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Old 09-30-2019, 12:21 AM   #1
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Dumb mistake

I drained my oil and blindly went ahead and poured 5 liters of oil into transmission fill tube. I know, what was I thinking. I started engine and only ran it for maybe five to ten seconds until low oil pressure light came on as there was obviously no oil in engine.

Don't think engine would be hurt but was wonder if anyone had any ideas about whether I should just drain transmission oil and fill to full mark or pull pan and change filter and maybe flush trans? Question is, by running engine in park only for a few seconds did any engine oil get sucked up into transmission? I don't think it would of, but not sure.

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Old 09-30-2019, 05:09 AM   #2
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By starting the engine, the transmission oil pump operated. Transmission fluid is constantly circulating as the engine runs. There is no way of telling how much oil got sucked into the internals of the transmission. Hopefully it didn't run long enough to get any of the motor oil sucked in.

Motor oil is much thicker than ATF as well as different additives in it that your transmission is not designed to handle. I'm afraid you may have caused an expensive repair because it is impossible to remove ALL the engine oil without disassembling the transmission, cleaning it and replacing the torque converter.

That being said, I personally would try this first. Remove the transmission cooler line at/near radiator and look closely at the fluid coming out. If there is any hint of motor oil there, the transmission should be disassembled.

If it looks like pure ATF you may get lucky. Remove the transmission pan and drain as much fluid as possible. Remove the internal filter. Clean the inside of the pan and the internals of the transmission as well as possible (brake clean spray works well) and let the cleaner evaporate before replacing the filter and pan. Refill with the proper fluid and hope for the best.

As far as engine damage by running it without oil, it all depends on how long it ran, if only for a few seconds, at idle, it should be fine.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:47 AM   #3
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Comprehensive Insurance?

I know somebody who did this same thing several years ago with a fairly new car that he was still making payments on. He had full coverage with USAA and they covered the cost of his mistake.

If you have full coverage, you might want to check into this before you deplete your life savings.

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Old 09-30-2019, 06:09 AM   #4
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I can’t remember what it was that I did one time that was a dumb mistake, and when I called USAA (Homeowner’s Insurance) about it to see if I was covered, I was told by the representative that my insurance doesn’t cover stupidity. Those were her exact words, so I guess how you present your case to your insurance company may make a difference.

I also believe that your military rank makes a difference with how you are treated by USAA. I have no rank, but my Dad does, and he always seems to get the oddest things covered.

Full disclosure: that “Somebody I mentioned above was my Dad.

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Old 09-30-2019, 06:35 AM   #5
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Pull the pan and filter. Let it drain. Then install new filter and fluid. Run it for about 10 minutes. Pull the pan and filter and drain it again. Then run it for 10 minutes. Done same a 3rd time with another new filter. Then fill and drive it. take it to the dealer and have them do a transmission flush.
There is no damage to the transmission, but could be if it's not completely flushed of alll the oil.
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Old 09-30-2019, 06:37 AM   #6
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I canít remember what it was that I did one time that was a dumb mistake, and when I called USAA (Homeownerís Insurance) about it to see if I was covered, I was told by the representative that my insurance doesnít cover stupidity. Those were her exact words, so I guess how you present your case to your insurance company may make a difference.

I also believe that your military rank makes a difference with how you are treated by USAA. I have no rank, but my Dad does, and he always seems to get the oddest things covered.

Full disclosure: that ďSomebody I mentioned above was my Dad.

Bruce
FWIW, just about any accident is because of stupidity. That was their way of telling you to go away!
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Old 09-30-2019, 01:17 PM   #7
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The problem may not be as big as feared. If you added 5 liters (5.3 quarts) to the transmission it already had 12 to 16 quarts of transmission fluid in it. If you only ran the engine for a few moments chances are the motor oil didn't fully mix with the fluid.

Get it changed ASAP with risk involved it might be best to invest in a tow to a facility that can do a "Fluid exchange" (often referred to as a flush). Many Oil Change facilities can do this as well as many independent repair shops. This is not a "Dealer Only" process.

For what it's worth there are some automatic transmissions that use Motor Oil.

Biggest differences between Motor Oil and Transmission Fluid are the viscosity, ability to mix with moisture, and dissipate particulates.

Transmissions are closed systems not exposed to combustion gases and don't need to be changed as often as Motor Oil therefore they have additives to enhance their life.

ATF has friction modifiers to enhance shift "feel" but if you get the Motor Oil out without driving I seriously doubt you'll experience any damage.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for the help. Called Ford they said do not drive it, obviously!. They recommended a full flush which I suppose means a flushing agent. I need to find out for sure. I have been on google for hours now and feel I could do a flush easily enough without cleaning agent. Maybe even flush several times as suggested and this may do the job.

However, I will have it towed to ford and have them do it. Cost of tow is looked after through roadside assistance and I have peace of mind knowing that having Ford do job it will be on record in case of future problems. Imagine it is going to cost three to four hundred dollars for sure. I will try not to think about that.

Sure would be nice if they made it easier to add oil and clearly marked which is which, my fault but just saying.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:38 PM   #9
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I agree with everything TitanMike said.

For me... I have more concern for the engine with NO oil than the transmission with TOO MUCH oil. (even though it is /was mixed) I truly hope you only ran it 5-10 seconds. It often takes more than that for the light to come on.
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:42 PM   #10
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Personally if it were me, I'd have it towed to the dealership and allow them to do a full flush. Drain and refilling you may get 1/2 the fluid out if lucky.

Many of the newer vehicles have thermostats in the transmissions and the flushing machines warm up the fluid to get the thermostats to open. This allows you get clear out the transmission cooler, lines, etc.
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Old 09-30-2019, 03:13 PM   #11
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X? A decent repair shop will have a flush machine. Trailer or tow and tell them what happened. They can fix it.
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Old 09-30-2019, 03:55 PM   #12
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X? A decent repair shop will have a flush machine. Trailer or tow and tell them what happened. They can fix it.
All set up for next week. proper flush at a Ford dealer and a tow to shop. Pricey at a dealership, but peace of mind.
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Old 09-30-2019, 04:03 PM   #13
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I agree with everything TitanMike said.

For me... I have more concern for the engine with NO oil than the transmission with TOO MUCH oil. (even though it is /was mixed) I truly hope you only ran it 5-10 seconds. It often takes more than that for the light to come on.
I had a chat with mechanic about that. Because I drained oil and was called away, I did not start engine until next morning. Being somewhat cool outside and a cold engine and the fact I was using synthetic oil he couldn't see it being a problem. Heat is the factor he said.
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Old 09-30-2019, 06:19 PM   #14
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I had a chat with mechanic about that. Because I drained oil and was called away, I did not start engine until next morning. Being somewhat cool outside and a cold engine and the fact I was using synthetic oil he couldn't see it being a problem. Heat is the factor he said.

There's more than enough residual oil on the journal bearings to keep them from being damaged if the engine was only run for a short time and not under load.

FWIW, in the past Oil Companies actually drained all the oil out of engines then drove them around for an hour or so to advertise the superior qualities of their oils. As long as the engine has cooling and the oil was in good condition (not full of sludge) chance of damage is low to non existent.

One of my experiences. I was driving down the freeway at speed and blew an oil cooler line and everything the oil pump could pick up sprayed out under my vehicle (with tons of smoke). Coasted off the nearest off ramp and then drove three blocks to a Dealership. They replaced cooler line and filled with oil.

I then drove that vehicle for another 140,000 + miles. Was a great vehicle. Only major repairs were a tranny overhaul at 302,000. Sold it with 348,000 miles on it and got 1/3 of what I paid for it. Lowest cost per mile vehicle I ever owned.
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Old 09-30-2019, 08:56 PM   #15
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There's more than enough residual oil on the journal bearings to keep them from being damaged if the engine was only run for a short time and not under load.

FWIW, in the past Oil Companies actually drained all the oil out of engines then drove them around for an hour or so to advertise the superior qualities of their oils. As long as the engine has cooling and the oil was in good condition (not full of sludge) chance of damage is low to non existent.

One of my experiences. I was driving down the freeway at speed and blew an oil cooler line and everything the oil pump could pick up sprayed out under my vehicle (with tons of smoke). Coasted off the nearest off ramp and then drove three blocks to a Dealership. They replaced cooler line and filled with oil.

I then drove that vehicle for another 140,000 + miles. Was a great vehicle. Only major repairs were a tranny overhaul at 302,000. Sold it with 348,000 miles on it and got 1/3 of what I paid for it. Lowest cost per mile vehicle I ever owned.
Working around cars and equipment most of my life that's kind of what I figured.

However, your posts are much appreciated, feeling better already.

Thanks
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Old 09-30-2019, 09:07 PM   #16
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It may depend on where you live, but check and see if there are any mobile transmission service companies around you (also check commercial truck service companies). They may be able to come to you, and do a proper flush on site for a reasonable cost. Try google and see if you have anything nearby.
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