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Discussion Starter #1
Little background...I have a 2003 Mazda 6s Auto Trans w/42,000 miles and reside in southeast Wisconsin.

I've been reading many many posts and my head is spinning from all this talk about tranny coolers, servicable filters and when the fluid should be flushed. Never had I heard this much talk with previous ownership of a Grand Prix, Bonneville and Accord.

But I do love my 6 so I plan to keep it for a few more years most likely to 90,000 miles.

So now the questions...

1. How often should the fluid be flushed?
Dealers say 30,000...Mazda doesn't say. Previous Cars I owned only recommended it at 75,000 miles.

2. Do I really need a tranny cooler?
A few others mention if you don't you must change the fluid regularly...but then others contradict that with speculation.

3. Do I really need a servicable filter?
 

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1. Transmission flush sounds right at 30K. You could go longer but I think that if you drive your car hard the transmission would benefit from the new fluid.

2. You don't need a tranny cooler. But it will increase the life of your transmission. Heat is the number one killer of automatics so a little preventative maintance goes a long way. But really for 50 bucks I think you should.

3. The filter is a must. It provides an easy way to clean the fluid between flushes and will also keep your transmission running stronger longer.

Having said that I will let you know that My 6 that I got last week already has a filter and cooler on it. I am going to Canada in 4 days so I think it will really help out on the drive there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm confused on the trans types. Some refer to the Jatco as the MT, but I seen the Jatco referred to as an AT as well. Which is it...or at least which is it for the 2003 6s AT?

This is total speculation but what I get out of this is...if you want to get the best performance and life out of your transmission do the following:

- Add an inline filter to clean it as needed
- Drain and fill fluid every other oil change
- Add a tranny cooler

But as an average driver driving under normal conditions (mix of city and highway driving) along with just wanting my tranny to avoid problems under 100,000 miles is to do the following:

- Have fluid flushed every 30K miles
- Change filter at 60K miles

Also on that tranny filter related link to Mazda6tech...this intro makes no sense, really read what it says.

"As many of you know, the Mazda6 ATX doesn't have a servicable filter. This is a problem for two reasons: a flush isn't a good idea because you can remove the filter to remove the contaminents, and as the tranny gets older, the filter gets dirtier, but there is no way to change it.

Last thing, I could probably search but does anyone have links to purchase a SPECIFIC tranny cooler and inline filter? I'm located in good ol' SE Wisconsin so I don't think I need a high powered cooler.

Cheers to all for their input!
 

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the Jatco is teh 5speed ATX tranny (The one that you have)

YOU NEED A TRANNY COOLER! Don't let anyone tell you differently. Get the 20,000btu one from B&M
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well I finally talked to a dealer.

His comments....there haven't been any issues with failure due to heat in the Mazda 6 transmission (this is one of the larger Mazda dealer in the Milwaukee area). He did quickly mention the 626 had issues. If I wanted to add a tranny cooler he said they would route it through the radiator as well as the transmission fluid would be too cold to run at the correct operating temperature.

My assumption...NEEDING the tranny cooler is all a bunch of speculation, I can maybe see it if you drive your car hard in the warmer states.

I was actually surprised and impressed how objective this technician was in the conversation we had...
 

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Heat doesn't necessarily kill transmissions, it's usually bad tranny fluid that does the job. And excessive heat kills tranny fluid - but it takes time to do so.

The issue of a tranny cooler is entirely dependent on how and under what conditions you drive your car and how often you change the tranny fluid. If you drive it easy and change the fluid 30K miles or less and are not in a really high heat location (like Phoenix or West Texas) you will probably not need a cooler. If you intend to change the fluid every 60K or more and/or drive it really hard and/or in extremely high heat you should probably put on a cooler.

I don't drive hard and I haven't driven in any extreme heat. After 18K miles my fluid still looks and 'smells' good (yeah, I know looks aren't everything but burnt fluid isn't that nice red color so I know it isn't getting burned, if nothing else.) I am planning on having the tranny flushed at 25K miles. In my case, a tranny cooler is not needed.

While a cooler wouldn't hurt anything (as long as it was properly installed and didn't cool the fluid TOO much) I don't plan on installing one unless I change the way I drive the car or change my location. You can make up your own mind on whether you need a cooler or not.
 

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Check your tranny fluid right now. Is it pink or brown? If it's pink, you're in good shape. If it's brownish looking, you probably need to change it.

The best thing to do is installing a transmission cooler. If you don't want to do flush, do the drain and fill method every other oil change interval. That should keep your transmission happy for a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well...my car has 42,000 miles and according to that chart in the 2 YEAR OLD post (where I can see people would get nervous on their NEWLY bought vehicle) my transmission is going to fail within the next 20,000 miles or so. I'll have the dealer take a through look at the transmission and see what they have to say about the current wear.

All this is still speculation and preventive care...no proof. If there was proof that it is happening or WILL happen, Mazda is going to have a huge problem if every 03 and 04 Auto transmission is going to fail since the general public isn't putting a tranny cooler in.

We all know what opinions are like but usually you can reach a general consensus, in this case there are too many holes and inconsistencies.

The one thing that is agreed upon is flushing the fluid every 30K miles...which I still think is strange...but with the "possible" heat issue (think sampling) it makes sense.

Crossbow...I have searched and read numerous topics. They are still inconsistent, cars in general have transmission problems. Some of the folks make it sound like....Every 03 and 04 Auto tranny is going to fail if you don't put a tranny cooler on. All I get out of it is "preventive" care. If there was an all around issue, Mazda would issue an announcment.
 

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It is worthless to argue with you. We have given you the proper information, and you still refuse to believe.

I hope you don't do nothing and your tranny dies at 51,000... :(
 

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Think of it this way...

A cooler transmission is a better and longer lasting transmission, within bounds of reason. The small amount of money for a transmission cooler is cheap insurance. There is absolutely NO inconsistency in this.
 

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Under normal driving conditions after I get home from a 30 min drive, I feel the cooler (16,000) and it's warm, but I can touch it.

After a spirited drive ( shifting using the manumatic, varying speeds and downshifts) the cooler is too hot for me to touch for longer than a few seconds.

Like the diva said, for 50 bucks, why not? I don't believe that it is actually cooling the tranny below operating temps, but of course this is all speculation until I get a temp gauge down in the tranny.

My two cents and I apologize for not providing empirical data. :)

FYI- 05s ATX.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Not really arguing just looking for an updated objective conversation.

Obviously when you say you NEED a tranny cooler and a couple others say you don't....the topic if obviously subjective.

Tell you the truth after I have the tranny flushed and have them inspect it I still might put one on for preventive reasons. The cooler itself is worth the investment but its the time to install the cooler thats the hassle. Anybody in Milwaukee want to install for a nice sum of money? lol

I still appreciate all the info...just trying to make sense of it all.
 

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If there was an all around issue, Mazda would issue an announcment.[/b]
Mazda did but never came out and directly said it. They felt it necessary to put a transmission cooler on the 6s Wagon, and then in 05 they replaced the Jatco 5spd completely with an Aisin Warner 6spd ATX.

Basically its 50 bucks, and about 45 minutes of time, and thats feeding it through the radiator cooler (which prevents the fluid from being overly cooled).

Based on temp data (and track data), the ATX can exceed 260F under aggressive driving situations, forcing the car into safe mode, as it drastically tries to reduce power output to save the transmission.

We've got a pretty substaintal list of temp data from multiple owners in normal driving, hwy driving, track driving, and autox driving. We've also got a substaintal amount of owners that show positive responses in shift feel and shift consistency after installing a cooler.

We've even got temp data with and without a cooler in the middle of a PA winter.

Is a cooler 100% necessary? That's up to the individual. I think it is, and will continue to recommend installation of one. It's the cheapest and laziest solution to maintaining the transmission.

In your case, I wouldn't install one until after the transmission fluid had been replaced, either through a number of drain/refills (until the fluid comes out pink instead of brownish), or a fluid replacement at a dealership.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mazda did. They replaced the Jatco 5spd with an Aisin Warner 6spd ATX.
[/b]
Thanks...I didn't catch that anywhere.

Also I just read through all the steps in installing the cooler...you did it in an hour? You must really be good as the one who posted the article said a few hours. Plus think of all the prep.

Anyone have any comments on why the Mazda technician said to route the cooler through the radiator in order to maintain correct operating temperature? I mean I could elaborate with him...but curious what you fine folks have to say.
 

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whaas,

Refresh, I posted some more info.

When I wrote the article originally, it took me two day's because I was taking photos, and spent a good hour or so trying to figure out how to mount it without drilling into the frame or crash bumper. The 4th or 5th time I installed it, I didn't remove the bumper, and it took roughly 30-45 minutes.

You could probably do the whole thing in 20 minutes if you didn't double check everything a few thousand times.
 
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