2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario

Messages
3,059
Location
Columbus, Ohio
I have to ask what kind of mechanic wouldn't check the dipstick...but when my Sonata was new I used a free oil change coupon at the dealer. Got home and checked, discovered it was a quart low. So I guess they don't.
 
Messages
618
Location
Prosper, TX
It sounds like he hooked into the oil cooler lines that run to the radiator. The transmission cooler lines run to the condenser in front of the radiator. I could see how this "could" happen, but he should have checked! The transmission has a dip stick after all!
 
Messages
7,847
Location
Hudson, NH
I subscribe to this YouTube dude who tested ATF in a small engine. And he found that running straight transmission fluid may not be the best but it's definately not the worst fluid he's tried.
But he filled the sump of the small engine with the correct amount of ATF. In your case the mechanic thought he was adding ATF to the transmission. Why would he stop at 8 quarts and not go up to 10 or 12. Which is way overfilled and overflowing on the floor. Something you mentioned. When you severely over fill an auto engine you get foam. Foaming of the oil means a loss of lubrication. It's the same as running low or out of oil. So I would be concerned. Not knowing how much ATF he put in. I would definitely be changing my own oil and checking the pan for metal. I would even be cutting the filter open. If you don't see any evidence well you got lucky and you can move on.
 
Messages
2,991
Location
USA
A transmission flushing machine is designed to measure the amount of old fluid coming out and return the same amount of new fluid. So the fill level would be correct, but the wrong substance.
 
Messages
5,149
Location
Southeast Texas
Believe it or not, ATF has been used as an engine flush before, (No, I am not advocating this), and those who did this did not blow up their engines. ATF is a thin oil to be sure, but not so thin to hurt anything on a short drive. Drain and refill with a cheap 10w-30, drive 500 miles, then drain and refill with oil of your choice. Its not that big of deal, and certainly not a "nightmare". Your truck will be fine. thumbsup
 
Messages
35,259
Location
NY
Like I said, a short run of ATF in the engine is better than a short run of engine oil in an automatic transmission. Do a short OCI, maybe 100 or 200 hundred miles to get out any residual ATF and forget about it. There's not much else you can do.
 
Messages
9,410
Location
Canuck living in California
Originally Posted by demarpaint
Like I said, a short run of ATF in the engine is better than a short run of engine oil in an automatic transmission. Do a short OCI, maybe 100 or 200 hundred miles to get out any residual ATF and forget about it. There's not much else you can do.
I agree with this as well. Change the oil early and move on. Another note, did OP double check the dealers work when they corrected their mistake? I know I would.
 
Messages
857
Location
Maryland
As mentioned in this post and the one after: https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/foru...uid-flush-nightmare-scenario#Post5138099 ... I don't think running a light oil (such as ATF) for 20 miles will cause any significant problems due to friction or premature wear. Upon thinking about this, the concerns likely center around the O2 sensors, catalytic converter and internal oil seals. Does anyone know if the additives in ATF are immediately harmful to any of the above mentioned components? My gut feeling says that with only 20 miles or so, this will not turn into a big problem. If it were mine, I would drive the car for 20 minutes, then change the oil/filter again and call it a day unless something else crops up. I would get a UOA at the next interval. When I do my own trans services, I just do 3 drain & fills in the driveway, driving the vehicle for a few miles in-between each session. BTW: Totally agree with others... Get rid of the K&N filter. I drank that cool-aid many years ago and after a few seasons, all the upstream air handling hoses had a layer of dirt on the inside. -Ditch it and go with a high quality OEM-type filter. For kids running turbo-fueled rice burners (that stand no chance of reasonable longevity) the K&N is fine. Under extreme conditions, it will let the engine suck more air. For vehicles with normal performance characteristics and longevity is desired, use a good, high-quality air filter. Ray
 
Messages
14,867
Location
Santa Barbara, CA
If it were me I would probably skip the K&N and dump the BG snake oil in favor of the OE fluid or something equivalent. All of the snake oil companies have annoyed me to no end since I have worked in the parts business. Nothing about the product, just the way they treat us parts people on a business level.
 
Messages
2,836
Location
DELAWARE
First of all, half of the wall of text you wrote did not need to be in there to convey they got the transmission and engine oil fluid service mixed up. The most you will ever get from their insurance if you are even able to successfully file a claim, is that a like high mileage junk yard engine would be put in as a replacement.
 
Messages
7,847
Location
Hudson, NH
Originally Posted by mk378
A transmission flushing machine is designed to measure the amount of old fluid coming out and return the same amount of new fluid. So the fill level would be correct, but the wrong substance.
Maybe that's how it happened. Instead of connecting to the ATF cooler lines on the passenger side of the radiator, he connected to the engine oil cooler lines on the drivers side. Whoops
 
Messages
1,701
Location
'murica
Originally Posted by Gebo
Ask him what will happen if the ATF ends up damaging your engine down the road.
In a world where K&N filters and BG flushes are considered a good idea, it's called an "engine flush" to run ATF for 20 miles. I don't think the shop owner will be all that concerned, really.
 

accord_9909

Thread starter
Messages
11
Location
Lewis County, NY, USA
Since the incorrect fluid replacement has occurred, the following has taken place. Oil change after 120 miles with 8 qts of Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20 with a Purolator PL22500 to remove any remnant tranny fluid. Next oil change would be targeted after ~3200 miles. This will get me to 110K and setup for easy 5K OCIs. At that time, I will send in a sample of the oil for a UOA at Blackstone Labs. Regarding the tranny fluid, just this evening we dropped the pan, replaced the tranny filter, and cleaned up the pan and the magnet. The magnet didn't look too bad at all for a truck with 107K+ on it; I forgot to take a photo. We have added back 5 qts of Dexron fluid that I got from a local GM dealer here specifically for the truck. I'll check the fluid level again tomorrow--thinking I need to add another quart or so to get back to full when warmed up. The plan is at 110K, I'll drop the tranny pan again to cycle through fluid once more to get most of the BG out when we change the motor oil. If the UOA shows some bad air filtration, I'll take off the K&N and put back the stock filter and intake manifold. Right now, I am enjoying the noise too much smile I haven't noticed any change in fuel economy to-date. No additional interaction with the service tech or shop owner. I'll let it be for now and will keep an eye on the truck for leaks/odd behavior and look forward to the UOA. I am not concerned that I cannot get a letter from him at a later date--I am sure he feels bad enough as it is. Lesson learned - when you can do the job yourself, do the job yourself. Thanks everyone for the feedback.
 
Messages
118
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
It's probably thicker than 0-16.
 

JTK

Messages
13,239
Location
Buffalo, NY
My head hurts from the reading the original post. LOL

Like said, if anything that ATF in the engine oil sump may have cleaned things up a bit, who knows. If it damaged the engine, I'd think you would have known it by now. It's just frightening to hear of something so crucial, yet simple being screwed up like that.
 

CKN

Messages
5,920
Location
Utah
If you were able to change your own engine oil then why didnt you change the transmission oil yourself too?
If you drop the pan on these you have to remove some other stuff. They are PITA to drop the pan. You can do it without removing other parts but it makes a major mess.
 
Messages
784
Location
Massachusetts
I must say...I would have been out of my mind if this happened to me. Great to hear that everything is ok.

I owned one of these trucks before, be very diligent with your transmission services and oil changes. If not? Transmission fluid on a 20 mile ride will be the least of your problems.
 
Messages
4,226
Location
Central Maryland
"They agreed to service the tranny correctly this time."

That is now how I would have handled it. I had a shop mess up 2 jobs out two jobs I gave them - ball joint and a brake caliper replacement.

I had it repaired elsewhere. They were never going to touch my car again.

I went back with photographs and a write-up from the real mechanic, and got 100% of my money back. (There's more to that story, but I think I told it here before). That shop later got bought-out and has another name now, but not before they had to pay Yelp to suppress my detailed review.

EDIT- If I had noticed the OP was from many months ago, I would not have bothered to reply.
 
Messages
2,054
Location
missouri
ATF is good lubricating oil. It is NOT high detergent. Transmissions stay clean because they do not have combustion byproducts in them. It does have some pretty good varnish cleaners. So does good motor oil.

No Harm or benefit will have happened. Just have it and the filter changed, and drive. No additives or flushes needed, no short changes needed.

Rod
 
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