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how many quarts to fill transmission fluid?

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by oz16us, September 17, 2013.

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    1. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      tomorrow i plan to take down the transmission pan and change out the filter and put it back up. What's the best way to go about putting back the transmission fluid that came out? do i just try to estimate how much came out and refill it with a quart less...then start the truck and add more at idle so I don't accidentally put too much when i refill it up or is this dangerous as I might not have enough to begin with?
       
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    3. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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    4. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      thanks swshawaii...If I do accidentally overfill, is it easy to suck out transmission fluid through the dipstick? I have never done it before...what makes it hard for me is that there aren't many level surfaces in my neighborhood where I can park, then get out and add fluid...the roads are either slanted forwards, backwards or to the side.....i might have to go to a park nearby....i understand that I have to warm up the ST first (I read that it can make it seem like it's overfilled if the reading is not taken at the right temperate)
       
    5. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Being level and checking fluid level at operating temp is very important. Always easier to add Mercon V than remove it, especially if you don't have a suction pump or pan drain plug. Check the tranny dipstick crosshatch marks with a clean paper towel in direct sunlight for visibility. Correct fluid level is critical with these 5R55 transmissions, one pint can be the difference between slipping (low) or foaming (overfilled). Both can cause severe damage in a very short time.
       
      Last edited: September 19, 2013
    6. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      is operating temperature the same as idle temperature? want to be careful to not overfill. I'll be putting the ST up on ramps and then taking down the pan. I'm sure I won't be able catch all the fluid that does come out, so I'm thinking maybe I should measure how much oil I collected and replace the same amount through the dipstick...instead of taking a blind guess at 4 qts (then add more afterwards). Is this a good idea?
       
    7. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      Last edited: September 19, 2013
    8. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      Okay so I drove it for about 10 minutes until the temperature gauge is between the low and the high. I went to check the dipstick and it shows it's beyond the hexagons on the stick. This was parked on a flat surface. Before this, it was another quart over just parked on a flat surface without it running...any ideas on what to do? I haven't started on the transmission oil change yet
       
    9. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      You need to follow the link in post #6 to the letter. The ONLY way of getting an accurate trans fluid level reading is on level ground, running at operating temp, in park. Any reason you're checking now, and not AFTER the pan fluid change?
       
      Last edited: September 19, 2013
    10. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      I think the one step I missed out was going through the gears...so just to clarify, will it seem like I have more transmission fluid on the dipstick with the car running or not running? It seems like it was opposite of what the manual said (but I didn't go through each gear) but still odd
       
    11. 05dakotatrac

      05dakotatrac Active Member

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      there are drums in auto transmissions that fill up when in that gear hence the sit in park level ground and cycle through the gears holding it in each gear 10-30 seconds. if not normal temp, level, and cycled it will show fuller than true
       
    12. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      okay, so i dropped the transmission pan and changed out the filter. I was cursing at the heat shield (was hard to remove and much tougher to put back on) but despite that, I started off with 4 quarts of fluid. Drove around until the temperature indicator was right in the middle of the L and the H. Put the vehicle into all the gears. Left it on park while I went to check the dipstick while still running... it showed no fluid (i checked it about 3 times)....then i turned the vehicle off and checked the fluid. Same thing, no fluid! (checked it 3 times). I thought maybe the fluid never made it down completely (whatever the logic I came up with) and the next day (this morning) I checked it again, same results...it showed no fluid with and without the vehicle turned on. So since I had 1 more quart of fluid left, I put it all in. Went driving for a few minutes and came back, did the same procedure....still shows no fluid at the dipstick! but the difference is, with the vehicle off it did show there was a little just at the very tip of the dipstick (below the 2 dots)....

      so my question is, what am i doing wrong? is it really suppose to only be 5 quarts?...if I were to guess, I believe I might need 2 more quarts, but that is 2 quarts above the advised 5 quarts..(considering that between the dots is 1 quarts and the crosshatching is another quart.

      I'm afraid to over fill it...it's not dripping anywhere. Very confused.... even the wording in the manual is confusing, drive it for "20 miles OR normal operating temperature"... it only take about 3 minutes of driving to get it to normal operating temperature (getting the indicator between the L and H) and as if I'm going to be driving it for 20 miles just to check the transmission fluid... any advice?
       
    13. 05dakotatrac

      05dakotatrac Active Member

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      if the stick says low even when sitting level and rolling through the gears and checked while on in park as you mentioned then continue adding fluid till it reaches the proper level. if i recall there are two different pans on this truck the 4WD and ones with the tow package (payload upgrade) had deeper pans meaning more fluid and the 2WD had a shallow pan
       
    14. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      okay i added the 6th quart a few hours ago and now it's setting between the second hole and crosschecks..... i'm a little confused as to where it ought to be (i have a 2001 ST 2WD) ....the manual mentions ambient temperature vs operating temperature. Is ambient temperature settings supposed to be where you've gone through all the gears and the vehicle still running? or when the vehicle is off?
       
    15. Markaprice73

      Markaprice73 Elite Explorer

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      ambient=cold. whatever the outside air temp is.
      operating temp=hot. trans fluid warmed up. just drive for 10 min or so
      Don't worry about ambient. Just check it warmed up/ go through all the gears and still running-level. Shoot for half way between start and end of crosshatches. Antwhere is cross marks is fine.
      If you had to add 6qts. It was low before you even started or someone put the 4WD pan on. I doubt that though. I'm not sure that even possible.
       
    16. oz16us

      oz16us Active Member

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      the weird thing is that I followed that same procedure and the previous owner had it overfilled past the crosshatchings. Now I'm concerned is how do I know if I did any damage to the transmission if I originally started with only 4 quarts with no oil showing up on the dipstick at all
       
    17. va2explorer

      va2explorer Member

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      If your tranny was severely under filled more than likely you would have experienced some slippage, and a long delay when shifting from P to D and D to R, Ect. If it was overfilled you may see some fluid coming out of the vent hose, and some crazy shifting like skipping a gear or not wanting to go into 1st from a dead stop. So if that tranny has never been overheated you should be ok. Second thing, try not to drive around after you have replaced the filter and added the new oil, nothing is going to get hurt by just letting the truck warm up in the driveway. Just let the truck sit at a idle for 20min or so, and run it threw the gears every few minutes. another good way to warm the tranny a little faster is to, and only if you trust your e-brake and wedge a tire, place tranny in Drive(D) and wait 15min or so, then you should only have to run through the gears one time just before you shut off the motor, this is the method I use. and Third, that tranny holds around 10.5 qts, about 5 of those qts are in the torque converter, cooling lines, between the clutches, ect, and those 5 qts will remain in the torque converter, and cooling lines, ect. When you drop the pan and change the filter there can be as much as 1/2 qt in the filter membrane and the other 5 qts are in the pan. So a good rule of thumb is to add 1/2 of the (total capacity)recommended amount listed in your repair manual. save about half of the last quart so you can add (only if needed) after you have warmed it up, and checked your dip stick. I hope this clears things up for you, and makes your next tranny servicing more understanding.
       

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