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Transmission flush or drop the pan and fill?

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Old 06-06-2014, 04:12 AM   #1
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Default Transmission flush or drop the pan and fill?

Hi guys. I just got a 2001 F150 5.4L lariat. I always like to replace all the fluids when I get an used vehicle. The truck has 159K miles on it. The tranny shifts fine from I can tell. I have read and heard the stories about flushing it with this kind of mileage.

The fluid on the dip stick is not bright red, is like a red brown color. I doesn't smell burnt. The place I had always taken my vehicles to do the "tranny flush" uses a machine that put the fliud thru the tranny fluid dip stick with a small double hose. They turn the vehicle on and the machine has some kind of sensor that will tell when the fluid is clean. The machine then sucks some of the old fluid out and fill some of the new. It continues to do this until the sensor senses the fluid is clean. Will this machine be a safer bet as doing the tranny service? I don't see this machine pressurizing the system. I asked the manager one time about and they said they used to have old flushing type machine but they were having alot of problems after the flush so their company switched to these machines. They say is safer with this machine.

I have done my 1998 firebird transmission service like this three times. I did the 1st one with 46K, and two more after that. The firebird has 139k and not a since issue with the transmission.

I'm very familiar with doing the dropping the pan, change the filter and put in the lost fluid back in.

What to do guys think? Thanks.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:38 AM   #2
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Now that is kind of a tricky situation. It's common understanding that when you change the fluid at a high mileage when it hasn't been changed in so long, it generally causes more problems...

I however have never had this problem, I have changed high mileage transmissions before without so much as a hiccup. My bronco had similar mileage, and I changed the fluid soley due to the fact that I was getting torque convertor shudder. Changing the fluid alieviated the problem. However, on these transmission I don't know how they would react. I would suggest changing just the fluid in the pan, and the filter. It'll only change about half the fluid, but you get a fresh filter in there...

Other than that I wouldn't change all the fluid completely unless it gets burnt.


I just changed the fluid on my 2001 with 100k miles. The fluid was nice, red and clean still when I drained it but I changed the fluid in the pan, and drained the torque convertor.


We should get some more opinions.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:49 AM   #3
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I would do a pan drop and filter change, but I would not do a flush at that mileage. The flush is what causes problems - all the debris/particles are dislodged and end up getting in areas of the transmission that you don't want. Nothing is disturbed when you do a pan drop - granted not all the fluid is removed, but since your transmission shifts fine now, it's a much less risky alternative.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:52 AM   #4
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I would (and did) drop the pan and change the filter.
I also added a drain plug to my pan so over the next few weeks I can drain and replace the fluid 2-3 times to basically end up with a complete fluid change.
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:59 AM   #5
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well You don't really need to "flush" the system either. You can remove nearly all of the fluid buy draining the torque convertor as well. The TC has a drain plug, and it holds like 5 quarts or something like that. The rest of the fluid would be in the cooling lines and the cooler. You can disconnect that from your transmission, and blow compressed air through to get the fluid out. You only need 20psi or so of air, just enough to move the fluid through, not force it. After that it will take nearly 14 quarts to fill the transmission up properly.
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyroc14 View Post
well You don't really need to "flush" the system either. You can remove nearly all of the fluid buy draining the torque convertor as well. The TC has a drain plug, and it holds like 5 quarts or something like that. The rest of the fluid would be in the cooling lines and the cooler. You can disconnect that from your transmission, and blow compressed air through to get the fluid out. You only need 20psi or so of air, just enough to move the fluid through, not force it. After that it will take nearly 14 quarts to fill the transmission up properly.
'01 does not have the plug on the converter (I think it stopped in '99 or '00).
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Old 06-06-2014, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blupupher View Post
'01 does not have the plug on the converter (I think it stopped in '99 or '00).
thats incorrect. They stopped half way through 01. I have an 01, and mine has one...

Granted, the OP may, or may not have one...
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:29 PM   #8
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i read of those with a '99 without them too though?
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:31 PM   #9
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i read of those with a '99 without them too though?
don't know? Depends on your trans I suppose
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Old 06-06-2014, 11:27 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies guys. I will just do the pan and filter. How hard is to add a drain plug to the tranny pan?
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:01 AM   #11
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It wasn't too hard.

I followed this thread for help.

I got my
drain plug drain plug
,
Wix filter Wix filter
and
anarobic gasket anarobic gasket
maker from Amazon for like $25. I got my fluid from Walmart, Supertech brand is like $4.50/qt, the cheapest I could find and works just fine.
Only thing I would do different is drill the pan first, I made a huge mess dropping a full pan.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:42 AM   #12
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I agree with having a pan with a drain plug. You should be able to find an OEM style pan with drain plug for a reasonable price. Look at the filter before you change it, most times a Ford trans filter is a wire screen. Not worth the effort to change in my opinion, it doesn't really do anything but block large debris.

This is my preferred method of trans maintenance, drain at oil change if fluid is even slightly discolored. Makes service so much simpler. If trans pan has a magnet remove it and use a magnetic drain plug.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:24 PM   #13
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Thanks guys. I will do the pan, filter and fluid change only.
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Old 06-09-2014, 01:15 AM   #14
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I'de drop the pan, drain that fluid only, replace filter. Reassemble, top off fluid. Then after maybe another 1000 miles, do it all over again, drop pan, drain that fluid only, replace filter. Then maybe go another 3000k miles and do it all over again. Slowly cleaning it out and getting rid of any crap that might be in there instead of doing it all at once.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:16 PM   #15
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so I finally got the drop and fill yesterday. I let my local mechanic do it since he had the lift. He only charge me $40 bucks. The bad news is that the transmission was never serviced. It still had the OEM plastic plug that falls into the pan. There was a decent amount of big pieces of metal in the magnet. He suggested me to get it rebuilt as soon as I can afford it.

I do noticed the truck feels a little slugish taking off after the new filter and 5 quarts of fluid. Hopefully It lasts for a few months. I got a quote of $1200 from my local transmission guy.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:28 PM   #16
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You know the saying.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It could die tomorrow or it could die in another 100k. Don't rebuild on a account of what was on the magnet unless you have an issue.

But, $1200 is CHEAP as all get out. Mine was $3200 for a Ford reman.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayta98 View Post
so I finally got the drop and fill yesterday. I let my local mechanic do it since he had the lift. He only charge me $40 bucks. The bad news is that the transmission was never serviced. It still had the OEM plastic plug that falls into the pan.
I always put that plug with O-ring back in the Pan. Check the degas Bottle if you see any red or something that looks like rust the Oil Cooler is leaking ATF to the radiator and Coolant to the tranny when engine is off. Just install a Magnetic Filter and Replace the Oil Cooler including the Radiator.


It's Stupid to Flush any tranny components. It's impossible to clean Oil Cooler because there are too many small passages.

Instead of adding tranny drain plug just buy a Pneumatic/Manual fluid extractor. you can use it to suck fluid out of the dipstick tube. But you still need to remove the pan to insoect for metal particles sticking on the magnet.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:20 PM   #18
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$4 drain plug vs $50-100 for a Pneumatic Fluid Extractor. Granted you can use them for other purposes and many vehicles.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:45 PM   #19
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$4 drain plug vs $50-100 for a Pneumatic Fluid Extractor. Granted you can use them for other purposes and many vehicles.
A manual hand pump only cost $10-15. You just need a large bottle and install a fitting that will fit the 2 hoses and seal it up. It's better than installing a drain plug that add another leak spot. It will be more easier to remove tranny fluid incase it was overfilled

Actually you only need the hose included in the pump because you easily create a Venturi by installing a small hose fitting in a garden hose near the faucet. When you turn the water on it will create suction.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by w0lvez View Post
A manual hand pump only cost $10-15. You just need a large bottle and install a fitting that will fit the 2 hoses and seal it up. It's better than installing a drain plug that add another leak spot. It will be more easier to remove tranny fluid incase it was overfilled

Actually you only need the hose included in the pump because you easily create a Venturi by installing a small hose fitting in a garden hose near the faucet. When you turn the water on it will create suction.
I like where your head is at, but the $4 drain plug still has my vote.
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Old 06-27-2014, 04:04 PM
 
 
 
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