Should I change high mileage CVT fluid? (Ford Five Hundred)

Messages
21
Location
Connecticut
Hi, this is my first post on this board. I've lurked around a little and knew of the forum for years, though. My mother has a 2006 Ford Five Hundred with a CVT. She got the car at right about 60,000 miles, and it has 155K on it right now. She's never done anything with the CVT since we owned the car. It seems like everything is still currently fine, there was what we thought was weird shifting at launch, but we narrowed that down to the top engine mount connected to the front strut bar, at least we're 90% likely it's that. I believe it was getting caught in the mount, it's been better since I opened the inside of the mount somewhat. (Was going to change it, realized I needed a press and it couldn't be hammered out...) So other than that, no problems with the transmission with whatever is in there, and honestly it was never even checked. I told her at about 100K to try to get it flushed or drained, and told her to try to ask about it under warranty (she got a warranty that apparently only covered oil changes... smirk ) but nothing happened. She only got scared a bit with the engine mount situation above happening about 10-15K miles ago. When I called a transmission shop, they basically told me they wanted nothing to do with flushing it. So anyway, it's possible the fluid in the car is factory fill, but it's possible the dealer did change it when they got the car. I believe the interval is 60K miles. It did have new spark plugs, it's supposed to come with platinums, and came with conventionals she ran until about 3000 miles ago (also wanted her to do those at 100K, but nope, only would do it when it misfired...) so I'm guessing the dealer put conventional ones in when they got the car. But either way, the fluid has either 155K or 100K on it, and seems to be doing fine. I'm just worried about changing it, but ironically I've had nothing but good luck changing fluid in normal Dexron III vehicles. No issues whatsoever with fluid changes. There is the theory that old fluid with the clutch dust will run better, but on CVTs that's not a factor, right? So should I just change it? The other obstacle is cost, too. On my Dexron III vehicles, I could use Supertech Wal-Mart ATF that was about $10-12 a gallon jug at the time. The official Ford CVT fluid is about $12 a quart, and it's 10 quart total fill, and I think a 5 quart drain? I was thinking, thanks to this forum and knowing more about specs, using Valvoline CVT fluid, as it's about $7-8 per quart and meets the specific Ford spec, and so far Castrol and other brands don't seem to explicitly state that it meets it. So I'd like to know, is there any danger in changing high mileage CVT fluid?
 
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TTK

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668
Location
TN
If you do it, just do a drain and fill. If everything goes well for a few hundred miles, do another.
 
Messages
4,848
Location
VA
Only if you flush it.... Drain and fills are the way to go. I'd only use the CVT fluid that was designed specifically for it.
 

celicaxx

Thread starter
Messages
21
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Gebo
Only if you flush it.... Drain and fills are the way to go. I'd only use the CVT fluid that was designed specifically for it.
So only the Ford fluid? The Valvoline claims to meet the specific spec, though, which is XT-7-QCFT. I looked at Castrol and Cam2, and both didn't say they met it. It is almost double the price, though, for Ford fluid, and our Ford dealer isn't really the nicest to deal with. smirk To be fair, I've used almost all Motorcraft 5w20 syn blend in the car and it's been fine, but is leaking a bit now from the valve cover gaskets. I wonder if perhaps the dealer was using bulk Mobil Super 5000 or some similar conventional, and when I start doing oil changes after her warranty was up, I figured keep it Motorcraft so they can't claim I did anything.
 
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1,883
Location
NoVA
Valvoline CVT fluid works well and you can buy at walmart for a decent price. Do a drain/fill and then again in 10k. Also use any name brand oil you like. A high mileage oil may slow the valve cover leaks down a little as well.
 
Messages
4,848
Location
VA
Yes. My opinion. It's hotly debated here. Many here love Maxlife universal ATF. I'm not some expert. What I know is if I were you (and I'm not) I'd be using the motorcraft 5W/20 synthetic blend and their oil filter and their ATF. There can be no mistake following that strategy. thumbsup
 
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1,064
Location
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by Gebo
Yes. My opinion. It's hotly debated here. Many here love Maxlife universal ATF. I'm not some expert. What I know is if I were you (and I'm not) I'd be using the motorcraft 5W/20 synthetic blend and their oil filter and their ATF. There can be no mistake following that strategy. thumbsup
Me Too !
 

celicaxx

Thread starter
Messages
21
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Jimzz
Valvoline CVT fluid works well and you can buy at walmart for a decent price. Do a drain/fill and then again in 10k. Also use any name brand oil you like. A high mileage oil may slow the valve cover leaks down a little as well.
You've used the Valvoline fluid in a Ford CVT before? Since it meets spec, I'm not too worried, I'm mainly looking for anecdote here. I did have issues with more leaking when I used Valvoline synthetic 0W20 (I think even high mileage) for one oil change. It ran smoother/better, though. In her old Vulcan Taurus 0W20 oils were fine and didn't leak or do anything weird. I was actually going to use Supertech conventional high mileage next change but my mother oddly freaked out and wanted synthetic (she said she used Mobil 1 synthetic in the 90s on her first Taurus she got 275K out of...) I still have the jug of Supertech high mileage conventional 5W20, so come spring I might use it. I figured for winter with better flow a semi-synth might be better anyway. I'm also thinking perhaps to switch to totally 5W30, last change before this one I used the Motorcraft 5w30 and it did quiet the engine down and smoothed it out somewhat, and it did seem to leak less, too. I read in Europe the Mondeo with that engine is rated to use 5W30 anyway. Consumption is fairly high, we go by the oil meter which is 5000 miles, and generally I drain out 4.5 quarts and have topped it off once. I'm wondering if I should look into the PCV maybe.
 

celicaxx

Thread starter
Messages
21
Location
Connecticut
Originally Posted by Pelican
Originally Posted by Gebo
Yes. My opinion. It's hotly debated here. Many here love Maxlife universal ATF. I'm not some expert. What I know is if I were you (and I'm not) I'd be using the motorcraft 5W/20 synthetic blend and their oil filter and their ATF. There can be no mistake following that strategy. thumbsup
Me Too !
I've used the 5W20 synthetic blend for all oil changes since I've been in control of them (I think 110-115K) except one time with Valvoline 0W20 and most recently this summer with the 5W30 Motorcraft syn blend. I've also used Motorcraft filters all but once or twice as well, the only other filter being used being a Napa Gold (which I use on all of my personal vehicles.) I think those couple of times Wal-Mart was out of Motorcraft filters. I've never had an issue, strangely, with Supertech ATF. Always has worked fine in everything I put it in. But I've seen the Valvoline ATF highly recommended, actually oddly by a BMW mechanic on Youtube who says it's straight out revived BMW transmissions he had with sensor issues.
 
Messages
245
Location
Georgia, USA
My wife also has a 2006 Ford 500 with the CVT. It's at 194,000 miles right now. I did the transmission change at 100,000, and had the dealer do it for a several reasons, mostly dealing with practicality. (1) The dealer is 3 miles from where I live, and they have a courtesy shuttle (not to be confused with a rudeness shuttle) (2) Their price with service coupon was a whole bunch less $$ than any of the other service facilities in my area, and (3) They use a total flush and fill method using Ford approved fluid and filters (there are two filters in the CVT) This dealership IME also stands behind their work. Your mileage may vary.
 
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