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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 1996 Taurus GL with the Vulcan 3.0 engine. The car has 255k miles on it and was recently "salvaged" by me. I have done some minor repairs on the Vulcan and she is running like new. I've had the car for about two months now and put about 5k miles on it. The transmission has performed perfectly since I've gotten it so I've never bothered to do any service to it. I was coming home from college yesterday and my car suddenly started acting up. The car felt like it had lost a considerable amount of power and the tranny don't want to engage. I pulled over and shut the car off and turned it back on. I began driving and everything was back to normal. Right before I got home the car started acting up again and this time there was a SLIGHT burning smell. The transmission didn't want to engage but did so after pushing the gas harder. I checked my temp gauge and it was well below the half way mark so the car wasn't overheating. I then got home and checked the tranny fluid and it was light BROWN! :ugh: Should I flush the transmission out and add a new filter or is it something worse?
 

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If it were mine I would do a filter change and fluid exchange and hope for the best. I would also keep in mind it may be on its last leg and may need replaced.
Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am going to be doing the "home" transmission flush. Does a 1996 GL have a stock cooler? How many quarts of tranny fluid do I need?
 

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I am going to be doing the "home" transmission flush. Does a 1996 GL have a stock cooler? How many quarts of tranny fluid do I need?
It most likely has stock integral and auxiliary coolers. Takes about 17+ quarts to do a fluid change. I usually buy 5 - 1 gallon jugs when I do one.
 

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The first thing that needs to be done when buying any used vehicle with lots of miles on it, is a trans fluid and filter change/flush.

Most older, used Taurii I've looked at recently, the ATF looked like liquid brown sludge and smelled burnt.

I've never done a complete flush on a trans. If the fluid looked really bad, I would. But if it was that bad, I probably would not even buy it.

What I do is a pan-off drain, change the filter, clean the pan, after inspecting it for metal, new gasket and about 7-8 qts, to refill.

Then I do this every 12,000 - 15,000 miles. I've had only (1) trans go bad in two decades of driving Taurii. It went bad at 195,000.
 

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What I do is a pan-off drain, change the filter, clean the pan, after inspecting it for metal, new gasket and about 7-8 qts, to refill.
I'm about to do this myself .. so is there anything else to consider? .. or just unbolt the pan, let her drain, change the filter (where is that?), bolt her back up with a new gasket, and fill from the top filler?
 

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the filter is under the pan, it will be obvious.
and that is about it.
 

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When removing the old filter, the seal ring will likely stay up inside the bore. Its hard to see it stuck up there unless you pretty much stick your head under dripping fluid. Be sure to remove it. Kink it with a small screwdriver and pull it out with a needle nose plyers.
 

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Have a large drain pan ready and some rags. Be careful if your trans is hot. The fluid will be hot.

I loosen one side first and let it drain. Then start taking the bolts out and letting the pan drop on one side a little at a time while its draining.

When it appears most of the fluid is out of the pan, I'll manually hold the pan all the way up with one hand and remove the rest of the bolts with a nut driver.

After all the bolts are out, with both hands, slowly lower the trans pan and empty the remaining fluid into the drain pan.

Check the magnet for excessive metal particles. The pan may have a grayish film all over inside that wipes right off. That's pretty normal.

Clean the pan thoroughly and remove any old gasket material.

If there are threads on this forum showing how, read those over, too.
 

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Have a large drain pan ready and some rags. Be careful if your trans is hot. The fluid will be hot.

I loosen one side first and let it drain. Then start taking the bolts out and letting the pan drop on one side a little at a time while its draining.

When it appears most of the fluid is out of the pan, I'll manually hold the pan all the way up with one hand and remove the rest of the bolts with a nut driver.

After all the bolts are out, with both hands, slowly lower the trans pan and empty the remaining fluid into the drain pan.

Check the magnet for excessive metal particles. The pan may have a grayish film all over inside that wipes right off. That's pretty normal.

Clean the pan thoroughly and remove any old gasket material.

If there are threads on this forum showing how, read those over, too.
yes thanks .. seems to be pretty straightforward, the only thing that may cause me a problem will be the filter install, getting that old gasket out and making sure the new one goes in right.

but as soon as it stops snowing i'll be under her!
 

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While youre at wallyworld, might pick up one of those sterilite clear low-profile under-the-bed storage containers to use as a drain pan. Much less messy than a standard oil drain pan and the tranny pan will fit inside. Or steal one from your wife or mom! Get a couple cans of brake cleaner spray and some shop towels (rags) at ww too for cleaning up pan, bolts, gasket, magnet ring, etc. Also, a long atf funnel if you dont have one. Reuse pan gasket if it is the original one. I use 3/8 inch drive ratchet, short extension and 8mm (5/16 in.) socket to remove pan bolts and 1/4 in. dr. to replace. Mercon v is backspecd for everything that once called for mercon/dexron lll (tranny and power steering). Good luck and git er done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
UPDATE!

Just got done doing the job. The transmission was shockingly clean on the inside. No metal shavings to speak off; just some sludge. This transmission went 255k miles on the ORIGINAL fluid and filter!!! Drained all the fluid out and installed a new filter and wow what a difference. Transmission shifts short and crisp. I'm still in shock on how well it held up with that much abuse. I don't even know what to say. FORD FOR THE WIN!
 

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Good job! All set for another 255K miles! (with regular tranny fluid changed from now on :) )
 

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Auto trannies are usually cleaner than, say engines, because of the high detergent nature of ATF.

So, with that in mind, if my engine is a half quart low on oil, and an oil 'n filter change is coming up soon, I'll top the engine off with ATF to help clean things up before the engine oil change.
 
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