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Automatic Transmission Fluid Service.....To do, or NOT to do?

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by davidcliett, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. Mar 31, 2017 at 12:10 PM
    #1
    davidcliett

    davidcliett [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I have read threads here about how and when, but still undecided as to whether or not to pursue doing a transmission fluid drain/fill and filter replacement.

    I have a 2013 Double Cab V6 with an automatic tranny. I have 104K miles on it. I drive about 90 miles a day (to work and back). I live in the mountains, so there are lots of hills. The last 8 miles in to work, the descent is steep enough that I use the transmission to maintain speed (I've warped 2 sets of rotors and I'm trying to make the newest "heavy duty" ones last). I occasionally haul a utility trailer, and do not make heavy use of 4x4 (usually, only in snow).

    I am currently having NO issues with the transmission. Shifting is smooth.

    I have read conflicting arguments as to whether or not to even touch the transmission. I've had people tell me, and read here, that you HAVE to at least do a drain/fill after XXX miles (varies, depending on person or author).

    So, after all the reading and talking to people, my sense is that it's 50% for (some level of maintenance) and 50% against. That said, I decided that to be on the safe side, I need to at least do a drain/fill, clean the pan and replace the filter.

    However, when I get to the dealer to pick up the transmission pan gasket (he said that they don't stock the filter, they take them out, clean them up, and put them back in), I was explaining what I was going to do and the guy emphatically told me NOT to.....said that it is a "CLOSED" system, and should therefore NEVER require maintenance ("unless you are towing something way too big or 4-wheeling).

    So, with 50% against, then this guy telling me that I should NEVER touch this transmission, I walked out without the gasket.

    Still not feeling right about it though. I'm hoping to have this truck until well over 300K miles (or more if possible), so I want to do whatever maintenance gives me the best chance of getting that.

    Sorry to rattle on, but just wanted to properly illustrate what has me so perplexed.

    Input appreciated!
     
    Rambo54 likes this.
  2. Mar 31, 2017 at 12:18 PM
    #2
    taco2010trd

    taco2010trd Cyber Bully

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    Just drain and fill there is a how to on here. It is not difficult. Get a good top with a tube to attach to at fluid bottle otherwise it gets messy

    Mine is a 2010 V6 TRD OR DCSB
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017
  3. Mar 31, 2017 at 12:27 PM
    #3
    cosmicfires

    cosmicfires Well-Known Member

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    I believe in changing oil. However I have no experience with automatic transmissions.

    Power steering systems work better if the fluid is replace with AmsOil ATF and they are supposed to be "lifetime" lubricated.

    The real meaning of "lifetime lubricated" appears to be when the lubrication fails the lifetime is ended.

    I had a 2wd Toyota pickup where the manual steering was getting weird, it'd make crunches you could feel as you turned it. I took the steering gear box off and dumped out the oil, cleaned it with solvent and filled it with AmsOil gear oil. It felt like new again.
     
  4. Mar 31, 2017 at 12:35 PM
    #4
    DVexile

    DVexile Exiled to the East

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    You will hear a lot of different opinions but from reading endless threads on this I'd say the most common and "safest" advice for a 100K transmission that has not seen prior servicing would be to:
    • Drain
    • Drop the pan and clean the magnets and pan of all debris
    • Clean or replace the filter
    • Fill and properly check the level
    That will only replace a fraction of the fluid but that is also the point - no big changes to the system. Following that you'd probably continue to drain and fill on some sort of shorter interval - like 30K - so that you slowly do replace out all the fluid. On those subsequent drain and fills no need to drop the pan, all that crap you cleaned out the first time came from the first few thousand miles of transmission wear.

    I think many would consider it risky to do a flush. Too strong a correlation of 100K+ transmissions that had never been serviced before having problems right after a flush. There is more than one kind of flush and some are likely safer than others, but personally I would skip flushing entirely.

    What the service person told you is total BS. In fact Toyota itself now recommends 100K service but they poorly define what that service is (drain and fill or flush). They have backed away from their "lifetime" claims.
     
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  5. Mar 31, 2017 at 12:55 PM
    #5
    taco2010trd

    taco2010trd Cyber Bully

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    I'd stick with a drain and fill without dropping the pan. Ymmv
     
  6. Mar 31, 2017 at 1:12 PM
    #6
    speedjunkie13

    speedjunkie13 Well-Known Member

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    I Flushed my ATF at just over 100k miles. I'm a tech so I had access to a machine, which made it much easier. Anyway, my opinion is there is no such thing as filled for life. All fluids get affected with time/temperature/etc so it makes sense to change it and get some fresh stuff in there. Some will say because of the internal clutches and stuff in the fluid that putting new fluid in will make your truck start slipping. I say if that happens, your tranny was damn near gone anyway. I used valvoline max life synthetic, which is showed to be compatible with the Toyota ATF (WS i believe). In the end it's your call, but it surely won't hurt it. Just follow the procedure properly to make sure you get the level correct.
     
  7. Mar 31, 2017 at 1:23 PM
    #7
    PapaBear

    PapaBear Save Time... See It My Way.

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    Just did a complete flush on a proper flush machine, you can do it by hand too though. This kit comes with new filter and new gasket. Might want to purchase a couple crush washers unless you have a couple laying around for the bolts. Bought 4 gallons of Valvoline Max ATF for a complete flush. you'll only get like 3-4 quarts from the pan itself, the rest is in the lines. If you do it yourself, would recommend pouring a bottle of Seafoam Tranny fluid in there and drive for at least 30 miles before the flush. The seafoam actually cleaned some stuff out, had some small debris that were cleared away and fell to bottom of pan, mostly carbon, no metal. Then i put another bottle in after flush and fill for conditioning because it did such a good job to begin with. Isn't too hard. This is coming from an 07 DCSB 4.0 auto
     
    davidcliett [OP] likes this.
  8. Mar 31, 2017 at 4:42 PM
    #8
    RedTac0ma

    RedTac0ma Member

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    I would recommend drain and fill with proper fluid adjustment "critical" with factory fluid. I'm sure there are equivalents out there but do you really want to take the chance to save a few bucks in the short run
     
  9. Mar 31, 2017 at 4:52 PM
    #9
    ozzy73

    ozzy73 Member

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    Drain and fill is what I get done. There is no such thing as lifetime fluid but there is long life fluids and they all break down eventually.
     
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  10. Mar 31, 2017 at 6:37 PM
    #10
    Tcomaboy

    Tcomaboy Well-Known Member

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    Lmao
     
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  11. Mar 31, 2017 at 8:19 PM
    #11
    jsi

    jsi Well-Known Member

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    Interesting timing on this question. I was just thinking about starting to do drain and and fill on my 2011 with 75K on it. I don't buy that the trans fluid with last forever, but on the other hand IMO you don't have to be all crazy about changing it either. Replacing a quart or 2 every 5K miles should keep the trans going for a long time.
     
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  12. Mar 31, 2017 at 8:24 PM
    #12
    PapaBear

    PapaBear Save Time... See It My Way.

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    You should wait unless you've been abusive to the truck, 75k in nothing, do it at 100k for flush.
     
  13. Mar 31, 2017 at 8:31 PM
    #13
    beavis87

    beavis87 Well-Known Member

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    Second what speedjunkie13 said and also point to this thread about the real reason why Toyota calls it a closed transmission and why they recommend only 100,000 miles fluid changes (not flushes). Also, I don't buy the hype that everything that is branded by Toyota is the best for our vehicles (especially fluids). Does Toyota provide any data saying how their fluids are superior to any other compatible fluids available? Does Toyota WS have justification for charging nearly double for its WS ATF over other compatible ATF? The only reason you should use WS is when your Toyota is under warranty as they can look at the tracer for WS and void any warrantied transmission fluid related failures. But at 5 years and one day or 60,001 miles I would flush it out immediately and put in Redline D6, Amsoil blue cap, Schaeffer's #205A or Valvoline Maxlife and drain and fill with a new transmission filter and gasket every 30k miles thereafter.
     
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  14. Mar 31, 2017 at 8:34 PM
    #14
    knayrb

    knayrb Well-Known Member

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    I've done mine every 30k miles with Toyota WS when I do the spark plugs. Hasn't hurt me at all. Runs perfect. I'd change it at 100k in a heartbeat.
     
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  15. Mar 31, 2017 at 8:37 PM
    #15
    PapaBear

    PapaBear Save Time... See It My Way.

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    Do you run her hard, judging by your mods saying "pure stock" I fully believe you baby her, which isn't a bad thing. Every 30k seems like a money waster. 100k should be absolute max you wait to to change, after that then maybe every 50k to 60k do a flush.
     
  16. Mar 31, 2017 at 10:48 PM
    #16
    knayrb

    knayrb Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't say hard. I do drive 80mph+ each day on the freeways here and climb mountain passes. As far as the money goes I'm save a ton by not doing mods. I just have no desire to reduce performance and gas mileage with a lift and larger tires if I don't have a functional purpose. I do think those expensive mods looks better but I just don't care that much. Also 1 large tire cost less than a transmission fluid change.
     
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  17. Mar 31, 2017 at 11:03 PM
    #17
    PapaBear

    PapaBear Save Time... See It My Way.

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    Understandable, I'm not very light with the pedal myself, I regularly push 90 when I have an opening and not very much traffic around, I use it wisely but rough. I guess you can do it every 30k but it just seems overkill especially for how you treat her, you would be perfectly fine to run to 100k+ without any flush. I guess you can say offroad mods hinder on road performance but pretty much anything offroad oriented is going to help you, well, offroad. Being @davidcliett has been running his pretty hard, especially if he's gone through 2 sets of rotors just taking simple inclines on his daily commute and does experience the tranny being used to slow the vehicle, he should 100% do a complete flush right about now, maybe he's even a little over do. That's why I had suggested, being Toyota doesn't actual replace the filter, him just buying the same kit I got and going that way. He would actually maybe be a true candidate for tranny flushes every 30k miles, if he plans on using it the same as he always does for years to come. You're the polar opposite, you treat her like the princess she is :rofl:which again, isn't always a bad thing.
     
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  18. Mar 31, 2017 at 11:31 PM
    #18
    DaveB.inVa

    DaveB.inVa Well-Known Member

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    Go for it. It's not difficult. Like others have said, get a squeeze bottle with a hose or a pump.

    I did my first drain and fill just over 10k since I'd read many were low from the factory. Mine was one of these and I got about 1.25 quarts more in.

    Just look through the forum and use the procedure using a jumper in the OBDII port to allow you to make sure the trans temp is correct. The shift sequence is a little tedious but you'll get it. The truck will tell you when it goes in to temp check mode and will tell you when ATF is at the correct temp.
     
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  19. Mar 31, 2017 at 11:43 PM
    #19
    Glamisman

    Glamisman Well-Known Member

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    if it were me I would get a quart of toyota factory fill ATF and compare the look, feel, smell and taste of the new stuff to what is in her right now. If the old is close to the new a flush would be a good idea, it the old was obviously "used" I would do what I call the dilution process... take the out line from the trans to the cooler and put a hose on it and run the motor until 2 or 3 quarts are out, shut it off and refill, not overfill and a week or so later repeat. ATF, especially new atf has lots of cleansers/detergents and I would not want to clean it up all at once. A little bit of a pain in the rear but compare that to say 2 or 3k for a trans.

    this is just my opionion but like stated above if she slips after a flush/fluid change there were pre-existing problems.
     
    davidcliett [OP] likes this.
  20. Apr 1, 2017 at 5:08 AM
    #20
    MadRiverTaco

    MadRiverTaco Join TW, they said. It's free, they said

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    A flush at 60K? You're looking for trouble dude
     

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