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Unread 08-28-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
YeOlCherokee
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Burnt Transmission Fluid, help?

Hi guys,

I have a 98 cherokee with about 130000 miles.

the transmission fluid is burnt, and i know the "what to do" in this situation is very contraversial.

The fluid is dark. It is brown, not Black, but deffinitely brown. There are no particles in it, it looks clear. Kind of just smells dull and burnt, but not too bad, but its deffinitely been that way for a while.

The transmission shifts fairly well. Its not perfect, but i cant complain. If im not hitting the throttle hard and just accelerating calmly, it shifts like butter. If i accelerate a little harder, you can feel it shift, but not too roughly.

Many people tell me just to leave it, and drive it til it goes. So if im going to do that, i would like to extend that as long as possible, unless it is advisable for me to change the fluid (drop the pan and replace, not flush).

a few people have reccomended just leaving it, but removing ONE quart and adding a quart of LUBEGARD RED to the trans. I was never a fan of additives but so many people have said that while this stuff isnt a miracle worker, it deffintely has its benefits.

So should i:

1.) Leave it as it is and not touch anything

2.) Leave the burnt fluid but switch out a quart of it with LUBEGARD RED

3.) Change the fluid, and in what manner (drop pan and just replace that, filter no filter?)

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Unread 08-28-2013, 05:21 PM   #2
psychoteen101
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Its hard to say, you don't have any known issues. Me personally, I would drop the pan, change the filter and put new fluid in. Do not flush the trans, that can cause issues to pop up, but typically a drain and fill with new filter wont hurt anything.

If you do drop the pan, the only difficulty is the dip stick tube. They connect about half way up and you gotta separate it or else the pan wont come out. It gets frozen where the connection is most of the time. If that's the case, use something like a propane torch and heat it up a little bit and that will free it up. Theres a small O ring in there to seal it, replace it and youre all good.
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Unread 08-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #3
CJ7-Tim
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If you leave the burnt fluid, the transmission will fail.

Simply service the transmission. Use the transmission pan drain plug and drain/refill 3-4 quarts of Dexron-III/Mercon transmission fluid. Do this every 100-150 miles until the drained fluid looks just like the fresh fluid. Dropping the pan and changing the filter is a very good idea, but some consider that optional.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 01:08 AM   #4
the_weirdo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
If you leave the burnt fluid, the transmission will fail.

Simply service the transmission. Use the transmission pan drain plug and drain/refill 3-4 quarts of Dexron-III/Mercon trans fluid. Do this every 100-150 miles until the drained fluid looks just like the fresh fluid. Dropping the pan and changing the filter is a very good idea, but some consider that optional.
Yep, do it this way.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 05:02 PM   #5
Newtons3
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X3. I did this and when the fluid looked reasonably clear, I got in the habit of draining the three qts out of the pan and refilling at oil changes.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 09:39 PM   #6
brak876
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Do a filter and fluid change.
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Unread 08-29-2013, 10:34 PM   #7
wgirvine
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There is no magic goo that will make your tranny new again. Just do what Tim says...
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Unread 08-31-2013, 02:20 AM   #8
anony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YeOlCherokee View Post
Hi guys,

I have a 98 cherokee with about 130000 miles.

the transmission fluid is burnt, and i know the "what to do" in this situation is very contraversial.

The fluid is dark. It is brown, not Black, but deffinitely brown. There are no particles in it, it looks clear. Kind of just smells dull and burnt, but not too bad, but its deffinitely been that way for a while.

The transmission shifts fairly well. Its not perfect, but i cant complain. If im not hitting the throttle hard and just accelerating calmly, it shifts like butter. If i accelerate a little harder, you can feel it shift, but not too roughly.

Many people tell me just to leave it, and drive it til it goes. So if im going to do that, i would like to extend that as long as possible, unless it is advisable for me to change the fluid (drop the pan and replace, not flush).

a few people have reccomended just leaving it, but removing ONE quart and adding a quart of LUBEGARD RED to the trans. I was never a fan of additives but so many people have said that while this stuff isnt a miracle worker, it deffintely has its benefits.

So should i:

1.) Leave it as it is and not touch anything

2.) Leave the burnt fluid but switch out a quart of it with LUBEGARD RED

3.) Change the fluid, and in what manner (drop pan and just replace that, filter no filter?)
Look for an ATF color chart, drop some fluid on a piece of white paper ... and do a comparison ..

There are many ATF color charts ... here are a couple found through Google images ..

http://www.magna-guard.com/Images/ATF1.jpg

http://uploads.dashboard.bizbrag.com...olor-chart.jpg

If the fluid looks like it needs to be changed, does not smell burnt, etc. do a drain and fill ..

If the fluid looks contaminated more than normal, smells burnt, etc. * and the transmission is working properly ... you can try a passive flush - change filter & add new oil, re-install pan, remove the supply cooler line, place in a large bucket , let engine idle, add new ATF as the old fluid flows out ..

Reverse and power flushes are normally done (recommended in the FSM) only if there has been certain types of work performed on the transmission.

Transmission shops sometimes use a passive cooler line method as described above or they may have a passive flush system that allows the transmission to pump fluid the same as when the engine is running at idle.

The recommended drain and fill for the AW4 and the XJ are schedules A and B ... severe to normal duty ... every ~12,000 to ~30,000 miles.

(info. below from service manuals)

First is Schedule “A” . It lists all the scheduled maintenance to be performed under “normal” operating conditions.

Second is Schedule “B” . It is a schedule for vehicles that are operated under these conditions:
_ Frequent short trips driving less than 5 miles (8km)
_ Frequent driving in dusty conditions
_ Frequent trailer towing
_ Extensive idling
_ More than 50% of driving is at sustained high speeds during hot weather, above 90°F (32°C)
_ Off-road driving
_ Desert operation


FLUID CONTAMINATION
Transmission fluid contamination is generally a result of:

_ adding incorrect fluid
_ failure to clean dipstick and fill tube when checking level
_ engine coolant entering the fluid
_ internal failure that generates debris
_ overheat that generates sludge (fluid breakdown)
_ failure to reverse flush cooler and lines after repair
_ failure to replace contaminated converter after repair

The use of non recommended fluids can result in transmission failure. The usual results are erratic shifts, slippage, abnormal wear and eventual failure due to fluid breakdown and sludge formation. Avoid this condition by using recommended fluids only.

CAUSES OF BURNT FLUID
Burnt, discolored fluid is a result of overheating which has two primary causes.
(1) A result of restricted fluid flow through the main and/or auxiliary cooler. This condition is usually the result of a faulty or improperly installed drainback valve, a damaged main cooler, or severe restrictions in the coolers and lines caused by debris or kinked lines.
(2) Heavy duty operation with a vehicle not properly equipped for this type of operation. Trailer towing or similar high load operation will overheat the transmission fluid if the vehicle is improperly equipped. Such vehicles should have an auxiliary transmission fluid cooler, a heavy duty cooling system, and the engine/axle ratio combination needed to handle heavy loads.

Checking Fluid Condition

Inspect the appearance of the fluid during the fluid level check. The fluid should be clear and free of foreign material and particles. If the fluid is dark brown or black in color and smells burnt, the fluid has been overheated and should be replaced.

Transmission operation should also be checked if the fluid is severely discolored and contains quantities of foreign material, metal particles, or clutch friction material.

Small quanities of friction or metal particles is normal. The particles are usually generated during break-in period and indicate normal seating of various transmission components.
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Unread 08-31-2013, 06:39 AM   #9
tjwalker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
If you leave the burnt fluid, the transmission will fail.

Simply service the transmission. Use the transmission pan drain plug and drain/refill 3-4 quarts of Dexron-III/Mercon trans fluid. Do this every 100-150 miles until the drained fluid looks just like the fresh fluid. Dropping the pan and changing the filter is a very good idea, but some consider that optional.
I'd go with Tim's recommendation and when the fluid stays "red" in color, at that time I would drop the pan and change the filter if it has never been done.

Use Dex/Merc III compatible fluid, NOT ATF+4!
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Unread 09-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
anony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychoteen101 View Post
Its hard to say, you don't have any known issues. Me personally, I would drop the pan, change the filter and put new fluid in. Do not flush the trans, that can cause issues to pop up, but typically a drain and fill with new filter wont hurt anything.

If you do drop the pan, the only difficulty is the dip stick tube. They connect about half way up and you gotta separate it or else the pan wont come out. It gets frozen where the connection is most of the time. If that's the case, use something like a propane torch and heat it up a little bit and that will free it up. Theres a small O ring in there to seal it, replace it and youre all good.
On the 98 the rear trans. cooler line can be removed or loosened so there is enough clearance to remove the entire pan with the entire dip stick tube assembly attached. You just have to angle the tube and pan correctly in order to pull the pan. _ After trying to heat the rusted tube with a propane torch the tube still would not separate so it was left as it is. _
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Unread 09-03-2013, 04:23 PM   #11
psychoteen101
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^ Why not ATF+4? If thats what was installed into the transmission from the factory, you shouldnt change it to a different fluid. If youre talking about TSB 21-010-06 4/14/2006, that was superceded by TSB 21-014-07 and stated that if ATF+4 was the fluid used from the factory, thats what should be used at all times. Unless im mistaken...
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Unread 09-03-2013, 05:52 PM   #12
dmill89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychoteen101 View Post
^ Why not ATF+4? If thats what was installed into the transmission from the factory, you shouldnt change it to a different fluid. If youre talking about TSB 21-010-06 4/14/2006, that was superceded by TSB 21-014-07 and stated that if ATF+4 was the fluid used from the factory, thats what should be used at all times. Unless im mistaken...
ATF+4 was not the factory fluid for the AW4, the factory fill was Dexron II or III (depending on year). The AW4 is not a Chrysler transmission. It is made by Aisin (it was designed during a partnership with Warner gear, hence the AW prefix but this partnership ended before most units were produced) which has only ever recommended Dexron (originally Dexron II then Dexron III).

The Chrysler TSB came years after the XJ was discontinued and was a result of Chrysler not wanting to stock a different fluid. Some AW4s are fine with ATF +4, some have issues, it is best not to take the risk, especially since Dexron III is cheaper than ATF+4.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 06:30 PM   #13
tjwalker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmill89 View Post
ATF+4 was not the factory fluid for the AW4, the factory fill was Dexron II or III (depending on year). The AW4 is not a Chrysler transmission. It is made by Aisin (it was designed during a partnership with Warner gear, hence the AW prefix but this partnership ended before most units were produced) which has only ever recommended Dexron (originally Dexron II then Dexron III).

The Chrysler TSB came years after the XJ was discontinued and was a result of Chrysler not wanting to stock a different fluid. Some AW4s are fine with ATF +4, some have issues, it is best not to take the risk, especially since Dexron III is cheaper than ATF+4.
Well said. Dex/Merc is factory fluid. Stick with it. Period.
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Unread 09-03-2013, 08:44 PM   #14
anony
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychoteen101 View Post
^ Why not ATF+4? If thats what was installed into the transmission from the factory, you shouldnt change it to a different fluid. If youre talking about TSB 21-010-06 4/14/2006, that was superceded by TSB 21-014-07 and stated that if ATF+4 was the fluid used from the factory, thats what should be used at all times. Unless im mistaken...


I once ran an XJ - AW4 .. that a transmission shop had replaced transmission fluid on the advice of Chrysler with ATF+4 ... there were no problems with run-ability that I could detect ... However I don't know if I would recommend ATF+4 over Dexron III ... Ask a transmission shop what fluid they would use in a new or newly rebuilt AW4 ... some may say Dexron III other might say ATF+4 because it is recommended by Chrysler.

Chrysler created their own standard ATF, perhaps did some testing and decided ATF+4 is ok for the AW4 ... but who knows under what conditions the testing was done. Does ATF testing include high mileage vehicles and transmissions ?

Dexron III compatible ATF are available, some appear more conventionally refined while others are synthetics of varying quality.

Valvoline Dexron / Mercon Automatic Transmission Fluid is an acceptable ATF. As with most Dexron III ATF ... under normal duty requires partial drain every 30,000 miles under sever duty every 12,000 miles. along with a new filter.

There are Dexron III compatible synthetics that exceed the specs of more conventional ATFs. Some claim to have longer life, run cleaner and have a broader low to high temperature range than Dex III or ATF+4.
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Unread 09-05-2013, 06:27 PM   #15
CJ7-Tim
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Dexron-III/Mercon transmission fluid is available everywhere, and is the specified AW-4 fluid in both the Cherokee Owners Manual and the Cherokee Factory Service Manual. There have been enough threads about ATF+ causing problems in the AW-4 and given the easy availability of Dex-III/Merc, there is no reason to not run Dex-III/Merc. I can buy Dex-III/Merc at Wally-Mart, the local big box Home Improvement store, any auto parts store, and even the grocery store has 3 quarts on the shelf.

I am sticking with Dex-III/Merc in my fleet.
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