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Old 10-18-2010, 12:55 PM   #1
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Default Transmission Fluid - DO NOT CHANGE?

Hey all, I have a 2000 sport. Bought it used about 4 years ago with 57,000 miles. The original owner had installed all kinds of after market stuff (shocks, lift-kit blah blah blah) that made all my guy friends ooo and aaah. I bought it cause my previous car had been small and was totaled in my first ever crash, not my fault, and I wanted some thing bigger.

Currently has 133,000 miles.

So, in the last week I have helped replace the water pump, radiator, plugs, wire, belt, and front u-joints. I was planning on changing the transmission fluid but apparently I am one of those uninformed drivers that did not know that the fluid was supposed to be changed every 30,000 miles. Since I have NO idea whether its ever been changed, I was told to just leave it, consider myself on borrowed time. True or false?

And, after I put the jeep in drive, and only going forward from stop there is a small squeal? from up near the back of the engine? Near me? Not the serpentine, just replaced that and a bolt that broke off in a pulley, talk about a SQUEAL! I only hear it right as I hit the gas to go, then it disappears.
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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Regardless of whether you are on "borrowed time" or not (which I highly doubt), I would go ahead and change the transmission fluid.

If in doubt, change the fluid, run the car for 1,000 miles or so and change it again for a good flush. The AW4 is a pretty good transmission. At the absolute worst it may need a rebuild.
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Old 10-18-2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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Old 10-18-2010, 02:08 PM   #4
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the fan is hitting the radiator...

there is a little bracket that goes from the top of the radiator to the bottom, when i put a new radiator in mine it was doing the same thing, ill take a pic..

i just bent the bracket in a little bit

when i first got my jeep it was getting hot so i replaced everything, radiator water pump thermostat and after that i was having a squeel only from a stop, and if i powerbraked it, i thought it was my trans so i had my friend powerbrake it and i figured out the engine was flexing and hitting the bar...

heres pics

heres the bracket im talking about it goes right in front of the radiator fan and its close to it as well
Click the image to open in full size.

heres where i bent it
Click the image to open in full size.

you can kinda see it by the fan
Click the image to open in full size.

if i didnt have my fan shroud i could have gotten pics of where it was contacting, but i couldnt get them

Last edited by 96blackxj; 10-18-2010 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:22 AM   #5
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Check your motor mounts.

The trans fluid should be changed slowly.
Buy a cheap gallon of DEXRON III (NOT aft4)
Pull drain plug, remove 2 quarts.
Add 2 quarts of new fluid to transmission.

Do this on monday, and friday (so you get some driving in between) and go through 2-3 gallons (so, you would have to drain and fill about 6 times.) 3 gallons=12quarts=the capacity of the AW4 transmission.

I would then wait about a month, drop the pan, replace filter, add new fluid, change every 30,000.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:41 AM   #6
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its a 50 50 chance the vechicle may move again with that many miles on it you can change the filter but reuse old fluid
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:16 AM   #7
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well when my dad went to mti he learned that you dont ever just drain it and put new atf in it like it was an oil change unless its an emergency like when i had my trans filled half full with water.
you only do that every 30k miles if you dont like your transmission to work.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96blackxj View Post
the fan is hitting the radiator...

there is a little bracket that goes from the top of the radiator to the bottom, when i put a new radiator in mine it was doing the same thing, ill take a pic..

i just bent the bracket in a little bit

when i first got my jeep it was getting hot so i replaced everything, radiator water pump thermostat and after that i was having a squeel only from a stop, and if i powerbraked it, i thought it was my trans so i had my friend powerbrake it and i figured out the engine was flexing and hitting the bar...

heres pics

heres the bracket im talking about it goes right in front of the radiator fan and its close to it as well
Click the image to open in full size.

heres where i bent it
Click the image to open in full size.

you can kinda see it by the fan
Click the image to open in full size.

if i didnt have my fan shroud i could have gotten pics of where it was contacting, but i couldnt get them
go to junk yard get new fan fron xj
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvmyJeep View Post
Hey all, I have a 2000 sport. Bought it used about 4 years ago with 57,000 miles. The original owner had installed all kinds of after market stuff (shocks, lift-kit blah blah blah) that made all my guy friends ooo and aaah. I bought it cause my previous car had been small and was totaled in my first ever crash, not my fault, and I wanted some thing bigger.

Currently has 133,000 miles.

So, in the last week I have helped replace the water pump, radiator, plugs, wire, belt, and front u-joints. I was planning on changing the transmission fluid but apparently I am one of those uninformed drivers that did not know that the fluid was supposed to be changed every 30,000 miles. Since I have NO idea whether its ever been changed, I was told to just leave it, consider myself on borrowed time. True or false?

And, after I put the jeep in drive, and only going forward from stop there is a small squeal? from up near the back of the engine? Near me? Not the serpentine, just replaced that and a bolt that broke off in a pulley, talk about a SQUEAL! I only hear it right as I hit the gas to go, then it disappears.
I was told as follows: If the car is old and the fluid condition is unknown leave it alone for the following reasons. The seals have become used to the old fluid thats in the casing. If you add new fluid chances are you may develop leaks in the seals. Instead, it was recommended that i add a transmission stabilizer fluid.. I did nothing with 177K and i bought it with 174K.. Im going to wait until it blows before I change any fluid.. I did not even addstabilizers.. However, my father inlaw has 3 of my type transmissions sitting rebuilt in his transmission shop. He also told me to leave teh fluid alone adn dont touch it.. Mine is not even pink its clear now.. colorless... So the hell with it... Im leaving it alone and beating the **** out of it daily..
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:09 AM   #10
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you said when your friend power braked it it made the noise check fir broke notor mount
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:48 AM   #11
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I just can't understand the rationale behind not changing the fluid... Automatic transmissions are comprised of a series of clutches that are operated by a maze-like routing of the fluid (really quite fascinating). The pressure of the fluid in different areas of the valve body is what tells the clutches when to engage and disengage, by my understanding, which is regulated by mechanical or electrical controls.

As clutches wear (which they do by design... like brake pads), the material from them has to go somewhere, and this is what causes the discoloration of "old" transmission fluid. Now, since ATF serves 2 purposes: to flow through the valve body and tell the trans when to shift, and to lubricate -- metal particles in the fluid drastically reduces its ability to perform both of these tasks efficiently. Additionally, like motor oil, as any fluid is worked over under heat as a lubricant, it will over time lose it's viscosity. All this results in a transmission that may not be shifting EXACTLY how its supposed to (which may not even be noticable), and may not be lubricated sufficiently (which will cause those clutches to wear even faster, thus perpetuating the cycle).

Finally, over time seals and gaskets will lose their "rubberiness" so to speak, harden up, and either crack or allow a gap between them and what they're sealing against -- causing leaks. Perhaps your old fluid may have plugged some of those cracks or holes with "clots" of old fluid and clutch pieces, but that does not necessarily mean that your seals are good. I realize this contradicts my personal motto of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but my experience with Automatic Transmissions is that they're extremely sensitive, and MUST be maintained properly to ensure a long life of service. This means making sure the fluid is clean, and operating at an appropriate temperature.

I've had way too many transmissions puke on me suddenly, that never leaked or acted like they were going bad. Just pop it into reverse one day and WHHHIIZZZZZZZ. That's a bummer of a place to be. Especially because transmissions know when you REALLY have to be somewhere, and that's when they like to go (just my personal suspicion).

If you're fluid's old, I'd change it. And if you suspect old seals, they make an additive you simply pour in with your fluid that helps soften up the seals. I know LUCAS makes a good one... I've had good experiences with that stuff. Definitely at least check your filter. They're cheap. I'm no ASE certified mechanic, but having had multiple old transmissions go poop on me due to lack of maintenance, and applying logic and a touch of basic mechanical knowledge, I can't POSSIBLY imagine a scenario where old fluid is "better" than new fluid, and that a dirty filter is better than a clean one. But I've been wrong before, and I'm certain it's bound to happen again someday...

So that's just my 2 cents... good luck with whatever you do, and keep us updated. I'm always up for learning!
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:09 AM   #12
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Default Theory behind NOT changing ATF.

I quote - "New ATF contains a fresh supply of detergents and
dispersants which can loosen the varnish and deposits
accumulated inside high-mileage, low-maintenance automatic
transmissions. On one hand, key components with tight
tolerances (such as solenoids and spool valves) may then be
exposed to the released debris. On the other hand, the
varnish and deposits may have been in a sort of
"equilibrium" in the automatic transmission. For example,
with the debris now removed from the frictional surface of
a clutch or band, the frictional properties have been
changed. Similarly, aged seals which may have had small
cracks once sealed by varnish and deposits may now be clean
and allowing internal hydraulic leaks.

Consider also that the seal swell additive in new ATF will
attempt to revive aged seals. And the friction modifiers in
the new ATF will try to provide the original level of
"slipperiness".

Again, the new ATF will simply be doing its designed job
which ends up revealing pre-existing problems in a
high-mileage, low-maintenance automatic transmission."

Is this bull?
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:15 AM   #13
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ATF is not meant to be used in Aisen Warner transmissions, Chrysler stated it can be, and than recalled that statement after AW4's began to fail and all the warranties were out of time.

Dexron III only.
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Old 10-19-2010, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LuvmyJeep View Post
Consider also that the seal swell additive in new ATF will
attempt to revive aged seals. And the friction modifiers in
the new ATF will try to provide the original level of
"slipperiness".

Again, the new ATF will simply be doing its designed job
which ends up revealing pre-existing problems in a
high-mileage, low-maintenance automatic transmission."

:
...So then the question is, do you want to have old seals that don't leak your old fluid, perhaps at the cost of running hotter and wearing faster on your older transmission, vs. new fluid, then replacing or repairing solenoids, filters, and seals as needed for the transmission to run as it was intended to new? Where or who is this quote from, just out of curiosity? I personally would be leery if someone was advising me against "revealing pre-existing problems". If there ARE pre-existing problems, I would want to know that they exist... and solve them! But that may be a difference in personalities. I know nothing of the care or condition of my jeep's previous transmission, but it was reported to me that it was finally dead after turning 300,000mi. If I have an automatic transmission that's capable of doing that, I'll do every little thing I can to help it along. And I believe you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who can draw a correlation between running old transmission fluid and the longevity of the transmission itself. Does that help, at all? Or am I just crawling upon my little-tykes step stool and pretending its a soapbox? O

What's the difference between ATF and Dexron III? perhaps fewer additives or modifiers?? Anybody?? Now I'm curious...

Last edited by boy_named_sue; 10-19-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:07 PM   #15
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boy_named_sue (BTW - great moniker)

This is the first vehicle I've liked enough to get involved with the mechanics. I got a great friend and a great neighbor who both work on cars for a living showing me what needs to get done, and I'm right there getting down and dirty!

They were both hesitant over this whole transmission fluid change. The fluid is dark, no-longer red, but doesn't smell burnt. I don't notice a problem in shifting at anytime. I did just replace the thermostat, water pump (which "exploded") radiator, radiator line, plugs and wires, front brakes and master cylinder... oh, and the crunchy u-joints. What would I be getting into with repairing/replacing solenoids and seals? Something we can do out of my garage?

I SO do not want to go to a mechanic. Sorry, but the quote for the u-joints was 3x's the amount I paid to have my neighbor complete it for me!

Thanks!
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