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Change Trans Fluid in 7.3 or leave it?

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by Mark13, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    A friend of mine has an 03 f350 dually with the 7.3 and 4r100 or whatever the automatic is. Truck is almost at 200k and the trans fluid smells burnt. Within the next month and a half the truck is going to get 5,000+ miles put on it going from N. IL to Florida and back. The truck will be pulling a horse trailer of unknown weight to and from and then whatever driving around is done while they are there for a month. Would you change the trans fluid (not flush, just drop the pan and do fluid and filter) or would you leave good enough alone at this point? The owners of the truck think they changed it since they bought the truck a couple years ago with around 135-150k on it but don't remember for sure.
     
  2. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    I would leave there and drive gentle until he make back then sent transmission to Jack wood they will make that transmission bulletproof.


    200,000 miles out transmission with 7.3L is pretty good because they don't last longer enough mostly 50k to 150k it go bad.
     
  3. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    Ha, that's not going to happen. The driver has a lead foot and it has a 50hp chip.
     
  4. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    Then tell him prepare for rebuilt transmission soon. It cost like $2,500 to have Jack wood or BTS rebuilt transmission with heavy duty parts.
     
  5. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    Why would you even consider leaving it in if it smells burnt? Change it without hesitation.
     
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

  7. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    Put synthetic in too.
     
  8. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    I've never had to deal with a trans with burnt fluid with that many miles on it which is going to go on such a trip soon. If it was a truck that would be around the area we would incase more was found to be wrong with it. But we didn't want to put new fluid in it and send them on their way onto to have them run into a problem with it partway thru the trip.

    Thanks for the idea of the way to flush it without going to a shop and having them do it and costing way to much.
     
  9. Pushin 2 Please

    Pushin 2 Please PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,569

    Change it. I know I'm crazy/nuts but I change mine before every plow season and again after this time with a new filter. Better safe than sorry.
     
  10. Mark13

    Mark13 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,734

    I change mine every year also. But the owners of the f350 like to run things a little hard and don't know enough about the diesels to properly use them. (Chip with no gauges, even while towing heavy, adding a tuner but not knowing how it works, etc)
     
  11. NICHOLS LANDSCA

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,302

    I'd change it.
     
  12. veggin psd

    veggin psd Senior Member
    Messages: 276



    Try double that figure! The TC alone is over $1000 for a triple-disc or billet.
    Thay trans is on borrowed time. Dont forget the 6.0 cooler. BTS will require it.
     
  13. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    The key to longevity regarding the 4R100 or any tranny really is to keep the trans operating temps as low as possible. Burnt smelling fluid is fluid that has broken down and cannot cool/lubricate sufficiently resulting in higher temps and overheating of the unit=trouble. I would change the fluid/filter but stay away from a flush which could dislodge deposits in a neglected tranny only to clog up later.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2010
  14. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    And X2 what Crete says about synthetic:drinkup:
     
  15. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    The BTS transmissions are overated IMO. I have done a lot of research on them. While I am sure they have 100s of satisfied customers I have talked to quite a few people who have had them fail only to have the truck down for a few days while transmissions are shipped etc. Don't forget, theyget parts and service for it anywhere.

    I prefer to go to a good local builder. Have him rebuild it except using heavy duty parts, shift kits, extra clutches, etc. A good certified rebuilder will know how to build them to last. I have gone this route on my transmissions when needed and it usually ends of being cheaper and there is piece of mind. The one time I had one fail, it was out of the truck that day, repaired and back in the truck the following day. The time and headache savings alone make it worthwhile.

    As far as the question, I would change the filter and fluid for the trip, if its not slipping, then when they get back do the flush. For the people saying its about to go etc, how do they know? I have seen transmissions go at 15,000 miles and last well over 200,000, all brands. Keep them cool, do regular service and don't abuse them and they will last.
     
  16. 7.3 Plower

    7.3 Plower Senior Member
    Messages: 221

    http://www.powerstrokenation.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4338

    Don't get it flushed. Change the fluid for sure but I'd recommend against getting it truly flushed. When you flush a transmission with that many miles any bits of grit can get lodged in places they don't belong and easily cause problems.

    At least that's what I'm told and to be quite honest I'd rather use the Kovalsky method than flush it. First cause I'd rather do it that way and not run any risk of crap getting lodged where it doesn't belong. Second because Mark was a designer of the 4r100 transmission.

    I'd also prepare to drop the pan and change the filter while I was at it. Torque the bolts to 110 in-lb and yes torque them properly or it can leak. Don't ask how I know. The gasket is reusable.

    Burnt fluid is also a sign of a trans being on its way out.

    Also BTS offers an unconditional lifetime guarantee on their transmissions. Don't know if your local builder does or not but it's something to consider.
     
  17. Flipper

    Flipper PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,180

    I realize they offer a lifetime guarantee but what good is that on a work truck sitting in a bay for a week while the transmission is shipped back and forth. Are they going to pay for the cost of the shop to pull it in and out? Arrange for a rental plow truck to cover a storm?

    I never asked my local guy what kind of warrantee he offers, He tells me it won't break. It really doesn't concern me. As I said I would pay double what he charges for the piece of mind and quick service. I give him business and loyalty and he has given me the same. I have actually gotten business from him (plowing and landscaping) and when I had my one problem (4 years after he built it) all I had to pay for was soda and pizza.

    I also would not let a shop do a flush. I meant and mispoke that I would use the Kovalsky method and I have to "flush" or do a complete fluid change.
     
  18. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    The Kovalsky method is basically the same way I do it, except I don't let the trans pump air :eek:

    I do like the idea of shifting the trans through the gears though.
     
  19. 01SMOKINSD

    01SMOKINSD Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Change the fluid, but DO NOT change the filter. A dirty filter actually helps to filter out fine particles of dirt from the fluid. The filter in that trans, not to mention all later model transmissions, are designed to be a "lifetime" filter. However ford does recommend changing the inline filter in the trans cooler line near the radiator every 30k- 50k miles. This info was from my local ford dealer, after i had my trans serviced and discovered they didnt change the filter andcouldnt understand why.
     
  20. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    Is there an inline filter on the OBS Powerstrokes? Location?