Transmission Flush vs. Drop Pan/Filter change method??

mabrant61

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I have a 03 F150 4.6 2WD ... a little over 29K on it. Which route should I go .. a Trans Flush and don't touch the pan at this time or just go "old school" and drop the pan / change filter / refill 5 qts or so ??

The truck has not done any hard towing / racing /etc. The fluid seems ok, but I guess Ford recommends a 30K service. I called the dealer where I bought the truck .... said they don't have the flush machine yet, but still will do the pan option. Although, he was not against doing a flush. They just don't have a machine to do it. Plus, on a 03 the torque converter does not have a drain plug any longer.

I went to another Ford dealer today and they push the flush for $139. That is the only thing they do. Told me Ford recommends this and the pan should not be removed. They warranty it ( I guess the flush process from any damage incurred by this process) ... plus they said (who knows if this is true) that it will benefit my extended warranty by having this done. I have the 6yr/75000 mile extended warranty and by following this type of trans service, if I ever have trans issues the extended warranty should never be questioned because I followed the Ford recommended service.

Just for the heck of it ... I called two trans shops in town and they both said just drop pan/filter/refill. One for $85 & one for $110.

Now if that doesn't make things more confusing. I agree with the drop pan method because that is what I have always done in the past and have always had good trans life with doing that at regular intervals.

I am really confused .... seems you can find a different opinion at every turn!! I guess I'm not "sold" on this flush process, but then again I am not that familiar with it. I would greatly appreciate your advice!! Thank You.
 

Transman

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Gotta tell you I am not a fan of the "Flush" method. The reasons are the "Sizzle" where they tell you how wonderful and all the fluid is exchanged. Also they tend to use universal fluid as opposed to the specific one for your vehicle. The proof is coming out that the universal fluids are not all they are cracked up to be. You haven't lived unless you have actually tried to get those warranties to pay for repairs to your trans (looks good on paper though). My biggest beef with these things though is the very reason you are questioning, bright guy that you are. The filter is inside the pan... let that sink in... They don't remove the pan. The filter on almost every ford out there is a "Felt" paper filter and they are not self cleaning in any fashion. What good does it do to flush your trans if they don't change the filter? Unless it's the really good flusher (that hooks to your cooler lines) then all they are doing is changing what gets back to the pan anyway. If they don't work the good one right then you risk damage to the bushings inside your trans because they are taking return (lube) oil to enter the machine and if they don't feed it back inside the trans at the proper rate then it's like no lube. Also if they haven't prepared the machine properly, it's possible to actually put contaminants into your trans. They also can't see material inside the pan to do any preventative repairs if needed. They now have this quacky machine now that sucks out the fluid from the fill tube and fills it the same way, how exactly does that exchange fluid? Thats like sucking out your motor oil from the dipstick and putting oil down the same way then call that an oil change.Trust me, change your fluid every 30k on the nose, change the filter with OEM or better, use the proper fluid with a good name and you will probably never have a trans problem. My opinion and I am sticking with it. Transman
 

crunch

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How can you call a transmission serviced without dropping the pan and changing the filter.
I do not think the factory recommends flushes.
The only exception was some early models ford transmissions that the fluid went bad and had to have a total flush to cure the problem. But even on them the filter had to be changed.
Say no to that flush with no filter change crap.

To Flush or not To Flush ?
Just like Kenney Rodgers said you have got to know when to fold and when to hold.
If the fluid has high mileage 100K or over or is real dirty you had better hold.
On a trans that has had good regular service at 50K or sooner a flush is good.
But be ware of jiffie/quick/wallmart /fast lubes that offer power and fast flushes.
They have abused and over rated the trans flush.
They have a habit of using one fit all fluid out of the same barrel that fits all.
They just throw in a bottle of additive to make it fit all. Or worse they pitch in a bottle of cleaner or dope in it that can do more harm than good. And will tell you the filter does not need changing with a flush.
Just remember that all new fluid makes a high detergent cleaner that will break loose all varnish and dirt and grit in the trans and drop it in valve body and solenoids.
Always change the filter and go easy on or use no dope and cleaner.
Adjust/check the bands and linkage on the trans that have bands and adjustments.
Always use the trans fluid the trans/manf calls for. And be aware that some manf have changed the type of fluid specs since the trans was manf.
Some fords have changed the specs and a lot of cry/dodge have gone to the newer type of fluid on their trans service.
Also some fords have tsbs and require a total complete trans flush to cure trans shifting problems. Some as low as 30K
If a person does not have a flush machine a old 5 gallon bucket and a couple of rubber hoses to connect to the cooler lines and with the other end in the bucket will make a good flush machine. Just put the hoses in the bucket and start the engine and start pouring fluid into the trans until the fluid running into the bucket gets good and clean.
It usually takes 16-20 qts. To get a good flush.
Flush or No flush always service the trans filter and trans on a good regular basic.
People that keep the serviced have a lot less trans problems.
 

mabrant61

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Evidently .... according Ford online the 30K trans servce calls to "replace" trans fluid. Is doesn't direct the "how to" or the actual FORD RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE. According to Alldata (online auto manual & tech info) the trans filter is called to be replaced at 150,000K .. which is from the Ford manual.

I do know there is a misunderstanding that a trans filter is like an oil filter. Well .. they are not and actually the current trans filter is more of a screen. However, I for one would never let that go that long ..... I could possibly see 60K, but no longer than that.

The more people I do talk to tell me ... if you are going to use the flush .. start with that early in order to continue that method. If you ony drop the pan ... then better to stay with that for the time you own the vehicle.

Its a toss up !!

Warranty?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm just debating something ... should I have the Trans service done by the Ford dealer only and my concern here is .... more for warranty concerns (I have the Ford extended warranty on my truck). Or can I have my independant guy do it? I trust him ... he is very good and I know he knows how to do this. I trust him more than my local dealership to do better work!! LOL But I'm wondering if I ever had a trans issue down the road if it makes a difference where you get the flush or pan/filter done. Or do you think as long as you have a record of having the trans serviced ... it really doesn't matter??

And I would NEVER go to oner of these fast change places.

Thank you for your input ... I really appreciate it and I really appreciate others experiences!!
 

Transman

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mabrant61 said:
I do know there is a misunderstanding that a trans filter is like an oil filter. Well .. they are not and actually the current trans filter is more of a screen.
Today's trans filter is nothing like a screen. It is a dacron filter element in most transmissions and not cleanable. It does filter finer particles than the engine oil filter and I would not wait 60k to change it. Transman
For the warranty part, just having proof of service will be sufficient for your extended coverage, it does not be be done at a ford service center. Transman
 

dealer1

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I have been doing transmissions for over 30 years and I would definitely recommend pulling pan and doing it right.Why would anyone change fluid without filter?
 

crunch

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http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00002302----000-.html




Here is a cut and paste. This includes the section that aftermarket parts manufactures faithfully leave out. Read number (1) carefully. It is saying that if you install a part (refered to as an "article") that interferes with another part (or remove a part needed to make another function), then the manufacture of the part that is being interfered with does not have to warranty it. It makes clear that warranties can't be voided on brand alone. That is where everyone stops the quoting.... but... it also makes provisions to protect that first manufacturer from getting dumped on.


SNIP:
c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission
No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumers using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if
(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and
(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.
(c) Prohibition on conditions for written or implied warranty; waiver by Commission
No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumers using, in connection with such product, any article or service (other than article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name; except that the prohibition of this subsection may be waived by the Commission if
(1) the warrantor satisfies the Commission that the warranted product will function properly only if the article or service so identified is used in connection with the warranted product, and
(2) the Commission finds that such a waiver is in the public interest.
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode15/usc_sec_15_00002302----000-.html
 

Transman

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I am not sure I am getting what you are leading to Crunch. I understand if they are saying don't use k&n air filters causing a warranty problem but I use sealed power filters when i service a trans which are OEM or better quality. The aftermarket warranty companies (as far as I know) only insist that you perform (have proof of) regularly scheduled maintenance. We deal with one warranty company that will void your trans warranty or anything else if you can't provide proof of 3k oil changes. This fact has nothing to do with the differential or trans failure but they do it just the same and get away with it because it is one of the first lines in their contract. However, they have never bounced a warranty because you used a cheap crappy fram filter, only if you can't prove you did it on time. Actually it sucks for other reasons too, if you own a diesel and the factory calls for 5k oil changes, this company will still bounce your warranty because it isn't 3k. I think there will be a class action suit someday about this company but so far everyone just accepts it and goes away grumbling.
Sorry about the tangent. I really didn't understand Crunch, what was your point?
 

crunch

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I posted the wrong link. :)

Here is the one I was trying to post and hit the wrong button.

http://autopedia.com/html/HotLinks_LemonMM2.html
 

mabrant61

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IMHO ... all Ford (or any make for that fact) dealers should be directed by the manufacture to standardize the process so that all dealers do the same thing. No gimmicks ... no marketing hype .... just perform the maintainence required to maitain the vehicle appropriately!!! Then there is no confusion.

Just FYI: I have decided to take my truck to the Ford dealer where I bought it and they are going to drop the pan ... inspect/install a new filter & refill. I guess the gasket is reuseable if its in good condition. That way if I have trans issues down the raod ... I will have sufficient proof.

Funny thing ... this dealer doesn't even have a flush machine and they haven't been directed by Ford to get one. I'm definitely interested in taking a look at this filter. I've been told different things as to what it is or looks like. I am curious!!

Thanks for all the input !! I really appreciate the experience of others. :thx
 

mabrant61

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Re: BG Products for Trans Flushes?

I for got to ask .. do any of you have any experience with http://www.bgfindashop.com/bgprotectionplan.htm

Seems this is what another local Ford dealer does and my local independant guy does the same thing too. I guess I was thinking about following up with this after my pan drop service.
 

Transman

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This was the warranty that I was referring to when I said it looks good on paper, I have never known of anybody that has successfully gotten them to pay for a warranty. Transman
 

mabrant61

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LOL ... doesn't that figure!! I bet it would be extremely difficult to get BG to pay for any trans repairs. Or even if they are still in business several years down the road.


BTW .... I see from other posts on other forums there is confusion between "power flushes" and "fluid exchanges" .... I would think the fluid exchange is Ok if the person doing it is competent!! In fact, I am considering doing the fluid exchange (without chemicals) after the pan drop & filter change.

The one big thing though is this BG chemicals ... that is my one big concern with the fluid exchange that another dealer was pushing.

I don't have a problem letting the tranny pump out fluid and a machine catching it and at the same time refilling. But it's these chemicals I wonder about????????

I mean does Mercon V really need added conditioners?? Maybe I might understand a conditioner, but I have no idea about this cleaner they pump through the tranny!!
 

Ranger

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The other day I had my transmission(93 Corolla) flushed and drooped! They seemed to be on top of things and they changed the filter and gasket then while it was still apart they flushed it from inside at the bottom. They said when they get a car in they look at the fluid and ask if there is any issues driving it then drop the pan! In any case I'm happy, the fluid was black but not burned and now it's reddish pink as they said it would be. It also seems to shift smother.
 

Ranger

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They also recommend dropping the pan and changing the filter and the fluid thats in the pan every 25,000 miles.
 
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