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Old 03-04-2004, 04:04 PM   #15
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Kevin, the key thing I'm looking at is the word "flush". Has your GM dealer explained the process that they use for you? Have they offered you synthetic trans fluid as an option?

Jack
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:11 PM   #16
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trans fulsh - your opinion

Greetings Jack!

Yes, I am aware of the exact process (I have actually watched the entire process through their observation port in the customer lounge) that they utilize on the flush and filter change; in fact I do pay a premium for the service as it combines the two processes typically discussed as follows:

1. Vehicle is placed on transmission flushing apparatus and the cycle is run according to their usual procedures.

2. The pan is then removed and the filter is replaced. New gasket is installed and pan reattached. The transmission is then topped-off with fluid.

If my memory is correct, I believe that the flush portion of the operation runs just under $70.00; while the filter replacement part of the service runs about $90.00. The last time I had this service performed was at 120,000 miles on the Suburban, and the total bill that included an oil change and fuel injector cleaning was just short of $270.00.

I am planning to keep the Suburban until it has at least 300,000 miles so it is treated to excess service. On the Cadillac, they just performed the first part of the process the first time I had the transmission serviced - - I don't know whether I will have the two-part process on the Cadillac this summer or if I'll just continue with step one only.

Kevin
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Old 03-04-2004, 04:34 PM   #17
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For what transmissions cost, and with the questionable results of repairs or remanufactured transmissions, it probably makes sense to pony up and do it the way you described. When these things fail on the road you are really up a creek.

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Old 03-04-2004, 04:40 PM   #18
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Re: I am in for a lesson

Quote:
Originally posted by smily
Seems we have some good experience here today,
I have heard many horror strories on changing tranny fluid, of course they are stories.

Can anyone dispell the myths. I have heard of people pulling into tranny shops for a fluid change and the vehicle never moves again or does not last long after the fluid change. Any truth to these stories?

Smily
Did a complete trans service on my Dakota, went to the mountains towing the trailer, came back and the trans died a horrible death in a total of about 3,000 miles after service. I don't think that was a contributing factor, though. It had never had a sevice done on it, and when I bought it, I serviced it. Transmissions should have their fluid changed about every 15,000 miles, or more frequently while dragging our aluminum houses around.

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Old 03-04-2004, 09:38 PM   #19
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This is part of the reason I bought my 2500hd with the Allison transmission. The external filter can be changed whenever you want (changed mine around 26,000 miles) and will change again around35,000 to 40,000 when I change over to synthetic ATF Amsoil.

If I was running a 4 sp. auto transmission, I would probably change filter and fluid no longer than every 35,000 miles but would have to base this on how close to max trailer weight I was towing and the towing terrain. If I was towing many of these miles and it was through mountainous terrain I would probably change out every 25,000 miles. Filters are the life blood of any engine/transmission and heat will destroy a transmission in a heartbeat. For this reason I would also run synthetic ATF and change according to the manufacturer's suggestion or earlier.

Flush or not? If you have the money and you know the dealer does it right then I would probably do that. I don't have the extra money so would change often, no flush and let the new and old fluids get acquainted.
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:32 PM   #20
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trans fluid change

Kevin is correct in the way he has his transmission serviced. The best way to service your trans is the 2 step process of flushing the system then dropping pan for inspection and filter change. Just doing the flush will replace all fluids but cannot completely clean the filter. Dropping the pan without flushing doesn't replace all the fluids even if (like fords) the torque converter has a drain plug. It is strongly recommended to use the correct factory fluids rather than market brand fluids, factory fluids contain additives especially design for the vehicle.

I own a shop and have done tranny services for over 12 years. I have serviced vehicles for the first time that had over 100k miles and had no problems with them. However I do tell the customer they may experience trouble because of the mileage. Because, yes over time the build up a 'crud' maybe all that's keeping the tranny together anymore.

Bottom line, trans should be serviced every 15,000 miles under severe conditions or 30,000 under normal driving conditions. (severe would be towing) No matter what your owers manual states as recommended mileage. (after all the manufacturer doesn't want it to last for ever, they want to sell you a new vehicle) The fluid breaks down and the filters get blocked. The more you maintain your trans the longer it will last. With proper maintance transmissions will last well over 250k miles. Make sure you have an external trans cooler (of adequate size) and a good temp gauge.

Lastly, if you had to choose between a flush or dropping the pan method, if you service on a regular basis then dropping the pan is the better choice to make. Hope this helps.

whistler

Disclaimer: I did not write this because I'm in the business, it's just the smart thing to do. (besides I can make more $ putting in new transmissons!!!!
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Old 03-05-2004, 06:43 PM   #21
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Whistler,
Nicely put and very straightforward.
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Old 03-06-2004, 09:48 PM   #22
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Wink transmissions

Having been the proud owner of 2 trans rebuilds in my 1990 1500 chev. I agree with the total system flush and early maintnance ideas. I also would get the biggest trans cooler you can mount on your vehicle.
I had mine rebuilt by a local reputable garage, and according to the second rebuilder he did a great job with the exception of using a rebuilt torque converter.That converter came apart while we were on a trip, without trailor,to Florida and luckily we were able to limp in to pensacola where I got to a garage that has done all our work for years. He rebuilt it again but put in a new converter. From what I understand rebuilt ones have a fairly high failure rate.
To make changing filters and fluid easier, you can get a trans pan at most of your parts houses with a drain plug. You may have to spend a little to get it but it sure beats a face full of fluid.
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Old 03-07-2004, 09:34 PM   #23
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Looking at 137,000 mi K2500_history?

Whistler et al,

I had a Park Ave purchased at 100K miles. The seller thought the tranny had not been serviced.

I spent a lot of time going to 5 different GM dealerships and asking the most competent person I could find about what I should do about making it last.

The overall concensus was that if tranny had not been serviced, and was well over 70 to 80K, that you would be inviting trouble to change the fluid / filter.

I took this advice and sold it at 180K when problems did come up.

Now I'm looking at a '99 K2500 Burb with high miles (137K) and no knowledge of service history before 110K. (The present owner hasn't done anything - 110K to 137K.)

IF I buy this truck..... I don't want to Kill the tranny by treating it!!

I will probably keep it for 2 years and trade.

What is the recommendation of the group?

Steve
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Old 03-07-2004, 10:11 PM   #24
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If you are going to tow, then you need to change the transmission oil. Once it breaks down (it may have already) the damage begins. Check the color if its not pink, you may want to pass on the vehicle.

Newer vehicles have longer service periods. My 2003 van's recommendation is 100,000 miles before transmission fluid change. Towing adds heat and that eventually breaks down the fluid. You can bet at worst case I'll probably have a minimum of 3 changes by the time I get to 100K.

Jack
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Old 03-07-2004, 10:53 PM   #25
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Actually, keep an eye on your peak temperatures ... then pay attention to your mileage.

The accepted rule of thumb states that every 20 degree increase in the operating temperature above 175 cuts the fluid life in half.

So if your manual states you can run your fluid to 100,000 ... but you're towing at 195 (pretty common) ... change the fluid at 50,000 ... or sooner.

220 degrees will lower that mileage to 25,000 ...

240 degrees = 12,500 and so on.

If you are towing ... you should have a decent Trans Temp Gauge.
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Old 03-07-2004, 11:51 PM   #26
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At 240 degrees, the fluid is not the only thing you'll be changing! Internals could start to die.

Even at 220, I'd be changing the fluid sooner than 25k. Even with synthetic, which can take the beatings better...... 210 is about as hot as you want your trans to get. Like Pork said, about 195 is typical when towing if properly equipped.

Thing is that you have to do regular maint and fluid changes. Sometimes if you let it go, and then decide to start, it could already too late.

In this case, I'd change it now as it's good and broken in and then change it every 8k to 10k miles, a bit less often if it's not towing constantly-- regardless though, change it many times before 100k. My thought is an ounce of prevention is worth 10lbs of cure.

On a side note, check out the torque converter cover. That cover can lock in a fair amount of heat. I replaced my cover with a Neal "Ram Air" type cover that scoops air into the T/C area and vents it through to also help cool the trans as well.

My trans temps with an oil/water to oil/air cooler with the TC cover mentioned above, and 160 degree thermostat on average, my trans sat at about 175 degrees.
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Old 03-08-2004, 10:40 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Porky Pig
Actually, keep an eye on your peak temperatures ... then pay attention to your mileage.

The accepted rule of thumb states that every 20 degree increase in the operating temperature above 175 cuts the fluid life in half.
Its interesting to note that typical internal transmission coolers use the radiator water for cooling. Not too easy to get temps below 200 with that kind of environment.

I know I will not be waiting to 100,000 miles on my van to change oil. On my previous towing vehicles it was once a year.

Jack
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Old 03-08-2004, 10:58 AM   #28
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Not sure on other GMs, but on mine, the LT1 has reverse cooling where the heads get cooled first. That allows me to run a 160 degree thermostat. I also have had the PCM modified a bit to enhance the thermostat change. With a 10:1 compression ratio there is no knock and I can run a bit more agressive timing.

My point to all this, is that if other GM vehicles (with gen 2 or 3 smallblocks) have reverse cooling as well, then a lower thermostat could be installed and the PCM modified which would bring the trans temps down to the 175 range (since cooler coolant temps will reflect a change in trans temps as most GMs go to the radiator first then to the oil to air cooler). The torque converter cover is also an easy cheap mod that can lower the trans temp as well about 5 degrees since the T/C is not "cooking" inside the sealed cover. Additionally, if you don't have a deeper trans pan, flash heat can occour more regularly. Since going to a deep pan as found on the 2000 Silverado, I have noticed that it takes my trans fluid longer to get to warmer temps as it has a bit more volume to cook.

Additionally, the car goes into closed loop at 142 degrees. The 160 is far warm enough to ensure that the car gets to closed loop and starts to run off the sensors. Even in below zero temps, the car still goes into closed loop. There are no carbon or other related issues as there might have been in the gen1 smallblocks by going to a lower thermostat as I have in the gen 2 smallblock.

Me, I feel that 25 degrees on average is worth the trouble. Granted 175 is an average temp. I have had it spike to 195 degrees, but no higher.

Future cooling plans on my part are to add a second inline trans cooler and the police package power steering cooler--which I too suggest be changed at least every other year since towing with weight distribution, places additional weights to the front tires which in turn can also place additional burden on the power steering pump and fluids.
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