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transmission flush or not?


coopns's Avatar
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01-26-05, 09:04 AM   #1  
transmission flush or not?

I am considering getting the transmission flushed. I have heard it is good by some and others say it can damage parts. Should I just get it changed and a new filter or flush.

Please advise. Keep it simple, I am stunned when it comes to car repairs.

Thanks.

 
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01-26-05, 03:41 PM   #2  
You didn't mention the make/model and mileage, but generally speaking transmission flushes are mostly revenue enhancers for the guys doing the flush. Regular fluid and filter changes will give you plenty of life. We just traded off my wife's old '95 Camry with about 175,000 miles on it with no tranny problems; changed the fluid (no filter, had a screen) every 25,000 miles. My wrecker (GM 4L80E trans) went approx 240,000 miles before overhaul on 10k fluid/20k filter services.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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01-26-05, 04:03 PM   #3  
I have a 95 Ford Taurus that had the tranny flushed once before, can't remember when. It has 160K. Also a 02 Grand Caravan. They said that it doesn't have to be done as often, every five years?

When you say regular, would that be once a year?

Thanks.

 
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01-26-05, 04:28 PM   #4  
You have 1995 Ford Taurus with a 160K on the transmission!! The tow guy will never believe you. Keep doing what your doing!!

 
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01-26-05, 04:58 PM   #5  
Transmission flushes are a very good idea but only if they are done on a timely basis. A transmission that is flushed every 30K will outlast any trans on the road. The problem comes when it is neglected too long and it gets a varnish buildup throughout the transmission. That starts to starve seal of their clean oil flow which is their life line. If the varnish is washed away with fresh oil after being like this for a long time, then bad things can happen because the transmission has passed the point of no return. Clean, cool fluid is the best thing a trans can get for durability but once the damage is done, just drive it to the end. Only flush clean fluid is the best advice.

 
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01-26-05, 07:33 PM   #6  
We use to do transmission services that were drop the pan and change the fluid. Which was about 6 qts. of fluid,filter and pan gasket. That is not much of a trans service to me! Most transmission torque converters don't have a drain plugs. So that's the best you can do! Now with the trans flush machine you exchange fluid and this can be done with numerous quarts of trans fluid. This flushes the transmission,trans torque converter,trans lines,and transmission cooler. Most of the FORD transmissions don't have filters any more. They are just screens. And some vehicles don't have a dipstick or tube. The key to any VEHICLE longevity is MAINTENANCE! Read owners Manual and do schedule MAINTENANCE Routines.

 
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01-27-05, 03:06 AM   #7  
Typical Toyota FWD trans holds 8 qts, draining the pan nets you about 2.2 qts of new fluid. If you drop the pan you will get an additional qt of fluid.

Youíre not even changing close to half the fluid. Just mixing the new clean fluid with the old dirty fluid. Flushing makes good sense to me.

 
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01-27-05, 05:04 AM   #8  
For issues of this nature, I highly recommend visiting www.bobistheoilguy.com
Do a search of the forums for transmission flush.

 
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01-27-05, 05:26 AM   #9  
I just had to look up capacities on a vehicle
3-4 quarts with pan drop
13 quarts total, including torque converter

 
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01-27-05, 12:03 PM   #10  
LMAO, cre2002. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, guys, but good analysis of the question.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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01-27-05, 02:50 PM   #11  
Gm uses filters in their transmissions and flushes have been shown to cause failures because of filter plugging.So if you have a GM vehicle change the filter after the flush.I don't use a flush machine but how does it remove the debris it flushes if it is larger than the screen?Or does it lay in the pan awaiting to plug the screen?

 
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01-27-05, 04:32 PM   #12  
Posted By: davo Gm uses filters in their transmissions and flushes have been shown to cause failures because of filter plugging.So if you have a GM vehicle change the filter after the flush.I don't use a flush machine but how does it remove the debris it flushes if it is larger than the screen?Or does it lay in the pan awaiting to plug the screen?
It's called a flush machine but in fact it's a fluid exchanger. If there's crud in the system, it's too late to be flushing or changing any fluid anyway. The machine is designed to exchange ALL of the fluid on a routine basis so the crud and varnish never form. Transmission fluid itself is a strong detergent so just changing it frequently will keep the inside spotless. The idea is to never let the fluid get to the burnt, smelly stage.

 
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01-27-05, 06:07 PM   #13  
I really appreciate everyone's opinion and it is fun to hear honest unbiased discussions. I enjoyed hearing both sides.

So....it is a toss up would you say?

Thanks again.

 
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01-28-05, 04:54 AM   #14  
I tossed and it came up tails: save your money, LOL.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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01-28-05, 03:59 PM   #15  
the tow guy likes not servicing anything, because that brings more work to him. You tow-em we fix-em. GOOD ADVISE!!!!

 
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01-28-05, 05:18 PM   #16  
my_auto
Good ,this topic came up.

I have a 2001 camry with 75000 miles. I did the regular dealer/manufacturer maint until 50000 miles.

How often should I change the transmission fluid? how do I check if the fluid has to be changed?

Please advise

 
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01-28-05, 05:28 PM   #17  
Should be changed every 30K.

 
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01-28-05, 07:24 PM   #18  
my_auto
toyotaman11769

Thanks . u r from longisland too

which is the good place arnd to do that , do u know how mucj does it cost

 
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01-29-05, 09:13 AM   #19  
LOL, Hogfan; I don't do the flush routine on any of my own vehicles either and they NEVER get towed. The number of people who take horrendous care of their vehicles is big enough already without my needing to increase the customer base.


Measure it with a micrometer; cut it with an ax.

 
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01-29-05, 10:22 PM   #20  
imspacy
most of the quick lube places do the fluid exchange thing, but if you do that then you should do the filter thing also. in most vehicles if you drop the pan and change the filter/screen and fluid that way you change less than half the fluid, to do it right, because most cars don't have a drain plug on the coverter, you have to do a fluid flush also. that machine they use to " flush" your fluid works by letting your cars's tranny draw in the new while pushing out the old, typically 16 qts of fluid. if you do both, you do the flush and then the filter, as the flush will move all the crud and build up into the pan and will possibly plug up the filter. it is also true that if your cars has alot of miles on it, what they consider excessive can vary from place to place, they may refuse to even do a flush. also if there isdamage to the seals already then flushing out the varnish can magnify the problems. i on the other hand do flush my tranny about once a year, do it myself. hope this helps you decide what you want to do.

 
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01-30-05, 09:27 AM   #21  
I have to agree with Desi and the other guys here who think that flushing the trans is a good idea. I can tell you from experience if you DONT flush the trans on Hyundai and Kia vehicles like clockwork every 30k then you will be getting (or buying after 60k) a new transmission. More than not, cars nowadays no longer use the old conventional filter media that Davo is speaking of. Most are now metal screens. If you already have 60k, 70k or more on your car (and never had a flush) then its your risk. If you are already having problems with your tranny, then definately dont do it, it may not even make it out of the shop afterwards. Ive seen this more than once. Take it to a reputable tranny shop and have it properly diagnosed. When we do a trans flush we dont just change the fluid. Although I am not real sure about their usefulness, there are additives that are installed before and after the flush. The before additive is supposed to break up the varnish and sludge that may have built up over time and take it out with the old fluid. There is absolutely no way to get all of the fluid out, but it is sure better than just dropping the pan. There are some cars still that dont even have pans on their trannys. They just have a drain plug.
I can tell you that the service is anywhere from $69.99 up to $129.99.
Hope this helps ya,
Billy

 
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01-31-05, 08:17 AM   #22  
Transmission Fluid Exchange

Transmission Fluid Exchange

For those interested, here's the fluid change method I use on all my cars that don't have a torque converter drain:

1. Pull the transmission dipstick (located near the firewall in most cars). Fresh fluid is translucent and cherry red. Some darkening is normal, but if it is reddish brown or mustard color and smells like burnt varnish, it is worn out.

2. Make sure the fluid is warm.

3. Remove all pan bolts except for the corners. Remove the bolt from the lowest corner, then loosen the other corner bolts a turn or two. Carefully pry the pan to break the gasket seal at the lowest corner. Drain mostly from this corner. With good technique you can avoid or at least minimize the red bath.

4. Remove pan. Inspect the pan before cleaning. A small amount of fine grey clutch dust is normal. However, if you find metal shavings, there has been transmission damage. Remove all old gasket material. Clean the pan and magnet with solvent and wipe dry so there is no harmful residue. Shop air can be used to clean the magnet. Hammer back any pan damage from previous overtightening.

5. (Optional) Drill hole in pan at low point and install a drain kit available from most auto supply houses. Make sure the kit protruding inside the pan doesn't interfere with anything on the transmission.

6. Replace filter.

7. Position gasket on pan. Some gaskets have four holes slightly smaller than the rest to allow four bolts through the pan and through these smaller holes to hold the four bolts and gasket in place.

8. Hand tighten pan bolts in a criss-cross pattern. After that, use a torque wrench to tighten bolts to proper ft-lbs as per manufacturer.

9. Refill the transmission using only the amount shown as “refill capacity” in the owners manual (or an equal amount that was drained), using the type of fluid specified for the vehicle.

10. You now have replaced the trans fluid and filter according to manufacturer’s requirements. Fluid is changed in the pan only.

You can stop here and go to Step 17 if you just wanted a regular drop-the-pan fluid change. For a complete exchange of the fluid (including transmission body and torquer converter) continue with the next steps.

11. Obtain the total system capacity of the vehicle from the manufacturer. Have this amount - plus a bit more - of fluid readily available.

12. Disconnect the oil cooler line from the oil cooler. Tickle the ignition to find the flow direction. Direct the stream of fluid toward a receptacle. It is better to use a clear length of hose with a shoplight laying next to it so you can see when all the old fluid has left the system.

13. Start the engine, let it idle to pump out old trans fluid until you start seeing air bubbles.

14. Stop the engine. Refill transmission through fill tube with fresh fluid - same amount as pumped out (usually about 2-3 quarts).

15. When either the fluid color brightens or the total capacity has been replaced, shut the engine off and re-attach the oil cooler line. All trans fluid has now been changed.

16. Button everything back up. Clean up the mess.

17. Recheck the fluid level. With the car on level ground, set the parking brake and the transmission in “Park” or “Neutral.” Let the engine idle for a few minutes. Shift the transmission through all detents, pausing momentarily at each position, before returning the lever to “Park” or “Neutral.” Check the fluid level again and check for leaks. Refill fluid so it is slightly undercharged. This way it can be properly checked and topped off after a long drive.

 
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01-31-05, 05:30 PM   #23  
Just to drag this out a bit more...

I checked under the hood and I did see where the transmission was flushed at 50k. I now have 160K. They put it in marker and had TF 50K. Does that figure into what I should do?

I appreciate the responses.

Thanks.

 
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02-01-05, 02:36 AM   #24  
That means the fluid hasn't been changed in 110k miles....thatís a long time.

If it states "TF" doesn't necessarily mean Flush could be Fluid

 
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02-01-05, 03:53 PM   #25  
Posted By: Kestas 16. Button everything back up. Clean up the mess.
.
Or you could just skip making that entire mess and use the machine that was designed to do the same thing WITHOUT the mess for $79.95 including 16 qts' of fluid and additives.

 
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02-01-05, 06:42 PM   #26  
"Or you could just skip making that entire mess and use the machine that was designed to do the same thing WITHOUT the mess for $79.95 including 16 qts' of fluid and additives."

Could you clarify. Which machine? Not the flusher?

 
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02-02-05, 06:08 AM   #27  
Oil change places often offer transmission flushes or fluid exchanges. I've seen these units (when I recycle my oil), though I've never used them. I'm not sure if they use the car's natural pressure from the transmission to move the fluid through or if they add pressure. I would prefer using natural pressure.

For the $60 I can save, I prefer to do it myself and clean up the mess. The mess is contained by newspaper and thrown in the fireplace. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes routine. I budget two hours for the job.

I don't just drop the pan to change the fluid anymore. I use the fluid exchange method every 30K for all my cars. Just dropping the pan to change transmission fluid is like changing only two quarts of oil every oil change. It's a good feeling to see all the brown fluid exchanged for clean pink fluid.

 
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