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Old 08-12-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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Default Black transmission fluid. Change it???

Hello. My friend has a 96 Cherokee and after I changed my trans fluid/filter last week he has decided to do the same but we noticed his fluid is basically just ink black water looking stuff. Last year the transmission was going up in my brothers Caravan and had fluid this same color and texture and a number of Chrysler mechanics said the transmission was near shot and changing the fluid would make it get worse quicker and they gave a number of technical reasons why this was so. Their advice was basically leave the fluid alone and drive it as is until the tranny gives up. My question is..Is this also true for the transmission in a Jeep or is the trans in something like a Caravan more delicate and thus it's a whole other story? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:43 PM   #2
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If it was mine id try changing it..... probably just a drain and refill with cheap fluid, run it a couple of thousand then do a filter change and refill with quality atf.
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:45 PM   #3
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Default Change It!!

My rule of thumb is that if it smells burnt then go ahead and change it, especially if its already black. If you do decide to change it, take it to a mech. that actually takes the bottom of the tranny out instead of sucking it out though the transmission fluid spout. This will insure that all the deposits and metal flacks are cleaned out. Most mech. usually charge around 100 to 120 for this type of service but i have seen as low as 90. Good Luck and keep on jeepin!
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Old 08-12-2010, 09:46 PM   #4
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Well, the AW4 in the jeep (Toyota Trans.) is leaps and bounds better than the chrysler tranny in the caravan.
That being said, how many miles are on his rig? I have seen several posts indicating that fresh fluid in a severely neglected transmission is the kiss of death, but these AW4's are pretty stout. I think the deciding factor would be exactly how many miles are on the fluid in question, and are there any performance issues with the trans.
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Old 08-12-2010, 11:09 PM   #5
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If its that black, chances are the transmission has some serious damage. Change the fluid, and if the transmission blows up from the change of fluid, it was time for a rebuild or replacement anyway.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rd962dr View Post
Well, the AW4 in the jeep (Toyota Trans.) is leaps and bounds better than the chrysler tranny in the caravan.
That being said, how many miles are on his rig? I have seen several posts indicating that fresh fluid in a severely neglected transmission is the kiss of death, but these AW4's are pretty stout. I think the deciding factor would be exactly how many miles are on the fluid in question, and are there any performance issues with the trans.
What if there are and performance issues with it?
Would changing the trans fluid make it worse?
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Old 08-13-2010, 04:25 AM   #7
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Default AAMCO does reverse flushes.

Or keep it simple like the above posters said.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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Changing out that black fluid is racist....

BTW, I know it costs $120 to change the fluid but you can buy AW4 transmissions routinely on craigslist for $200. I'd at least consider buying a spare. Then do-it-yourself fluid change and hope for the best. If it doesn't work out, swap it out.

And the chances of getting a good AW4 used are pretty good. They are supposed to be very tough transmissions.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:05 AM   #9
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Drain (using the plug), refill. Run for a few days. Disconnect return line under jeep, put into bucket. Jam a long skinny funnel into the fill tube. Run jeep for about 3-4 seconds, you will start filling the bucket. Put a couple of quarts into the fill tube. Repeat till the fluid starts to come out clean. Word of caution: the system has quite a pressure in the hoses- it helps to have a buddy hold it in the bucket or you could have an undermanned fire hose incident in your garage.

This is the correct way to do a complete ATF fluid change. I would never do a shop "flush". One, you never know what their definition of a flush is. Two, it's usually a BG flush machine- which injects solvents under pressure into your tranny, then refills with ATF. One thing you do not want to do with your tranny is put a solvent in there and put it under pressure. ATF has component compatible cleaners in it already.
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:16 AM   #10
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Drain (using the plug), refill. Run for a few days. Disconnect return line under jeep, put into bucket. Jam a long skinny funnel into the fill tube. Run jeep for about 3-4 seconds, you will start filling the bucket. Put a couple of quarts into the fill tube. Repeat till the fluid starts to come out clean. Word of caution: the system has quite a pressure in the hoses- it helps to have a buddy hold it in the bucket or you could have an undermanned fire hose incident in your garage.

This is the correct way to do a complete ATF fluid change. I would never do a shop "flush". One, you never know what their definition of a flush is. Two, it's usually a BG flush machine- which injects solvents under pressure into your tranny, then refills with ATF. One thing you do not want to do with your tranny is put a solvent in there and put it under pressure. ATF has component compatible cleaners in it already.

Outstanding...and funny. I'll use that "undermanned fire hose" line someplace...

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Old 08-13-2010, 04:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jth877 View Post
Drain (using the plug), refill. Run for a few days. Disconnect return line under jeep, put into bucket. Jam a long skinny funnel into the fill tube. Run jeep for about 3-4 seconds,.......
This sounds like a good idea and I`ll try it tomorrow....Just a quick question..This should be done with the old filter in?.....BTW other than the trans fluid being black my friends Jeep operates normally with no shifting or driving problems.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:46 PM   #12
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The trans filter is really just an "oh ****!" screen. It's designed to trap FODs to limit the damage if something explodes/catastrophically fails in the transmission. The consensus is that it never really needs to be changed unless you have an unfortunate incident.
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #13
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Quite a few friends of mine have had the black water problem also. We did the pan drop, with a new filter, then the bucket trick. Everyone of them shifted way smoother and have had no ill effects at all.....
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:44 PM   #14
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I had a black fluid aw4 trans. that I bought from a bone yard condition unknown for $100. I dumped the converter and pan topped off with fresh fluid and ran it for a week. It turned to a dark red/black, I dumped the pan and topped off with the lucas trans fix and the rest new fluid. No problems.... still a nice color red after 7000 miles.
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Old 08-13-2010, 07:46 PM   #15
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Did the pan drop and filter change on our AW4. Once the pan's removed, not much to it, 4 bolts and the old filter is out new one's in. $24 for a new filter and pan gasket, IIRC, plus 6 qts of DEX III.
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