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Author Topic: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood  (Read 677 times)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« on: September 20, 2021, 05:32:37 PM »
My 1993 Fleetwood transmission suddenly started mildly acting up--slow upshifts, a couple of hard shifts, and an apparent slowness of the torque converter to engage at a start.  Once warm and at freeway speeds, it's smooth.

Before handing it to a shop, I want to replace the transmission fluid and filter.

From what I've read, an actual flush is a bad idea.

I've seen the suggestion that about half will come out changing the filter, and then to connect a large quantity to the transmission fluid input, and gather from the output until it comes out clean.   It suggested that this will take about the full capacity, so I have 20 qts on order, expecting to spend 10 and leave 10 in.

I'm wondering, though, if I can use a fluid hand pump like this one:

https://www.harborfreight.com/multi-use-transfer-pump-63144.html


to pull more ATF out of either the input or output without risking damage.

And any other suggestions would be appreciated.

1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2021, 11:02:06 PM »
Usually a flush is what you are describing except using a machine that makes it less messy.   The machines basically have a piston in a cylinder so that the fresh fluid going in stays matched to old fluid coming out.  The cylinder is often clear and back lit so you can monitor whats going on. 

I don't think it matters.   If the transmission is shot its not going to matter much if its got new fluid or not, if its days are numbered they are numbered.   Maybe not distributing it will give it a few more miles?   Maybe fresh fluid will give it a few more miles?    If its in decent shape new fluid won't hurt it.   
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline TMoore - NTCLC

  • Posts: 454
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2021, 09:22:07 AM »
On most cars that I have done, I have just dropped the pan, changed the filter, cleaned the pan and put it back together and filled it up.  Yes, this only does a little over half of the capacity, but that is usually okay - just the act of inspecting the filter and pan can give you an idea of what might be going on.

I have done the full, messy flush on one car where it was suggested the first full change should occur early in the life of the car - after replacing filter and filling, I disconnected the return line from the radiator at the transmission, and put a clear tube on the line and the started the engine and discharged the old fluid into a container, until fresh fluid was seen. It was not a bad job, but again, I only did it on that car since it was new and suggested (and needed - the existing fluid was a horrible color) - the replacement fluid was still looking good at the next, extended fluid change.

Offline signart

  • Posts: 575
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2021, 09:42:06 AM »
If your goal is to possibly avoid a transmission tear down and inspection, I would give it a full on flush, either with the machine or do-it-yourself. It is not going to hurt it. Getting all the old fluid out can only help. In the case of hoping to improve performance of a less than satisfactory performing transmission, getting half the old fluid out and leaving half of the contaminated fluid in the torque converter is a waste of time & money unless the fluid and screen has been routinely maintained already.
Like already mentioned above, if it's shot, it's shot, but I have done this and had better results than some rebuilds I have had done.
Remember 10 qts. of clean fluid + 10 qts. of contaminated fluid = 20 qts. of contaminated fluid. 
Art D. Woody

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2021, 10:25:13 AM »
Does this have the electronic transmission?  Or was that 94?  If its the electronic one it may be worth unplugging the main connector to make sure its clean and dry.  The early electronic transmissions had issues with fluid getting through the connector.   Other than looking for the connector or getting in with a scan tool I'm not sure how you can tell.   Maybe look for the TV cable up on the throttle body?   IF its got a TV cable its still the old mechanical version, no cable its the E. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2021, 04:33:39 PM »
The "avoid flush" came from articles in other fora suggesting that in this model, it can dislodge things that would have rest in place forever, and finish off the transmission.  Thus the feeding new fluid in and wasting 10 qts.

It seems to be a 4T60E, so electronic, from all of the references I find, including wikipedia and eBay listings.

What is the "main connector"? is this the electrical connector to the transmission, or ?   And would that show from a code reading?

The troubles were *quite* sudden.

and, ack, it looks like I left *this* out, which might matter:  being used to my '97 ETC with its sealed transmission, I mindlessly assumed the same.  So it was low when it first acted up, it was low, barely showing on the tip of the dipstick I was surprised to find. :o. I put in 12 ounces, and it read the same, so I gave it the rest of the quart--and now it's over-full!

This isn't a "keeper" car, but what I settled for after looking for a year and not finding what I wanted (which was a 94-96, and not white--it's a beautiful color for it, but I already have two white Cadillacs!).  Not that I don't like it, but when the world clears, I'll be looking again.  Once I find it, I'll offer this one up for sale.  So a $3k rebuild doesn't make sense, if it came to that.

Anyway, the cost of all that fluid and filter isn't much, so it's worth the long shot of solving entirely or just increasing life.

I'm open to rebuilding it myself (yeah, the chicom flu has left me with  that much time on my hands as a bankruptcy lawyer).  I'd have to have the mustang (accelerator cable replacement,  and finding lost spark) or '97 ETC (swap door, fender, alternator from parts car, replaced front shocks) going first.

Or on the wilder side of thoughts, I have a '95 Eldorado parts car, and a '02 DHS (waiting to scrap)  with 4T80E's that should  be just fine.  Could their parts be cannibalized?
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2021, 06:43:56 PM »
And now they've shown up.

I see I have two gaskets, instead of one (and the images on rockauto show that, where east the other ACDELCO had one).


And when I ordered 20 qts, they apparently sent me two full boxes of 12 . . . more to store, I suppose . . .
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 06:45:35 PM by dochawk »
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline Scot Minesinger

  • Posts: 6004
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2021, 07:04:40 PM »
There is a part that controls the shifts and it is accessed when pan is removed.  I replaced mine on a 1995 Cadillac Fleetwood RWD back in 2000 and it was like a different car after - so fast and powerful.  Forget the name of it, but it was under $100, probably the equivalent of the turbo hydromatic vacuum modulator on a TH400/425.  If you are removing the pan replace it.

Also, check the trans cooler lines to the radiator - they can go bad or start to suffer a slow leak, which can run you out of fluid slowly.
Fairfax Station, VA  22039 (Washington DC Sub)
1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
1970 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
1970 four door Convertible w/Cadillac Warranty

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2021, 10:14:32 PM »
If its an E then its the electronic one and I think 93 was the first year for it on the 60, 80 I think was 91.  I don't think it was in everything till 96.  The main connector I think is on the passenger side above the pan pointing up.

The E transmissions basically got rid of all the mechanical hydraulic logic stuff like springs and governor and replaced them with solenoids that the computer controls.   In the non E's it was a complex delicate balance of orifices and passages that had to do their thing at the right time to control the clutches and servos to make it all work.  With the E's the transmission is basically dumb, its kinda like a manual with just on and off.  Computer says engage this clutch and release this servo.

So a bad electrical connection or sticking solenoid could really mess things up.   The computer may be getting bad info on what the transmission is doing and trying to correct for a problem that isn't real.   Or it could commanding something to happen that isn't happening. 

I think the solenoid pack may be what was it Greg? mentioned.   I believe they are all accessible from the pan and are often sold as kit with all the related seals and gaskets.  I think they may also come with new wires and the main connector.   I did it one time on an 80 so I assume the 60 is similar.   I don't recall where I got the kit but it was a place that just did transmissions.   I seem to recall it was under $200 shipped so really not bad.     
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2021, 12:45:58 AM »
probably the equivalent of the turbo hydromatic vacuum modulator on a TH400/425.

A vacuum part slowly engaging would be consistent with all of my observations.

hmm, It never occurred to me that it might be related until now, but for the two years I've had it, the automatic parking brake release has been slow or failed to engage on a cold engine.  I end up pushing it slightly, and then it rises.


1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2021, 11:26:14 AM »
That trans started out as the 700r4 which later got renamed the 4L60.  It never had a vacuum modulator, only a TV (throttle valve) cable.  When the E version came out the TV cable was one of the many mechanical bits that was replaced by computer operated solenoids. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2021, 09:34:38 PM »
Unless it got swapped for some reason, this should be the E.

Does anyone have a picture of the electrical connector I'm looking for? Or, where am I looking?I assume it's on top of the transmission rather than the bottom, or at an end, or . . . .

And does anyone know the size of the nipples to the transmission cooler hoses?  I'll need to pick up tubing to connect.

and a last question--once I take the plate off, is it going to be obvious how to disconnect the old filter?  Does it just slide in and out?


OK, a second last question:  this "gm genuine" came with two gaskets, while the AC Delco only comes with one.  Is the second a spare, or . . .?

Thanks to all.  I'm ready to dive in.  (well, probably another trip to buy whatever hose I need).

1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2021, 09:44:59 PM »
The one photo I found shows the connector pointing up on the passenger side midway along the pan.    The area the pan attaches to has little wings hanging off the main round body of the transmission,  the plug appears to be on top of one of those wings. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2021, 11:14:16 PM »
thanks, I'll try to peek in the morning.

And now that I think of it, when I open it up, should I be replacing any seals, or would that mean puling it?

it's at about 110k miles, I believe.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2021, 08:05:27 PM »
And it seems @TJ Hopland gets the cookie.

I found this connector on the driver's side.

It was, indeed, loose.

I took about a 15 minute freeway run, and it was perfect.  Ten minutes there, and then about another 15 minutes, and perfectly smooth.   Ten more minutes, and then five miles down a major street, and it seemed to be hesitated a bit before going into first from a stop, and then shifting late into second.

Lifting my foot completely from the gas seems to trigger the shift into second.

I could trivially go back and forth with smooth shifts between 3 & 4 with just a touch of my foot.

It's too hot to touch right now, but I'm betting I'll find it a bit loose again in the morning.

So now what?
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2021, 04:27:22 PM »
Morning update:

I drove it six and a half miles to church.  It started smooth, but was having harder shifts from a start, and delayed shifts to second by the time I got there.  And again coming home.

I let it cool for an hour, and checked, and the plug is still snug.

So I'll try to drain it tomorrow.

Does anyone know the size of hose to connect? (at the lines to the cooler?

And if I jack the rear wheels off the ground and put it in gear, will turning the wheel cause it the transmission to pump, or is that pure electric?
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10188
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2021, 12:05:32 AM »
Transmission pump is driven by the engine so engine turning pump pumping.

I'm not sure if they had gone metric by then but older stuff the lines were a 3/8 flare fitting like a brake line. 

Check that electrical connector for signs of trans fluid.  Early ones had issues leaking fluid into the connector which didn't do the connections any good.
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2021, 11:43:57 PM »
Progress, but I sure didn't finish!

I jacked it up enough to actually work on it.  (I sure wish it came with a bumper jack! I have an hydraulic SUV jack, but it's still more effort . . .)

As expected, fluid started dripping out after the first few screws.  Unexpectedly, along the whole length of that side, so I had to go find my other oil catch unit.

And then the rest came off.  Well, once I figured out it was getting caught on a sport bar.  It was a task just getting a soccer over that one.

I jacked it up further, put it in first, and started spinning the passenger wheel.  That wasn't enough to pump any out.

The lower (into radiator) line was easy to remove at the radiator.  the upper I had to do from the top. 

I tried my little 2 gall0n shop vac to a hose to the cooler-in, and it caused *some* fluid to pump in the line, but not for long. 

So I went to the back yard to get my big one, which I hadn't used in years.  It took a bit of a tug to get it off the upper deck of the playhouse, when I noticed the crud moving.  Uhm, not crud, honey bees.

Really? Again?  Over half the colonies in there US collapse;sed over the last few years, and this is the *second* one to establish itself in my yard?  And it's not like they share honey with me or fertilize tomatoes! 

Anyway . . .

So I picked up the hand pump at harbor freight, and a replacement 4hp vac for good measure.

With light fading, and the help of boiling water to soften,  I managed to attach a few feet of some old hose (used to be part of the water exhaust for my wort chiller) to both lines where they enter the radiator.

And then, *without* light, I managed to put two bolts back in to hold the pan in place as a dust cover. (this town is made of dust, and on top of that, four day old paid within 20 feet either direction of the car . . )

So come morning, I have two options:
a) attach the 4hp vac to try to pump fluid out the transmission fluid exhaust, or go directly to
b) put transmission in line in a reservoir of ATF, the out to a bucket, and pump until output is clear.

The variant on b), though, is should I put in the new filter and gasket and call it done, or use the old filter until output is clear, and then remove pan and replace filter and gasket?

And the fluid that came out was more than slightly dirty:

The one on the left was collected dripping out with the pan look, while the right was scooped out of the pan:

1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2021, 12:08:53 AM »
whew.  That was a day . . .

I got to a late start, but it was supposed to be easy.  Famous last words . . .

I remembered to check the lines *at* the transmission, still snug.

I cleaned the transmission pan several times,


Getting the gasket off was work; *all* of it went with th3 pan, and none on the transmission.  I used a mini victorinix knife for the most part, and a good sized wire brush.

There was still an amazing amount of grease and sludge, so I resorted to green dish soap:




Once I got a full swiping without grit, I soaped it again, and sure enough more grit.  But at last . . .



mounting the pan was *not* fun.  I suppose I should have used a jack to hold it in place; muscle fatigue became an issue.  I probably cleaned the gasket four times before I got it in.  Even then, one side folded in.  Fortunately, I have quarter inch wide flat needle-nose like pliers, and could pull it into position.

The internet consensus seems to be 9-10 ft-lbs, so I sent torque wrench to 108 inch-los, its lowest setting (I suppose I could have gone lower with the 1/4" torque wrench, but . . .)

Finally ready to go, I brought the AC Delco ATF to the curb, took the first bottle out . . . and it did not say Dexron VI!!!  In fact, while rockauto had listed it as VI, the bottle warned *not* to use it in place of VI or III!!!

And it seems that ATF is one of the things in short su[pply around here; all wally-world had was their house brand--hard "NO!!!"

it turns out I could get five gallons (by going to two stores) of valvoline) Dextron VI/Mercon XV, so I settled for that.

Put the intake in a jug, the output into cat litter bin, turned the car on, and . ..

nothing. 

Well, not quite.  It true maybe half a pint, if that, out of the jug, and spat a few ounces into the output.  After a few minutes, I killed it.

I added half a gallon to the dipstick tube, and it started spitting black fluid.   

As I came to understand the design, it needs enough fluid in the bottom to draw into the top before it can expel upper fluid down to be sucked out.  I think

So each time I fed it a quart or so through the dipstick, it spat out; it was already spitting in the few steps from the side to the front.

And over the course, I got black fluid, and red-brown sludge.

And then, just short of 10 qt in (there was 2-1/4 left in the third 4 quart jug), it started spitting out pink fluid.

So I stopped, and started re-attaching.

The top line to the radiator was easy.  Ridiculously easy, not much past hand tight.

But the bottom . . .

I had man-handled it to a position where I could get a tube on to it.  In hindsight, this was a serious mistake.  It apparently bent the line enough that it was shoving the nut(?) a bit out of alignment as it went into the radiator.

In a stroke of good fortune, a neighbor who also has a Cadillac problem pulled up, and after explaining, asked why I hadn't called!

He stopped at his house, and came back a bit later.   

And abut  an hour after that, he managed to get it in.  (the pressure from the metal line, which I had bent, was interfering with aligning the nut.

So we'll see in the morning when I can finally test it.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2021, 12:20:23 AM by dochawk »
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

Offline dochawk

  • Posts: 627
  • Name: Richard Hawkins
Re: complete ATF replacement for a 1993 Fleetwood
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2021, 01:21:59 PM »
Nuts.

I added bits of fluid, drove, found another flat place, more fluid, etc.

When I left town yesterday morning, it was reading at exactly the full hot line, yet still driving rough.

when I get back and have reasonable network connection, I'll try to do something about the size of those images.  I though they were automatically scaled now, with a link to the full image.
1972 Eldorado convertible,  1997 Eldorado ETC (now awaiting parts swap from '95 donor), 1993 Fleetwood but no 1926 (yet)

 

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