2014 Toyota Rav 4 2.5L FWD Transmission Fluid Swap

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I recently changed the transmission fluid. Figured I make a quick write up on how to flush the transmission fluid from a 2014 Rav 4 2.5L FWD (59,800 miles on car and fluid). This is a cooler line swap, and not a pan drop. Measure the amount that is taken out, and put that same amount back in. The filter will have to be changed eventually by dropping the pan, but that method also requires a specific temperature to refill the fluid as well as a pump. What I used: -Clear plastic tubing -Worm clamp for tubing -3 gallons of Maxlife ATF -Funnel -A way to measure the old fluid [Linked Image] [Linked Image] First locate the cooler. It looks like a hockey puck. There are 2 coolant lines and 2 transmission fluid lines. Circled in red (larger circle) is the cooler. Circled in green (smaller circle) is the return line. The return line is held on by a clamp. Pop off the clamp (may need some coaxing; 5 years of heat soaking made it stubborn) and remove the hose. Attach the clear tubing with a worm clamp and tighten it down. [Linked Image] Feed the tubing to your measuring device (I used an empty Maxlife jug). place the funnel on the return line hose. My funnel was a tad too large. A turkey baster with the squeezer removed fit nicely, and the funnel fit in the baster. [Linked Image] Have someone start the vehicle while you monitor the tubing. I pumped out 2 quarts at a time. After 2 quarts, turn off vehicle and refill with 2 quarts of clean ATF. The residual fluid left in the tubing was minimal and I adjusted the refilling for it. There may be some leakage when refilling, but compensate for it by adding a little more on the refill. There are tick marks nicely placed on the Maxlife jugs which I used for measuring. [Linked Image] [Linked Image] These units are "Lifetime" fills, but the fluid was darker than I would like it to be. Maxlife and Toyota WS can be used, but I hear Maxlife is the better choice. It shifts very nicely on Maxlife. For what it's worth, it took me 12 quarts until the fluid was looking bright red, while the manual states this unit takes much less than that (I believe around 7 quarts). Took me about 2 hours to do this. Hope this was helpful.
 
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I switched my Corolla over to maxlife, seems to shift the same maybe a little smoother. At the maxlife price point I'd definitely switch any WS application to maxlife without hesitation.
 

AZjeff

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Unbelieveable! I have a 2014 RAV4 with 60,265 miles and was just thinking about the trans fluid, not buying into the lifetime fluid either. Over on a RAV4 forum they're scared silly about changing the fluid without the special tools. I thought measuring/refilling at room temp seemed crazy simple and you've proved it. A million thanks!! Looks like it'd be easy to bypass the factory coolant cooler and plug in a plate/fin air cooler if you wanted. Good stuff.
 
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Just this 4th of July I did a drain an fill in my wife's Rav4 cold. I drained almost 3 quarts out and put 3 quarts of WS fluid in with 5 ounces of Lube Gard Red. Drove 5 miles to mix up the fluid and the next morning warmed up the transmission and removed the drain bolt and measured the fluid temp to 104 degrees and when the fluid slowed put the drain bolt back in was all done. This is at 30,000 miles.
 

cdm1993

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Originally Posted by racer44
Just this 4th of July I did a drain an fill in my wife's Rav4 cold. I drained almost 3 quarts out and put 3 quarts of WS fluid in with 5 ounces of Lube Gard Red. Drove 5 miles to mix up the fluid and the next morning warmed up the transmission and removed the drain bolt and measured the fluid temp to 104 degrees and when the fluid slowed put the drain bolt back in was all done. This is at 30,000 miles.
I would like to drop the pan and check out the filter. What did you use to measure the fluid temperature?
 
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cdm1993 I used a digital temperature gage in the flow of transmission fluid as it drained. After starting I went thru all the gears then opened the drain bolt.
 
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Curious does the radiator have transmission cooling line in the bottom - is this a new setup with Toyota's of unique to Rav4? The heat exchange through this tiny cooler's aluminum surface is too little to cool the ATF.
 

AZjeff

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Originally Posted by MaximaGuy
Curious does the radiator have transmission cooling line in the bottom - is this a new setup with Toyota's of unique to Rav4? The heat exchange through this tiny cooler's aluminum surface is too little to cool the ATF.
It is a coolant/ATF fluid heat exchanger but it does seem small looking at it.
 

cdm1993

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Originally Posted by racer44
cdm1993 I used a digital temperature gage in the flow of transmission fluid as it drained. After starting I went thru all the gears then opened the drain bolt.
Good to go thanks.
Originally Posted by MaximaGuy
Curious does the radiator have transmission cooling line in the bottom - is this a new setup with Toyota's of unique to Rav4? The heat exchange through this tiny cooler's aluminum surface is too little to cool the ATF.
I did not see anything coming out of the radiator except for the coolant hoses, so I think the small heat exchanger is it. I forgot to mention this is a prior lease vehicle that was mostly driven in Phoenix, AZ. We got it at 20,000 miles. I don't live in Phoenix, but it is not uncommon for temps to go above 110 there, and the road temps much higher than that. With increased heat build up from stop and go driving in that big city, it wouldn't surprise me if the fluid was on its last legs. Should have got a UOA. After some more driving the shift quality is definitely smoother.
 
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I would install a real cooler - looks like every other manufacturer is taking short cuts, even the location of the cooler is suspect. A 2.5L has tons of space to put one - under the battery is a great location for a REAL cooler.
 

cdm1993

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Update: Rav4 now has 69,xxx miles and is still shifting nicely. Nothing noticeably different between WS fluid and Maxlife.
 
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Is there a need to "drop" the PAN on the 2014 RAV4? The older RAV's had a nice drain plug with a crush washer that made the job very simple. I for one would not mess with cooler lines but good job. I have had great results using Maxlife fluid in all my WS applications.
 
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Thank you for posting. As for Maxlife ATF I use it DEXRON, MERCON, ZF, and Honda applications no issues with tens of thousands miles of use. Some people post on forums and YouTube hundreds of thousands of miles of service using Maxlife ATF with perfectly fine running transmissions. The sky is falling crowd really do not understand most AT's have very similar friction, cooling, and operating requirements. Thus high quality fluids meet the performance requirements of most transmissions.
 
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