Ford PTU pre failure symptoms

Joined
Sep 10, 2005
Messages
1,367
Location
Erie, PA
2013 ford taurus:

Approaching very high miles (194k) with original PTU and over the winter there are a lot of long trips. Prior to my ownership (167K) i dont know how the fluid was maintained. I now change it every 5k as when I drained it, the fluid was very dark and smelled terrible. Fords TSB says this is not an indication of failure. The fluid was still flowing nice. So what im asking is assuming the unit is not puking fluid out of it, before it blows up completely, what are the failure symptoms? One the symptoms appear is the car still driveable.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
Messages
1,357
Location
The IL
When mine blew on my (work) cruiser, the vehicle still functioned. It stunk like exhaust was coming into the driver's area.

My personal vehicle hasn't blown yet, and Ford assures me the fluid doesn't get changed. I don't believe them, but that's what three dealerships have told me.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
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near Cincinnati, OH
Every 5K mi. seems excessive (except that first time or two after you don't know if it had ever been changed) but yes it should be changed every few oil changes, or after a driving environment subjecting it to overheat. Symptoms include a propane smell, shuttering when taking off, grinding, grating, growling, etc noise that varies with speed.

Once the symptoms appear you are on borrowed time, best not to keep driving it.
 

JTK

Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
14,913
Location
Buffalo, NY
Noise and vibration while the vehicle is in motion is the typical symptoms.

I'm thinking if you made it this far, you're good to go. Just monitor for leaks or noise. Like you say, basically all of the failures are due to never draining/refilling them, or having a leak and not addressing it.

It's a pain to refill on our 2019 Pathfinder w/out a lift.
 

Fordiesel69

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 10, 2005
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1,367
Location
Erie, PA
Ya so what i did not mention is there is a very small leak like a little drop that appears on the CV shaft output area. It never leaves a spot on the driveway but because my vent is not clogged, I change the fluid every oil change and treat it just like a boat outdrive. Pump the fluid in, then quickly slap the drainplug. I have it down to a fast process and that way if it leaks it wont leak much.

I have no idea how much can leak out before they go down the river.
 

JTK

Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
14,913
Location
Buffalo, NY
Ya so what i did not mention is there is a very small leak like a little drop that appears on the CV shaft output area. It never leaves a spot on the driveway but because my vent is not clogged, I change the fluid every oil change and treat it just like a boat outdrive. Pump the fluid in, then quickly slap the drainplug. I have it down to a fast process and that way if it leaks it wont leak much.

I have no idea how much can leak out before they go down the river.

Sounds like you've got a system that is working for you and I would continue to do so if it is weeping fluid.

I know with the pathfinder PTU/T-case, they hold only a few ounces of 80w90 (I used synthetic 75w90). By the time your typical clueless owner notices a leak, it's too late. The silly little cantaloupe sized T-case is $3K just for the part and another grand+ in labor.
 
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