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PWFX

Basic Maintenance Suggestions

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Wondering what suggestions/recommendations folks have for basic maintenance.  Not looking for official Ford schedule info, but rather "real world" common sense stuff. I've already read engine oil changes at 7500 miles and transmission oil changes at 25000 miles are good to do.  Makes sense to me.  I'm a high mileage driver and looking to keep my TC in good shape for a long time.  Any other suggestions?

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I just can't get used to the whole 7000 mile interval changes for the oil especially the first one . It just seems to me that the first oil change should be far sooner since you're dealing with all types of metal particles from the engine breaking in .  I also don't think waiting 25,000 miles to flush and fill the trans with new fluid is the best idea either and the TC's transmission issues over the years is why i feel that way.

 

If it's not a major expense i would do it far sooner like 15,000 miles. Now i know many will disagree but i look at it as something that can only benefit the vehicle not hurt it in any way shape of form.  Again , as long as it's not very costly , if it's not too costly i think it's a no brainer.

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PWFX, know exactly what you are saying.  I used to be in the camp of change it every 3, 4 or 5,000 miles.  When I bought my Volt, i changed my ways.  I have a lot of interstate miles but decided to go with the oil change indicator.  I don't wait till the last moment but will let the oil life get down to 20 or 25 percent then change.  The old systems where they just counted miles were not good but I like the new ones where they include they type of driving.  My Volt for example ran on the batteries most of the time but I was making trips to see my mom every weekend.  It was a 300 mile round trip in a day.  About the best service you could ask for.  The TC is a trip car and sees mostly highway miles.  Again I expect longer life from the oil.  So far Ive changed it about every 6,000 to 7,000 miles.  As for the transmission my plan is 35,000 miles and I get it changed - plan is to see if I can find a good shop that will do a real flush not a drain and refill.

 

IMO how you drive is as important as how you maintain.  Always letting the engine and trans come up to temperature before hard acceleration makes a big difference.  

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We can either trust the engineering behind the car, with the car's computer using the "sophisticated" algorithm developed by the car's engineers.......or do whatever we feel is best.  Some people develop their own theory as to when to change oil.  Some people develop their own theory as to what type of oil to use; conventional, synthetic blend, or full synthetic.  Some people develop their own theory as to what weight is appropriate.  All based on their own decades of knowledge, albeit antiquated knowledge, which has not advanced into acceptance of modern engineering.  Whatever they have learned from XXX years of driving and working on cars is that you have to change the oil every XXXX miles, only use a certain type or blend of oil, and XXwXX weight is best, no matter what they try to tell you.  Almost like me telling you that "QuickBooks" won't work, because my people have used an abacus for over 10,000 years.  Guess what?  People ate raw fish 10,000 years ago, but now we have fire, and we cook the fish.  

 

What most of us accept as fact about motor oil is that the oil itself is not what wears and breaks down.  It's the additive pack in the oil, which actually does the work, which wears and breaks down.  With that theory in mind, the algorithm is based upon Ford's MotorCraft synthetic blend oil recommended in the owner's manual.  While nothing is precise, the engineers have probably safely factored in that some people see the oil change indicator on their dash, and ignore it until they can get around to changing the oil.  The factory recommended oil is most likely sturdy enough that you don't have to panic every time the light comes on.  

 

Most of us being of a certain age, remember when vehicles required oil changes every 3,000 miles, or 3 months.  Those recommendations were based upon the engine technology of that space in time.  Engines, and even oil, are built different in today's world.  I understand cringing and not believing that engines and oil can last longer in today's world.  Every reasonable technician will still tell you to follow the OEM specified maintenance schedule for your car.  If you have a car which is older, and the schedule calls for 3,000 or 5,000 miles, then stay with that interval for that vehicle.  A lot of people have turned to used oil analysis, and dialed in a comfortable extended oil change interval for their car.  A lot of older cars are now going 10,000 miles +, using synthetic oil.  

 

At the end of the day, you are not damaging your car by "over-changing" the oil.  If you feel better with changing your oil every 3,000 or 5,000 miles, or every 3 months......it won't hurt the car.  Most of us could probably afford it, so it's not really hurting your wallet.  Most of us are also comfortable with accepting that oil is not wearing out based on calendar days sitting in the engine.  So the real factor is actual miles driven, not how many months in use.  Most of us could probably leave the oil in the car for a year, if the car was driven less than the OEM spec of 7,500 - 10,000 miles.  After several years of ownership, I believe that the vehicle's algorithm also uses calendar days, as my oil change indicator illuminated at or about 10 months.

 

Where you can go wrong, is "re-engineering" the OEM specs yourself, by figuring that if you used a better oil & filter, you could probably drive a lot longer than when the oil change indicator says you should change your oil. 

 

Most of us on this forum are not trying to get 15,000 or 20,000 miles out of an oil change.  But you would be surprised at how many people in the real world would spend $$$XXX on very expensive synthetic oils & filters, then spend more on a used oil analysis, to prove that they are doing the right thing by not changing their oil.  They are out there.  $15 a quart for 6 quarts.  $20 for an oil filter.  $30 for used oil analysis.  24,000 freeway commute miles annually.  Annual oil change interval.  $140 vs. whatever you would have spent to change your oil 3 - 5 times in that same period.  And they have a used oil analysis report to prove that the oil in the engine was just fine after that amount of time & miles.

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17 hours ago, PWFX said:

  Any other suggestions?

 

You could think about when you want to change your spark plugs and coil over plug ignition.  Conventional thinking was that plugs should be replaced at your 60,000 mile tune-up.  They tell you that the modern MotorCraft spark plugs are good for 100,000 miles.   But from cars sold a decade earlier, that has proven not to be the case.  With the COP ignition, they are suppose to be fine, and only need replacement if the boots are dried and cracked, and causing arc faults & misfires.  Some people will tell you that you only have to replace the boots as needed, when they go out.  Some people, like me, will replace the entire COP unit with the spark plugs.  Some people may tell you to check them at 50,000 miles.  Some people, like me, will say that if you go through the trouble of taking off the COP, and pulling the plug to check it; you might as well install new parts, since it's just as much effort to put the old parts back in.  

 

Perhaps change the coolant at 50,000 miles instead of waiting for 100,000 miles.  There are little devices you can buy at an auto parts store which checks the coolant.  I've never used one.  You can see the color of the coolant, and you know how old it is.  Just drain it and add new coolant.  It cost just as much to buy a tool to check the coolant, as it does to buy coolant.

412MIZPkJyL.jpg

My Gen 2 does not have a fuel filter.  I'm not sure if the 1st Generation Transit Connect has a fuel filter.

 

Brakes are an as needed wear item.

 

Gen 1 Transit Connects had a problem with front wheel bearings.  

 

You could always use a turkey baster to suck out old power steering fluid, and add new fluid.  

 

Your drive belt & hoses are wear items.  

 

You should check the paper air filter with each oil change.  Keep a new one on hand, and change as needed.  Depending on your driving conditions, air filters could last anywhere from 1 oil change, to 20,000 miles.  Or switch to a reusable oil filter if you prefer.  

 

Look for exhaust leaks and correct as needed.  If you are in a snow environment, with road salt & corrosion, your exhaust system will be worse off than someone in a dry, desert, with no humidity.  

 

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Posted (edited)

In snow belt it’s advisable to perform underbelly wash every once in a while in the winter to get salt/mud out of places you don’t want it. The thicker the dirt layer the better it is for salt to do its thing. It should be available in every car wash.

Edited by mrtn

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This is for Fifty150:  I heard that the reason some of the expensive European brands went to free service was the lease vehicles were coming back off lease with the oil having never been changed!  

 

I'm not trying to start a social commentary but its amazing how badly some folks take care of their vehicles.  But again I have a couple of 2008 vehicles with the original antifreeze and brake fluid.  It's on my agenda to change the brake fluid this spring.  A year or two ago I did some Google research on antifreeze and the German brands all say life of vehicle for their antifreeze.  I ran across knowledgable folks who backed it up.  Only change if there is problem or issue that requires draining the system.  Since I live in a place where really cold is 20F and totally frozen is 10F and one of the cars lives in a garage.  

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Brakes can be bled when you change the pads & rotors.  You can also use a turkey baster to suck out all the brake fluid on top, then add new fluid. 

 

Radiator fluid does last a long time, but I doubt if any fluid can be a "lifetime fluid".  While today's color coded, vehicle specific coolant is suppose to be an advanced formula; don't forget how the old coolant caused all sorts of gremlins that people didn't even know was caused by coolant.  Remember cooling system electrolysis?  A live current was flowing through the cooling system, in & out of the engine, and people never knew that was why they were blowing up radiators, gaskets, et cetera.  On my car, I will change the coolant.  Most dealerships, will want to sell you a coolant exchange.  Everybody else could trust the fluid to be a lifetime fluid.  

 

I think that a lot of brands will be building "free" maintenance, or at least "free" oil changes, into the cost of the out the door price of the car.  It makes sense.  The consumer perceives a value.  Typically, those programs are for the duration of the warranty.  And when the car is traded back in for resale, they have all maintenance records.  And since they are only performing "maintenance" during the duration of warranty, they're not giving you free transmission flush, coolant exchange, brakes (wear item), tires (wear item with separate tire warranty), spark plugs, wipers (wear item), or battery (wear item with separate warranty).  Your powertrain warranty is for 60,000 miles or 5 years.  The only real maintenance covered would be your oil change.  

 

Just think of the oil changes.  A local dealer offered $5 oil changes for years.....until $5 could no longer pay for the cost of the oil & filter.  Every time the car came in for an oil change, they got to inspect it and find other items to sell you on, or found something that they could do under warranty to charge back to the manufacturer.  And they got to do all of the recall work, paid by the manufacturer.  Look at what you can now get when you let the dealer perform your service.  Lifetime brake pads.  Pay once, get free brakes forever.  2 year warranty on parts.  Parts, which unless they are defective and fail immediately, will last well beyond 2 years......water pumps, thermostats, alternators, starters......you're already paying more anyway since dealership labor is higher and parts are marked up more.  But you think it's a good deal; perceived value.  In reality, within 60,000 miles,  they will probably only give you 6 or 8 "free" oil changes.  Maybe $100 value in parts.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

LBPG.png

LIFETIME BRAKE PAD GUARANTEE*

 

*Available for Motorcraft® brake pads purchased after 7/1/14 and Omnicraft™ brake pads purchased after 7/1/17. Nontransferable. Replacement requires copy of original repair order and completion of any other necessary brake service, such as brake rotor service. Motorcraft or Omnicraft brake pads must be installed by U.S. Ford or Lincoln Dealership or Quick Lane® technician to be covered. Pads only; labor costs not included. Restrictions and exclusions apply. Offer valid with coupon. See Service Advisor for details. Expires 12/31/19.

Expires: 12/31/19

Motorcraft.png

MOTORCRAFT® WARRANTY: TWO YEARS. UNLIMITED MILEAGE. INCLUDES LABOR.*

Motorcraft parts are covered for a full two years with unlimited mileage. Even limited labor costs are included.*

*Motorcraft® is a registered trademark of Ford Motor Company. See your Service Advisor for a copy of the limited warranty. Expires 12/31/19.

Expires: 12/31/19

FordParts.png

FORD PARTS WARRANTY: TWO YEARS. UNLIMITED MILEAGE. INCLUDES LABOR.*

Ford parts are covered for a full two years with unlimited mileage. Even limited labor costs are included.*

*See your Service Advisor for a copy of the limited warranty. Expires 12/31/19.

Expires: 12/31/19

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For my pickup from last decade, the maintenance schedule looked something like this:

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For my 2nd Generation Transit Connect, an online maintenance schedule looks something like this:

1689294608_tcmaintencancespecial.thumb.jpg.be056ba22fae28323333ef77ec4b758e.jpg

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Air filter can get dirty within 1 oil change cycle, depending upon driving conditions.  Most of us will change the transmission fluid before 150,000 miles.  Most of us will change the spark plugs before 100,000 miles.  

 

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Well, the maintenance schedule for your pickup I'm sure was fine for your pickup.  I used to have a Saab that had a maintenance schedule all its own!  But I'm interested in the TC. The list above is right out of the Ford book, and a mixture of severe duty and regular duty.  But maybe that's a good suggest... to simply follow the severe duty and the only thing you'll be out of is a few bucks.  

 

I've typically driven all my vehicles a minimum of 300,000 miles, and would like to do the same with this TC... assuming I live that long:)  And the reason I believe I've been able to get long life out of each vehicle is doing thoughtful and regular maintenance... and fixing things hopefully before they become an issue.  Which is the reason for this thread.

 

The intention for this thread was simply a place for folks to suggest basic maintenance that was based more on their experience and thoughts rather than following the Ford guide to the letter... which I don't think is entirely the best advice if you want to keep your TC for a long, long time.  Ford suggests transmission fluid change @ 150,000 miles as you note... and I'm sure most of us think that's way too long.  So any other thoughts....

 

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Heh, my dealer insisted on the transmission fluid to be for life.

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Lifetime Fluid means that fluid will be good for the life of the transmission.  100% true, every time, in every transmission.  When the transmission fails, that will be the end of it's lifespan.   You will never have to change the transmission fluid, unless you get 150,000 miles.  The fluid can stay in your transmission for 150,000 miles, or until the transmission breaks.  No transmission will last forever. 

 

But the reason I posted the maintenance schedule from 10 years ago, and the current maintenance schedule, is to show that not much has changed.    The severe duty maintenance schedule is exactly the same for transmission fluid & spark plugs.   Something to think about with some of these Transit Connects which have been on the road for awhile.  Spark plugs need attention too.  Don't wait until you have misfires.

 

And in case anyone cares, even back a dozen years ago, Ford claimed that the transmission fluid was a lifetime fluid.  Right where it says, "features", it also says, "filled for life".  So that's not new either.  I doubt if any of those 4 speed transmissions survived without a transmission fluid exchange.  

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