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I have an 06 Malibu with the MN5 tranny. It also has Dexron 6 in it. At 53,000miles does any one recommend getting the fluid exchanged? I have shops here that will do the flush or drop the pan filter and fluid. I just find it silly spending all the money on the fluid and when you just drop the pan and filter is doesn't take out the fluid in the torque converter? What do you guys think? Should I leave it till 100,000 miles or change it at 60,000 and maybe the price per quart of the fluid will go down? Thanks in advance.
 

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I'm not sure of current thoughts of changing fluid, but a couple of years back, if it had never been done by 70K, tranny shops advised against changing. I suspect the anti-oxidants were long worn out by this point allowing damage to clutch plates. Putting in fresh would then remove this damaged material and the transmission would fail. That is they were trying to avoid claims that they damaged transmission by changing fluid.
A total flush would be better assuming no damage has occured so far and should be good as long as current situation. A partial would only replenish some of the chemicals and maybe done more often such as yearly.
Along with lubricants, there are the anti-oxidants, detergents, and additives to keep internal seals and orings soft. With abuse those orings can become very hard and crack causing an internal leak.
 

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DO NOT FLUSH IT.

Thats all you need to know. You can drain and refill and thats all you need to do. Regardless of miles the fluid still needs to be changed. Will you not change your oil if it goes 25k miles just because it has too many miles on it? Hell no, that would be the first thing you change.

The amount of fluid in the converter is negligible these days. Yes, it sucks to leave it in there but its much better than having a shop flush it with very high pressure and the harsh chemicals they use in the majority of the machines.

FYI, I had a 01 Grand Am that had 134k miles on it when I bought it and the fluid had never been changed. I got it changed and to this day (this was almost 3 years ago) its still running good with almost 180k miles on it.
 

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I change my Tranny fluid every 5 years or 50k miles.
 

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DO NOT FLUSH IT.

Thats all you need to know. You can drain and refill and thats all you need to do. Regardless of miles the fluid still needs to be changed. Will you not change your oil if it goes 25k miles just because it has too many miles on it? Hell no, that would be the first thing you change.

The amount of fluid in the converter is negligible these days. Yes, it sucks to leave it in there but its much better than having a shop flush it with very high pressure and the harsh chemicals they use in the majority of the machines.

FYI, I had a 01 Grand Am that had 134k miles on it when I bought it and the fluid had never been changed. I got it changed and to this day (this was almost 3 years ago) its still running good with almost 180k miles on it.
You got lucky on the change, which is good. Check with local tranny shops for advice. Opinions do change and it may have been just a local thing where the judge at small claims was sympathetic toward customers. The best shops in this city advised against doing it unless under 70K and would not touch if 100K.
I've never seen a machine that used chemical flush. In early days of this machine, there was some promotional activity to get people used to the idea of doing a total flush, usually by the machine maker. And some of those were accompanied with an additive.
Check with those doing flush. Most just replace old fluid with new. Sometimes it is done in steps so that maximum exchange of old for new is accomplished.

As for additives, I tend to avoid. There is a company out of Florida that does major design updates via teardown of fails and testing. They are likely the only source of thorough teardown and rebuild manuals. And they advise the automakers on needed changes. On every rebuild they had been recommending a particular additive. I may post back when I find there name, but I'd check what they recommend.

Just using the wrong fluid can be disastrous. About ten years ago when manufacturers started migrating toward part synthetic tranny fluid, GM and I think Ford as well said that the newer fluid was good for previous generation of trannys. Some time later GM released a TB that the newer fluid in older trannys was causing delamination of clutch material. Reputable remans will use the newer clutch packs. Choose your fluid carefully.
 

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You got lucky on the change, which is good. Check with local tranny shops for advice. Opinions do change and it may have been just a local thing where the judge at small claims was sympathetic toward customers. The best shops in this city advised against doing it unless under 70K and would not touch if 100K.
Automatic transmissions are one of those areas where old wives tell still hold true until the old guys stop working and the newer ones come along.

Same is true with 3k mile oil changes.

Change the fluid. Dirt and debris does not hold your transmission together and it needs new fluid for protection.
 

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Automatic transmissions are one of those areas where old wives tell still hold true until the old guys stop working and the newer ones come along.

Same is true with 3k mile oil changes.

Change the fluid. Dirt and debris does not hold your transmission together and it needs new fluid for protection.
With engines and the 3K change, I noted that is the severe service recommendation. I'm still showing over 60% oil life with nearly 5K and that has me a bit concerned.
But engines do not have wet bath clutches or the material they are made of.
An engine would certainly benefit from the fresh dose of chemicals in the new oil, except maybe for the rubber crank shaft seals. If it has been such a long duration since change that the chemicals to keep them soft were long gone and they hardened to the point of being brittle, then you might be taking chance. Along with softening from the outside as the new chemicals work into the rubber, they promote a small amount of swelling for tight seal. And in this stage of being restored, the brittle cross section becomes smaller and easier to break.
The same is true inside the tranny which has many times more internal orings and seals. The rubber ones are the concern. As well as the clutch material.

Unless they have come up with new age replacements for these materials, I'd stick with previous advice.
 

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I believe theory is that if you've got high miles and do a flush of the tranny fluid, it'll remove metal shavings and whatever other crap is in there and cause the tranny to start slipping. This, of course is just what I have heard, and quite frankly, it sounds retarded.

If your fluid has never been changed, change it. Lack of maintenance just means an earlier life span for your tranny.
 

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:D:D

Again, it does NOT make sense to keep burnt, ruined, dirt infested fluid in ANY part of the car much less a transmission. You wouldnt do it with your oil so why do you do it with the transmission?
 

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:D:D

Again, it does NOT make sense to keep burnt, ruined, dirt infested fluid in ANY part of the car much less a transmission. You wouldnt do it with your oil so why do you do it with the transmission?
...but it's a sealed system.

Sorry, just had to say it. :)
 

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:D


Yes, its "sealed" but that doesnt help from the heat which destroys the fluid.
 

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...but it's a sealed system.

Sorry, just had to say it. :)
If you insist, but I'd still check with local shop about changing tranny fluid in high mileage vehicle where it has never been changed before.
If the fluid is only dark you might have better luck. Chances will likely decrease as it gets darker. If it is burned then your chances will be much less as the color moves toward brownish. The brown comes from clutch material.

With the high mileage tranny, I'd strongly suggest not doing the total flush until maybe several thousand miles after a basic drain, filter, and fill. That would supply enough of the new chemicals to dissolve bad stuff and soften hardened rubber.
If you do the total change, with the high miles, it might need redoing after a few thousand miles. First, it will start to turn dark from the black rubber that was oxidized and the old fluid was no longer able to remove. And oxidized fluid that became like varnish will go back into solution further darkening. And if you have burned clutch material it too will go into solution also darkening it.

It is hard to tell the condition by just a few drops on stick. At least put it on a white piece of paper for color check and look for any very fine particles (clutch material). After it has been driven to fully circulate, you might also pull a sample from fill tube and put it in clear glass container. After a period of time, check for sediment.

It is not the stuff in the bottom of the pain that you need to worry about, unless it is chunks of something. Most of it will be a slimey material composed of worn material and very fine. Much of it will accumulate around the magnet.
 

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I'm not saying do a total flush, but regardless of how many miles are on the tranny it should be changed. Just a drain and fill.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the replies, even though the thread is almost 6 months late. But back in May I did have the flush done. It was done at 52,000 miles about and so far I don't have any problems and I'm sure its pretty happy. Actualy right after I got the flush the car drove a cadillac, lol. But some factors that made me do a flush was one) the tranny wasn't that old with the miles so I didn't anticipate any problems two) different dealerships and shops in the area quoted different prices cause some get the dextron 6 in bulk and some still get it in individual quarts and the procedure to have the pan dropped, fluid drained and new filter would have been double or 3 times what the cost of doing a flush was three) I've had a flush done on my grand am (before this malibu) at 56,000 miles and I didn't have any problems four) the reliability of the dextron 6 is much greater than conventional fluid and didn't anticipate sludge or varnish to worry about in that amount of miles to cause great harm. I like my 06 malibu alot and has been the most reliable car i've ever had besides the fact it seems to be sensitive to roads because I spend more money on alingments than oild changes, and I use sythetic oil too, lol. Thanks for the replies.
 

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Thanks for the replies, even though the thread is almost 6 months late. But back in May I did have the flush done. It was done at 52,000 miles about and so far I don't have any problems and I'm sure its pretty happy. Actualy right after I got the flush the car drove a cadillac, lol. But some factors that made me do a flush was one) the tranny wasn't that old with the miles so I didn't anticipate any problems two) different dealerships and shops in the area quoted different prices cause some get the dextron 6 in bulk and some still get it in individual quarts and the procedure to have the pan dropped, fluid drained and new filter would have been double or 3 times what the cost of doing a flush was three) I've had a flush done on my grand am (before this malibu) at 56,000 miles and I didn't have any problems four) the reliability of the dextron 6 is much greater than conventional fluid and didn't anticipate sludge or varnish to worry about in that amount of miles to cause great harm. I like my 06 malibu alot and has been the most reliable car i've ever had besides the fact it seems to be sensitive to roads because I spend more money on alingments than oild changes, and I use sythetic oil too, lol. Thanks for the replies.
Glad it is working out for you, the tranny. Unfortunately this service does not guarantee a long life, just a much better chance at it. There are some parts, known as hard parts, that still fail simply because of metal fatigue. They typically are springs such as in accumulators or in the clutch actuator diaphrams. This is general to all trannys and if you ever do have to rebuild, beware of that. Make sure you get a quote appropriate for you.
Usually the say $X plus hard parts. Often that includes the converter, but not always. You may not need one because you've done the fluid changes, and that could save you some bucks. Accumulator springs may be included in the rebuild kit they buy, but not always. Clutch actuators are likely not, as well as any gears.
 
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