I have a 99 F150 XL Automatic with 78k miles. The transmission fluid has never been changed. I was wondering if now would be a good time to change it? Some people have advised to change it while others have advised not to because it will change the viscosity of the parts and such and some people engine died after changing it... UGH Help... Its a great truck and I want to keep it that way!
Who said not to?... And what reason did they give? Ford recommends changing it at 30,000 miles if towing or "heavy" useage, and, believe me, they don't recommend more maintenance than necessary. Many of us feel that their normal scheduled maintenance is too little if you want to get maximum life.
If you use the proper fluid it can only restore the correct viscosity and additives, as well as remove contaminants. I can only assume that those who recommended you not change the fluid did not want to bother, or were unsure of their ability to do the job properly.
I went to the local lube place and I mentioned about a transmission fluid change and they said ".. we dont recommend changing the fluid with that many miles with it never being changed before. All the parts are lubed and when you flush it out and change it sometimes the new fluid causes the parts to loose the (i forget the word)... I've seen some trucks come in change it, and only make it 100 miles"
Then I was told that if the fluid currently looks burnt or something then not to change it...
NOT to change it if it looks burnt??? Exactly opposite!
Look, at 78,000 miles, you probably should have changed the fluid before now. He doesn't want you blaming him if it dies at 80,000. But think this through yourself. There's gears, clutches, pumps, and seals in there. Proper, clean hydraulic fluid makes it all work and protects it from wear. Metal particles, crud, and varnish are not a plus! Possibly they are holding something together, but they won't for long. So get the old out before any more damage is done!
Also,when you change your fluid you will see a little plastic plug with an o-ring on it...throw it away;Ford puts these in at assembly to keep debris out of the tranny.But by all means,change that fluid!!!!!
First off, stay away from the quickie lube shops! Find an independent shop not associated with a chain.
Second, what is the condition of the old fluid? If it is thick, black, gunky looking and has a strong burned smell to it, you may have problems with new fluid.
Transmission fluid has a very high detergent level. If your old fluid is really bad, the new fluid will clean out all the old build-up around the seals and gaskets and may soon start to leak. Particles of this build-up now floating around could get into the valve body and cause shifting problems. The new fluid will react with the old brittle clutch material and cause them to flake.
My suggestion is to pull the pan, check for any foreign matter in the pan and filter. If there is none, then change the fluid including the torque converter. If there is a lot of trash in the pan, you are probably near a rebuild. Just button it up with a new filter and pan gasket, fill it to the proper level, and run 'til it gives you problems.
94 Van offered some excellent advice, including an explanation as to potential problems and why. I failed to change mine timely, and my top notch mechanic told me at 49k miles, I was almost to the point where he would suggest I avoid changing the fluid, as doing such, might create problems. At 78k, you have reached that point, probably.
I do respect the knowledge of others here, and you should, too. Still, 78,000 miles is not really that unusual. Unless your truck has seen severe duty, there's a good chance the fluid isn't too bad. And, as '94 Van' says, you CAN tell by looking at it.
Certainly it would have been better to have changed the fluid by now, but if it is damaged it'll probably fail regardless. I think your odds are better in replacing the fluid and preventing further damage, rather than hoping the sludge will hold things together for long.
My vote. We have several f-150 with over 100K. We have changed the transmission oil with no problems. You can drain the converter as well on your truck to get the most old out and new in. You can also use the oil pan gasket over. Its made to be used over, just dont over torque the oil pan bolts. I think it will take about 11.25 qts of oil to refill. I put in about 5 qts and add the rest as the engine runs.
If it were mine, I would change it. My van had 65K on it when I changed it, and have had no problems.
Pull the pan, change the filter, and drain the torque converter. It's useless to just drain the pan and not the converter too. Use a NEW gasket, as old ones compress after use, get brittle and won't seal properly.
If you do it yourself, most parts stores stock filter and gasket kits. Be sure to refill with the PROPER fluid.
[updated:LAST EDITED ON 25-Aug-02 AT 05:22 AM (EST)]I ordered some filters online and was surprised at the lower cost. The filter at Autozone cost $21.99 and came from Taiwan. The filter at bulkparts.com that cost $10.35 was a SPX/Filtran made in the good old USA and looked much higher quality. Even with $7.50 shipping it is a cost savings. Be aware that they don't come with pan gaskets and these should be ordered seperately for under a buck. I've used gaskets over and over. Just be sure to have a spare in case it tears. Online can be big savings if you have multiple cars or get together with friends. The last two filters I got at Autozone didn't come with new O-rings and they used to. Is this a new cost saving trend?