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Transmission Flush Myths- Busted!

Anyone who is even remotely involved with cars has heard this type of story- someone that they know got a transmission flush and their transmission failed within weeks or even days.

The urban legend behind this is that the “sludge” is all that was holding the transmission together and once it was removed with a flush, the transmission had no chance of surviving.

The story goes like this:
Jim was having a transmission problem, let’s say that it was sluggish in the morning and would slip on take-off from a stop from time to time when it was hot out.

Now Jim has a brother-in-law named Bob that used to work on cars, do his own tune ups and oil changes, etc. When Jim mentioned the problem that he was having to Bob, his immediate response was, “You need to get that tranny flushed”

Of course Jim not really knowing anything about a car, much less an automatic transmission blindly follows the advice of his brother-in-law. After all Bob surely knows all about cars even though he hasn’t worked on one for over twenty years.

Jim obediently takes his car to the local lube place for a flush and an engine oil change while it’s there. Jim gets his transmission flush, pays and goes on his way.

At first, he notices maybe a slight improvement in performance but his transmission is still exhibiting most of the original symptoms.

About two weeks later Jim is driving to work and he stops to pay a toll. When he tries to pull away from the toll booth the unthinkable happens- the car just revs and goes nowhere, as if it is in neutral. Jim moves the shifter into low and is able to limp his car off to the side of the road and wait for a tow truck to take him to a transmission shop.

What happened?

Here’s a list of reasons why the transmission flush myth exists:

•The myth is propagated by people who claim to be experts. I have even heard of transmission repair shops who contribute to the myth in the hopes of scaring potential customers into having their transmission overhauled rather than maintaining it.

•There are thousands of “internet experts” who promote the misinformation- it’s truly a case of “monkey see, monkey do” on steroids!


•There may have been a time in the early days of automatic transmissions when failure after a flush was more common, perhaps because of antiquated friction material and transmission fluid technology during the 1950’s and 60’s but this was before my time so I’m not able to truly discuss the legitimacy of the possibility. I can, however, say with certainty that it’s not an issue with 99.9% of the vehicles in service today. If your owner’s manual is in the glove box and not painted on the wall of a cave, you are probably good to go.

•“Sludge” is all that was holding the transmission together and when it gets cleaned out the trans in going to fail immediately. Guess what? If you have sludge in your transmission, it’s already bad and in need of a repair.

•Once in a while a flush is performed, usually at a quick lube operation, and the transmission is not refilled correctly- resulting in failure soon thereafter. Of course the incorrect fluid level is not recognized as the culprit- the transmission flush is! Many automatic transmissions have fairly complicated fluid level checking and filling procedures that are best left to a transmission repair expert to perform.

•People have unrealistic expectations. A transmission flush is no more likely to fix a failing transmission than an engine oil change is to fix a major internal engine problem. Both of these things are great to do regularly but they are maintenance- not a fix for a problem.

•The reality is that most people don’t think about their transmissions until the day that they have a problem. Jim’s transmission was on borrowed time- it was going to fail anyway but now that it has, he is going to perpetuate the myth. If he ever hears someone mention a transmission flush, he’s going to proclaim, “I had that done and my transmission blew up within a month!”

I have been in the transmission repair industry since 1987 and can honestly say that I can’t recall a single time where I saw a healthy transmission get a flush or a fluid change and subsequently have a problem. A transmission flush is the best maintenance that one can do to extend the life of your automatic transmission, don’t miss out on the benefits because of the nonsense that exists surrounding changing your transmission fluid!

Anyone can feel free to repost this as long as you leave the "about the author" part intact.

About the author:
John Lombardo is co-owner of <a href="http://www.importperformancetrans.com">IPT Performance Transmissions</a> and has been in the high performance industry for over 20 years.
 

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um...ok. great sales pitch.:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sales pitch for what? Do you even know the nature of my business? I'll give you a hint, I don't make a living from the 5-10 trans flushes that I do per year.

We pretty much work on transmissions only, not whole vehicles.

Just posting to share some information/my opinion.

-John
 

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I have been in the transmission repair industry since 1987 and can honestly say that I can’t recall a single time where I saw a healthy transmission get a flush or a fluid change and subsequently have a problem.
And what do you recommend for those who DON'T have a healthy transmission? I would assume a transmission flush is only exercabating the problem by partially dislodging sludge. My opinion is too leave it alone, do your regular interval change, and let it last as long as it can before it dies.

What's yours?
 

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Sales pitch for what? Do you even know the nature of my business? I'll give you a hint, I don't make a living from the 5-10 trans flushes that I do per year.

We pretty much work on transmissions only, not whole vehicles.

Just posting to share some information/my opinion.

-John
exactly. and its written as if its fact. but really, out of all your posts, all of them are just promoting your business...not much of anything else just advertising for your business.
 

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Well, if you want to put your neck on the line flushing a trans that has a bizillion miles on it, that's your choice. I wouldn't do it, solely based on the experiences of just about any transmission tech I've ever known (including myself). Let's just use one simple scenario to justify saying the myth isn't a myth at all - in all honesty, how many times have you seen a front pump seal start puking fluid or a governor hang up after doing a flush (especially on a 404 chrysler trans)? I can't even count the number of times I've disassembled valvebodies after a flush to find all the crap ending up in there.

Sorry, but it's not a myth.
 

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Well, if you want to put your neck on the line flushing a trans that has a bizillion miles on it, that's your choice. I wouldn't do it, solely based on the experiences of just about any transmission tech I've ever known (including myself). Let's just use one simple scenario to justify saying the myth isn't a myth at all - in all honesty, how many times have you seen a front pump seal start puking fluid or a governor hang up after doing a flush (especially on a 404 chrysler trans)? I can't even count the number of times I've disassembled valvebodies after a flush to find all the crap ending up in there.

Sorry, but it's not a myth.
X2:tu:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you have a problem, of course a flush is inappropriate. As I said, it's maintenance- not a fix for a problem.

If all kinds of debris gets dislodged after a flush, the reason was that the trans was having a problem and generating metal/clutch material before anyone ever flushed it.

I'm in the transmission business. If I post subject matter, in all likelihood it's going to be about, well transmissions. Any of my other hobbies/interests aren't really relevant here anyway.

If I take the time to write things and someone disagrees with what I said, I have no problem whatsoever with that.

If someone wants to give me a hard time just because of the fact that I bothered to write anything, they should probably find a more constructive use of their time.

-John
 

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The gist of what you seem to be saying is tranny flushes will do no harm on a newer, well-maintained tranny with clean innards but could potentially lead to problems on an older, well warn transmission with some gunk in it, that may not have had any prior maintenance upkeep.

I don't see anything in there that contradicts what most people already say: If you've kept fresh fluid in it and taken good care of it, flush away. If it's got 150K on it, never been touched, and shifts a bit rough, flush is probably not the best idea. Where's the surprising news here?
 

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thumbster, all his posts are just spamming his company all over the place..heck, this isnt even tundra specific and its in the 2nd gen forum..he doesnt even show to have a 2nd gen tundra...just drumming up business one way or the other...
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So, I understand what you are saying mr tranny guy, but question for you... what happens when your first transmission flush isn't scheduled til 100k miles?

-rockstate
 

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:pound: its like a highschool debate in here....i will tell you what i would put an IPT transmission in any of my trucks or cars...who cares if he is posting about his business and giving useful info thats what he is here for
 

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:pound: its like a highschool debate in here....i will tell you what i would put an IPT transmission in any of my trucks or cars...who cares if he is posting about his business and giving useful info thats what he is here for
I completely agree! I have been considering getting their valve body upgrade. It is very nice to see a vendor on a site trying to post. Unfortunately, a few bad apples seem to ruin things and I can understand why a vendor may be hesitant to post. Now when someone has a question he probably won't want to respond publicly.
 

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My transmission on my 01' 4.7 tundra had been slipping at around 75k miles. I had the transmission flushed and 2 days later it gernaded on me on the free way. I heard what sounded like a gun shot and then my RPMs almost hit redline. So i dont know. How ever, after Aamco ripped me off... i mean fixed it, I had IPTs valve body installed and it was the best mod by far besides my unichip that i had on it.

So that being said...

1) I some what disagree about it being a total myth...but
2) I have no problem with these guys advertising. At least they're legit.

Whats the word on the Valve body for the 07 and up tundras? Is it available and how much?
 

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I completely agree! I have been considering getting their valve body upgrade. It is very nice to see a vendor on a site trying to post. Unfortunately, a few bad apples seem to ruin things and I can understand why a vendor may be hesitant to post. Now when someone has a question he probably won't want to respond publicly.
exactly well said but you know thats how it goes...i wish he would sponsor my truck and throw a full transmission in
 

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Yeah, you guys jumped on him pretty hard. Think his post was a little misunderstood. MAYBE he should have been clearer that in his opinion regular flushes are not the issue, rather flushing once a problem has occured.

To be honest, I think a lot has to do with the person doing the flush. Hell, I remember seeing some Jiffy lube expose where they were selling flushes and not even doing them. Just taking the money.

I don't know much about that kind of stuff. To me, logic dictates that the fluid must break down at some point, but I would have thought a change was enough, rather than a flush. Or does it just not work like that?
 

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Yeah, you guys jumped on him pretty hard. Think his post was a little misunderstood. MAYBE he should have been clearer that in his opinion regular flushes are not the issue, rather flushing once a problem has occured.

To be honest, I think a lot has to do with the person doing the flush. Hell, I remember seeing some Jiffy lube expose where they were selling flushes and not even doing them. Just taking the money.

I don't know much about that kind of stuff. To me, logic dictates that the fluid must break down at some point, but I would have thought a change was enough, rather than a flush. Or does it just not work like that?

Not to go too far off topic here, but a change as in just pulling the plug and refilling
will only remove about 1/4 of the fluid. Some people who don't do flushes will change
their fluid several times a year going on the premise that they will have pretty much
replaced the old fluid over the course of several months without doing a flush.

John
 

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Wonder how Transdude feels about Amsoil instead of Toyota fluid.

I want my upshifts a little firmer and the 1-2 short shift removed. How about that Transdude?
 

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Not to go too far off topic here, but a change as in just pulling the plug and refilling
will only remove about 1/4 of the fluid. Some people who don't do flushes will change
their fluid several times a year going on the premise that they will have pretty much
replaced the old fluid over the course of several months without doing a flush.

John
This has always been how I service my trans. Not sure about the Tundra, but on my old Isuzu and F-150, draining the fluid got about 75% of the old stuff out. I would drain and refill every 20-30K miles, getting the majority of the dirty fluid out. I don't like the idea of a flush because it FORCES fluid and any dirt or metal flakes into tight passages. I like a drain because it involves less pressure inside the trans.
 
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