Gold standard for maintaining a transmission

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91
Location
California
OK I may have asked this question before. I have a 97 Avalon with an A541E and 150K. Engine runs very well (uses no oil and no smoke) and the rest of the car is in good shape. I hope to use this car to 200K or more. My main concern is the transmission. Here is my plan: Given the mileage on the tranny will a 5K drain and refill (2 quarts) be a good plan? This transmission asks for Dexron 3 and I will use Mobil 1 ATF (the latest multi vehicle formulation). I have a Motive extractor so sucking out the 2 quarts is very easy. I will wait for the car to come to a full stop before going from R to D. I will drive the car gently for the first 2 miles. After that I will drive normally. Sounds good? Undummy - what do you think? Anything to add? Anyway how reliable is this tranny?
 
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25,212
Location
Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: yummy88
OK I may have asked this question before. I have a 97 Avalon with an A541E and 150K. Engine runs very well (uses no oil and no smoke) and the rest of the car is in good shape. I hope to use this car to 200K or more. My main concern is the transmission. Here is my plan: Given the mileage on the tranny will a 5K drain and refill (2 quarts) be a good plan? This transmission asks for Dexron 3 and I will use Mobil 1 ATF (the latest multi vehicle formulation). I have a Motive extractor so sucking out the 2 quarts is very easy. I will wait for the car to come to a full stop before going from R to D. I will drive the car gently for the first 2 miles. After that I will drive normally. Sounds good? Undummy - what do you think? Anything to add? Anyway how reliable is this tranny?
What was done during the first 150K miles with respect to the transmission? Your car should have a drain plug, a better place to drain than sucking out via dipstick. Spend $20 and add a Magnefine, it should help. With you pulling 2 QTs out every 5K, you will not be letting wear metals hang around too long.
 
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2,804
Location
NJ
Well is there anything wrong with the transmission? To me it sounds like you want to change the tranny fluid every 5k miles? Doing a trans fluid change to often isn't very good idea, at least do it every 25k-30k, but 5k is excessive.
 
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25,212
Location
Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: Anies
Well is there anything wrong with the transmission? To me it sounds like you want to change the tranny fluid every 5k miles? Doing a trans fluid change to often isn't very good idea, at least do it every 25k-30k, but 5k is excessive.
He would be only getting about 1/3 out with each change. Why is too often a ATF change not a good idea. First time I heard that.
 
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446
Location
NV
I change the tranny fluid in our accord every other engine oil change. So about 10-15k miles. Takes 3.5 quarts. Every 5k is kinda excessive for tranny oil but again it's only 2 quarts in your case. Was it properly maintained for the first 150k miles? If not, no matter what you do now isn't going to do anything. More than anything, I'd stick with the factory Toyota tranny fluid if you want longevity.
 
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3,358
Location
Maryland
 Originally Posted By: Anies
Well is there anything wrong with the transmission? To me it sounds like you want to change the tranny fluid every 5k miles? Doing a trans fluid change to often isn't very good idea, at least do it every 25k-30k, but 5k is excessive.
First time I heard that too.
 
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3,669
Location
Phoenix, AZ
If it's easy for you to swap 2qts, then go for it. Probably easier than an oil change. After you feel the fluid is mostly exchanged, I would do this every 10K or so, that Mobil1 should hold up fine.
 
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6,318
Location
Canton, GA
 Originally Posted By: yummy88
OK I may have asked this question before. I have a 97 Avalon with an A541E and 150K. Engine runs very well (uses no oil and no smoke) and the rest of the car is in good shape. I hope to use this car to 200K or more. My main concern is the transmission. Here is my plan: Given the mileage on the tranny will a 5K drain and refill (2 quarts) be a good plan? This transmission asks for Dexron 3 and I will use Mobil 1 ATF (the latest multi vehicle formulation). I have a Motive extractor so sucking out the 2 quarts is very easy. I will wait for the car to come to a full stop before going from R to D. I will drive the car gently for the first 2 miles. After that I will drive normally. Sounds good? Undummy - what do you think? Anything to add? Anyway how reliable is this tranny?
That doesn`t take type T fluid??
 
Messages
901
Location
Brooklyn, NY
My 97 Avalon takes DEX II from the factory, but any new tranny fluid works fine. My transmission didn't make it to 150k miles, so you already had better luck than me. My transmission used to turn any fluid black within a year or so, BLACK. Once I had it rebuilt because the torque converter got messed up rocking it out of snow (will never do that again) it has been great. I'd just flush it with a good syn, like Mobil1, and leave it in there for 50k miles. Thats what I did, I have about 20k miles on Mobil 1, all is well and the fluid is nice and red/clear.
 
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1,574
Location
Ca, US
Swapping out 2 qts of ATF probably won't do much for you. I would try to remove the pan and clean the sludge at the bottom. By removing the pan you can get to the pan magnets, screen filter, as well as replace the pan gasket. If your factory fill ATF is black and burnt you should do a full flush.
 
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Messages
2,804
Location
NJ
Reading around I found(i'm not 100% certain this is correct) but if you keep swapping fluids that often(fully), the transmission fluid is very potent on initial change, kind of like abrasive to remove the old etc like engine oil being changed out to often. I am by no means stating this is fact but what I came across on the web. Secondly doing it that often(even with 2qt drain/fills) would be kind of a waste. now granted if your doing it to flush the whole tranny gradually then sticking to a 15-20k interval it makes sense. But to keep doing it every 5k for 2 quarts is a bit excessive no? The standards used to be 100k, then 50k. I do mine around 25-30k.
 
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25,212
Location
Upstate NY
The Amsoil website says total fill is 8.5 QTs and a pan drain is 3.7 QTs. If you are only getting 2 QTs when you suck it out of the dip stick I would try draining the pan and see if you get a lot more.
 

yummy88

Thread starter
Messages
91
Location
California
I bought the car at an auction at 98K miles. After that I did all in all about 4 drain and refill. Yes it is really easy to do a D&R but then you need to climb under the car. Looking for a really easy solution like sucking out the ATF. Perhaps I might do a Drain and refill every other 5K and suck out the fluid on the other intervals
 

yummy88

Thread starter
Messages
91
Location
California
So far tranny seems ok and I just want it to last to 200K M1 ATF is $6 per quart so it is $12 per 5K miles or $120.00 for 50K of driving. Pretty in expensive
 

yummy88

Thread starter
Messages
91
Location
California
I have read your post about your transmission. BTW do you know if the ATF and the differential share the same fluid? Meaning that as long as I keep renewing the ATF by 2 quarts I am also improving the fluid in the differential. So far car has been a reliable daily runner. Engine should easily reach 200K. Typical problems with this car is the power steering rack ($600 expense) and shock mounts.
 
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2,131
Location
Maryland
That transmission is pretty solid. Do a drain and refill a few more times again with a quality fluid like Amsoil ATF or Mobil1 ATF and be done with it for the next 15-30k miles depending on driving style.. The drain plug on this transmission makes the job very easy, gets more fluid out and does more good for the transmission than sucking out the fluid through the dipstick. There is also probably no need to drop the pan unless you really want to and and unless the transmission was really abused. If you really want to, install a strong magnet on the drain plug. If there is any debris floating around, it will drain out the next time you open the plug. I'm not 100% sure, but there may be a separate drain plug for the differential. The differential will also take regular ATF and NOT Gear oil. A lot of people neglect the differential in these FWD Toyota's and it's a shame. Which fluid did you use the previous 4 times you drained the old out?
 
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Messages
3,669
Location
Phoenix, AZ
 Originally Posted By: Spartuss
A lot of people neglect the differential in these FWD Toyota's and it's a shame.
No kidding, on my girlfriend's 2000 Corolla, I was told that the diff was shared, but it is not. Got it changed around 140K and am not sure if it's been done before that? Car runs great though.
 
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5,573
Location
earth
My Camry has the diff and Auto trans fluid shared. WHat I do with my U241E transmission is a drain and fill every 20,000 miles / 30,000 km. I get 3.5L out of the total of between 8 and 10 liters (can't remember). FWIW I did my first D&R at 55,000km, fluid was dark purple, like old red wine, and seem to have a lot of suspended fine particles in it. Did another at 60,000km and the fluid is now looking like fresh ATF on the dipstick. has anyone ever thought that the toyota spec fluids e.g. T-IV and WS are made to to transmission AND diff requirements?
 
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Messages
25,212
Location
Upstate NY
OK, so you bought the car at 98K and have changed the ATF several times since you bought it. You might consider having the pan dropped and filter changed as you do not know if it has ever been done. If you are going to go to M1 ATF, I would drain the pan and immediately do a cooler line flush, this will cost you about $50 in ATF, but then you are starting from a known point. After that I would drain the pan every 10K-15K and refill. I can get to the drain plug on my Camry by just reaching under, no jacks or ramps. Mine takes a big allen metric wrench. Still suggest a Magnefine.
 
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8,756
Location
RI
Definitely need to drop the pan at 100k for service, change filter, clean the bottom of the pan and its magnets........ so you are definitely overdue there! After the pan drop, a full cooler line flush with 12 quarts ATF will not only give you a starting point, but with M1, RP, RL, Ams....or other full synthetic, and a magnefine or permacool ATF filter, you can just go from 150k to 200k without doing anything but checking the ATF level every now and then. But, your siphon/refill every 5k will keep it going after a pan drop if you like spending time under the hood. Or, a drain/refill every 10k(gets out twice as much fluid). If you have diff drain/fill plugs, you'll definitely want to get a good synthetic ATF in that diff.
 
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