funny thing in getting the oil changed

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Sep 20, 2005
while waiting to get the oil changed in a 00 malibu. the guy asked me if I wanted the tranny fluid changed. I said you cant change the fluid in that tranny. he looked at me funny and said why not. I said thats a sealed tranny and chevy said it can never be changed. the guy just looked at my funny and said ok. this was at a penzoil (SP?) oil change place.
He probably could have exchanged the fluid by unbolting the cooling circuit. But it would have been fun to watch him try to top it off to a proper level after exchange.
no he told me he could unbolt the bottom pan and there was a cap up top. what I should of asked him. you find the tranny dip stick and I will let you change the fluid. =-). man yo uwould think these people would know somehting about vehicles working in a plce liek this. I guess its just like the auto parts stores. they know about as much on vehicles. as I know about rocket engines. and I odnt know squat lol
I have a similar vintage Malibu. Chevy says that under "normal" driving the fluid never needs changing, but to change it for severe service. It is not a sealed transmission. I changed my Malibu transmission fluid and filter myself back in July. Instead of a dipstick, they have a fill/breather cap located under the air cleaner box and a spill hole on the back side of the case to gage the full level, similar to most manual transmissions. It does make it a pain to check the fluid level, but that should be done periodically as well. (On later models they put back the dipstick.) The service tech. probably does this job on a regular basis. That's likely the reason why he looked at you funny. [ December 13, 2005, 03:49 PM: Message edited by: BigAl ]
Well its always possible to change the fluid. If you bought the service, he WOULD have found a way to do it. Probably with the transmission lines. He probably looked at you weird because NO transmission is really sealed.
Yep, that's right. I have a Grand Am that is the same way (no dipstick). This is definitely NOT a sealed transmission. I just dropped the pan/changed fluid & filter on mine a couple months ago. So much for out-smarting the Iffy Lube guys...LOL.
big al when I had the car in the dealership for a sound in the tranny. the tech guy said to put some saturn tranny fluid in it and it would quiet the sound down. I said I thought this was a sealed tranny. he went oh yeah your right. cant add no fluid to it. so your saying that it can be done? any pics of this of what I am looking for under the air box?
More than a few times something like this occurs due to merely a lack of common nomenclature between the tech and the customer. He's just not saying it in a way that you can understand or accept. He's conditioned to only expend a certain amount of time on the "sales pitch".
Yes, it's quite easy to do. If you look at a Haynes manual for the car they will have some nice illustrations. (If it was warmer out, I might be more willing to take some pics. Can you wait until spring?) I have the 4 cylinder engine and the air box is between the engine and the front left wheel well, right over the transmission case, so I had to remove it. (I'm not sure where it is on the 6.) Anyway, if you feel around on top of the transmission case in that area, you will find a fluted plastic knob about an inch in diameter. That's the fill cap. The spill hole is a little harder to find. It's on the back of the transmission, kind of tucked away. You'd have to be under the car to see it. Like most automatics you'd have to drop the pan to drain it, and that's always a mess. A quick lube place might just exchange the fluid through the cooler lines . . . much quicker and neater. But I often want a fresh filter installed just in case the new fluid loosens up some deposits. [ December 13, 2005, 04:15 PM: Message edited by: BigAl ]
If you remove the "level checking plug" (aka spillhole) on the 4T45/4T40 transmission that a 2000 Malibu is equipped with, with the engine off, 3 quarts come out. (7 quarts come out when the pan is removed). Normally you should only remove that plug with the engine running, to check the fluid level. But if you want to do a partial fluid change, it doubles as a drain plug with the engine off. Or maybe you want to pull it before dropping the pan so you only have to worry about making a mess with 4 quarts, instead of 7?
My mother's Sunfire's auto has no dipstick and doesn't recommend changing the tranny fluid as regular maintenance, but I still did it at 100,000km. It was no different than changing fluid on any other auto other than that you check level with the plug while the engine is running.
The Haynes manual makes a point that the engine must be OFF when the level is checked. I'm confused. I'll post the question on the Transmission fluid forum.
we would do them all the time at jiffy lube. flush them out through the cooler lines and iirc check the level through the plug with the engine on. added through the red cap if needed till it came out the plug hole.
The Haynes manual is confused. There is a 3-speed GM transmission (3T40 I think) where the level must be checked with the engine off. But that transmission was only used in the J-cars, never the N-cars (Malibu/Alero/Grand Am).
so much for trusting the chevy dealership. I will look at this tomorrow. man wont I feel like a *** =-). I have never trusted these places and they always told me I had 2 oil leaks. but this time they didnt say a word about a supposed oil leak. what got me was they was already getting ready to do the fluid change as the guy asked me. this is what erked me the most.
The guy was right. You can change the fluid and it is not a sealed unit. We just did the one in our 99 Cutlass (same clone of your 00 Malibu) at about 60K miles. Glad we did - the old fluid was not bad, but not that good either. Drop the pan, drain the fluid, keep track of about how much you drain. Remove the filter, replace with a new one. Install pan with new gasket. Refill with about the same amount of DexIII fluid, then check by using the small plug - engine running. That's a must so the converter will be filled and you get an accurate reading. Fill until fluid drips from the plug hole. Pretty straightforward and definitely not a sealed unit. Also I would never change only the fluid and not the filter as well.
I got the same answer from the local Chevy dealer this morning . . . check the level with the engine running. So much for trusting Haynes. I've must have running around a couple quarts low since July but I didn't notice any problems. I'll remedy the situation tonight. We are getting a bunch of snow today so I can look forward to sliding under a car dripping with ice-water. Very cool, eh??
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