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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
But you do have to rig up a fitting and hose for the radiator, and run the car for 30 seconds.
And after 30 seconds it'll start pumping air?

I'm actually surprised that it would be so quick. Isn't the routing of the fluid this: pan > torque converter > cooler? In that case you'd think it would take much longer.
Or does it pump directly from the pan to the cooler?
 

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30 seconds should be safe. You don't want it pumping air.

Al
 
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
30 seconds should be safe. You don't want it pumping air.

Al
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.
 

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1995 Thunderbird LX Missing 4.6 MIssing Trans Red
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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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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
In the transmission fluid change instructions on crownvic.net, there's the following paragraph:

"Disconnect the battery, unplug the PCM from the harness, or remove the PCM "KAM" fuse while the converter is draining to re-set the adaptive shift strategies in the PCM for the transmission. This is VERY IMPORTANT !"

I haven't read any such thing on TCCoA. Any thoughts?


For the cooler lines, I see at the radiator there's one at the top and one at the bottom. Which one is fluid going to the radiator, and which one is the return line to the transmission?
 

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The top one goes back to the transmission, so if you get the end piece of tranny line from the wreckers with an inch or two remaining on it, clamp clear tubing onto it and run it to a jug or bucket you are golden.
Screw it into where the top line was.
Clear tubing lets you visually monitor when air starts coming out with the fluid.
 

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A goes back to the transmission. I have disconnected the line and accidentally put my clear tube on the end of line itself before, instead of using a fitting and the fluid sprayed out from the top hole instead of the line when I started it up to drain it.
I am 100% sure, but now you have me doubting myself...
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
So to bring this thread to a close, as always, thanks to everyone for your expeditious answers and solid advice.

Today I went ahead and did a "limited" transmission service. Specifically I did not drop the pan and change the filter. I do not have any stands/ramps currently and no place to store them if I bought a pair. My drive one wheel up a curb technique worked great for an oil change, but it doesn't provide enough space to access the transmission. Yup, this is a budget operation. Given the car's mileage (43,000) and state of the fluid (no dullness or visible solid matter in the fluid whatsoever), I'm actually not terribly concerned about the filter, though it'll still be on my to-do list for another time (then also including the installation of a supplemental cooler).


So what did I do?

- First I siphoned the fluid from the pan. This produced 3.5 quarts. I refilled immediately with fresh fluid.

- Then I disconnected one of the cooler lines and connected it to a transparent tube, prepared with several empty containers to catch fluid. Meanwhile my friend was set up at the dipstick tube with a funnel plus ready to pour quarts of fresh fluid.
I started the engine and collected the old fluid while my friend poured fresh. I monitored for changes in fluid color. The old fluid's orange-brown turned to red after 8-9 quarts or so.

- Finally I reconnected the cooler line, checked and adjusted the fluid level cold, drove the car, checked fluid level hot, etc. Ultimately a grand total of 13.5 quarts fresh fluid went in.


I realize this may not be the full service most of you recommended (pan drop, T/C drain, etc.). But given my limited possibilities right now (you can only do so much downtown on the side of the street), I think this was a good compromise. I'm glad (most of) the old fluid is out.

For anyone wanting to do this, know that the person pouring the fresh fluid has to be very quick to keep up with the old fluid coming out. Another observation: removing the fan is very easy, and it makes the cooler lines much more accessible.


Initial observations from a quick drive: I would say slightly smoother; this includes smoother engagement when shifting between R and D. Absolutely no torque converter shudder; and I did go to the (slight uphill) stretches where I used to be able to reproduce the shudder.
This may be unrelated, but the couple of times I started the engine after the fluid change, it started more quickly than what I'm used to.
 
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