Does frequency tran fluid change eliminate problem

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3,508
Location
Delaware
A recent thread on here got me thinking about Transmission fluid change and failures. What I was wondering is if frequent fluid change can eliminate transmission failure. Let me add that I exclude from the question transmissions with design issues. As well my definition of frequent fluid change is more often than required by the manufacturer. Preferably more than severe service schedule. Installation of inline filters count as well. So anyone have any examples of a transmission failure serviced under these conditions?
 
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Y_K

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2,754
Location
WA (USA)
I have a friend with an Acura MDX who does that with apparent success. Just one sample, of course.. He drains and refills ATF (partial) every time he does his oil change. He can put a 'wrong' fluid, e.g. Dex/Merc, but he does it religiously. Most of the time it's the correct fluid. I don't know anybody else owning an original Honda AT on a large vehicle with 366+ thousand miles and no rebuild work. I do that on my Towncars: Mytivac and refill every 20k miles. 4.5 quarts of Mercon V. Drop the pan every 100k to change the filter. Still have one car with the U-Haul pan (it has a drain plug) with 436k miles on it. Mityvac is easier and more economical. But.. in the first case we have no statistically valiid population sampling, and in the second case the AT is known to be durable
 
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13,241
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
The only thing I can add is that, I believe in ATF changes on a regular basis. I have two vehicles in my signature that both(Altima/RX-300), according to their history of repairs, experience tranny issues/failures. Though, I don't believe that the fluid changes completely eliminate the tranny problems, I do believe that it helps to reduce the chances of problems. My diligence in changing the ATF on a regular basis, seems to be helping thus far. And, you can see the ages of these vehicles. No failures yet!
 
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Messages
2,297
Location
Michigan
Proper maintenance is all that is needed. Replacing serviceable fluid for serviceable fluid is a waste. Family friend has a '94 F150 with 385 thousand miles. Stock engine and transmission. I asked what kind of oil he uses. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "Whatever's on the shelf".
 

Y_K

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2,754
Location
WA (USA)
Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
...Replacing serviceable fluid for serviceable fluid is a waste..."Whatever's on the shelf".
The OP inquiry was about the fequency and schedule mod
 
Messages
2,297
Location
Michigan
Thank you.
Originally Posted By: Y_K
Originally Posted By: Oil Changer
...Replacing serviceable fluid for serviceable fluid is a waste..."Whatever's on the shelf".
The OP inquiry was about the fequency and schedule mod
 
Messages
242
Location
twin cities mn
I know a lot of people who have the same truck with the same transmission I have (4R70E). Between all of them it does not seem to matter. I change mine every 30k and have had no problems, but I only have 108k miles. I am the hardest on my truck. I dirve it hard unloaded, but most of the time it is towing or hauling something. One friend has 250k miles on his and has never changed or flushed it. He tows with his a lot. Another friend never changed his and had the transmission rebuilt at just over 100k. One of my friends changed his every 30k and ended up replacing his at 150k. My moms new Jeep only requires a transmission flush at 120k only if the vehicle tows a trailer, is used in the desert or other off road conditions or is used as a delivery, taxi or police vehicle. The Jeep service manager said synthetic fluid, and better filters is a big part of why most manufacturers don't require a flush anymore. He added that in his personal opinion, if he planned to keep a vehicle until it rusted away, he would replace the fluid and at about 120-150k just to be safe unless he had the lifetime warranty. I am sure that is because they get almost $200 for a flush and the deductible for the lifetime warranty is only $100. I usually follow the schedule for vehicle I buy new, But for used vehicles I don't change it. The old saying "If it has never been changed or if you don't know if it has been changed, Don't change it unless it already has a problem" (which I know in general is really not true) Twice I have had a transmission fail after changing the fluid on higher mileage vehicles that I didn't know the history. Once on an 88 GMC and once on a 91 Caravan. They are the only failures I have had besides the shift solenoid on my current Focus.
 
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Messages
439
Location
USA
I once owned a used 1974 Chevrolet Caprice that had transmission issues in 1984. It cost me around $2,500.00 to get it fixed by AAMCO. Needless to say but the fellow, who was in charge of the shop, said that the transmission should have it's fluid/filter changed on a regular basis to prevent future transmission problems. I was in another town when the yearly check-up was due, and the transmission had some problems that were fixed under the nationwide warranty by another AAMCO. The warranty helped me avoid another costly repair. I have the transmission fluid on my Nissan changed once a year since I bought it new, and have had no problems. As an old adage is always said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
 
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746
Location
Northern Michigan
The only trans failure I've ever experienced was on a used 1991 Caravan which had had a rebuild 15,000 miles prior by the previous owner (the shop gave me a break and rebuilt it again for $1,000 and provided an 18 month warranty vs. their standard 12 month warranty...I sold it 6 months later). Other than that, I've NEVER had a trans issue with my vehicles but tend to get rid of them before the mileage gets too high (may be changing that practice now...the 'ol villager just turned 133,000 miles and the trans shifts like new...does need an oil sending unit and sway bar links but runs great otherwise). I service the trans in it with a drain-and-fill using Redline D4 every fall (about 30,000 miles per year on the van). I tend to do this with all of my vehicles and have never had a problem. Then again, my sister and brother are driving GM vehicles with 140k+ miles and have NEVER changed the trans fluid...neither have had issues either...go figure.
 
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10,008
Location
Upstate NY
It seems to have helped on our two. The Fit gets a yearly drain/fill. When it was new the only way to keep it shifting like new was a yearly drain/fill, and I've kept up the practice since then. Honda didn't recommend any ATF changes until the powertrain warranty expired. GM doesn't recommend any changes for my Cruze (manual transmission), so changing the MTF every 35-40k miles counts.
 
Messages
1,062
Location
Minnesota
I have always changed ALL fluids ahead of the 'schedules'. With transmissions, I like to get my own 'baseline' with changing the filter and inspecting the pan(if applicable). After that, and all is well, I tend to just R+R the percentage of ATF that comes with a simple drain-or with out a drain plug I've used a cooling line to pull 3-4 quarts every year or two(say 20k miles)I did have a failure with my El Camino with a GM THM200C years ago, but that was a weak trans, especially behind a SBC V8. The year before mine, they used a THM350C and I'd probably still be fine if I'd had that.
 
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8,473
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Hello, I love this thread but, as mentioned, there are too many variables and nowhere near the sample size to draw conclusions. My anecdote: I bought my 2002 Volvo V70 with the "characteristic" 2-3 shift flare. The original owner went the fluid change route but the problem persisted. I got the car at a reasonable price. It had crystal clear red fluid. I had the car "reflashed". Shifting improved and stayed consistent. Later, after reading here, I performed drain & fills adding TransGard red at the recommended dosage. The improvement was marked. I'm at 187K now. I do not pound on the car. CONCLUSION: WARNING: This is caustic! I honestly believe Ford (which owned Volvo at the time) messes with rubber things like seals and servo "O" rings to engineer failures in their products. I'm hoping the lubricating powers of the TransGard are helping whichever servo operate. Feel free to lambaste. I only know she's shifting pretty well now. In fact, the only clunking she does is during 'weird' deceleration, say, during turns or turning down a steep hill. Kira
 
Messages
242
Location
twin cities mn
When I poster earlier I forgot that I also had a transmission fail on a Fairmont. I only had reverse when that one went. Now that I know more about cars I still wonder if new fluid and a filter would have fixed it. I really liked that car.
 
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Messages
3,212
Location
Richmond, VA
Originally Posted By: jmb3675
When I poster earlier I forgot that I also had a transmission fail on a Fairmont. I only had reverse when that one went. Now that I know more about cars I still wonder if new fluid and a filter would have fixed it. I really liked that car.
A friend of mine had a Fairmont in college. We beat on that thing like crazy and it never showed a sign of slowing down. He sold it about 3 years after we graduated and it was still running. I know for a fact that he did oil changes and that was it. So the question I have is what did you do to that poor Fairmont smile
 
Messages
1,462
Location
East Mountains, NM
I have a good friend that used to rebuild ATs for a living. His view was that changing fluid accomplished nothing.....Because the fluid does not deteriorate until something starts to malfunction, either overheating the fluid or putting debris into it. I do not agree with this concept, and believe that ATF oxidizes, and collects normal wear metals, thus regular drain and fills (Or full fluid changes) will benefit longevity. I really have little direct experience to support my view. I have never broken or worn out an AT, but then, I have always tended to own manual transmission vehicles. And I don't wear them out near as fast as most........I am still driving a '00 4runner with 250k miles, and the original clutch.
 
Messages
9,560
Location
Boston, MA
I do two Gen 4 Camry automatics at close to the book intervals which is 20 or 25 K for their partial change of 2.7 quarts. 300K on one of them now. Both show a slight color change in the drained fluid. The 92 to 96 V6 Camry Gen 3 is supposed to suffer from early transmission faliure if fluid changes are not done on time , especially the wagons and vehicles used for towing. I suspect fluid has been improved, as has motor oil, since '96.
 
Messages
7,444
Location
North America
Originally Posted By: Olas
A maintained system will last longer than an unmaintained one.
This. Plus, several years ago a friend had a transmission that started slipping (forget which gears) and shifting poorly. He did a pan drop, filter and refill and it fixed the problem for about 5000 miles. Then he did it again twice at 5000 mile intervals, and after that had no more problems until he got rid of the car several years later. So my take is that the transmission is designed to use fresh fluid, and benefits from a drain and refill.
 

Astro14

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12,946
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Virginia Beach
Originally Posted By: Kira
Hello, I love this thread but, as mentioned, there are too many variables and nowhere near the sample size to draw conclusions. My anecdote: I bought my 2002 Volvo V70 with the "characteristic" 2-3 shift flare. The original owner went the fluid change route but the problem persisted. I got the car at a reasonable price. It had crystal clear red fluid. I had the car "reflashed". Shifting improved and stayed consistent. Later, after reading here, I performed drain & fills adding TransGard red at the recommended dosage. The improvement was marked. I'm at 187K now. I do not pound on the car. CONCLUSION: WARNING: This is caustic! I honestly believe Ford (which owned Volvo at the time) messes with rubber things like seals and servo "O" rings to engineer failures in their products. I'm hoping the lubricating powers of the TransGard are helping whichever servo operate. Feel free to lambaste. I only know she's shifting pretty well now. In fact, the only clunking she does is during 'weird' deceleration, say, during turns or turning down a steep hill. Kira
Not lambasting, but you're way, way off base here... Ford didn't engineer the transmission, Aisin did. That same transmission was used in GM cars, where it's know as the AF-33, Volvos, and Nissans. All three manufacturers had poor in-service experience in 2001 and 2002. The principal problem was valve body bore wear, in particular, the SLT solenoid that controls line pressure. With poor line pressure, the transmission shifts slowly, and that leads to the clunks when shifting as the engine revs too far up or down before the gear is engaged. Caught early, you can have the valve body rebuilt. Too many slam shifts, and the trans will be worn, necessitating a rebuild. If you're interested, here is how a valve body rebuild looks on your 2002 Volvo. http://www.volvoxc.com/0/resources/how-to/pdf/2002-V70-XC-Valve-Body-Replacement-Notes.pdf I did both my cars about 5 years ago. PM me if you're struggling with your Volvo. For your Volvo, I recommend a drain and fill (3.5 QTS out of the 8 total) every other oil change, or flush it every 30,000 miles. Use only a JWS-3309 fluid. Toyota T-IV is cheap.
 
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