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Hi,

I am new to this Forum, but have already found the wealth of information very useful.

My father recently gave me a 1997 Sable LS with 3.0L Duratec engine and AX4N transmission. The car has only 29.000 miles on it. (He didn't drive it much).

Wanting to keep it in fine shape I took it in for it's 30,000 mile service performed at my local Ford/Mercury dealer on Thursday. I am leaving Tuesday morning on a 2,000 mile road trip with the car.

Last night I was looking at the receipt and notice the following:

"Lube 6 quarts MERCON V" I recalled the owner's manual stating "Mercon" not "Mercon V". I checked the manual again, and the tranny dipstick. Definitely "Mercon". I am also puzzled by the use of only 6 quarts of trans fluid. The receipt does list "FT*130* Filter & Seal Asy-Trans Oil" and "F6DZ*7A191*B Gasket - Trans Oil Pan" so I assume the trans fluid was indeed changed. I checked this Forum and All Data, and it sure looks like this 97 tranny wants Mercon

I plan to be at the service counter when the Ford service counter opens tomorrow morning.

Is it indeed true that the Mercon V will cause problems?

If only 6 quarts of fluid were used, did they really do a trans fluid change?

Does the trans now need a complete "flush" to get rid of the Mercon V?

Do you think any damage has occurred in the 250 miles I have driven the vehicle.

Thanks in advance for your help. I am most grateful.
 

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Sounds like they just dropped the pan and changed the filter. I wouldn't worry about the Mercon V. 6 quarts out of 13. I would change it when I got home. I use Amsoil synthetic ATX fluid and change it every 30k. 30 k on regular fluid is too long IMHO.
 

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I believe Mercon V is backwards compatible with Mercon. All the bottles of Mercon V I have ever seen say that they also meet the specs for Mercon. Considering it is a part synthetic fluid, it may even be better for your car than plain old Mercon.
 

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If you were talking about a 1997 AX4S tranny then I might be a little bit concerned about the use of the Mercon V in there, but yours is the AX4N so I wouldn't sweat it. In 1998 and all years thereafter Ford specs call for Mercon V in the AX4N tranny, anyway.

Personally, if I had the AX4N in my my own '97 GL (I instead have the AX4S), I would be using Mercon V. So I think you are fine.


As I understand it, there is a good reason not to use Mercon V in the AX4S (also known as the AXODE). The clutch material in these '97 and older trannies is not designed for this particular type of fluid nor its "special" additives. And it's already a finicky tranny to begin with. So a good Mercon fluid is the only way to go in those...
 

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GET THEM TO CHANGE IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Mercon V was NOT mixable with regular Mercon, and it WILL mess up your transmission.

Sources?

V8SHO saying that it was introduced in 97, implemented in 98. 97 was regular Mercon; NOT MIXABLE, and the transmission was NOT made for Mercon V.

PDF stating that Mercon V is NOT interchangable with other transmission fluids. They also have a chart detailing what transmissions used what fluids. 97 AX4N was made for Mercon, not for Mercon V.

Print out the PDF and take it with you; get them to do a full tranny flush and replace it with regular Mercon. That will ensure your transmission will be ok.

*EDIT* Nowhere does it say they arn't mixable, sorry, but I would assume that they arn't. If they refuse to change the fluid (a full system flush), just do what SHOZ said. He's the smart one here. I would really push to have the whole tranny flushed, though.
 

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Originally posted by biteableniles@Jan 11 2004, 10:53 PM
GET THEM TO CHANGE IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Mercon V was NOT mixable with regular Mercon, and it WILL mess up your transmission.

Sources?

V8SHO saying that it was introduced in 97, implemented in 98. 97 was regular Mercon; NOT MIXABLE, and the transmission was NOT made for Mercon V.

PDF stating that Mercon V is NOT interchangable with other transmission fluids. They also have a chart detailing what transmissions used what fluids. 97 AX4N was made for Mercon, not for Mercon V.

Print out the PDF and take it with you; get them to do a full tranny flush and replace it with regular Mercon. That will ensure your transmission will be ok.

*EDIT* Nowhere does it say they arn't mixable, sorry, but I would assume that they arn't. If they refuse to change the fluid (a full system flush), just do what SHOZ said. He's the smart one here. I would really push to have the whole tranny flushed, though.
This earlier Ford TSB also indicate that using Mercon V in a 1997 ax4n may cause internal tranaxle damage. I know you only had a few quarts put in but don't let the shop get away with using the wrong fluid. I would have them do a flush and fill the tranny with the right fluid. Oh, lest I forget don't pay for the new work!!! They owe you and should mke things right!



TRANSAXLE—AX4S/AX4N—CORRECT FLUID USAGE Article No.
98-3-8
FORD: 1986-1998 TAURUS
1995-1998 WINDSTAR
LINCOLN: 1988-1998 CONTINENTAL
MERCURY: 1986-1998 SABLE
MERCONV APPLICATION ISSUE
Part Number The 1998 AX4S and AX4N transaxles use a new
Vehicle Engine Transaxle (-7000-) transmission fluid.
Taurus/Sable 3.0L Vulcan AX4S F8DP-AA
ACTION 3.0L Vulcan AX4N F8DP-CA
3.0L Mod 4V AX4N F8DP-DA Refer to the following text for correct transmission
3.0L Mod 4V AX4N F8DP-EA fluid usage in 1998 vehicles.
3.0L SE AX4N F8DP-FA
Taurus SHO 3.4L AX4N F8DP-BA The 1998 AX4S and AX4N transaxles use a new
Continental 4.6L AX4N F8OP-AA transmission fluid, MERCONV. The part number 4.6L AX4N F8OP-BA
for the new fluid is XT-5-QM. Windstar 3.0L AX4S F88P-AA
3.8L AX4S F88P-BA
The 1998 Windstar introduced in January 1997 has
a 1997 calibration level transaxle and DOES NOT OTHER APPLICABLE ARTICLES: NONE
use the new fluid. WARRANTY STATUS: INFORMATION ONLY
OASIS CODES: 501000, 502000, 503000, 504000, CAUTION
510000 THE NEW MERCONV FLUID MUST NOT BE
USED IN 1997 OR PRIOR VEHICLES AS
INTERNAL TRANSAXLE DAMAGE MAY OCCUR.
Use of the new MERCONV fluid is limited to the
1998 Windstar built after 9/8/97 and all 1998
Taurus/Sable and Continentals.
Refer to the vehicle’s transmission fluid level
indicator and/or the Owner’s Guide for correct
transmission fluid required. Some of the labels on
the new fluid containers state that it is approved for
both MERCONV and MERCON applications.
This is not correct. If the fluid meets MERCONV
specifications, DO NOT use in AXOD, AXODE,
AX4S or AX4N transmissions that require
MERCON. Use MERCONV for all 1998
Taurus/Sable and Continentals. Carefully check the
1998 Windstar before adding ATF fluid. To verify
whether a 1998 Windstar uses MERCONV fluid:
Read marking on fluid level indicator, look in
Owner’s Guide fluid usage Chart (Capacities and
Specifications), check vehicle build date (9/9/97 and
beyond), check transaxle I.D. tag for transaxle part
number (F88P-AA, F88P-BA), or refer to the
following Application Chart.
PROOF 29-MAR-00 88-5049 88-5049 PAGE 1
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wow!!! What a great group of helpful people. I REALLY appreciate all of the excellent advice I have received. I will be off to the dealer Monday morning, and will report back what transpires with my tranny!

I might ad that I also have a 2003 Ford E-350 4x4 van, and I have had this same dealer screw up stuff on that vehicle in the past few months. I had a rattle in the door, and they broke the bezel that holds the power window controls - TWICE - along with another trim piece. The next closest Ford/Mercury dealer is over an hour away... bummer.

Thanks again to everyone.
 

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I would agree with SHOZ123 on this. But since the 97 ax4n is still a ticking time bomb if you change the fluid or not I would take it to Ford and get some kind of agreement out of them requiring a 100% fluid change to merc iv and a mileage warranty to cover internal tranny damage.
 
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After you get this cleared up I would suggest going to another dealership from now on. Maybe you've heard of one that's reputable for service in your area or something. I know there are about 5 Ford dealerships within close proximity of me, only one of which I will go to for service.
 

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When we took the Windstar to our mechanic to get the tranny fluid changed last October, they just drained whatever was at the bottom and filled it with Mercon instead of Mercon V. At first, the P to R, P to D, and R to D shifts were smooth as silk, but now, there's a "shudder" in the 1-2 shift in OD. Is this a sign that the tranny's gonna blow up?
 

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Originally posted by Qwertz9586@Jan 12 2004, 09:19 PM
When we took the Windstar to our mechanic to get the tranny fluid changed last October, they just drained whatever was at the bottom and filled it with Mercon instead of Mercon V. At first, the P to R, P to D, and R to D shifts were smooth as silk, but now, there's a "shudder" in the 1-2 shift in OD. Is this a sign that the tranny's gonna blow up?
Sounds like the clutches are burned up. Take it back and stick it to the dealer.
 

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Clutches burned up? Does that also cause a weird "shifting" on take off? Like I'll step on the gas about 1/8th the way and it'll feel like it's upshifted and then downshifts into gear and take of sorta violently.
 

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Originally posted by Qwertz9586@Jan 12 2004, 10:19 PM
When we took the Windstar to our mechanic to get the tranny fluid changed last October, they just drained whatever was at the bottom and filled it with Mercon instead of Mercon V. At first, the P to R, P to D, and R to D shifts were smooth as silk, but now, there's a "shudder" in the 1-2 shift in OD. Is this a sign that the tranny's gonna blow up? 
Sounds like a typical case of what happens when you use Mercon instead of a Mercon V fluid in tranny that requires Mercon V. If your tranny requires Mercon V, then get the Mercon out of there and put in Mercon V. I would do the full flush, not just a pan drop, to be sure.

Mercon V contains "anti-shudder" agents, among other things. In fact, that is why Ford now recommends using Mercon V in all AODE/4R70W trannies, including those manufactured before 1997. Ford Technicians also are known to recommend Mercon V in other pre-1997 trannies on a case-by-case basis, usually to try and address shudder issues.

As for mrzone's 1997 AX4N, it probably is a good idea to make sure that only one type of fluid is in that tranny. But like I indicated before, if it happens to be Mercon V in there, then there really is nothing to worry about, IMHO.

Now, on the other hand, if it were a 1998 AX4N, I would be adament about using Mercon V.
 

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But the Mercon has been in the tranny for a few months already. Is it too late to do anything about it? I think we've already got about 3k miles on it since the fluid change.
 

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Update on my situation...

On Monday morning I went the Ford dealer Service department armed with my printout of the Ford TSB 01-15-7 - which I obtained from the helpful link posted above.

The service writer called out the tech who did the trans service. He indicated that he did indeed install Mercon V as that was the ATF they put in ALL Ford trannys. Having had two vans with E4OD/4R100 transmissions, I KNOW that Mercon V is taboo in those units.

Anyway, they brought out their transmission "expert." He indicated that Ford recently "reformulated" their Mercon V fluid, and it was now completely universal for all applications. I showed him my 2003 Econoline owners manual where it states in bold face type to NEVER use Mercon V in that transmission. I also showed him the TSB mentioning that my 97 transmission should have Mercon not the Mercon V. He stated he was sure that TSB 01-15-7 had been superceded. I said I was unable to find any reference to TSB 01-15-7 being superceded, but I would like to see a copy of the document. After lots of staring at a computer monitor, and pacing back and forth - he indicated he knew there was a document, but could not find it.

He indicated they would flush the transmission, and replace the fluid with Mercon. I asked him how he could do that since his tech had indicated all they had was Mercon V. He said all they did have in BULK was the V, but they did have regular Mercon in bottles - for "special" applications.

I naively thought when I requested a transmission fluid change I would get a full change, and now that's what I have. There was no charge for the flush and replacement of the fluid.

Thanks again to all how helped me with my problem!!!
 

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Originally posted by Qwertz9586@Jan 13 2004, 09:48 PM
But the Mercon has been in the tranny for a few months already. Is it too late to do anything about it? I think we've already got about 3k miles on it since the fluid change.
That is not a very long time, so I would not be overly concerned about ruining the tranny, but I would have a tranny flush done as soon as practical.

And whoever does the flush, make sure they use the right fluid!
 

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Mr. Zone I am happy that you got exactly what you deserved, in spite of getting some runaround you held your ground. The TSB's say exactly what they say for a reason, usually because of specific complaints from vehicles that have had the same problems. Some of the guys here probably have had more experience with putting the Mercon V in pre '98 ax4n's than I and they say don't worry about it. I'm just one of those ex service writers who found the majority of TSB's were written for a reason.
 

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Originally posted by Kermitec@Jan 14 2004, 10:18 AM
Some of the guys here probably have had more experience with putting the Mercon V in pre '98 ax4n's than I and they say don't worry about it...
I'm not sure who said it was OK to use Mercon V in all pre-'98 AX4Ns, but I can assure you that it wasn't me. I would never advise anyone to use Mercon V in any FWD Ford tranny manufactured before 1997, unless otherwise advised by a qualified professional.

My comments are specific as to my own personal preference of using Mercon V in an AX4N if I had one in my own '97 Taurus. And I would feel even stronger about that if the AX4N were attached to a Duratec engine instead of my Vulcan...odds are probably better than 50/50 that it would have '98+ AX4N calibration, anyway.
 

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In my Ford Mechanics guide it stated that the use of Mercon V was required for all Ford vehicles manufactured after 1996. Mercon V is preferred for it's low tempurature stability.

The guy at the auto part store recommended that I used Valvoline Dexron ATF. On the label it does state that it is compatible with all passenger Ford vehicles. I didn't listen to him and I insisted on using Mercon V. So, I bought 8 quarts and 2 bottles of Lucus trans mix. I know I didn't change all the fluid, but once I get some time, I will have it properly flushed within the next few months.
 
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