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phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 22, 2018 - 05:18pm PT
I know there are a ton of good mechanics here, so I'd like some advice. I'll delete this off-topic thread once I get an answer.

I own a Winnebago that gets driven only about 4500 miles per year. It's a Ford E350 Superduty Econoline.
Current mileage is 55K

Last time I took it in for an oil change service, they tried to up-sell me a bunch of stuff that they said needed "immediate" attention.

I looked up the recommendations when this stuff should be done on that engine on the internet, but I'm wondering what those who know auto stuff say. Should I have the stuff done or is it all bull and just a way to make more money?

Coolant flush. Internet says to do every 30K, I last had it done at 25K

Transmission service. I'm confused about the recommendations I saw for this. It's either 50K, 100K or 150K. It was done at 30 K previously.

Brake flush. Internet say to do every 30K or 2 years. It was done at 42K in Feb 2015, so it's more than 3 years but less than 30K miles.

My husband says they mostly just are trying to make money with these recs and change these fluids and flush perfectly good fluids away. But I'm the one who mostly drives the RV and he's not a mechanic...

Can anyone give me an opinion?
Thanks, Phyl
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Oct 22, 2018 - 05:22pm PT
Flushes are for toilets. Hubby is correct
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
Oct 22, 2018 - 05:26pm PT
I don't think I've had any of those things done on any vehicle I've owned.

I wouldn't.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Oct 22, 2018 - 05:45pm PT
Step one - RTFM. The owners manual should spell this out pretty clear.

Caveats:

Coolant - modern coolant has a 100k mile service life, but that might not be what is in your manual. 25-50k service lives are from the 80’s.

Tranny fluid: Your owners manual likely has different mileages for different “schedules” - A, B etc or some such, based on use - is the vehicle a taxi or do you tow, etc.

Brake fluid takes on water over time. You can look at it and tell, it gets darker with more water. It should be clear with a slight yellow/red tint. Flushing every 2 years is pretty worst case, though, but it just depends. The water is a cancer to the componants, and can also boil off and cause the brakes to fail.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:19pm PT
sounds like the usual dealership scare tactics...ask the service manager if he knows horse face...
zBrown

Ice climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:30pm PT
There are test strips for most of the fluids mentioned

Ask to see them

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:34pm PT
What year is it VS. the mileage ?

55k is pretty low for any vehicle, be it miles or kilometers.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:41pm PT
Friend of mine had a super clean run around town 04 Toyota Highlander with 42k miles. Original brakes went metal on metal so he took it to Pep Boys. Came out with a 5,000 dollar estimate. he could not find it unfortunately. What did he do? called me to come and get it, was not worth fixing. I drove it home and replaced the front and rear brake pads for less than 60 bucks and have made two trips to Yosemite and a trip to the creek.
WBraun

climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:47pm PT
Came out with a 5,000 dollar estimate from Pepboys for a brake job like that.

I don't believe you .......
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:48pm PT
Due to the low miles driven per year, you should consider variables of both time and mileage, when considering brake fluid and coolant. Replace coolant with "long-life". Time is a factor due to increasing acidity and the breakdown of corrosion inhibiting chemicals in coolant.

Due to the heavier vehicle (I'm assuming this is a class "C" motorhome?), the transmission must work harder than a regular van. Do you have the Triton V-10 engine? Perhaps there are specific recommendations for transmission fluid change intervals. In lieu of those specs, I'd suggest halving the interval in the Ford owner's manual. Perhaps there's a recommendation for heavy/frequent towing which might serve as a guideline.

My E-350 4x4 V-10 van went through a transmission at 100K miles. A factory re-manufactured transmission plus installation wasn't cheap. Don't cheap out on transmission servicing. I don't like the fluid change-by-machine at the chain store oil change centers. The machine circulates fresh oil in and supposedly flushes out the old. I prefer the old-school way of dropping the pan. You can then visually inspect for excessive clutch material and/or metal in the bottom of the pan.
WBraun

climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:53pm PT
I was actually waiting for Juan Maderita to post to this thread.

And he came up with the real goods as usual ......
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:55pm PT
I don't believe you .......

You should get out (to auto repair shops in affluent neighborhoods) more often.
WBraun

climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:57pm PT
Show me the actual paper estimate from PepBoys and I'll believe you.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 07:59pm PT
Juan,

Did you buy your E350 new ? A transmission should last the life of a vehicle if serviced properly. Clutches and Torques are another topic !
WBraun

climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 08:07pm PT
A transmission should last the life of a vehicle if serviced properly.

Yeah only for Jim Brennan who only drives to the mall once a week on Sundays to buy his Geritol .......
John M

climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 08:07pm PT
A transmission should last the life of a vehicle if serviced properly. Clutches and Torques are another topic !

For average use, perhaps..

stolen from Juan's photos

Slow crawling it here in low range. 50 miles of dirt roads. The final ...
Slow crawling it here in low range. 50 miles of dirt roads. The final 25 miles towing the horse trailer took 3 hrs.
Credit: Juan Maderita
Winemaker

Sport climber
Yakima, WA
Oct 22, 2018 - 08:10pm PT
I'm with JLP. It's a simple job to bleed all the brakes in sequence and flush out all the old brake fluid. Don't use opened cans of brake fluid to refill the reservoir, use new stuff; it's cheap and new fluid won't have absorbed any water. All you need is some plastic tubing that fits tightly on the bleed nipple, a waste can (keep the end of the tube submerged so you don't suck back air), a small box end wrench and some jacking and wheel removal skills. While you're at it adjust the rear drums (if any) and you will be amazed at the stiff pedal and lack of travel when braking. This is also a great time to inspect pads and see if you are due.

As to the $5000 brake job........ New rotors are less than $100 and pads are maybe $40 an end unless it's a Porsche or Ferrari. How anyone could come up with $5k I have no clue. I guess they were replacing all the brake lines, master cylinder, power assist, etc. Sweet.
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
"OBcean" San Diego, CA
Oct 22, 2018 - 08:13pm PT
Werner, Thanks :)

Jim, No, used with 75K miles. Probably wasn't driven hard before I got it. The miles after I got it included towing a fully loaded 20' enclosed toy hauler over the mountains to the desert dozens of times and countless miles of Baja dirt roads.

phylp, Here's an interesting read on transmission fluid flush vs. drop the pan. https://www.transmissionrepaircostguide.com/what-is-a-transmission-flush/

Now if they would just explain how a flush will change the filter (inside the pan), maybe I will go with the flush (not!).

John M, You busted me ;) Who else can blow up a rear diff on an E350?!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Oct 22, 2018 - 08:13pm PT
Werner, you crack me up.

That was really funny, THANKS !
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 22, 2018 - 08:13pm PT
I appreciate all the answers. This is really helpful.
Yes, about 70 percent of the time, it’s towing my Forrester, about 3500 lbs. RV weight is about 10,500 lbs.
I’m too tired to go out to the Garage to look at the manual, but I do recall it being a V10.
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