Car: 2007 Chrysler 300c
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Perth West Australia
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I went through all this with mine. Bought it 7 years ago with 100,000 k's. Got to 200,000 ks.
Now - firstly - let me say that here (Oz), most local auto's are "sealed". The reason for that is the makers had more trouble from "overfill/wrong fluid" than any other cause. So they gave up and passed it to mechanics only. No, it wasn't a conspiracy "so you'd have to go back to..." they just had a lot of stuff ups.
But at least the Chrysler has the dipstick tube.
The Chrysler service schedule is "all or nothing". Schedule "A" (normal use) says "never". Schedule "B" (Police/taxi/dusty/heavy use) says to change it.
I am very wary of "never/last forever" because are they assuming that the average consumer buys a new car every 5 years?
So I investigated.
Firstly, fluid. Half the mobs here sell "universal/compatible with all" fluids. Nah, not worth it. I bought the Chrysler stuff. You may have access to other ATF4 fluids, but here it is very rare, so I had no choice. I DO NOT trust the "She'll be right/one fluid fits all" the aftermarkets advertise. Each to their own.
There are two ways to do it.
You COULD just suck out the fluid and replace it. You'll only get 1/2 to a 2/3 of it, as converter remains full. You could do this a few times running in between (costly for fluid) but that should flush it out. Problem is filter remains in box.
With other auto's I have had to flush, I have removed the cooler return line, filled trans, started, drained dirty fluid until fluid runs clean. THAT is the best way, and the way Mercedes recommend, but you never know if they have done it.
On mine the unions were very hard to get at, and didn't want to introduce a leak on a 12 year old car. (Yeah, coward, I know :-) )
I removed the sump. Changed the filter (old one was Mercedes badged, so looked original). Refilled.
The fluid was cheaper buying 2 x 5 litres than buying the exact amount needed in 1 litre bottles, so I had some to play with. Was still almost $200 for the 10 litres, but the cost of a new box - to me worth it.
I refilled. Ran for a few thousand k's. sucked out fluid through dipstick (removes just on 3 litres) and replaced. Did that three times, so now on third fill and have some in reserve.
Extreme I know, but the $200 in flush fluid and $50 for filter and gasket were zillions under what dealer wanted and I wasn't sure they would flush - their book just says "change filter/fluid."
Level is extremely important, and temp related. MAKE SURE you understand how the dipstick works re level.
BE AWARE there are 3 types of dipstick getting around. The one in the pic above is a "hot/cold" level one and is a bit ambiguous. How "hot" is "hot?" I think they are the wrong one and are for Mercedes, where a "step" lodges with a stop in the dipstick tube, but can't confirm. DON'T use it.
The book has a very detailed graph labelled in cms, so you need a dipstick in mm. The Chrysler method has the dipstick touch the bottom of the sump, and hence measures directly in cm. Again, there are TWO dipsticks on Ebay. I wouldn't use the plastic one. That looks like the Mercedes one and just has "cm" marks instead. Problem is, they aren't in cms, they are compressed. AND - plastic end is pushed on - can fall off inside sump - not good.
Third one is metal. It is calibrated in cms and actually measures in cms. This is the one that I have seen on sites where they are actually doing the job. Still cheap enough on Ebay.
My car was actually down on fluid for years. Once I did all the research and understood what the level should be, I did the drain/filter change and it is now perfect.
I can relax until the NEXT 200,000 ks (I'll be so old I probably won't care :-) )
All other auto caveats apply. Read the manual regarding car running, cycle through park/drive/reverse etc, check running in park. If you don't fully understand, don't add fluid, as level/type are critical and can do more harm than good.
I won't do anything on my car unless I completely understand how it works. With an aerospace equip background I am lucky enough to be able to work some stuff out.
Hope that helps. I know it goes on a lot, but if I leave anything out, and someone stuffs something up cos of it, would feel worse than "raving on."