tranny fluid change - what's the best way to do it? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-05-2008, 01:54 AM   #1
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tranny fluid change - what's the best way to do it?

The time has come to change the fluid *clank grind* *Bang!*
if you get the point. it's become hard to shift and I think a fluid change would help it out more than a lot. I was wondering if I should just drain the fluid and filler back up, or would it be relatively easy to open it up and clean it out. would it be ok to flush it with something? could I use a blow gun to clean it out?

thanks
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:15 AM   #2
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I always drop the pan, replace the filter, wipe out the goo from the pan and off of the magnet, and fill it back up. I've got a pump to remove the fluid from the pan to make it less messy, but it'll be messy no matter what. A blow gun would not be a tool I would bring to the party.

Or, if you're feeling rich you can have a flush done at the shop. You should still get the filter replaced at that time.

I prefer the do-it-yourself route because the filter gets changed and I can look at the magnet for signs of trouble (chunks/flakes/pieces). I can't get the fluid that remains in the torque converter and lines but after a week of driving I just replace what I can pump out through the fill tube. Since I change it more often than required I dont' see that as a problem.

On the Camaro I put a new pan with a drain plug, so now I can drain and refill without any mess. I'll change the filter at 30k miles like usual.

You can put the pan back on with the rubber gasket in the filter kit or you could use the make-a-gasket silicone stuff. If you use the rubber gasket be careful you don't overtorque the bolts and deform the pan. Leak City. The daughter's '97 Avenger uses 10 ft lbs on the bolts.

I use a gasket sealer on the pan, both sides of the gasket, and the transmission seal surface. All parts and supplies can be had at the local auto parts store. Advance Auto Parts is my preferred shop.

Don't forget to have a large drip pan. You may not need the full capacity, but the large area keeps drips, spills, and splashes off the floor of the garage or driveway. I have used with great success one of the smaller cement mixing tubs from Home Depot (or Lowes).

And have plenty of paper towels standing by.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:39 AM   #3
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On a manual trans it would be very difficult to open it up and clean it out.

About all I can suggest if you want to spend the extra time is to buy twice the fluid needed for a change. then drain & refill the trans, drive it for a week, and drain & refill it again. This would help flush out the trans and ensure you are getting nearly all of the old fluid out.
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Old 02-05-2008, 03:07 AM   #4
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I would just replace the fluid and see how it is.

Some people use royal purple synthetic fluid in their manual trannies, and have great luck with it. I haven't personally, but I know with some trannies, using ATF can sometimes make the sycros work smoother, but that's more of a last resort since it does lessen the life of the brass sycros since it makes it softer, wear faster, and smoother to engage.

I don't think it's needed to open up and clean the tranny inside. It's easy to do if you are mechanically competent, but most have a magnet or two to trap floating metal, and other than metal chunks, there shouldnt be any residue really left in a manual tranny to mess anything up.
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Old 02-05-2008, 06:41 AM   #5
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I would, in your case, highly recommend you take it to a mechanic shop and pay the 90-120 to have a 98% flush and fill with filter replace, at least this time. Because if it's gone as far as I suspect then I think this would be money well spent.

After that if it's a manual you shouldn't have to worry about it much for a good 40-50k miles.

But if it's an automatic simply follow the recommended 10,000 mile interval for DIY'ers as doing it via this frequency is about the same as getting it all out, hardest part is keeping up with it... I usually do mine every 3rd oil change and this eliminates some guesswork.

Also I usually keep some shop rags and a bit of gasoline around, this helps me clean out the pan and the magnet really nice and good, do allow it all to air dry before re-installing.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:21 AM   #6
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Thanks all for the advice.
It wasn't as bad as I implied at the beginning, and it turned out that it was so hard to shift right because of low clutch fluid. however I still do think that it would be good change the fluid.
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Old 02-05-2008, 05:54 PM   #7
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Its a stick though.....No filter, no need for a flush.

For the AX-5 just open up the drain plug and let it run out. It doesn't use very thick stuff. Make sure you open the fill plug first. If I were you, I'd use this change to switch to either Royal Purple or Redline MT-90 synthetic to help with shifting.

If you want to clean it out some, never tried it myself but you might want to drain it, refill it with ATF, start it up and run it a bit in neutral, maybe rolling back and forth a bit then drain it again, then refill with your choice of fluid.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:34 AM   #8
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Check the old fluid when you drain it. If it comes out looking like plain old oil, then you'd be OK to just drain and refill. Personally, I like to use the jacks to slightly tilt the car from side to side and drain out a couple more ounces of old fluid.

A few specks of metal flake in the oil is normal on an old trans with old oil. Nothing to worry about.

If the old oil comes out filled with metalic sparkles, you got trouble.
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:29 PM   #9
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Have the dealer do the full flush & clean - approx $150. Cheap insurance!!
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:35 PM   #10
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Wow I sure forgot about this thread. The problem was solved (I think) about a year ago, so here's a follow up.

Turned out that the clutch master cylinder was the problem. Once that was replaced the problem vanished. Thanks for all the advice.
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