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Old 03-04-2013, 04:53 PM   #1
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conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

i am getting conflicting answers about whether or not to hook my tranny up to a pump and doing complete trasmission flush. got people on both sides of the fence that i trust and value thier opinions, so im kinda at a loss and looking to this group for advice and any past experiences your all willing to provide.

the rig is a 03 7.3 w/150k on the odometer. a search only yeilded me a few pages of people talking about flushing thier tranny, but not much else.

one side is telling me that doing a full flush is absolutly a priority and that nothing bad can come from doing so.

the other side is saying that when you flush a high miliage tranny without prior history of it being done in regular intervals in the past that you take a risk of knocking all the shit that has settled in all the knooks and crannys loose and back into the system and guarantee that when doing so, that in its self will mess up your tranny, which has actually happened to me in the past with a honda car. this group tells me that 90% of the time when they do flushes on the high milers that the trannys start acting up soon after, shifting weird, slipping, and eventually die within a 4-6 months and end up needing rebuilt. same exact deal that happened with my integra...the only other auto tranny ive ever owned. this group is telling me its not specific to fords, but just in general.

my tranny isnt acting up in the least bit, but after a hard 4 day weekend in wyoming making 30+ trips up and down the teton pass with anywhere from 10-13 people per trip and a 300 mile trip there and back with 9 passengers a couple of weeks ago, i checked the fluid and it has a bit of a burnt smell. so its time to at least change the filter and fluid. ive contacted the prior owners (a company), trying to obtain prior service records, but they will not return any of my calls.

id also be interested to hear what, if any, special fluids you use, what to stay away from etc. what intervals...basically any insight would be appreciated, tia!
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Old 03-04-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

IMO, John Woods of John Woods Transmissions (CA) and Brian Thompson of BTS Transmissions (AR) are the top two 4R100 transmission rebuilders in the entire country. They can be a little hard to get hold of (call early in the morning) but their opinions are invaluable. I don't think either of them will try to sell you a rebuild if you don't need one.


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Old 03-04-2013, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

A good transmission mechanic can take a look at the fuid and give you an idea of the service it's recieved. If it looks like it's never been serviced they usually advice to drive it until it fails. If it looks realitively clean, they'll flush.

Another option is to split the difference. Drop the pan to drain instead of a full flush. More expensive from a labor standpoint though.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #4
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

I would not do a pressure flush using an external machine. They can blow-out seals. It forces to do the fluid to do things it normally would't do.

If you drop the pan, you'll see the only place that sludge accumulates is in the very bottom of the pan and that a "flush" isn't necessary. Normally I don't even recommend dropping the pan since you can do your own drain and fill using the van's own transmission pump. But.... dropping the pan can show you what's going on inside.

Also be very wary of quickie-lube exchange machines. These ones often recycle transmission fluid by filtering it and adding some new detergents. But it doesn't restore oil condition, and the main problem is contamination from all the different ATFs used now.
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Old 03-04-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

What about the torque converter?
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
What about the torque converter?
That's interconnected and uses the same fluid.

Or are you asking if it doesn't stir things up as well? If so, I suspect the answer is that it doesn't, at least not in the same way.

FWIW, my general mechanic (who's honestly invested in saving his customers money, sometimes to a fault) has recommended partial draining (dropping the pan would accomplish that) and filling in a similar situation like you're in (not on the van, but a volvo with an aisin warner). The outcome so far (15-20k miles) has been improved shifting and no ill effects.

I'm with you about being wary, but I'd also want to do something about the burnt smelling fluid.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:24 PM   #7
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

Yeah, I'm wondering how to flush the tranny and torque converter all at once. When it drains does all the old fluid come out of the converter or do you use something to push new fluid through the whole trany? My buddy has a shop and used a machine to push fluid through the system I was told. If that is bad for the trany as stated, how does Ford do it?
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

Ford connects to the cooler lines as well, except their "machine" is basically a split-chamber which makes sure the same amount goes back in that comes out.

I do the cooler line-into-a-bucket method for myself.

It is possible to drain the torque converter separately, but I don't feel its necessary unless contamination is suspected (i.e. radiator leak, or metal present in the pan). Normal fluid flow means the fluid gets pumped through the TC anyways.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Yeah, I'm wondering how to flush the tranny and torque converter all at once. When it drains does all the old fluid come out of the converter or do you use something to push new fluid through the whole trany? My buddy has a shop and used a machine to push fluid through the system I was told. If that is bad for the trany as stated, how does Ford do it?
When you drain the pan and replace the filter, you only replace about 50% of the fluid. The other half remains in the Torque Converter, Transmission, Cooler and Lines. Some old cars had drain plugs on the converter, but you don't see that any more.

I would say, that if your transmission is well worn, nothing you do will change that. Changing or flushing the fluid will not make worn "soft parts" (clutches, bands, seals...) go bad, nor will it hurt "hard parts" (bearings, steels, gears...).

If your transmission fails shortly after a fluid change or flush - it was on its last legs anyway.

On the other hand, keeping the fluid clean and not broken down from heat is the best thing you can do for your transmission.

You can get overly anal about vehicle service (marketing has done that to us) - some transmission are not even serviceable and you couldn't change the fluid if you wanted to.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:25 AM   #10
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Re: conflicting answers about doing a tranny flush.

^^^ya, the same guy whos telling me not to hook it up to a pump does a lot of service work on vw/audis that have "non serviceable" trannys. he has a way to change fluids in them. says its a pita, but personally, id want new fluids at least once and a while, lol.

and yes, i can most definitely be anal, but im still learing about this vehicle. i plan on having it a long time and want to do everything i can to ensure its reliability and longevity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
I would not do a pressure flush using an external machine. They can blow-out seals. It forces to do the fluid to do things it normally would't do.
thank you for the info. This was one of my main concerns.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
Also be very wary of quickie-lube exchange machines.
I never use these places. Well i did back in the 1900's, but not anymore. I know the right people now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadScience
I'm with you about being wary, but I'd also want to do something about the burnt smelling fluid.
I planned on replacing fluids and filter regardless. That part was never a question in my mind.

The fluid was good before our trip, super clear, and no burnt smell. We just gave it a workout that weekend and since I dont know its history, I was contemplating having a full service when i gave it new blood. However after these responces, I think ill stick with just a fliter/fluid change.

appreciate all that took the time to reply!

oh, and any recommendations on what fluids, or just stay with oem? when i was originally searching, I saw that some people were using Amsoil, but the posts didnt say what vehicle or tranny it was.
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