How to Change the Transmission Fluid in a 2003 Lincoln Aviator

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In 2003, Lincoln introduced the Aviator, a mid-sized, luxury SUV. This SUV was a smaller alternative to Lincoln's full-sized Navigator. The 2003 Aviator came standard with a 302-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 connected to a five-speed automatic transmission. Changing the fluid in the 2003 Aviator's transmission is a non-conventional procedure that requires a series of special tools. On most transmissions, you pour fluid into the transmission, but the Aviator's transmission requires injecting fluid into the transmission.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • 2 drain pans
  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Rubber mallet
  • Clean, lint-free cloths
  • Spray parts cleaner
  • Plastic gasket scraper
  • RTV silicone
  • New transmission pan gasket
  • New transmission filter
  • Torque wrench
  • Combination wrench set
  • 3/16-inch Allen key
  • Transmission fluid level and fill plug (Motorcraft part No. 307-437)
  • 5 qts. Mercon V transmission fluid
  • Compressed air source
  • Rubber-tipped air gun
  • Fluid injector (Motorcraft part No. 307-D465)
  • Drive the Aviator until it reaches operating temperature -- about halfway up the temperature gauge. Park the SUV on a flat surface and engage the parking brake.

  • Raise the front of the Aviator, using a floor jack. Set jack stands under the Lincoln's frame rails and lower the SUV onto the jack stands.

  • Crawl beneath the Aviator until you reach the transmission, directly behind the engine. Position a drain pan under the transmission fluid pan -- the large, metal pan on the base of the transmission.

  • Loosen the drain plug on the transmission pan, using a ratchet and socket. Wrap your hands with a cloth to insulate it from heat, and remove the drain plug from the transmission pan. Allow all of the fluid to drain from the pan.

  • Pull the gasket from the drain plug and wipe the drain plug off with a clean, lint-free cloth. Install a new drain plug gasket and hand-tighten the plug into the transmission pan. Tighten the drain plug to 19 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

  • Remove the 16 bolts securing the transmission pan to the transmission, using a ratchet and socket. Pull the pan down from the transmission. If the pan is stuck on the transmission, lightly tap it with a rubber mallet to free it.

  • Pull the circular magnet from inside the transmission pan and clean it by spraying it with parts cleaner and wiping it off with a clean, lint-free cloth. Set the magnet off to the side.

  • Pull the transmission pan gasket from the transmission pan. Scrape the gasket-mating surface on the transmission and the pan. Hold the transmission pan over the second drain pan and clean all of the old fluid out of the transmission pan. Wipe the inside of the transmission pan off with a clean, lint-free cloth. Set the pan off to the side until it dries.

  • Apply a thin bead of RTV silicone around the gasket-mating surface and set the new gasket on the transmission pan, with the bolt holes on the gasket lining up with those on the transmission pan. Set the circular magnet back into place inside the transmission pan.

  • Crawl back under the SUV and remove the two transmission filter-retaining screws, using a ratchet and socket. Pull the filter downward to remove it from the transmission. Press a new transmission filter onto the base of the transmission and hand-tighten the filter-retaining screws. Tighten the filter-retaining screws to 7 to 8 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

  • Set the transmission pan back on the base of the transmission and hand-tighten the 16 transmission pan bolts. Tighten the pan-retaining bolts, in a crisscrossing pattern, to 8 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

  • Hold the drain plug still with a combination wrench and loosen the small screw in the center of the drain plug with a 3/16-inch Allen key. Install a fluid level and fill adapter -- Motorcraft part No. 307-437 -- into the hole in the center of the drain plug. Tighten the adapter with a combination wrench.

  • Open the lid of a fluid injector -- Motorcraft part No. 307-D465 -- and pour Mercon V transmission fluid into the injector until it reaches the "Full" line, about 5 qts.

  • Press the end of one of the hoses on the fluid injector onto the tapered end of the fluid level and fill adapter. Turn the psi on the compressed air source to 30 psi. Attach the rubber-tipped air gun to the compressed air source and press the rubber tip of the air gun to the other hose on the fluid injector.

  • Pull the trigger on the air gun to start the flow of Mercon V transmission fluid into the transmission. Release the trigger on the air gun once the injector shows that you have added 3 quarts of fluid -- the injector has lines on it indicating each quart.

  • Pull the hose from the fluid level and allow the fluid to flow from the fill plug and check until only slow drips of fluid come from the plug -- this indicates the transmission is at its correct level. If no fluid flows out, repeat Step 15 and 16 to add more fluid and recheck the level.

  • Hold the transmission drain plug with a combination wrench and remove the fluid level and fill plug with another combination wrench, once the transmission is full. Hand tighten the small screw into the center of the drain plug and tighten the plug with a 3/16-inch Allen key.

  • Raise the SUV off the jack stands, using a floor jack, and remove the jack stands. Lower the Aviator onto the ground.

  • Take the old fluid to a used automotive fluid-recycling center for disposal. Many auto parts stores take used transmission fluid free of charge.

References

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