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bato 03-29-2010 03:42 PM

is it ok to drain and fill the tranny?
When I had a dodge truck I wanted to change the tranny fluid. I was told that you shouldn't just drain and fill it because you need to purge the whole system with pressure to get all the fluid out. I bought some Amsoil syncro to put in my Jeeps tranny but can I just drain and fill it no problem? I read about people on this forum pulling the drain plug, filling it back up and calling it a day. What's up with that? Why can you do that with a wrangler and not a dodge Dakota, or can you? Thanks guys.

mrcarcrazy 03-29-2010 03:46 PM

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Auto's have a decent amount of ATF in the torque converter, in order to get it out, you really have to flush the fluid through. having said that, many people have changed automatic transmissions fluid by drain and refill, and haven't had too many issues (unless they are trying to get water out of the transmission after a river mishap) Draining and refilling an auto won't hurt anything, but it also doesn't get all the fluid changed...

Manuals don't have a torque converter. and all the gear oil is housed in the transmission, so draining it gets 90%+ out.

bato 03-29-2010 03:48 PM

It's a 6spd manual. So is that what you guys with manuals do, just pull the plug, drain and fill? any negative effects of that or is there a better way to get it all out?

mrcarcrazy 03-29-2010 03:50 PM

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That's the "proper way" as far as I've ever seen.

Schmo 03-29-2010 03:50 PM

I just drained and refilled mine a few months ago . . . but I have a manual and I went with the OEM fluid from the stealership, so I doubt it would have made much of a difference in my case.

99TJSHORT 03-29-2010 03:51 PM

at what mileage should you change manual tranny oil?

bato 03-29-2010 03:55 PM

I go through deep water and mud and it's shifting hard into second when it's cold so I wanted to change it, amsoil sncromesh was on sale and supposedly it's the best, I know how to drain and fill it but I want to do it right.

dirtyhead09 03-29-2010 06:36 PM

How would you flush all the fluid out ?

rrich 03-29-2010 07:50 PM

If you want to avoid trouble, use what the dealership recommends. Avoid all those "witch's brews." Modern day synchros are touchy - they are friction devices, yet need to be lubricated - a delicate balance between the 2.

It's supposedly the best - but who claims that? They all claim to be the best.

If they were better, why doesn't any OEM use them?

It's obvious advertising works. Don't fall for it.

Some of the so-called "trick" stuff works for a short time, then you have more troubles, often ending in a rebuild.

Schmo 03-29-2010 08:05 PM


Originally Posted by 99TJSHORT (Post 585110)
at what mileage should you change manual tranny oil?

I did mine just under 50K and that was under the guidelines . . . most told me it would be fine to just top it off, but I felt better draining it to see how much was actually in there, if it looked good, and was chunk free . . . everything looked fine, but after hearing a few horror stories, whether web myth or one of those "your Jeep must have been built on a Fri" . . . it gave me a bit of peice of mind. After a bunch of back and forth between what local places had, what was best . . . blah, blah, blah . . . I went to the dealership and got the OEM stuff . . . the few extra bucks just wasn't worth the aggravation of having to deal with the morons at the local auto parts place if I didn't have to . . . and at least knew that I wouldn't kick myself down the line having put something in that didn't work as well.

adawg38 03-29-2010 08:17 PM

You wanna change the tranny every 30k miles. Like every1 is saying use dealer fluid not aftermarket and flushes are only done on auto trannys the 6spd manual you have is drain and fill only you will be fine. After you drain it if you want with the drain plug out just run a little fluid through it to make sure all the crap gets out.

dirtyhead09 03-29-2010 09:24 PM

I need to change my fluid and I have an automatic tranny. Does anyone know how to get all the fluid out including the torque converter?

adkjoe 03-30-2010 12:29 AM

I'm not a mechanic and I don't know even a fraction of what most people on this forum know but I can tell you this... If you have a manual drain it and fill it there's no worries there. Use whatever fluid you feel comfortable with, go with the dealership fluid for a rip off of $20 a quart if it makes you feel better. I have ran a lot of vehicles transmissions over 180k and have never used dealer fluid. I ran a 94 Cherokee to 260k, changed the tranny fluid many times and never used dealer fluid. I've ran royal purple syncromax, amsoil synchro, penzoil syncro etc... There all good fluids. rrich is right, who says there the best? it's all about marketing, just pick one. The amount of water and mud I drive through up here I would go broke running dealer fluid. I'm not telling you not to run dealership fluid but I really don't feel it will matter but that's just me. I've never owned an automatic vehicle, I've changed the tranny fluid in every vehicle I have owned and never had a transmission problem. Everyone says if it's better why doesn't OEM use it? with that thought process why is there even after market parts? Why don't you get everything from the dealership?

Jerry Bransford 03-30-2010 12:33 AM


Originally Posted by dirtyhead09 (Post 585411)
I need to change my fluid and I have an automatic tranny. Does anyone know how to get all the fluid out including the torque converter?

You can't just drain it, the ATF has to be pumped through and flushed to get rid of the old ATF. I've redone all the ATF once in my auto tranny, I think I'll just pay to have it done next time since it's such a messy job. Remember to ONLY use ATF+3 or (better) ATF+4. :)

rrich 03-30-2010 02:26 AM

Vermont - I think it was about '94 or '95 when they started using more exotic metals in the synchros. It could even have been a bit newer than that.
Up till then plain old 90 wt was fine. As long as it wasn't the super slick stuff like Slick 50 etc. It wasn't so critical then.
And - you said you end up having to change it often - that helps.

But lately they've changed the size and angles on the synchro hubs - the cone where the brass presses. More exotic metals in them need the special additives that the correct tranny fluid has. 6 speeds are fairly new, and even touchier.

Because of the additives (they eventually evaporate,) the recommended interval for changing has become more important - much shorter. It used to be you'd fill it and it'd be good forever.

Yes, the dealer's fluid is a bit more expensive than the knock-offs in Autozone and on the internet, but you only need just a tad over a quart anyway. If the difference in price will put you in the poorhouse, you'd best sell your Jeep.

I have no idea how many, at least dozens, of vehicle owners that were told by dealers and independent shops that they need a trans rebuild. I recommended a simple fluid change WITH THE RIGHT STUFF FOR THAT TRANS - very cheap compared to a rebuild - almost every time it cured the hard shifting, hanging gears etc. complaints. It's certainly worth trying.

Automatics: One thing you do not want to do - some quick oil change places will dump the pan out, then start and run it for awhile. They say they are getting the fluid out of the torque converter -- DO NOT LET THEM DO THAT. It lets critical things run ,metal to metal - a big no no.
The better places have a machine that drains the old ATF out while pumping new in.

When you dump the pan, ALWAYS replace the filter.

Messy messy messy!

adkjoe 03-30-2010 08:44 AM

Definitely a good point rrich, just owning a jeep puts me in the poor house :) but not because of fluids, I'm just ranting about the rape of the dealership but everyone knows that.

I'm curious, do you know what specifically is different about the dealership fluid than say Amsoil, or royal purple? Just as a comparison I would be interested to know. I was also told a while back from a guy at the Jeep dealership that it doesn't void your warranty to change the tranny fluid as long as you use recommended fluid. I can't remember what the list was but one of them was Penzoil syncromesh, don't know if this still stands true but that's what I was told a number a years ago.

mrcarcrazy 03-30-2010 09:21 AM

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I've always been told that the Dealers fluid is Pennzoil syncromesh relabeled.

I have no proof, its just what I've been told.

Neil F. 03-30-2010 09:43 AM

ATF+4 is the current recommended fluid for Chrysler automatic transmissions. +4 superceeded +3 and 7176. Many vehicle manufactuers have reformulated fluids (including antifreeze) so that they last longer. +4 lasts longer than +3 and 7176.

You don't have to worry about what remains in the converter. Chainging the fluid regularly engough changes out enough of the fluid. You can use any brand of +4. Pensoil, Valvoline and others have +4.

Here is the TSB for +4

The goal in developing ATF+4 was to create a fluid that would match the performance characteristics of the current fluid (Type 7176D), but would retain those characteristics for at least 100,000 miles. The paper specifically notes that the anti-shudder properties of ATF+3 are usually degraded enough by 30,000 miles to cause noticeable shudder.

Contrary to popular myth, one of the stated goals of Type 9602/ATF+4 fluids was that it'd have the same frictional characteristics as ATF+3. The paper explicitly states that this was because new clutch materials wouldn't be introduced for this fluid and it had to be backwards compatible with ATF+3. Graphs in the paper show that the friction coefficient of fresh ATF+3 and ATF+4 is essentially identical, but as the fluid ages ATF+4 retains the “as new” coefficient while ATF+3 degrades.

Date: March 16, 2004 Automatic Transmission Fluid Usage ATF+4 (Type 9602)


Models: 1989 - 1993 (AD) Ram Truck, 1994 - 2003 (BR/BE) Ram Truck, 2002 - 2004 (DR) Ram Truck

1989 - 1995 (AA) Spirit/Acclaim/Lebaron Sedan
1989 - 2003 (AB) Ram Van/Wagon
1989 - 1993 (AC) Dynasty/New Yorker/New Yorker Salon
1989 - 1993 (AD) Ram Truck
1989 - 1994 (AG) Daytona
1989 (AH) Lancer/Lebaron GTS
1989 - 1995 (AJ) Lebaron Coupe/Lebaron Convertible
1989 - 1990 (AK) Aries/Reliant
1989 - 1990 (AL) Horizon/Omni
1989 (AM) Diplomat/Gran Fury/New Yorker fifth Avenue
1989 - 2004 (AN) Dakota
1989 - 1994 (AP) Shadow/Sundance
1990 - 1991 (AQ) Maserati
1990 - 1993 (AY) Imperial/New Yorker Fifth Avenue
1994 - 2003 (BR/BE) Ram Truck
2004 - 2005 (CS) Pacifica
1998 - 2003 (DN) Durango
2002 - 2004 (DR) Ram Truck
1995 - 2000 (FJ) Sebring/Avenger/Talon
2000 (GS) Chrysler Voyager (International Market)
2004 (HB) Durango
1995 - 2000 (JA) Cirrus/Stratus/Breeze
2001- 2004 (JR) Sebring Sedan & Convertible/Stratus Sedan
1996 - 2000 (JX) Sebring Convertible
2002 - 2004 (KJ) Liberty
1993 - 2004 (LH) Concorde/Intrepid/Vision/LHS/New Yorker /300M
2005 (LX) Chrysler 300/Magnum
2000 (NS) Town & Country/Caravan/Voyager
1995 - 2004 (PL) Neon
2002 - 2003 (PG) PT Cruiser (International Markets)
2001 - 2005 (PT) PT Cruiser
1997 - 2002 (PR) Prowler
2001 - 2005 (RG) Chrysler Voyager (International Markets)
2001 - 2005 (RS) Town & Country/Caravan/Voyager
1997 - 2004 (TJ) Wrangler
2001 - 2004 (WG) Grand Cherokee (International Markets)
1999 - 2004 (WJ) Grand Cherokee
1989 - 1995 (YJ) Wrangler
1996 - 1998 (ZG) Grand Cherokee (International Markets)
1994 - 1998 (ZJ) Grand Cherokee/Grand Wagoneer

NOTE: This bulletin applies to all transmissions manufactured by Chrysler except for 1999 and earlier minivans with the 41TE/AE transmission, This Service Bulletin DOES NOT apply to all AW-4 transmissions, Sprinter transmissions, Crossfire transmissions and WG bodies equipped with a W5J400 or NAG1 transmission (sales code DGJ).

A new transmission fluid (ATF+4 - Type 9602) has been developed and is being used as factory fill for all vehicles with Chrysler automatic transmissions.It's recommended that all vehicles with Chrysler automatic transmissions EXCEPT FOR THOSE LISTED ABOVE be serviced with ATF+4.

NOTE: ATF+4 must always be used in vehicles that were originally filled with ATF+4.

NOTE: Service intervals don't change. The service interval currently in effect for a given vehicle should continue to be followed.

NOTE: ATF+4 is compatible with ATF+3 and ATF+2. ATF+4 can be used to top off vehicles that currently have ATF+2 or ATF+3. Don't use ATF+2 or ATF+3 to top off vehicles that have ATF+4 fluid.


Better anti-wear properties
Improved rust/corrosion prevention
Controls oxidation
Eliminates deposits
Controls friction
Retains anti-foaming properties
Superior properties for low temperature operation

Mopar ATF+4T is a World Class Fluid having exceptional durability. However, the red dye used in ATF+4T isn't permanent; as the fluid ages it may become darker or appear brown in color. ATF+4T also has a unique odor that may change with age. With ATF+4T fluid, color and odor are no longer indicators of fluid condition and don't support a fluid change.

rrich 03-30-2010 11:33 AM

Not everything from the dealer is more expensive. Things like sensors, electronic parts etc are often cheaper than parts houses. Things like TPS's, CPS's, temp sensors, O2 sensors and the like are often cheaper - and they are the correct ones. And, you can expect to get some life out of them instead of replacing every few months. Next time you are buying something, check with the dealer, you'll be surprised.

I have no idea who the supplier is for the fluids the dealership/factory uses. But it's not necessarily who pumped it out of the ground or who refined it, but what additives are added to it for Jeep? Obviously Jeep doesn't have oil wells or refineries, they buy it from someone else.
The knock-off do the same, they put their additives in someone else's oils.

Like gasoline - often what you buy at Chevron isn't produced or refined by Chevron but when they get a load of gas from Union they add their own additives to it. I picked Chevron as the example because Chevron is no longer in the drilling/refining business, just the marketing end. But it stands for many oil companies too.

My Dad was a chemical engineer for Chevron Chemical Corp - they held the patents and produced many of the additives that the oil companies used - some who you'd never suspect.

I know for certain since I've had to drain, flush, and refill several of the "trick" oils, like Purple and Amsoil when the customer had shifting problems. Some of those require a good flushing to get all of the residue out to get them working properly again.

The customer usually objects when I tell him to get rid of that stuff. Somehow they are indoctrinated with the advertising. Some just won't believe me, they go get it rebuilt.

Interesting - on those with the shifting problem it's the type of lube used, when you dissasemble and look for broken/worn/defective parts, everything looks good inside. What happens is the synchros cannot grab and speed up the next gear - it's too slippery. Synchros are a friction device, but they also need lubrication. It's a delicate balance between friction and lubrication.

Yes, fluid will not repair a mechanical problem. You can usually tell the difference.

When everything looks good, what do you replace now? About all you can do is check tolerances and end play, reassemble - and hope! Of course everything is nice and clean inside now.
When you refill with the same crap like purple it works for awhile, then acts up again. Now what do you do? You have an irate customer yelling "you should have fixed it!"

Been there done that too many times!

If you look on this forum you'll find this conversation has been thrashed over many times. Look closely, many comments say they flushed and refilled with the proper stuff and went trouble free. Some say they used the mickey mouse stuff again, it lasted a short while, then it started shifting badly again.

It's the same idea as Trac Lock, Equa Torque, Limited Slip, Posi, etc. that use clutches. If you don't use the correct additive, it's going to act up.

It's like a thread I posted recently about Split Fire plugs. Just because I've seen several engines destroyed by them, they won't stop advertising and selling them. All I can do is warn you and tell my experiences.

LOL Me, I like cream in my coffee, but I guess some prefer prune juice.

adkjoe 03-30-2010 11:40 AM

^ not disagreeing one bit, you sound very knowledgeable on the subject and thanks for the info. On the back of the amsoil bottle it says Daimler Chrysler certified ms-9224, that's the same spec as the dealer fluid....not saying there the same but it seems Chrysler thinks its OK and up to there standard. MS-9224 is what it says in the owners manual to. to me it seems as long as your using a fluid that's up to Chrysler spec (which royal purple and the like are NOT) you shouldn't have any problems. Amsoil and penzoil are the only ones I have found in the store that are chrysler MS-9224.

mrcarcrazy 03-30-2010 11:53 AM

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Certainly makes you wonder.

I will be trying the OEM fluid. as I figure its worth a shot. If it fixes my shifting issues I'll be blown this point I'm about ready to do a swap to a autobox. I'm tired of all the shifting issues (mine has been pretty awful since I bought it.) I swapped to Pennzoil syncromesh, and it didn't help. so I'll try the OEM. My Jeep has 120k on it FWIW.

I'll be sure to make a thread if it fixes all my woes.

Rich, I do have to buy 2 qts right? I did all sorts of fluid changes last time, and can't remember, but IIRC it took just a bit over 1 qt. (2001 5spd)

Oh and this is bringing back memories. in my DSM days everyone used to GM syncromesh. which was the one made by Pennzoil. Dunno if Chrysler uses the same, but I bet it is.

I drink water over coffee....never had prune juice.

rrich 03-30-2010 02:04 PM

Did Chrysler put that on the Amsoil bottle, or did Amsoil?
Saying it complies with Chrysler Certified specs doesn't mean Chrysler agrees.

From what I've seen and heard of Amsoil, I wouldn't put it past them to twist it around. -- He He - I'll get some flak from that!

Read the threads where it's been tried - according to the folks on here that have tried t, it works, but doesn't last. I won't use it.

But try it - let us know!

I have a hard time accepting something when it's only sold in back alleys. But then, I bought a watch from a parking lot guy - $6.00 - I loved it, it lasted at least 10 years and looked great. Best one I've ever had.

Neil F. 03-30-2010 02:56 PM

Bottom line, any oil that states ATF+4 must be licenced and approved to do so by Chrysler. The products are tested to Chrysler standards.

ATF+4 Licensing Program

All of the following are licenced

Licensed ATF+4 Brands

adkjoe 03-30-2010 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by Neil F. (Post 586036)
Bottom line, any oil that states ATF+4 must be licenced and approved to do so by Chrysler. The products are tested to Chrysler standards.

ATF+4 Licensing Program

All of the following are licenced

Licensed ATF+4 Brands

we are talking about manual fluid not ATF

Neil F. 03-30-2010 03:24 PM

Yes you are correct. Jerry brought up ATF and there are always questions about who's +4 is correct. Sorry for the off topic info.

adkjoe 03-30-2010 03:26 PM

no problem :) your right as well and thanks for the info!

rrich 03-30-2010 09:43 PM

So neil you are saying that Chrysler owns the words ATF 4? Nobody can call theirs ATF 4 unless Chrysler says they can?
Which words are the ones copyrighted, ATF? or 4?

ATF has been an abbreviation since slush boxes were invented.

My grade school must have been guilty of copyright infringement - she talked about 2+2=4.

If anyone is so dumb to put ATF anything (3, 4 or 2000,) in a manual trans, they deserve the ensuing problems.

This thread started out as a legitimate question, but it's gone dumb now.

pokey 03-30-2010 10:05 PM

If bato is still with us, as mrcarcrazy confirmed, the proper way to change manual tranny fluid is to loosen fill plug, remove drain plug, let fluid drain, replace drain plug, remove fill plug, fill to top of fill plug hole, replace fill plug. NEXT! :confused::banghead::confused:

s3nt3nc3d 03-30-2010 10:52 PM

I'm not entirely disagreeing...but as mentioned before, just because Chrysler uses certain stuff from the factory doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. Yes, it does guarantee that it'll work, but not necessarily the best. Chrysler buys from the lowest bidder that can provide a product meeting their standards. There may be better products out there (ie Amsoil -- I have yet to hear any complaints about Amsoil other than the outrageous prices), but if they weren't the lowest bidder...then Chrysler didn't use them.

Emissions also plays a big role... if the product worked great, but wasn't within the emissions specs, then Chrysler chose those that did meet emissions specs over the better product. A good example of this would be the 97-2004 Dodge Dakotas with the 3.9L engine. They came stock with a 195*F thermostat, even though Chrysler engineers themselves admitted that the Dakota engine ran most efficiently at approximately 185*F. HOWEVER, they released the Dakotas from the factory with the 195*F because they couldn't meet emissions standards with the 180*F thermostats.

I wholeheartedly agree about buying OEM sensors though... I replaced my TPS sensor a while back thinking mine was a little quirky. The new sensor from Autozone ended up being the "quirky" one...causing my engine to randomly "idle" at 1500 RPMs. Replaced it with the OEM TPS sensor I had removed...all problems vanished.


Originally Posted by pokey (Post 586386)
If bato is still with us, as mrcarcrazy confirmed, the proper way to change manual tranny fluid is to loosen fill plug, remove drain plug, let fluid drain, replace drain plug, remove fill plug, fill to top of fill plug hole, replace fill plug. NEXT! :confused::banghead::confused:

Is this the same on the 2002's with the NV 3550 (I think that's right?) 5 speed transmission? I was trying to figure out where to check the fluid level/condition on my Jeep and was beginning to feel kinda stupid... so basically I can't check it/top it off aside from removing the drain plug or fill plug underneath? Nice to know I'm not as dumb as I

rrich 03-30-2010 11:41 PM

Interesting thing about meeting specs -

Most all women meet the specs of being a woman when they are young. Height, weight, features, attachments etc. meet the requirements. But not all of them you'd want for 50k miles or more.

Some in short order no longer meet the initial specifications, some get too slippery, some generate too much friction, and some just stop working altogether.

As far as complaints about Amsoil, go back and read some of the previous threads recently where folks said they used it in their trannys, it worked for awhile, then it started hang shifting.
But go ahead and use it!

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