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Transfer case fluid: XL-12 or Mercon V

Discussion in 'Stock 2006 -2010 Explorers' started by hwydave, July 16, 2017.

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    1. hwydave

      hwydave Member

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      The truck has 90k miles on it and I figure it is time to change the transfer case fluid (fluid color looks darker than before, but still somewhat pink-lish). The owner's manual say use XL-12 fluid but the local dealer say use Mercon V due to local climate (So. California). Google search turn up nothing. Which fluid is the right one to use? Thanks for your advise.
       
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    3. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      I read some about the new transfer case fluid Ford makes. It was due to TC issues caused by the Mercon V. I suggest following the manual and use the new TC fluid, not Mercon V. Do enough research to be sure it's for your model, I think it only applied to the later generation transfer cases.

      I also read some postings say the new TC fluid is virtually the same as the old Mercon I, which is what the Mercon V replaced. The Mercon V is very slick compared to older ATF's. Thus you also shouldn't use the Mercon V in place of Mercon in older Fords. Some dealers are recommending that also.
       
    4. Mickalo

      Mickalo Active Member

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      I have a 2010 xlt 5speed auto. I just changed out my trany & TC fluids. according to my vehicle specs calls for the XL-12 type fluid and I used the Valvoline transfer case fluid which meets ford's specs for the TC. Been running it for about a month now and no problems.
       
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    5. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      Use XL-12.

      Mercon V is not to be used as a TC fluid, at least on Borg Warners TC's.
      It even reads on the bottle not to use as a TC fluid.
       
    6. hwydave

      hwydave Member

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      Thanks, guys, for the advise. Exploerer_PL: you are right about the instruction on the bottle.

      I ordered the XL-12 from Amazon since local dealer does not carry XL-12 (it also make me nervous about what kind of stuff they put in customer's car....). The drain and fill process should be more straight forward than tranny fluid change :)
       
    7. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      I went to ford dealer to buy the TC fluid and told them what car I have. The guy at the parts counter gave me Mercon-V bottles, and I told him he is wrong and showed him the text.
      He looked like he just landed on Mars. You need to do your homework :), they do not know everything.
       
    8. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      The TC is the easiest thing you will ever drain and fill with new fluid. The two plugs are large and easy to get to, and there isn't much fluid in it. I do suggest buying a pump from a parts store, the type which screws onto quart bottles. Those pumps for about $8 will let you fill the TC in about five minutes.
       
    9. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      so this means I should drain the Mercon V from my BW4406 and put XL-12 in it?
       
    10. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      No, use the same Mercon I it came with, which stores still carry as Dexron III(and the bottle lists Mercon specs it meets). You/we may be able to use the XL-12, but what I read suggests it's virtually the same as Mercon.

      The big deal is the price, Ford wants nearly $25 a quart for that special fluid. I think $3 a quart is much better, and I used to like $1 even more, way back when.
       
    11. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Ok, I'll add that to my to-do list. Though the transfer case hasn't given me a bit of trouble since I put it in a couple years ago.
       
    12. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Yeah, change it every year if you can think of it. The AWD is trouble free if the tires stay the same. My new 98 truck has had very dark fluid drain out three times so far, just a little lighter the last time. I have no symptoms, but I expect this TC to not last too much longer.
       
    13. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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      XL-12 is a replacement for "plain" Mercon, it may be actually same thing labeled XL-12.

      Mercon V is a different, improved ATF.
       
    14. Christobal65

      Christobal65 Active Member

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      Another vote here for the XL-12. I recently used it to replace what I suspect was the original fluid.
       

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    15. traveler

      traveler Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Mine is no longer AWD. I did the BW4406 swap bout 2 years ago. so I have 2hi, 4hi, 4lo.. ya know 4 Wheel drive. But I am due for a fluid change regardless of what kind of TC it is.
       
    16. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      That's good, the BW4406 is a tougher unit. That will tolerate some deficiencies of fluid type or quality. The viscous clutches or the clutch system of the A4WD models won't do well with the wrong fluid. I've got a Navigator BW4406 to go in this year some time. It's got the electromagnetic clutch type, and a shift motor.
       
    17. Explorer_PL

      Explorer_PL Elite Explorer

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    18. PotatoExplorer

      PotatoExplorer Active Member

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      I'm glad I found this, Mickalo! I'm going to attempt to do the differentials and transfer case Saturday afternoon and of course the Motorcraft Transfer Case Fluid (XL-12) is no where locally. The Valvoline Transfer Case Fluid is close by and says it's fit for transfer cases recommending XL-12 specific fluid.

      Anyone have any ideas as to why I shouldn't use this?
       
    19. roscoe 0202

      roscoe 0202 Elite Explorer

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      I use amsoil atf that says on the bottle dexron II and merkon equilivant
      roscoe
       
    20. Phisherman

      Phisherman New Member

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      I wish makuloco would confirm this... My 05 with the 4411 lasted about 200k with Mercon V. He even says not to use xl-12 on TOD cases. Not sure I want to put older merc in instead.
       
    21. PotatoExplorer

      PotatoExplorer Active Member

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      I went ahead and used the Valvoline Transfer Case Fluid in my fluid change. It said it could be used in place of XL-12 fluid and Valvoline has never let me down before... so why not?

      In my 03 Ford Ranger, I swapped out the transfer case fluid for Valvoline ATF... although now knowing what I know now, I wish I didn't. Oh well. Another weird thing - when I dumped out the old fluid it was completely clear. Not sure what type of fluid that could be? I thought all transfer case fluid was red like ATF.
       
    22. Phisherman

      Phisherman New Member

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      I researched this issue on other ford sites as well. My manual and dealer parts dept says to use Mercon V. I hope they change the specs if superceded. It seems like the problems are over-rated/nonexistent from what I found and most people think the transfer case isn't picky about the fluid. If there are no problems dont fix it perhaps. Although i bought my x @160k and 40k later the planetary gears seem to have jammed up, and ejected the ring gear retaining ring into the case. Hope it wasn't related.
       
      Last edited: September 7, 2017

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