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Walt
Dodge Dakota
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11/18/2005
16:58:46

Subject: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Today I had a mechanic change and replace my Auto. Trans. Fluid and both filters. (2001 Dakota with 4.7L V8, 45RFE Trans). After we were done filling the trans. I was looking at my manual to see how uch fluid to add. I noticed it said ATF+4 fluid only. We had replaced the fluid with +3 fluid, which is what the local Napa computer said to use. I called up the Napa store, they said they have never heard of +4 fluid and don't stock it, and the +3 should be fine to run in it.
Anyone know the truth? If I need to replace it with +4, am I going to have to just drain the fluid, or do I need to replace the filters again? Alreay paid $80 to service the trans, but will pay it again to keep it running fine. Anyone?
Thanks



Forseti
Dodge Dakota
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11/18/2005
17:47:23

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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I have been told that the +4 is NOT compatable with +3...... if its true the mechanic screwed up big time



.boB
Dodge Dakota
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11/18/2005
19:56:22

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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I agree. It's backwards compatible, meaning if it calls for +3, it's OK (and advisable) to use +4. But not the other way around. Have the system flushed and refilled with +4.



Walt
Dodge Dakota
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11/19/2005
11:05:04

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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I'm guessing when you say flush the system is to change the fluid again? I talked to the Napa guy today, he said I shouldn't need to replace the filters, they don't hold that much to matter, just take them off, drain them and then add the right fluid. Coarse, he's the one who sold me the wrong stuff to begin with. He is getting the +4 fluid, said he'd start stocking it, don't help me much though.
Thanks for the help.



.boB
Dodge Dakota
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11/19/2005
11:09:30

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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If you just drain and fill, you're leaving a couple quarts behind in the converter, cooler lines, etc. You need to use a flushing machine to get all that fluid out of there. I would replace the filters.



DSW
Dodge Dakota
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11/19/2005
17:37:08

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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AFT+3 was used in the 45RFE's, then DC changed everything to ATF+4 when it was released. My 00's manual said to use ATF+3 and that's what I used when the truck was at 50K. When I went to the Dodge dealership in 2002, they said everything was superceeded to ATF+4 and I should have used thier new $8/qt ATF+4.

Got to love DC,,, they say you can only use ATF+4 which you can only get it from Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep,,, nice revenue path
:-(

I've heard DC recently released thier super secret ATF+4 formula ;-)

Since my truck left the factory with ATF+3 I wasn't concerned with draining and refilling it with ATF+4. I ran the truck another 30K on the ATF+3, then changed to Amsoil Universal ATF at 80K. The transmission was still going strong at 140K when the truck was totalled.

Your not going to destroy the transmission by running ATF+3, but ATF+4 is a better semi-synthetic fluid, if in doubt and if you still have a warranty in affect you might want to go for the ATF+4.



Tom_Turkey
Dodge Dakota
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11/23/2005
20:43:50

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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ATF+3 should be fine. My 2000 came with it. 4.7 45rfe. +4 is supposed to be better, but i've only used the +3 as it's cheaper, more convinent,(wal-mart 5 miles, dealer for +4, 15 miles) and it came with it. Next change will probably +4 as dodge released the formula. Hope to find it in a parts store soon.



OBIO3
Dodge Dakota
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11/24/2005
22:27:55

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Warrenty is not a problem > There is no way they could now what oil you have in the tranny unless you tell them > You do however need proof you serviced the tranny at the miles discribed in your book > That requires a shop bill If done in a shop > If you bought the oil, just go buy the needed filters and +4 tranny fluid and save it till the next change > That way you have papers saying you got the recommended stuff > The +3 well be ok > The +4 is better >



Dennis
Dodge Dakota
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11/28/2005
10:23:29

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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2000 CC 4X4 76K miles
I have never changed the trans fluid in my truck and was wondering at how many miles I was suppossed to. (Don't have the owners manual handy). Also, if I just drain what's in the pan and change out the filter(s) is there value in that or do I really have to figure out how to flush out the whole system? Sorry, one more. If I only change what's in the pan and replace it with +4, is it okay that it's going to mix with the +3 in the rest of the system?



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11/28/2005
13:54:21

Transmission Fluid = Amsoil ATF for ATF+4 = Amzoil
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Since 1999, due to the special requirements of their automatic transmissions, Chrysler has recommended a unique ATF+4 formulation. In addition, Chrysler has been recommending ATF+4 for all previous makes and models of Chrysler Corporation vehicles.

The new AMSOIL Synthetic ATF exceeds the performance specifications for Chrysler ATF+, +2, +3, and +4 as well as MS-7176 A, B, C, D, & E; MS-9602 A, B, & C. as well as Ford Mercon or General Motors Dexron III applications. AMSOIL Synthetic ATF is available in quarts, quart cases, twin packs, 30-gallon and 55-gallon drums.

AMSOIL Synthetic ATF provides outstanding high and low temperature performance and oxidation stability. AMSOIL Synthetic ATF also improves fuel efficiency, reduces transmission temperatures and increases equipment life. The service life of the universal AMSOIL Synthetic ATF is up to five times the service life of conventional ATFs.
__________________________________________________


You can REQUEST A FREE AMSOIL CATALOG by clicking below.

Thank You, Steven Roark, Amsoil Dealer # 1061837
__________________________________________________



Steven Roark , Amsoil Dealer , Proud Sponsor of www.DodgeDakotas.com

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils, Lubricants, Filtration, and Truck Care Products



AmsoilSponsor
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11/28/2005
13:58:34

Transmission Fluid = Amsoil ATF for ATF+4 = Amzoil
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Clarification ...

Chrysler has recommended over time Chrysler ATF+, ATF+2, ATF+3, and ATF+4. Chrysler ATF+4 is the latest version. Bottom Line ... Dodge realized that their transmissions were weak and they had to reformulate.

Chrysler went from ATF+ (MS 7176B) to ATF+4 in less than ten years. Essentially they were trying to make up for shifting problems in some of their transmissions by "tweaking" the frictional properties of their fluid rather than recalling the affected units. The ATF+4 fluid does seem to have solved the problems with some of the transmissions from the mid 1990's.
__________________________________________________


However, I know many Dodge owners that have noticeable and significant improvements switching to Amsoil Universal Synthetic ATF. They state that the transmission characteristics are better than when it was new.
__________________________________________________

Amsoil Universal Synthetic ATF is truely "Universal" ...

Recommended for applications requiring the following specifications:

GM Dexron II, Dexron III; Ford Mercon, Mercon V; Chrysler ATF+, ATF+2, ATF+3, ATF+4; Mitsubishi Diamond SP II & III; Allison C-3 & C-4 and TES-295; Caterpillar Powershift Transmission TO-2 & TO-3; Voith Commercial Transmissions; GM Strasbourg (European Imports) and Opel; Applications requiring Honda Z-1 transmission fluids; Toyota Type T and T-IV
__________________________________________________

Special Note: Amsoil did offer a Synthetic ATF specifically for ATF +3/+4 applications about 3-4 years ago. However once they were able to integrate this additive chemistry into their Dexron/Mercon formulation, they discontinued making this second fluid.
__________________________________________________

You can Request a FREE AMSOIL CATALOG by clicking the following link.



Steven Roark , Amsoil Dealer , Proud Sponsor of www.DodgeDakotas.com

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils, Lubricants, Filtration, and Truck Care Products



DSW
Dodge Dakota
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11/28/2005
19:30:40

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Dennis, your ATF should have been changed twice already, every 30K, especially since your 2000 probably came with ATF+3. Don't do a pan drop and refill "only" because your only getting 1/2 of the fluid. You need to try and get all the old funky ATF out of your tranny.

Amosil's website has a good article on flushing the tranny. Basically, drop the pan, change filters, refill, take cooler line off radiator and allow truck to pump out the dirty fluid as you add fresh fluid,,, though thier acticle has a bit better detail ;-) I have done this to my ol'2000 cc and 2003 QC and it worked like a charm, think it took somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 qts of fluid.

If you tow this would be a good time to add a tranny cooler, I did this while flushing my tranny with Amsoil Universal ATF.

ATF+4 and Amsoil Universal ATF are both compatable with ATF+3. Heck if you want to get by cheap you can use ATF+3 in your 2000, it's what came in my 2000, probably yours also, see my post above.

While your at it flush your power steering fluid, it's going to be gnarly lookin at 76K. Amsoil Universal ATF (or ATF+4) works good in the P/S system also, did it to my 00 and 03 because the fluid was a nice dark brown color.



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11/29/2005
08:34:15

Transmission Fluid = Amsoil ATF for ATF+4 = Amzoil
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If you are going to DIY ... You can pick up a filter kit from AutoZone for about $10 and it contains the filter and gasket. It is not nessasary to use any silicon or gasket sealer just be sure your pan surface is clean. NOTE: It is a messy DIY job.

==================================================
For your convenience, I will post DIY instructions here.

Changing Your Transmission Fluid in 12 EASY Steps:

1. Make sure the fluid is warm. Warm up your Dakota so the transmission is at normal operating temperature. Pull the transmission dipstick. Fresh fluid is translucent and cherry red. Some darkening is normal, but if it is reddish brown or mustard color and smells like burnt varnish, it is worn out.

2. Drain the fluid by loosening the pan. Select the correct filter replacement based on pan shape and prepare a large pan to catch the fluid. Then loosen each pan bolt a turn or two and loosen one corner more than rest. Drain mostly from this corner.

3. Finish removing the pan and any gasket material from the pan or case. Avoid scratching the metal and make sure the pan’s gasket surface isn’t bent or distorted.

4. Remove the old filter. Most transmission filters are held in place with a bolt or two, but some are held by a clip. Be careful to include O-Rings or other seals.

5. Install a new filter. Use the clips or bolts from the old filter. Be sure O-Rings, etc. are in place. If the filter has a long intake neck, gently push the neck into place without unseating the O-Ring.

6. Clean the pan thoroughly. Inspect the pan before cleaning. A small amount of fine grey clutch dust is normal. However, if you find metal shavings, there has been transmission damage. Clean the pan with solvent and wipe dry so there is no harmful residue.

7. Position gasket on pan. Some gaskets have four holes slightly smaller than the rest to allow four bolts through the pan and through these smaller holes to hold the gasket in place.

8. Hand tighten pan bolts in a criss-cross pattern. After that, use a torque wrench to tighten bolts to proper ft-lbs as per manufacturer.

9. Refill the transmission using only the amount shown as “refill capacity” in the owners manual or "AMSOIL Product Selection Guide,” using the type of fluid specified for the vehicle.

10. If doing only a partial fluid replacement, skip to instruction 12 below. If doing a complete fluid replacement, follow the steps in instruction 11.

11. You now have replaced the fluid in the pan. To replace the fluid in the torque converter and oil cooler also, follow these steps.

Step 1. Obtain the total system capacity of the vehicle from the manufacturer or AMSOIL. Have this amount readily available.

Step 2. Disconnect the oil cooler line from the oil cooler. As you may not know which is the pressure side and which is the return side, have both directed so the stream of fluid will be directed toward a receptacle.

Step 3. With another person, be prepared to add ATF to the fill area as it is being pumped out of the oil cooler line.

Step 4. Start the engine, and as the old fluid is pumped out, add fresh fluid to the pan.

Step 5. When either the fluid color brightens or the total capacity has been replaced, shut the engine off and re-attach the oil cooler line. All fluids has now been changed.

12. Recheck the fluid level. With the truck on level ground, set the parking brake and the transmission in “Park” or “Neutral.” Let the engine idle for a few minutes. Shift the transmission into different positions before returning the lever to “Park” or “Neutral.” Check the fluid level again and check for leaks.

__________________________________________________


Amsoil UNIVERSAL Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid

Improves fuel efficiency, reduces transmission temperatures and increases transmission life. Provides unsurpassed thermal stability and up to five times the service life of conventional ATFs. Delivers maximum protection for towing and other severe-duty applications.

Recommended for applications requiring the following specifications:

Chrysler ATF+, ATF+2, ATF+3, ATF+4

--------------------------------------------------

You can REQUEST A FREE AMSOIL CATALOG by clicking below.




Steven Roark , Amsoil Dealer , Proud Sponsor of www.DodgeDakotas.com

AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oils, Lubricants, Filtration, and Truck Care Products



ucimaplaya2
Dodge Dakota
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11/29/2005
10:36:14

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Everything .boB said is accurate, but if your using a flushing machine you shouldn't need to change the filters since they are new anyway. The machine should take care of all that fluid anyway. But maybe you should anyway, it couldn't hurt, and they are fairly cheap. I think that they changed over to atf +4, in 2001.



Dennis
Dodge Dakota
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11/30/2005
15:29:09

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Thanks Steven and DSW for all the input. I was only going to change the fluid in the pan but I'm pretty handy and based on the provided instructions, I think I can handle the full replacement.
DSW, it sounds like you have a 2000 CC as well. Where is the line I need to disconnect from the oil cooler (i assume the oil cooler is sitting in front of the radiator). Will that line come off pretty easily? Anything else I should be aware of? Thanks again.



DSW
Dodge Dakota
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11/30/2005
23:56:57

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Dennis, I had an 00 CC and now have an 03 QC, both the same engine wise. The tranny cooler lines connect to the back side of the radiator on the air cleaner side,,, they are a PITA to get off because, big wrench, little room. If your truck has the tow package the secondary tranny cooler should be in front of the AC condensor, don't know, I had to add a HD secondary tranny cooler to both of my Dak's. If you have the tranny cooler in front of the rad, disconnect one of these hoses, much easier this way.

From what I remember the top line was the pressure side. It loosened easily, but took some time to get all the way off, 1/16 turn at a time. Attach 5' of clear tubing to the fitting, this way you can see the fluid changes color and pump all the old fluid into a jug. I bought 5 gallons (20 QTS) of Amsoil ATF ($100+) and used one of the 2.5 gallon jugs for this procedure, thier jug was the perfect size.

Once you have the filters changed and the tranny refilled, flushing out the rest of the old fluid is easy.



last_username
Dodge Dakota
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12/01/2005
08:42:59

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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I have an 01 r/t and can tell you that the line going to the upper part of the radiator is the pressure line. On my truck I was able to just use a fuel/transmission line seperator ($20 at NAPA) and got the line disconnected in seconds. (It is a tool that slips in between the metal line attached to the radiator and the fitting at the end of the rubber line) Doing this will save you alot of hassle.

On a side note, you might want to think about an auxillary cooler at this time (if you don't already have one) they are easy to install. Another idea is to remove the check ball in the transmission line (easily noticeable because it is a large brass bulbous fitting attached to the rubber line). Originally it was designed to stop fluid from returning to the pan and help with cold starts. However, that little check ball inside the line can block ALL flow if it gets clogged from metal shavings or clutch material. If this happens its good-bye tranny.





Dennis
Dodge Dakota
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12/01/2005
13:13:03

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Thanks for all the great information and I'm sorry to sound like an idiot.
I have a couple more questions. First off I don't have the tow package or the secondary cooler so it sounds like this is going to be a little more difficult. I bought the two filters today for my 2000 CC 4x4. I intend to try to flush the whole system using the procedure outlined above. Again, not trying to sound like an idiot you talk about the top line being the pressure side. Is that the line and the only line I need to remove? When I put it back do I need to seal the threads with anything so it doesn't leak? Any idea what size wrench I need? Lastly, I bought the filters at the dealer because my local parts store didn't have either and the price was almost the same. The dealer told me there is no gasket on the pan and I should just use silicone. Do you agree? Thanks again, you guys always save me a ton of money.



DSW
Dodge Dakota
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12/01/2005
14:44:49

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Silicone the pan, though I have heard mention that there's supposed to be an aftermarket gasket.

You only need to remove the pressure hose,,, the one that pumps fluid out from the tranny,,, should be the top one on the radiator. There's an Oring on the end of the fitting, set it aside so you can put it back in place when re-attaching the top tranny cooler line to the radiator, no need to seal the threads with the Oring, besides I doubt it would do any good with this type of connector. Replacing the old Oring is a good idea, but I didn't have a spare and reusing the old one worked for me.

Don't remember the size of the wrench I used on the fitting nut.

If you tow with the truck adding a tranny cooler is a good idea, if you don't tow, don't worry about adding the tranny cooler.



Dennis
Dodge Dakota
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12/01/2005
15:17:29

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Sorry, my local Amsoil guy just gave me another question to ask. If I do this, do I need to worry about getting air in the system?



2003 4.7
Dodge Dakota
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12/07/2005
02:03:27

RE: Transmission Fluid????'s
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Make shure you don't use so much silicone as to squash out into the pan. This could cause filter clogs if the silicone breaks off. I've always used gaskets on tranny pans to prevent this.
Air in the system will be purged out by dipstick tube and/or any vapor vents in system. worst case scenario is foaming of fluid, in that case you'd have to shut down the engine so the air can escape from the fluid.



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