Drain, Filter Service & Refill
The fluid should be changed according to the schedule in the Maintenance Intervals chart. If the car is normally used in severe service, such as stop and start driving, trailer towing, or the like, the interval should be halved. If the car is driven under especially nasty conditions, such as in heavy city traffic where the temperature normally reaches 90°F (32°C), or in very hilly or mountainous areas, or in police, taxi, or delivery service, the fluid should be changed according to the severe service schedule.
- Raise and safely support the vehicle.
- Place a drain pan underneath the transmission pan, then remove the pan attaching bolts except on the four corners of the pan.
- Loosen the four attaching bolts on the corners approximately four turns each, but do not remove them.
- Very carefully pry the pan loose on one corner. You can use a small prybar for this if you work CAREFULLY. Do not distort the pan flange, or score the mating surface of the transmission case. You'll be very sorry later if you do. As the pan is pried loose, all of the fluid is going to come pouring out.
- Carefully break the other corners loose until fluid is flowing steadily from the entire pan.
- After the fluid is down flowing, remove one corner bolt and attempt to drain any remaining fluid. Remove the remaining bolts and remove the pan and gasket.
- Clean the pan and the magnets with solvent and allow them to air dry. If you use a rag to wipe out the pan, you risk leaving bits of lint behind, which will clog the dinky hydraulic passages in the transmission.
- Remove and discard the filter and the O-ring seal if applicable.
- Install a new filter and O-ring, if applicable.
- If the filter is retained by bolts, tighten the bolts to 80-120 inch lbs. (9-14 Nm).
- Position the gasket on the pan, then install the pan. Tighten the bolts evenly and in rotation to 10 ft. lbs. (13 Nm.). Do not overtighten.
- Lower the vehicle.
- Add the recommended automatic transmission fluid to the transmission through the dipstick tube. You will need a long necked funnel, or a funnel and tube to do this. A quick check of the capacities chart later in this Section will reveal the capacity of the transmission in your vehicle. On a first fill after removing the pan and filter, this number should cut into a 1 / 3 and checked on the dipstick before refilling.
- With the transmission in P , put on the parking brake, block the front wheels, start the engine and let it idle. DO NOT RACE THE ENGINE. DO NOT MOVE THE LEVER THROUGH ITS RANGES.
- With the lever in Park, check the fluid level. If it's OK, take the car out for a short drive, park on a level surface, and check the level again, as outlined earlier in this section. Add more fluid if necessary. Be careful not to overfill, which will cause foaming and fluid loss.
Fluid Level Check
Check the automatic transaxle fluid level at least every 15,000 miles or 12 months. The dipstick can be found on the left (driver) side of the engine compartment. The fluid level should be checked only when the transaxle is hot (normal operating temperature). The transaxle is considered hot after about 20 miles of highway driving.
- Start the engine, set the parking brake, and put the transaxle selector lever in the P position.
- Move the selector lever through all the positions and return to the PARK position. DO NOT TURN OFF THE ENGINE DURING THE FLUID LEVEL CHECK.
- Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and then reinsert it firmly. Be sure that it has been pushed all the way in. Remove the dipstick again and check the fluid level while holding it horizontally. With the engine running, the fluid level should be in the cross-hatched area.
- If the fluid level is below the crosshatched area (engine hot), add MERCON®III automatic transaxle fluid through the dipstick tube. This is easily done with the aid of a funnel. Check the level often as you are filling the transaxle. Be extremely careful not to overfill it. Overfilling will cause slippage, seal damage and overheating. Approximately 1 pint of ATF will raise the fluid level into the cross-hatched area.
The fluid on the dipstick should always be a bright red color. If it is discolored (brown or black), or smells burnt, serious transaxle troubles, probably due to overheating, should be suspected. A qualified technician should inspect the transaxle to determine the cause of the burnt fluid.
Motorcraft Mercon® ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) XT-2-QDX or equivalent Mercon® ATF fluid (Dexron® Mercon® III) are the only fluids recommend for use in the automatic transaxles..
Motorcraft Mercon® ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) XT-2-QDX or equivalent Mercon® ATF fluid (Dexron® Mercon® III) are the only fluids recommend for use in the automatic transaxles.