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I have a '98 I got new, and the engine/trans has been perfect for all 132,000 miles. I changed the trans fluid at 48,000 miles but have neglected to do it again 'til I asked the shop to do it today. The service writer recommended against doing it, saying that it's the grit from the last 84,000 miles that is allowing the transmission plates to keep functioning, and if he changes the fluid now he can pretty much guarantee the transmission will slip and I'll be unhappy. So I didn't get it done today. But what's your opinion? The fluid is no longer perfectly clear/clean. Seems to me that "better late than never" would apply, but you guys would know better, so thanks for any advice on whether I should change the trans fluid now or just leave it alone.
 

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I'm no tranny expert, but I really have trouble believing that changing the fluid will cause you any problems. Tranny fluid isn't a lifetime thing...
 

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djmessing said:
I have a '98 I got new, and the engine/trans has been perfect for all 132,000 miles. I changed the trans fluid at 48,000 miles but have neglected to do it again 'til I asked the shop to do it today. The service writer recommended against doing it, saying that it's the grit from the last 84,000 miles that is allowing the transmission plates to keep functioning, and if he changes the fluid now he can pretty much guarantee the transmission will slip and I'll be unhappy. So I didn't get it done today. But what's your opinion? The fluid is no longer perfectly clear/clean. Seems to me that "better late than never" would apply, but you guys would know better, so thanks for any advice on whether I should change the trans fluid now or just leave it alone.
There are a lot of trans guys out there that will tell you if you don't change the fluid regular then don't change it. The metal shavings are helping the trans. Myself, I will change the fluid if it is under 100,000 without a problem. Make sure that you clean the valve body. I used brake cleaner. I change the filter after the flush and then add the fluid that I lost on the pan drop. That way the old filter catched the metal particles insted of the new one.
 

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In my last car (a used 96 Taurus) I was told the same thing. The car was close to 300,000 KMS & I had no idea when the fluid was changed last. He said if he changed it now, it would cause more problems than anything else. He told me to wait for the tranny to fail & replace the whole thing. A few months later, it wouldn't go into overdrive anymore. So I sold it.

Good luck.
 

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If you do pull the valve/solenoid body for cleaning, DO NOT try to disassemble it. Just soak it in brake cleaner.

The valve/solenoid body is factory assembled and adjusted. There is no shop procedure for rebuilding or reassembling it.
 

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since the intrepid has a "solonoid pack", and no real "valves", that myth that the tranny guys still populate is just that: a myth.

The thing was, that valves build up a thin layer of gook as the trans fluid ages. This gook becomes part of the seal, and your tranny can maintain the correct line pressure, etc. New fluid would erode that gook, but not evenly. that would allow leaks, and ultimately loss of correct pressures in the transmission

The way the Solonoid packs work on a dodge is sorta like this: there is a little ball bearing sitting in front of an oil passage, and when the computer wants oil to flow, the bearing is pushed out of the way of the seal, rapidly, allowing oil to flow (thats why you hear the ratcheting sound everytime you shift)

Since that process is very "active", that tranny gook shouldn't be building up as part of seal. Since there is no "gook" in the normal working process, it should be no problem to change your trans fluid to get the good shifting properties back. (old fluid has a different viscosity than new fluid, and your shift "feeling" is affected by that, among other things)
 

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The service reps don't understand the real problem. Just a partial fluid change might very well cause problems. This isn't due to phantom metal shavings gluing themselves to the clutch material, though. What causes problems is new fliud 'reacting" with old burned oxidized fluid, clumping together, clogging, and causing failure. Get the filter replaced with the 6 qts or so it takes to do the normal service. Then have the whole system flushed, with the 12 or so quarts required. This way you have removed all of the old fluid, and this is surely the best way to go, IMO.

P.S. If it was my vehicle, I would srevice as suggested above, then do the regular service (fluid and filter) in a week, to remove any disloged materials. IMPORTANT...be sure they use Mopar ATF+4 fluid only
 

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I would verify the operation of the new gen Dodge trannys before doing anything. If they opperate as Lafrad describes there should be no problem. If, however it has normal valves in it (I know there is no band adjustment on them...) don't change the fluid!

The "Myth" is NOT a myth- the description of the "goop" is correct. as line pressure drops in the transmission clutches and bands do not engage properly and will slip, and some of that "goop" will break free and can plug passages starving parts for oil. The fluid has cleaners and addatives just like engine oil which loose effectivness with age (just like engine oil...) so adding new fluid will tend to clean the tranny and loosen the deposits (just like engine oil.....) and can cause blockages resulting in a dead tranny fast (just like .... you get the point.)

Seals in older trannys shrink with age and stale fluid, new fluid CAN cuse them to swell back up (many additives to remady a slipping tranny are simply agents to swell the seals and stop internal passage leaks), with the deposits in the passages this can lad to those valves now not functioning properly.

Always change your tranny fluid regularly- it's not diffacult, nor expensive in the long run. The 2nd gen trannys have no adjustments (my Ram has band adjustments to be done manually every fluid change) so it's simply a fluid and filter.

Don;t pull/flush it yourself- go to Jiffy Lube or someplace and have a power flush done or a reputible tranny shop and have them pull and flush the vale body. If something goes wrong it's not something you caused, and unless you know auto trannys there may be other issues resulting from milage/fluid not being changed, etc that you would not notice but a good shop would upon pulling the pan dna valve body.
They may be able to see the clutches are worn bad and it needa an overhaul where you would not know what you're looking for to tell wear, know what I mean.
 

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It's very true, there has been more than one instance where we flushed the transmission on vehicles, and the old transmission fluid was darker than 10,000 mile oil, and all that happened was it started slipping, or blew out a front pump seal. Same thing with power steering. If you dont do it at least every 60k, then don't do it at all.
 

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justme- said:
...Don;t pull/flush it yourself- go to Jiffy Lube or someplace and have a power flush done or a reputible tranny shop and have them pull and flush the vale body. If something goes wrong it's not something you caused, and unless you know auto trannys there may be other issues resulting from milage/fluid not being changed, etc that you would not notice but a good shop would upon pulling the pan dna valve body...
Lots of good expert advice in this thread!

Question: I've always thought that the DIY method of pulling the cooler return line off and letting the tranny pump (with engine running, moving shifter thru its range a couple of times) push fluid out while you add new fluid was a good way to do it (this also replaces fluid in the torque converter). But I'm not a tranny guy. What is your opinion on the method I just described if you use 12 to 16 qts. (10 qt. system capacity) to get a 97+% fluid replacement (dilution process) after dropping the pan and replacing the filter?
 

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I never had my tranny serviced (my fault) and it failed and had to be replaced at about 97K miles..... I got a new tranny put in and it has to get serviced every 12K miles per tranny shop to keep the 2 year warr...... But like what Lafrad said.....

Lafrad said:
since the intrepid has a "solonoid pack", and no real "valves", that myth that the tranny guys still populate is just that: a myth.

The thing was, that valves build up a thin layer of gook as the trans fluid ages. This gook becomes part of the seal, and your tranny can maintain the correct line pressure, etc. New fluid would erode that gook, but not evenly. that would allow leaks, and ultimately loss of correct pressures in the transmission

The way the Solonoid packs work on a dodge is sorta like this: there is a little ball bearing sitting in front of an oil passage, and when the computer wants oil to flow, the bearing is pushed out of the way of the seal, rapidly, allowing oil to flow (thats why you hear the ratcheting sound everytime you shift)

Since that process is very "active", that tranny gook shouldn't be building up as part of seal. Since there is no "gook" in the normal working process, it should be no problem to change your trans fluid to get the good shifting properties back. (old fluid has a different viscosity than new fluid, and your shift "feeling" is affected by that, among other things)
 

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Catch 22, If you don't change the fluid it will eventually break down and ruin the transmission anyway. If you change it now you risk loosening up those particles and the tranny developing leaks. The phrase he give me was that "
it might fail and then get stuck in 2nd gear". Either way there is a chance it will fail, you have more of a chance of it failing if you don't change the fluid at all though. I think the shop "telling" you it might fail after they change the fluid is a way they try to not become liable for such problem. However I'm not sure how that flies on paper or in the courts should it fail after they warn you and then change the fluid.

I have a 98 intrepid I just got used 2 or 3 months ago. I had the exact same thing told to me before I had mine flushed and changed. I asked him if it does cause troubles after changing it when will that occur, he said pretty much within the first 1 to 2 weeks after putting the new fluid in. Haven't had trouble since and it's been a good month.

If you don't change the fluid at all it WILL fail. Good luck.
 

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IntrepidLHS said:
Basically A Chunk Of Foam Stuffed Into A Plastic Casing.
Woo-Hoo!!! gotta love that hi-tech ****:heh_heh:

So would installing one of those remote tranny filters(like from B&M) be worth it ?
 

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Most transmission failures shortly after a fluid change are because the fluid was being changed to try to fix a transmission problem that was going to cause it to quit soon amyway. The ATF+4 fluid actually was supposed to be a "fill for life fluid" and not need to be changed. If metal shavings from worn parts are the only thing keeping the transmission plates under enough friction to work it will fail very shortly whether you change fluid or not. A mechanic that told you this was covering his bases either way -if it quits it was because you didnt change fluid and if you do change fluid well then he told you so.. Either way he has you prepared to buy a tranny. Tranny fluid is more of a hydraulic fluid than a lubricant- If the fluid is dark or burnt it is clutches and bands burning causing this and new fluid can't hurt (may not help it but shouldn't hurt it) The biggest thing accomplished by changing tranny fluid is that you change the filter, this keeps the metal particles that are a normal part of wear from doing any damage. IMO it wuold never hurt to change fluid.
 

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dhermesc said:
Basic question - do these transmissions have "filters" or "screens"?
all transmissions have filters- a screen will suffice IF it's fine enough. I have a bronze lifetime screen type in my Ram.

Personally, Peva, I don't care for that method simply because it is easy to pump out faster than you poor in which can result in low fluid conditions. Plus you need help to accomplish this. If that's all that's available and you can be sure to see flow coming out it is obviously do-able just be careful. It doesn;t take much time to damage a tranny with low fluid even if it's in gear but wheel chocked.
To get a complete drain on my Ram I can drop the pan and disconnect the coolent line, remove the drainback valve and let gravity do the work. The ram has an external antidrainback valve in the cooler lines- the TC and the coolers will drain mostly out that way over a couple hours. To get a good flush I would prefer a power flush like the oil change places (jiffy lube) offer- but always (and I mean always) know the monkey flushing the tranny. Minimum wage, poor benni's, incompetance run amok, and being under the hood of hot cars all day has a way of sapping moral- make sure they know what they are doing.

I am actually thinking about a pressure system to flush the coolers for the trep. My ram is done every year without fail because it's a work truck (snow plowing) and needs the bands adjusted (just to be sure) each fall or spring.
 

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justme- said:
...Personally, Peva, I don't care for that method simply because it is easy to pump out faster than you poor in which can result in low fluid conditions. Plus you need help to accomplish this. If that's all that's available and you can be sure to see flow coming out it is obviously do-able just be careful. It doesn;t take much time to damage a tranny with low fluid even if it's in gear but wheel chocked...
Thanks for the opinion. I was able to keep up OK - I was pumping into a plastic 5 gallon bucket. I could see the level of fluid at all times from the outside of the waste bucket, and I had a set amount of new fluid sitting beside the car to add, and a funnel in the fill tube. Using water as a "calibration" fluid, I marked 1 quart intervals with a permanent marker ahead of time, and in that way was able to keep up with the amount I added (my wife was at the wheel, following my instructions moving the shifter, etc.) - I was always within ±1 qt. of adding what I could see had been pumped out. Not having done it before, and not knowing what to expect (I had some adrenalin flowing at first), I was ready to instruct my wife to shut the engine off had I noticed myself falling behind, but it came out at a slow enough pace that I was able to keep up at a casual pace. When I do it again this summer, it will be a more routine and calm experience for me.
 
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