4T65e - new buick lesabre - what to do?

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Hey guys I just bought a 2004 Buick Lesabre with 47k miles - these cars come with the 4T65e transmission. No transmission issues; shifts fine. I want this car to last long, so I figure I should start by dealing with the transmission fluid. Not sure if it has been changed in this car before but probably not. My research tells me I should just drop the pan as it is safest. Some say it's a good idea to drop pan 3 times(while driving a bit between changes) becuase a pan drop on changes something line just of 50% of the fluid so doing it 3 times means like 90% of fluid is new-Anyone else do this? I am wondering what fluid is best? My research has also lead me to discover the installation of an inline filter. Any experiences with that? Is this tried and trued, no issues? Thanks!
 
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Fluid changes are good, change filter and install drain plug when your in there.
 
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pbm

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Dropping the pan on a 4T65E will drain approx. 75% of the ATF. It's really not necessary to do 3 D&R's...I would do one and maybe another 6 months or a year later. Mine ran great on Mobil 1 ATF changed every 60K.
 
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Sounds like a great purchase. I have the same transmission in my Buick. I have dropped the pan and changed the filter three times in its years. My last change at 100k showed me to no longer worry about the pan filter. I own a Mityvac 7201 and will also use it to extract transmission fluid up through the fill tube, measure and replace with fresh at 30k intervals. I have had no transmission issues. I see recommendation for an in-line filter in posts. I keep my fingers crossed with preventative maintenance. Good luck with the ride. Welcome to BITOG.
 
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I have a 2000 LeSabre and I use plain ol' Walmart SuperTech transmission fluid. Works fine. By the way, it takes 7 quarts to refill it after you drop the pan.
 
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Maxlife ATF will work well in the 4T65. Also, see if TransGo has a shift kit for it. IIRC the 2004 model year had some welcomed updates such as a hardened 4th gear shaft.
 
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Originally Posted By: sciphi
Maxlife ATF will work well in the 4T65. Also, see if TransGo has a shift kit for it. IIRC the 2004 model year had some welcomed updates such as a hardened 4th gear shaft.
Huge huge +1 to the Maxlife and transgo kit. I have an ailing 4T65e in my Buick Century and I wish the previous owner had taken better care of the fluid. I bought a Dorman transmission pan that has a drain bolt already installed. I would have the transgo shift kit installed to helps prevent pre mature clutch wear (my problem right now) and Valvoline Maxlife dex merc is one of the best fluids you can buy over the counter. The transgo kit isn't necessary if you don't have firm shifts now but I highly recommend the fluid change.
 
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Also get on top of the cooling system before it shows problems. There's a couple of issues that are possible including the plastic coolant elbows leaking (Dorman makes metal problem Solver elbows) and possible intake gasket leaks. How does the coolant look in the bottle and radiator cap?
 
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I can't help feeling a bit jealous with the various options for ATF in many vehicles. And the many different varieties of ATF in the US market My Jag has the 6soeed ZF and you have to use a specific fluid due to the ECU being inside the trans. And ZF Lifeguard is expensive aswell There is a Redline ATF which fits the bill but it is even pricier and not easily obtained in the UK.
 
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My sons 03 Monte Carlo SS was purchased(in 2010) at 48K miles. I did a pan drop at 51K and replaced the filter and used Maxlife Syn ATF(also used 12OZ of LubeGard Red). At 92K, I used a MityVac fluid extractor and replaced 6 quarts of ATF again with Maxlife fluid(the old fluid looked almost new). The tranny still shifts and runs like new... I also use Maxlife ATF in my Jag V12 tranny. Smooth.
 
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GerGa

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Thanks for the info everyone. Looks like Mobile 1 ATF is good, and lot of people also like Maxlife ATF. I notice they are both synthetic. Am leaning toward Maxlife due to people's good experiences, but it has "75,000 miles" on the bottle. Any downsides to a 47k mile tranny or is it good? Doing a pan does not get all the fluid, so do I have to worry about the synthetic fluids mixing with the stock Dexron III? I will do the filter as well. Thanks ps. As far as the coolant leaks, intake mani gasket problems etc, be assured that I am taking care of that, have done extensive research, and am taking care of that with all the best parts. I just don't want to discuss it hear to not derail the thread.
 
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I did one D&F with Maxlife (it's full synthetic) in the 08 Uplander with a 4T65E, and I think it feels more solid shifting and pulling.
 
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The Maxlife mixing with the FF will only do good things for the system, but doing more than 1 drain and fill with maybe 1,000 miles driving in between would be ideal. That way you get even more of the dirty fluid out. Just remember that anything you are doing is further ahead than most people who leave the FF in forever. Yeah that might get you to 150k, it might not, which is why fresh fluid is better. The FF mineral based DexronIII will be highly sheard by now and the transmission will like the new shear stable synthetic fluid. The Maxlife is marketed at high mileage vehicles, but really what you have is a bargain synthetic that just plain works with most setups. I will be using Maxlife right out of the gate when i get my new reman transmission installed in the Buick.
 

GerGa

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Maxlife it is. I am willing to do the transgo shift kit now if beneficial. I think I heard with the 04 Lesabre you cannot do the 4th shift accumulator without lower the transmission cradle a bit. Heard it's a lot more work. But the rest can be done. Is the shift kit harder on other components of the transmission? Back to the subject of coolant, my coolant looks pretty good, its not low either, but I want to do a flush when I do the UIM/LIM. Only I don't know how to flush the coolant. Not sure if there are really any decent guide out there for it.
 
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Cooling system can be drained and filled with something like Prestone radiator flush or GM Fluid 89021562 Cooling System Fast Flush. Just drain whats in the radiator refill with one of those and follow the instructions. I like to just keep doing drain and fills with distilled water with the engine running for about 15 minutes in between until it comes out super clear. Then once i know i have all water in the system i add about 50% of the system capacity in straight coolant. My 3.1 has a bleeder valve on top of the system near the driver side, probably similar on your setup i imagine.
 
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The shift kit actually reduces wear on the solenoids since it helps out mechanically. It won't make the shifts harder during normal driving.
 

GerGa

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Originally Posted By: pbm
Dropping the pan on a 4T65E will drain approx. 75% of the ATF. It's really not necessary to do 3 D&R's...I would do one and maybe another 6 months or a year later. Mine ran great on Mobil 1 ATF changed every 60K.
Correction on the percentage: Found this amsoil resource that gives a bunch of fluid info on your car. Here it is for my 2004 Buick Lesabre: http://www.amsoil.com/mygarage/vehiclelookup.aspx?url2=2004+BUICK+LESABRE+K They state the tranny has a total of 13.4 Quarts, and 7.4 Quarts "Initial fill". That works out to 55.2% of fluid. I did a pan drop and fill today and I'm not sure as much as 7 Quarts came out. So maybe amsoil counts whats in the cooler lines or something for "initial fill". On another subject has anyone done a fluid exchange before? I have read where people do a pan drop/filter, remove the cooler return line from the tranny and turn on the car for a few seconds at a time in order to pump the old fluid out of the line and monitor when the fluid comes out fresh. Then proceed with fill. That sounds like you would starve the transmission or the pump of fluid. Not sure. I would think you would want to hook up a beer bong with fresh fluid on the cooler return port on the tranny so pump and transmission are never starved. Anyone done it before? Thanks
 
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Originally Posted By: GerGa
On another subject has anyone done a fluid exchange before? I have read where people do a pan drop/filter, remove the cooler return line from the tranny and turn on the car for a few seconds at a time in order to pump the old fluid out of the line and monitor when the fluid comes out fresh. Then proceed with fill. That sounds like you would starve the transmission or the pump of fluid. Not sure. I would think you would want to hook up a beer bong with fresh fluid on the cooler return port on the tranny so pump and transmission are never starved. Anyone done it before? Thanks
Yes, you can use the two tools below to help the job go smoothly: Use this to disconnect the return line from the trans cooler: OTC 7937 Transmission Oil Cooler Line Disconnect Tool for GM Once the line is disconnected, you can insert this tool into its place and connect a length of hose to it. Place the other end into a bucket and you're set: Hayden Automotive 397 Transmission Line Fitting Kit If you want to save a bit of money, you can always disconnect the supply line and place it into a bucket, then use low PSI air and blow the fluid through the transmission cooler and return line back into the transmission. As far as hurting the pump, you only want to run the car until it starts to sputter - no more. Otherwise you can do what is shown in the video below - he gives a pretty good explanation. In either case, you would want to pump it into a bucket that has been marked with quart gradations so you'll have a good idea how much has come out.
Once you get the job done, you'll feel better knowing you have all the old fluid out (and you did it yourself)! Good luck!
 
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