Trans fluid drain method

2000 Ford Crown Victoria, 148K miles

It’s due for a transmission fluid change, which I’ll be tackling myself. It’ll be the normal pan drop/filter change job, along with draining the torque converter. My question revolves around a method I’ve read used regarding emptying the pan.

Apparently, some folks choose to disconnect the trans cooler lines and then start the engine, which will then pump fluid out of the lines and allow for a far less messy pan removal. I’ve never done it this way, so is that a good idea? I’m not terribly sure about running the transmission dry, but maybe it’s okay with the car not being in gear. Chime in at your leisure.

I could use a quick refresher on the refill steps to a dry transmission, too. This particular one (4R70W) takes roughly 14 quarts dry, and I know to not pour it all in at once. How about starting with five quarts, then running the engine and adding the rest until it’s up to the correct level? Do I have it right?

How are you going to drain the converter ? does the 2000 have a drain plug in it?

Do not remove the tranny cooler line and start the engine. When the pump inside the transmission runs out of tranny fluid it can burn up the pump. And that will cost a lot more than if you were to bring the vehicle in for a tranny fluid exchange.


Tester is correct, it’s just too risky. Also, disconnecting the cooling lines can lead to damaging the rather fragile fittings. I would be surprised if you find a drain plug on the converter…

Much of the mess can be contained if you drop the back edge of the pan first…Remove all the bolts except the ones along the FRONT edge. Then, as you loosen those, the back edge will drop and most of the fluid will pour out at that point…

If you are able to drain the converter, replace the fluid 5 quarts at a time, running engine between fills to fill the converter. This can take a while…Don’t just dump in 10 or 12 quarts at the beginning, the tranny will not hold it…

Actually the Crown Vic does have a torque converter drain plug, unless it was just a police package feature. You can bump the starter to bring it around. Now, if Ford would only put a drain plug in the tranny pan as well…

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

oldtimer- The 2000 CV does indeed have a TC drain plug. Other models years do as well, but I’m not positive which ones specifically.

Tester- Understood, and that’s sort of what I figured.

Caddyman- I’d thought about the likelihood of damaging the cooler line fittings, another reason why I’d rather not do it that way. Thanks for the drain/refill tips, they will be put to good use.

benzman- I’ve read that most CV owners prefer to rotate the engine by hand to find the TC drain plug, so I might try that instead. And oddly enough, a transmission pan that includes a plug can be had that will fit the Crown Vic. They were installed on U-haul trucks that also had the 4R70W (the E-250, I think), and I’m pretty sure they can be purchased through a Ford dealer, or found on eBay if you’re really lucky. It’s identical to a stock CV pan except for the factory installed drain plug, so I may see about that. A trans drain plug would be a beautiful thing.

Thanks again for the tips everyone!