2001 Ford Escape w/Motorcraft Mercon ATF

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Jun 11, 2002
Fort Smith, AR
This is the 1st time I've done an analysis on transmission fluid. It came from my '01 Escape with the C4DE transmission after 40,200 total vehicle miles. The Motorcraft brand Mercon fluid had 15,000 miles of use when I pulled this sample. I completely flushed the factory fluid at 25K.
Alum     7
Chrom    0
Iron     75
Copper   44
Lead     96
Tin      4
Moly     0
Nickel   9
Mang     3
Silver   0
Titan    0
Potas    4
Boron    67
Silicon  7
Sodium   1
Calcium  148
Magnes   0
Phosph   159
Zinc     8
Barium   1

Sus Visc 43.0
Flash    385
Water    0.0
Insol    0.0


Blackstone said, "Only lead read high. We don't know of any parts in this transmission that are made of lead, so we are guessing this lead is leftover marking compound from the factory. If so, it will drop in the next sample, which we recommend running 15K. No contaminants were present, and insolubles were low at 0%. You mentioned small silver metal in the oil when you changed it, so you may want to investigate if this transmission has any lead parts. Otherwise we wouldn't worry about the metals you saw unless the unit is running poorly." Here is my other post regarding the metal slivers: slivers in atf normal? I'm not sure what to make of this report. Any observations are appreciated. BTW, my son uses this vehicle at college. I thought the gears engaged rough when I moved out of park, but he reports that this is common. And the silver colored "slivers" were not magnetic. I'm gussing they were aluminum. Thanks.
I think I would continue to monitor this fluid as your iron and lead are high. copper is also gettin up there. My guess is the slivers where lead and probably from break-in of the transmission. 30,000 mile changes are best in my opinion anyway and that is close to what you are doing.
Is the C4DE tranny more reliable now than it was when it was in the mazda 626/ford probe/contour? From what I understand they were pretty unreliable.
The CD4E has been updated over the years. I'd invest in aftermarket cooling, filtration, and practice more frequent ATF changes(every 10k). More frequent partial drain/refills via drainplug or siphon extractor should be considered. If you don't want to do the above, invest in synthetic ATFs for your infrequent 30k changes.
Here is the 2nd fluid sample I had tested this week at about 41,400 vehicle miles, with 1,170 miles on the fluid. Since I only drained off about 5 quarts the last time (not a complete flush), this sample is roughly a 50/50 mixture of old Motorcraft fluid and the fresher Pennzoil fluid.
     2nd   1st
Al    4     7
Chr   0     0
Ir    45    75
Co    28    44
Lead  63    96 
Tin   1     4
Moly  0     0
Ni    5     9
Mang  0     3
Sil   0     0
Tit   0     0
Po    0     4
Bor   78    67
Sil   4     7
Sod   4     1
Cal   172   148
Mag   2     0
Pho   206   159
Zinc  8     8
Bar   8     1
Visc  43.9  43.0
Flash 350   385


I continue to be concerned about this tranny because of the small, brightly colored slivers that now dot the bottom of the pan whenever I drain the fluid. That's why I took another sample just a 1,100 miles after the previous one. Sure enough there was about the same quantity on the bottom of the pan when I took this sample as the last time. Blackstone continues to think they are lead, which might be correct. They are not magnetic. Plus they seem to be a soft metal, crumbling easily in my fingers. My local Ford dealer things the metal is shavings off the aluminum housing from around the drain hole. [I dont know] I do not have a good feeling about all this. [Frown]
Here is my latest uoa on my son's Escape ATF. I used Pennzoil Mercon ATF this time. Seems like much better performance to me than what I got with Motorcraft Mercon. Nonetheless, I still worry about this C4DE tranny given all the griping about it on the Escape site. Code:
                 Latest   2nd     1st
Date             10/07   10/05    9/05
Vehicle miles   57,500  41,370   40,200
ATF miles       13,500   1,170   15,000
Brand            Penn     P/M mix Motorcraft
Al                   4       4      7
Chr                  0       0      0
Ir                   34      45     75
Co                   24      28     44
Lead                 29      63     96
Tin                  0       1      4
Moly                 0       0      0
Ni                   3       5      9
Mang                 2       2      3
Sil                  0       0      0
Tit                  0       0      0
Po                   0       0      4
Bor                  87      78     67
Silicon              4       4      7
Sod                  4       4      1
Cal                  147     172    148
Mag                  4       2      0
Pho                  232     206    159
Zinc                 10      8      8
Bar                  0       0      1
SUS Visc @210     42.1    43.9   43.0
Flash              340     350    385


Blackstone had no issues tp report with this sample. Sorry about the wavy layout.
Recommend you go with 10k OCI's and stay with the Pennzoil or go with synthetic ATF. While the majority wear metals are dropping, this tranny needs TLC.
Roger, I would too have guess that the slivers were aluminum ... probably from the casing. It could be imprecise machining ... or a bearing/bushing failing and moving causing a spinning gear, etc ... to come into contact with the case (especially when under load or when the chassis is flexing). I think doing anything about this is going to be cost prohibitive ... other than frequent fluid changes. I suppose you could shop around for a salvage yard tranny to have if/when the one in the Escape goes.
UOA looks good and is improving. Did you get slivers again? Could be wear(bad thing) or simply gravity/flow backwashing the filter as it drains. Install Permacool or Magnefine type filtration if you worry about those slivers. Slivers will wear out seals, pistons, VB bores,..... and you should try to catch 'em as much as possible. Hopefully it was just from 'break in'. Upgrade fluid to Mercon-V. Its a blend and should help with the numbers. Mercon isn't licensed anymore and Ford 'finally' gave Motorcraft Mercon-V backwards compatibility, not that there was ever an issue with the aftermarket Mercon-V's. Stick with the ~10k intervals. The yearly or <10k drain/refill intervals should help keep it running healthy, while reducing accumulated wear each time. If you install an aftermarket filter, cut it open after 10k for inspection. Excessive wear will be picked up by the filter and would answer the question on whether slivers were normal breakin or if tranny is chewing itself apart.
Did you get slivers again?
Sorry, forgot to mention that. No, I did not. The bottom of the drain pan was perfectly clean this time. I lubed the drain plug threads very well last time, so I'm left wondering if my Ford dealer's belief that they were from the hole threads, might just be right. I'm a bit nervous about using Mercon V despite Ford's reconsideration. 10K drain intervals however, are the norm now. Thanks guys.
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