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Reading up, I learned that there is no transmission oil dipstick, and the fuel filter is deemed "lifetime" and therefore built into the fuel tank. Gee that'll be fun to work around, when the time comes.

It's a certainty that the enthusiast/DIY community has already found workarounds for these lazy/cheap engineering choices, just as with our Vstroms (Exhibit A being the inline fuel filter mod).
That is very normal these days in cars. Modern cars don't really need fuel filters, just a sock around the pump in the tank. Since the debris never makes it beyond the tank there is nothing to clog. Even my last ram didn't have one and that thing was at nearly 200K with no issues when I got my new one.
 

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Best maintenance for the transmission is a proper ATF flush by a bladder type machine every 2 or 3 years. It connects to the transmission cooler lines.

Cheers,
Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Regarding the fuel filter, I'll believe it when I see it.

I'm sure someone once made such a statement about the built-into-pump filters in our Vstroms. We know how that worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #64
Best maintenance for the transmission is a proper ATF flush by a bladder type machine every 2 or 3 years. It connects to the transmission cooler lines.

Cheers,
Glenn
Exactly why I called it lazy/cheap engineering. Obviously ATF should be changed periodically, "lifetime" is a lie. Ford just wanted to save a few pennies (and perhaps encourage dealer work) by making it require special "dealer" equipment to do a totally standard thing.
 

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Exactly why I called it lazy/cheap engineering. Obviously ATF should be changed periodically, "lifetime" is a lie. Ford just wanted to save a few pennies (and perhaps encourage dealer work) by making it require special "dealer" equipment to do a totally standard thing.
It is impossible to change your own transmission fluid without some sort of fluid replacement machine. Dropping the pan in an automatic gets you maybe 1/3 of the fluid. And it isn't Ford, it is almost literally every car made in the last 20 years ;)
(Jebus you are making me defend ford)
 

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Discussion Starter #66
The 1998 Mercury is one of the exceptions. Its 4R70W transmission has a drain plug on the torque converter. So, you can drain that, in addition to what comes out from dropping the transmission pan. I had to put around 5-6 quarts Mercon V back in, which is pretty close to 100% replacement.

Later models of the 4R70W (and other Ford transmissions) did indeed delete that drain plug on the torque converter. In keeping with the "let's save a few pennies on manufacture, and cause massive inconvenience to the DIY-er/attempt to create work for dealers" trend.
 

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The 1998 Mercury is one of the exceptions. Its 4R70W transmission has a drain plug on the torque converter. So, you can drain that, in addition to what comes out from dropping the transmission pan. I had to put around 5-6 quarts Mercon V back in, which is pretty close to 100% replacement.

Later models of the 4R70W (and other Ford transmissions) did indeed delete that drain plug on the torque converter. In keeping with the "let's save a few pennies on manufacture, and cause massive inconvenience to the DIY-er/attempt to create work for dealers" trend.
You have a 1998 Mercury that was built in the last 20 years? LOL

FWIW, a 4r70w holds about 14 quarts. If you ever rebuild a transmission you will understand where the rest of it is. I've rebuilt a bunch of automatics of various brands, and everytime you say to yourself - at least all the fluid is finally out - more comes out of the next part you remove. That is why a fluid exchange machine is the only way to go - and you will typically pump 1.25X the fluid volume through the exchange machine just to make sure you get most of the old stuff out.
 

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Doing a pan drop fluid replacement every year will actually keep the fluid reasonably clean for most folks. Heavy work like towing, stop and go city driving or driving a lot in deep snow will change that. No, it isn't a fluid flush by a machine, but it sure is a lot better than nothing (which is what the auto industry hopes you will do).

Cheers,
Glenn
 

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Doing a pan drop fluid replacement every year will actually keep the fluid reasonably clean for most folks. Heavy work like towing, stop and go city driving or driving a lot in deep snow will change that. No, it isn't a fluid flush by a machine, but it sure is a lot better than nothing (which is what the auto industry hopes you will do).

Cheers,
Glenn
I go with the $200 or so fluid replacement - by the dealer at the MFG spec mileage and have not had any issues. In my trucks that is every 50K or so due to the towing, in our other DD cars it is specd at 100K or more and those we don't keep that long. (My wifes 2011 Optima has 60K on it)

Most modern vehicles have a mfg spec of over 100K for trans fluid. Modern transmissions don't work as hard as the old ones due to the number of gears and the better tolerances.

Much like the 3000 mile oil change, the 12-36K trans fluid change is a thing of the distant past. The oil change spec on my 2018 Ram is 8K miles with conventional oil.
 

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I go with the $200 or so fluid replacement - by the dealer at the MFG spec mileage and have not had any issues. In my trucks that is every 50K or so due to the towing, in our other DD cars it is specd at 100K or more and those we don't keep that long. (My wifes 2011 Optima has 60K on it)

Most modern vehicles have a mfg spec of over 100K for trans fluid. Modern transmissions don't work as hard as the old ones due to the number of gears and the better tolerances.

Much like the 3000 mile oil change, the 12-36K trans fluid change is a thing of the distant past. The oil change spec on my 2018 Ram is 8K miles with conventional oil.
Yup, but there are places in this world that you cannot get a fluid replacement. I've been in those places. I remember when the "Lifetime" fluid thing started happening there was no spec for fluid replacement. Maybe there was a fluid inspection? I can't remember.

Valid point about modern transmission workloads. The other thing that is HUGELY important for transmissions is to have a cooler installed if there isn't one fitted by the factory. If you drive up a few hills the fluid will get too hot. If you do it enough the hot fluid can compromise and shorten the life of the plastic bits in the transmission.

The Coquihalla Highway in BC is a perfect example of this.

Cheers,
Glenn
 

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Discussion Starter #71
Checked my notes from back then - I was misremembering, above. In fact I bought not 5 qt, but 15 qt of Mercon V (3 x 5-qt jugs), and used all of it. So yes, I did manage to replace nearly all the Merconv V in my '98's 4R70W, despite not having access to a fluid exchange machine. This is one way it can be done:

 

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Checked my notes from back then - I was misremembering, above. In fact I bought not 5 qt, but 15 qt of Mercon V (3 x 5-qt jugs), and used all of it. So yes, I did manage to replace nearly all the Merconv V in my '98's 4R70W, despite not having access to a fluid exchange machine. This is one way it can be done:

Word of advise - don't do that in a car you care about. I've seen stuff like that before and it all depends on you making sure not to pump the trans pan dry - as soon as that happens you are burning up parts. Using their instructions, once you are seeing bubbles in the return line it is too late. It is booty fab and a false economy if your time is worth anything at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #73 (Edited)
I didn't do it that way myself - can't recall the exact steps I took but good to know. The old 4R70W has made it about 30k miles since I did that swap.

Unfortunately, one of the trans's front seals has started to leak, not unexpectedly given the >200k miles of service. That was the final straw for me giving up on the car altogether. It's become too much of a science project, together with the paint falling off, leaky valve covers, and did I mention it looks awful because the paint is falling off? :)

I don't think that procedure I linked would work with the Fusion. There is no way to directly measure the amount of oil in the trans - such as a dipstick - so you'd be flying blind.
 

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I don't think that procedure I linked would work with the Fusion. There is no way to directly measure the amount of oil in the trans - such as a dipstick - so you'd be flying blind.
Start the engine and slowly select each gear position, stopping in each position and allowing the transmission to engage.
With the engine running in PARK on a level hoist make sure the transmission is at normal operating temperature 85-93°C (185-200°F). Check the transmission fluid is even with the oil leveling plug hole.
If the transmission fluid is not even with the oil leveling plug hole, add clean transmission fluid in increments of 0.25L (0.5 pt) until the transmission fluid is even with the oil leveling plug hole.
 
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