Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid change?

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CDJackson
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Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid change?

Post by CDJackson » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:52 pm

The owner's manual says to change "the fluid and filter" in the CVT at 60K miles, but doesn't specify which filter they're talking about. From researching this and other boards, it seems that the consensus is that the high-pressure case filter should be replaced, but that it is not necessary to replace the pan filter.

The problem is that none of this appears to be known by any of the Ford dealerships near my house. I've called the three closest to me and have been uncomfortable with their responses.

One quoted me $189 for a drain-and-refill of the fluid only--they had no idea about the high-pressure case filter. They kept insisting that "there is no filter in the CVT." (I tried to explain to them that the filter was located outside of the transmission, but they had no idea what I was talking about.)

Another quoted me $230 for a flush of the fluid, which they said would remove and replace all "17 quarts" (is that right?). I pressed them on the fact that this was a CVT and that I had heard you weren't supposed to flush the fluid on the CVT--they said that they had a specialized machine that would do the flush on the CVT. They also said that it was not necessary to replace the filter.

The last dealer quoted me $410 for replacing both the fluid and the filter, but it was not clear to me that they understood that I was talking about the high-pressure case filter, and not the pan filter. The quoted price also seemed high.

I live just outside of Washington, DC and these dealerships are all very large operations that you would think have encountered this before, but apparently not. (Anyone in the area have any recommendations for a CVT-knowledgeable dealership service department?)

How vital is it that the high-pressure case filter be replaced at 60,000 miles? We may very well end up selling this car at around 100,000 miles or so. Is there a serious risk of the CVT being damaged before then if I only replace the fluid but not the filter? Can anyone who has done the filter change himself at 60K miles comment on the condition of the filter (if it was discernable)? Thanks.


Jack Watts
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by Jack Watts » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:35 pm

-I don't know how you could flush this thing. It uses press fit/crimped fittings and hard pipe? Maybe there's an accessible line but I haven't seen it. If I'd have seen one I've have flushed it myself.

-at 60K, my filter was in rough shape. I opened it up and the media was pretty dirty. That said, I honestly believe w/a drain and fill, you'd probably be OK 'till 100K.

-those drain and fill prices are ridiculous. A drain and fill is easier than changing your oil. I'm doing the filter every 50K and a drain and fill every 25K. I did a drain and fill last eve. after work. It was literally 10 minutes worth of work (though I went for an hour bike ride to let it drain thoroughly). Hint: park slightly uphill and you get out about 6 qts. The fluid was $8.60 a qt. That's a little over $50.00???

-I think Ford sold about 10 of these cars, so it's understandable that the person @ the desk has no idea. I'd suggested asking to talk to the transmission guy if the dealer has one. Or, if you're mechanically inclined just change it yourself. It's actually pretty simple. The biggest hassle is removing a transmission mount to get access. The filter change itself is easy.

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thegoldenhand
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by thegoldenhand » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:32 pm

see conversation of CVT fluid change here.

viewtopic.php?t=2241

CDJackson
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by CDJackson » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:37 am

I think the inflated prices are a function of the area in which I live. Just for the heck of it, I called an independent shop and they quoted me $300 to drain and refill the fluid and change the pan filter (again, they didn't know about the high-pressure case filter).

I would definitely be inclined to drain and refill the fluid myself, but changing the filter is another issue, since you have to remove one of the transmission mounts. Some of the previous posts refer to a DIY guide that someone posted with pictures, but I haven't been able to find it--anyone have the link to that?

And Ford sold over 167,000 CVT-equipped Freestyles (at least according to wikipedia) so you would think dealerships would have some clue as to how to service them.

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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by NorseaBlue » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:42 am

"And Ford sold over 167,000 CVT-equipped Freestyles (at least according to wikipedia) so you would think dealerships would have some clue as to how to service them."

And a significant number of Ford 500's & Mercury Montego's were equipped with this same Engine/CVT combo as well.

All of Ford's hybrid vehicles have CVT's. (Escape/Mariner hybrid - Fusion/Milan hybrid)

You should ask the dealer who told you they would remove "all 17 quarts" how they do that when total capacity is around 10.

A Ford dealership has no excuse when it comes to not knowing how to properly service their own product. If they don't know the procedure off the top of their heads.. they can (and should anyway) look it up. This is a "zero" tolerance thing with me. Any deviation at all from the factory recommended procedure on CVT maintenance is 100% unacceptable. That being said, I'm sure that a lot of Freestyle's (and 500's that were sold with CVT) are never brought in for service by their owners, so the dealers don't get to see them all.
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by Jack Watts » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:05 am

CDJackson wrote:
I would definitely be inclined to drain and refill the fluid myself, but changing the filter is another issue, since you have to remove one of the transmission mounts. Some of the previous posts refer to a DIY guide that someone posted with pictures, but I haven't been able to find it--anyone have the link to that?
Webmaster edit: Unfortunately all the photo links are bad, the photos were deleted from the other site. :(

The DIY guide was on another forum that got hacked. I'll go through it here, and I'll link to the photos from the guy who originally posted it. It's pretty simple.

-specialty tools needed: 25T torx and 40T torx bits, long transmission funnel. The rest are regular metric fasteners

-undo air filter housing, disconnect MAF sensor and bend it out of the way. This gives you access to the fill bolt for the CVT:

-fill hole is market w/blue paint. It's a 3/8" drive, so just take a long 3/8" socket extension bar (I doubled up a couple, needs to be at least 12" long). I'd suggest loosening the fill bolt first, but leaving it in (so no dirt enters) just to make sure you can get oil in. Here's the bolt:

-jack up the front left/driver side wheel and support with a jack stand. remove wheel. I'd suggest removing the plastic fender shroud (pull out plastic push pins). You can leave it in place but it's easier with it out of the way

-drain transmission. T40 Torx bit. Tap the bit in first. It's aluminum and pretty soft. Drain into a pourable container. You'll measure the fluid later. Here's the bolt. Interestingly, this looks like my replacement bolt, which was a 6mm allen (way better no stripping):

-place your jack underneath the transmission pan, ideally w/a small block of wood on top (scrap piece of 2"x4" is fine or a small piece of plywood) move jack until there's a slight bit of pressure on the pan

-you'll see this engine/transmission mount here. This is what needs to go away:

remove the top 4 bolts and the bottom two bolts. They're tight, so if you own an impact wrench or ratchet it would speed things up. Otherwise, it'll just take some muscle. After you remove the bolts, clean them up and then put some blue loctite on them and set aside. I believe they're different length, so remember their orientation or write it down. Pull out that mount. This is what you just removed:

-that gives you access to the filter housing. Here it is w/the mount in place:

You can see 2 of the 3 torx bolts, T25. The third one is obscured, That's why you pull off the mount. Undo the bolt on top of the filter housing (the flat metal bar), 10mm I believe, and pull up. That will undo the 2 oil tubes from the filter housing. Undo the 3 filter housing torx bolts and pull out the housing. It'll be a little tight.

Here's what it'll look like:

couple of things to note: everything you need to replace is right there. The o-rings on the oil tubes, the filter, and just to the left of the filter you'll see a little tube. It may stick to the filter housing, or it may stick in the tranny. You can see it just to the left of the filter. Pull it out. Pulling out the filter can be tricky. I used the hooked end of a bicycle spoke to pull on the lip of the filter. You could just bend a paper clip though and use that, or maybe fingers could work. I couldn't get a grab on it, though. You can see it's pretty deep in there.

-Pick off the O-rings w/a small flat blade or a dental pic, remove the large o-ring from the filter housing, remove oil pick-up tube and the filter. All of these are included in the filter kit.

There are actually instructions w/the filter. The filter looks different, by the way. No metal casing. Coat the small tube, o-rings and filter w/CVT fluid, and install everything. Open part of the filter goes into the tranny. Press the filter in until it feels seated. Press the filter housing back on (takes some pressure w/the o-ring seal), then tighten the 3 torx bits (8nm, or not-to-tight, they're soft-headed bolts). Push the oil lines back into the filter housing, then re-install the 10mm bolt between them. Not too tight. Here's a picture of that bolt again holding the oil lines in place:

-Re-install the motor mount. If you're having a problem lining up the holes, you can simple move the tranny a little w/your jack. Tighten the bolts. I think it's 60 ft.lbs. I tightened to "really tight". They're big bolts. Remove the jack supporting the transmission.

-Install plastic shroud if you removed it, wheel, lower the car, make sure you have the drain plug in (18 ft lb). Tighten your lugnuts if you haven't already. Do it now or you'll forget!

-remove the fill bolt. Take a long funnel and insert into the fill hole. By now, your fluid is at room temperature. Pour fluid into a suitable container and measure. It should be 5.5-6 qts. Add the same amount of fluid you removed, and add in 8 ounces for what is lost from the filter swap.

-install fill bolt, 21ft lb or "fairly tight". There should be a small rubber gasket on the fill bolt. Make sure it didn't stick to the tranny. Clean and lube the gasket w/some CVT fluid.

-check fluid level. To do this, remove the lower air box holder. It's held to the frame w/one bolt, then pressed in. Remove the bolt (8mm or 10mm, can't remember), then wiggle/pull up. When it's removed, this is what you'll see:

The dipstick is now visible. It's not pictured but it has a bright handle. You can't miss it. Start the car and let idle for about 5-7 minutes. Shift through all of the gears, then put in neutral. Check for leaks!! Then, pull dipstick, wipe clean, and re-insert for a reading. It's tough to read because the fluid will be pretty clear. At this point, the fluid should be just below the top hole on the dip stick. Acceptable level is anywhere between the two holes. Note that if the car has at full operating temp, the level should be higher. Add fluid in 4 oz. increments if needed and re-check.

-re-install air box lower, air filter and re-connect MAF sensor. You may have tripped a check engine light by running the car w/the maf sensor undone. If so, either drive it a couple of times and it should go away, or disconnect the battery neg. for a bit to re-set it.

-test drive for 10 minutes, and check again for leaks, because you're paranoid. Well, at least I am...

That's it. I swear I could do this faster than I could type it. It's not that involved, but I wanted this to be complete for anyone who wanted to to it. Once you get that mount out of the way, it goes quickly. One note: don't clean anything with any solvents. Only use CVT fluid to clean anything. Use a lint-free towel (old t-shirt) to wipe things down, and try to work cleanly. Thanks to the other poster for the original tutorial, and the awesome photos.

Let me know if you have any questions.

CDJackson
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by CDJackson » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:26 pm

Great post--that's exactly what I needed to do the job myself.

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knowitall
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by knowitall » Mon May 02, 2011 4:55 am

DO NOT USE A T40 TORX BIT ON THE FREESTYLE TRANSMISSION DRAIN PLUG. YOU WILL STRIP THE HEAD.

USE A 6MM ALLEN HEAD BIT.

Jack Watts
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by Jack Watts » Mon May 02, 2011 8:30 am

knowitall wrote:DO NOT USE A T40 TORX BIT ON THE FREESTYLE TRANSMISSION DRAIN PLUG. YOU WILL STRIP THE HEAD.

USE A 6MM ALLEN HEAD BIT.
That depends. It seems there was a running change and the later FS came with the 6mm allen head bolt. Mine (an early '05)definitely came with an aluminum T40 torx, and there is no way a 6mm allen would fit in there (I tried!) until I actually stripped the bolt with the Torx bit. After it stripped, I hammered in a 6mm allen, and it was in there so tight that I destroyed the allen wrench trying to get it out of the bolt.

So, the best recommendation is to look at the bolt and see which one you have before trying to remove it.

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knowitall
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by knowitall » Mon May 02, 2011 9:16 am

I have a 2005 Freestyle so I assumed that all Freestyles came with the 6mm allen head. Yes a T40 Torx would fit the drain pan bolt on mine also but I know it would have stripped it.
Since all the bolts related to the HP transmission filter change were metric I'm 100% sure that the drain pan bolt is metric (6mm allen).

HHR
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by HHR » Fri May 06, 2011 8:29 pm

The above instructions were very helpful. I just performed the fluid and filter change on my 07 FS with 79,332 miles. I had a few observations. The airbox bolt had an 8 mm head, the cooler line retention bolt had an 8 mm head and the three screws holding the filter housing cap were T27 torx head. The drain plug had the 6mm Allen head and the upper 4 tranny mount bolts were 13mm. I am pretty sure that the lower mount bolts had a 15mm hex.
All went smoothly and I got approximently 6 quarts out.

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ScotSHO
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by ScotSHO » Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:40 pm

HHR wrote:The above instructions were very helpful. I just performed the fluid and filter change on my 07 FS with 79,332 miles. I had a few observations. The airbox bolt had an 8 mm head, the cooler line retention bolt had an 8 mm head and the three screws holding the filter housing cap were T27 torx head. The drain plug had the 6mm Allen head and the upper 4 tranny mount bolts were 13mm. I am pretty sure that the lower mount bolts had a 15mm hex.
All went smoothly and I got approximently 6 quarts out.
Ditto, thanks to Jack Watts and others for blazing the trail. This was easier than changing the coolant!
Thanks,
Scot (Fellow Ford Fanatic)

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u235
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by u235 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:06 pm

The picture links in the above guide give me an error, does anyone know of an alternate location for them?

For reference, I called two local Ford dealers in the DC area to get prices for a fluid/filter swap and both said no need until 100K. I guess there is still some conflicting information out there.

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andyf80
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by andyf80 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:52 pm

hey u235 -
I think it comes down to a difference in what's recommended vs what's acceptable tolerance in the owner's eyes. I like Jack Watts interval myself. I think I may adopt the 25k fluid and 50k filter rotation as well.

@ JackWatts - do you still happen to have those pictures stored somewhere?
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Jack Watts
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Re: Is it necessary to change the filter with CVT fluid chan

Post by Jack Watts » Thu Aug 18, 2011 8:13 am

Here's a link to all of dmckmc's photos--I stole the pictures from him for that write-up. He actually had posted the write-up on another site, and it was awesome--but the site crashed. I figured it was someone else's turn to go through the hassle of doing it... I just tried to copy what he originally wrote.

Webmaster edit: Unfortunately these photos were deleted on the other site too :(

There aren't specific links to the individual photos, but you should get the idea.

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