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2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario #5138041 06/18/19 11:48 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 11
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accord_9909 Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 11
Here is a story for the Monday morning incompetence newspaper and a few questions to gather some advice on what to do next.

Vehicle details:
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8
Miles: 106,700
Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG.

Now back to the event on Monday morning.

I had a scheduled service for the tranny fluid to be replaced/flushed with BG (brand name) fluid and a K&N colder intake to be installed by a local mechanic shop owner that I go to church with. I dropped the vehicle off Monday morning for a 10 am service appointment. I picked up vehicle around 2 pm after receiving a call that service was completed. The mechanic who serviced the truck mentioned the fluid was pretty black on the way out, but all good now after the flush. I drove the vehicle home that afternoon (10 miles or so). I did beat on it a time or two to hear the growl of the installed K&N cold air intake.

Later that evening, I noticed some oil spots on the floor in the garage; didn’t really think anything of it, but was near front passenger side headlight. Tuesday morning I planned to change the engine oil and filter as I had over 5400 miles on the current Mobil 1 0W-20 AFE and Mobil 1 Filter that I had put in the truck in February 2019. Before starting up for the day I checked the oil dipstick and noticed the fluid level was high and red looking…began to fear that the service on Monday didn’t go as planned.
Drove the truck about another 7 miles to warm up and get over to my parent's house as my dad as a lift in the garage to complete the oil change. I pulled the plug and began to fully understand that yes, this certainly looks and smells like tranny fluid. Here again, I noticed some engine oil on the splash guard and other areas. Again as visual confirmation that the service on Monday did not go per plan.

We drained the fluid out of the engine and replaced the oil filter. We added about 8.5 qts of Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and paired with a Wix XP filter. A great rebate going on recently for the Pennzoil products—I received $20 back on the 2 5qt jugs I purchased. We also checked the tranny dipstick and didn’t really feel that this was new fluid; more gray than red—looked old and not changed. I filled a 5qt jug with the fluid we took out of the truck and visited the mechanic. Told him something doesn’t add up. He looks at tranny dipstick and notices fluid doesn’t appear fresh as one would expect to post a flush. One would think the mechanic would check this too post the service to a) check fluid level and b) realize this doesn’t look any different from X mins ago. He asks the mechanic who serviced the truck which line he pulled from the cooler and he confirms the “top” one. Here is when the confirmation is audibly heard. The engine oil was indeed replaced with BG brand tranny fluid. They agreed to service the tranny correctly this time. Left the truck with them for the correct service and picked up later that day. They mentioned that they would call the business where they get the fluid from to see what their recommendation would be for such a use case.

After picking up the truck I was not told if the engine oil was changed by them nor did I receive any additional paperwork on the service completed on Tuesday. Just a “your truck is all set” confirmation by the aforementioned mechanic who might have been sleeping in on a Monday morning, but was “clocked in”.

I am not overly pleased with the level of service and quality of the technician that serviced the truck, but that will take care of itself as I have a respect for the owner of the business.

I am looking for advice on what, if any, concerns I should have assuming that this motor ran while the fluid was being flushed through the system, test drove, and then I drove for another 20 miles or so on tranny fluid acting as the main lubricant for the engine.

My current plan:
1) Keep an eye on the oil level over the planned interval of 4K miles before changing engine oil and filter. 2) Collect an oil sample and send in to Blackstone labs for analysis after the 4K miles. 3) Monitor full economy over the 4K interval; so far seems unchanged with about 55 miles on it since the oil was changed. If any abnormal wear is detected by Blackstone labs I would share with the business owner and look into potential next steps at that time.

One would think that an ongoing business concern would look to retain a business reputation and would agree that this is worth more than a new 5.3 L V8 engine from Chevrolet. I don’t expect it to come to this, but I also didn’t anticipate this event when purchasing the truck as high mileage doesn't scare me when it is paired by consistent repair and maintenance behavior. My prior vehicle to this truck was a 2009 Honda Accord 2.4L with a 5spd manual with 237K miles at the time I sold it.

Any suggestions from folks here on what additives I may want to add now to protect the engine components that may not have protected as expected with the tranny fluid as compared to a high-quality engine oil? Any concerns with the amount of tranny fluid still in the system post the oil change. Not sure how much would not drain out when pulling the plug. Should I look to change the oil sooner than 4K miles?

Thank you in advance and for reading this long post.


2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ - 106K
Pennzoil Platinum 0W-20 & Wix XP Filter

2013 Toyota Highlander Limited - 110K
Mobil 1 0W-20 AFE & K&N Filter
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138057 06/19/19 12:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 839
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tiger862 Offline
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Joined: Mar 2012
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Don't add any additives. I would do another oil change to get remainder of transmission fluid out since it went through oil cooler. Keep an eye for leaks and smoke as transmission fluid could cause leaks and or damage seals.


Tiger862
2018 Grand Caravan
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138076 06/19/19 03:01 AM
Joined: Jul 2005
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demarpaint Offline
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Lets put it this way, it would have been worse had they filled the transmission with oil. I would do a very short OCI, and make sure to change the filter as well as the oil. Not much else you can do other than push the owner of the shop who did the work to give you some kind of guarantee that if something goes wrong related to the work he screwed up he makes good on it. This goes onto my long list of why I do my own work.


God Bless Our Troops

Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138078 06/19/19 03:20 AM
Joined: Jun 2014
Posts: 1,328
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tony1679 Offline
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Me? I would fill it with the cheapest oil you can find that isn't rated SA (worst case find a local farm store: Atwoods, TSC, Blain's, Big R, etc and buy their <$10 jugs, or NAPA has theirs for $11.99 right now) and drive with it for 10-20 miles or so, dump it, and repeat one more time. This should almost guarantee >99% of it is out. Then fill with a quality oil and change the filter, and run for a short 3k interval and closely monitor it. Then resume your normal schedule assuming no ill effects arise from it. Then bill the shop for your costs for this, in addition to them making it right somehow, preferably not by means of touching it again.

I can't say this without sounding pompous, so here it goes anyway. I feel like opting for a K&N gave you the bad karma. K&N belongs in the trash, not on your truck. BG fluids should have been your clue the shop is a joke. Bad + bad does not = good imo.

Hopefully you don't think I'm an [censored] for being critical. Nobody is perfect, and it sucks that it happened to you. I hope things work out for you.

Last edited by tony1679; 06/19/19 03:22 AM.
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138080 06/19/19 03:25 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 23,425
Mr Nice Offline
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Unfortunately lots of mechanics do crap work and will deny any fault.

I would do 2 drain & refills with correct ATF.

Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: Mr Nice] #5138093 06/19/19 04:15 AM
Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 724
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The_Nuke Offline
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Originally Posted by Mr Nice
Unfortunately lots of mechanics do crap work and will deny any fault.

I would do 2 drain & refills with correct ATF.


?? There is no correct ATF, it's supposed to be engine oil...I think...heck, I don't know at this point, maybe ATF is required...


2012 Charger Pursuit aka "The Bacon Hauler"
- 5.7L + NAG1 (A5) + 2.65 (215mm)
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138096 06/19/19 04:25 AM
Joined: May 2014
Posts: 532
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slybunda Offline
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Posts: 532
If you were able to change your own engine oil then why didnt you change the transmission oil yourself too?


1995 Ford Fiesta 1.6i 16v Si
2000 Toyota Celica 1.8 VVTL-i
2007 Toyota Aygo+ 1.0i
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138099 06/19/19 04:28 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 855
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RayCJ Offline
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Posts: 855

Vehicle details:
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8
Miles: 106,700
Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG.:

Event Summary:
Owner took car to local bumbling mechanic to have ATF R&R'd and also install K&N air filter. Bumbling mechanic filled engine with ATF and did not service the trans.
Owner drove the car minimally -possibly 20 miles or so. Punched the gas a few times to hear the engine.
Owner noticed some oil drips, realized it was ATF and discovered the error.
Owner dumped/saved the ATF from the engine and replaced w/ Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and Wix XP filter.

Owner Questions:
Did this possibly damage engine and what should I watch for?
Is a UOA advised?
What are possible next outcomes with the engine and bad transaction with bumbling local mechanic?

Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: RayCJ] #5138105 06/19/19 04:42 AM
Joined: Sep 2018
Posts: 855
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RayCJ Offline
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Originally Posted by RayCJ

Vehicle details:
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Crew Cab with 5.3L V8
Miles: 106,700
Purchased from a dealership in December 2018 with 99,465 miles; the previous owner ran a lot of highway miles as Trip B had 30,400 miles on it with an avg of 20.4 MPG.:

Event Summary:
Owner took car to local bumbling mechanic to have ATF R&R'd and also install K&N air filter. Bumbling mechanic filled engine with ATF and did not service the trans.
Owner drove the car minimally -possibly 20 miles or so. Punched the gas a few times to hear the engine.
Owner noticed some oil drips, realized it was ATF and discovered the error.
Owner dumped/saved the ATF from the engine and replaced w/ Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic 0W-20 and Wix XP filter.

Owner Questions:
Did this possibly damage engine and what should I watch for?
Is a UOA advised?
What are possible next outcomes with the engine and bad transaction with bumbling local mechanic?



I personally do not think 20 miles of driving on ATF did significant damage to the engine. ATF is roughly 5-10 weight oil and if your engine is spec'd for 0/20, it probably didn't do awful things in that short period of time.

1) Do not accept money from dealer as compensation for possible damage happening in the immediate future. (Check w/ a lawyer in your State about this). In some places, accepting compensatory settlement means indemnification of future liability.
2) Save your written post above and any other written communications you had with the mechanic. You may need dated documentation down the line.
3) Save the drained ATF if possible.
4) Take the vehicle to another mechanic (preferably a dealer) for an opinion and engine check-up.
5) Do another oil & filter change to flush-out the carry-over ATF that's still in there. Make sure the oil you use is the proper spec for your engine!
6) At the end of the next oil interval, do a UOA.
7) Keep an eye on it.

Ray



Last edited by RayCJ; 06/19/19 04:44 AM. Reason: fix typos
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138122 06/19/19 05:13 AM
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Gebo Offline
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I would change the oil sooner than 4K this time. I'd change it again in 1K or less.

You didn't ask but I'd only use the ATF that is called for in the Owner's Manual. It appears to be Dexron HP.

Since you go to church with the shop owner, I would hope he would make things right. Ask him how "we" should proceed
from here. Give him the chance to make things right first. Ask him what will happen if the ATF ends up damaging your
engine down the road.


'98 LEX LS400 300K
'02 4Runner 245K
'05 Lex LS430 85K
'07 Lex GX470 65K

Shell Gas and Truck & Pennzoil Full Syn HM
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138124 06/19/19 05:16 AM
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ragtoplvr Offline
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1 get rid of the K and N filter go back to stock. They let dirt thru.

2 Get a tuner to eliminate the cylinder deactivation and hope that it is not damaged too much yet.

Rod

Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138160 06/19/19 06:07 AM
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atikovi Offline
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You have a lift at parents house and did the oil change there, begs the question why didn't you do the trans fluid change there too?

Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: slybunda] #5138173 06/19/19 06:20 AM
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supton Offline
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Originally Posted by slybunda
If you were able to change your own engine oil then why didnt you change the transmission oil yourself too?

It's probably a "sealed" transmission with no dipstick. It's not impossible but it's also a lot more work than an engine oil change. Not saying a Chevy is like this, but for my Toyota I have to get a 1/2" ID hose, sneak it down the engine compartment to refill the trans. Then run it until the trans is inside of something like 120-130F (way below normal temp, but well above room temp). Then I crawl under and pull a plug to see if any oil drips out at a slow rate, while the engine is running... if not add more oil.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 196k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 217k, his
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138179 06/19/19 06:28 AM
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Joel_MD Offline
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How is this a "nightmare scenario?" I think you're being overly dramatic. Driving 20 miles with no engine oil might rise to the "nightmare" level. I doubt that driving 20 miles with ATF in the engine is going to cause any trouble.


2019 Toyota Avalon XLE - Genuine Toyota motor oil
2016 BMW 550i M Sport - Castrol Edge 0W-40
Re: 2017 Silverado -Tranny Fluid Flush - Nightmare scenario [Re: accord_9909] #5138192 06/19/19 06:43 AM
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mk378 Online Content
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Shouldn't the title be something like "Engine oil accidentally replaced with ATF, what now?" There was no problem with the transmission until the second trip and let them put that BG in it.

Last edited by mk378; 06/19/19 06:53 AM.
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