Falcon 4 speed Auto Fluid Level Check

If you own a Falcon manufactured after Febuary 1996 chances are you have gone looking for the transmission dipstick and come up blank, and for good reason, they don’t have one!

Falcons made after this date have a ‘sealed’ transmission and have no dipstick, only a filler plug on the side of the transmission similar to what you would find on a manual gearbox.

This does make checking the fluid level and condition a bit more involved however with a trolley jack, two sets of chassis stands and a good quality 5/8 ring spanner or single hex socket and ratchet it can be done without too much drama. The reason I say to use good quality tools is because the plug in the transmission is usually very tight and sooo easy to round off and the only way you can be sure that this won’t happen to you is if you use quality tools.

This check should be done when the transmission fluid is cold.

The first thing to do is to jack the car up front and rear and try to get it as level as possible. It is important to use chassis stands as you will be getting underneath the car and this should not be done when the car is supported by the jack alone if you want to celebrate your next birthday!

Once you have the car level and secure, slide underneath the drivers side about in line with the front of the drivers door. This is what you are looking for; (please note in this pic the exhaust is removed as this transmission was coming out but it will give you the general idea).

The little red arrow points to the location of the plug. This particular plug was so rounded off that we had to drop the transmission down as much as possible and weld a nut to it. Shame really as the transmission was coming out but I wanted the pictures to look right!


Now with your 16mm spanner or socket fitted as squarely as possible on the plug heave on it in a anti-clockwise direction. All going well it should undo and screw all the way out with no problems. The plug has an ‘o’ ring on it to stop any fluid leaking.

When cold the transmission fluid should be level with this hole. The easiest way to get an idea of the fluids condition is to stick a clean finger in to the hole and have a look at the colour on your finger and also smell the fluid, checking for any ‘burnt’ or overheated smell.

NOTE: ‘Dexron’ type transmission fluid is not compatible with these transmissions. The correct TQ95 transmission fluid must be used. Shop EBAY for TQ95 Transmission Fluid.

If the fluid is not a clean red colour or if it smells like it has been hot I would advise getting a transmission service done as soon as possible. Also a good idea is to fit an aftermarket transmission cooler as the factory one is limited in it’s cooling capacity.

We have a great tutorial courtesy of Paul Taylor (Tinntter) for the fitment of two transmission coolers here. Paul fits two of them to further increase the cooling and has clocked up thousands of kay’s without a drama. Oh, and remember not to over-tighten the plug when your finished as you don’t want to have drama next time you do this job.

55 thoughts on “Falcon 4 speed Auto Fluid Level Check

  1. no this is definitely not OK. you cannot measure the fluid level without removing that bolt. I just got mine off today and it was a hell of a job. the car was tilted so that the fill plug was tilted higher up for the job but 2L of black transmission fluid poured off when the plug came out. absolutely no evidence that the bolt had ever been touched since the factory.

    what must have happened is that previous mechanics must have thought they were “topping up” the fluid when in actual fact they were adding fresh fluid which dissolved some of the solids in the burnt oil, temporarily cleaning up the transmission and making it work better. logically, if adding fluid made it run better, then low fluid was the problem. THIS IS WRONG. because it was overfilled, it was overheating the engine and causing unnecessary wear on the transmission. Ford in all their wisdom failed to understand that when you try to idiot proof a design, all you do is make better quality idiots.

    This is how I got the bolt off. I jacked up one side of the car, giving me a little more room to work. I lubricated the rusty hanger bolts with brake fluid. there are three. left overnight and did it in the morning. two on the exhaust below the filler bolt and one on the first muffler. then pull the rubber hangers off the rest of exhaust back from the filler bolt. gently rest the exhaust on the ground. now take a dremel into that tight space and carefully grind it down until you can see the gap between the bolt and the hole. take a drill and drill into the bolt, careful not to damage the surfaces the O-ring must mate with. now drill down until you hit the bottom of the O-ring then drill another few mm so that you reach the threads. I used old brake fluid as drill bit lubricant. the O-ring will block any lubricant from reaching the threads so it must be drilled through. now roll up a piece of tissue or cloth and soak in brake fluid. push the tube of brake fluid soaked tissue you just made into the hole and leave for a few hours. come back, add more brake fluid to the tissue then push it back in. wait a few hours. by now the brake fluid will have soaked into the threads and you can go ahead and try to loosen the bolt. use a 5/8 6pt socket. hit the socket on the bolt with a heavy headed hammer a few times hard. hit the end of your ratchet or bar with a heavy headed hammer a few times, check it hasnt slipped off, reposition and do it again. eventually you will start to notice it start to rotate. replace the bolt and this time add a thin copper washer between the bolt head and the transmission.

  2. I must also add that instead of using an idiot light, Ford uses a seemingly faulty transmission as the idiot light. when the vehicle goes into limp mode on various different Fords a range of bizarre behaviour starts to occur. before touching the transmission check your ECU codes. I’ve worked on a few fords that exhibited the symptoms of automatic transmission failure but were ‘features’ of the Ford design. one some, the reverse gear is disabled, on others, 1st gear is disabled. sometimes both. sometimes power transmission is limitted to 2k revs, on some the engine will cut at this point on others it will over rev. something as simple as cleaning the throttle body to stop a fly by wire stepper motor error can fix this. I repaired a ford that the ford dealership in Hobart told the customer their transmission had failed and two other mechanics had agreed the transmission had failed. how did I repair it? simply wiping down the throttle body after checking the error codes indicating the problem.

  3. I have a 2010 FG ute I have no reverse and the car won’t move when it’s in drive but it works whilst in sports mode does anyone have any ideas thanks. Also trying to find the filler cap for the trans fluid

  4. Well, I have 2005 BA XR8 Boss 260 ute with 4 speed auto transmission. I have owed this beast for only a short while 4 months and it has been amazing, driving smooth and powerful no problems at all when just out of the blue as I was driving doing about 60kms I noticed I was loosing power as I put my foot down it was reving up and not going anywhere, the transmission just started slipping. I stopped at the lights and took off slowly and it changed 1st 2nd and that was it , it would not change up so I did it manually and when it did it changed very hard into 3rd but I couldn’t get 4th so as I was on the way to airport I just had to leave it there and haven’t had time to check anything so I have been away thinking the worst. Any ideas …… Help.

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