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jwhjr

Tranny flush only vs. Tranny flush with filter change

28 posts in this topic

I'm taking my 04 Silverado in on Friday to have the coolant and tranny flushed (60K miles). For $100 more they'll drop the pan and change the filter along with flushing the tranny. Is it worth it, or am I fine with the flush only? I haven't had any tranny issues, but I do a fair amount of towing/hauling, so I want to get some fresh fluid through the system. Any/all thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

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Just had the ole girls tranny flushed and filter replaced,small town garage but excelent mechanics $50.00 3.2 chev lumina.

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"but I do a fair amount of towing/hauling, so"

spend the extra and have the filter changed! just a good investment.( as an old timere told me once!if you don't change the filter; it is like taking a shower and putting dirty underwear back on! blush.gif) del

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You'll get arguements both ways (with or without filter). Very seldom have we ever changed a filter with a trans flush. The flush solvent is supposed to clean the filter out so there is no need to change it. Most people that choose to change the filter do so as a added sense of security. Serveral of our regular customers that were doing a lot of towing, were putting on 40k a year and flushed once a year and changed the filter every other flush. I would recommend just a flush, and maybe in another 20k to 30k do it again.

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I will give you my thoughts on this! Yes I would change the filter for these reasons.

If you didnt change it at 30k, I would definatly change it at 60.

Its always nice to look inside the pan to see if there is chunks, or metal filings in there, before you get 75k on it, under 75k, the manufacturer may help you with a repair bill.

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Hey Sparce,

How man "old girls" do you have over there?

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Ha Ha Ha I just reread my post HAHAHA DUH tongue.gif

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Anyone who thinks that the "flushing machines" and the solvents clean the filter don't know the first thing about the flow through an automatic transmission. If it had a metal screen type of filter it might do some varnish removal, but almost all transmission filters today (and for over 15 years) are depth type filters that trap the dirt and contaminates inside the filter element. Any flushing will only make the filter more plugged and restrictive! I've even seen some salesmen of these machines take a demonstration car and pull the filter after "cleaning" and show you how clean and white the filter is after. All they did is bleach it out - most are a tan color to start and they clean it to white - they left ALL the contaminates in the media, possibly bleached, but still plugging it!

Anyone who does not change the filter with every transmission service is deceiving everyone that he did any good at all.

If you don't change the filter you are just wasting your money and may possibly be doing harm by plugging the filter worse!

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Thanks for all of the responses. I'd been leaning toward having the filter replaced for peace of mind, but I just wanted to get some other opinions on the matter.

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I don't want to steer anybody in any direction.

In an "unknown" circumstance like this I chose to take the safest route, especially when the cost is very minimal compared.

Get the filter changed, why risk 1,000s of $$$ in a transmission replacement when you can save it by just replacing a $ 15.00 part ?

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Ditto on the filter replacement.

Personally I drop the pans on all my vehicles and stay away from any flush services. Pain in the rear but never had any tranny issues, and I know it's done correctly.

The truck had a deep pan put on it with a drain plug.

Drain and fill it twice in a week and the third time the pan gets dropped and filter replaced.

Cars I just over a months period will drop the fluid a few times and filter during last drop & fill.

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The guy who rebuilt the tranny on my ranger (about a month after a tranny flush) said those flush machines are a boon to his business. He told me that the process of flushing just stirs up all the sediment and runs it into the filter and plugs it up. He told me I would be waaaay better off to just drop the pan change the fluid in the tranny and the filter, than a flush.

That tranny flush cost me $1825, $125 for the flush and $1700 for a tranny rebuild.

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Quote:

The guy who rebuilt the tranny on my ranger (about a month after a tranny flush) said those flush machines are a boon to his business. He told me that the process of flushing just stirs up all the sediment and runs it into the filter and plugs it up. He told me I would be waaaay better off to just drop the pan change the fluid in the tranny and the filter, than a flush.


I whole heartedly agree! I'll drop the pan and change fluid and filter any day before doing a flush. I have a good friend who owns a transmission shop and he says the same. He WILL NOT do a flush in his shop! Another friend who manages a "well known" transmission shop has the same policy. Drop the pan and change fluid and filter!

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In our shop we had the flush machine, but it never got used. What we would do is pull off the return line to the tranny cooler, put that in a bucket, start vehicle and add trans fluid to the dipstick, as the dirty fluid drained out. This way no dirty fluid ever gets returned to the pan! When the fluid came out clean, we would shut the vehicle off, reinstall return hose, remove trans pan and replace filter. This way it has all clean fluid, and a new filter, and you got to take a look in the pan for metal.

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I had my tranny flushed and less then a month after that had to put in a new tranny. I asked the dealer if he changed the filter, and he said they never do that. So it cost me 1700.00. I don't go there any more. I also don't flush the tranny anymore.

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For what its worth I'll chime in.

We have around 65 1500 chevy pick-up trucks, a mix of GMC and Chevy for the most part and 1 or 2 trucks that are Fords and Dodge. We run our trucks to around 200,000 miles and the mechanics here run the flush and very rarely drop the pan for a filter. We have only had one truck that needed transmission work, the Dodge. Pretty good track record for 65 +/- trucks. Our trucks don't do much towing so that plays into it some. You get about the same amount of old fluid out by pulling the pan as you do with the flush, so it really comes down to a filter. Weather its worth it or not will be debated forever. I went with the flush. So far no problems.

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I perform the same on my vehicles as 4wanderingeyes and it works quite well.

I'll add it really helps to have a long hose extending into the drain pan to minimize a mess. The fluid comes out very quickly. wink.gif

Don't forget about the torque converter, that holds some fluid too. Good time to change the fluid in the transfer case too (4x4).

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Quote:

Anyone who thinks that the "flushing machines" and the solvents clean the filter don't know the first thing about the flow through an automatic transmission.


Wow!!! Apparently the millions of dollars spent on research between the big 3 and Wynns and a couple of other companies is all for nothing. I have been though many tranmissions in the last 18 years and have found one thing to be true, the poeple that do a 100% flush on a regular basis have had a ton less deposits in the trans than those that don't and have a lot more miles on them. The "boon" to the tranny repair shops is due to the poeple that use the flush as a last ditch effort to save the tranny after the fluid is burnt. Left alone they tend to run for quite a while before they go out. Any shop doing a fluid service on a trans should inform the customer that a flush and/or filter service will do more harm then good at this point. To prevent these issues, start flushing on a regular schedule when the vehicle is new and the conditioners that go back in, will condition the frictions and seals reducing the deposits and wear in the trans. Thus, reducing the amount of material that will collect in the filter. Which, in turn, means less frequency of filter changes. Going on GM and Chrysler training in drivetrain repair and the years of experience, I would say we have saved many a customer money in the long run because we sell our products and services through educating the customer with knowledge and honesty.

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Quote:

The "boon" to the tranny repair shops is due to the poeple that use the flush as a last ditch effort to save the tranny after the fluid is burnt.


From your earlier post on this thread it sounds like in some fashion you provide this service to the public for $$$. Considering that, I can understand where you would like to defend this process as it could affect your pocketbook. I don't always believe marketing hype either, just cuz someone who is trying to sell you something says it is the best thing since sliced bread doesn't mean it is.

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My buddy has been working for a major dealership in the metro for the better part of 20 years. I asked him his opinion on this, he responded, "it depends", lots a help there confused.gif He told me with the sealed system if the filter ever gets plugged enough for replacement, there is already major problems anyway, so he just flushes, and flushes annually ( of coarse, he works at a dealership) His truck has 150,000 and he tows a large wheel house, 24' boat, 8N ford tractor with a flat-head V8 (very cool). He said if you are unsure about the history, he would do a flush with a filter change. Remember, this is only one man's opinion.

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Quote:


I asked him his opinion on this, he responded, "it depends", lots a help there


LoL! That's the easiest way to stay out of trouble and get out of thinking. I say this alot. grin.gif

I firmly believe a flush is in order. It all depends on what kind of machine the shop has, but some of the "big dollar" machines I have been in touch with do a great job. You watch clean fluid going in and brown/black fluid coming out. I do think a neglected trans, coupled with a concern is not good candidate for the flush machine.

If fluid is clean and you did not do it at 30,000k, it sure is worth the extra couple of dollars (like said before).

Now, here we go!

The word filter is relative term. Today’s filter is not like yesterdays filter. Most times it is a metal or nylon type mesh in a tin/steel housing, not the paper/fabric filter of the days of old. This is why the manufacture of vehicles does not have a clear service interval anymore for the filter in owners manual. They just recommend a flush or the vehicle is fill for life trans (Which I still would flush). During a flush, movement of fluid can be detected on a good machine and the machine can give you an idea if a clog (filter) is occurring in system and that time a filter could be recommended. To change the filter, you are looking at around an extra hour of shop time and any where from $15-$60 for the filter (depend on what model you own). So a flush and filter can be around the $250.00 range. Still a lot better than $2500 or $4500.

I do what 4wanderingeyes said in his post (at my home shop). The only reason I do this is because I do not have a flush machine. I like them and if used correctly, can do a very effective job in cleaning the inside of a trans and can make transmissions last a very long time.

Now for a full fledged trans shop not to have one, that’s a tough one. All of the shops I have worked in have had at least one, if not 2, 3, or 4....

Trans concern, missed a 130,000 miles of maintenance of trans, I always say when in doubt, flush it out. What else are you going to do.

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Thanks for the clarification, that should put it all to rest. grin.gifgrin.gif

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I personally change my filter every 30k, I also put all new fluid in the tranny at this time. My truck is an f150, and the tranny gets a work out, believe me.

I recomend to customers the same for severe use, and if they have light use to atleast change the filter every 60k, with a complete fluid change. Now inbetween the 60 k, I recomend to the to do either the fluid change, or a filter change at the 30k point. Both are very important to the tranny.

Contrary to what you may think, the tranny needs new fluid, it helps cool the tranny, it helps lubricate, and prevent rust. If the fluid is brown, if it smells burnt, or if it smells like it was hot, most likely there has been some damage done to your tranny already, at this point, if you dont flush all the fluid out it will overheat easy on your next heavy pulling and burn clutches. And if you dont change the filter all the clutch material that is caught in the filter will increase the trans tempeture. And you have a major trans problem.

I have seen where a trans that didnt have any shift problems at all with bad fluid in it, end up with shift problems after a flush, but the flush did not do the damage, it was already done, its just with the new fluid it showed up.

Think of it as an engine, would you only change the oil filter and 2 quarts of oil in your engine? Or would you only change the oil, and not the filter? ( I know you can do this a couple times, but not forever! ) Blaming the flush for a tranny problem would be like blaming your engine for knocking after changing oil in it, after it hasnt been done for 30,000 miles and blaming it on the oil change, that it wrecked your engine.

Sorry to blab on, just wanted to get my side of the story out there!

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Wow! I had a feeling that this would stir up a lot of opinions. grin.gif FWIW I did end up having the filter changed as well and I'll be picking it up later today. I've heard of the "issues" of flushing a tranny with high miles and wanted to have it done "early" at 60K which I don't consider high miles. Going forward, I'll be doing the fluid exchange on my own pulling off the line at the radiator, but for the first one I wanted to clean it all out. Thanks again for all the discussion on this, there are a lot of varying opinions! tongue.gif

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Well, my Allison has an internal and external filter. The internal filter gets changed when the trany is rebuilt, the external gets changed at the 1000 mile mark and then periodically thereafter. Allison recommends draining and filling the transmission and specifically recomends NOT to perform a flush. Since I run Transynd in my Allison it can go 2-4 years (and 50-100K) between fluid changes. I plan on changing the external spin-on filter every oil filter change. Of course the dealer wants $95 to change the filter ($45 for the filter, $50 for labor), but I just go to an Allison dealer and pick one up for $8 and spend 5 minutes changing it.

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