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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys,

I have a 1996 Ford Thunderbird LX Sport that has 122,500 miles on it with the 4.6L V8 and I believe 4R70W from what I have researched.

After reading about the potential problems with these transmissions I decided to call back the guy I bought the car from recently and asked him about the maintenance on the transmission.

He stated he had the Transmission Flushed at 30,000 miles but did not replace the filter.

I went down to the ford dealership and asked what they would charge to flush the fluid and change the filter and he said he would not do it. He took a sniff of the transmission fluid dipstick and said my fluid looked and smelled burnt to him. He said that since it had not been done in 95,000 miles that it would probably do more harm then good to change the filter and fluid in it.

As far as the infamous "shudder" between 2nd and 3rd gear I do not believe I am experiencing this. What concerns me is sometimes when I am mildly accelerating from a dead stop it feels soft then feels like it tightens up a little (all in same gear, overdrive off) It is ever so slight and I am not sure if I am just being paranoid as well as the fact I am not used to these "soft shift" tranmissions. The fluid level is fine so adding fluid will not help.

The other thing I have noticed is when I am driving around 30 the car doesn't really seem to know what gear to be in and it feels like it is "lugging" when in 3rd gear. (I don't think its the shudder as it is barely noticeable. People have said the shudder feels like driving over railroad tracks?)

Lastly, when romping on the pedal it seems to shift ok, but when letting off the gas it seems like it takes longer then it should to for the engine to back down and the transmission to decide to what gear it should decide on.

My question to you experts on this transmission, should I change the fluid and filter or not? I want to get as much life out of this tranny as possible.

Any input on this is appreciated as I have not had a car with an automatic transmission in 10 years.

Thanks,

Jon

P.S. The Previous Owner was a handicapped lady who drove this car round trip of about 90 highway miles a day. I am pretty sure it was not hot-rodded, and she drives pretty slow. When asked she didn't even know there was a button to turn overdrive off. So she drove it in overdrive ALL of time.
 

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Cougar Pilot
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I would recommend draining the torque converter, dropping the trans. pan, changing the filter out, and refilling with Mercon V fluid. If someone can explain how that is going to ruin the transmission I am all eyes. Don't do a "flush" though.
 

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When I was 16 I worked at an oil change place. We had several incidents where we changed transmission fluid in peoples cars and 2 days later the car would not move. We adopted a policy of not changing the fluid in a transmission that had severely burnt fluid or more than 100k without being changed.
I often see people want to service there transmission because it is having problems. By then it is too late. New fluid won't fix burnt clutches or bad seals.
Thats just my opinion some may disagree with it I have heard it both ways and seen it go both ways.
Alan
 

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I have to agree with BlackCat94 in that I don't know how changing the fluid can harm a transmission or make it go bad. Not saying that "I am right and you are wrong" I just want to know WHY it will harm the transmission.
 

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The theory I have always heard is that the seals become hard with age. When you install new fluid(which is primarily detergent) it softens those seals . Those seals then being old and brittle tend to fall apart causing the transmission to fail at a faster rate.
Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well after reading some more about transmissions BlackCat94's suggestion seems like a good compromise.

From what I understand the reason you wouldn't want to do a "flush" is because in case the torque converter is going bad it would push all of that crap through the rest of the tranmission making it worse. Draining the Torque Converter then dropping the pan to change the filter seems like it should be relatively mild on the seals.

My dilemna is I know the transmission has been neglected. I don't want to further neglect it if it's life could be extended by some fresh fluid and filter. My other thoughts are that if it is gonna go.. it's gonna go. If it does I hear everyone is in love with the 2003 GT Transmissions as replacements. I would honestly prefer a transmission that shifts harder anyhow, and since I live in an apt performing the J-Mod is out of the question as we aren't even allowed to change our oil in the apartment parking lot. So basically anything I have done I have to take to a mechanic.

On that note.. anyone have any idea what it costs to swap in a 2003 Mustang GT Transmission? (Keep in mind I would have a shop do it)
 

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dirtyd0g said:
We had several incidents where we changed transmission fluid in peoples cars and 2 days later the car would not move.

Alan
But, was the transmission pan dropped, cleaned up, and a new filter installed?
 

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Yes. At the time I was doing that the flushing machines were only in use by dealers.
I think if you don't change the filter you're wasting time and money.
Alan
 

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I too have seen a fresh trans fluid change go ahead and "finish off" a transmission. Now I don't know the exact reasoning but dirtydog's sounded good, that and the fact that the old fluid is where most of the friction material was. :)

-J
 
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