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I recently bought a low mileage 1997 GL with 44580 miles on it as my daughters first car. I have completed all of the small repairs that needed caring for such as replacing power door locks, polishing the headlight lens(s) to remove oxidation, etcetera. The car is now in pretty good shape....besides one rear door having a failed power window motor everything is working and the car runs good.

The question I have is around the transmission and the required service...from what Ive read the transmission needs routine attention on these cars. The Chilton book indicates a proper service is to drop the transmission pan and replace the filter. Not wanting to tackle that job myself I called the Ford dealer I have done business with for the last 20 years or so and was told by the service manager that they dont drop the tranmsiion pans and change the filter...they have a back flushing machine of some sort that they hook up and that meets the Ford requirements for servicing the transmission. Is this right? :skep: My concern is not changing the filter would leave a questionable filter in the transmission that I have no way of knowing if its dirty and not doing its job. Also the cost of the quoted service was 200 bucks. That seems like a lot for hooking up a machine. What do you folks recommend and what have you paid for that service ? Thanks for any help offered.
 

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I personally do not care for trans flushes. It's like changing the oil in your engine and not the filter. To add to the problem, they do not have a by-pass valve like the engine filter, in case of a plugged filter. If the filter is plugged the trans will be starved of oil.

A pan-drop is an easy job but messy without a drain plug....most don't have one. Remove the pan to drain the fluid, replace the filter...pops right in. Measure the amount you removed and fill it with that amount. Fire it up, top off the fluid when hot. Sit back, have a beer and gloat over the $150 you just saved.....and the knowledge it's been done right. :)
 

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I agree with Jim. Our shop offers two types of service. First one is a fluid exchange using a machine. Second is to drop the pan and change the filter. I will say one thing. Both are good services but both are incomplete services. The dealer says they have a back flush machine? This is interesting to say the least because it is impossible to "back flush" a transmission. The pump directs the fluid in one direction only and you can not force fluid to go in the reverse direction. The y do the same as everyone else. Hook the machine to the cooler lines and simply exchange the fluid. Our shop charges 110 bucks for this service. Drooping the pan and changing the filter usually runs around the same charge. Maybe a little more. Why are they both incomplete services? In the fluid exchange you don't do the filter and if you drop the pan and change the filter you have no way to change the fluid in the torque converter so you still have over half the total fluid still dirty and as soon as you start it up your filter will get dirty again. If you want to do the best for your trans but only want to do one of the services do a complete fluid exchange with a machine. Decline the use of the flush chemicals and just put in the additive part of it. The filter material today does not plug up like the paper ones of days gone by and if the filter does plug with debris you have more issues than a flush will fix anyway. If you do opt for doing the filter hook it up to the machine as well and then exchange the fluid. Then the dirty fluid in the TC won't get back into the pan and filter. One tip. If you do your own filter make sure you get the old seal out of the valve body too. 9 times out of ten the seal will pull off and stay in the passage. If it isn't noticed and the new filter and seal are pushed in on top of it you will have no drive when you are done. Also remove and clean the magnet in the bottom of the pan.
 

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Canuck,
Once before you told us a DIY way to change the fluid, disconnect a coolent line and start it up? Something.. I don't quite recall.
 

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Poppy, what you're refering to is a fluid exchange,where you pump out the old fluid thru the trans cooler lines while adding new fluid to take up whats been pumped out.This is usually done on cars that do not have servicable filters,such as Escapes.
 

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