Metal Shavings in ATF. Normal???

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
688
Location
Fort Smith, AR
I drained off about 4 quarts of ATF fluid in my '01 Escape today. Just routine maintenance. I noticed a fair amount of small bright silver colored metal slivers and shavings coating the bottom of my catch pan when I dumped the old fluid. A couple were about a 1/2 inch long. Is that normal? [Confused] This is the first time I've ever seen metal shavings in my ATF fluid. I drained and flushed the factory ATF at 25K, replacing it with Motorcraft Mercon tranny fluid as specified. That fluid was clear of any metal. This change was done at 40K, so the fluid had 15K of use.
 

Win

Joined
Feb 5, 2003
Messages
4,703
Location
Arkansas
I would think it is not normal, particularly the 0.5 inch slivers. In 15K miles, normal to me might be just some fuzz on the magnets, and maybe a little bit of friction material in the bottom of the pan. What color was the fluid you drained off?
 

JTK

Joined
Aug 14, 2003
Messages
14,753
Location
Buffalo, NY
Is this the first time you dropped the pan? Maybe it was just assembly junk?!? How do you use this SUV? Make sure you use Mercon-V if that's what it specs. (not sure on the escape!) G/luck Joel
 

SWS

Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
397
Location
Tennessee
First, I am NOT a mechanic! I have heard & read that any auto tranny will create some debris in the bottom of the pan over time - mainly clutch material. As long as it is small and not excessive then no problem... However, your case seems unusual. 1/2 inch long stuff can't be good, IMO. I think that you should drop the pan and have a better look, and replace the internal oil filter / clean the screen. I don't know about your tranny, but my Camry pan has 2 internal magnets. I imagine that if you have magnets also then you will need to clean them! Is the tranny working OK? Any "new" sounds, shudder, clunks, bangs, etc? Perhaps you can talk to a trustworthy mechanic - sometimes they will already know the characteristics of a certain vehicle and can give you good advice. Also, there are probably some Ford forums that you can share your recent experience and get some feedback.
 

Roger

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
688
Location
Fort Smith, AR
The tranny on an Escape is an all-in-one housing (if I can say it that way)...no pan to remove. Just a drain plug. So if it has an internal screen or filter, it is not accessible. All you can do is drain the fluid. I saved the metal shavings in a glass and will show them to the local Ford service rep I deal with tomorrow. That will be interesting. [Roll Eyes] I also opened the drain plug a 2nd time and collected a sample of what was left to send off to Blackstone for a uoa. I hope that sample is representative as it was definitely "rock bottom" fluid by the time I thought to do it. The Escape-Center owner's forum is full of people reporting problems with the Escape C4DE transmission. Hope I'm not developing one too, especially since the fluid was clear the 1st time I changed it 15K earlier.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Messages
4,844
Location
Saskatchewan
quote:
Originally posted by Roger: I saved the metal shavings in a glass and will show them to the local Ford service rep I deal with tomorrow. That will be interesting. [Roll Eyes]
I'm interested in hearing how that turns out. I've never seen metal shavings from a tranny. Doesn't sound good.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2005
Messages
219
Location
milpitas
i drive my car hard and shift all the time, and sometimes very rarely i grind. and i changed my tranny every 30k, but i have never been able to see shavings.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
6
Location
Austin TX
It is my understanding tranny pans often have a little metal in the bottom; usually just a fine grit though. If it is running fine, I wouldn't sweat it too much, but saving the fluid and taking it to the dealer is a smart move. I'm sure they'll say 'Oh, that's normal' at the stealership, but make them log your concern in their system, just in case something does go horribly wrong. I've seen more than just shavings in a trans. My buddy's '83 Toy truck had been missing fifth gear for years, then reverse (I think) went out. When he tore into it (planning to rebuild it), we couldn't figure out how ANY of the gears still worked! Big chunks missing from several gears, a handful of metal bits in the bottom. He had to get a new one, fortunately he was an ex-Toy mechanic and got a great deal. Good luck, and keep us posted! c.
 

Roger

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
688
Location
Fort Smith, AR
Well, I showed my metal shavings to the Ford dealer today. The man I wanted to talk to wasn't in. The fellow who tried to help me said right away that metal shavings in tranny fluid can be normal as the clutch plates wear, especially with the mileage I have, but he wasn't an expert. The more experienced rep he referred me to said the metal didn't look right and went to get one of the mechanics. That guy said the pieces that were curved were probably off the drain plug threads. [Roll Eyes] He was silent about the other pieces. No one said to bring the vehicle in for inspection when I asked. I did not walk out with a warm feeling. I'll wait for my Blackstone report now.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2003
Messages
137
Location
Massachusetts
AFAIK the clutch material should be a fine dark black powder. Anything that is 1/2" long probably isn't coming from the clutches. The clutches are a friction material like brakes are, and hence will create something akin to brake dust as they wear. You should determine if the metal is aluminum or steel (just use a magnet)
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
19
Location
NY
Aluminum could indicate a torque converter is going. That is what a tranny shop told me when my C4 went bad. They pulled the pan and said the metal that stuck to the magnet was clutches, and the metal that didn't was aluminum and came from the TC. Made sense at the time. I was unable to drive the car, no forward or reverse. frank1
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
30
Location
Rome, NY
quote:
Originally posted by kenw: stainless steel won't attach to a magnet either, if that matters.
Actually, some stainless steel is magnetic, some isn't. It depends on the makeup of the steel.
 
Joined
Jul 7, 2005
Messages
540
Location
Fla
[crushedcar] I had a Acura that had a poorly designed tranny I would sell the car and buy one you trust if you go Automatic. [Frown]
 

Win

Joined
Feb 5, 2003
Messages
4,703
Location
Arkansas
quote:
Originally posted by Roger: That guy said the pieces that were curved were probably off the drain plug threads. [Roll Eyes] He was silent about the other pieces. .
Roger, I have had threads come out of an aluminum oil pan before. They were easily recognizable as threads as they retained a distinct curved shape.
 

Roger

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 11, 2002
Messages
688
Location
Fort Smith, AR
Here is the uoa report on my tranny fluid that I've been waiting for from Blackstone. Mercon ATF Please excuse the fact that I posted it in Coolant analysis section of BITOG. My heart is beating, but there ain't no brain waves tonight. [Embarrassed]
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top