2006 Toyota Sienna Transmission Fluid and filter Change

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Oct 19, 2019
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I've got an 06 sienna 159k and I want to change the transmission fluid. It has a weird shift every so often completely random and sometimes has the down shift lag when taking off from a stoplight when not coming to a complete stop. The fluid is red but kind of dark. It was over filled by half a quart when I bought it the shop that did the work on it did some pretty crappy stuff like they just didn't know what they were doing I've had to fix several of there things so far. I sucked out half a quart and it seemed to do better but still not completely smooth. Should I drop the pan and change the filter? And should I swap out all the fluid through the cooler lines for a different kind of fluid? I highly doubt it has type iv in there right now but it's definitely not maxlife I know the smell of that stuff a mile away. My dad used the Walmart supertech Mercon LV fluid in his and it seemed to do okay but i also never drove it so it may still have had the same issues as mine and he just never said anything. Would castrol transmax import multi vehicle be a better choice? I know maxlife says it's compatible but every transmission I've put it in hasn't taken it very well and I ended up switching back to OEM fluid. Only reason I haven't just gotten the OEM fluid is because the dealer is currently out of stock and I would like to get fresh fluid in there before I start towing and I was wondering if there is a better option out there.
 
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I would start with a spill and fill with a quality fluid. MaxLife or Idemitsu would be my choice.
Then in a month or so do another. If you wanna service the filter, I would spring for a genuine Toyota part.
You will likely never have to service the filter again. Remember, the filter is more of a strainer than a filter...

Good luck.
 
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Dogred08

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I would start with a spill and fill with a quality fluid. MaxLife or Idemitsu would be my choice.
Then in a month or so do another. If you wanna service the filter, I would spring for a genuine Toyota part.
You will likely never have to service the filter again. Remember, the filter is more of a strainer than a filter...

Good luck.
So maxlife is a good choice in this situation? I've tried it in 3 different vehicles and it just didn't seem to shift quite right I think it's because the viscosity is so low
 
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It depends on what fluid the vehicle came with. My '07 Tacoma came with Toyota WS fluid. Maxlife works perfect in it. If your transmission came with older Type IV fluid then you should go with a fluid with higher viscosity.
 
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So maxlife is a good choice in this situation? I've tried it in 3 different vehicles and it just didn't seem to shift quite right I think it's because the viscosity is so low
I would use the Idemitsu equivalent. Or buy the Toyota stuff if you like...
Good luck.
 
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No need to drop the pan. A simple drain and fill is sufficient :)

Maxlife is great stuff and can be used with no problem.

Castrol Transmax Full Synthetic is also a great choice and says it's good for all Toyota automatic transmissions. The Import Multi is ok, but it's a syn blend, and the full synthetic is often on sale at the same price. The Walmart full synthetic LV is good stuff, though it actually costs more than Maxlife! Why buy house brand when you can get the name brand? :p

Toyota/Aisin transmissions usually aren't picky. I think Toyota was using WS in 2006.

If you want to do a more thorough flush, do 3-4 drain and fills with some driving in between.
 

Dogred08

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No need to drop the pan. A simple drain and fill is sufficient :)

Maxlife is great stuff and can be used with no problem.

Castrol Transmax Full Synthetic is also a great choice and says it's good for all Toyota automatic transmissions. The Import Multi is ok, but it's a syn blend, and the full synthetic is often on sale at the same price. The Walmart full synthetic LV is good stuff, though it actually costs more than Maxlife! Why buy house brand when you can get the name brand? :p

Toyota/Aisin transmissions usually aren't picky. I think Toyota was using WS in 2006.

If you want to do a more thorough flush, do 3-4 drain and fills with some driving in between.
Where is this castrol transmax full synthetic? All I see is import multi vehicle.
 

JC1

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My 98 Sienna used Dexron III. I used Mobil 1 full synthetic ATF first and then went with maxlife after the first drain and fill.

I changed the strainer (aka filter) three times that I owned it. Shifted super smooth.

Type IV and WS in later transmissions have some people using maxlife with success when others say not to. You can do what you want.

I would do a pan drop and filter replacement first time and clean the pan really well. Then I would do one more short change, just a drain and fill. Then I would just do drain and fills every 20k miles after that.
 
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Last week I did a fluid change on my ‘04 Highlander with 171k miles using Redline D4 ATF. Relevant here as it pretty much has the same drivetrain as the Sienna.

Dropped the pan, changed the filter, and cleaned the metal mud off of the magnets. Used the cooler line to pump out until I saw new fluid, so got more changed out than the just refilling the pan. Much smoother shifting now and happy with the result.
 
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IIRC, 2006 still have the dipstick, in which case you can drain most of the fluid through the trans cooler line 1 quarts at a time till about 12 quarts.
Drain it from the pan first, fill it with 1 quarts extra, then start the engine and drain from the trans cooler line out 1 quarts at a time.
There is a lot of youtube video on how to do it.
The only challenge is that you need 2 person to do it properly and faster.

Now, there is no guaranty that it will solve your trans issue.
 
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I would do a drain and fill with Castrol import (if you don’t like Maxlife), drive for a week or so, then drop the pan, clean, replace the filter, and fill with Castrol import. You can do another drain and fill of the trans on your next motor oil change if you want. You should be good to go.
 
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I'm with Dave-post #4.
I like MaxLife just fine and I'm sure the Castrol multi is good stuff too but I look at this application as a, "Is it T-IV or a WS?"
 
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MaxLife didn't work perfectly in my 2011 RAV4 (drained it and refreshed with Aisin WS) and I am sure that Low Viscosity ATF it would not work well in a 2006 Sienna that required Normal Viscosity, especially when it has almost 200k miles.

Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle never let me down in my older vehicles, Asian or even American (ended up using in Ford instead of their Mercon V). Specs wise is very conservative, that's why it just works.
 
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