How to Maintenance a Transmission on a 1987 Ford F-350

The transmission fluid in a 1987 Ford F-350 has several functions. Its main function is to act as a lubricant for the moving components and as a hydraulic fluid. The secondary function of the fluid is to clean the internal components of the transmission. Over time, typically every 30,000 miles, the transmission fluid becomes too dirty and requires replacement. Failure to replace the transmission fluid in a timely manner can lead to expensive transmission repairs. Luckily, the process to perform this transmission maintenance is a relatively easy one.

Tools Used: Floor jack, Jack stands, Ratchet, Socket set, Drain pan, Transmission filter, Transmission filter gasket, Transmission pan gasket, 7 quarts Dexron III/Mercon transmission fluid, Funnel, Razor blade scraper, High-temperature silicone

Maintenance a Transmission

Raise the front of the vehicle off of the ground, with a floor jack. Place jack stands beneath the rails of the F-350's frame and slowly lower the truck, until its weight is only on the jack stands.

Crawl beneath the truck and locate the transmission pan, the large metal pan at the lowest point of the transmission.

Place the drain pan directly below the transmission pan.

Loosen, but do not remove, the 17 bolts holding the transmission pan in place, using the ratchet and socket. Notice transmission fluid flows from the transmission pan and into the drain pan.

Remove the 17 bolts, once the fluid has stopped flowing, and carefully remove the pan from the transmission. Dump the fluid remaining in the transmission pan into the drain pan.

Remove the old rubber gasket from the transmission pan, and scrape the mating areas between the pan and the transmission with the razor blade scraper, this removes any old debris.

Place a thin bead of high-temperature silicone around where the gasket goes on the pan. Place the gasket on the pan, making certain to line up the holes in the gasket with the holes in the pan. This prevents the gasket from moving on installation.

Examine the lower portion of the transmission and locate the transmission filter, a small metal shield with a fine, mesh screen at the base.

Loosen and remove the 11 bolts holding the transmission filter, using a ratchet and socket and pull the filter, along with its rubber gasket, from the transmission.

Place the new filter gasket on the new filter and place them where the old filter was. Hand-tighten the 11 filter bolts.

Tighten the filter bolts with a ratchet and socket, make certain not to over-tighten and break the bolts.

Place the transmission pan and filter on the transmission and hand-tighten the 17 bolts.

Tighten the pan bolts to 12 to 16 foot-pounds using a torque wrench. Tighten the two center-most bolts first, then the four corners and finally, the remaining bolts. This sequence assures a proper seal of the gasket.

Raise the F-350 off of the jack stands, using the floor jack and pull the jack stands from under it. Lower the truck to the ground.

Open the F-350's hood and remove the transmission dipstick from its tube.

Place the funnel in the transmission filler tube and add six quarts of Dexron III/Mercon transmission fluid. Remove the funnel and place the dipstick back in the tube.

Start the engine of the F-350, and while holding the brake, shift the truck into every gear and end with it in "Park."

Remove the transmission dipstick, with the engine running, and check the level on the stick. If the level if not between the "Min" and "Max" marks on the stick, reinsert the funnel and add fluid until it reaches that point.

Close the F-350's hood.

Tips & Warnings

Never substitute any other transmission fluid for Dexron III/Mercon, as damage may occur.

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