Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics) - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 03-15-2008
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Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)

I have an A4LD -- a dead one -- that Earl (CrazzyEarl on here) gave me to use as a donor for my output shaft.

Well, the fluid was burnt and it stunk pretty bad when I disassembled it. Not surprising. In the pics below you can see what happened.

It's a tale of two clutches: in the first pic below, the one on the left is the "forward clutch" and the on on the right is the "intermediate brake and direct clutch". You can also see some feeler gauges and a dial indicator. I used those to verify the free play.

Interestingly the forward clutch was still in spec and the clutch plates, when removed, were the proper color and still had plenty of lining. Not so on the intermediate direct clutch. I was able to get approximately the same readings from both the dial indicator and the feeler gauges, +/- about 0.002".

I couldn't move the intermediate clutch plates to check for free play and it was hard to get apart compared to the forward clutch.

Pics 2 and 3 in this post show the sealing ring that burnt and melted from the heat in the damaged one.

I'll show you the clutch pack damage in the next post.
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Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010024-medium-.jpg   Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010019-medium-.jpg   Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010020-medium-.jpg  
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Old 03-15-2008
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The next few pics show what the "steels" and "frictions" looked like. If you've ever rebuilt a clutch type limited slip, the design of these clutches is very similar -- alternating discs of steel and steel faced with friction material.

The first pic shows a steel -- somewhat scored but not too bad.

Next pic shows what seems to be a basically good but burnt looking friction.

Other side of the friction shows wear down to the steel and extreme scoring from metal to metal contact. Not a happy situation.

This is one reason why it's a good idea to have good lube (and I say you should have a good full synthetic for their very high temperature tolerance) in your automatic transmission. I suspect the owner of this tranny didn't care for it properly.
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Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010021-medium-.jpg   Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010022-medium-.jpg   Why you should change your ATF fluid often (pics)-p1010023-medium-.jpg  
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Old 03-15-2008
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wow .....I always wondered what auto clutches looked like....
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Old 03-15-2008
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There's some wonderful articles I've been studying on rebuilding an A4LD as some of the tools and techniques are analogous. Here's the 4 parts of the "A4LD Transmission Rebuild Diary" -- but none of his stuff was this bad so I thought I'd post it.

Part three deals with rebuilding the clutches so you can see some good pics of what things are supposed to look like. The clutch material, for instance, should be a medium brown or dark tan color.

Links:

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...threadid=98027 (part 1)

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...hreadid=101571 (part 2)

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...hreadid=103666 (part 3)

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...d.php?t=113354 (part 4 -- don't know why the address is different, lol...)
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Old 03-15-2008
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I think I should change mine! lol
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Old 03-15-2008
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How much is a rebuild?
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Old 03-16-2008
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If you get it done at a shop, pretty expensive. Generally $1500 to $2500 or more. Really, parts are not so much (unless you need a lot of "hard parts") and it's mostly labor or in the case of major failures possible machine shop work.

Doing it yourself is pretty cheap if your transmission is basically is in good shape, but it's very detailed work and some special tools are required, though others are optional.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Thanks for the links John, that was really cool! I need to get my tranny flushed as it's getting sticky with shifting. Is there a way I can flush it myself, or should I just drain it and refill it?
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Old 03-16-2008
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I did it myself. Take off the upper tranny cooler line at your radiator and send it too a big pan just put a big hose over it angling down -- no rise after the line or you'll have a mess.

Run the vehicle and keep adding fluid until you've gone through 12 quarts or so. You're done.

You'll have to stop and start the truck a few times as it will tend to get ahead of you.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Take the time to change the oil filter in the pan after.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Im just going to drain and refill at 50k......since there is no drain plug you just take off the fluid pan to get it out? Be a good time to change the filter also.
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Old 03-16-2008
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For sure that should be done. As far as fluid change, that only changes out less than 1/2 of your tranny fluid. Definitely should be done, but the flush will do the rest.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Here's another great link that show the inside of our auto tranny's. This was written by someone updating an A4LD to 5R55 parts -- aka: "Project FrankenTranny", lol...

http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/...d.php?t=146953
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Old 03-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz View Post
For sure that should be done. As far as fluid change, that only changes out less than 1/2 of your tranny fluid. Definitely should be done, but the flush will do the rest.
There is no other way to change all the fluid other than paying out the a$$ for a tranny flush?
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Old 03-16-2008
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I really need to flush mine, I'll do it over the summer.
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Old 03-16-2008
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is there no way to drain the torque converter? and those pics are pretty impressive (not in a good way)
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Old 03-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.blakeley View Post
There is no other way to change all the fluid other than paying out the a$$ for a tranny flush?

Yes, if you take the line off the in-radiator cooler (the upper one) as I explained earlier, you can use the internal pump to evacuate the tranny. But you have to start and stop as you don't have the closed-loop type of supply system to put the fluid back in. You're doing it manually and it's hard to keep up with that pump!

And yes, Billy -- this also pumps out the TC.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Thanks...someone needs to do a how-to on transmission flush. The old how-to tranny fluid change as well as the transfer case fluid change has lost the pictures.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Ugh, Automatic internals, that's not fun stuff.
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Old 03-16-2008
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you can flush it by yourself, its easy, i did mine all by myself and only started/stopped the truck a few times, if you get a good funnel and open all the bottles and get ready.

mark the bucket so you know how much comes out and how much is going in.

you guys act like autos are just terrible. i bet money my trans will hold up longer than most manuals in ranger. id much rather have an auto than a manual in a ranger
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Old 03-16-2008
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I like the new avatar, Zach.

Autos have advantages: like torque converters. They can actually give you more torque and reduced speed when crawling -- something I haven't needed in 2WD, lol.

All auto transmissions have their vulnerabilities. At least the C3 dervied models have a long common history that is well documented, and excellent aftermarket support to improve them. The A4LD is derived from the old Pinto C3, and the 4R/5R are in turn derived from the A4LD.

Zach, PM me an email address if you'd like some supplemental info on our transmissions. I can't post it because it copyrighted material.
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Old 03-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz View Post
Yes, if you take the line off the in-radiator cooler (the upper one) as I explained earlier, you can use the internal pump to evacuate the tranny. But you have to start and stop as you don't have the closed-loop type of supply system to put the fluid back in. You're doing it manually and it's hard to keep up with that pump!

And yes, Billy -- this also pumps out the TC.
ok thats what i thought... not like i have a TC in the truck but its still nice to know
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Old 03-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pastfinder View Post
Thanks for the links John, that was really cool! I need to get my tranny flushed as it's getting sticky with shifting. Is there a way I can flush it myself, or should I just drain it and refill it?
here is a PDF file from AMSOIL on flushing your auto transmission at home:
http://www.amsoil.com/faqs/ATF_and_F...Procedures.pdf

I got linked to it from Zach (zabeard) last summer when I was going to complete flush my old auto transmission. The method described in the PDF works well and isn't too bad to do. It is easier with an extra set of hands.
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Old 03-17-2008
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Got an incredible deal on a Ford Rotunda tool kit containing some of the transmission tools I need, and some I'll probably never use. But the seal sizing tools are about $25 apiece and the cheapest I found that stinking servo cover retainer (the thing with the big hook) is about $150. So at less than $90 for the whole kit, it's quite a bargain.

Here's link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...202562513&rd=1

And one of the pics if it'll link:

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Old 03-17-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n3elz View Post
Got an incredible deal on a Ford Rotunda tool kit containing some of the transmission tools I need, and some I'll probably never use. But the seal sizing tools are about $25 apiece and the cheapest I found that stinking servo cover retainer (the thing with the big hook) is about $150. So at less than $90 for the whole kit, it's quite a bargain.

Here's link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...202562513&rd=1

And one of the pics if it'll link:

the servo cover retainer is useless, you can do it by hand just faster... i like the valve spring compressor that comes in the trans svc tools... gotta love rotunda... lol
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