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whatevah99

"Check Transmission" Warning Light on 2004 SES

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My 2004 SES recently showed this warning light/buzzer after driving about 20 highway miles - no other symptoms. I checked fluid level and found it very low; filled w/Mercon V into hatched area per instruction manual. No issues until a few days ago, when it showed the same warning on a 1.5 hr highway trip.

I bought this car used at 102K and it now has 192K. I haven't changed the trans fluid or filter, & don't know the car's previous history. The fluid on the dipstick doesn't look black or smell bad. Car shifts well and shows no trans issues besides the warning light.

After this latest incident I got zero codes listed when I checked with my Bluetooth OBD-II reader.

Questions: 

Could a clogged trans filter, by itself, trigger the warning light? 
Do trans codes show only on a pro-level OBD-II reader, or can I trust my reader's output?
Should I have the pan dropped and replace fluid/filter ASAP, then continue to replace more fluid every few thousand miles?

Any other advice?

[cross-posted at TCCA site]

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If the transmission filter was clogged, I'm thinking you'd see other issues besides the light.

As far as your code reader, I know some readers will spit out transmission codes, but that's not 100% every time. A higher end scanner might be able to see if there's any issues, but your mileage may vary.

With regards to these transmissions, everything I've heard points to them naturally running warmer than most transmissions, leading to the fluid eventually breaking down, and of course taking out the transmission. Since usually people aren't changing their ATF all that often, there's a good reason it's easy to find Taurii with dead transmissions with maybe 120-150K. A good rule of thumb is to do regular fluid changes on the transmission, maybe about every 15-20K. Adding a transmission cooler certainly will help extend the life of the transmission. Any licensed Mercon V fluid will work fine.

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Thanks, Kodachrome! Since posting above I found a service sheet showing the trans fluid & filter were changed at 96K, or nearly 100K ago. Therefore both the fluid and filter are currently in need of change! I'm buying supplies to do a pan drop & filter change ASAP, and will replace the pan with one having a drain plug. After that I'll do a pan drain at about 5K down the road. Assuming I get no further warning lights, I think I'll do a second pan drain 10K from now, and replace the filter again at that time.

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