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Discussion Starter #1
My Durango is closing in on 100K and I haven't done a thing with the transmission. I had the fluid level checked about 20K miles ago, but that's about it. It's going into the shop next week to have the exhaust manifold bolts replaced (2 broke off). While there I though I'd get the transmission fluid changed.

When I called the shop (whose got a decent reputation) I was told to basically, leave well enough alone. The guy said that if I haven't done regular changes, say every 25K miles, that in his experience it's better to just top everything off and leave it.

Is this a good idea in a Durango? What do you think, is it worth risking? If you think he should go for it should the filter be changed and bands tightened?

Again, I've never changed the fluid or had the pan dropped.

Thanks.
 

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4 Wheel Power Disc Brakes
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There are no bands to adjust on this transmission. (45rfe)
I would leave it be since it has an external filter that your mechanic should change when doing the fluid change... If he isn't doing this he should be your ex-mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advise.

I need a little clarification on the "External Filter" part. Does the trans pan still need to be removed to get to the filter? I've read that there are two filters that need to be replaced. Is that correct?
 

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There is no external filter on the 45RFE. There are two internal filters. One is your standard flat main sump filter, the other is a spin on type, like your oil filter, ir filters the return oil from the tranny cooler. Both are located inside the pan. As there are no bands on the 45 to adjust, thus there are also no bands to slip, which is generally the fear most people have with serviceing trannies that have never been serviced before.

I bought my D used with 75k miles, i have no clue what the previous history was. I wanted to do the tranny but i had the same concerns you did. After getting clarification here it was safe to do, I dropped the pan, cleaned it out, replaced the two filters, Advanced Auto or AutoZone will have them, put the pan back up and refilled it. 15k miles late I have no problems
 

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If you don't do it yourself and take it to a shop, make damn sure they don't hook up one of those fancy flush machines to it!! I'll even say it again, NO fancy flush machines!!!!!! They don't change the filters when they do that, just the fluid, and they send whatever crap is stuck in the filters through the rest of your tranny. Make sure they drop the pan, change the filters, refill with ATF+4.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks!

Is there a gasket that need to be replaced, or do I need RTV?
 

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Todd O
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I would use rtv they do make a gasket but from the factory they use rtv so that sould be fine transmission pan bolts need to be tightened to 144 inch lbs which is 12ft lbs if you convert it from in lbs to ft lbs.
 

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Todd O
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"if you leave well enough alone" you will probably need a new tranny at 150K miles
 

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Todd O
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Oh a couple of things to note also it takes 6.6 qts of atf 4 after you fill it drive it for 15 miles and then recheck the fluid!
 

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Yeah, what i got at the store was called a filter kit or something like that, came with the main sump filter and a gasket. I used the gasket but also put RTV on both sides, dunno if it's legal but i don't have any leaks so i dont really care.

Also, the main sump filter has a large opening on the bottom for the intake and then a tube thingy that actually goes up into the valve body. There's one screw if i recall that holds the filter on. Once you remove it, the filter will pull strait down. There is a plastic gasket seal ring thing (interesting choice of words, i know) that seals the filter tube against the opening in the valve body. The new filter will come with one so you can see what im talking about. Getting the old one out can be a PITA. I think theres a lip so you can get some sort of hooked tool around it and pull it out, just be careful of all the aluminum. Also, the new gasket ring MUST be installed before the filter. It fits really tight, as you'll see trying to remove the old one. You'll probably have to shove it in the best you can and then actually seat it with the butt of a hammer or screwdriver. My filter came with a sheet that specifically warned about getting that ring in before you put the filter up. If you put the right on the filter tube and then try to stick the whole thing up there, it won't seal, tranny fluid will leak back, tranny won't get enough fluid, bad things happen. Sounds bad but it really isn't. In my opinion dropping the pan isn't much worse than changing the oil, just messier. Get a really big drip pan if you can, because once you loosen the front of the pan, fluid kinda comes out in a pretty wide path. Next time i do mine i will probably drill the pan for a drain plug to make it easier, wish i'd have though of it last time but oh well.
 

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Troubleshooter
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I'd leave it well enough alone, i'm running 1 truck with 156,000 miles on the original, untouched trans and another with 211,000 miles.
 

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Todd O
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I wouldn't leave well enough alone you are taking a gamble doing that and is that really worth it for saving a few bucks!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I understand now that it's not a straight foward yes or no to do this. It sounds very transmission specific. I guess I was looking for people with experiance with this particular transmission (45RFE) as to whether or not it was a good idea.

Unfortunately I haven't heard a definitive answer, though brad81987 had some good advise from the same type of tranny!

It sound like the real problem is getting gunk stirred up from a flush. It seems harmless to just drop the pan, change the two filters, seal it up and fill'er up again and leave it at that.
 

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Troubleshooter
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I will say that on two of my dad's company rigs they flushed the trans every 20-25k and neither one of them made it to 100k w/o needing an overhaul, my van took a crap after it had a trans flush, and my acclaim barely made it another 10k after a flush
No more flushes for me, I've had far better luck leaving my transmissions alone, my dad's new truck has 140k on the untouched trans, his buddy had the exact same truck and "took care of it" regularly, he's on his 2nd trans at 130k. In the end it's your choice, my advise is to leave it alone
 

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You also have to remember the 45RFE isn't like the other automatics out there.
 

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Todd O
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saydee I have the same tranny as you and when I changed the fluid and filter I used ammsoil atf and it shifts better than ever but that is just my experience!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Was that your first tranny oil change or have you been doing them regularily? What mileage did you change the fluid? And last...how long has it been? Thanks! :)
 

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Todd O
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I changed it the first time after I got it at 50K then after 10K and then I changed it last time at 80K and I think since I used the ammsoil I won't change it again for like 60K since everytime I changed it after the first the fluid has been clean. Make sure you really clean the pan magnet and also change the transfer case fluid when you change your tranny fluid. If you have anymore questions just ask I don't mind. ;)
 

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Yeah, t-case is easy, def do that too, probably easier than changing your oil.
 
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