ATF+4 - Caravan Change

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I was going to swap out the ATF fluid in the Caravan with C+ Redline fluid I purchased but then I realized I had 3x 5 litre jugs of ATF+4 I bought for a friends vehicle but we never ended up doing the change for him so I decided since I wasn't swapping the filter yet I might as well keep the same fluid that was in it and use this stuff up. I have 30,000km (Almost 19,000 miles on the van now but it's operated like severe duty with traffic, idling, multiple restarts, and highway driving all in the mix) I took the cooler return line off the top of the transmission (between the battery and the engine) - Return is the one with the black cap. (White/Grey cap one is the fluid going to the cooler). I attached this to some clear vinyl hose and stuck it in a catch pan under the van. I started the vehicle and let it run out until I started to see it pulsing with air. Shut it down and over filled the pan. Started it back up again and let it continue running out until I had gone through 10 litres of the ATF and the transmission pan was empty. (10 Litres is over what is required for a full fill). I put the line back on and poured in 4 litres of fluid and checked the level versus the temperature chart and kept topping off until it was full (filling the circuits with fluid in each gear as well). Took it for a drive and then re-checked the level again against the chart/temperature. All good. I did notice that the outgoing fluid was dark purple in colour and the new fluid going in was more of a dark cherry red. The outgoing fluid also had some fine metallic bits floating in the oil similar to when you change a lawnmower or snowblower's oil, although not quite as much and much finer particles seen in the light. The oil between the fingers looked a dark red colour and no grit could be felt (Just for an idea of the fluid's condition). There was a slight change in shifting (improvement) although there was no issues before just something I noticed because I'm anal about that sort of stuff. I noticed that the reverse shudder these are common for is not there and I had it previously, and the 2-1 downshift pulling up to a light is much less noticeable (another common thing with these transmissions when the transmission is hot and there is stop-go traffic) so it appears there is some benefit changing out the fluid early to get the break-in wear out of there. I changed the fluid in my Journeys 4-speed transmission (which this transmission is similar in design to), and noticed similar characteristics after the change so it confirms my suspicion that shift quality although not a huge difference can be affected somewhat by break-in wear floating around the transmission and getting it out of there is a benefit. The Mopar fluid is a Group III synthetic (ATF+4) and is MS-9602 spec formula, it has a Lubrizol ad-pack (for those not familiar). It's supposed to last 192,000km (120,000 miles) according to my manual but I think that is far too long to have all those bits floating around and without a filter change to boot. crzy Anyway, I intend to run this fluid for 50,000km (30K KM) and then I will do a pan drop and filter change and put on my new Dorman drain-plug pan. Going in will be Redline C+ which has the same additive package as the Mopar ATF+4 but has a different basestock and better cold weather properties. Just thought I would share for other 62TE Transmission folks and/or similar Chrysler transmissions that are not the ZF 8 & 9 speeds. cheers
 
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I went ahead and bought a new pan with plug, gasket,measured dipstick,filter and 6 quarts of the C+. The minivan is at 50k miles. I will drop the pan, change the filter and pan and refill. Measure hot temp after driving and use my non contact infrared thermometer and chart. I realize that I won't get all the fluid but I will get the filter and more than half the fluid. That's enough for me. I don't like the idea of the pump cavitating without fluid as you drain through the cooler line. Probably doesn't hurt anything but don't want a $4000 USD catastrophe either.
 

StevieC

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Originally Posted by sloinker
I went ahead and bought a new pan with plug, gasket,measured dipstick,filter and 6 quarts of the C+. The minivan is at 50k miles. I will drop the pan, change the filter and pan and refill. Measure hot temp after driving and use my non contact infrared thermometer and chart. I realize that I won't get all the fluid but I will get the filter and more than half the fluid. That's enough for me. I don't like the idea of the pump cavitating without fluid as you drain through the cooler line. Probably doesn't hurt anything but don't want a $4000 USD catastrophe either.
At the first sign of it chugging I shut it down. It's fine... Done it on my Santa Fe multiple times with it's fluid changes and 0 issues. It's when you do it and the transmission is hot and do it for extended periods of time that it's a problem. I rebuilt enough transmissions where lines have blown out on the highway to cause the failure and people keep driving like that until the car comes to a stop completely dry of fluid and severely overheated. Even then the pump looks fine when you take apart the transmission. There is just damage to the internal parts because they were hot and moving at the time not parked idling at a cool temperature.
 
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I bought my Pacifica at about 120k (also 62TE trans) and am confident the PO had never changed the fluid in it. Serviced the transmission right away (3 back to back pan drops & refill + filter), what came out was a very dark purple instead of cherry red like the new fluid. Magnet covered in fine debris, nothing unusual noted except the dark color. I've driven it about 15k since and the fluid color is still bright red. I used Supertech ATF+4. Trans continues to shift great, however it does shift a wee bit hard into 3rd (not bad per se, but enough to notice); not sure if this is typical for these transmissions or if mine's just a fluke.
 

StevieC

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A hard shift into 3rd is not typical. Usually it's just the 2-1 downshift is a bit jerky here/there and the reverse shudder. It is possible to do a relearn on the transmission controller built into your PCM but it has to be done using a scan tool at the dealer. It resets the adaptive logic and will retrain it for the new clutch volumes and line pressures because the controller uses variable line pressure adaptive logic to reduce pumping losses for fuel economy by using only as much pressure as necessary. Sometimes this can be a little off due to variances in the internal pressure sensor and/or the internal temperature sensor being slightly out of calibration and the re-learn fixes that. It's common on the 62TE and the 4-speed version this transmission was based on. There is also a clutch volume test they can run on their scan tool to see if there is a mechanical fault within the transmission causing the problem like internal pressure leakage or worn clutches etc.
 
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Nice work thumbsup Cooler line exchange on this vehicle is easier than the pan drop or even drain and fill, if you changed to the doorman pan, because you don't even need to raise the vehicle for it. Everything can be done from the top. The only issue one can have is lose that little retaining clip for the cooler lines. I almost lost mine. I exchanged the fluid on mine at around 25k kilometers, or 15k miles, but I didn't see any glitter in the ATF and the fluid was still red. Darker than the new fluid of course, but not dark or purple like in your case. We drive it 90% city traffic with occasional highway trips and it is driven relatively easy since the engine is quite powerful and it doesn't take much to accelerate with regular traffic. The tranny has to do more shifting, but I feel the ATF temps are probably much lower, hence the ATF was still red.
 
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StevieC

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I pulled the clip out slightly and put a thin zip tie around it before taking it off so that way I had the tie in my hand so if it did want to take off it couldn't go anywhere. Learned this a long time ago when dealing with these type of clips. wink Good thing I did because sure enough it wanted to fly off. The tool I have for these quick connect/disconnects doesn't fit unfortunately so I have to do it this way on the Caravan, but it works fine. Yeah the glitter in the oil is barely noticeable I had to shine a light in the pan to see it and even then it was difficult because it was so fine. Definitely not the size and amount that comes out of seasonal equipment drains with no filters. I noticed a reduction in temperatures on my scan gauge of about 4F with this change. I also notice that it takes longer for the temperature to climb on the highway whereas with the FF it would climb to 130F almost right after the coolant would come up to full temperature. Now it will sit at 95F and slowly climb to 126F after about an hour of driving. (I'm at the office today which is an hour away). Love messing with my van. grin2
 
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Originally Posted by StevieC
A hard shift into 3rd is not typical. Usually it's just the 2-1 downshift is a bit jerky here/there and the reverse shudder. It is possible to do a relearn on the transmission controller built into your PCM but it has to be done using a scan tool at the dealer. It resets the adaptive logic and will retrain it for the new clutch volumes and line pressures because the controller uses variable line pressure adaptive logic to reduce pumping losses for fuel economy by using only as much pressure as necessary. Sometimes this can be a little off due to variances in the internal pressure sensor and/or the internal temperature sensor being slightly out of calibration and the re-learn fixes that. It's common on the 62TE and the 4-speed version this transmission was based on.
Can the relearn be initiated by disconnecting the battery cables?
 

StevieC

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It will relearn some of the adaptives yes, but it will not make it relearn everything so don't be surprised if there is no change. To do the disconnect, take both cables off the battery. Take both cables now disconnected from the battery and touch them together and keep them like that for at least 20 minutes to be sure all capacitors in the control modules fully drain. (Quite easy with the terminals having tightening nuts that don't need to be loosened much for the terminals to come off. Do not over tighten these when you put them back on, they can break) It goes without saying but just in case someone reading this does the wrong thing... DO NOT short the two cables together while still connected to the battery unless you want to end up with a big problem on your hands and possibly a ride to the emergency room.
 
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