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E4OD Fluid Change Or Not?

 
  #1  
Old 10-02-2005, 08:06 AM
Fishallot
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Question E4OD Fluid Change Or Not?

I recently bought a 96' Bronco with the E4OD tranny. The truck has just turned 81,000 miles and I have no idea if the tranny fluid has ever been changed. If this were your truck would you change the tranny fluid or not? I've heard varying opinions on whether changing the fluid for the first time with this many miles can create more problems than it's worth. The tranny works great, the current fluid looks perfect and smells new. I don't have enough experience with auto trannys to know the right thing to do here so I'm looking for some honest answers.

Thanks ahead of time for any help on this.
 
  #2  
Old 10-02-2005, 11:26 AM
aurgathor
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Tranny fluids are one of the most difficult to change, but they can last a long time if the tranny is not abused. If it looks and smells perfect, you don't need to rush it.
 
  #3  
Old 10-02-2005, 12:36 PM
poffutt
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If it were my truck I would change it. I think the time to be concerned is when you have 130000 plus miles and it has never been changed. Then you could have problems maybe.
 
  #4  
Old 10-02-2005, 06:11 PM
timack
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Wouldn't hurt to change, but if it's red (not brown) and doesn't smell burnt, I wouldn't worry about it...my $.02
 
  #5  
Old 10-02-2005, 06:49 PM
Fishallot
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Thanks for the replies. I will plan to change the fluid and filter soon. Just put it on my to-do list when I have some extra time.
 
  #6  
Old 10-03-2005, 01:40 AM
steveg3
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Just for kicks, put a dab of fluid out of your trans and a dab of clean trans fluid and put them on a white piece of paper. It'll give you a good comparison. If the fluid is really dark, you might think about leaving it alone and start planning on buying a trans some time soon. If it looks and smells ok, change the filter and have it flushed. It's cheaper to maintain it than it is to fix it when it finally breaks.
 
  #7  
Old 10-03-2005, 12:45 PM
aurgathor
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Balooney. This has been discussed a few times, but when the tranny is at the edge, and it's the particulates in the ATF that keep it from slipping, then the tranny is doomed to death, regardless of an ATF change, it's only a matter of when. Leaving a dirty oil will accelerate wear over time and will shorten whatever life is left in the trannny, but if the oil is changed, that will at least allows one to get most of the "leftover miles" from the tranny.

Case in point, I bought a Bronco (state auction) with a bit over 120k miles. Took it to the stealership afterwards to check it out and change all the fluids sans engine oil and coolant. They didn't change the ATF telling me it was too dark and it could cause the tranny to fail if they were to do that. A few months later I took it to a tranny shop and they changed it without complaining. They told me that the oil was dark, but other than that, everything was in a good shape. Said car has now over 170k now, and the tranny works roughly the same way as it did before.

Don't ever leave bad ATF in the tranny for any significant amount of time.
 
  #8  
Old 10-04-2005, 12:06 PM
HMA-169
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e4od

Originally Posted by aurgathor
Balooney. This has been discussed a few times, but when the tranny is at the edge, and it's the particulates in the ATF that keep it from slipping, then the tranny is doomed to death, regardless of an ATF change, it's only a matter of when. Leaving a dirty oil will accelerate wear over time and will shorten whatever life is left in the trannny, but if the oil is changed, that will at least allows one to get most of the "leftover miles" from the tranny.

Case in point, I bought a Bronco (state auction) with a bit over 120k miles. Took it to the stealership afterwards to check it out and change all the fluids sans engine oil and coolant. They didn't change the ATF telling me it was too dark and it could cause the tranny to fail if they were to do that. A few months later I took it to a tranny shop and they changed it without complaining. They told me that the oil was dark, but other than that, everything was in a good shape. Said car has now over 170k now, and the tranny works roughly the same way as it did before.

Don't ever leave bad ATF in the tranny for any significant amount of time.
I agree. My '96 had about 93k on it when I bought it and changing the tranny fuild and filter was one of the first things I did. No problems since. Don't forget to clean the donut magnet in the bottom of the pan. You may not even recognize it when you look in the pan.

cds
 
  #9  
Old 10-04-2005, 01:18 PM
steveg3
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Several months ago I had a customer bring in a used car he had just purchased to get a bunch of maintenance. The car had about 75,000 and super dark fluid. We talked about the possible outcomes of flushing a transmission with fluid that bad and he decided to flush it. The next day the car was towed in with no forward gears.
 
  #10  
Old 10-04-2005, 06:08 PM
Fishallot
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Great idea Steveg3. I will buy some new fluid and give the white paper comparision a try. Even though to me my fluid looks clean comparing it to new fluid will be the real test. I'm planning to do a filter and fluid change within the next few weeks but will give this test a try before I do.

Here's another related question. Is it worth the money to have a tranny shop flush the tranny versus doing the fluid/filter change myself? even if I plan on draining the converter also?

I'm planning on following this tech article to do the change myself:

https://www.ford-trucks.com/article/...nsmission.html
 
  #11  
Old 10-04-2005, 07:45 PM
aurgathor
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Originally Posted by steveg3
Several months ago I had a customer bring in a used car he had just purchased to get a bunch of maintenance. The car had about 75,000 and super dark fluid. We talked about the possible outcomes of flushing a transmission with fluid that bad and he decided to flush it. The next day the car was towed in with no forward gears.
IMHO, even if the tranny hadn't been flushed, that car would've been back in a few weeks, at most. Leaving the old fluid probably would've delayed the inevitable, but it couldn't prevent it.
 
  #12  
Old 10-04-2005, 09:55 PM
steveg3
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Like I said, it's a gamble. Personally, If I bought a used vehicle and the fluid was dark, I'd flush the hell out of it until it got clean and take my chances. I prefer to have all the fluids in my cars super clean, but again, it's a gamble. There's no way to prove it, but I'd be willing to bet that trans would have lasted quite a while if it hadn't been flushed.
 
  #13  
Old 10-05-2005, 12:56 PM
aurgathor
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Yes, I agree that it's a gamble, but the only things you can lose by ATF change:
a) the cost of flush
b) a few weeks of tranny life
vs you can possibly gain a year or two or maybe more tranny life.

So IMHO, one should almost always gamble on changing the fluid instead of keeping it in. (if the ATF is obviously bad/burned/dirty)

As for the ATF becoming too dark, one should change it before that happens. In the case of a just purchased car, if the ATF is that bad, that should be taken into account well before that, during price negotiation.
 

Last edited by aurgathor; 10-05-2005 at 12:58 PM.
  #14  
Old 10-05-2005, 11:57 PM
twisted
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what is the theroy behind this ? hy would changing the fuid make the tranny go bad. i understand it would happen eventualy to a bad tranny but why does old tranny fluid in a bad tranny make it last longer ?
 
  #15  
Old 10-06-2005, 12:16 AM
aurgathor
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" it's the particulates in the ATF that keep it from slipping"
 

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