How to Change Transmission Fluid for a Explorerby Dan Ferrell
Ford recommends changing the fluid in your Explorer transmission every 90,000 miles--or sooner if the oil becomes burned, discolored or filled with metal, dirt or rust particles. Changing the transmission fluid will prevent premature wear of internal transmission parts and components. You can easily perform this maintenance task yourself, in your own driveway, with some simple tools and a torque wrench.
Removing the Transmission Fluid
Warm up the transmission oil to operating temperature. Go for a 20-minute drive on the highway, or run some errands that require a 30-minute city drive.
Park your Explorer on a level surface.
Raise the front of your SUV, using a floor jack, and support the vehicle on jack stands.
Put on your goggles, get under the Explorer, and clean the flange and edge of the transmission oil pan of dirt and grime with a soft brush.
Position a large drain pan under the transmission oil pan.
Remove the side and front oil-pan mounting bolts using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.
Loosen the rear-pan mounting bolts with the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket and allow the transmission oil to drain. If necessary, separate the pan from the transmission with a wooden wedge.
Support the oil pan in place by hand, using one or two shop towels to shield yourself from the hot surface, and finish removing the rear-pan bolts using the ratchet extension and socket.
Lower the pan carefully over the drain pan and tilt the transmission pan to drain the rest of the oil. Then remove the transmission pan and gasket from the Ford Explorer.
Unbolt and remove the filter from under the transmission using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket. Also, remove the O-ring from the filter fitting if equipped with it.
Adding New Transmission Fluid
Scrape the traces of old gasket from the transmission pan and transmission sealing surfaces using a plastic scraper, and clean the transmission sealing surface and transmission pan with solvent. Let the transmission pan air-dry.
Install a new transmission-filter O-ring to the fitting.
Install the new transmission filter and tighten the bolts using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.
Apply a light coat of silicone adhesive sealant to the new transmission pan gasket and set the gasket on the transmission pan.
Hold the transmission pan in place, and install the pan mounting bolts hand-tight.
Tighten the transmission-pan bolts gradually, following a crisscross pattern, using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.
Torque the transmission-pan bolts to 71 to 119 inch-lbs. using a torque wrench.
Add 3 qts. of the recommended automatic transmission fluid for your particular Explorer model through the dipstick tube, using a funnel.
Lower your Explorer, then start the engine and move the transmission shift selector through every gear and back to "Park." Then let the transmission reach operating temperature.
Apply the parking brake, and block the front wheels with chocks. With the engine still running, check the transmission oil level. Pour more transmission oil so the level reaches the “Full” mark on the dipstick, and turn off the engine.
- "Ford Explorer, Mazda Navajo, Mercury Mountaineer & Explorer Sport, Sport Trac Automotive Repair Manual"; Jay Storer and John H. Haynes; 2005
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- 2 jack stands
- Soft brush
- Large drain pan
- Ratchet extension
- Wooden wedge, if necessary
- Shop towels
- Plastic scraper
- Filter O-ring
- Silicone adhesive sealant
- Torque wrench
- Automatic transmission oil
- 2 wheel chocks
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.