How to Service an Automatic Transmission Filter
Ryco Filters Technical Article
Just as it is with your vehicle’s engine, regular fluid and filter changes are vital in keeping your vehicle’s automatic transmission in tip-top shape. Today we’re looking at the PX Ford Ranger. Extremely popular with everyone from tradies to families, you’d be hard-pressed to go out for a drive on Australian roads without coming across at least one. As tough as these absolute workhorses are, it’s important to make sure you don’t get slack when it comes to maintenance. The last thing you would want is your automatic transmission giving out on the worksite our out in the bush.
How do you know if it’s time to service your automatic transmission? According to Ford’s maintenance schedule, your automatic transmission fluid and filter should be replaced every 240,000km or 10 years, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to regularly check your transmission dipstick. If you’re seeing dark-coloured fluid, or the fluid isn’t meeting the full level, it might be time for a service. If you’re starting to feel like your transmission isn’t performing the way it be, a transmission service should be your first course of action. After all, a service could make the difference between a healthy transmission for years to come, and a costly repair or replacement. Gremlins such as transmission slippage, strange noises, or poor shift feel are all signs that your transmission might be overdue for a service.
What’s needed to get the job sorted? Along with your basic hand tools, a floor jack (if you’re not lucky enough to have a hoist at your disposal), and a pair of jack stands, you’ll need some fresh automatic transmission fluid, and a transmission filter kit. Ryco offers a complete transmission filter kit to suit the PX Ford Ranger. The Ryco RTK186 Transmission Filter Kit includes the transmission filter itself, as well as a fresh transmission pan gasket.
To suit PX Ford Ranger w/ 6R80 transmission code up to 04/13 build date.
The Ryco Transmission Filter works by removing contaminants to ensure that clean transmission fluid flows throughout the system at all times, which in turn maintains transmission life and overall performance. As with all Ryco products, the RTK186 Transmission Filter Kit is put through stringent testing procedures within out dedicated filtration laboratory to ensure that it excels in all 3 critical areas to meet the requirements of excellent filtration – Efficiency, Life, and Flow.
Now for the job at hand. First, you’ll need to get the vehicle up in the air and on jack stands (safety first, as always). It can be quite a messy job, so be sure to lay down a tarp, or some cardboard, and have your drain pan at the ready. Transmission fluid drains better when it’s at operating temperature, so if possible, do the job after a drive, or idle the vehicle for a few minutes before getting the car up on stands.
Next, locate all of the transmission pan bolts, and get to work loosening them. Start by removing the bolts at one side of the transmission and loosen the bolts on the other side without removing them. This will allow the fluid to start draining. Once you’ve got as much of the fluid out of there as possible, remove the remaining bolts and drop the transmission pan, catching the remaining fluid with your drain pan. If the transmission pan is being stubborn, you may need to break the gasket seal with a flathead screwdriver. You’ll need to take extra care here not to damage the mating surface of the transmission.
Once you have the transmission pan off the car, clean any sealant or remaining gasket material off the pan and transmission housing with a razor blade and some solvent. Now’s a good time to inspect the pan for any metal shavings or any other signs of internal damage.
Now it’s time to get to the filter itself. Here, it’s just a matter of removing the old filter and O-ring and installing the fresh Ryco transmission filter. The old filter will have some fluid in it, so have your drain pan at the ready. When fitting up the fresh filter, take care to make sure everything seats up as it should.
With the fresh filter installed, it’s time to start putting everything back together. Take the transmission pan gasket from your RTK186 Transmission Filter Kit and line everything up with the transmission pan. Apply some oil soluble grease and refit the pan to the transmission pan. Thread all of the transmission pan bolts finger tight first, then torque the bolts to spec in a spiral pattern, starting from the center of the pan.
Now that everything is back together, it’s just a matter of filling the transmission with fresh fluid. Locate the fill point, which is on the PX Ranger, is on the left side between the exhaust and the transmission housing. Check your service manual to ensure the correct fluid amount and begin filling the transmission with fresh fluid.
Once you’ve got fluid up to the full point on the transmission dipstick, all there’s left to do is get the vehicle back on the ground and start it up. With the vehicle running, check for any leaks and take it for a drive, ensuring that the transmission is shifting smoothly through all the gears.
And there you have it. A relatively simple job, regular transmission servicing is essential in keeping your Ranger healthy and reliable. If it’s time for your transmission service, be sure to pick up your Ryco RTK186 Transmission Filter Kit and get to work!
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