Nov 102012
 

Introduction…

When ford released the falcon & territory with the 6 speed ZF gearbox it was a step in the right direction for the reliability. However there still lies a problematic part that could cost you your transmission if not attended to.

The Problem…

Its known as the “Transmission Milk Shake” and although it may sound appealing to those milk lovers out there this shake will set you back into the Thousands of Dollars to repair. The shake accrues when the transmission cooling system fails by allowing coolant into the transmission and transmission fluid into the cooling system. When this accrues the transmission is a write off and no amount of flushing will allow the transmission to recover.  The engine will not be damaged it will most like be better off due to the lower boiling point of the water oil mixture but all your rubber hoses will be effected.

The Culprit…

Automatic transmission need to keep cool and maintain and operating temperature and to achieve both they need to run the ATF through a Heat Exchanger normally fitted to one or both of the radiator tanks. These days vehicle’s use a new external Heat Exchanger which is hooked into the coolant lines around the heater hose circuit. Both types are know for failing and from when the BA falcon was released they suffered radiator problems then from 2004 most of fords had switched from the radiator style to the external style. Still there are issues with both of these units and with no alternative or know fix. or is there?

The Fix

Normally you would eliminate the water and oil cooling system and fit an external air to oil cooling unit. But with fords using 3 different transmissions and turbo models with front mount intercoolers it makes it hard for one kit to fit all models.

4 Speed Automatic 6 Cylinder Models…
From 2004 on the 4 speed models changed over to plastic cooling lines and the Heat Exchanger bolted under the inlet manifold. The plastic lines have female 1/2″ quick release fitting on each end which makes adapting to regular transmission hose difficult. As the transmission is the same as earlier models with steel lines your could source some from a wrecker and use them to connect to a Air/Oil Cooler suited to a AU Falcon. Alternatively you could use a Male 1/2″ Quick Connect to Push On hose adapter fitting and use the original Plastic lines.

5 Speed Automatic 6 Cylinder Models…
Mostly fitted to the Commercial Ute’s they also use the Heat Exchanger under the inlet manifold however they use Steel lines with a pipe  thread fitting. As this is a limited run at this time there is no known fittings that will connect easily. Its more common to Cut and Flare the lines and connect transmission hose.

6 Speed Automatic 6 Cylinder Models…
The 6 Speed has always had plastic lines with the heat exchanger under the inlet manifold which leaves only one choice as to fittings. They need a Male 1/2″ Quick Connect to Push On hose adapter fitting to allow an Air/Oil cooler to be connected.

6 Speed Ford FG XT Falcon 6 Cylinder Models…
When offered the XT Falcon with a 6 Speed transmission upgrade the Heat Exchanger was still suited to the 5 speed lines. This meant that a new set of lines where produced just for that model to suit a 5 speed exchanger and a 6 speed transmission. So if you want to run a bypass cooler its needs to fit directly to the transmission with custom fittings.

6 Speed Automatic 6 Cylinder Turbo Models…
With the turbo models running a front mount intercooler there is no room for a transmission oil cooler in the traditional position in front of the radiator. An alternative location for the cooler is under the drivers side head light behind the front bumper bar. Although the airflow is less in this location a Fan can be fitted to the oil cooler which can run through a temperature switch. Currently to our knowledge there is only one kit available from Furious Performance which uses braided lines from the transmission to the cooler.

XR8 Models…
Due to the V8 engine there is no suitable place to mount the heat exchanger to the engine like on the 6 cylinder models. So the transmission oil is cooler through the radiator similar to most vehicles. External oil cooler kits can be fitted if the lines attaching to the radiator are plastic. They still use a Male 1/2″ Quick Connect to Push On hose adapter fitting to allow an Air/Oil cooler to be connected using 3/8″ Hose. Some Late Model V8′s have a Male Steel pipe connecting into a female radiator connections. This setup would need a custom fitting to adapt to an external oil cooler.

Flushing Transmission Fluid…

Don’t wast your time if the oil has gone milky as its past the point of no return. Sure the transmission may still be working but having water in the oil raises the boiling point and also causes a reaction to the glue holding the friction material to the clutch plates and also causes the rubber seals to swell making the pistons jam in the clutch drums. Ones the water has entered no amount of flushing will reverse the affects it has on the internals.

Mechatronics Unit (6 Speed Transmission)

Due to warranty issues with transmission shops it is common to swap out the Mechatronics Unit during a water effected rebuild. This increases the rebuild costs by over $3000 and can really hurt your pocket but to cover the warranty issues it does need to be replaced. If your happy to try your luck with your original unit stripped and rebuilt it will save you some big bucks but may effect you warranty. If you have any DTC’s logged which relate to the TCM your out of luck and it will need to be swapped over.

Radiator Flushing…

Radiator hoses and transmission fluid don’t mix and depending on how long the fluids have been mixed it is common to changer over all the hoses. If you service your car regularly you may try changing one at a time as they go soft and swollen. Most cases its in there to long and you have repeated trips your mechanic with burst hoses so best get it sorted.

External Oil Cooler Kits…

We found a great kit from a business called Furious Performance best not wait utill you need one and get it fitted ASAP!