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Topic: Transmission Fluid Gritty Checked Cold

Posted By: GORVN4FUN on 12/13/09 10:36am

We have a 2006 motorhome built on a Ford F-53 chassis (gasser). I know not to check transmission fluid cold with engine off, but I pulled the dipstick to see how it looked. The fluid was a nice clean pink color as expected, but there were blackish gritty pieces on the dipstick. A friend of ours has the same year and chassis, so we checked his when cold too. We saw the same thing. We tried a magnet against the grit and it does not appear to be metalic. Both motorhomes have less than 20K miles. Is this normal or a problem? Anyone else have this? You might want to check.


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Posted By: plootsa on 12/13/09 10:57am

Ive never had that but it doesnt sound good could be aluminum shavings non magnetic i would have it checked out.


Posted By: dons2346 on 12/13/09 10:59am

I don't think pieces of unknown material floating around in transmission fluid is normal. I would have the trans serviced then keep a close eye on the fluid.






Posted By: Toot Mc on 12/13/09 11:24am

Take some of the grit and see if it smashes up between your fingernails. if it is fairly soft it is probably Shellac (varnish) which is caused from the transmission temperature running on the hot side. My son's transmission on his class "A" gasser does that. He was told to change his transmission fluid every year and add another transmission cooler core to the transmission oil line that goes from the radiator to transmission.

When they change the fluid every year they should clean the screen in the transmission that filters the fluid.

Good luck hope you are not finding metal filings.


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Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 12/13/09 11:48am

Hi,

I had that problem once, and thought it was something someone might have added to the transmission. So I bought a 3' x 2' and 4" deep storage bin (for wrapping paper) and drained my transmission right where it was. I did not want to start the engine with all that junk in the transmission.

There is a magnet in the transmission pan, and mine was pretty dirty. The first time I changed the fluid it was not this dirty, so I just dumped the fluid from the pan, cleaned the magnet, and replaced the filter. For my 97 Bounder, it takes a 4 wheel drive 96 F-350 transmission filter for the 460" engine truck. The 2 WD truck transmission filter will not fit.

I don't know why the auto parts guys can not figure out what a F-53 chassis is, but they still do not understand it.

So after a month, I was thinking "Do I have to replace the transmission?" (that was in 2005 and the same transmission is still in my RV some 25,000 miles later). I changed the fluid again after taking a trip at New Years. That time, I drained the fluid with the engine on, through the transmission cooler into a 5 gallon bucket, and then removed the nearly empty pan (much cleaner that time), then looked at the magnet. It barely had anything on it, so I put it all back together and hoped for the best. Now 4 years later, I think someone just reminded me that I need to change the fluid again before I go camping.

So if you do what I did, I think you will be happy with the results. I really did not want to start the engine, with the junk inside the transmission (going through a messy divorce). So I did it myself at home.

This time, I will start the engine, run the pan dry and then shut it off (about 1 minute), remove the pan, change the pan filter, clean the magnet, and put all those bolts back in (24 or so?). It only takes about a hour to do, and required about 2-3 gallons of transmission fluid. If you add to much, and it is expanding as the engine warms up, then stop the engine, remove the cooler hose, drain some out, and check the fluid again. If the fluid level is at the very bottom of the "Full" lines, that is where you want it. Take the RV for a drive, and check it again. You don't want the fluid level above the minimum level, as on a hot day when climbing a grade, the fluid will expand a lot, and then the gears will cause it to foam up, and when it leaks out, usually it is up the dipstick onto the hot exhaust system! or over the front of the radiator in my motorhome.

My friend's class C caught fire while climbing the grapevine, and he put out the fire with a ice chest. His transmission dipstick was directly over the exhaust manifolds, and he never did discover why the motorhome caught fire, but another person told me it happens and why.

Good Luck,

Fred.


Posted By: ArchHoagland on 12/13/09 12:06pm

I've checked mine cold a few times and never saw anything like you describe. I wonder if that's more of a Ford related issue with their particular transmission fluid requirements.
Mine is an Allison 1000 and I'm wondering if anybody with an Allison has seen this phenomenon. I do change mine at 25,000 miles and the Allison has a spin-on filter that I have changed twice now so that may trap the substance before I see it.




Golden+HVAC said:

=======================================================================
My friend's class C caught fire while climbing the grapevine, and he put out the fire with a ice chest.
============================================================================
Could you explain this a little bit more? I'm not familiar with that technique.


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Posted By: Pirate on 12/13/09 04:47pm

Golden_HVAC wrote:

If you add to much, and it is expanding as the engine warms up, then stop the engine, remove the cooler hose, drain some out, and check the fluid again. If the fluid level is at the very bottom of the "Full" lines, that is where you want it. Take the RV for a drive, and check it again. You don't want the fluid level above the minimum level, as on a hot day when climbing a grade, the fluid will expand a lot, and then the gears will cause it to foam up, and when it leaks out, usually it is up the dipstick onto the hot exhaust system! or over the front of the radiator in my motorhome.

My friend's class C caught fire while climbing the grapevine, and he put out the fire with a ice chest. His transmission dipstick was directly over the exhaust manifolds, and he never did discover why the motorhome caught fire, but another person told me it happens and why.
Check the E4OD overflow tube. It comes out the top into a simple hose that should just drain onto the ground. When I put headers on, I noticed the overflow terminated directly over the tubes, not a good spot for fluid to drain. I added a piece of tubing to it and routed it away from the headers.


Posted By: Dogrocket on 12/13/09 05:36pm

This has come up before. As one responder noted, it may be nothing more than crud in the dipstick tube that scrapes off onto the dip stick. A quick check for this is to clean the dip stick, coat the end with fluid, and insert the dip stick about two inches shy of contacting the fluid. Withdraw the dip stick and see if the particles still appear on the stick - if so, it's stuff in the tube rather than in the fluid.


Posted By: Stim on 12/13/09 12:15pm

The bigger question is how does the fluid smell? A burnt smell is not good.
Particles, while not good can't get into critical areas through normal circulation. The filter is very fine, looks like a piece of brown paper. It's hard to believe enough fluid can even get through it.
Check how the particles feel, are they hard? It might just be clutch disc wear, there are quite a few discs in a trans.


Posted By: John Wayne on 12/13/09 12:18pm

Could it be just a little rust from the fill tube?? If you really want to filter your trans fluid using more then just the screen in the trans. then install an in-line filter. Motorcraft FT-167 $46.27 or the same filter in NAPA 1-8514 $22.49. This is the same filter required by Ford if the trans had to be rebuilt. It's a Megifine(sp) with a bypass.


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Posted By: GORVN4FUN on 12/13/09 12:21pm

Stim wrote:

The bigger question is how does the fluid smell? A burnt smell is not good.
Check how the particles feel, are they hard? It might just be clutch disc wear, there are quite a few discs in a trans.

The transmission fluid color is like new and it does not smell burnt. The particles are pretty hard. Kind of feels like plastic. I'm guessing it floats to the top in the pan.

I thought it was interesting that both mine and my neighbors MH have it.


Posted By: John&Joey on 12/13/09 02:10pm

GORVN4FUN wrote:

Stim wrote:

The bigger question is how does the fluid smell? A burnt smell is not good.
Check how the particles feel, are they hard? It might just be clutch disc wear, there are quite a few discs in a trans.

The transmission fluid color is like new and it does not smell burnt. The particles are pretty hard. Kind of feels like plastic. I'm guessing it floats to the top in the pan.

I thought it was interesting that both mine and my neighbors MH have it.


So did mine when I first got it. Change the fluid. Explained to me it was bits of burnt fluid. 16 (or 18?) quarts later, and a pint of transmission conditioner I'm still rolling along.


Posted By: rich racin on 12/13/09 02:28pm

I see grit on the engine dipstick on my 1999 V-10. THe oil when drained does not show any problems. I wonder if there is something that guides the dipstick that comes off and is the grit. I have been squirting some marvel mistory oil down the dipstick tube to see if this will help. Let us know if you find what is happening.

rich


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Posted By: OldF**t on 12/13/09 05:56pm

If it is a deposit on the dip stick and only in one place on the dip stick then don't panic. If you look at how the dip stick tube is routed you will see that it runs very close to the exhaust manifold. The exhaust heat may be cooking the fluid on the dip stick at that point. This is just a possibility but should be checked out before spending $$ on procedures that may not be needed.


Jim

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2010 Ford Ranger 4X4
2009 Kymco Xciting 500Ri
1 wife and 6 cats



Posted By: melvonnar on 12/14/09 02:33pm

rich racin wrote:

I see grit on the engine dipstick on my 1999 V-10. THe oil when drained does not show any problems. I wonder if there is something that guides the dipstick that comes off and is the grit. I have been squirting some marvel mistory oil down the dipstick tube to see if this will help. Let us know if you find what is happening.
rich


I had the very same thing; I have a 1999 with the V10 motor; worried the heck out of me; only had 4 miles on the oil change and it was sintec oil, I drained the oil in a clean pan and checked it real good; I found nothing in the oil; My opinion is that the black gritty stuff on the did stick was comming from the tube that the dipstick runs down to the oil pan.


Posted By: KOG on 12/14/09 03:09pm

Not a problem. That's why the transmission has a filter on the pickup. None of that stuff gets into the working parts.


Posted By: two travelers on 12/14/09 03:30pm

Had a similar problem on our 2008 Winnebago Sightseer. When I checked the tranny fluid, there was black gritty particles/flakes on the dip stick. Fluid looked and smelled fine. Took it to Ford and they drained and put fresh fluid in. They saw no grit on the filter/screen or in the fluid. Don't know where it came from.


Posted By: gart on 12/14/09 05:22pm

Could it be just a little rust from the fill tube I had to clean mine up with a wire brush attached to A wire and a drill.


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Posted By: Pirate on 12/15/09 04:30pm

gart wrote:

Could it be just a little rust from the fill tube I had to clean mine up with a wire brush attached to A wire and a drill.
I hope that is with the pan off. Hate to see all that junk getting pushed down the tube.


Posted By: Jeff and Ana on 12/15/09 07:42pm

I have the same thing on my 2008 Ford with only 9000 miles on it. I had noticed it from day one with only 1600 miles on the MH. I posted about this same thing a while back. Since then I have spoken with a few different mechanics and no one really seems to have a definite answer. The only thing that everyone seems to agree with is that it does not appear to be metallic. No problems with the transmission to this point.


Posted By: ArchHoagland on 12/16/09 10:15pm

Again I ask:

Is this only on Fords? It appears to be all Fords so far.

Strange stuff.


Posted By: jaychat2003 on 12/18/09 12:13am

Have the fuid analized.


Posted By: DanOg on 05/11/10 05:24pm

My dad just called me in a panic when he found the same grit on his trans dipstick on a Ford F53 chassis- 2006. I checked it out and it smashes between fingers and looks to be a rust color..but I'm not sure if it is rust or not. I need ot look it over better when I have more time, it comes back just inserting the dipstick more than about 2/3 into the tube...btw that is one LONG dipstick, 6 feet I'm guessing. I hope it is just cooked/oxidized fluid from maybe the exhaust manifold heat as others have suggested.


Posted By: John&Joey on 05/11/10 06:36pm

John&Joey wrote:

GORVN4FUN wrote:

Stim wrote:

The bigger question is how does the fluid smell? A burnt smell is not good.
Check how the particles feel, are they hard? It might just be clutch disc wear, there are quite a few discs in a trans.

The transmission fluid color is like new and it does not smell burnt. The particles are pretty hard. Kind of feels like plastic. I'm guessing it floats to the top in the pan.

I thought it was interesting that both mine and my neighbors MH have it.


So did mine when I first got it. Change the fluid. Explained to me it was bits of burnt fluid. 16 (or 18?) quarts later, and a pint of transmission conditioner I'm still rolling along.


Still stand by my prior explanation, and I'm still rolling along since then. Not everything is a major mechanical issue like some make things out to be.


Posted By: FreedomsGuardian on 05/12/10 11:17am

Same deposits from my '98 F53. Found out they are from the dstick tube by insterting the clean dstick part way, came out with same deposits.

Happy Travels!


Posted By: DanOg on 05/13/10 04:25am

Do the later model Ford ATs have both the internal filter as well as the external filter? I'm not as concerned if there is an internal filter that blocks it before it gets sucked up and circulated all through the transmission..


Posted By: 393will on 08/28/10 06:53am

I have the same problem with 07 hurricane. Called ford the service guy says this is common its the oil tube and it does appear metallic to me. I used a mettalic screwdriver and it sticks to it. He said let go till i have 30k on it. I have about 9k now. I still think im changing the fluid.


Posted By: John&Joey on 08/28/10 07:28am

393will wrote:

I have the same problem with 07 hurricane. Called ford the service guy says this is common its the oil tube and it does appear metallic to me. I used a mettalic screwdriver and it sticks to it. He said let go till i have 30k on it. I have about 9k now. I still think im changing the fluid.


Can't hurt that's for sure. You might want to think about using synthetic also. Would be the perfect time for the switch.


Posted By: tropical36 on 08/28/10 05:17pm

GORVN4FUN wrote:

We have a 2006 motorhome built on a Ford F-53 chassis (gasser). I know not to check transmission fluid cold with engine off, but I pulled the dipstick to see how it looked. The fluid was a nice clean pink color as expected, but there were blackish gritty pieces on the dipstick. A friend of ours has the same year and chassis, so we checked his when cold too. We saw the same thing. We tried a magnet against the grit and it does not appear to be metalic. Both motorhomes have less than 20K miles. Is this normal or a problem? Anyone else have this? You might want to check.

While you're finding things out, keep in mind that it used to be very common to have metal shavings in the tranny oil pan which was perfectly normal and a lot of dishonest transmission shops would talk the uninformed into a costly tranny rebuild which they didn't bother to do anyway.


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Posted By: tropical36 on 08/28/10 05:26pm

ArchHoagland wrote:

Again I ask:

Is this only on Fords? It appears to be all Fords so far.

Strange stuff.

Probably have to do a survey of sorts for the answer to that one and I for one haven't seen anything like that with my chevy. In fact, it's sometimes difficult to even see the fluid on the stick.


Posted By: 7ofus on 08/28/10 05:46pm

'06 Ford F-53 here. My dipstick always looked clean and the fluid was perfect. At about 15,000 miles, I checked it and it had the same "grit" as the OP. I also noticed it was a little low. After adding about 8 oz. of trans fluid, subsequent checks showed no grit at all. I have checked at least a dozen times since then and have never seen it again.

It must be floating and when the trans fluid is hot and up to the correct level, it is slightly above the dipstick tube. I am interested in the other ideas here.


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