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The controversial question of when to change the fluid in the 5R55E automatic trans

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Old 07-18-2005, 12:29 PM   #1
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The controversial question of when to change the fluid in the 5R55E automatic trans

The controversial question of when to change the fluid in the 5R55E automatic transmission – have done much research & thought I would share what I found – not an endorsement of what maintenance plan to follow

Changing the fluid in the 5R55E (5 speed automatic) transmission used in the 2000 Explorer and some earlier and later years.

The maintenance manual that comes with the Explorer says change transmission fluid at 30K intervals for 5 models of transmissions (AX4S, AX4N, 4R70W, 4R100, 4F27E). The 5R55E transmission is not referenced. The manual repeats this maintenance schedule at 30K intervals until 150K, at which point it just says change the fluid and filter with no transmission model reference. The manual is not at all helpful trying to figure out what the recommended fluid change interval is. So I called Ford.

Ford customer service does not know what the “factory” recommended interval is!!! I asked for the phone number of someone who could help, they said there was nobody at Ford that could help. Their response was they did not have that information, and told me to call a dealer (that the dealer had access to information that the Ford company customer service representatives did not have access to).

So I called 5 dealers, locally to get the answer, with not a lot of luck. Finally, on the 5th try I got referred to a service manager who took the time to check his online access to Ford information. Meantime I found the service information in the factory service manual. His answer from his Ford reference, which also matches what the Ford service manual says, says that no fluid change is recommended or required when operating under non “special operating conditions” as defined by Ford in the operators manual. So Ford says fluid is there for the life of the transmission. The knowledgeable dealer said that met the Ford warranty requirements, including extended warranties.

So to change it at 30K or some other interval or wait until the transmission dies!!! And to complicate things, in my research for the answer on the internet, I heard people talking about changing their fluid at 30K or less intervals and still having the transmission fail with low mileage, while a few others talked about never changing their fluid and getting high mileage out of their transmission without a problem.

All of the dealers I spoke to that recommended changing the fluid at 30K, only recommended a flush (they did not recommend or include the pan drop and filter replace). They all said the flush process they used flushed the fluid in reverse, thus cleaned the filter. At least one of them said that even though the filter is enclosed in plastic, it was not a paper filter, e.g. it was a screen that could be cleaned by the back flow flush [anybody ever take one apart, e.g. is the factory filter a screen or paper filter?].
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Old 07-18-2005, 12:41 PM   #2
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I myself try to stick to the Intervals that Purolator suggests.

they say to change the Transmission filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles which then in turn you are adding at least 4 quarts of fresh fluid everytime.




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:42 PM   #3
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I sincerely hope that you didn't buy that about never changing a filter.




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:53 PM   #4
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I jsut had my 2002 flushed and I am happy with what they did..




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:53 PM   #5
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<---125,000 miles and i've never touched the transmission. not that i beleive i should never change it, but i dont know anything about trannies, and i'm too lazy to look it up. and i refuse to pay someone to do something that i could do. theres no slippage or clunking. it rides very smoothe still.




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_Racing_Guy
I myself try to stick to the Intervals that Purolator suggests.

they say to change the Transmission filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles which then in turn you are adding at least 4 quarts of fresh fluid everytime.
That is excessive in my opinion.




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:56 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mynameisaric
<---125,000 miles and i've never touched the transmission. not that i beleive i should never change it, but i dont know anything about trannies, and i'm too lazy to look it up. and i refuse to pay someone to do something that i could do. theres no slippage or clunking. it rides very smoothe still.
Its called preventative maintenance for a reason.




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Old 07-18-2005, 12:58 PM   #8
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My brothers van has 137000 on it and he never touched it as of yet. crazy i think..
I change all my 3 vehicles tansmission fluids once every 12000 miles.
very little price for the comfort of knowing it has fresh fluid in it,

as far as my 1995 with close to 170000 on it i change it every 6 months.




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Old 07-18-2005, 04:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmmm69
as far as my 1995 with close to 170000 on it i change it every 6 months.
Why?




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Old 07-18-2005, 04:54 PM   #10
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Why not??




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Old 07-18-2005, 05:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmmm69
Why not??
Several good reasons:

(1) its expensive
(2) its not needed




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Old 07-18-2005, 06:36 PM   #12
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not expensive at all.. half dozen quarts of oil.
Fresh oil in a oil used, beat up, high mileage, transmission is nice insurance for me..




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Old 07-18-2005, 08:33 PM   #13
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in australia i read a book that goes to mechanics that lists all makes& models ever sold here(all specs) ,it says every 100,000 klm(60,000) local auto transmission experts reccomend every 20,000klm
now looking at it logically if a company reccomends oil changes 5 times as often as the booklet maybe it is just for financial advantage think about it 5 times the amount of oil ,filters,service charges etc @ $200 a time

i have always found the best place to get advice is from someone that knows what they are talking about but gain no financial advantage these people are not always easy to find
by the way i get mine done every 50,000 klm
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Old 07-18-2005, 08:41 PM   #14
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Most of it is how you feel and your personal preference.
just like many people i know every 3000 miles they are changing fluids.

not everyone can feel good with leaving certain fluids in the car for that long of a time.
and god forbid something bad happens to engine or transmission. you will be like my god why didn;t i do that mmuch sooner..




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Old 07-18-2005, 10:24 PM   #15
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i myself was planning to add an external filter so i wouldn't have to drop the pan as often as i have been.




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Old 07-19-2005, 07:20 AM   #16
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i put a drain plug in so when i do it. in 6 months it is just a fluid swap than at 12 months the filter is changed also..
n
i
eve put a drain plug in my wifes van which makes it so easy to drain...




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Old 07-19-2005, 07:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmmm69
i put a drain plug in so when i do it. in 6 months it is just a fluid swap than at 12 months the filter is changed also..
n
i
eve put a drain plug in my wifes van which makes it so easy to drain...
So you are just changing about 4 quarts? Not a complete chanfe.




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Old 07-19-2005, 09:47 AM   #18
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The maintenance manual that comes with the Explorer says change transmission fluid at 30K intervals for 5 models of transmissions (AX4S, AX4N, 4R70W, 4R100, 4F27E)


You just answered your own question.
You think Ford doesnt know when the fluid and filter should be changed?
This is the MINIMUM required PREVENATIVE maintenence....




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Old 07-19-2005, 12:04 PM   #19
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i've run across alot of stories where ppl change there fluid and there trans goes out a few thousand miles later, and some where they never change it and there over 200,000. and theres also ppl that go through 3 transmissions before 100,000 miles. how hard is it to change a transmission filter? ( to be honest i didnt know a transmission had a filter) and change the fluid? i havent worked on my truck since i made the bumper, so i need something to do to it.




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Old 07-19-2005, 12:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by aldive
So you are just changing about 4 quarts? Not a complete chanfe.

6 months I change the fluid that comes out via the pan.
at 12 months i do a change and also filter change...




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