Corolla ATF drain and fill observation

Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
2,512
Location
America's Dairyland
I did an automatic tranny drain and refill on my 08 Corolla and came away quite surprised by how much came out. I ended up letting it drain for around 30 minutes from the drain plug. All the fluid collected into a clean tupperware container that I then drained into a measuring vessel. I got 3.996 quarts from just a drain in an ATF system with only a 7 quart total capacity! Everything I read said that I should only expect 3-3.2 quarts of fluid. I was pleasantly surprised. This was no more difficult than changing the oil. Took 10 minutes of actual work, the rest was letting her drain! By the way, Toyota dealer says the ATF NEVER needs to be serviced.
 
Last edited:

cos

Joined
Nov 21, 2004
Messages
1,482
Location
Metro Detroit
This is BITOG, we need details! How many miles were on the ATF you drained? How did it look? What ATF did you refill with? Any difference in shifting after the refill?
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
1,545
Location
texas
Are you sure it was 3.996 quarts and not 4.0 or 3.99? How on earth did you measure to this level of accuracy?
 

Saturn_Fan

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
2,512
Location
America's Dairyland
 Originally Posted By: cos
This is BITOG, we need details! How many miles were on the ATF you drained? How did it look? What ATF did you refill with? Any difference in shifting after the refill?
Ah yes, the details... 2008 Corolla with 18,300 miles on it. Bought brand new. Driven gently in a humid summers with 80-95F temps and in +20 to -20F winters temps. Fluid used: Toyota Type T-IV x 4 quarts Drained fluid looked excellent actually. There was no difference in the color and smell from what drained vs. brand new fluid. I plan to do a full system flush at 30K and I will continue to do these 4 quart changes every 15K from here on out. I felt no difference in shifting at all. Smooth as always. From my research, the Aisin-Warner transmission in this car is pretty bullet-proof, but does give the fluid a workout.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
That's about my experience. Easier than an oil change. Most said 3.5qts, but it was still running after 15 minutes and I used a full four. I'm sure most don't have the patience of a BITOG member (or someone with two kids under two and a six pack of PBR on ice in the garage). At 40,000 on our much heavier vehicle without much more power, the fluid looked spent. Dirty at best.
 
Last edited:

pbm

Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
9,049
Location
New York
I plan to do a full system flush at 30K and I will continue to do these 4 quart changes every 15K from here on out. I also have an 08' Corolla and I plan on the first D&R at 20K and then every 30K after that. I think your maintenance plan is more than needed as I know many Corolla owners who never change it.
 

Saturn_Fan

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
2,512
Location
America's Dairyland
 Originally Posted By: cos
Why a "full system flush at 30K" when your going to be doing a drain & fills every 15K?
Basically, I do not want to mess with dropping the tranny pan and I got a couple cases of the T-IV for 4 bucks a quart awhile back. Plus I have OCD when it comes to stuff like this. Toyota gives me no guidelines to go by. It says right on the dipstick in Japanese and in English that the ATF is a lifetime fill, needs no service. I like my every 30K total flush on a T-Tec machine with 15K drain and fills. I plan on keeping this paid off car for 200-250K if she'll make it that far with top notch maintenance and driving her gently. I hate car payments is why I like stuff to last.
 

cos

Joined
Nov 21, 2004
Messages
1,482
Location
Metro Detroit
Sounds like a plan. I do a drain 'n fill on my Ford's CD4E trans every 10K with Mercon. While it's probably overkill that model trans has a poor history and mine has been flawless since day.
 

PT1

Joined
Feb 6, 2007
Messages
5,746
Location
near the mistake
If you do just drain fills every 15k never a need to do a flush. If you are getting 4 quarts out of a 7 quart system then 3 drain fills (with a day of driving in between) will get you what a flush will get you a lot cheaper. But why not pull the cooler line and just do a full exchange every 30k instead. Why pay some guy?
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
8,756
Location
RI
Shorten your drain/refill to 10k miles and forget the flush shenanigans. Even with 15k drain/refills, you'll get plenty of mileage out of the tranny. If you want to keep it, install an inline ATF filter. With regular drain/refill intervals, you NEVER need to flush.
 
Joined
Aug 12, 2008
Messages
598
Location
UT, USA
 Originally Posted By: Saturn_Fan
 Originally Posted By: cos
Why a "full system flush at 30K" when your going to be doing a drain & fills every 15K?
Basically, I do not want to mess with dropping the tranny pan and I got a couple cases of the T-IV for 4 bucks a quart awhile back. Plus I have OCD when it comes to stuff like this. Toyota gives me no guidelines to go by. It says right on the dipstick in Japanese and in English that the ATF is a lifetime fill, needs no service. I like my every 30K total flush on a T-Tec machine with 15K drain and fills. I plan on keeping this paid off car for 200-250K if she'll make it that far with top notch maintenance and driving her gently. I hate car payments is why I like stuff to last.
Yeah, i can't beleive toyota beleives your trans does not need servicing. What a joke. My daughters Scion TC says the same thing, and with 16k miles on it, the fluid already (IMO) looks like it needs it NOW. And it's running WS fluid. I beleive that front wheel drive cars are much harder on trans fluid for some reason. I'm sure it has to do with heat in and around the transmission, in the engine compartment. Are you sure your owners manual says type T-IV fluid? I thought all toyota's are running WS now. 200-250k miles is nothing for a corolla, if taken care of well. A lot of folks are getting in the 400k+ range on the original motor and trans. I bought our 5-speed 08 corolla to save on gas, and i intend on running it until the wheels fall off. I beleive, that the car will last a long time.
 
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
5,579
Location
earth
 Originally Posted By: 3Toyotas
 Originally Posted By: Saturn_Fan
 Originally Posted By: cos
Why a "full system flush at 30K" when your going to be doing a drain & fills every 15K?
Basically, I do not want to mess with dropping the tranny pan and I got a couple cases of the T-IV for 4 bucks a quart awhile back. Plus I have OCD when it comes to stuff like this. Toyota gives me no guidelines to go by. It says right on the dipstick in Japanese and in English that the ATF is a lifetime fill, needs no service. I like my every 30K total flush on a T-Tec machine with 15K drain and fills. I plan on keeping this paid off car for 200-250K if she'll make it that far with top notch maintenance and driving her gently. I hate car payments is why I like stuff to last.
Yeah, i can't beleive toyota beleives your trans does not need servicing. What a joke. My daughters Scion TC says the same thing, and with 16k miles on it, the fluid already (IMO) looks like it needs it NOW. And it's running WS fluid. I beleive that front wheel drive cars are much harder on trans fluid for some reason. I'm sure it has to do with heat in and around the transmission, in the engine compartment. Are you sure your owners manual says type T-IV fluid? I thought all toyota's are running WS now. 200-250k miles is nothing for a corolla, if taken care of well. A lot of folks are getting in the 400k+ range on the original motor and trans. I bought our 5-speed 08 corolla to save on gas, and i intend on running it until the wheels fall off. I beleive, that the car will last a long time.
the ATF also serves as the diff fluid - this may strain it a bit more.
 

Saturn_Fan

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
2,512
Location
America's Dairyland
 Quote:
Are you sure your owners manual says type T-IV fluid? I thought all toyota's are running WS now.
Hi There, IIRC, 9th Generation Corollas 2003-2008, all run on T-IV. Here's my dipstick:
 
Last edited:

Saturn_Fan

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 6, 2008
Messages
2,512
Location
America's Dairyland
 Originally Posted By: unDummy
Shorten your drain/refill to 10k miles and forget the flush shenanigans. Even with 15k drain/refills, you'll get plenty of mileage out of the tranny. If you want to keep it, install an inline ATF filter. With regular drain/refill intervals, you NEVER need to flush.
I want to install an inline ATF filter, but I don't know how to do it correctly. I am not very mechanically inclined, although I have heard it isn't that hard of a project.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
4,998
Location
Milwaukee, WI
It's not a hard project. Is there enough space for you to work easily between the radiator and the transmission. It's just cutting the return line, putting the filter in the splice, and some clamps on each side. Then putting maybe five ounces of ATF in to compensate for the volume of the filter. Fifteen minutes.
 

pbm

Joined
Apr 19, 2004
Messages
9,049
Location
New York
Here's the translation of that Japanese writing on the dipstick...."If you change (D&R) the fluid every 20 to 30K this transmission will last the life of the car...if you move up to a full synthetic like Amsoil, M1 etc...you can go even further...if you install an inline (Magnafine) filter it's even better".
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2009
Messages
52
Location
Idaho, USA
 Originally Posted By: bepperb
It's not a hard project. Is there enough space for you to work easily between the radiator and the transmission. It's just cutting the return line, putting the filter in the splice, and some clamps on each side. Then putting maybe five ounces of ATF in to compensate for the volume of the filter. Fifteen minutes.
With regards to the inline ATF filter ... When you say the "return line", I assume you mean the return from the oil cooler back to the transmission. Just to clarify. In addition ... any recommendations as to a good ATF inline filter? How ofter should these guys be swapped out? Thanks ...
 
Top