Tranny Fluid needs a flush

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  #1  
Old 10-06-06, 08:22 PM
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Tranny Fluid needs a flush

So the dealer wants $189 bucks. I figured I could buy a few quarts of Mercon V and do it myself. My question is, what exactly does this entail. Do I remove the plug, let it drain, then remove the pan? If there's a filter, do I reuse that or do I have to replace it? What do they mean by "flush", do I have to run fluid through it until it runs red (that's the color of the fluid when clean, right?)? What else should I keep in mind? I've changed the transmission fluid before by just draining it through the plug and replacing what dripped out. I figure I could do this maintainance myself as well. Please give me a run down on what's it like, I want to do this by afternoon tomorrow (Saturday).

I drive an '03 Mazda Protege5, automatic, 2.0L, 4 cyl.


Thanks!!!
 
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  #2  
Old 10-07-06, 04:44 AM
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At that age it doesn't "need" a flush; the dealer might "need" it to pad his bottom line, but that's about it. A simple fluid and filter change should suffice. Warm it up, drain the fluid, drop the pan, replace the filter (check with a parts house, some cars have a cleaner screen vice a throwaway), reinstall pan, fill with fluid. Should take maybe 5 or 6 quarts. If you watch how much is in the drain pan it'll give you an idea how much goes back in. Properly dispose of the old fluid.

Here's the procedure fo earlier models. Hopefully yours doesn't have the crossmember to move:

http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=/az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/14/3c/49/0900823d80143c49.jsp
 
  #3  
Old 10-07-06, 08:22 AM
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Okay, what on Earth is a crossmember? And I'm guessing a parts house would be an Autozone or Arch Parts, etc. Cool, thanks!
 
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Old 10-07-06, 08:34 AM
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Okay, the local Arch Auto sells the filter for $20 bucks. I'm going to run out and buy that as well as some Mercon. You say about 5-6 quarts? So I'll pick up 7 if I have enough money and just return the extra quart if I can't use it. Thanks!!!
 
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Old 10-07-06, 09:02 AM
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A crossmember is the big "beam" that attaches to the front left and front right sides of the frame. It keeps your frame sturdy and on some models, supports the engine. Doing the procedures that the_tow_guy recommended is not wrong, but if you just drop the pan, you are probably only getting about 1/2-3/4 of the tranny fluid out. How many miles are on your car now anyways? It's "recommended" on most cars you do a fluid change after about 60,000 miles. Here's how I changed the fluid myself on my Maxima.
I disconnect the small transmission cooling line (return) that goes to the radiator from the transmission. There are two. I put that disconnect hose into a measureable bucket. I then started engine and drained about 1-2 gts of tranny fluid into the bucket. Then I added 1-2 more qrts of new Mobil 1 ATF fluid in. I did this until the fluid coming out of the tranny line was clean. I used about 8-10 qrts of fluid doing it myself.

The repair shop uses alot more fluid to "flush" the system out then is needed and they charge you for it. It's cheaper doing it yourself if you are capable.

If they are charging you $189 to do a flush, they are robbing you. I could get my Maxima flushed out at stealership for $160 using all synthetic fluid. Good luck.
 
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Old 10-07-06, 10:43 AM
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HotinOKC's procedure accomplishes pretty close to the dealer's flush for a lot less money.
 
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Old 10-07-06, 12:36 PM
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Interesting. So do you remove the disconnect line after you drop the pan and do the change? Do you keep the engine running the whole time, as you add and let it drain? If you lay the disconnect line in your bucket and start the engine, the fluid will drain itself into the bucket, no? And as I add fluid, it will push more old fluid out? How do I know which line is the return line? Will it be marked return or line in or similar? So I try to add what comes out while the engine is running, until it runs clean red? Oh, will I likely find this line under the transmission, or should I look for it near the radiator? Thanks!!!
 
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Old 10-07-06, 01:11 PM
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Line probably will not be marked. It's easy to find out which one it is. Disconnect one of the lines off the radiator, start engine, observe whether the fluid comes out of the radiator side, or the tranny side of the hose. You want the return line, so, the fluid should be coming out of the radiator side of the disconnected hose. If fluid is coming from the transmission side of the hose, thats the supply line, just connect it back up. Don't be scared if the fluid comes out faster then usual. Have a pan or towel ready to pick up the mess. It's easier with 2 people so you can tell them to shut the motor off.
Once you determined the return line, drain about 1-2 qrts into a bucket, shut motor off, add 1-2 new qrts, start motor, drain another 1-2 qrts, etc. Do this till the fluid "looks" new. It won't be a drastic change in color unless your fluid is nasty.
 
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Old 10-08-06, 01:58 PM
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Okay, so here's what I did!! I ripped the transmission drain pan off after letting it drain through the drain plug (btw, I bent the pan too trying to crack the seal, very difficult stuff). Then I cleaned out the pan with some solvent, and put it back in place with the rubber gasket that came with the kit. I refilled it back with fluid then fired the engine up and cycled through the gears for a minute. Then I opened up the drain plug again and drained it all out. I got less fluid out this time, but that's okay, I figured. I didn't let that fluid stay long enough to get warm though. I filled it up again and drained it one more time. The last time, I filled it with two quarts of the full synthetic stuff, and 1 and a half quarts of the mixed stuff (Castrol) and that's all she wrote. The car even seems to switch drive gears better too, less of a thump from first to second. I'll watch it for a day or two to see if there's any fluid loss, but otherwise, I'd say what I did was called a flush!
 

Last edited by seancashmere; 10-08-06 at 04:28 PM.
  #10  
Old 10-09-06, 04:43 AM
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Not as complete and thorough as a machine flush or Hot's method, but probably a lot more than it needed plus you saved over $100.
 
  #11  
Old 10-09-06, 11:23 AM
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Precisely, and I got to change the filter too! (I forgot to mention that also). Besides, the fluid is now cherry crimson red and if I do that every 40K miles, I doubt on ever needing a proper machine flush.
 
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Old 10-09-06, 11:40 AM
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When auto places flush your system, they use a very similar procedure to what I told you (disconnecting tranny line, etc) except the attach it to a machine instead of draining fluid into a bucket. Also, they waste alot of fluid flushing it out and charge ya for it.

Also, next time you do this, add a transmission cooler. It takes only about 30 mins to install and double the life of your transmission. You can get one for about 30-50$
 
  #13  
Old 10-09-06, 11:50 AM
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That'd be a waste of money. I'm sure it's a good idea where you're from (I'm guessing Oklahoma City) but in Brooklyn, our winters are cold and the summer isn't too long. Although the traffic is severe, you don't find too many trannies over heating. Not to say that the transmission cooler thing is a bad idea, I just don't see it double the life of my transmission unless I moved further south sometime in the future.
 
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