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Old 02-11-2006
TimHolt's Avatar
TimHolt TimHolt is offline
DieselRam's Tranny Guru
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Arlington Texas (Mid cities DFW)
Posts: 3,804
Default Auto trans Q&A

Mr. Rob Watkins has trusted me to bring you useful information to the forum that DIYs and handy wrenches can use. In this area I will be bringing to you the basic how to and OEM info, no mods or aftermarket products here.

I will start of with basic Q&A as I am still trying to find where I had archived tons of pics and sort out the best way to present them with out taking too much room. I had upgraded with several new computers and storage devices so bear with me.

This is not a reply post, only info. I am mainly concerned with what it takes to make your trans last a long life and your warranty intact.

I will be adding and/or remaking this untill it makes a quick reference to common questions with answers.

Upkeep, maintenence.

Q: Fluid changes, when should I have my trans flushed?
A: It is my professional opinion that your trans should never need a flush as long as proper maintenence intervals are performed, at least as often as your owners manual discribes. Drop pan, change filter and fill with the proper type of fluid thats also prescribed in the manual. It will vary types from one generation to another. The reason to avoid the flushes is because there is only ONE correct procedure to do this type of service. But I have found numerous instances, including dealerships that break it up into profit procedures, not proper preventitive maintenence procedures.

Q: Can I change more often than the manual reccommendes?
A: YES! Absolutely. There is absolutley no way to over service anything. In fact the harder you work your trans the more often it should be done.

Q: Is there a better fluid than what it came with?
A: Yes and no. Yes because there are some group 4 synthitics that are on the market, and in extreme situations can provide better service. However I STRONGLY suggest that you stay with the OEM types while your under OEM or even extended warranties. DC is VERY picky about your warranty and sometimes will test for the correct fluid type before approving any warrantable repairs. Also OEM fluids are a group 3 synthitic and are excellent fluids with the proper levels of properties that exactly match your trans needs. Never consider any aftermarket fluids or external filteration to extend the service life of your trans fluid. It is NOT an engine, its a trans and the filter is in the pan and has to be changed.

Q: When should I adjust my bands?
A: Here again it is my professional opinion that this should not be done. If your trans works properly then leave the adjustments alone. There are adjustment bolts on the trans, one external, one in the pan. The one external is second gear, the one in the pan is for reverse and manual low brake. Adjusting the band does not change shift points, or correct slipping. The VB, computer and throttle valve cable (untill 05 anyway, no more cable to adjust) is responsible WHEN a shift is to happen. IF its slipping or has no second or reverse then the band for that gear has worn out, adjustments will only cause further damage. Just like running your brake pads to metal against the rotor, your only grinding metal.

I will have more on why bands and clutchs do what they do in a different segments with pics to illustrate what happens in the trans.

Q: What type of filter should I use and is there a better type than OEM?
A: Actually the aftermarket in most cases is exactly the same brand that the OEMs use. There are only a couple of manufacturers for trans filters. DC does not make them, they buy them just as you would. Just pay attention to the filter type, if its a plastic type replace with the same, the same goes for the felt pad. Do not interchange the types. On the late 2nd gens and all 3rd gen the pan gasket is a hard material type with a bonded rubber bead. That gasket is reusable forever, dont replace it or use a different type. Never use grease or any kind of sealents or glues on the pan, gasket or trans. The earlier pans have a cork gasket. Replace it with a cork gasket. The other types of material fail quicker and you will have a leaky trans.

Q: What type of additive should I use to help my trans stay healthy?
A: NONE, NADA!! NEVER use an additive. An additive is something that puts components in your fluid that was not originally there. Some do absolutly nothing, they just get your money. Some are extremely harmful to your trans. However there are suppiments that you can use at a fluid change. A suppiment simply 'recharges' the components that normally wear down over time. Lubegard in the red bottle for A+3 fluid and Lubegard in the black bottle for the A+4. However if you change the fluid more often than the manual requires then suppliments ane not needed. I personally reccommend once a year or every 20,000 miles, which ever happens first.

Other reccomendations will be following in later "how to" for repairs comming soon.
The mods I talk about here is for information purposes only. I experiment on my own vehicles but do not endorse the modifications that I make to my vehicles to be used on others. If you use this info that I talk about, you use it at your own risk and responsibility.

03 Dodge 4X4 quad cab Dually. Two travel trailers, 1 cargo trailer. Lots of ham radios. Call sign N5ZYK Tech class. On 28.300 to 28.500 around 10:00 AM to 2:00PM every sunday.
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