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New Automatic Transmission Service

New Automatic Transmission Service

New Automatic Transmission Service

Why do the new automatics require frequent servicing?  I remember when you checked the fluid and except for severe service, NEVER did preventative maintenance on an automatic.  Now a lot are recommending fluid/filter changes at 30K, regardless of service duty - in an era of "100K" engine tuneups.  Is it due to:
a) Lighter and smaller internals to save space and weight.
b) Higher engine temps for emissions/mileage leading to
   higher fluid temperatures and degradation.
c) Substitutes for asbestos aren't are durable.
d) All the above.



RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

Service interval recommendations have been in the 20K mile range now for the last 10/12 years, I guess.  I don't see much change in the ACTUAL service intervals, however.  My old Dodge/Cummins 1-ton required 24K mile service intervals.  I serviced it at about 60K, 120K and, 170K (about 3 or 4 months ago).  Haven't seen any unusual wear or particles in the drain oil.  Perhaps I have been   too easy on it.  The old Chevy company trucks were heavily overloaded and abused but their TH 350's all went over 250K miles(not much else did) with very little  service!

My wifes Lincoln LS gets free service so I have no idea what they have done. I trust her service mgr. to take care of it.  As a matter of fact, many dealers around SoCal give lifetime free oil changes and service for "lifetime" non-transferable, of course!

My ex crewchief's 96 Ford SuperDuty 460 never made it to 24K as it self destructed last year. Lost the planitary gears. When I   pulled the pan  down you could certainly tell that it had a PROBLEM!

That ambulance company uses Fords.  How often do they service thier transmissions?


RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

Couldn't tell you on the ambulances - my Daughter will be presenting my with my first Granddaughter in a month, so she's not currently running.  The ambulances are city owned and most government agencies in Virigina are very conservative in service intervals - like oil every 3K, but they make up for it by using reclaimed/rerefined(?) oil.  On my old '86 F250 and '85 Chrysler, there was no recommended interval, but I did them both around 100K and noticed a different in shift quality etc.  Both the '98 Saturn and the '99 F150 are strictly 30K and I personally know of two Fords that were neglected and blew the transmissions around 65K.


RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

I agree, some modern autos will run happily for 60000 miles without servicing.

Unfortunately at 60001 miles you are up for a new trans.

The oil at 60000 bears little resemblance to the stuff we poured in.


Greg Locock

RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

I think there are some other angles of view to this. What you see with European designed automatics is that the oil change intervals are indeed prolonged, up to life time fill. Examples are Mercedes and ZF transmissions. This usually is achieved by using a dedicated ATF, with much more closely controlled frictional properties and a much higher resistance to oxidation. You also see the development of much more responsive electronical controls for the gearshift sequence, usually interlinked with the engine management.

This development is somewhat contrary then what The Blacksmith observed with American trannies. The reason might be that both the transmission design and the driving pattern differ that much that a different maintenance scheme results.

RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

Our ATF is special purpose, and the trans is fully electronically controlled. I'd still replace the fluid every 30000 km, 20000 miles, on my own vehicle.


Greg Locock

RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

Yes, I am following manufacturer recommendations - every 30,000 miles.  I note that Ford is now specifying Mercon V, which is not to be mixed with the older Type F, or Dexron III, which was used by Ford in the '80's.  So Americans are going to dedicated ATF's and I know the ECMs are controlling the trans.  Must be related to Americans still have 5000-7000 mile engine oil changes and Europeans are going to 25,000.  Oh well, when the Europeans build a pickup that can tow a 7000 to 10,000 pound trailer, carry 2000 pounds in the box and still cost less than my first new house, I'll consider one.  Until then I'll chnage the oil and ATF a lot and pocket the difference.


RE: New Automatic Transmission Service

Isn't operating temperature/oil temperature a huge factor?
Depending on load, environment, vehicle packaging, airflow, etc. a trans might run pretty cool, or hotter than heck....

'some' of the old units would run a long time- and some would self-destruct at an early age!

And there is production variability, too- as an example,
Ford's overdrive trans in the Aerostars (A4OD?) has a mediocre reputation, at best. The one I have is still functioning at 170,000+ miles. It did recieve oil changes at proper intervals, and only pulls trailers occasionally.

oh, well...

Jay Maechtlen

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