Change the Transmission Fluid and Filter in the Lincoln Town Car

Changing your own transmission filter can be scary, but once you get into it, it's really not that difficult. If your are experiencing slipping...
  1. Joeychgo
    Tools and parts you will need:

    • Safety glasses
    • Rubber gloves
    • Ratchet, extension, and 10mm, 11mm, 18mm metric sockets
    • Jack stands or lift (for non-4x4)
    • Cleaning solvent
    • Drain pan
    • Funnel
    • Rags
    • 13 quarts Mercon V transmission oil (I used Castrol - part synthetic) DO NOT use Mercon or Dextron III. They are not interchangeable.
    • Filter Kit (Fram FT1167) which comes with a gasket which you don't need.
    • Flashlight or worklight
    • A friend to help

    Note: Wear safety glasses while under the vehicle for eye protection as there's lots of dirt and grime under there just waiting to drop into your eyes.

    The new filter and gasket. I used the filter brand Fram Model FT1167.

    Drive your Lincoln Town Car onto the ramps. Put a block of wood or equivalent behind the back tires.

    Wait until the vehicle has cooled off for at least 1/2hr if you've just driven it to avoid getting a "hot oil treatment"... burns hurt!

    Be Careful! The transmission fluid will likely still be hot! Don't burn yourself!

    Remove the rubber inspection grommet (1 1/2inch diameter) between the Lincoln Town Car engine and the transmission in the bottom of the bell housing. Use a flathead screwdriver to pry it out - not difficult.

    With an assistant under the vehicle looking into the inspection hole with a flashlight or work light, use the 18mm socket & wrench to turn the crankshaft pulley (by the radiator) to turn the engine (clockwise). In the inspection hole you will see the torque converter. Have your assistant stop you turning the engine when the 11mm drain bolt is visible in the torque converter. You can do the procedure yourself but it is a lot of climbing under the vehicle and back to turning the crank pulley until you find the plug.

    Place your drain pan under the inspection hole and remove the drain plug out of the torque converter with an 11mm socket and extension. The oil will pour out slowly... in fact it may take a couple hours to fully drain the torque converter. It is estimated that it holds almost half of the transmission fluid capacity or around 6 quarts.

    Replace the drain plug and tighten securely but do not over-tighten. Some people like to use locktite on the threads to prevent it coming out. This is difficult unless you let it drain overnight so you can clean off the plug and dry off the threads in the torque converter. If fluid is still dripping out it will be difficult. It's optional! Ok, then after tightening the plug, replace the inspection cover.

    Loosen all the bolts holding the Lincoln Town Car transmission oil pan on. Carefully remove the bolts by one corner of the pan. Carefully pry the pan down at that corner with your drain pan underneath. There will be fluid going everywhere. Try to get a drain pan that is at least 18 inches wide.

    Keep removing the other bolts but leave them loose on one edge to hold the pan up. Tilt it more to get more oil out. Once half of the oil is drained hold the pan back up with an assistant if you have one and remove the rest of the bolts while your assistant holds the pan up. Then carefully drop the pan (without spilling fluid all over yourself) into your drain pan. Drain it.

    Here's a picture of the Ford 4R70W transmission pan with the gasket sitting on top. The OE gasket is re-usable and is stamped as such shown by the red arrow on the right side of the picture below. Notice the grey colour donut magnet shown by the arrow on the top left of the picture.


    The transmission with the pan off.

    Using rags or paper towels and solvent clean the interior of the pan and carefully remove the sludge from the pan magnet at the bottom. Clean the edges of the transmission that the gasket touches. A rag or your scraper might be needed to get any rubber that's stuck on. This surface must be clean to allow a good seal when you put the transmission back together. Clean out the transmission pan and remove all remaining parts of the rubber gasket around its edges. There is a metallic film on most of the pan surfaces that will wipe off. If you find a little plastic plug with a rubber o-ring, don't worry, this was in the dipstick tube while the engine was assembled on the assembly line and falls into the transmission pan. It's not a broken or missing part! Discard it or keep it as a souvenir.

    pan.jpg panmagnet.jpg
    The clean transmission pan. Don't lose the round magnet that's in the bottom of the pan! It goes on the little bump and it collects any metal shavings that might be floating in your fluid. Take it out and make sure it is clean.

    Note the position of the OE filter, pull it off and replace it with the new one, make sure the old rubber seal comes out too. Pop the new filter in place of the old one in the same position. Use clean rags to clean the gasket mating surfaces on the pan and the transmission. The old gasket is re-usable. Place the pan back up onto the transmission. Hand-tighten all the bolts.

    If you have a torque wrench use it to make sure you don't over-tighten the bolts.

    Using a long funnel fill about 5-6 quarts into the transmission through the dipstick tube. You'll need a small neck funnel.

    Start the engine. With your foot on the brake, slowly move your gear shifter to each position, leaving it in each position for about 10 seconds before moving to the next.

    Shut the car off and fill another 4 or 5 quarts.

    Start the engine again. With your foot on the brake, slowly move your gear shifter to each position, leaving it in each position for about 10 seconds before moving to the next.

    Put car in Park and let the car run for about 10 minutes. Then inspect the fluid level with the dipstick.

    Fill more oil up to "full" mark on dipstick.

    Drive your Lincoln Town Car around the block and check the transmission fluid level.

    Mine took just a hair over 12 quarts. Capacity if the transmission oil cooler/lines where empty as well is listed at 13.5 quarts for the Lincoln Town Car.

    Many transmission shops do a "power" fluid change by hooking up to the cooler lines and doing a pressure fill/exchange without dropping the transmission oil pan. This isn't the best since you have old fluid mixing with new, and you haven't changed the filter. As well the magnet in the pan won't get a cleaning and won't work as effectively to catch metal sludge/particles out of the oil. Think of a power flush as taking a shower, then putting your dirty clothes back on. Not exactly ideal.

    Do it yourself, then you'll know it has been done right! Take pride in your Lincoln Town Car.


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. pkbw
    This is such a great post. Thanks from all of us here. I have a transmission question. My 2005 Lincoln Town Car Signature Series with 172K miles had been sitting at my son's house for over 1 year. I went to get it and had to replace tires and oil and filter. But when I started driving it, the transmission made a whining sound when the car reached about 30 mph. Are my seals dry-rotted or busted? What can I do?
      Joeychgo likes this.
    1. Joeychgo
      Can't really say --- I wouldn't think seals are the problem if your fluid isn't low.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.