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Old 02-18-2011, 02:55 PM   #1
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AutoZone Guy Says DON'T Change Tranny Fluid??

Hi Everyone,

I never heard this before, but the guy at AutoZone was an old-timer and seemed to know hiw stuff. Would like other's opinions...

I went in asking if they carried Redline MT-90 (alot of guys say that's the stuff for the AX15). To the best of my knowledge, the tranny fluid has never been changed (120k miles). I wanted to flush out what's in and add MT-90 to improve shifting (no major issues, but it could always be improved).

The guy asked me if I had ever changed it and how many miles were on it, and he got very passionate about NOT changing the fluid if it is brown/black (burned). First of all, I didn't think tranny fluid "burns", at least not like engine oil. He basically said if it's burned, the damage has already been done and not to change it, just hope it holds out. He said if it's burned, i'll be lucky to get another 50-100 miles. His rationale - it's burned becasue it was either too low, or it's discolored because of corosion, and all that "gunk" floating around inside with the tranny fluid is what is keeping the tranny operational. Has anyone ever heard this?

I was just going to drain whatever is in there, check for major particles coming out, and throw in MT-90. Now I'm second guessing...

Thanks so much!
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:02 PM   #2
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I'm not going to get too extensive in this thread because I'm diffently no transmission man but, yes I have heard people say that before.... I'm sure you will get alot of excellent advice from other on here. But I believe in regular maintaince. How ever if a car, truck or jeep has never had it's tranny fluid changed EVER!!!! I probably wouldn't touch it UNLESS, it was shifting funny or acting up... Just my 2 cents...

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Old 02-18-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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Thanks. Let me say that the only reason I wanted to change the fluid, is becasue I have never done it personally. There are no mjaor shifting issues. Only real issue is that sometimes it is difficult (NOT hard), but difficult to get it into first. When I can't get into first, I can throw it into 2nd or 3rd, and then shift into 1st no problem. It is not popping in and out of gear, and there are no ohter major issues. Does it shift like a hot knife through butter? No. Would I consider the tranny to have "major" problems? No.

I plan to check the level tomorrow. If I can't feel any fluid after sticking my finger in, I'll top it off. If I can feel fluid and determine that it is not significantly discolored, I'll likely flush and change it. I've heard that MT-90 can do wonders for that tranny.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
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My brother who has been going to wyotech to be an automotive technician and work at bmw has told me that its a myth. He said its actually very good to keep up on the tranny fluid change. If anything the gunk in there could be why itts tough getting in first gear. I changed my fluid in my automatic for the first time at 134000 miles and adjusted the bands the thing drives better then ever. Do it.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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I know w/ manual trannies the only time I've ever heard of changing the fuild is if starts to shift funky, but that is a first that I have ever heard of something like that.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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I thought the guy was crazy, but he was very sure about what he was saying. I guess I'm just figuring if it hasn't been changed in 120k miles, might be a good thing to do. Like I said, no real issues, but it sure doesn't shift the way it did when it was new. I don't know, I guess I'll wait for some more input form others and average out the responses lol.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:47 PM   #7
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Usually that myth only applies to auto transmissions. You have a manual.

And even though he looks like an old timer...he's probably just another dude who needed a job and landed one at Autozone. Most of them dont know dick about anything automotive.
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:49 PM   #8
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Think he might have been refering to an automatic cause if they are in poor shape new fluid can finish them off/ by all means change your stick oil
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Old 02-18-2011, 03:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by KBR97 View Post
Usually that myth only applies to auto transmissions. You have a manual.

And even though he looks like an old timer...he's probably just another dude who needed a job and landed one at Autozone. Most of them dont know dick about anything automotive.
Hahahah. Yes, that theory only applies to automatic transmissions since sometimes the ATF can turn from the nice red color to a burned brown color if it gets too hot...as has been said, it has nothing to do with a manual transmission.

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Old 02-18-2011, 04:03 PM   #10
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Important life lesson: there is a reason that the guys at Autozone and the Quick-e-Lube are paid minimum wage. Trained, certified, experienced mechanics make much more. It isn't an accident.
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:20 PM   #11
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Definitely change it, your AX15 will love it. And use the Redline. I changed mine at 70K and the fluid was pretty brown. Also the drain plug has a magnet on it and I guarantee you'll find a bunch of metal filings on it. It's normal, but get 'em out of there.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:01 PM   #12
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A list of tranmissions fluid applications for various vehicles:
http://www.kingomatic.com/documents/...renceFluid.pdf

Does your Owner Manual even mention a fluid change is required? If it does, go for it. I would use the Mopar product recommended for it, no guess work.

A list of Jeep transmission specs: http://www.wranglerforum.com/f5/tj-t...tml#post320654
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:13 PM   #13
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I've heard that before with automatic trans', the new fluid can ruin gaskets and would be bad for the tranny. Not sure if the same implies for a manual tranny.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by KBR97 View Post
Usually that myth only applies to auto transmissions. You have a manual.

And even though he looks like an old timer...he's probably just another dude who needed a job and landed one at Autozone. Most of them dont know dick about anything automotive.
X2!!! I couldn't have said it better myself on every single point made. I'd refill it with Redline MT-90 in a heartbeat or a good synthetic 10W-30 engine oil which is entirely suitable for the AX15.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:36 PM   #15
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I remember my 79 Chevy Malibu, shifted fine until I changed the tranny oil. On a cold day I wasn't going anywhere if I was in a hurry, major delay once out of park.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:56 PM   #16
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The rumor for automatics was made up by trans shops. They know if you don't change it - WITH THE FILTER - sooner or later they'll get to rebuild it.

Don't just do it like the quickie oil change places do - they just suck it out the dipstick and put in new.

ALWAYS DROP THE PAN AND REPLACE THE FILTER!

Manual transmissions need love too - tiny fragments wear off the gears and bearings - they get caught in the splines and synchros, making it difficult to shift.

Jack up the rear wheels off the ground.
Drain the trans, put 2 pints of Kerosene in it.
Start the engine and shift into 1st.
DO NOT RACE THE ENGINE.
The kerosene will loosen up the tiny filings.
Shift it through all the gears once or twice about 1 minute each.
Stop engine.
Drain it - look at all the trash that comes out - tiny filings, hopefully no bigger pieces.!

Refill with the proper fluid - you won't believe how much nicer it shifts.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:59 PM   #17
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Yup filter and fluid on autos but dont forget to adjust your bands while your down there. That is if they are adjustable I'm pretty sure all auto jeep trans to 06 have adjustable bands but thats a bad idea from chrysler. A lot of cars dont have adjustable bands. Even my 87 700r4 doesnt have them.
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Old 02-18-2011, 06:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Jack up the rear wheels off the ground.
Drain the trans, put 2 pints of Kerosene in it.
Start the engine and shift into 1st.
DO NOT RACE THE ENGINE.
The kerosene will loosen up the tiny filings.
Shift it through all the gears once or twice about 1 minute each.
Stop engine.
Drain it - look at all the trash that comes out - tiny filings, hopefully no bigger pieces.!

Refill with the proper fluid - you won't believe how much nicer it shifts.
Thanks for all the replies guys. I guess it's too much to assume that just becasue you have a Jeep, everyone else also assumes it's manual. Real Jeeps aren't autos

Anyway, has anyone else done this with keorsene? Is it necessary? I was just going to drain out whatever is in there, clean off the drain plug, and refill with MT-90.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:02 PM   #19
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Real Jeeps aren't autos
Wanna test your manly-man manual transmission TJ against my girly-man automatic transmission TJ?
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:10 PM   #20
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OK. I'll retract my comment about real Jeeps being manual. Besides, having an auto Jeep is still better than a lot of other options out there. But what about this kerosene suggestion? Anyone else ever do that and is it necessary? I just want to drain, refill, or should I flush?
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:12 PM   #21
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I personally never flush the transmission with kerosene after draining it, I just give it time to drain thoroughly and then refill it with fresh gear lube.
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Old 02-18-2011, 07:17 PM   #22
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OK. I'll retract my comment about real Jeeps being manual. Besides, having an auto Jeep is still better than a lot of other options out there. But what about this kerosene suggestion? Anyone else ever do that and is it necessary? I just want to drain, refill, or should I flush?
I think a drain and fill will be adequate. Just drive it around before you change it, get things warmed up a bit. Also, some will say to remove the skid plate. DON'T. It partially supports the tranny. Right after you remove the plug use a folded piece of cardboard to try and guide it into the drain pan. You'll get a lot on the top of the skid, just clean it with rags afterwards.
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:25 PM   #23
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I think a drain and fill will be adequate. Just drive it around before you change it, get things warmed up a bit. Also, some will say to remove the skid plate. DON'T. It partially supports the tranny. Right after you remove the plug use a folded piece of cardboard to try and guide it into the drain pan. You'll get a lot on the top of the skid, just clean it with rags afterwards.
Pokey is right; no need to remove the skidplate even though I had somebody tell me I should. I changed my AX15's oil last night and did the exact thing. Just ripped a square of cardboard off a beer box, put a slight crease down the middle of it, and then held it up there as I pulled the drain plug out. I just wedged it in there between the transmission and skidplate and then left it the whole time it was draining. I little bit of oil ended up where I wanted it but, for the most part, it went into the drain pan.

-Wes
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Old 02-18-2011, 08:45 PM   #24
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nobody has said it so i will-remove the fill plug before the drain plug. be a bummer to get the drain out only to find out the fill is being 'difficult or you don't have the right tool.
fill is a T55 i beleive and if mem serves me, the drain was a 13/16.
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Old 02-18-2011, 09:01 PM   #25
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No, - If it's been working fine it's not necessary. But if it's been hard to shift, pops out of gear, grinds etc., it often saves you from a rebuild.

When I had my shops we "saved" lots of transmissions by doing that when the customer had been told it "needed a rebuild."

If you've ever taken apart a manual trans you'd know how the tiny material inhibits the shifting. It gets stuck in the splines where gears and synchro hubs have to slide - the longer that stuff is in there the more packed in it gets. When it's packed hard it can be difficult to get it off even with a stiff brush (when you have it apart). It gets in the bearings and acts as an abrasive too. Best to get it out before it's packed in hard.

It's just a fact of life when you have so many metal parts working together.

No, it's not necessary, it's just preventative maintenance if it's working OK now.

You'll be surprised how much crud it'll get out.
Try this - Use a magnet in the oil after it settles in the drain pan you first drained out to see a sample of what's in there. Then after using the kerosene, run the magnet in the drained out kerosene. Then let it all settle and pour it off slowly. The steel particles look gray, the gold or brass colored particles are your synchros.

Even the fluid from an automatic has the steel particles - that's why there's usually a magnet in the corner of the pan.

You can get a magnetic drain plug for the manual trans - it'll catch a little bit of it.

Ah yes, the fill plug is up where you can't pour into it. Parts houses have a cheap little pump that fits in the bottle with a hose to reach up to the hole. It makes the job "less worse" or "more easy."
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Old 02-18-2011, 10:02 PM   #26
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As was said the guys at Auto Zone are a bunch of dumb asses. Give them half a chance and they could screw up a bottle of oil.
Changing fluid on your tranny is always a good thing as long as it is done on a regular basis. I have seen auto trannies that have been neglected and have not had fluid and filter changes ( always change the filter ) the fluid getts very dirty and overheated (burnt). Sometimes when these finally receive new fluid and filter, it cleans away the dirt and sludge that is in effect creating the grip for the clutch plates, when the grip is cleaned away the trans starts slipping and is short lived.
As a mechanic and shop owner I have seen this happen.

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