Automatic transmission fluid level check (Every 12 000 miles or 12 months)

1 The automatic transmission fluid level must be checked when the engine and transmission are at normal operating temperature; preferably after a short journey.

2 Park the car on level ground, then fully apply the handbrake.

3 With the engine running at its normal idle speed, apply the footbrake and simultaneously move the selector lever through the full range of positions three times then move it back to the P position. Allow the engine to run at idle for a further period of one minute.

4 With the engine still idling, extract the transmission fluid level dipstick and wipe it dry, with a clean non-fluffy cloth. Fully reinsert the dipstick and then extract it again and check the fluid level mark, which must be between the “MAX” and “MIN” markings (see illustration)

27.4 Transmission fluid level dipsticklocation and level markings
27.4 Transmission fluid level dipsticklocation and level markings

5 If topping-up is necessary, use only the specified fluid type and pour it through the dipstick tube, but take care not to overfill. The level must not exceed the “MAX” mark.

6 An improved type of transmission fluid is used in later models and before topping-up or refilling it is necessary to identify the transmission being worked on so that the correct fluid may be obtained.

7 Locate the transmission identification number which is stamped on a metal tag attached to the top of the valve body cover see illustration). If, at the end of the second line on the metal tag, the prefix E3RPappears, then the transmission is of the early type. If the prefix is E6RP- then the unit is of the later type. Later transmissions can also be identified by having a black dipstick stating the fluid specification and type. Having determined whether the transmission is of the early or later type, refer to “Lubricants and fluids” for the fluid requirement. Under no circumstances may the later type fluid be used in the early type transmission, and vice versa.

27.7 Transmission identification number on valve body tag
27.7 Transmission identification number on valve body tag

8 If the fluid level was below the minimum mark when checked or is in constant need of topping-up, check around the transmission for any signs of excessive fluid leaks, and if present then they must be rectified without delay.

9 If the colour of the fluid is dark brown or black this denotes the sign of a worn brake band or transmission clutches in which case have your Ford dealer check the transmission at the earliest opportunity.

    See also:

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