2010 Lexus RX350 U660F trans service strategy: Change filter?

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Greetings: In November, we purchased a beautiful 1-owner 2010 Lexus RX350 AWD from a Lexus dealer with a full service history. Everything was done by the book along with 5K oil changes. The car currently has 95K miles. All service from day 1 was performed by the same dealer, and it does not appear that the U660F "sealed" transmission has been serviced based on the history. Lexus says that the "WS" transmission fluid is "lifetime" but as many here would agree, I think that potentially becomes "lifetime of the transmission" fluid. After reading posts on multiple forums, I am planning to do some drain and fills (probably 3x) with Idemitsu TLS-LV fluid (their Toyota OEM approved WS-specific fluid) following the temperature-specific level check procedure at the end. My question is - should I drop the pan, clean the magnets and replace the filter - or leave the filter alone? Opinions seem to be all over the place on this topic and I wanted to see if anyone with U660 transmission experience has an opinion on this. One comment on this is that this transmission has a felt-type filter as opposed to the metal screen found on older Asian-Warner units. One concern is that there is no dipstick so if the transmission pan develops a leak/seepage after I replace the filter/gasket, topping it off isn't an easy procedure (the pan is currently dry). Thanks for any thoughts on whether to replace the filter or just do drain/fills. Andrew S.
 

JC1

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Originally Posted by dnastrau
Greetings: My question is - should I drop the pan, clean the magnets and replace the filter - or leave the filter alone? Opinions seem to be all over the place on this topic and I wanted to see if anyone with U660 transmission experience has an opinion on this. One comment on this is that this transmission has a felt-type filter as opposed to the metal screen found on older Asian-Warner units. One concern is that there is no dipstick so if the transmission pan develops a leak/seepage after I replace the filter/gasket, topping it off isn't an easy procedure (the pan is currently dry).
Andrew, I would drop the pan, clean the magnets and replace the filter if possible to do so. I used to have a 98 Sienna and I did that procedure many times and the tranny worked flawlessly. I believe filling these transmissions is from the fill plug on the side of the tranny. You'll just refill it until the fluid runs out. There is probably some temperature fluid check procedure designed by engineers to keep most people from DIYing this service. I would think you may need to jack up the vehicle and have it level on 4 jack stands to get the fill level and just cold fill it until the fluid runs out and then seal it back up. On my Sienna there were times when I had an extra liter of Transmission fluid in the tranny and there were no issues with shifting. I don't know if a possible high fluid level would be an issue.
 

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Originally Posted by JC1
Originally Posted by dnastrau
Greetings: My question is - should I drop the pan, clean the magnets and replace the filter - or leave the filter alone? Opinions seem to be all over the place on this topic and I wanted to see if anyone with U660 transmission experience has an opinion on this. One comment on this is that this transmission has a felt-type filter as opposed to the metal screen found on older Asian-Warner units. One concern is that there is no dipstick so if the transmission pan develops a leak/seepage after I replace the filter/gasket, topping it off isn't an easy procedure (the pan is currently dry).
Andrew, I would drop the pan, clean the magnets and replace the filter if possible to do so. I used to have a 98 Sienna and I did that procedure many times and the tranny worked flawlessly. I believe filling these transmissions is from the fill plug on the side of the tranny. You'll just refill it until the fluid runs out. There is probably some temperature fluid check procedure designed by engineers to keep most people from DIYing this service. I would think you may need to jack up the vehicle and have it level on 4 jack stands to get the fill level and just cold fill it until the fluid runs out and then seal it back up. On my Sienna there were times when I had an extra liter of Transmission fluid in the tranny and there were no issues with shifting. I don't know if a possible high fluid level would be an issue.
Thanks JC1. You are correct that you fill the unit through a plug on the side of the case, but you must check the level by checking the fluid temperature with a scan tool (or some say an IR thermometer on the pan) and opening the drain plug on the pan when the fluid is in a specific temp range. The pan has a plastic overflow tube and you let the fluid run out of the drain plug until it is down to a trickle and then replace the plug. I wish you could add a dipstick to this unit...
 
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I would start with a spill and fill. A pan drop and filter replacement would be better... If you do, use a factory filter. Enjoy your beautiful Lexus. Great vehicles.
 
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dnastrau

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Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
I would start with a spill and fill. A pan drop and filter replacement would be better... If you do, use a factory filter. Enjoy your beautiful Lexus. Great vehicles.
Thanks Jeff. I am leaning toward changing the filter and using OEM for the pan gasket as well - and hoping for no leaks (using an inch pound torque wrench for the reinstall). Removing the pan looks like a nuisance because at least one pan bolt is covered up by the engine cradle.
 
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I would remove the pan and change the filter if possible. My Aisin 8spd does not have a pan underneath, it's more on the side of the transmission. It's also sealed with an extremely strong sealant that could result in pan distortion upon removal and having to clean the surface. In other words, I'm not taking off my pan.
 
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I would probably just do drain and fills with Toyota WS. I believe it is a wire filter, IDK. Ask the dealer. My Lexus parts guy told me nobody replaces the transmissions where the have the wire mesh filter. My 1998 LS400 with 308k has never had the filter replaced. But I was religious with the ATF changes. Make sure you know the proper procedure for doing a drain and fill with no dipstick. The ATF needs to be at a certain temp to check the level. YouTube can help.
 

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Originally Posted by LotI
I would remove the pan and change the filter if possible. My Aisin 8spd does not have a pan underneath, it's more on the side of the transmission. It's also sealed with an extremely strong sealant that could result in pan distortion upon removal and having to clean the surface. In other words, I'm not taking off my pan.
Hi Lotl: Yes - at least the U660 series uses a standard trans pan on the bottom with a gasket as opposed to sealant.
 

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Originally Posted by Gebo
I would probably just do drain and fills with Toyota WS. I believe it is a wire filter, IDK. Ask the dealer. My Lexus parts guy told me nobody replaces the transmissions where the have the wire mesh filter. My 1998 LS400 with 308k has never had the filter replaced. But I was religious with the ATF changes. Make sure you know the proper procedure for doing a drain and fill with no dipstick. The ATF needs to be at a certain temp to check the level. YouTube can help.
Hi Gebo: The U660 series uses a felt/fiber filter that cannot be cleaned as opposed to a wire strainer like the older models. There is a lot of information out there on how to properly check the fluid level on this "sealed" transmission, so I have that part covered.
 
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Originally Posted by dnastrau
Originally Posted by Gebo
I would probably just do drain and fills with Toyota WS. I believe it is a wire filter, IDK. Ask the dealer. My Lexus parts guy told me nobody replaces the transmissions where the have the wire mesh filter. My 1998 LS400 with 308k has never had the filter replaced. But I was religious with the ATF changes. Make sure you know the proper procedure for doing a drain and fill with no dipstick. The ATF needs to be at a certain temp to check the level. YouTube can help.
Hi Gebo: The U660 series uses a felt/fiber filter that cannot be cleaned as opposed to a wire strainer like the older models. There is a lot of information out there on how to properly check the fluid level on this "sealed" transmission, so I have that part covered.
In that case, I would change the filter and only use Toyota WS.
 

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Originally Posted by Gebo
Originally Posted by dnastrau
Originally Posted by Gebo
I would probably just do drain and fills with Toyota WS. I believe it is a wire filter, IDK. Ask the dealer. My Lexus parts guy told me nobody replaces the transmissions where the have the wire mesh filter. My 1998 LS400 with 308k has never had the filter replaced. But I was religious with the ATF changes. Make sure you know the proper procedure for doing a drain and fill with no dipstick. The ATF needs to be at a certain temp to check the level. YouTube can help.
Hi Gebo: The U660 series uses a felt/fiber filter that cannot be cleaned as opposed to a wire strainer like the older models. There is a lot of information out there on how to properly check the fluid level on this "sealed" transmission, so I have that part covered.
In that case, I would change the filter and only use Toyota WS.
Thanks Gebo - yes - at this point that is what I plan to do. I will post back with my experience once I dig into this (likely several weeks away at this point). Andrew S,
 
2008 Aurion (v6 Camry in Australia) - pan drop at 142.000kms 2013 Aurion - pan drop at 61.000kms. In both cases the magnets were fully coated with very fine metal shavings, leading me to think that all that build up gets accumulated rather early in the life of these transmissions. Based on my experience with 2 U660Es I'd say drop the pan and get all that cr4p out, clean it properly and that POS transmission will thank you for that. And while you're there you might as well replace the filter too. I see you've done your homework on what's involved, well done and enjoy the car.
 
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I have similar, did the service, 2010 Sienna, 3.5l 5-speed auto, U151E, also has the dipstick. Also done a drain and fill with fluid exchange on a 2012 ES350. Also found a specification for the valve body replacement on 2005 4Runner sealed transmission that listed the fluid replacement(~4.3 quarts(I think)) if you look you might find similar spec, it was useful in that I used that for fluid volume instead instead of going through the recommended procedure of heating to temp and draining off excess, to be brief. Thankfully, the Toyota 'sealed' transmissions I have experience with have been just like the others with a pan and filter being a similar set up. Yes, recommend doing the filter, also heard this is the point where rechecking the torque for the valve body is a good practice. Can't remember if I used an off-set wrench or some kind of a pivoting socket extension but the Sienna was much easier that the Camry where the sub-frame is. The Sienna had a trans code for P0771 Shift Solenoid 'E' Performance or Stuck Off that went away after the transmission service. Good tutorial on doing the whole fluid exchange, which I would recommend too.
 

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Originally Posted by AurionX2
2008 Aurion (v6 Camry in Australia) - pan drop at 142.000kms 2013 Aurion - pan drop at 61.000kms. In both cases the magnets were fully coated with very fine metal shavings, leading me to think that all that build up gets accumulated rather early in the life of these transmissions. Based on my experience with 2 U660Es I'd say drop the pan and get all that cr4p out, clean it properly and that POS transmission will thank you for that. And while you're there you might as well replace the filter too. I see you've done your homework on what's involved, well done and enjoy the car.
Hi AurionX2: Thanks - hopefully a new filter, clean pan/magnets and (mostly) fresh fluid with a 3X drain and fill will ensure a long life for my transmission. Andrew S.
 

dnastrau

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Originally Posted by Supersonic
I have similar, did the service, 2010 Sienna, 3.5l 5-speed auto, U151E, also has the dipstick. Also done a drain and fill with fluid exchange on a 2012 ES350. Also found a specification for the valve body replacement on 2005 4Runner sealed transmission that listed the fluid replacement(~4.3 quarts(I think)) if you look you might find similar spec, it was useful in that I used that for fluid volume instead instead of going through the recommended procedure of heating to temp and draining off excess, to be brief. Thankfully, the Toyota 'sealed' transmissions I have experience with have been just like the others with a pan and filter being a similar set up. Yes, recommend doing the filter, also heard this is the point where rechecking the torque for the valve body is a good practice. Can't remember if I used an off-set wrench or some kind of a pivoting socket extension but the Sienna was much easier that the Camry where the sub-frame is. The Sienna had a trans code for P0771 Shift Solenoid 'E' Performance or Stuck Off that went away after the transmission service. Good tutorial on doing the whole fluid exchange, which I would recommend too.
Hi Supersonic: Thanks for the video - I will check it out. The checking of the torque on the valve body bolts is a good idea - I will do that as well. My thought on the fluid level is that I am going to carefully measure what comes out with the first two drains and refills with as close to the exact amount as possible. On the 3rd drain and fill, I am going to replace the fluid adding several additional ounces on purpose, let the car idle until the scan tool shows that the transmission fluid temperature is in the correct range and open the pan plug to drain the overage until it slows to a trickle (based on what the "plastic straw" in the pan allows). I will also try to make sure the car itself is as "level" as possible before the final level check. Based on everything I have read, that should hopefully give me the correct fluid level. Andrew S.
 
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Temperature of the fluid that you drain should be very close to the temp of what you pour back in.
 

dnastrau

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Originally Posted by Gebo
Temperature of the fluid that you drain should be very close to the temp of what you pour back in.
Agreed - I plan on doing the drain and fills running the engine as little as possible in between (keeping fluid close to the ambient temperature). After the third refill I will run the car until the scan tool shows that the fluid temperature is between 104F-113F and perform the level check/overfill drain procedure.
 
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Where did you get the temps? Can you get me a copy of the chart if you have one? My chart only goes to 2009.
 

dnastrau

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Originally Posted by Gebo
Where did you get the temps? Can you get me a copy of the chart if you have one? My chart only goes to 2009.
Hi Gebo: I don't have a chart, but the fluid check temperature range for a U660F in a Toyota Venza (same transmission as my RX350) is listed here on p.9 as 104F-113F using a scan tool that shows the transmission fluid temperature (when doing the procedure without the special dealer vacuum/fill tools that allow a check/top off at 185F): http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TR/tracker40/2013-04-04_113056_223.pdf As you can see in the procedure it appears that you can also jump pins on the OBD2 port to get the "D" shift quadrant light to tell you when the correct fluid temperature has been reached. I am going to use a scan tool instead. I found this doing a simple Google search. I'll bet you can find what you need out there as well. Andrew S.
 
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