Ford Focus Forum, Ford Focus ST Forum, Ford Focus RS Forum - View Single Post - How-To flush ATX fluid and change filter
View Single Post
Old 03-13-2011, 01:05 PM   #49
Focus Enthusiast
frednumber15's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2011
Fan#: 83585
Location: Lost, OH
What I Drive: 2003 2dr ZX3

Posts: 337
Points 2,078, Level 27
Points: 2,078, Level: 27 Points: 2,078, Level: 27 Points: 2,078, Level: 27
Level Up 52% Completed
Level up: 52% Level up: 52% Level up: 52%
Forum Activity 1%
Activity: 1% Activity: 1% Activity: 1%
FF Reputation: 5 frednumber15 Good Standing Member
Buy-Sell-Trade Rating: (0)
I just did a drop the pan and change the filter routine...and was trying to follow the Haynes manual...a mistake.

How I did it:

* Jacked the car up some on the drivers side in front...with an extra safety support.

* Undid all the 10 mm bolts...leaving 2 out about 1/8th "...on both sides of the pan in the middle.

* Used a medium flat blade screwdriver and small hammer to tap on the front corners between the pan and trans casting...just until it started to break loose.

* then drained the fluid...and removed the last 2 bolts.

Here is a pic of the pan when off...

Notice where I swiped the magnet with my finger...lots of sludge on it and in the bottom of the pan.

Used a dull putty knife to clean up most of the old RTV from the pan...and then used paper towels to clean it up...then some gasoline...then sprayed it with carb cleaner....checking CAREFULLY for lint or old RTV pieces.

Got a face full of ATF when I pulled the old filter off. Put some ATF on the o-ring on the new filter and snapped it into place (watch the locator thingy on the other end) and connected the temp sensor.

Cleaned up the gasket surface on the trans with the putty knife and cleaned the surface with gasoline.

Went over the inside of the pan and the trans flange area very carefully...looking for lint or RTV chunks.

My filter kit had a rubber gasket...just laid it on top of the pan and put it into place...putting in all the bolts. Snugged them up to what I thought was a reasonable torque for these small bolts....not much.

Added about 2 1/2 qts ATF...will top it up after driving some. Good idea to have extra ATF with you and get it topped up as soon as you can?

note: fluid was brownish...but did not smell burnt...but there was enough sludge in the pan to make me think it hadn't been changed since new...over 100K miles. The grayish silicone was the only goop that had been on it was the factory stuff.

Intend to redo the pan/filter in a few K miles after using some Lubegard ATF flush chemical....and then do a full flush with 7 qts synth ATF.


Dropped the pan again...this is the 3rd time...ended up dropping it...after adding new regular Mercon V 2Xs previously.

This time I cleaned the pan...put in a new Motorcraft filter....then filled with 3 qts Redline synth ATF. I then removed the LOWER rubber coolant line at the driver's side corner of the radiator...put a plastic tube on the METAL part of the line leading to a drain pan...and ran the engine at idle until the old fluid stopped flowing out. Shut the engine off and put the coolant line back on.

* Getting the rubber line off of the ALUM cooler line can be tricky...the rubber is stiff...the aluminum line is soft...take care? I reused the spring clip when I put it back on.

Then added another 2.5 qts Redline ATF to the need to do this slowly...otherwise you can get a bubble of air in the small tube and have some ATF come back up and spill out.

I also used 10 oz of a trans additive along with the ATF...but still got most of the 6 qts in.

* Will say that if I had it to do over again...I would go ahead and do a full flush using 6 qts Mercon V ($20 + filter) it for 1K-2K miles...and then redo the full flush using the synthetic ATF with new filter. Even with at least 2/3s new ATF and new filter...and the pan cleaned 2XS...I STILL got dirty looking ATF out and when looked at in the was somewhat metallic looking...meaning it had metal particles still in it.

The pic below shows samples of the old ATF after dropping the pan 3Xs and adding new fluid...~ 3 qts each time. This includes a new filter on the 1st pan cleaning. 1st...2nd...3rd...left to right. The ATF from the last pan cleaning STILL had gunk in it including metal fines that could be seen if the drain pan was set in the sun.

I also put a large neo magnet on the OUTSIDE of the trans pan just in front of the locater "bump" for the ceramic magnet inside the pan. To be useful...this magnet has to be a neo and large for the magnetic flux to penetrate the heavy steel pan. This is to help collect any steel particles circulating in the ATF.
2003 2dr ZX3 2.0 L Zetec auto 205/50/16s

...and I am unanimous in that position.

Last edited by frednumber15; 04-16-2011 at 01:47 PM.
frednumber15 is offline  
    Reply With Quote