F150 Transmission Oil & Filter
Ford F150 4x4 with 4.6L V-8, 4R70W 4spd
electronic automatic (code U in doorjam)
these instructions at your own risk.
Tools needed for the job:
- Safety glasses
- Rubber gloves
- Ratchet, extension, and 10mm, 11mm,
18mm metric sockets
- Jack stands or lift (for non-4x4)
- Cleaning solvent
- Drain pan
- 13 quarts Mercon V transmission oil
(I used Castrol - part synthetic) DO
NOT use Mercon or Dextron III. They are
- Filter Kit (Fram FT1167) which
comes with a gasket which you don't
- Flashlight or worklight
wear safety glasses while under the
vehicle for eye protection as there's
lots of dirt and grime under there just
waiting to drop into your eyes.
Here's an email I received recently
on the tranny oil procedure pointing out
I wanted to thank you for the post on
how to change the fluid in the F150. It
inspired me to do it myself. Thank You
for sharing your experience via the
A couple things:
The torque converter plug can be located
by using a remote starter, easily
connected while removing the rubber
plug. You can fine tune the location of
the plug with a box end on the crank
pulley if you position yourself feet out
After thoroughly cleaning the magnet I
realized it can be removed.
And lastly, if you disconnect the fluid
line at the radiator you can start the
motor and pump most of the transmission
fluid out of the pan so it isn't such a
sloppy job to get it down.
Nick in Spartanburg, SC
Here's a picture of the Ford 4R70W
transmission pan with the gasket sitting
on top. The OE gasket is re-usable and
is stamped as such shown by the red
arrow on the right side of the picture
below. Notice the grey colour donut
magnet shown by the arrow on the top
left of the picture.
- Wait until the vehicle has cooled
off for at least 1/2hr if you've just
driven it to avoid getting a "hot oil
treatment"... burns hurt!
- Remove the rubber inspection
grommet (1 1/2inch diameter) between
the engine and the transmission in the
bottom of the bell housing. Use a
flathead screwdriver to pry it out -
- With an assistant under the vehicle
looking into the inspection hole with a
flashlight or worklight, use the 18mm
socket & wrench to turn the crankshaft
pulley (by the radiator) to turn the
engine (clockwise). In the inspection
hole you will see the torque converter.
Have your assistant stop you turning
the engine when the 11mm drain bolt is
visible in the torque converter. You
can do the procedure yourself but it is
a lot of climbing under the vehicle and
back to turning the crank pulley until
you find the plug.
- Place your drain pan under the
inspection hole and remove the drain
plug out of the torque converter with
an 11mm socket and extension. The oil
will pour out slowly... in fact it may
take a couple hours to fully drain the
torque converter. It is estimated that
it holds almost half of the
transmission fluid capacity or around 6
- Replace the drain plug and tighten
securely but do not over-tighten. Some
people like to use locktite on the
threads to prevent it coming out. This
is difficult unless you let it drain
overnight so you can clean off the plug
and dry off the threads in the torque
converter. If fluid is still dripping
out it will be difficult. It's
optional! Ok, then after tightening the
plug, replace the inspection cover.
- Loosen all the bolts holding the
transmission oil pan on. Carefully
remove the bolts by one corner of the
pan. Carefully pry the pan down at that
corner with your drain pan underneath.
There will be fluid going everywhere.
Try to get a drain pan that is at least
18 inches wide.
- Keep removing the other bolts but
leave them loose on one edge to hold
the pan up. Tilt it more to get more
oil out. Once half of the oil is
drained hold the pan back up with an
assistant if you have one and remove
the rest of the bolts while your
assistant holds the pan up. Then
carefully drop the pan (without
spilling fluid all over yourself) into
your drain pan. Drain it.
- Using rags or paper towels and
solvent clean the interior of the pan
and carefully remove the sludge from
the pan magnet at the bottom. There is
a metallic film on most of the pan
surfaces that will wipe off.
- Note the position of the OE filter,
pull it off and replace it with the new
one, make sure the old rubber seal
comes out too. Pop the new filter in
place of the old one in the same
position. Use clean rags to clean the
gasket mating surfaces on the pan and
the transmission. The old gasket is
re-usable. Place the pan back up onto
the transmission. Hand-tighten all the
- If you have a torque wrench use it
to make sure you don't over-tighten the
- Using a long funnel fill about 5-6
quarts into the transmission through
the dipstick tube. You'll need a small
- Start the engine and run it for 30
- Fill another 4 or 5 quarts.
- Start the engine again and run 30
- Inspect level with the dipstick.
- Fill more oil up to "full" mark on
- Drive it around the block and again
check the oil level.
There will remain about 1 or 1 1/2
quarts in the oil cooler and hoses which
can be blown out with compressed air if
you so desire but the hoses will have to
be removed so most people don't bother.
It's also difficult if you don't have
compressed air handy.
When you start the engine the
hydraulic pump in the transmission fills
up the torque converter. You don't want
to overfill the transmission right away
as 13 quarts won't fit in it while the
engine is stopped because the torque
converter is empty to start with, that's
why you have to start it up a couple of
times, otherwise you may blow oil out
the vent tube and/or blow some seals.
If you accidentally overfill it, the
easiest way to get some fluid out is to
drain some from the torque converter.
Then you won't have to touch the pan
Procedure on V-6 and EOD or 4R100
automatic transmission will differ
slightly with different sized sockets
and different oil. Check your
transmission oil dipstick. Most Ford
truck automatics went from Mercon to
Mercon V during the 1998 model year.
Early models got Mercon and the
corresponding dipstick. Apparently
Mercon V can be run in a Mercon
transmission but don't run Mercon in a
Mercon V transmission.
If you find a little plastic plug
with a rubber o-ring, don't worry, this
was in the dipstick tube while the
engine was assembled on the assembly
line and falls into the transmission
pan. It's not a broken or missing part!
Discard it or keep it as a souvenier.
Mine took just a hair over 12 quarts.
Capacity if the transmission oil
cooler/lines where empty as well is
listed at 13.5 quarts.
- 13 quarts Castrol Mercon V
semi-synthetic $4.88/qt for $63.52
- Trans filter kit $39.54 (with
gasket that isn't needed)
- your time $? - approximately 4 hrs
Many transmission shops do a "power"
fluid change by hooking up to the cooler
lines and doing a pressure fill/exchange
without dropping the transmission oil
pan. This isn't the best since you have
old fluid mixing with new, and you
haven't changed the filter. As well the
magnet in the pan won't get a cleaning
and won't work as effectively to catch
metal sludge/particles out of the oil.
Think of a power flush as taking a
shower, then putting your dirty clothes
back on. Not exactly ideal.
Do it yourself, then you'll know it
has been done right!