ATF, drop pan or flush with 135K miles...

Messages
2
Location
NNJ
I have a 99 Olds Intrigue with 135K on the clock. Trans fluid was last changed around 75K. I have a new pan gasket and filter, and was going to use M1 ATF. I was just going to drop the pan and fluid, and replace the filter. I hear of some of you guys doing a full flush? Is that OK to do with so many miles? How do you go about doing it?
 
Messages
11,185
Location
Bad Axe, MI
I would do a full line flush and filter change or your not going to get the full benefits of the new synthetic oil. how i do mine... 1 remove the fluid output side cooler line going to the rad. 2 stick it in a bucket start the car let it pump all the old oil out,shut off car when empty(starts to spit). 3 remove pan and filter,then clean pan,pan magnet and trans serfice area. 4 install new filter and clean magnet. 5 install pan/gasket and tighten down 6 fill with 8 qts new oil(check manual for total qts needed) 7 have helper start car wile you have line in a qt bottle stop when bottle is full. 8 refill with 1 qt new oil 9 have helper start car wile you have line in a qt bottle stop when bottle is full. 10 refill with 1 qt new oil 11 repeat this till you've flushed 3-4 qts out. 12 done, check level top off as needed. you'll need like 14-15 qts of oil depending on your total needed for that trans,but thats what i usally go through with a service. i've done this on many high mileage trans my last one was on a 178,000 mile 2000 sunfire,shifts like new with DEX 6 in the pan.
 
Messages
35,000
Location
NY
I do a similar procedure. I get the fluid warm , then pump out as much as possible through the dipstick, I get close to 2 qts that way. Then I drop the pan and filter, clean the pan, reinstall. Fill the transmission, drive the car and then do several line flushes. Usually totaling about 15+ qts, counting what I replaced when dropping the pan. Some people are afraid to drop a tranny line, for fear of leaks etc. You can also suck fluid from the dipstick tube, top off, drive, and repeat the process basically accomplishing the same thing as disconnecting a line. HTH
 
Messages
25,212
Location
Upstate NY
I would definitely suggest you do a full flush when going to M1 or Amsoil or any synthetic (and expensive) ATF if you want to get the full benefit of the synthetic ATF. The Amsoil website lists the pan and total capacity for your vehicle. I would get 1-2 QTs more than the total capacity of your vehicle. Check if you have a drain plug. If you do, then drain it, then drop the pan, change filter and clean the pan & magnets. Then fill the pan and proceed with cooler line flush. The cooler line flush is easier than you think. The point is to try and eliminate any mixing of old and new fluid while doing the flush. Most shops and especially the quick lube shops do not drain the pan first and thus there is some mixing of old and new fluid and thus they would need to flush through several extra QTs of ATF to counter the mixing of old and new fluid in the pan. That gets expensive with synthetic ATF.
 
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
The key here is make sure the pan is dropped first, and filter changed. Line flush after as mentioned above unless it is impossible to get a line off. If that is the case pumping the fluid out of the dipstick works, it just takes a little longer. AD
 
Messages
4,622
Location
Western Washington
What do you guys mean by "pumping the fluid out of the dipstick"? I've heard of using a suction gun and sucking the fluid out, but pumping it out I've never heard. Sucking it out won't get any more out than draining the pan, as most is still in the TC.
 
Messages
25,212
Location
Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: scoobie
my mechanic will only do the full flush, otherwise a waste of time and money.
Does your mechanic drain the pan first before a flush?
 
Messages
25,212
Location
Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: hate2work
What do you guys mean by "pumping the fluid out of the dipstick"? I've heard of using a suction gun and sucking the fluid out, but pumping it out I've never heard. Sucking it out won't get any more out than draining the pan, as most is still in the TC.
Pumping the fluid out via the dipstick is similar to draining the pan. There will be lots of mixing of old and new fluid and one needs to look at the ATF calculator to see what the percentage of new fluid is. Years ago before flush machines, the quick lube places would stick a suction tube down the dipstick, suck all the ATF out and call if an ATF change.
 
Messages
4,622
Location
Western Washington
I think it makes sense to do a complete flush on an older machine that hasn't had regular maintenance. But if you can start earlier, doing regular drain and refills is just as effective. That's been my experience anyway.
 
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
Sometimes on a older car taking the lines off can be a PIA and create problems. Sucking the fluid out with a small pump is the better way to go. A fluid extractor, or a suction pump they use for draining gear oil, just add a longer hose works well. I prefer taking off a line, but I've worked on cars where taking off a line becomes a marriage to the vehicle. AD
 

JTK

Messages
13,161
Location
Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: hate2work
But if you can start earlier, doing regular drain and refills is just as effective. That's been my experience anyway.
+1 to that. What ever method you choose, none of them are a waste of money/ATF/time like some claim. You have intermixing of fluids no matter what you do, key is to get mostly new stuff in there. If that 4T40 or 4T65E made it this long, any method would be fine. I'd personally do a pump out/refill or 2 with some drive time in between, then do a pan drop, cleaning, filter change. Joel
 
Messages
35,000
Location
NY
 Originally Posted By: daman
I haven't found a car yet that i couldn't get atleast one of the lines off.
Over the years I have. It doesn't happen often but it does. I was helping a buddy who lives on the South Shore of Long Island. The salt air didn't do his steel tranny lines much good. They weren't leaking, were sound, but they weren't coming off easily either. It wasn't worth the hassle. We used a Mityvac IIRC.
 
Messages
35,000
Location
NY
I would imagine if we really wanted to get it off we could have, butttttttttttttttttt. We decided it was not the best way to go with that particular car.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
44,859
Location
New Jersey
Given that it has been changed before, I wouldnt worry much about flushing... I personally would get what I can out via the pan and filter replacement. That said, if the pan has a drain plug, I would do intermediate fluid swaps, and if it doesnt, I'd get a pan that does...
 
Messages
25,212
Location
Upstate NY
If you cannot get a line off and if you have rubber lines connecting the transmission to the cooler you could splice in a Magnefine filter and use the output of the Magnefine to do the flush. I have a Magnefine in my Camry and the most accessible part of the return line is the output of the Magnefine. And BTW - a Magnefine is a super addition to your transmission setup, certainly the best < $20 you will spend on your transmission. You can splice a Magnefine into metal lines with the connector they sell but I assume its more of a PIA than rubber lines.
 

NJLT1SS

Thread starter
Messages
2
Location
NNJ
Hey guys, thanks for all of the good info! I think I have a tranny cooler sitting around too, looks like I will have to get that in there as well.
 
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