How to Change Automatic Transmission Fluid in a Ford Explorer

Written by ehow cars editor
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You don't have to change the automatic transmission fluid on your Ford Explorers if you drive it under normal driving conditions, but regular changes will extend the life of the transmission. Explorers driven under severe conditions need regular transmission fluid changes. Consult your owner's manual for a schedule. The following covers Ford Explorers models from 1991 through 1999.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Ramps or a floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • 2 drain pans
  • Compressed low pressure air
  • Socket wrench
  • Rubber hammer
  • Solvent
  • Clean lint-free cloth
  • New filter assembly
  • New gasket
  • Torque wrench
  • Funnel
  • New transmission fluid (see Tips)

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    Drain the Transmission Fluid and Replace the Filter

  1. 1

    Raise the car with ramps or a floor jack and support it with jack stands. Find the lower cover of the torque converter housing. Turn the torque converter until you find the drain plug. Place a drain pan beneath the drain hole, remove the plug and drain the fluid.

  2. 2

    Remove the cooler lines at the transmission and flush them with compressed, low pressure air. Be careful during this step; fluid may shoot from the other cooler line.

  3. 3

    Place a large drain pan beneath the transmission. Loosen the retaining bolts on the oil pan with a socket wrench until they are within a few turns of removal. If the seal doesn't break on its own, gently tap it with a rubber hammer. Fluid will drain from the edges of the pan.

  4. 4

    Remove the pan retaining bolts when the fluid stops draining. There is still transmission fluid in the pan. Hold the pan carefully and drain as much as you can into the drain pan.

  5. 5

    Scape the old gasket material from the mating surfaces on the oil pan and the transmission. Discard the old gasket. Clean the magnet in the pan. Clean the pan and the mating surfaces with a solvent and a clean, lint-free cloth. Replace the magnet and allow the pan to air dry.

  6. 6

    Employ a socket wrench to remove the bolt that holds the filter onto the transmission. Some models may have two bolts. Pull the filter and any old seals or gaskets from the transmission. Install a new filter assembly, including any required seals or gaskets.

  7. 7

    Put a new gasket on the oil pan and reinstall it on the transmission. Tighten the retaining bolts to 79- to 119-inch pounds with a torque wrench. Replace the cooler lines on the transmission and the drain plug on the torque converter.

    Add New Transmission Fluid

  1. 1

    Return the Explorer to level ground. Remove the dipstick from the filler tube and replace it with a funnel. Add about 6 quarts of automatic transmission fluid to the transmission through the filler tube.

  2. 2

    Start the engine, move the gear selector through the gears and let it rest in "Park" or "Neutral." If you let it rest in "Neutral," engage the emergency brakes. Let the engine run for 15 to 20 minutes to allow the engine and transmission to reach normal operating temperature.

  3. 3

    Check the fluid level with the dipstick. Add more fluid if needed.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to the dipstick to find the recommended type of transmission fluid for your vehicle.
  • If you can measure the amount of transmission fluid that drained from the transmission pan and torque converter, you'll know exactly how much new fluid you need.

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