Grey 'slitty sludge' in trans pan - 5r55e (01 Sport Trac) | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Grey 'slitty sludge' in trans pan - 5r55e (01 Sport Trac)

Swampy1970

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November 13, 2010
Messages
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City, State
Vacaville, CA
Year, Model & Trim Level
03 Sport Trac XLS
I should have asked this a while back but thought nothing of it and it 'may' be a clue to my gear slipping woes.

We acquired a Sport Trac with just over 150,000 miles and judging from the fluid color it may have been the first fluid change.

When cleaning the pan I noticed that there was a nice layer of sludge in the bottom of the pan and over the filter (in the filter too). It was like a 1/32" layer of grey sludge that had the same consistency of a very fine polishing paste (like Meguiars Ultra Finish compound).

My question is - there's obviously some very fine 'grit' in there. Could this be some dead friction material from the clutches in the trans?
 



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it is clutch material..do a band adjustment also.
 






Its mostly metal that has been removed from the gears - because most drivetrain gears are hypoid so there will always be some minute amount of deflection resulting from torque which induces some material to be removed from the teeth. You'll also find the same sludge in differentials/axles since ring and pinion gears are hypoid.
 






Swampy it's probably a good thing that you are changing the fluid then:thumbsup: You should consider putting in an extra "remote" tranny filter in line. I got one from summit racing for mine for under $40. This way when you change the oil you can pop on a new trans filter in under 20 seconds.
 






Swampy it's probably a good thing that you are changing the fluid then:thumbsup: You should consider putting in an extra "remote" tranny filter in line. I got one from summit racing for mine for under $40. This way when you change the oil you can pop on a new trans filter in under 20 seconds.

The pan has been off and on then trans more than a dirty ho's panties on dollar special night and has seen more than a couple of quarts of new fluid.

Maybe I should do a full on fluid flush too...
 






I'm following the advice of a resident transmission expert (Glacier). He says on a high mileage transmission, don't do a full flush right away. Instead, drop the pan and change the filter. Replace the fluid that came out and add a bottle of Lubegard Friction Modifier. Drive around for a few months and do it again. And a few months after that, do it again. After that, you should be able to resume full flushes every 30,000 miles or so. The idea is that new ATF has a high amount of detergents. If introduced into the transmission all at once, they will clean and dislodge all that varnish- which "can" lead to problems by clogging up the transmission's internals. If you slowly bring up the detergent level, you'll clean the internals slowly.
 






That's a good plan.
I second the external filter, it REALLY cleans up the fluid and makes shifting "snappier". Adding a quart of fluid and putting it in the air stream isn't all bad either. If your doing a lot of off-roading you may want to protect it from rocks/debris.
 






I'm following the advice of a resident transmission expert (Glacier). He says on a high mileage transmission, don't do a full flush right away. Instead, drop the pan and change the filter. Replace the fluid that came out and add a bottle of Lubegard Friction Modifier. Drive around for a few months and do it again. And a few months after that, do it again. After that, you should be able to resume full flushes every 30,000 miles or so. The idea is that new ATF has a high amount of detergents. If introduced into the transmission all at once, they will clean and dislodge all that varnish- which "can" lead to problems by clogging up the transmission's internals. If you slowly bring up the detergent level, you'll clean the internals slowly.

It's had the pan dropped several time and fluid changed with fresh stuff each time. The filter has been changed twice too in the past month.

I work at an oil refinery out here on the Best (west) coast and I asked, in passing, about the whole detergent, varnish, dead engine/trans and I just received a big smile and a shake of the head accompanied by a "no... it doesn't work like that"
 












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