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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone- (On my 4th!). I recently acquired a 60K mile 2002 Ford wagon with a duratech and auto 4 speed. I don’t have a specific history but this would be the time to “change” auto transmission fluid, and I do intend to keep this (without transmission problems) for a while.

So there is fluid “change” vs. “flush”. “Change” being un-plug it and let it drain- leaving behind up to a third of the fluid, or “Flush” being more of a power wash- get it all out and clean it (for lack of better terminology). So I think, “flush”, not “change”. I am aware there is debate over doing a flush on an older car due to stirring or not stirring things up. The color of the fluid is light pink to kind of orange-ish (on its way to brown, I suppose). Am I right to be thinking “flush”, and what (off hand) do you think this should cost? My regular place only does “change”. (There are 13 quarts ATF in there, I read).

Thanks in advance for any opinion / info.
 

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Hello everyone- (On my 4th!). I recently acquired a 60K mile 2002 Ford wagon with a duratech and auto 4 speed. I don’t have a specific history but this would be the time to “change” auto transmission fluid, and I do intend to keep this (without transmission problems) for a while.

So there is fluid “change” vs. “flush”. “Change” being un-plug it and let it drain- leaving behind up to a third of the fluid, or “Flush” being more of a power wash- get it all out and clean it (for lack of better terminology). So I think, “flush”, not “change”. I am aware there is debate over doing a flush on an older car due to stirring or not stirring things up. The color of the fluid is light pink to kind of orange-ish (on its way to brown, I suppose). Am I right to be thinking “flush”, and what (off hand) do you think this should cost? My regular place only does “change”. (There are 13 quarts ATF in there, I read).

Thanks in advance for any opinion / info.
I'd recommend a pan drop fluid/filter change each 30k mi. No flush. 6-8 qts. of Mercon 5 atf and a filter. I'd start by emptying the ps reservoir with a turkey baster and refilling with fresh Mercon 5 atf, then remove the tranny pan. If the pan gasket is the oem black rubber metal reinforced marked "reusuable", clean it with brake cleaner spray and reuse it.
 

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04 Taurus SES Vulcan
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Unless there's metal flakes in the dirty fluid and you're installing a new transmission, a full flush is completely unnecessary. Everything's been engineered around the idea that people won't want to do that every time.
 

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I have done the "passive" flush method about a dozen times myself. on 3 different Bulls and a Fusion with no ill effects. This was done at home using the transmission pump to pump out the old fluid while adding the new fluid. I changed filters every other flush. I don't recall if it is on this website on how to do it but it is on the SHOForum.com website. A pan drop and filter change is better than nothing but gets only half the fluid out.
 

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Pic of '03 Sable with bit over 80K. Record did not show any tran service. Only Bull I ever had the pan off. Not much in there note. Car now ready for the JY at 199K, (RUST) tran still fine.(NOT MINE NOW)
I am on Bulls, 8, 9, 10,11. Miles 136, 146, 160, 170K. I exchange the fluid every other year. I use a vacuum bottle and suck the pan near empty, then put back amount that was removed. Ford says replace filter at 150K. My '03 Sable wagon at 170K has had the pan off at some time before 100K when I bought it. Three of the pan bolts have the head rounded off and would take major effort to get out. It is being sold in a few days and then I will be back to 3 Bulls. My '04 Sable wagon I bought last week with 160K on it will get the pan off and filter changed soon. Record shows tran flushed by some Ford dealer at some time. Record says that at 96K miles. I also had 5 Lin Cont. Only fluid change was at 30K which was warranty.
So, I will continue to exchange every other year Fall maint. That takes ~20 minutes. I expect to take 30 Mins as I am OLD.
-chart-
 

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Factory method is "complete" replacement by taking the transmission cooler lines off and running vehicle to pump the old fluid out. Every 3 years / 30k miles.

Doing pan suck and fill through dipstick gets about half out. Do that every 10k miles or so and it is equivalent to the 30k mile full change.
 

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I just do pan drops and filter changes. If the car hasn't had any services, do two of them 5K apart, then do one every 30k thereafter. Technically, the factory method to pump all of the fluid out and do a full replacement is the correct one. My main complaint about it is that in order to do it properly, you really want the car to be lifted but also level. So 4 jackstands (which sucks), or a lift. There are some alternatives you could come up with, like using a fitting and extra hose length to run out from under the car to a drain pan so that you can leave it on level ground. Or using the return line (although my issue with this is that by the time you start seeing the spitting/sputtering of air in the line so far from the pump, your pump has already been dry for a few seconds). The high IQ move these days is to get a $70 fluid extractor and just service the whole system through the dipstick. Pretty much zero mess that way.

In my personal opinion, it doesn't really matter that much in the end, as long as you are doing some level of service. If you want to save some money (a full fluid flush is like 16 quarts of ATF), a pan drop alone still generally makes a huge difference in shifting quality and unit health unless it's already too far gone.
 

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I just do pan drops and filter changes. If the car hasn't had any services, do two of them 5K apart, then do one every 30k thereafter. Technically, the factory method to pump all of the fluid out and do a full replacement is the correct one. My main complaint about it is that in order to do it properly, you really want the car to be lifted but also level. So 4 jackstands (which sucks), or a lift. There are some alternatives you could come up with, like using a fitting and extra hose length to run out from under the car to a drain pan so that you can leave it on level ground. Or using the return line (although my issue with this is that by the time you start seeing the spitting/sputtering of air in the line so far from the pump, your pump has already been dry for a few seconds). The high IQ move these days is to get a $70 fluid extractor and just service the whole system through the dipstick. Pretty much zero mess that way.

In my personal opinion, it doesn't really matter that much in the end, as long as you are doing some level of service. If you want to save some money (a full fluid flush is like 16 quarts of ATF), a pan drop alone still generally makes a huge difference in shifting quality and unit health unless it's already too far gone.
Do it yourself exchange by my pic. I have a hand pump from garage sale. Exchange ps pump at same time. Also have a home made electric but no one would try this but me.
Remove the intake plenum makes for easy suck and fill. Then this is VERY important. Clean and properly replace the vent cap. It should be wobbly loose on the nipple.
-chart-
 

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The high IQ move these days is to get a $70 fluid extractor and just service the whole system through the dipstick.
I don't know how you knew, but thanks for the compliment. I've had my Mityvac for quite some time now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hello everyone- (On my 4th!). I recently acquired a 60K mile 2002 Ford wagon with a duratech and auto 4 speed. I don’t have a specific history but this would be the time to “change” auto transmission fluid, and I do intend to keep this (without transmission problems) for a while.

So there is fluid “change” vs. “flush”. “Change” being un-plug it and let it drain- leaving behind up to a third of the fluid, or “Flush” being more of a power wash- get it all out and clean it (for lack of better terminology). So I think, “flush”, not “change”. I am aware there is debate over doing a flush on an older car due to stirring or not stirring things up. The color of the fluid is light pink to kind of orange-ish (on its way to brown, I suppose). Am I right to be thinking “flush”, and what (off hand) do you think this should cost? My regular place only does “change”. (There are 13 quarts ATF in there, I read).

Thanks in advance for any opinion / info.
(A Few Days Later)- Thanks everyone for your responses. I'm doing a $250 "flush". With no history and 60k miles, I want to start "fresh". Garage has good feedback, but you know, these days you never know if they've actually done the complete job. But thanks again.
 

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NO FLUSH, drop the pan change the filter and clean magnet and pan out good. Got my 05 Sable/Duratec in 08 with 42,000 miles on it. Did the no flush procedure at 50, 100, 150k but the transmission still died at around 175k and not because of a lack of any maintenance. The tranny developed an internal crack where there shouldn't have been one and expired shortly thereafter. Used Amalie full synthetic ATF and the guy said he had never in more than 20 years seen any cleaner guts in any transmission. Showed me the part that broke and said he has seen a lot of them and there was nothing I could have done to keep it running any longer than it did.

Moral of the story is that the transmission is NOT an engine and doesn't need to ever be "Flushed" so save your money and enjoy your Bull cause it is going to last (with regular maintenance) as long as nothing breaks inside.
 

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Got to agree with some of the others - do not FLUSH it. Drop the pan, replace the filter (make sure the old seal is removed from the tube. It is a common mistake), clean the pan and magnet, new gasket, then refill with Mercon V rated fluid. ATF price is up about 40%, so that'll be your biggest cost. If you do it yourself, a Motorcraft filter is about $15, a FelPro gasket about $12. Buy a case of ATF if you think the price is decent, or a couple of larger bottles. You can use the same Mercon V to swap out the fluid in the power steering. You might have a few quarts laying around for a year or two but you'll use it at some point if you keep the car.
 

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2001 Taurus SES Sedan in Chestnut
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Hello everyone- (On my 4th!). I recently acquired a 60K mile 2002 Ford wagon with a duratech and auto 4 speed. I don’t have a specific history but this would be the time to “change” auto transmission fluid, and I do intend to keep this (without transmission problems) for a while.

So there is fluid “change” vs. “flush”. “Change” being un-plug it and let it drain- leaving behind up to a third of the fluid, or “Flush” being more of a power wash- get it all out and clean it (for lack of better terminology). So I think, “flush”, not “change”. I am aware there is debate over doing a flush on an older car due to stirring or not stirring things up. The color of the fluid is light pink to kind of orange-ish (on its way to brown, I suppose). Am I right to be thinking “flush”, and what (off hand) do you think this should cost? My regular place only does “change”. (There are 13 quarts ATF in there, I read).

Thanks in advance for any opinion / info.
Hey, nice low mileage on your Bull, The Most Important Thing Is To Get The Correct Gasket (if you may need one). There were two trannys your Bull were built with one of two trannys, AX4S 17 BOLT or an AX4N 19 BOLT transmission, to be cautious look under the car and count (if you can not see the stamp on the bottom of the pan) the bolts, Sheila is 100% correct with the reusable rubber coated metal gasket, but if the gasket happens not to be OEM or the original one is replaced with a standard gasket the auto parts store will be a crapshoot, it will show both, as far as the filter is concerned they are the same. The filter change is easy but make sure that the tube that the new filter goes into is clear of the old filter's neck (alot of them break off and stay in tube), next is the magnet in the pan (collects all of the metal shavings) remove, clean thoroughly and replace In The Original Place (they are placed there by design) then clean the inside of the pan and put the filter back, bolt down (crisscross order center out to the ends) the pan, put 3-4 quarts (what I would start with and I would use a funnel) in, start the car and heat it up to the normal operating temperature and check (in Park) and add the tranny fluid (Mercon V ONLY) as needed to fill to top of grid on the tranny dip stick. These Bulls are great running cars, just do preventative and regular maintenance and she will not let you down. Good Luck with your New Bull!
 

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Do it yourself exchange by my pic. I have a hand pump from garage sale. Exchange ps pump at same time. Also have a home made electric but no one would try this but me.
Remove the intake plenum makes for easy suck and fill. Then this is VERY important. Clean and properly replace the vent cap. It should be wobbly loose on the nipple.
-chart-
Your engine compartment is White Glove Clean! :)
 
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