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View Full Version : Transmission dipstick not showing level...has this happened to anyone?



CaifanSC
06-28-2002, 03:00 AM
I just drained my transmission fluid and changed the filter and gasket. My car had been sitting for a while and since i got it running, and since i have so many miles on the engine and transmission i decided change these things. Before doing so i checked the fluid level and i noticed that the level wasnt clear. In other words, there was no clear fluid mark on the dipstick. After changing the fluid and filter, i refilled the transmission with 3 quarts of fluid and when i tried to check the level, the same thing happened. You can tell that the dipstick is in contact with fluid because there are traces of fluid...the things is wet, but there is no clear mark of the level. Sometimes i get a clear reading that is barely about 1/4 inch from the tip of the dipstick and that is impossible since i've put at least 3.5 quarts of fluid. And sometimes i get slight fluid marks past the normal level line (also impossible since i havent put that much fluid in). This is pretty anoying and dangerous because i have to keep the transmission with plenty of fluid (since its slipping). Has this happened to anyone? If so, is there a fix? Could it be that the dipstick, since its so old, has just lost its original form and has curved so bad that it just doenst read the level right? any help is welcome. thanx

MKTSC
06-28-2002, 08:15 AM
this too happens to me. i never could get a clear reading. i just drained EVERYTHING including the torque converter, and added the spec. a couple of times after that i did get a clearer reading.
-matt

LJGriggs
06-28-2002, 10:52 AM
How much fluid did you refill the tranny with? The total amount required for a full refill (including the torque converter) is 12 - 13 qts.

MKTSC
06-28-2002, 11:40 AM
i believe that the back of my ford shop manual said 12.1 qts thats how much i put in.

Mike8675309
06-28-2002, 11:44 AM
Verify the length of the dipstick with a couple people and then fill it till it's full. Maybe the torque converter is not stock and takes more fluid?

LJGriggs
06-28-2002, 11:49 AM
Also, if you have installed an aftermarket transmission fluid cooler, that can affect the amount of fluid required.

Sounds like you have the right amount in there, if it ain't leaking out, the dipstick may be the culprit.....

CaifanSC
06-28-2002, 01:26 PM
oo...thanx for the responses guys. WEll, what i did was just remove the trans. fluid pan. I dont know if that automatically drains the torque converter...can anyone verify this for me? I also read on the shop manual that there is a 12 qt. fluid capacity for the tranny, but on the haynes manual it sais to add 4-5 pints (about 3 qts), so i did that. Right now the car is on stands b/c im fixing my e-break (replacing the cables) so if Im low on fluid i'd like to know before i start the car again. thanx again

LJGriggs
06-28-2002, 02:20 PM
There is a drain plug on the Torque Converter that is accessable without removing the pan. On the front side of the "bell-housing" where the tranny connects to the block, you will find a rubber dust flap (if its still there) that can be removed to provide access to the torque converter. If you rotate the crankshaft (using a socket wrench on the bolt that secures the harmonic balancer) you will find a drain plug (bolt). Removing this plug will drain the TC. After you drain it (and if you didn't drain it when you changed the fluid in the pan, you will probably want to drain the pan again too) replace the plug and fill the tranny with 12 qts of good (I use Mobile1 synthetic, just check the specs) ATF. Start the engine and move the shifter through each of the settings allowing a few seconds in each position. This process fills the TC. You will notice that when you put the car in gear it will not move. That is because the TC dosen't engage the tranny until it is filled. Be carefull because if you don't have your foot on the brake when the TC engages, well, you know..... Take the car for a spin to get the fluid up to temp and then check the fluid level. Add as necessary. You may also find that a good bit of the slipping has been eliminated as well.

MKTSC
06-28-2002, 02:20 PM
it's about 7 without the converter drain. you DID NOT drain the converter by simply draining the pan. to drain the converter, pull off the rubber grommet on the bell housing and rotate the converter untill you see a drainplug that lines up with the grommet hole. you can rotate the coverter by getting a big ~~~ wrench (1/2") and a big ~~~ socket that fits on the bolt on your crank pulley. and simply rotate it. 2 people helps, one to work the wrench and one to look at the converter. then just take out the plug, and let the converter drain. it's 12 quarts with the converter drain. dont believe haynes. trust your ford manual.
hope this helps. if not, there's an article on tccoa.com in the technical articles section about draining your converter.
-matt

CaifanSC
06-28-2002, 06:54 PM
AWESOME info guys! very prompt too...i think imma drain the tranny pan again, drain the TC and put mobil synthetic fluid instead of the cheapo stuff I used...i just wanted to make sure the tranny was still Ok. Thanx again!

luis

steamboat10
06-28-2002, 07:49 PM
This maybe over obvious but you do realize that you should check the Transmission Fluid Lever with the engine running.