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Old 08-15-2012, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Should I drain the torque converter?

Hey all,

So last week I changed my transmission filter in my 2001 5.4L 4x4 and it went pretty well. A bit messy but no problem. I followed the process in my Haynes guide.

Now I read in the Ford repair manual (that I just got) and they mention draining the torque converter. As does the following article.
http://www.fordf150.net/howto/transmission.php

Kind of ticked me off that Haynes did not even mention it.

Now the thing is, other people have said that they stopped putting drain plugs on the TC sometime in Late 00 or Early 01. I don't even know if I have one.

Also, I would need to get a helper to turn the engine to even look for the plug.

But seeing as I just changed the fluid that was in the tranny (4.5 QTs) should I bother to even look at the TC? The fluid was pretty dirty and the truck has about 185K Miles.

What should I do? I don't feel like spending money on new fluid (14Qts this time plus the 5 from last time) and doing the whole thing again but I will if I really need to.

opinions?
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:03 PM   #2
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You can't even swap half the fluid by just dropping the pan. If you want to get it all you need to drain the TQ
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #3
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You will be fine if you didn't drain your tq
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Well, before you know whether you should drain the torque converter or not you need to know if your transmission fluid has ever been changed before. Was the fluid that came out of the pan burnt? Did 4-5 Quarts come out when you drained the pan, or less? How much metal shavings where on your magnet? My father is a regional manager of 4 different Perfection Tires in Washington State and per their policy they cannot drain the torque converter without warning the customer of potential risk. That risk is that if parts of the transmission are being held up by the fluid in the torque converter fall out of place it could ruin your transmission or introduce issues you never had before. Was there a yellow bobber in your pan? If so, the pan had never been dropped, which generally means the fluid has never been changed. If the fluid in your truck has never been changed and it has 185K miles on it, its WAY past due. It's generally accepted that a full drain should be done around every 30K gained miles on the odometer for best results. At 185k miles I wouldn't even entertain a torque converter drain. I would suggest a pan drop w/ filter change every 7K miles until she dies. When you drop the pan, a little over 1/3 of the fluid is renewed with new fluid and that fluid mixes w/ the fluid in the torque converter. My concept is if you do a pan drop every 7k miles w/o draining the torque converter more pure fluids will mix with the older fluids, making a more pure mixture, without risking the destruction of your transmission.


How do I know all this? Well, I did the same thing as you, but I was told by several people, including my father to NOT do a full drain in case my fluid had never been changed in my truck w/ 115K miles on it. I dropped the pan only to find the yellow bobber, indicating my fluid had never been changed. I am not to concerned however because the fluid that drained from the pan was still a brownish redish color, vs a burnt red color, a total of 4-5 quarts drained out, and I had very little metal shavings on my pan magnet.
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Last edited by m3t4lm4n222; 08-15-2012 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 08-15-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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Hey thanks for the insight.
You're the first I've read of anyone suggesting that draining the TC could cause an issue in the tranny. Never thought about it that way.

Anyone else heard of a warning like that about draining the TC?

The yellow dust plug was still in the pan so it looks like it had never been dropped. I do plan on changing the fluid and filter more often. I did get the full amount of fluid out of the pan, about 4.5 Qt. But I had the fluid topped up a while ago. It was pretty ugly looking. I would not say burnt but was certainly a dark reddish brown.

I did not notice any really large chunks of metal but there was certainly some shinny stuff in the drain pan bottom. Nothing shocking though.

I'm going to start towing a smallish travel trailer with this truck and I'm working on getting it into top shape. Change all fluids and fix various little things. Overall the truck runs very well.

Suggestions appreciated.
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #6
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I drained to torque converter myself on mine without any help. What I did was took the rubber plug out of the bell housing, took a big flat tip screw driver and turned the torque converter using the teeth on the flywheel until I saw the drain plug.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:55 PM   #7
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You shouldn't drain a high-mileage TC because you WANT the crap to stay in your tranny? I'll not ask you to explain that one.
After years in Ford dealerships (not tire shops) I can tell you that there is no reason to not drain all the fluid you can. The vehicle should have been warmed up and even driven around the block if you can stand the heat. Drain everything you can and replace it with fresh. Why contaminate the new fluid any further than needed?
The total flush machine that we used was the ideal way to go- it flushed the entire system and replaced all the fluid. And mileage was never an issue. If the fluid was dark but not "burnt" it got changed. "Burnt" meant you had other real issues.
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:17 AM   #8
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Many shops are now using tranny flushers. A combination of pan drop & filter change/fluid flush is the way to go. With the flush, fluid level never goes low. It's done with engine running and the transmission pump flows fluid out while clean fluid gets returned at almost the same rate and pressure.
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Old 08-16-2012, 10:28 AM   #9
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The official ford process I've read is to drain the TC if possible. I think I will do.

However they do also say that when you do so, you should put a NEW PLUG in the TC and not reuse the old one.

I found that strange... Anyone have insight on that?


Also, I'm thinking that I will put a drain plug on my transmission oil pan. It will make frequent fluid changes much easier.
Anything to be aware of when doing this? Type of fitting/washer/gasket etc?

Last edited by Roscoet; 08-16-2012 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UFM82 View Post
You shouldn't drain a high-mileage TC because you WANT the crap to stay in your tranny? I'll not ask you to explain that one.
After years in Ford dealerships (not tire shops) I can tell you that there is no reason to not drain all the fluid you can. The vehicle should have been warmed up and even driven around the block if you can stand the heat. Drain everything you can and replace it with fresh. Why contaminate the new fluid any further than needed?
The total flush machine that we used was the ideal way to go- it flushed the entire system and replaced all the fluid. And mileage was never an issue. If the fluid was dark but not "burnt" it got changed. "Burnt" meant you had other real issues.
The idea is that if you drain the torque converter without a total flush machine when the old fluid comes out something on the transmission will fall out of place because the fluid was holding it in. How does that not make sense to you? I've been told this by #1. My father, a regional manager of 4 different tire/service shops #2. My uncle, who has been working at a local Ford Dealership as a mechanic for 4 years. He's asking about draining the torque converter himself, not by using a total flush machine that puts new fluid in while its draining out the old fluid. I'm just trying to make him aware of the risks. If a vehicle has 185K miles on it and never had a transmission fluid change draining the torque converter the traditional way could introduce issues. My father assures its not a myth. He's had vehicles have to be pushed out of the shop after doing a full flush. Just because it's called "Perfection Tire" doesn't mean they only do tires. They do things from lube service to engine and transmission rebuilds/swaps. http://www.perfectiontire.com/mechanical-services

ALSO IF YOU DON'T DO ANYTHING AND LEAVE YOUR OLD TRANSMISSION FLUID IN YOUR TRANSMISSION WILL LIKELY FAIL AS WELL. HENCE WHY I SUGGEST MULTIPLE PAN DROP/REFILLS OVER ~30K MILES At least w/ a Pan drop you exchange 1/3 of the old fluid out without risking anything.

http://www.naxja.org/forum/showthread.php?t=940214

http://www.gmtruckclub.com/forum/sho...#axzz23kWaZ8po

http://www.silveradosierra.com/trans...es-t14570.html

http://pontiacbonnevilleclub.com/for...p?f=19&t=18562

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...9205624AAxXiSM

http://mbworld.org/forums/c32-amg-c5...nsmission.html



I personally wouldn't risk it. Would you rather risk introducing transmission problems at 185K or see your transmission go past 200K miles.. But everyone has the right to do whatever they like to their vehicle. I am going to go w/ pan drop/filter change every ~7K miles to be safe considering it only costs $40 for 5 quarts of Mecron and a filter and less than an hour of my time vs thousands of dollars to get a new transmission installed.


^My gasket was re-usable on my pan. The gasket that came w/ the new filter was very thin and flimsy, so I cleaned off the old gasket and re-used it.





---------------------------------------My Pan Drop---------------------------------------------

Just FYI my transmission shifted extremely smooth and without a single issue before the pan drop and continues to shift smooth without issue after the pan drop.

http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/h...69786687_n.jpg

http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/h...35441514_n.jpg
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Last edited by m3t4lm4n222; 08-16-2012 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:52 PM
 
 
 
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