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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this dead horse has been resurrected, killed, and beat some more but...I'm trying to decide whether or not to let the dealer flush my tranny as part of preventive maintainance/service. Not really having any issues with it but I bought the truck with 59,000 and have 65,000 now so I don't know what has or has not been done previously. I read and read and read and had concluded that I was comfortable with simply dropping the pan, replacing filters, and refilling. Then I talked to my local dealer and he recommended flushing. I expressed some concern and he said he flushed 5-6 every day and has never had any issues. Also, it's only about $40 more to add the flush to the pan drop/filter replacement.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

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2008 RAM 1500 ST 3.7L Magnum V6 PS2
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Me personally, I've always recommended against it. Reason being, I've always been cautioned that, especially it it's running fine already, a flush may dislodge something and introduce debris into the system so I've always opted for just a fluid/filter change but I'm sure you'll get plenty of other opinions on this.

- Cajun
 

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My own thoughts

You bought a used vehicle & don't know the history
You are due for a filter change, maybe even way over due
you won't need to service it again for at least 20,000 - 30,000 miles
I did my First transmission service at 40,000, at that time i had a complete machine flush done, then i changed over to a different brand fluid & i didn't want cross contamination
From now on it will only be the 2 filters that get changed & maybe 6 quarts that are lost during the filter service
 

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i flushed mine in the shop, i believe the trans called for 13 qts but i ran 14 through it, the atf4 has a friction modifier in it and over time it breaks down and needs replacing. i also sucked out one qt and added a lucas oil conditioner to it too. see photo below
then this is where it taps into next to the radiator
this is every thing i did that one morning at work and the products i used
i also pulled the powersteering lines to drain that system to put fresh fluid in that. that also takes the atf+4
 

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OK, let me add some more fuel to the fire. First understand, I am a complete psycho when it comes to maintenance, I go overkill. Today I took my '12 65RFE down to the local dealer for a tranny filter/fluid change at exactly 1,300 miles. I got this crazy from both my Dad and my '96 SST. Because of the maintenance I did to that truck, the only trouble I ever had from it was the cat. going out at 88K miles. The way I see it, during first few thousand miles, both engines and trannies send much of the new assembly schmegma to the filters, overwhelming them and sending them into bypass mode. I changed my engine oil/filter after driving it home from the dealership. I let it settle for a week and gently drained off the oil. Put the oil drain pan in the sun and watch it shimmer with metal particles. So I change my oil/filter every 500 miles up to 2,000 miles. I've also seen fluid from a tranny with 70K miles that was never serviced and it was a pink slurry of material you could actually feel between you fingers.

Today the dealership all but flatly refused to change the tranny fluid/filter. They cited the tranny is still learning my driving style and ATF+4 is synthetic with much closer tolerances, better gasket and clutch material. Said my plan was beyond overkill. I see no problem with just a pan-drop filter change here. Who is wrong, me or them?

I want to switch to full synthetic tranny fluid, but was told to wait to at least 10K miles, preferably 30K miles. What's up?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies so far.

GTyankee, so are you saying you think I should have it flushed this time and then stick to pan drop/filter changes after? I intend to let them put the factory fluid back in so cross-contamination shouldn't be an issue (assuming that's what in there now I suppose).

AHemiAgain, isn't the factory fluid synthetic already? Is it only a synthetic blend? Just wondering why you said you want to switch to a "full synthetic".
 

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atf+4 is a full syn. trans fluid with a friction modifier in for all mopar products. any other brand that is full syn doesnt have the proper friction modifier in and will do harm to your transmission over time. max life atf i've seen quick lube places put in mopar products and after 5k they start to have transmission issue cause it doesnt have the proper friction modifier in them. stick with the atf+4. your truck will thank you for it. your local napa sells it in there brand which is bottle by valvoline for about 4.95 a qt. if you love your ram, give it what it needs ATF+4..
 

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Thanks for the replies so far.


AHemiAgain, isn't the factory fluid synthetic already? Is it only a synthetic blend? Just wondering why you said you want to switch to a "full synthetic".
From what I've learned so far, it is synthetic. No mention if was full or semi-synthetic. I'm just wondering if it really is too early to change the tranny filters?
 

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i wouldnt really change the filter, there not the old style filter that are paper, there more like a screan, i would just flush it till you hit the 90k mark, but change the fluid every 30k
 

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Wow there's a lot of different opinions in this thread. First of all I want to say I in no way mean to offend anyone by my comments, lol.

I saw a couple posts up that someone said this:

atf+4 is a full syn. trans fluid with a friction modifier in for all mopar products. any other brand that is full syn doesnt have the proper friction modifier in and will do harm to your transmission over time.
atf+4 is not a brand, it is a type. Any brand of atf+4 transmission fluid will be just as good (if not better) than the dodge brand fluid. For example, I used I believe castrol atf+4 when I did my transmission service. It was roughly $6-$7 per qt, and I could have bought royal purple atf+4 and it was more like $12 per qt. From the research I did, they are basically equal. For argument sake, if nothing else, they are both at least as good as required.

I will also say that I have NEVER had a transmission FLUSH service done on any of my vehicles or any vehicles in my family. So technically, I don't have any experience with them. I will also say, though, that most people that I have talked to that are knowledgeable about mechanics recommend not doing a machine flush on the transmission. This is why I have always not done the service. I have been told by several knowledgeable people(including mechanics) that if you do the machine flush it can dislodge dirt/grime/etc. that is in the transmission filter and in other places in the transmission(like maybe the magnet on the pan) and force that dirt/grime/etc. through the transmission into areas where it can cause damage. Basically, I'm told it can take contaminants and force them past where they are "caught"(via filter or magnet, etc.) and then eventually cause damage.

I have done regular transmission services on all of my vehicles and never really had any transmission problem. My family has done the same, and all our transmissions last a long time. 200,000 + miles before we sell the vehicles, and they still run fine. We simply do the pan drop and replace filters, gasket, clean the magnet and pan, and refill however much fluid is require (usually about half). We do this every 50,000 miles because most manufacturers recommend 100,000 mile interval changes. The reason for this is that we change about half the fluid, so we do it twice as often. We are also changing the filters twice as often and cleaning the pan and magnet twice as often. Also, introducing new fluid for half of the total every 50,000 miles keeps the fluid cleaner more often, so is technically better than just changing it all every 100,000 miles. My point is that doing a pan drop, filter change, cleaning, and refill every 50,000 miles is beyond what is required, and I can say from experience on several vehicles that it makes the transmissions last.

My recommendation is to do the pan drop service every 50k miles.
 

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Starquestbd22, I'm going to go in the middle of the road here. I agree with snrusnak, but I have flushed several transmissions with no problems. I last bought an '06 F350 PSD with 50K on the clock and had it flushed right away. Then I went back and dropped the pan for filter changes 5,000 miles later. What started me on the flush was Ford uses no pressure to force the new oil through the trans. They simply tie into inlet and outlet lines of the radiator, fill half the machine with good atf and then let the engine run using the transmission's pump to push out old fluid and suck in the new. This process just skips the radiator so you're SOL. Some quick lubes use a machine to pressurize the fluid to get it flushed quicker.....quantity over quality. I agree w/ snrusnak, this can dislodge something. First I would check the condition of existing fluids (smell, timeline), then track down old records (if possible), then ask how the old fluid will be flushed out. I would only use the non-pressurized flush machines. Remember, a well maintained tranny can easily see 500K miles in a non-abusive lifetime. How long are you going to drive your truck?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Once again, thanks for the replies. AHemiAgain, I have checked the fluid and it still looks fairly pink with no noticeable odor to it. I remember thinking it looked really good to possibly have 60K miles on it but of course it's synthetic so maybe that's why. The truck was a one owner but I bought it from the dealer after the first owner traded it in. I actually did track him down and speak to him over the phone. He seemed like a nice guy and swore that the truck was maintained and serviced very well. He had no reason to lie because I wasn't buying it from him. But still, people do and say strange things for strange reasons sometimes, lol. I think Dodge (and all the others for that matter) should keep a nationwide database of every service performed on a vehicle. Every dealer could have access and it could be linked and tracked by VIN. It really couldn't be that hard. But they do not.

Anyway, as an interesting note...I looked at the owner's manual maintainance schedule and it calls for a "drain and refill and filter change" every 60K. The interesting part is at the end of the section is says this in reference to this service...

"This applies only if the vehicle is used for frequent
trailer towing, snowplowing, fleet vehicle or commercial​
service."

Keep em coming.
 

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FYI I'm told with the new synthetic transmission fluids the color is no longer an indicator of whether it is good or bad (the color won't change as the fluid breaks down).

Most service schedules have "normal" and "harsh" conditions. I usually go by the harsh but maybe not quite to the extreme. If you drive "normal" or somewhere in between, and try to maintain the vehicle according to the "harsh" schedule, it should always run great.
 

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Wow, that is good to know. Coming over from diesels, we learn to check the "smell" of our fluids, but I did not know that about synthetic tranny fluid.

I guess I would go with what the previous owners indicated about the truck. See when he did do the service; if he seems honest, he should tell when/if he did it. I remember that very line in the owners manual about 60K miles. Then it references to do it at 100K if the 60K circumstances don't apply.

Go with your gut, but if you've got a hesitation, just flush it. But I do think the database you refer to is a reality. My '06 F350 I bought from the original owner had some holes in the time line so I visited the dealership he purchased it at (that's the catch) and got all known records. If the dealerships are not connected, you can find the place of purchase and request records. They usually have no problem giving them to you. If the truck is still under warranty, the the nationwide database is definitely up to date. Then fill in the holes for services at other locations/dealerships. If he visited a Jiffy Lube or the like, you may be SOL on that.

Hope this helps, I know I learned a little. And take the advice to go with the "harsh" schedule!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
snrusnak....I agree with you on the service schedules. That transmission service recommendation (drain, filter change, refill) at 60K is actually contained in the more severe of the two service schedules in my manual. And it has a star beside it which leads you to the comment that I posted above.

AHemiAgain....I talked to the owner before I bought the truck but I don't have his contact info any more. I might could find it but honestly, in my line of work, I probably wouldn't take faith in whatever he said anyway, lol. I asked my local dealer (not where the truck was purchased) if they had access to services performed on vehicles and he said only if the service was a warranty claim. I believe the dealership that I bought the truck from actually sold it new so maybe I should check with them.
 

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That's where I'd start. Changed my tranny filters this morning at 1,348 miles. Service writer asked me if I was sure......then said let me introduce you to our Service Manager. Apparently he's just as psychotic with his maintenance as I am. He laughed and said it was bit early but didn't hurt anything. I asked him about your situation, he said "if it were me, I'd just do the filters, but then again I'm a little nutty with my maintenance."

Given for your consideration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Jeez, I still haven't decided. I talked to a couple of local guys. One owns a private shop and has done a little work for me in the past....he said let the dealer flush it. The other used to be a Dodge mechanic and now runs his own shop....he said he would prefer to drop the pan and change the filters the first time to see what's in there before flushing and then flush it next time. I'm not crazy over that because I don't want to be flushing it at 90k miles.
 

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I gotta go with this one. Filters to see what you've got. This lets the fluid tell you what its been through first.

Make sure the shop doesn't pressurize the fluid if you go the flush route though, let the tranny pump do the work. This I verified!
 

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I have a 2011 Dodge Ram 1500 5.7L Hemi with approx 2500 miles. If anyone knows, I was just curious if there's a drain plug for the tranny or do you have to drop the pan? I looked under my truck and noticed there's a pipe that runs just underneath the tranny pan which doesn't give a whole lot of room to drop the pan. Also does anyone know how to locate the supply and return lines? I was thinking of doing my own transmission flush by removing the return line and draining it into a bucket while I poured new fluid in. This way there's no machine involved to create any potential problems.
 
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