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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Low Transmission fluid - hard shift

I have a 2004 Concorde Limited 3.6L V6 - I have been racking on Turnpike miles lately - I once in a blue moon get a hard shift - kind of kicks you in the ass. I checked the fluid - looks red and clean maybe a tiny bit of black on edge of dip stick when wiping - the level when hot seems perhaps low - it is at the bottom "Hot" line when hot. I have lots of Ford MERCON-V Automatic Transmission fluid - can I use this? Also does this mean I have a leak somewhere? I don't see anything underneath Should I changed the filter and got it drained. It now has 120,000 miles - I got it at 90,000 - it was well maintained. Does anyone know if my transmission is a 42LE in case I want to order the filter gasket etc...

Thanks in advance!

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by NYCDahon; 11-23-2019 at 08:08 PM.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 08:31 PM
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It is the 42LE.

Absolutely nothing but ATF+4 fluid. Anything else can cause odd behavior and possibly damage. Have you or anyone else put in or added another type of fluid? It is common (mal)practice for tranny shops to use (top off or replace with) substitutes that absolutely will do damage.

Good idea to replace fluid and filter at that mileage.

You could try removing battery power (disconnect top cable at neg. jump post) for at least 15 minutes to reset the computers to factory presets and let them re-adapt with subsequent driving. But long term, be sure the fluid is the correct type (ATF+4). Reset the computers after fluid is replaced since the fluid readjusts itís settings as the fluid properties change as it ages from use.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-23-2019, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Peva. To my knowledge no one has ever added fluid since I got it. (25,000 miles ago) Fluid still looks nice and pink - is there a leak if it is a tiny bit low? I will add some fluid tomorrow - bit get filter & gasket. Does gasket need to be changed at the same time? Mopar has just the filter. How much fluid do I need? And the big question is this an easy job for my shop to do with a lift?

Advance Auto has Valvoline ATF+4ģ️ Full Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid and Valvoline ATF+4 without saying synthetic... Which should I top off with now - before getting it changed?

Again as always Peva - thanks very much for your help!

Last edited by NYCDahon; 11-23-2019 at 09:24 PM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 12:15 AM
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You’re welcome.

To have to add a little makeup fluid after 120kmiles and 15 years doesn’t qualify as a leak IMO. Some of that is evaporation, and there’s no such thing as absolute zero fluid loss. A minuscule loss rate would add up to hitting the add mark after 15 years. I’d assume no leak unless it drops in a short period of time after topping off.

HOWEVER - You might look for wet areas - particularly on the driver’s side of the radiator where the cooler lines from the transmission go into the radiator - they often develop leaks where the rubber hoses get clamped to barbed fittings (at the radiator). Tightening those clamps almost always takes care of it. If not, one of the hoses may have a hole in it under the clamp. The clamps can be difficult to reach to tighten. The clamp screw heads take a 1/4” open end or socket (has to be a 6-point because the clamp screw head has round corners on the hex shape - but also there may not be enough space between the clamp screw head and the clamp band to allow the socket wall thickness, in which case use open-end wrench.

You can get filter and gasket set at auto parts store. Chrysler originally had no gasket - they specified a special transmission-grade Mopar RTV, and later came out with a metal re-usable replacement gasket - the Chrysler part number was posted several times over the years, but search doesn’t work very well for older posts. But people have been using the aftermarket filter/gasket sets without problems - IMO, the most practical solution.

I suspect any Valvoline ATF+4 is the same thing - maybe they changed the labeling. Do they actually have two part numbers listed for Valvoline ATF+4 and the prices are different? Or are you seeing different labeling on older and newer lots of the same fluid?


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Last edited by peva; 11-24-2019 at 12:18 AM.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 11:38 AM
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AAP has two different part number Valvoline ATF+4. Both indicate they are full synthetic in the descriptions. The bottles look slightly different and both are blue bottles. If you look at the pictures of both, they both indicate "Full Synthetic" on their labels. Both are 1 quart bottles. Not sure of the difference if any. Both are on sale at the same price. Get whatever is in stock.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Ron! Can I trouble you to ask how much should I buy for a flush with filter change? ...and is this easy access for my shop to do? ...Unlike say the battery...
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post
AAP has two different part number Valvoline ATF+4. Both indicate they are full synthetic in the descriptions. The bottles look slightly different and both are blue bottles. If you look at the pictures of both, they both indicate "Full Synthetic" on their labels. Both are 1 quart bottles. Not sure of the difference if any. Both are on sale at the same price. Get whatever is in stock.
Good info.

It looks like they changed the bottle label to reference FCA (Fiat Chrysler) instead of Chrysler. AAP descriptions same except for part number. So apparently Valvoline created new part number just to update to Fiat Chrysler label reference.

Part number VV346






Part number 822348:







Valvoline site only references the 822348 part number (apparently obsoleting VV346) - but with a third variation of labeling. Marketing.

From Valvoline site:


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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Great info - real investigative work - however I can get 5L (1.3 Gallons) of Mopar's ATF+4 for $30 (Amazon) - is there any advantage? ..and is this amount enough for the system refill with new filter?
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 01:54 PM
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Either Mopar or Valvoline should be good - perhaps go with whichever is cheapest or more convenient to find. They are both to the Chrysler spec.

I think people have posted in the past that it can take 8 to 10 quarts if you leave the pan off and let it drip for several hours.

I used to replace my fluid by disconnecting the return hose at the radiator (actually I cut the rubber return hose where it drops down in a 'U', reconnected using a barbed nipple and clamps) and ran the engine into a 5 gallon bucket with multiple quart line markings (established ahead of time using water). The key there is to add fresh fluid at approx. the same rate as it comes out quart by quart so you don't overfill or run it out. The process is a little scary as it moves quickly. When you see clean, bright red new fluid coming out, you stop the engine. With brakes applied, move the shift lever thru all positions 2 or 3 times throughout the process. When done, adjust the level according to procedure. That flushes out the cooler lines too.


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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Great advice I ordered Mopar ATF+4 through Amazon and will give it a shot! THANKS!

At 5pm- it stopped raining here in NYC so I drove over to Advance Auto - but as soon as I went to get out - my door handle stops working - so now I have to lower the window and open the door with the outside latch. I had bought replacement door handles when I bought the car - because the chrome came off and what was left was sharp. If there are any shortcuts to getting them in without taking the door cards off or any other ideas... I guess will post a new thread with the problem. BTW- I did put half a quart of ATF+4 in - will check after a long morning drive at 5am! Thanks again!
https://youtu.be/ru8_PxrGEVw

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 07:07 PM
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Automatic Transaxle -
Estimated Service Fill
4.3 L (4.5 qts.)

Automatic Transaxle -
Overhaul Fill Capacity
with Torque Converter
Empty
8.8 L (9.3 qts.)
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 07:09 PM
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I would think 5-6 quarts of ATF+4 for Filter service would be sufficient. Wouldn't hurt to have an extra quart or two on hand though.

It looks like the OEM Mopar ATF+4 is significantly less expensive than the Valvoline even when it's on sale.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Ron - I ordered the 1.3 Gallon (5L) of Mopar for $30 from Amazon and bought 3 quarts of Valvoline at $7.50 each at Advance Auto. I will likely return 2 Quarts to Advance Auto if not needed. I had to show the clerk that they were on sale with my phone - otherwise it rang up at $9.99... Haha - I am cheap.

Now if my door handle is fixable with just removing that one screw I will be very happy....

And Thanks again Peva!
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 09:31 PM
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Youíre welcome.

Get your door handle fixed before your window lift mechanism goes on the fritz!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 12:19 AM
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I think I used less than 5qts when I replaced the solenoid pack in the 300m. As far as the door handle, the ear breaks off where the linkage goes through. You pull off the door panel and use a flat blade screwdriver & needle nose pliers to force the pin holding the handle down through the housing (can only go in and out from one side, other side is blocked by a tab), replace the handle with the new one and force the pin back up through the handle and spring until it is back in it's original place.
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