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  #1  
Old 29th October 2013
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Default should i change tranny fluid

Hello,
I just checked the tranny fluid on my 03 9-3 linear and it was black but did not smell burnt.I just got the car and even though it has a service history there is no mention of a trans fluid change.Car just hit 100k mil and i read that changing fluid can lead to tranny problems.

thoughts
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  #2  
Old 29th October 2013
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I just did a ATF change on my 9-3 at 113k miles. So far no problems, I think it is just flushing that causes problems.
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  #3  
Old 29th October 2013
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A drain and fill with proper fluid should be fine. Keep in mind only about 1/3 of fluid is changed out.
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  #4  
Old 29th October 2013
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I'm a firm believer in power flushing automatic transmissions at 30K mile intervals. I would extend those intervals for transmissions running synthetic ATF. I've never heard any credible evidence that power flushing hurts automatic transmissions, and I've had excellent service (150K miles and better without problems) with transmissions that had regular power flushes.
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  #5  
Old 30th October 2013
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Mine was power flushed too.
Haven't had any issue.
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  #6  
Old 30th October 2013
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great info thanks
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  #7  
Old 30th October 2013
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It doesn't hurt to check the manual for service intervals and find out what the recommended oil change intervals are. A few cars use synthetic ATF from the factory and have quite extended change intervals in the range of 100K miles.

With standard ATF, I'd recommend the power flushes.

In fact, this reminds me that I need to check the intervals for my daughter - she recently bought a 2008 9.3 Aero V6. It has 80K miles, and the transmission fluid needs to be checked. The mechanic who did the pre-purchase inspection said the fluids all looked fresh, but a double-check is in order.
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  #8  
Old 30th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I'm a firm believer in power flushing automatic transmissions at 30K mile intervals. I would extend those intervals for transmissions running synthetic ATF. I've never heard any credible evidence that power flushing hurts automatic transmissions, and I've had excellent service (150K miles and better without problems) with transmissions that had regular power flushes.
I can see your point, but Saab/GM must have had a valid reason for never adopting the flushing method on the ss models.
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  #9  
Old 30th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAABalingus View Post
I can see your point, but Saab/GM must have had a valid reason for never adopting the flushing method on the ss models.
If the service manual specifically forbids it, I'd pass on it, but is that the case? I don't have one handy. (Not sure what "never adopting" means...clarification is welcome.)
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  #10  
Old 31st October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SAABalingus View Post
I can see your point, but Saab/GM must have had a valid reason for never adopting the flushing method on the ss models.
Ditto. Saab/GM and other makes specifically say not to "flush" the system, only drain and fill.
Also, only use the proper fluid.
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  #11  
Old 2nd November 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmicflash View Post
Ditto. Saab/GM and other makes specifically say not to "flush" the system, only drain and fill. Also, only use the proper fluid.
I was going to ask if anyone could point me to online sources which specifically cite this approach ...so I got to searching.

I think I just answered my own question. Here's the text of a GM service bulletin, found at http://chevrolet.workshop-manuals.co...ex.php?id=3689

Pay specific attention to the section beginning with Subsystem Flushing and the transmission section which follows.

QUOTE:
Technical Service Bulletins
Vehicle - Engine Crankcase and Subsystems Flushing Info. INFORMATION Bulletin No.: 04-06-01-029E Date: April 29, 2010 Subject: Unnecessary Flushing Services, Additive Recommendations and Proper Utilization of GM Simplified Maintenance Schedule to Enhance Customer Service Experience

Models: 2011 and Prior GM Passenger Cars and Trucks (including Saturn)
2010 and Prior HUMMER H2, H3
2005-2009 Saab 9-7X

Supercede:

This bulletin is being revised to update the model years and add information about the proper transmission flush procedure. Please discard Corporate
Bulletin Number 04-06-01-029D (Section 06 - Engine/Propulsion System).

An Overview of Proper Vehicle Service

General Motors is aware that some companies are marketing tools and equipment to support a subsystem flushing procedures. These dedicated machines are in addition to many engine oil, cooling system, fuel system, A/C, transmission flush and steering system additives available to the consumer. GM Vehicles under normal usage do not require any additional procedures or additives beyond what is advised under the former Vehicle Maintenance Schedules or the current Simplified Maintenance Schedules. Do not confuse machines available from Kent-Moore/SPX that are designed to aid and accelerate the process of fluid changing with these flushing machines.

Engine Crankcase Flushing

General Motors Corporation does not endorse or recommend engine crankcase flushing for any of its gasoline engines. Analysis of some of the aftermarket materials used for crankcase flushing indicate incompatibility with GM engine components and the potential for damage to some engine seals and bearings. Damage to engine components resulting from crankcase flushing IS NOT COVERED under the terms of the New Vehicle Warranty.

GM Authorized Service Information:

Detailed, Descriptive, and Complete If a specific model vehicle or powertrain need is identified, GM will issue an Authorized Service Document containing a procedure and, if required, provide, make available, or require the specific use of a machine, tool or chemical to accomplish proper vehicle servicing. An example of this is fuel injector cleaning. Due to variation in fuel quality in different areas of the country, GM has recognized the need for fuel injector cleaning methods on some engines, though under normal circumstances, this service is not part of the maintenance requirements.

GM has published several gasoline fuel injector cleaning bulletins that fully outline the methods to be used in conjunction with GM Part Numbered solutions to accomplish proper and safe cleaning of the fuel injectors with preventative maintenance suggestions to maintain optimum performance. You may refer to Corporate Bulletin Numbers 03-06-04-030 and 04-06-04-051 for additional information on this subject.

Subsystem Flushing

Flushing of A/C lines, radiators, transmission coolers, and power steering systems are recognized practices to be performed after catastrophic failures or extreme corrosion when encountered in radiators. For acceptable A/C flushing concerns, refer to Corporate Bulletin Number 01-01-38-006. This practice is NOT required or recommended for normal service operations.

The use of external transmission fluid exchange or flush machines is NOT recommended for the automatic or manual transmission. Use of external machines to replace the fluid may affect the operation or durability of the transmission.

Transmission fluid should only be replaced by draining and refilling following directions in SI. Refer to Automatic/Manual Transmission Fluid and Filter Replacement.

Approved Transmission Flushing Tool (Transmission Cooler Only)

The Automatic Transmission Oil Cooler Flush and Flow Test Tool is recommended for GM vehicles. Refer to Transmission Fluid Cooler Flushing and Flow Test in SI using the J 45096.

Service Is Important to You and Your Customer

General Motors takes great pride in offering our dealerships and customers high quality vehicles that require extremely low maintenance over the life of the vehicle. This low cost of ownership builds repeat sales and offers our customers measurable economy of operation against competing vehicles.

- End Quote -

I believe I shall change my practice. I've followed the debate about flushing / not flushing, and I've always had excellent results from having a dealership (not a quickie lube place) flush the transmission. Also, one of the best transmission guys I know (and a friend) has told me the secret to extended life for automatic transmissions is a flush every 30K miles. I usually buy cars with 80K or more miles on them, and I've never had a problem with one after starting a program of power flushes at 30K mile intervals.

HOWEVER - I have no problem with using a procedure which everyone does agree is safe, which is a basic fluid drop and ATF/filter replacement - no flushing. I believe I will change my routine to the more basic one. My daughter's 2008 9.3 Aero V6 is ready for this at 84K miles.

Last edited by Pilgrim; 2nd November 2013 at 01:53 PM.
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  #12  
Old 2nd November 2013
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Since I have a 2003 that is notorious for tranny problems I have read EVERY tranny thread that has come through here in the last 10 years. I've seen multiple threads where people have had no problems with their car and did a tranny flush and started having problems shortly after. For this reason I will continue to believe it is not a good idea.
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  #13  
Old 2nd November 2013
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Just for the sake of adding more confusion to this topic.
I brought my vehicle to the Saab of Troy dealership. That dealership used to be the biggest dealership in the us (in terms of sales volume) back when Saab was still around.
When I purchased mine, it had 86K miles on it.
After inspecting the multiple fluids I came to the conclusion that the previous owner didn't keep up with maintenance at all so I decided to flush all of the fluids.

The Saab of Troy doesn't offer you the option of getting a drain and refill. Despite asking for it, they kept answering that the power flush was the only alternative and that it was just as safe as the drain and refill.

Also, the guidelines that you posted say that a power flush is not recommended as it MAY damage or weaken the transmission.
What I read: We haven't tested the power flush so please stick to the drain and fill as we're sure it's not going to do any harm to your tranny

I haven't had any issues, besides the fact that I had to drive back to the dealership because they didn't put enough fluid back in (short .4 of a liter)
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  #14  
Old 3rd November 2013
Cosmicflash Cosmicflash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I was going to ask if anyone could point me to online sources which specifically cite this approach ...so I got to searching.

I think I just answered my own question. Here's the text of a GM service bulletin, found at http://chevrolet.workshop-manuals.co...ex.php?id=3689

Pay specific attention to the section beginning with Subsystem Flushing and the transmission section which follows.

QUOTE:
Technical Service Bulletins
Vehicle - Engine Crankcase and Subsystems Flushing Info. INFORMATION Bulletin No.: 04-06-01-029E Date: April 29, 2010 Subject: Unnecessary Flushing Services, Additive Recommendations and Proper Utilization of GM Simplified Maintenance Schedule to Enhance Customer Service Experience

Models: 2011 and Prior GM Passenger Cars and Trucks (including Saturn)
2010 and Prior HUMMER H2, H3
2005-2009 Saab 9-7X

Supercede:

This bulletin is being revised to update the model years and add information about the proper transmission flush procedure. Please discard Corporate
Bulletin Number 04-06-01-029D (Section 06 - Engine/Propulsion System).

An Overview of Proper Vehicle Service

General Motors is aware that some companies are marketing tools and equipment to support a subsystem flushing procedures. These dedicated machines are in addition to many engine oil, cooling system, fuel system, A/C, transmission flush and steering system additives available to the consumer. GM Vehicles under normal usage do not require any additional procedures or additives beyond what is advised under the former Vehicle Maintenance Schedules or the current Simplified Maintenance Schedules. Do not confuse machines available from Kent-Moore/SPX that are designed to aid and accelerate the process of fluid changing with these flushing machines.

Engine Crankcase Flushing

General Motors Corporation does not endorse or recommend engine crankcase flushing for any of its gasoline engines. Analysis of some of the aftermarket materials used for crankcase flushing indicate incompatibility with GM engine components and the potential for damage to some engine seals and bearings. Damage to engine components resulting from crankcase flushing IS NOT COVERED under the terms of the New Vehicle Warranty.

GM Authorized Service Information:

Detailed, Descriptive, and Complete If a specific model vehicle or powertrain need is identified, GM will issue an Authorized Service Document containing a procedure and, if required, provide, make available, or require the specific use of a machine, tool or chemical to accomplish proper vehicle servicing. An example of this is fuel injector cleaning. Due to variation in fuel quality in different areas of the country, GM has recognized the need for fuel injector cleaning methods on some engines, though under normal circumstances, this service is not part of the maintenance requirements.

GM has published several gasoline fuel injector cleaning bulletins that fully outline the methods to be used in conjunction with GM Part Numbered solutions to accomplish proper and safe cleaning of the fuel injectors with preventative maintenance suggestions to maintain optimum performance. You may refer to Corporate Bulletin Numbers 03-06-04-030 and 04-06-04-051 for additional information on this subject.

Subsystem Flushing

Flushing of A/C lines, radiators, transmission coolers, and power steering systems are recognized practices to be performed after catastrophic failures or extreme corrosion when encountered in radiators. For acceptable A/C flushing concerns, refer to Corporate Bulletin Number 01-01-38-006. This practice is NOT required or recommended for normal service operations.

The use of external transmission fluid exchange or flush machines is NOT recommended for the automatic or manual transmission. Use of external machines to replace the fluid may affect the operation or durability of the transmission.

Transmission fluid should only be replaced by draining and refilling following directions in SI. Refer to Automatic/Manual Transmission Fluid and Filter Replacement.

Approved Transmission Flushing Tool (Transmission Cooler Only)

The Automatic Transmission Oil Cooler Flush and Flow Test Tool is recommended for GM vehicles. Refer to Transmission Fluid Cooler Flushing and Flow Test in SI using the J 45096.

Service Is Important to You and Your Customer

General Motors takes great pride in offering our dealerships and customers high quality vehicles that require extremely low maintenance over the life of the vehicle. This low cost of ownership builds repeat sales and offers our customers measurable economy of operation against competing vehicles.

- End Quote -

I believe I shall change my practice. I've followed the debate about flushing / not flushing, and I've always had excellent results from having a dealership (not a quickie lube place) flush the transmission. Also, one of the best transmission guys I know (and a friend) has told me the secret to extended life for automatic transmissions is a flush every 30K miles. I usually buy cars with 80K or more miles on them, and I've never had a problem with one after starting a program of power flushes at 30K mile intervals.

HOWEVER - I have no problem with using a procedure which everyone does agree is safe, which is a basic fluid drop and ATF/filter replacement - no flushing. I believe I will change my routine to the more basic one. My daughter's 2008 9.3 Aero V6 is ready for this at 84K miles.
Well this is what I've been saying for years and my dealer showed me a similar bulletin to this about 7 or 8 years ago. Good find btw.

The machines are for the dealerships to make money like the BG things.

I think where the flushing are problematic is when the tranny fluid is original with high miles and then the flush takes all the gunk, ie clutch material, floating around and disposes of making the new fluid properties vastly different. Also the flushes can dislodge build up crap then get lodged or stuck in solenoids, etc.

A drain and fill every so often is easy, cheap, and won't hurt anything.
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  #15  
Old 28th October 2018
abcdetech abcdetech is offline
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2004 Saab 9-3 Linear. 140K miles (bought at 123K)
Time for Service came up. I see it's recommended fluid change at 120K.
I was about to drain/fill my transmission fluid. Anyway I will be lifting my car for oil change and bumper/spoiler repair.
I checked transmission fluid level - level is Ok, color is pink/rose, not dark brown/black.

Q: should I refill transmission fluid? Transmission shifts/runs smoothly, no issues at all.

Thanks.
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  #16  
Old 28th October 2018
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Yes. Oil change interval is 120 000 KM, not miles.
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  #17  
Old 2nd November 2018
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I would change it.
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  #18  
Old 2nd November 2018
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Aisin make the auto trans. It does not have a conventional filter and screen. The case is split vertically. The screens are on the shift solenoids. Aisin themselves strongly recommend changing the trans fluid every 40,000 miles. I have a case of Mobil 3309 for that purpose. I change it annually (not 40,000 miles) I do not flush it.

The Avalanche I drive, when we bought it had a fresh trans in it , as the cooler lines had not been changed under a recall and blew and lunched the trans. I confirmed it was a new ( not rebuilt) trans when I bought it. But it had a nasty little flare on the 3/4 shift under light load I did not like. I changed the filter and screen and fluid ( conventional horizontal split pan) and still that flare was there. Then two years in , flushed it with cleaner at the local dealer, the shop foreman who is now the service manager, and is a trans expert, recommended it. Trans has been great ever since the shift flare has never reoccurred.

The SAAB, shortly after I bought it, hung up early in 5th converter lock up. Trans expert said change fluid. I did and it worked fine. Trans has been great ever since.

Aisin last year came up with the strong position on fluid changes; they should know.

So bottom line, change fluid, if you don't flush it fine, just do it more often or three times at once.
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  #19  
Old 21st November 2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qwikredline View Post
Aisin last year came up with the strong position on fluid changes; they should know.
Aisin supplies the transmissions for Touareg/Audi Qx/Porsche Cayenne (why not ZF?) VAG used to say that the fluid is lifetime.

Of course the "lifetime" is a lot longer if you change the fluid.
You don't spend that much on a car and not change the fluids.
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  #20  
Old 3rd December 2018
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I tend to drain and fill mine every couple of years or so and have done so for the past 100k miles on my 93. Typically, I drain 8-12 quarts out of in total and the process takes about 1-2 hours with driving time in between changes. The fluid comes out clean and red every time. I have never had transmission issues. Its more of a preventative measure for me.
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