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Old 09-08-2015, 04:35 AM   #1
JWA
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4R70W Trans Flush

After a lengthy rumination period I finally took the leap and did the DIY version of this process where we completely exchange older ATF for new. I've heard the myths and horror stories of complete transmission fluid exchange causing premature failures etc but after reading a few comments by Mr Mark Kolvolsky on FTE it didn't seem to be nearly as dangerous as feared or described. (It didn't hurt I finally made connections with a local customer/friend who'll completely rebuild a 4R70W for about $400 with another $300 cost to R&I the trans if vehicle is towed to him. )

I did this complete this past weekend on the daily driver work van with 211K+ miles on the clock. This particular transmission had previously been serviced with the typical 5 qts + filter at 80K miles and again at 172K miles. I have another E250 with 275K miles on the original transmssion I'll be doing this same exchange on soon---its running so well $110 for a bit of upkeep is pennies all things considered.

The process is super simple, can be done with just one person and requires very little in terms of tools: 10' 3/8: clear tubing, pliers, screwdriver, hose clamps along with a suitable 5 gallon bucket or container. Apart from storing spent fluid we need to know how much ATF has been removed during the different steps a single-person operation entails. Naturally new ATF and a filter are required too.

First thing noticed after completion is a greatly reduced time for the transmission to engage after a gear is selected by the shift level. After 50K+ miles driving this transmission such a comparison is easy to make. Test drive reveals a smoother shifts both up and down, not a bit of lag that might be attributed to the trans itself rather than the PCM strategies.

Overall I spent $110 for fluid + filter from the dealership no less---they had the best price per quart on the ATF, filter pretty much normal cost if obtained elsewhere. Having spent several months searching for best prices on the ATF it was on a whim I called the dealership---was shocked they were best price.

Here's Mark's article on the how to: http://www.ford-trucks.com/articles/...-transmission/. There are a few minor differences when done on an E-Series however they're almost insignificant in the overall. The only real thing to know in advance is its best to have at least 15 quarts of ATF ready even though his recommendations the 4R70W's require only 13. My own experience shows 15 is needed, having 16 standing by wouldn't be a bad thing.

So anyway I'm a full convert now on a job not much more complex than an oil change or coolant replacement. I might do a small write up but honestly don't know how to improve on Mark's article. Anyone with specific questions about this process on a 4R70W in an E-Series chassis I can help---any other transmission in any other vehicle or chassis I'm NOT the guy to ask!
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Old 09-08-2015, 07:23 AM   #2
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Re: 4R70W Trans Flush

Excellent! Where do you dispose/recycle the old trans fluid?
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Old 09-08-2015, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: 4R70W Trans Flush

That is the method I use. About every 100,000 miles. Last time I had the pan/5-qt service was around 170,000 miles. I'm at 410,000 now. By 100k the fluid starts to look a little brown but has never had the slightest amount of burnt smell (it actually smells a little sour, which is probably from acid buildup).
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Old 09-09-2015, 04:27 AM   #4
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Re: 4R70W Trans Flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
Excellent! Where do you dispose/recycle the old trans fluid?
It's recycled the same as spent motor oil----most likely what I have will be used in Clean Burn brand shop furnaces typically found in shops where larger quantities of engine oil's can be found.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb
That is the method I use. About every 100,000 miles. Last time I had the pan/5-qt service was around 170,000 miles. I'm at 410,000 now. By 100k the fluid starts to look a little brown but has never had the slightest amount of burnt smell (it actually smells a little sour, which is probably from acid buildup).
Oddly enough my "old" fluid didn't smell at all which was the first thing I checked which the initial pan draining was complete. I didn't expect any horrendous orders, what I removed smelled normal.

I did notice the new fluid absolutely stinks----very odd pungent strong odor, not sure how to describe it. Unpleasant is as good a description I can provide.

Something I forgot in the original post was how shifting through the gears during the 3rd go 'round of replenishing the fluid brought a lot of the older stuff out, the color of the fluid changing colors for a short time. This is mentioned as part of the flush which from my observations makes perfect sense.
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Old 09-09-2015, 09:56 AM   #5
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Re: 4R70W Trans Flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by boywonder
Excellent! Where do you dispose/recycle the old trans fluid?
Mine goes out in a milk jug with the curbside recycling. You are supposed to use a clear or translucent jug so they can identify it easier.
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Old 09-16-2015, 03:21 AM   #6
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Re: 4R70W Trans Flush

Updating this only to add I've just completed another full flush, this time on an '00 E250, same 4R70W transmission only this one has 275,685 miles----last 5 qts & filter done about 40K miles ago. That year does find a drain plug in the torque converter but that step and its attendant (potential) mess can be avoided by the flush method.

Pretty much same results; more quickly engagement of gears, smoother shifts both up and down. Very satisfying result!

I am noticing the 4R70W takes about 15 quarts ATF to complete the flush---I've heard it would take about 13. Knowing or suspecting this I bought 16 quarts this time, have one for an extra now. Running two E250's pretty much exactly alike it'll hardly go unused.
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Old 05-23-2022, 06:17 AM   #7
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Not necessilary necro-mining old threads, not without a purpose anyway.

I'm about to do this yet again on a 2005 E-350 with a 4R75E transmission that was rebuilt about 52K miles ago. I'll can somewhat refine this procedure to better fit my one-man project and not create one bit of mess. I did discover there is fairly easy access to the hard lines under the dog house--once removed they're right there. Trying to access these lines under the van you'll find the exhaust system heat shields make this almost impossible.

One thing I'll do is remove the ATF via the transmission cooler return line to make sure I'm refreshing the radiator and auxiliary cooler fluid during this exchange or "flush" at the same time.

I will replace a NAPA magnetic in-line filter(1-8721) but not the factory filter located inside the pan, according to Mark K of FTE fame its simply not necessary. When this job is done again in another 50K miles both filters will be replaced. Having installed a pan drain some time ago this will be quite a bit easier with the pan being empty. FWIW the NAPA 1-8721 installed during the reman'd transmission installation was almost a requirement from my transmission guy.)

I'll do my best to grab some photos as a help to anyone else doing this---hoping it becomes useful.
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Old 05-23-2022, 10:56 PM   #8
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It looks like there is a new Magnefine 3/8" universal inline filter in a metal can to replace the plastic NAPA magnetic in-line filter(1-8721)


https://www.magnefinefilters.com/NEW...8M-3810000.htm

also available at Amazon


https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0787KWZPS...NsaWNrPXRydWU=
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by posplayr View Post
It looks like there is a new Magnefine 3/8" universal inline filter in a metal can to replace the plastic NAPA magnetic in-line filter(1-8721)
That's all well and good but one version has zero advantages or disadvantages over the other. If we want to over-analyze this the metal can can rust, the plastic not so much. The case of the plastic version is quite thick so there's little to no chance of the material not holding up to the job.

I bought mine locally, no waiting for it to be shipped etc or dealing with the possible other hassles with buying online.

Six of one, half dozen of another--if these sorts of filters are replaced every 50-100K miles they will survive without incident. They're replaceable for a reason.
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Old 05-24-2022, 05:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWA View Post
That's all well and good but one version has zero advantages or disadvantages over the other. If we want to over-analyze this the metal can can rust, the plastic not so much. The case of the plastic version is quite thick so there's little to no chance of the material not holding up to the job.

I bought mine locally, no waiting for it to be shipped etc or dealing with the possible other hassles with buying online.

Six of one, half dozen of another--if these sorts of filters are replaced every 50-100K miles they will survive without incident. They're replaceable for a reason.
Well the old ones only seem to be available on eBay for $40+ as they are sold out at most all other locations.

https://www.napaonline.com/en/p/ATP18721
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