Transmission Fluid Change Interval - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 05-11-2016
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Transmission Fluid Change Interval

I've looked over my owner's manual a dozen or more times, repeatedly searched google, but cannot find anything about when I should change my transmission fluid.

I've already changed it about a month ago, but I know I'll have to change it again sooner or later. Either I'm blind, or this is a well kept secret. Imagine that, a company not wanting you to know something

Anyway, specs. 1999, 3.0 V6 Flex fuel, automatic, 4x4.
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Old 05-11-2016
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Here is what is posted on Alldata for my 2002 yet my truck has a manual transmission

150,000 mileage interval

Replace
Change automatic transmission/transaxle fluid and filter.


I always go by the smell of the fluid the color of the fluid and my budget.

It is better to change it well before it is needed, as long as your service procedures do not put the transmission in harms way.
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Old 05-11-2016
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Sheesh, 150 grand. The color and smell is probably what I'll end up going by in the long run. I threw in five quarts of STP mercon V on my change last month, having no history of what was in the transmission or how long it was in there.

Didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Fine metal 'dust' on the magnet, but no large chips. Fluid was dark but not black or burnt.
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Old 05-11-2016
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Automatics should run normally between 180-200degF

At 220degF oil gets thin and pressure drops, that causes slipping
At 250degF valves start to stick
these cut into transmission life

Above 250degF....well trans is screwed, most likely within 1 to 5,000 miles.


2nd trans cooler is simply a must for max trans life, temp gauge is good as well, but cooler is first place to drop $50-$100


ATF lives a "clean" life, no condensation, no Blow-by, or other nastiness that the engine oil has to deal with.
So outside of mechanical issues the ATF can last a long long time, there are anti-corrosion additives that can break down over time, but we are talking years.
So yes, 100+k miles before changing wouldn't be too bad, as long as heat was never a factor.
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Old 05-12-2016
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Thanks for the info RonD. You're like a talking service manual, lol.

When you say 'second trans cooler', I've already got one cooler mounted by the bumper bolts. Is this the factory one you're talking about, or are you saying to purchase another in addition to the factory cooler?
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Old 05-12-2016
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Most factory trans coolers are in the radiator, these help keep trans fluid at an even temp after warm up and do provide cooling since lower rad temp should run about 175degF assuming 190deg Thermostat.

But problem with these on their own is that when you are putting engine AND trans under a load, i.e. climbing a long mountain grade or pulling a loaded truck or trailer, engine temp goes up and so does trans temp..........
That can add another 20degF to lower rad temp(just above 1/2 on dash temp gauge), so 195degF and not much cooling for the transmission any more.

2nd inline cooler keeps the temp down in those situation but also just generally.

If you have the "trailer package" on a Ranger that usually includes the larger trans cooler that sits in front of the rad, so you have the extra cooling already.
You could check the in and out line temps on that cooler with a IR thermometer after driving it for at least 20 min. to see what temps are at.
195degF is really the max temp you what to see for trans fluid, under load if might get to 215degF, after that you are wearing out the trans and fluid life.
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Old 05-12-2016
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Strange. Mine must be a one-off or something. My trans cooler is located on the passenger side, just above the bumper mounting bolt.

With that on my mind, I'm considering a somewhat 'wide' cooler that, when mounted, gets the air coming through the tow hook hole(for want of a better word) passing over it. Wouldn't mind a temp gauge, either. I'll have to look into those things. I do have a reese hitch and it's a 4x4, which I like to use once in a while.
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