2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario

Messages
11
Location
Lewis County, NY, USA
Here is a story for the Monday morning incompetence newspaper and a few questions to gather some advice on what to do next. Vehicle details: 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8 Miles: 106,700 Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG. Now back to the event on Monday morning. I had a scheduled service for the tranny fluid to be replaced/flushed with BG (brand name) fluid and a K&N colder intake to be installed by a local mechanic shop owner that I go to church with. I dropped the vehicle off Monday morning for a 10 am service appointment. I picked up vehicle around 2 pm after receiving a call that service was completed. The mechanic who serviced the truck mentioned the fluid was pretty black on the way out, but all good now after the flush. I drove the vehicle home that afternoon (10 miles or so). I did beat on it a time or two to hear the growl of the installed K&N cold air intake. Later that evening, I noticed some oil spots on the floor in the garage; didn't really think anything of it, but was near front passenger side headlight. Tuesday morning I planned to change the engine oil and filter as I had over 5400 miles on the current Mobil 1 0W-20 AFE and Mobil 1 Filter that I had put in the truck in February 2019. Before starting up for the day I checked the oil dipstick and noticed the fluid level was high and red looking…began to fear that the service on Monday didn't go as planned. Drove the truck about another 7 miles to warm up and get over to my parent's house as my dad as a lift in the garage to complete the oil change. I pulled the plug and began to fully understand that yes, this certainly looks and smells like tranny fluid. Here again, I noticed some engine oil on the splash guard and other areas. Again as visual confirmation that the service on Monday did not go per plan. We drained the fluid out of the engine and replaced the oil filter. We added about 8.5 qts of Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and paired with a Wix XP filter. A great rebate going on recently for the Pennzoil products—I received $20 back on the 2 5qt jugs I purchased. We also checked the tranny dipstick and didn't really feel that this was new fluid; more gray than red—looked old and not changed. I filled a 5qt jug with the fluid we took out of the truck and visited the mechanic. Told him something doesn't add up. He looks at tranny dipstick and notices fluid doesn't appear fresh as one would expect to post a flush. One would think the mechanic would check this too post the service to a) check fluid level and b) realize this doesn't look any different from X mins ago. He asks the mechanic who serviced the truck which line he pulled from the cooler and he confirms the "top" one. Here is when the confirmation is audibly heard. The engine oil was indeed replaced with BG brand tranny fluid. They agreed to service the tranny correctly this time. Left the truck with them for the correct service and picked up later that day. They mentioned that they would call the business where they get the fluid from to see what their recommendation would be for such a use case. After picking up the truck I was not told if the engine oil was changed by them nor did I receive any additional paperwork on the service completed on Tuesday. Just a "your truck is all set" confirmation by the aforementioned mechanic who might have been sleeping in on a Monday morning, but was "clocked in". I am not overly pleased with the level of service and quality of the technician that serviced the truck, but that will take care of itself as I have a respect for the owner of the business. I am looking for advice on what, if any, concerns I should have assuming that this motor ran while the fluid was being flushed through the system, test drove, and then I drove for another 20 miles or so on tranny fluid acting as the main lubricant for the engine. My current plan: 1) Keep an eye on the oil level over the planned interval of 4K miles before changing engine oil and filter. 2) Collect an oil sample and send in to Blackstone labs for analysis after the 4K miles. 3) Monitor full economy over the 4K interval; so far seems unchanged with about 55 miles on it since the oil was changed. If any abnormal wear is detected by Blackstone labs I would share with the business owner and look into potential next steps at that time. One would think that an ongoing business concern would look to retain a business reputation and would agree that this is worth more than a new 5.3 L V8 engine from Chevrolet. I don't expect it to come to this, but I also didn't anticipate this event when purchasing the truck as high mileage doesn't scare me when it is paired by consistent repair and maintenance behavior. My prior vehicle to this truck was a 2009 Honda Accord 2.4L with a 5spd manual with 237K miles at the time I sold it. Any suggestions from folks here on what additives I may want to add now to protect the engine components that may not have protected as expected with the tranny fluid as compared to a high-quality engine oil? Any concerns with the amount of tranny fluid still in the system post the oil change. Not sure how much would not drain out when pulling the plug. Should I look to change the oil sooner than 4K miles? Thank you in advance and for reading this long post.
 
Messages
1,397
Location
PEARL River la
Don't add any additives. I would do another oil change to get remainder of transmission fluid out since it went through oil cooler. Keep an eye for leaks and smoke as transmission fluid could cause leaks and or damage seals.
 
Messages
35,808
Location
NY
Lets put it this way, it would have been worse had they filled the transmission with oil. I would do a very short OCI, and make sure to change the filter as well as the oil. Not much else you can do other than push the owner of the shop who did the work to give you some kind of guarantee that if something goes wrong related to the work he screwed up he makes good on it. This goes onto my long list of why I do my own work.
 
Messages
1,322
Location
Central Oklahoma
Me? I would fill it with the cheapest oil you can find that isn't rated SA (worst case find a local farm store: Atwoods, TSC, Blain's, Big R, etc and buy their <$10 jugs, or NAPA has theirs for $11.99 right now) and drive with it for 10-20 miles or so, dump it, and repeat one more time. This should almost guarantee >99% of it is out. Then fill with a quality oil and change the filter, and run for a short 3k interval and closely monitor it. Then resume your normal schedule assuming no ill effects arise from it. Then bill the shop for your costs for this, in addition to them making it right somehow, preferably not by means of touching it again. I can't say this without sounding pompous, so here it goes anyway. I feel like opting for a K&N gave you the bad karma. K&N belongs in the trash, not on your truck. BG fluids should have been your clue the shop is a joke. Bad + bad does not = good imo. Hopefully you don't think I'm an [censored] for being critical. Nobody is perfect, and it sucks that it happened to you. I hope things work out for you.
 
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Messages
920
Location
D/FW Metroplex
Originally Posted by Mr Nice
Unfortunately lots of mechanics do crap work and will deny any fault. I would do 2 drain & refills with correct ATF.
?? There is no correct ATF, it's supposed to be engine oil...I think...heck, I don't know at this point, maybe ATF is required...
 
Messages
857
Location
Maryland
Vehicle details: 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8 Miles: 106,700 Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG.: Event Summary: Owner took car to local bumbling mechanic to have ATF R&R'd and also install K&N air filter. Bumbling mechanic filled engine with ATF and did not service the trans. Owner drove the car minimally -possibly 20 miles or so. Punched the gas a few times to hear the engine. Owner noticed some oil drips, realized it was ATF and discovered the error. Owner dumped/saved the ATF from the engine and replaced w/ Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and Wix XP filter. Owner Questions: Did this possibly damage engine and what should I watch for? Is a UOA advised? What are possible next outcomes with the engine and bad transaction with bumbling local mechanic?
 
Messages
857
Location
Maryland
Originally Posted by RayCJ
Vehicle details: 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8 Miles: 106,700 Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG.: Event Summary: Owner took car to local bumbling mechanic to have ATF R&R'd and also install K&N air filter. Bumbling mechanic filled engine with ATF and did not service the trans. Owner drove the car minimally -possibly 20 miles or so. Punched the gas a few times to hear the engine. Owner noticed some oil drips, realized it was ATF and discovered the error. Owner dumped/saved the ATF from the engine and replaced w/ Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and Wix XP filter. Owner Questions: Did this possibly damage engine and what should I watch for? Is a UOA advised? What are possible next outcomes with the engine and bad transaction with bumbling local mechanic?
I personally do not think 20 miles of driving on ATF did significant damage to the engine. ATF is roughly 5-10 weight oil and if your engine is spec'd for 0/20, it probably didn't do awful things in that short period of time. 1) Do not accept money from dealer as compensation for possible damage happening in the immediate future. (Check w/ a lawyer in your State about this). In some places, accepting compensatory settlement means indemnification of future liability. 2) Save your written post above and any other written communications you had with the mechanic. You may need dated documentation down the line. 3) Save the drained ATF if possible. 4) Take the vehicle to another mechanic (preferably a dealer) for an opinion and engine check-up. 5) Do another oil & filter change to flush-out the carry-over ATF that's still in there. Make sure the oil you use is the proper spec for your engine! 6) At the end of the next oil interval, do a UOA. 7) Keep an eye on it. Ray
 
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Messages
5,056
Location
VA
I would change the oil sooner than 4K this time. I'd change it again in 1K or less. You didn't ask but I'd only use the ATF that is called for in the Owner's Manual. It appears to be Dexron HP. Since you go to church with the shop owner, I would hope he would make things right. Ask him how "we" should proceed from here. Give him the chance to make things right first. Ask him what will happen if the ATF ends up damaging your engine down the road.
 
Messages
2,167
Location
missouri
1 get rid of the K and N filter go back to stock. They let dirt thru. 2 Get a tuner to eliminate the cylinder deactivation and hope that it is not damaged too much yet. Rod
 
Messages
18,175
Location
NH
Originally Posted by slybunda
If you were able to change your own engine oil then why didnt you change the transmission oil yourself too?
It's probably a "sealed" transmission with no dipstick. It's not impossible but it's also a lot more work than an engine oil change. Not saying a Chevy is like this, but for my Toyota I have to get a 1/2" ID hose, sneak it down the engine compartment to refill the trans. Then run it until the trans is inside of something like 120-130F (way below normal temp, but well above room temp). Then I crawl under and pull a plug to see if any oil drips out at a slow rate, while the engine is running... if not add more oil.
 
Messages
518
Location
Severna Park, MD
How is this a "nightmare scenario?" I think you're being overly dramatic. Driving 20 miles with no engine oil might rise to the "nightmare" level. I doubt that driving 20 miles with ATF in the engine is going to cause any trouble.
 
Messages
3,326
Location
USA
Shouldn't the title be something like "Engine oil accidentally replaced with ATF, what now?" There was no problem with the transmission until the second trip and let them put that BG in it.
 
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Messages
4,161
Location
Texas
First , let me say I hope all turns out well . My uneducated guess is it will be OK . I have heard of adding a quart of ATF as an engine cleaner . The inside of the engine may be VERY clean now ?
 
Messages
2,056
Location
North Carolina
Just a side note. GM has sent out a bulletin that the oil sump is 8qts. No longer 8.5. Didn't know if you where aware of that. Do you have the 8sp transmission? Hopefully you will not have any issues with it. I'm on a GM truck forum and it is getting ridiculous as to how many are having issues with their 8sp transmissions. So far as to say there is a defect with the torque converters and now the recommendation is to do 30k transmission fluid changes to keep the fluid clean and the metal particles out of the fluid from the disintegrating torque converters. This keeps the transmission serviceable just lone enough to make it past the warranty. Just crazy. Plus other issues with the transmission. GM even reformulated the fluid in hopes of fixing it. Some say it has and some it has not.
 
Messages
15,998
Location
NE,Ohio
This is why I do any work I can myself. The only thing you can do is a few short oil changes to flush out the atf. I would do a change immediately, another @500miles and @1500miles to get any residuals out of the oil cooler etc. I wouldnt be thrilled with BG semi universal atf, might want to change that again with real Dexron HP or whatever the OEM fluid is. The K&N filter I'm not a fan of I ran one way back in 1999 and after 6 months I noticed the air tube (after the filter) was oily and dirty.. was not that way before the K&N .. and it wasnt from over-oiling... also had MAF issues with that car about a year after. This isnt quite nightmare.. it would be MUCH worse to put engine oil in transmission.. I doubt any massive damage was done but keep an eye out for leaks and other issues. Maybe consult a lawyer and have a dealer do any recommended remediation work and bill the mechanic. I was at the hyundai dealer once getting 4 tires mounted and balanced (they were cheapest around for road force balancing) and they were voiding a transmission warranty due to universal fluid.. apparently it came in with a limping transmission and they sent out a fluid sample.. I dont need that so I use OEM. back when there was 2 or 3 main transmission fluids a universal might work, now that there is about 40 different ones.. Its too much headache to save little $$ at least under warranty. Now if I put maxlife or some other top quality fluid in a 15 year old beater requiring mercon V... that is different.
 
Messages
349
Location
Northern NJ
I think it is highly unlikely that short a time with the 'wrong lubricant' did anything bad at all. I would do one oil change after a few hundred miles, then run about a 1000 on the next and send for analysis. Now of course anything the report shows isn't necessarily fault of this incident. A relatively clean report, good running and maybe a quick compression check and I'd stop thinking about it any more.
 
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Messages
8,103
Location
MI
That you don't have any paperwork from the garage detailing the mistake is troubling to me. It gives you no leg to stand on should issues develop.
Quote
I was at the hyundai dealer once getting 4 tires mounted and balanced (they were cheapest around for road force balancing) and they were voiding a transmission warranty due to universal fluid.. apparently it came in with a limping transmission and they sent out a fluid sample.. I dont need that so I use OEM.
All of the Kia and Hyundai dealers in my area use BG fluids on vehicles still under warranty. Go figure. Finally, thanks RayCJ for the synopsis. I had great difficulty focusing through the original novel.
 
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