission in "Tow/Haul" mode, not Overdrive. He also recommended changing the trans fluid every 24K. I trust his advice since his shop is busy fixing broken RV transmissions in the Smokey Mountains area.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rvbiker View Post
A friend who owns a transmission shop and works on RVs, especially after they are towed to his shop, gave me some advice on how to maintain the transmission in my class A motorhome, a 2013 Itasca Sunova, Ford V-10. He recommended anytime pulling a car or trailer, or driving in the mountains, keep the transmission in "Tow/Haul" mode, not Overdrive. He also recommended changing the trans fluid every 24K. I trust his advice since his shop is busy fixing broken RV transmissions in the Smokey Mountains area.
Either you misheard him or he does not know anything about tow/haul mode with a 5R110W transmission. You cannot prevent OD from engaging with a 5R110W (torqshift). Tow/haul will change shift scheduling, downshift management but will still allow the transmission to go into 6th gear when conditions are met. Tow/haul will help with shift management in mountains but the PCMs calibration and adaptive strategies will make sure there is plenty of clutch pressures to prevent any damage in any mode. Tow/haul is not needed for reliability.

Description and operation of tow/haul

When tow/haul mode is activated, the following occurs:
  • All forward gears are available.
  • Shifts occur at higher vehicle speeds to improve vehicle acceleration, reduce shift frequency and increase coast braking capability.
  • TCC operation occurs at lower vehicle speeds to improve transmission cooling and efficiency.
  • Upshifts are temporarily delayed during hill cresting to reduce transmission ratio hunting and to prepare for possible downshifts while descending a grade.
  • Engine braking is provided in all forward gear positions, D, 3, 2 and 1.
  • A PCM strategy, know as grade braking downshift automatically provides increased coast braking to assist the driver in maintaining a desired vehicle speed while descending a grade.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:14 PM   #6
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Hi Folks,
TeJay here. My background is 35 years studying and teaching automotive service and repair. I am not an expert in a lot of areas and since technology changes daily no one can really be a total expert. That said, I have read many, many posts from jamesXX951 and he is one of those guys that I accept his opinion especially on the Ford products since he is a Ford trained service technician. If he does not have the correct answer he knows where to find it.

When I first started reading this thread I was going to reply because I also have some experience with the synthetic fluids used by Ford but decided to wait to see if james was going to and sure enough there he was on post 3. His responses were much more detailed than mine would have been. But we were in agreement.

When individuals post they are just trying to assist others in making reasonable and sound service decisions. Most of the time it is in an effort to do the correct thing so $$$$ is not wasted and we all travel down the road safely and with fewer mechanical problems. Carefully evaluate as best as you can opinions posted. Don't just do a procedure based on one individuals stated opinion. It may be OK but sometimes things said here are just wrong. Get several opinions from some on here that have a good sound background in current service procedures.

If I have a serious service issue or question with my coach there are some on here that I would PM because of what they have posted over the years. Just last year I got about 5 pages of information on how to wire up my TOAD. The guy was well schooled and his info was spot on and a great help.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:32 AM   #7
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Stringfellow,
You said you were taking your MH out of storage and planned to change the engine/generator oil. I suggest you change oil before you put the MH in storage. Used oil has lots of nasty stuff in it. Leaving it in the engine for months is not a good idea. I suggest you change your oil and filter then drive the MH for 30 minutes to an hour right before you park it for storage. Same with the generator, oil and filter change then let the generator run while your driving the motor home for the 30 minutes to an hour. It's also a good idea to top off the fuel tank and treat the fuel with a fuel preservative. Again, do this just prior to driving it for the 30 minutes to an hour before parking it for storage. This will get preservative circulated through the system all the way to the fuel injectors in the coach engine and carburetor in the generator. Top off the tank again just before you park it. Condensation can not form in a full fuel tank. Topping off the tank will keep water out of your fuel and prevent rust on the inside of the tank. I always drain the fuel out of the generator carburetor as recommended by the manufacturer. If your using Ethanol fuel it's even more important to treat the fuel with preservative.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:07 PM   #8
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Top off the tank again just before you park it. Condensation can not form in a full fuel tank. Topping off the tank will keep water out of your fuel and prevent rust on the inside of the tank..
Technically condensation can still occur. Even though the fuel tank is topped off, there is still several inchs of air space at the top of the tank. The tank is designed to allow this air space. But I agree a fuel stabilizer for long term storage and running both engines long enough to get the additive throughout the system is a great idea.
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