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2016 Explorer XLT PTU *PICS*

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Just purchased a used 2016 Explorer XLT with 40k. I was advised to drain/fill my PTU. To my surprise I found no fluid at all escape out of the fill hole. I filled with AMSOIL severe gear 75-140. Anyone out there experienced the same low fluid level, and how do I know if any damage has occurred. I’ve read a lot about puking vent hoses and great amounts of sludge in these “lifetime filled” units. Posted this in the transmission/transfer case page but no looks so reposting here.

I pulled the vent tube today and was clean as a whistle, could see daylight through it. Stuck a qtip through the barb nipple for the vent and went all the way through the case with very minimal sludge.

Also my drain plug looks much different from what others are explaining. Mine used a 3/8” ratchet to remove and had rather large threads. Also the magnet didn’t protrude out in the case, or was flat on the case end.

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runningonfords

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I'm pretty sure that's a fill hole and you don't have a drain hole. Congrats, your PTU wasn't the upgraded one! It looks just like mine, only the 3/8 plug with a flat magnet on the back. You have to suction out the fluid with a pump and tubing you insert right there down to the bottom of the case (harbor freight suction device works great and throw it away afterward, smells like hell). Fill it up with some more tubing and a disposable pumping head that screws onto your canister of oil. I've got each of the sizes of the magnetic plugs right here for comparison. I had planned to drill and tap mine to add a drain, I even practiced on an old aluminum engine mount, but decided against it cause the shavings get everywhere and aren't magnetic. Anyway, you fill the case until it runs out that hole steady and then its full. You may have been a little low, not unheard of nor deadly to the PTU, but how many ounces were you able to add? If you only added like 8 oz, then it was like 8-12 oz in there and is now mixed with new fluid. I'd suction it all out after driving a bit in sand mode and refill if I were you. Cheers and long vehicle life to you!


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peterk9

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Welcome to the Forum Matthew.:wave:

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I'm pretty sure that's a fill hole and you don't have a drain hole. Congrats, your PTU wasn't the upgraded one! It looks just like mine, only the 3/8 plug with a flat magnet on the back. You have to suction out the fluid with a pump and tubing you insert right there down to the bottom of the case (harbor freight suction device works great and throw it away afterward, smells like hell). Fill it up with some more tubing and a disposable pumping head that screws onto your canister of oil. I've got each of the sizes of the magnetic plugs right here for comparison. I had planned to drill and tap mine to add a drain, I even practiced on an old aluminum engine mount, but decided against it cause the shavings get everywhere and aren't magnetic. Anyway, you fill the case until it runs out that hole steady and then its full. You may have been a little low, not unheard of nor deadly to the PTU, but how many ounces were you able to add? If you only added like 8 oz, then it was like 8-12 oz in there and is now mixed with new fluid. I'd suction it all out after driving a bit in sand mode and refill if I were you. Cheers and long vehicle life to you!


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Thanks for the reply! So are the upgraded PTUs more prone to damage. I borrowed a fluid fill tool to do this and need to return it. I did not suck any fluid out but you think I should do it, huh. Ok will do. I pushed a full 18 ounces into it and about 4-8 fell out before I put the plug in.
 
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runningonfords

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Don't bother sucking it out, it was empty. The upgraded ones have fill and drain holes because Ford realized in some backroom in Dearborn that a lifetime fill is ridiculous and too many were failing, causing financial liability, but will never admit this cause of aforementioned liability. They did it near the mid to end of this generation's life too. It seems to have been worse for people with the Ford flex from 2011 as best I can tell. The only way to get the fluid out is to suction it out. Period. That is a fill-to-full hole. You probably had almost no fluid in there. Yikes! I'd just go with it for now but look down there in the coming weeks and months to make sure it isn't leaking out the seals on side and back. If all's well then you dodged a bullet. Buy a lotto ticket. Change it again next season as part of maintenance.
 
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Don't bother sucking it out, it was empty. The upgraded ones have fill and drain holes because Ford realized in some backroom in Dearborn that a lifetime fill is ridiculous and too many were failing, causing financial liability, but will never admit this cause of aforementioned liability. They did it near the mid to end of this generation's life too. It seems to have been worse for people with the Ford flex from 2011 as best I can tell. The only way to get the fluid out is to suction it out. Period. That is a fill-to-full hole. You probably had almost no fluid in there. Yikes! I'd just go with it for now but look down there in the coming weeks and months to make sure it isn't leaking out the seals on side and back. If all's well then you dodged a bullet. Buy a lotto ticket. Change it again next season as part of maintenance.
Haha, I was just about to do it again too. Ok I’ll leave it alone. I pushed my tool full of 16oz and the last 4 ounces was puking out of the hole pretty good before I got the plug in. I’ll keep an eye on it, thanks. So no significant damage occurred you think??
 
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Also the drain plug pics you posted, mine is the one on the left. Does the one on the right have the drain plug?
 
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runningonfords

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I too filled it with as much as I could and it was puking out while I slammed the plug in quick. Not sure if theres a draining model with the one on the left, but the one on the right is definitely on some models of PTU as a drain hole, i think ive seen it on pics of police interceptors maybe.? I think it comes out slowly too cause the hole is small and the fluid can be thick with burnt/expired fluid and its thick to begin with. No way to know if your PTU is borked because of running without fluid, but time will tell. Maybe bank an extra $2,000 or so dollars in case it dies or keep that much credit card limit in reserve. Is your mileage particularly high? If not, F it you probably okay for a while, but again theres no way to know. Sorry, blame Ford.
 
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I too filled it with as much as I could and it was puking out while I slammed the plug in quick. Not sure if theres a draining model with the one on the left, but the one on the right is definitely on some models of PTU as a drain hole, i think ive seen it on pics of police interceptors maybe.? I think it comes out slowly too cause the hole is small and the fluid can be thick with burnt/expired fluid and its thick to begin with. No way to know if your PTU is borked because of running without fluid, but time will tell. Maybe bank an extra $2,000 or so dollars in case it dies or keep that much credit card limit in reserve. Is your mileage particularly high? If not, F it you probably okay for a while, but again theres no way to know. Sorry, blame Ford.

Truck has 40k on it. The way I found out about this was the head fleet mechanic that has a lot of explorers. He said after 1 year he found the fluid being burnt and almost no fluid at all. He said definitely check my PTU.
 
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KayGee

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This thread is confusing. Are you guys/gals saying that you removed the fill plug, but did not drain or suction any fluid out, and then jammed up to 16 oz or more of fluid in and then capped off the drain plug before more than a few ounces leaked out?

If so, it sounds like those units were overfilled. Probably a good idea to start over and do it properly.

In the pics above, the fill plug is the larger plug with the 3/8" indent and the drain plug (if yours is equipped) is the little plug with the magnet on it. Drain plugs are not usually located halfway up the side of the case on any equipment - they are usually near or on the bottom.
 
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This thread is confusing. Are you guys/gals saying that you removed the fill plug, but did not drain or suction any fluid out, and then jammed up to 16 oz or more of fluid in and then capped off the drain plug before more than a few ounces leaked out?

If so, it sounds like those units were overfilled. Probably a good idea to start over and do it properly.

In the pics above, the fill plug is the larger plug with the 3/8" indent and the drain plug (if yours is equipped) is the little plug with the magnet on it. Drain plugs are not usually located halfway up the side of the case on any equipment - they are usually near or on the bottom.

This truck is still new to me so I’m also learning. It is my understanding the PTU has an 18oz dry fill. It is also my understanding that these have no drain plug and only a fill hole. The plug I removed (large one) had a magnet on it. The process is to suck any old fluid out, which is what the conversation is about above. It was mentioned I hadn’t done that but was able to get 12-14oz in the case before it started puking out. This leads us to believe the case was almost dry. Had it started to puke old fluid out from original plug removal the old would have been sucked out. This whole PTU issue scares the crap out of me because we just bought this Explorer and I hope it lasts along time, as it replaced an unreliable Chevy that had to go. We still have 20k left on the powertrain so if it goes hopefully it’s soon.
 
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runningonfords

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Kaygee, the ptu was filled and the plug was screwed back in. If there was 1/2 extra ounce because it was leaking out while being screwed back in then so be it. Given the rate of fluid disappearance, especially in the OP's vehicle, I'll take the half ounce "overfill" as insurance. There are inches of space above it that can't be filled no matter what method you use. This transfer case is wet hot trash. I love my Ford Taurus errrr..... exploder. Cheers.
 
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SouthernExploder

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If you put 14oz into an 18oz closed system, you'd be smart to have that PTU taken apart and inspected. I would guess that the 'old' gear oil has congealed and is sitting at the bottom of the PTU like a wad of putty. Unless you believe there's a leak. Your first step might be to drain it again and throw a borescope in there and try to give it a visual inspection.

My '16 has 30k miles and my dealer just checked mine and said it was fine. Checked in that he popped the fillcap, saw fluid come out and nothing worth noting on the magnet.
 
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runningonfords

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And give the stealership more money for nothing!?! GTFO of here. Stick your fingy in the hole or use a bent stick. Any "congealed" fluid? No? Proceed as normal. I, for one, don't invent conditions for turds to charge me for. If that lethal condition is possible to exist at 40k miles then why bother owning the vehicle to begin with? If you believe what the salesman mechanics at the Ford dealer tell you then I've got some waterfront property in the Florida keys you'd be interested in.
 
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KayGee

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Kaygee, the ptu was filled and the plug was screwed back in. If there was 1/2 extra ounce because it was leaking out while being screwed back in then so be it. Given the rate of fluid disappearance, especially in the OP's vehicle, I'll take the half ounce "overfill" as insurance. There are inches of space above it that can't be filled no matter what method you use. This transfer case is wet hot trash. I love my Ford Taurus errrr..... exploder. Cheers.
I'm not sure what you are talking about with your "1/2 extra ounce" comment. The PTU can be overfilled. Anyway, below are some of the confusing posts I am referencing.

I did not suck any fluid out but you think I should do it, huh. Ok will do. I pushed a full 18 ounces into it and about 4-8 fell out before I put the plug in.
So no fluid was removed and 10-14 ounces was pushed in?

Don't bother sucking it out, it was empty.
Wait, wut?

I pushed my tool full of 16oz and the last 4 ounces was puking out of the hole pretty good before I got the plug in.
Now a net of 12 ounces was pushed in? Is this in addition to the previous 10-14 ounces or ????

I too filled it with as much as I could and it was puking out while I slammed the plug in quick. Not sure if theres a draining model with the one on the left, but the one on the right is definitely on some models of PTU as a drain hole, i think ive seen it on pics of police interceptors maybe.? I think it comes out slowly too cause the hole is small and the fluid can be thick with burnt/expired fluid and its thick to begin with. No way to know if your PTU is borked because of running without fluid, but time will tell. Maybe bank an extra $2,000 or so dollars in case it dies or keep that much credit card limit in reserve. Is your mileage particularly high? If not, F it you probably okay for a while, but again theres no way to know. Sorry, blame Ford.
Not sure what to say anymore. This whole thread is "borked".
 
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Keith N

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I agree - this is the most confusing thread about PTU maintenance yet...

Did you or did you not suck out the fluid that was in the PTU thru the 3/8 fill plug? You need a vacumn pump or electric pump to do this and it has been covered on a few different threads on this forum and others. I got 15 or so ounces out each time I did my 2011. Pumped the same amount or more back (new fluid) in until it started dribbling out the fill hole.
 
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Adrian Gitch

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I think what he was saying is that he attempted to suck out fluid but didn't get any which probably means it was nearly dry or maybe the tube wasn't down in there far enough. I know on mine, which has just a fill plug didnt get much out of it, but what i did get looked really good especially for 80000+ miles. As far as overfilling it, if it was done by the fill plug, not sure how you can do that if the vehicle was straight and level. Maybe I guess by a few ounces its possible. Definitely not enough to hurt anything.
 
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So I’m quite scared at this point. NO I did not suck anything out nor try to. If this needs be done LET ME KNOW, please. I’m looking for guidance here. This was just purchased as a reliable family vehicle. Help a brother out. Thanks.

My procedure was drive up on ramps, open the plug, nothing came out. Filled with 12oz before started to ooze out. Squeezed the last 4oz in and put the plug back in. Correct, there was a total of about 12oz added. Since nothing at all came out when I removed the plug AND I added 12oz before it started to come out, sounds like the amount of fluid I added means it was really lacking fluid, no?

Instead of bouncing back and forth about how confusing this thread is could someone post a proper drain/fill procedure. Thanks.
 
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peterk9

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