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Old 05-19-2013, 10:27 PM   #1
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Transmission Question

To start off, I bought my car a little over a year ago, for $500. Its a 2000 ZX3, which had around 127,000 miles on it when I got it. The transmission was shot in it, which is why it was so cheap. I was able to find an automatic trans locally for $200, so I got it and put it in. I was told it was out of a focus wagon and had around 120,000 miles on it. I swapped everything over, and it drives, but if I just put it into drive, and take off it tends to slip a lot when shifting. It does have a slight leak at the drivers side seal (which I have replaced 3 times), but I only had about half a quart of transmission fluid every 3 months or so.

So for my question. With me not knowing the past history of this transmission, and have already put almost 20,000 miles on it, would it be a good idea to change the filter on it? I've always been under the impression that changing a filter on a transmission with this many miles, and it not being done before, could actually cause more harm than good. Is this true? Should I risk the chance of it messing up even more, or should I just keep shifting it manually like I have been doing?

Thanks in advance for any help.


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Old 05-19-2013, 10:45 PM   #2
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Hey man how've you been? lol.

Anyway to answer your question. It's always been my experience that with transmissions like yours, it's best to leave the old filter in it when it's that old (and hasn't ever been changed). Partially flushing the fluid might be somewhat beneficial though...

But there's a pretty good chance that the friction surfaces (bands or clutches) could be worn out and slipping. With 120K on the trans, that's a possibility (The atx's in Focuses are known to be tanks though, I imagine it's not the case here.)

Think of your fluid and transmission like a tank full of expensive saltwater fish. Cleaning the tank regularly and keeping a steady recirculation of clean, pH balanced water is a great way to keep the fish healthy and living strong. But, if you suddenly drain all the water out and just plop all the fish in a new tank with completely different, new water with different salinity and pH balance, they'll all likely die pretty quick.

Same goes for your tranny. A gradual flushing of good fluid over time shouldn't hurt it too badly. But if you just go change the filter and all the fluid all at once, sometimes things can go wrong.

EDIT: I just read that you've been shifting it manually to keep it from doing what it's been doing... Now that I know that, I'd see about maybe the shift solenoids? That's another distinct possibility I left out. Good luck J!

Being that you've already done some work to it, it's likely that the fluid has already been flushed through pretty good... So basically it's up to you.

Good luck bud!
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Last edited by Andrews-bad-SE; 05-19-2013 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention solenoids.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for the input Andrew. Ive been pretty well down here. How are things going up there for you all?

Back to the topic. I should've added in, that it does NOT always slip. It could be cold or hot, driven 5 minutes or 5 hours, it slips when it wants to. It never seems to ever be the same time. It might slip from 1st to 2nd one time, but not the next. Same with all the rest of the gears, so I didnt think solenoids would be at question here, but I could be wrong. I dont have much experience with transmissions.
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