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  #1  
Old 11-02-2010, 01:47 PM
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Default How to change transmission fluid and how often?

I have a few questions about changing the transmission fluid on my 1990 MTX SHO.

1. I removed the bolt in the side of the transmission housing with an extension and put my finger down an inch or so and didn't touch the transmission fluid. Should the transmission fluid be filled up to that hole?

2. How often should the transmission fluid be changed? I checked both my owners manual and service manual and neither mentioned a service interval or draining procedure, just how to refill. I would think something like a transmission would need new fluid periodically just like an engine needs oil changes. Also, does a manual transmission have a transmission fluid filter?

3. Is there a drain plug on the transmission for draining the transmission?

4. Does the differential share fluid with the transmission or is it separate?

thanks for any info!
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2010, 02:39 PM
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1. Yes should be to the top

2. I dont know if there is an interval. Maybe every 100k or when you do a clutch. There is no filter. The gears just sit in the fluid.

3. No you need to add one.

4. All the same.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:45 PM
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In regards to #3 - you don't **have** to add a drain plug, although it is recommended. Search on the forum if you want to go through the hassle.

You can also drain the transmission with a piece of rubber hose and a vacuum pump through the fill hole on the side. You can get about 95% of the fluid out like this.

I don't recommend removing the bolt that looks like a drain plug - it holds in a spring (or ball bearing, I forget) for a shifting fork??... if I recall correctly. I do know that if the shifter moves while the bolt is out the item will shoot out of the transmission and you will be in a world of hurt.
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  #4  
Old 11-02-2010, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ViPER1313 View Post
In regards to #3 - you don't **have** to add a drain plug, although it is recommended. Search on the forum if you want to go through the hassle.

You can also drain the transmission with a piece of rubber hose and a vacuum pump through the fill hole on the side. You can get about 95% of the fluid out like this.

I don't recommend removing the bolt that looks like a drain plug - it holds in a spring (or ball bearing, I forget) for a shifting fork??... if I recall correctly. I do know that if the shifter moves while the bolt is out the item will shoot out of the transmission and you will be in a world of hurt.
I used the one that goes in the side that has the square opening, I used a ratchet with no socket on it. Did I use the right plug?
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Old 11-02-2010, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrorizer View Post
I used the one that goes in the side that has the square opening, I used a ratchet with no socket on it. Did I use the right plug?
On the forward face of the case? Yep, that's the fill plug. If the transaxle is completely filled, you should be able to put your fingertip into this hole and feel fluid just barely below it.

If you want to install a drain plug, here's some directions. They were written by an old SHO sage who by now should be dead and buried.
http://www.shotimes.com/php-bin/modu...thold=0&sid=93

There is a flange head bolt on the transaxle case with a 13mm hex, this is the shift fork interlock retaining pin. Removing it will allow you to drain about 1/2 the fluid from the transaxle, BUT, if you move the shift linkage while this bolt is out, you're screwed, and the transaxle may need to be dis-assembled to realign the shift fork mechanism.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:37 PM
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I would definatly recommend installing a drain plug. Easy to do and makes changing your fluid 100 times easier. Plus if you decide to try different fluids to see which works best in your trans its a huge time saver. Just my 2 cents
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:39 PM
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Don't fear installing the drain plug as instructed on the Shotimes link post above by Gary. It is easy to do, and it makes changing the fluid a cinch. When you refill, Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF is recommended. Some prefer others, but Mobil 1 is a consistent forum favorite for the MTX.
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Old 11-02-2010, 09:50 PM
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I have come to the conclusion that I am going to eventually drill a drain plug and drain all of the fluid and fill it with Mobil 1 synthetic. In the mean time I want to top it off since I can tell it is considerably low right now. I don't know what kind of fluid is in it now, I'm assuming it hasn't been changed since most people don't ever change their transmission fluid. Would topping it off with mobil 1 be a problem if its mixing with non synthetic? If mobil 1 is a problem what should I use? The service manual says to use ford motorcraft but is there an alternative I can buy at my local parts store?
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:09 AM
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I would just go with regular ATF Mercon fluid. If you are just adding I would go with the regular till you can do a drain and fill.
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Old 11-03-2010, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUDSHO92 View Post
I would just go with regular ATF Mercon fluid. If you are just adding I would go with the regular till you can do a drain and fill.
Is "Mercon" a type of transmission fluid used by all brands or is it only made by motorcraft? Also, is ATF safe to use in a manual transmission?

Thanks for any info, I've worked on cars my whole life but I'm not very familiar with transmissions, I don't think I've ever had to change the fluid before.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:33 AM
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I'm not sure where the name came from but Mercon (and Dexron Mercon) are used by all types of cars.


Edit: I was wrong... Mercon is a Ford name it seems, and Dexron is mainly GM.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:57 PM
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But they don't call it Dexron III anymore. It'll now be on the shelves as "classic atf" or "dex/merc" because GM won't license the dexron III name now that they're on to Dexron VI. Something like that. But you won't find a bottle labled dexron unless it's old.
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  #13  
Old 11-04-2010, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrorizer View Post
Is "Mercon" a type of transmission fluid used by all brands or is it only made by motorcraft? Also, is ATF safe to use in a manual transmission?

Thanks for any info, I've worked on cars my whole life but I'm not very familiar with transmissions, I don't think I've ever had to change the fluid before.
Mercon is Ford Specification. Most ATF meet the specs for it.

ATF is the fluid called out for the SHO MTX.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:26 AM
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I use an old vacuum brake bleeder hooked to my compressor. Not useful for brakes (INO) but great for sucking tranny fluid out of the fill hole.

On fluids. When the trannies were new, the old ('89-'90) "brass" synchro trannies used gear oil, the newer "paper" synchro trannies wanted ATF-type fluid.

Back a bunch of years ago, I got a used tranny ('91 with 93K miles, or a '93 with 91K miles....I forget which). Appears that the fluid was never changed. I went through three fluids before I found one that let it shift well. Synth ATF didn't work, GM Synchromesh didn't work, and I finally tried cheapo AZ Coastal gear oil, and it then shifted just fine.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:52 AM
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I installed a drain plug on my transmission and use Redline D4.

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Old 11-04-2010, 10:45 AM
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Here you go: http://www.shoforum.com/showthread.php?t=27845

You can use this method until you get a drain plug intalled.

I don't like drilling into the car if I don't have to (and if you don't like the "one shot to get it right" risk), you can rig up something like this. I haven't done a plug because I'm afraid of screwing it up.

I did something similar to the procedure in the link. I got a 1/4 or 1/2" piece of radiator hose (one of them fits perfectly in the hole--I forget which size), and I ran it up through the top of the engine, attached a funnel, tied it to the top of the hood and filled through there.

To evacuate the old tranny fluid, I used a Tempo Oil Boy oil pump (bought it for changing the oil on my jetski).
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:07 PM
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I have been unwilling to drill a hole right into the aluminum. If it could be done right with a steel or brass threaded insert, it might be OK, but if you strip out that hole, you start creating more problems. Sucking it out with a vacuum pump is easy and doesn't take too long.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:03 AM
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If you are going to use the suck it out method, then drive the car first so the debris particles will be suspended in the fluid. Otherwise, you just leave all the bad stuff on the bottom.

Fears expressed about drilling and tapping the drain hole are severely overblown. Unless you are an utter idiot, it is a simple job. Drill and tap for a 1/8" pipe thread plug. If you somehow totally botch the job, you can get somebody smarter to help you drill it out for a 1/4" plug. The drain plug is far superior because all the junk sits on the bottom.
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:57 AM
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Don't fear the drain plug Ron, mine's huge, but is now somewhat redundant because of the scavenge fitting for the cooler pump.

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Old 11-05-2010, 12:27 PM
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I'd reccomend changing the fluid at 20-30K intervals.
100k is a long long time to have the same fluid.

Sooner if you autoX/road race.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:12 PM
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I have a brass insert.



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Old 11-05-2010, 03:20 PM
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How come my trannys seem to have a small leak right there along the crease of the case in the pic above (would be vertical in that pic)? Is there a seal there or is it oil/fluid coming from somewhere else? Both of mine are dirty right there with what looks like fresh oil or fluid. Looks like it may be where 2 halves are fitted together.
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRA2000TL View Post
How come my trannys seem to have a small leak right there along the crease of the case in the pic above (would be vertical in that pic)? Is there a seal there or is it oil/fluid coming from somewhere else? Both of mine are dirty right there with what looks like fresh oil or fluid. Looks like it may be where 2 halves are fitted together.
That's exactly what it is. Maybe the last person inside your transaxle(s) didn't use the proper anaerobic sealant?
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:57 PM
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In my picture, the leak I had was at the seal for the speedo gear. Fluid was splashed around then ran down the case to the lowest point.

If its leaking from the case, Jon is right about the proper sealant. This is what I used:
http://www.permatex.com/products/Aut...ge_Sealant.htm

Bob
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Old 11-06-2010, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
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I have a brass insert.



Bob
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That looks like the way to go.
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