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Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

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dmckmc
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Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by dmckmc » Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:55 am

I can't seem to find a direct answer for this. Do you check CVT fluid levels with the engine running or not? I found many posts regarding proper temperature and refilling with what you drained out but am still not sure if levels were checked with engine running or not. It seems that you would check with engine running like a regular ATF but then this is not a regular ATF! thanks....dmc

jaunty75
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by jaunty75 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:42 am

It's interesting. The owner's manuals for both the '05 and '07 Freestyles have a small section that treats this subject. Both say that if the fluid level is below where it should be, the little wrench light on the dash will go on. If that doesn't happen, and you have no other reason to suspect a problem, then don't worry about it and just drive the car. They also say that you should have an authorized dealer check the fluid if you suspect a problem. That's surprising. How the heck complicated can it be to pull out a dipstick? Is there something about the CVT that makes even just checking the fluid level difficult or complicated? Is there some harm that an unsuspecting owner could cause his CVT by just checking the fluid level?

Remember the days of the shade-tree mechanic, when most maintenance things were routinely doable by the owner? Me neither! They were THAT long ago!

Other than because you just want to do it, do you have a particular reason to want to check it? As the manual says, the transmission does not consume fluid. Is the wrench light on? Have you seen drips on the garage floor? White smoke out the tail pipe? What year is your FS? How many miles?

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Imperial Death Star
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by Imperial Death Star » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:52 am

I think Ford just wanted to be cautious of the care of their first CVT units. They have gone where no owner has gone before!.
I think Ford is afraid of some people mixing the wrong tranny fluid with the Cvt's.

I usually check it after I gave my FS a good run around from errands and then pull the dipstick out to check. This way its up to temp and level.I do shut the car off.
2005 FreeStyle SEL AWD - Red Fire-110,000 miles
2001 BMW 530i (Titanium Silver) 129,000 miles
1998 Volvo V70R-(Vader Black)201,000 miles (retired)

dmckmc
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by dmckmc » Sat Jul 11, 2009 9:23 pm

Well, I re-read several procedures for checking CVT fluid levels and asked a Ford parts guy today (found one open on Saturday) and the answer is yes, the car should be running. I originally asked because I just changed my fluid and high pressure filter (see process and pics here: http://www.ford-forums.com/ford-freesty ... -pics.html ) and wanted to be certain I had the proper quantity of CVT fluid. The car is an '05 Freestyle with 107K and had never had the CVT fluid changed. Thanks for your input and for a nice forum for Freestyle owners.

jaunty75
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by jaunty75 » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:30 am

The car is an '05 Freestyle with 107K and had never had the CVT fluid changed.
Wow, that's not too far away from double the mileage by which the fluid should be changed. How did it look? If not too bad, you're probably good now until 214K! :D

KAH
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by KAH » Sat Oct 24, 2009 6:53 pm

Well, I re-read several procedures for checking CVT fluid levels and asked a Ford parts guy today (found one open on Saturday) and the answer is yes, the car should be running.

QUESTION:

In order to check the transmission fluid level in the CVT on our 2007 Freestyle, it
is necessary to remove the air intake hose just to get to the CVT transmission.

With the air hose removed, how do you keep the engine running ? Ours keeps
dying with the intake hose removed.

jaunty75
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by jaunty75 » Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:08 pm

asked a Ford parts guy today (found one open on Saturday) and the answer is yes, the car should be running.
Perhaps the problem is that you should have asked a service guy instead of a parts guy! :mrgreen:

The owner's manual doesn't answer this question. It just says that, as long as the transmission is working OK (doesn't slip or take too long to engage driver or reverse), don't worry about it. As far as actually checking fluid level, it says you should let the dealer do it. If you are worried about potential problems, it says you should rely on the wrench light to illuminate. Kind of an annoying answer.

Just out of curiosity, why do you want to check it? Do you have a problem? Have you just changed the fluid yourself? Or are you just curious?

That parts guy you spoke with is correct in that historically one does check the transmission fluid with the transmission at operating temperature and the engine running. But that may not be the case with the CVT. He probably didn't know any better.

KAH
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by KAH » Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:09 pm

Just out of curiosity, why do you want to check it? Do you have a problem? Have you just changed the fluid yourself? Or are you just curious?

Jaunty:

I have just changed the transmission high pressure filter and would
like to verify that I have enough transmission fluid in the CVT.

On a related note, it has been mentioned a number of times that the
CVT transmission level is very temperature critical. I question this.

Refer to page 307-01A-52 of Ford workshop Manual, 2005 edition states that
at a temperature of 88 degrees C to 92 degrees C the correct fluid level is at the
BOTTOM of the upper hole in the dipstick.

On page 307-01A-53 of same manual, it states that at a temperature of 43 degrees C
to 47degrees C the correct fluid level is at the TOP of the same little bitty hole.

If the temperature of the CVT goes up, I would assume the fluid volume would go up a bit.

The manual would have you believe that the fluid volume goes down.

I think this would be called a negative coefficient of expansion and I am not certain that
this works for hydrocarbons such as the CVT fluid.

But getting back to my original question, how can I keep the motor running while I disconnect the intake hose and related stuff to get to the CVT dipstick.

Since the CVT does have a vent pipe somewhere, maybe I should just overfill it and then park it
in front of a neighbors house for a while while gravity does it's thing with the excess CVT fluid.

Lot more stuff in this post than I intended. Thanks.

Ken H.

Jack Watts
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by Jack Watts » Sat Oct 24, 2009 11:48 pm

KAH wrote:
On a related note, it has been mentioned a number of times that the
CVT transmission level is very temperature critical. I question this.

Refer to page 307-01A-52 of Ford workshop Manual, 2005 edition states that
at a temperature of 88 degrees C to 92 degrees C the correct fluid level is at the
BOTTOM of the upper hole in the dipstick.

On page 307-01A-53 of same manual, it states that at a temperature of 43 degrees C
to 47degrees C the correct fluid level is at the TOP of the same little bitty hole.


Ken H.
Ken, I'm almost certain that's a typo, since the FSM contradicts itself twice on the fluid level. At low operating temps (43-47) it should be at the bottom of the upper hole, and at 'just off the road' full temp (88/92) it's at the top of the crosshatches (or 12mm above the top hole, if I remember correctly).

The fluid does seem to rise about 10-12mm when at full operating temp. I've proofread technical docs like that several times over and missed the most glaring typos, so it happens....

I don't disconnect the maf sensor or air intake to check the fluid. I just open the air box (like I'm changing the filter), and bend it up and out of the way. I think I removed the lower part of the box as well (one 8 or 10mm bolt, then it just pulls up. There are two press-fit pins, so it's kinda tight). I don't disconnect the intake from the TB. No problems.

jaunty75
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by jaunty75 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:50 am

I don't disconnect the maf sensor or air intake to check the fluid. I just open the air box (like I'm changing the filter), and bend it up and out of the way. I think I removed the lower part of the box as well (one 8 or 10mm bolt, then it just pulls up. There are two press-fit pins, so it's kinda tight). I don't disconnect the intake from the TB. No problems.
Interesting. As you say, this doesn't sound terribly difficult, and you would think that anyone who's ever used a screwdriver to pry up a paint can lid has enough experience with tools to do it. But it's probably difficult-sounding enough to Ford that it explains why the owner's manual doesn't give the procedure but just says to let the dealer do it.

KAH
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by KAH » Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:55 am

I'm almost certain that's a typo, since the FSM contradicts itself twice on the fluid level. At low operating temps (43-47) it should be at the bottom of the upper hole, and at 'just off the road' full temp (88/92) it's at the top of the crosshatches (or 12mm above the top hole, if I remember correctly).

Jack:

I also think it is a typo.

My plan is to drop the pan this week sometime and replace
the pan filter and fluid.

Does anybody have an idea what sort of transmission pan gasket
is on the 2007 Freestyle ?

I have the pan filter but did not buy the gasket as the last few Fords
I worked on had the lifetime rubber gasket that was far superior to the
cheapy cork gaskets that are normally sold.

Thanks,
Ken H.

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Imperial Death Star
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by Imperial Death Star » Sun Oct 25, 2009 12:51 pm

I would suggest "NOT" to do the Pan Filter , you may develop a leak by not installing the gasket incorrectly and its not worth the headaches.
The dealer did my CVT(input shaft) and he showed me the pan gasket filter , which looked perfectly new and clean. So just do the high pressure filter and that would be good enough in my opinion.
2005 FreeStyle SEL AWD - Red Fire-110,000 miles
2001 BMW 530i (Titanium Silver) 129,000 miles
1998 Volvo V70R-(Vader Black)201,000 miles (retired)

KevinSheen
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Re: Check CVT fluid with engine running or not

Post by KevinSheen » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:16 pm

I changed the fluid, pan gasket and the filter inside the pan last weekend. It was no more difficult to drop the pan on my 06 CVT than to do it on any other regular automatic transmission I've worked on.

I was actually glad I dropped the pan because it seemed that the driver side bolts had begun to work loose and there was some seepage around the flange. The felpro gasket that I bought from RockAuto along with the pan filter and the high pressure filter was the same quality gasket as the one I removed. I used a Permatex sealant on both sides of the gasket and torqued the entire pan to the required 9 nm. A 1/4" universal joint helps get to some of the bolts. I read that some pans have Torx bolts, mine had 8mm bolts.

Kevin

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