Ford AWD PTU lubricant change - first time in 100K miles

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This may have been posted, but I thought I would take a crack and see if I had anyone out there who can give me a solid answer. I am changing the PTU fluid in my new to me 2011 Ford Edge. For those not familiar this is a huge engineering error. They shrouded the AWD PTU in heat (exhaust, Catalytic, transmission) then didn't put a drain plug in and called the minimal fluid "good for life" with the only access is an inaccessible fill plug. So from what I have researched the way to handel this is try and get the fill plug off and use a suction device to get the old 75W140 out and replace it. Since this is the first time I have done it, and I have not cracked the fill plug, I am praying that it is just really black, and not loaded with sludge. Here is my question. If I get lucky, and I can get most of the fluid out, I want to change it, run it for about 1000 miles, and change it again with a VERY GOOD 75W140. I have limited time on things, but I was wondering what the best 75w140 gear oil is that can withstand the highest temperatures. I have heard Redline Heavy Shockproof is good, Any thoughts on Royal Purple (this one I can find pretty easily), or any other synthetic? I hope Im not opening a can of worms, but its a small amount of fluid (18 oz max) and I need some advice. Thanks
 
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My sister in law bought a used Explorer last year and I started doing some research into common issues and found the PTU fluid issue. I immediately had her bring it over and I changed the fluid. I can't remember exactly how many miles were on the vehicle, but I think it was 50-75k.

In any event, the fluid actually looked really good. It was still amber and not dark at all. No one had ever been in there, far as I could tell. The thread sealant all looked original and not tampered with. We live in a rural area, so maybe that contributes. I believe it was a local trade, so all of its miles may have been at moderate speeds, where temperatures may be reduced?

I used Mobil1 75w-140, as that's what I could get quickly. The fill plug was in a tough spot, which made it extra tricky to get a tube into for extraction. I had to play with it for a few minutes before I could get it down in far enough to pull out a meaningful amount of fluid. I have a lift, and it was still a pain. Wouldn't want to do it on my back!
 

Mr. Wuf

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Thanks cpayne5

I do not have the luxury of a lift, and I'm finding that it's likely the same setup. I was over the moon tonight when I finally figured out how to get my hand up to the fill plug. Still haven't cracked it open I'll do that tomorrow. This is likely one of those things that once you do it you get a little bit better each time. The only saving grace is I do have ramps. I had watched a YouTuber do it and he gave his top three PTU recommendations. Number three was mobile one, number two was Valvoline, number one was the Red Line I mentioned. Problem I'm finding is that I'm having a difficult time in my area locating the mobile one, seems as though a long time ago I used royal purple and thought it was okay. But I know there's friction modifiers in there and I'm not sure if that would mess up anything. I did see that on the Shelf at my local O'Reilly's the other day. I'm not real excited about trying to navigate through the extraction process. Like I say hopefully I get a little bit better. I certainly am feeling my age more each day, and I'm sure this will remind me I'm not 25 anymore.
 
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It's definitely a doable job. I think you'll be well served with just about any 75w-140 you can sneak in there. I wouldn't stress too much about the brand.
 

Mr. Wuf

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Thank you for the encouragement. I just want to put the best, most temperature resistant in there because I don't want to have to do it more often than I need to.
 

Mr. Wuf

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Thank you Lotl,

I have watched his videos and he's a very very helpful. I started thinking this morning before I crack into it tonight that being up on ramps it may push that fluid back to the fill area. I'm not sure if this has to be done on an even surface. If anyone knows this for sure let me know. Otherwise draining it's going to be very easy, but putting the fluid back will be a challenge!
 
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According to my local dealer they've never heard of changing out the the PTU fluid.

I'm going to swap mine one way or another soon. Might wait until the warranty is done, but it's happening.
 

Mr. Wuf

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I would definitely encourage you to check this out online. The dealerships, and their mechanics have stated this is a one-and-done fluid. At least they used to. And some of the later models I believe 2015 and later they even put a drain plug on it acknowledging that it needs to be done. I'm very pleased with this vehicle, but I'm a little disappointed in the lack of understanding Ford's engineer's have. Seems like the good idea fairy didn't provide common sense to the engineer that designed this. But I digress
 
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I would not recommend Royal Purple gear oils. I put it in my Subaru and it came out looking opaque and silver tinted after 30K miles. AMSOIL Severe Gear was see-through and light amber colored after 30K and just slightly darker but still see-through after 60K.
 

Mr. Wuf

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I've heard of this and appreciate you providing a link to a video that shows it. I love to change fluids and do the maintenance, but on this I may actually refer this one to my local mechanic who I trust. Just because he has a lift and this might be easier to install a straight angle. Thank you so much again for this, and it shows that can only 10000 miles he was getting discoloration on his new fluid.
 

Mr. Wuf

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Thank you IveBeenRued. I have been looking at Amsoil and the recommendation from MacT on Red line. Both are recognized as top-tier oils I know. Really want to try to get this done in the next couple of days, and I'm not sure I can get those oils locally. Likely have to order them. I did see where the Valvoline, which was also recommended and the top three PTU gear oils by MacT, was in stock at my local Wal-Mart. I will likely do the oil change and then come back 10000 miles from now and do it again. I do like the idea of punching a drain plug in there for more frequent changes. That will likely be done soon.
 

Mr. Wuf

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do not Know if anyone is doing this on their edge, but I have just drained the fluid. I preformed the service using ramps. This makes it easy to access, AND about 85% of the fluid came out. I pumped the rest out, and according to the 2011 manual it is 12oz. I measured a plastic bottle in anticipation of the drain and have about 12oz out. This was a pain, but after pulling the plug the magnet was full of shavings. I have seen that this is common. I have no idea if there are broken pieces floating in the pan...I hope not. Now time to get the Edge level and add the fluid. I will try and upload photos later if anyone is interested. 100,000 is WAY to long for this change. By the way, I could not wait on Red Line per the MacT...but I found Valvoline SynPower, ranked #2 for this task. Thank you for everyone's weigh in.
 

Mr. Wuf

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I can tell you this, after doing this just once I'm going to run over to my local guy and see if they can put a drain plug in there. The guy in the video put it in the exact right spot, and it'll be much easier to drain in the future. All in all not a terrible job, but I like to try to do things smarter and not harder.
 
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I dont know why more people dont do that....did my volvos...super easy and much easier to get all fluid out
I have a 2008 Ford Edge and I did the drill and tap for a drain plug. Not that hard at all. Really the location where you can do it is about the best spot for access for a drill anyway; once you remove the exhaust heat shield. I put a 1/4 inch pipe thread plug with allen head recess for mine. That area of the case is approx 1/4 inch or slightly more thickness. For the fill plug I found best access was from the rear with a 3/8 drive ratchet.
I agree on putting more drain plugs in to aid future fluid changes. I even weld in a drain plug on my auto trans pan RWD vehicles. Mkaes that job so much less messy than dropping a full pan of fluid down.
 
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This may have been posted, but I thought I would take a crack and see if I had anyone out there who can give me a solid answer. I am changing the PTU fluid in my new to me 2011 Ford Edge. For those not familiar this is a huge engineering error. They shrouded the AWD PTU in heat (exhaust, Catalytic, transmission) then didn't put a drain plug in and called the minimal fluid "good for life" with the only access is an inaccessible fill plug. So from what I have researched the way to handel this is try and get the fill plug off and use a suction device to get the old 75W140 out and replace it. Since this is the first time I have done it, and I have not cracked the fill plug, I am praying that it is just really black, and not loaded with sludge. Here is my question. If I get lucky, and I can get most of the fluid out, I want to change it, run it for about 1000 miles, and change it again with a VERY GOOD 75W140. I have limited time on things, but I was wondering what the best 75w140 gear oil is that can withstand the highest temperatures. I have heard Redline Heavy Shockproof is good, Any thoughts on Royal Purple (this one I can find pretty easily), or any other synthetic? I hope Im not opening a can of worms, but its a small amount of fluid (18 oz max) and I need some advice. Thanks
If you search for my older posts, I documented all of my procedures with the 2008 Taurus X I had. I drilled and tapped in a 5/16" hex pipe plug and did multiple D&F with Schaeffer's Harley gear box oil ( the most stout 75W-140 I could find locally). I also pulled the top vent and manually desludged with Q-tips.
If the fluid is in bad enough shape like mine was, you won't even have to worry about gear oil getting into your drill as it's all turned to grease.
I recall cross posting to the Edge forums back then, too.

https://www.fordedgeforum.com/topic/26795-ptu-drain-plug/?page=10&tab=comments#comment-148567 Link to the Edge forum discussions. If you click on a picture, you'll get my whole gallery of images from the project. If you're pulling the vent out to clean from the top, filling the PTU from up there as full as you can with a cheap gear oil and drive it to clean it. I had thought about it, but wasn't brave enough. Hope cross posting links are still ok here.
 
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BlueOvalFitter

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This may have been posted, but I thought I would take a crack and see if I had anyone out there who can give me a solid answer. I am changing the PTU fluid in my new to me 2011 Ford Edge. For those not familiar this is a huge engineering error. They shrouded the AWD PTU in heat (exhaust, Catalytic, transmission) then didn't put a drain plug in and called the minimal fluid "good for life" with the only access is an inaccessible fill plug. So from what I have researched the way to handel this is try and get the fill plug off and use a suction device to get the old 75W140 out and replace it. Since this is the first time I have done it, and I have not cracked the fill plug, I am praying that it is just really black, and not loaded with sludge. Here is my question. If I get lucky, and I can get most of the fluid out, I want to change it, run it for about 1000 miles, and change it again with a VERY GOOD 75W140. I have limited time on things, but I was wondering what the best 75w140 gear oil is that can withstand the highest temperatures. I have heard Redline Heavy Shockproof is good, Any thoughts on Royal Purple (this one I can find pretty easily), or any other synthetic? I hope Im not opening a can of worms, but its a small amount of fluid (18 oz max) and I need some advice. Thanks
I am subscribed to this Ford techs YT channel. I saw this video awhile back and thought, "What a PITA!"
Now, someone has posted about their car and this problem at BITOG. I sure hope this video helps you out.
 
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I used a cheap amazon pump that hooks up to your battery to drain mine, laying in the ground and getting the hose past all the gears in the PTU was a pain in the ass. Once drained (really black and stinky but not sludgy) I filled it with basic redline 75w140. Ran the engine for 10ish min and drained again. Fluid that came out the second time was pretty clear. Refilled with 18oz? and called it a day.

Few things I noticed, the stock fill was only about 12oz, you are able to get 18oz in before it dribbles out of the fill hole. Prior to fluid change I would get a propane smell when hard accelerating. That smell is now gone.

I really want to install a drain but am scared I will screw it up. I might work up the courage next time.

Also, I did email redline and they advised against running light/heavy shockproof. They said those where designed for racing applications and are to be changed out more often.

This was on a 2016 explorer limited with 70k miles.
 
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