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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
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3,812 Posts
MadMikeyL is right. Only other thing to say about trans fluid is that in order for the bottle to say Mercon V on it. It has to meet all the specs of that fluid. Same goes for the other types of trans fluid. Probably a good idea to do a fluid and filter change.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
Transmission fluid is required to be red; PATC had trouble from the regulators for selling their bright green "raptor blood" fluid.
Is it different for the Euro cars? I've seen plenty clear and brown fluids for the Euro stuff.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
A thought...hear me out:

In a perfect world, I'd drain my transmission pan and torque converter and cooler lines. But I don't really have the space to do that right now. So why not do the same I did with my power steering?

With the steering, I simply siphoned out the reservoir, replaced the same amount of fluid with fresh Mercon V, and repeated this process after each drive until the quart of fluid was used up. The result is fluid that becomes gradually cleaner.

I could do the same with the transmission: siphon out through the dipstick tube (maybe what? 1-2 quarts per application?), replace with fresh fluid, and repeat.

Has anyone done this? How much can you get out of the pan with this method?
I'm sure it would work but it sounds like you'd use more trans fluid in the long run.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
Dorman makes a replacement trans pan with a drain plug in it. If you want to change the fluid peacemeal, I would start by replacing the pan with the dorman one, along with a new filter, and then just do a drain and fill every oil change until you are satisfied with the color that is coming out. It will take more fluid to do it that way than just changing it all at once, but simply opening a drain plug and refilling the trans is quick and easy, and overall you will spend way less time doing that than trying to siphon the fluid up and out of the dipstick tube.
I've used that Dorman pan and it's a pretty nice piece for being about $30. I agree with MadMikeyL find a way to just drop the pan and do that job. It'll make your life easier in the long run.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
I've used a couple of the dorman pans in the last 2 years. They've all been good. With the factory gasket, no leaks.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
@supergordo, @Kenz, I'm increasingly betting that this may be the original Mercon fluid. The original owner (23 years and about 29,000 miles) was very good to the car, but technically a transmission fluid change isn't until 30,000 miles (I realize you should consider mileage and time, but they may not have); the second owner (1,5 years and about 10,000 miles) only did oil changes.

Meanwhile, this siphoning exercise did help me make up my mind about how to proceed:

I will do the pan drop, filter change and torque converter drain. But before the pan drop, I will siphon out the fluid to minimize the mess.
I realize a lot of people recommend disconnecting a cooler line and then using the engine to pump the fluid from the pan out, but I just don't like that idea honestly. I'm not saying there's anything wrong about it; but personally I find the siphoning so much easier and cleaner, with essentially the same result.

I may not get all the fluid out. If I don't disconnect the cooler lines, I imagine that most of the fluid in the lines and in the radiator will remain. That being a fairly small amount (maybe 1-2 quarts?), I can live with it.
You don't have to disconnect the cooler lines. If you want to minimize the mess, drain the converter first. That will get several quarts out before you drop the pan. And as far as the pan goes I suggest removing all the bolts except one in each corner of the pan. then you can slowly lower the rear two bolts then a little on the front two. Then you can control the drain of the fluid. It's not a perfect system, but you don't have to make a huge mess at all.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
When I read anywhere "deep pan", is that just in reference to the small, slightly deeper area in the middle (marked red in the picture) as opposed to an entirely flat pan? Or does "deep" refer to a pan which is deeper as a whole?
View attachment 50137
That's the deep pan.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
Well, I just re-read that old TSB...


...and now I'm wondering about that. The TSB states that any residual fluid in the lines can cause shudder, and to drain all fluid completely. Maybe they just wanted to make sure dealerships weren't cutting corners back then.

Questions:

Once the pan is lowered, if I simply disconnect the upper radiator line, will the fluid in the lines and radiator drain down to the pan (gravity plus air entering the line and radiator from the top)?

And a more general question: how exactly does fresh fluid get into the torque converter (and air out of it) after draining it? From what I'm seeing, the torque converter is an enclosed fixture with just one opening in the aft middle. But that opening is where the transmission shaft goes in. Sorry if this is a dumb question; just trying to understand the overall workings of it.
Don't over think all of this. You are not going to get 100% of the fluid out. The torque converter gets filled when you fill the trans. Air goes back out the filler tube and/or the vent on top of the case. You don't have to do anything special except take the time to make sure you get the fluid level correct on the dipstick. Once you've dropped the pan and drained the converter, it really will take about 12 quarts of fluid, maybe more. The only way you'd empty the cooler in the radiator would be to disconnect the cooler lines and blow them out with an air hose and/or Kooler Kleen. But unless your trans is failed, you don't need to worry about that. The small amount of old fluid left will be diluted with the new.
 

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SuperNewbie
1995 Thunderbird LX 4.6 red
Joined
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3,812 Posts
That's why I keep thinking...wouldn't it be best if I get a friend: one of us monitors the color of the fluid coming out of the cooler line; the other pours fresh fluid into the dipstick tube? This way there's no risk of the transmission to pump air and/or run dry. And once the color at the cooler line turns to bright red, you stop the engine.
You don't need to pour fluid in the dipstick unless you want to use up more fluid. Once there is air in the pump it's going to stop pumping fluid out anyway. If you drain the converter and the trans, the only fluid left will be residual fluid that you can't get out unless you take apart the trans. But you can run it for 30 seconds just like t6rocket stated and pretty much all the fluid will be out. If you want to blow out the cooler with air, just attach long 3/8" hose to the line your not blowing air into and stick it in a bucket. It helps to have someone hold the hose.
Keep in mind if you don't clean out the trans cooler in the radiator, there maybe is 1/2 a quart of fluid in it. With a fresh fluid change the little left over won't matter at all.
 
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