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#1 Old 06-14-2006, 12:29 AM
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DIY flush transmission fluid

(from http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/dir.../.ee9950e/4658 )

TRANSMISSION FLUSH PROCEDURE
Q: How can I flush my transmission fluid without bringing it to a shop?

A:

You can actually change virtually all the fluid in the system using the following method. We have 5 Toyota's in the family, and I have done this to them all at least once.
It takes about an hour. Use whatever fluid is recommended on the dipstick, or in the manual. Our Camry's and Corolla's take Dexron, but the Celica takes Toyota Type IV fluid, available only from Toyota, at about $3.50/qt. Use what's recommended, or you'll be sorry. It's still less expensive than having it done.
1. Drop the pan*, drain the fluid, replace the filter, and reinstall the pan as you usually do.
2. Add 3 quarts of fluid. (or however many quarts of fluid are drained from the pan).
3. Remove the fluid return line at the transmission (usually the upper of the two lines), and place it into a one-gallon milk jug or similar semi-transparent container. You may want to place the container in a box with rags around it so that it doesn't spill.
4. Start the engine, and let about a quart or so of fluid get pumped into the milk jug (about 10-15 seconds).
5. Stop the engine, and add a quart of fluid to the transmission.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get new fluid out of the drain line.
You'll use about 8-10 quarts of fluid total, including the 3 you put in at the beginning, so you may need more than one milk jug.
7. Reinstall the drain line to the transmission, start the engine, and check for leaks.
8. With your foot on the brake, put the transmission in each gear, then into Park.
9.Let the car down and check the fluid level on the dipstick. Add fluid if needed to bring it up to the proper level.
10. Take it out for a test drive, and check the fluid level again.

(*One caveat is that it is not nessary to drop the pan. Removing and replacing the filter is not necessary. It is more or less just a screen that doesn't get plugged unless your clutch plates shread or something equally traumatic happens. Brian R.)
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#2 Old 06-14-2006, 01:47 AM
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The definitive post, at last. We use the shop-type ATF flushing machines at work, and yeah they work BUT using this method is just as good. IMO, you dont need to pay all that money for a flush - you can do just as good a job with this method; and you know exactly what quality and type of fluid is going in.
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#3 Old 06-14-2006, 01:18 PM
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What would an approx cost for a trans flush?
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#4 Old 06-14-2006, 01:35 PM
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Kocho has already posted a DIY on here a while back, doing exactly what was stated above.

Approximate cost of a transmission flush at a shop is around $100 or more, and perhaps $50 for a drain and refill. DIY for the price for 10 quarts of ATF of your choice and about 1 hour of time. And if you need someone to help you out, add the cost of a case of beer.

Dex III fluid costs about $3 for Castrol brand and about $5-6 for Mobil synthetic ATF per quart.


2007 Camry 2.4L 5M

Last edited by touringcamry; 06-14-2006 at 01:38 PM.
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#5 Old 07-05-2006, 01:58 AM
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2nd Generation

My avi was having some minor problem with the transmission.
It wouldn't do the kick-down sometimes and often resulted as vibration and noise.
pour in some seafoam trans-tune and ran for 30 something miles.
Then, i did my first DIY trans flush this past weekend.
I didn't know whether it's going to help or not since my fluid looks pretty good on the dip stick. I decided to go from the original Fluid to Mobil 1 synthetic.
The entire process is pretty easy except that i had a hard time getting the hose off between the cooler and the transmission. Took me 2 and half hour to finish up the process.

After Checking on to the fluid level, i went on a road trip the next day.
It's quite amazing that the noise during normal driving actually decreases a lot. And more surprising to me was that i actually pick up 5 MPG. i went from a normally 26-27MPG highway to a 31.8MPG! same thing happened on my return trip!

so ya, the process is highly recommended.
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#6 Old 06-30-2010, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by funnysam View Post
My avi was having some minor problem with the transmission.
It wouldn't do the kick-down sometimes and often resulted as vibration and noise.
pour in some seafoam trans-tune and ran for 30 something miles.
Then, i did my first DIY trans flush this past weekend.
I didn't know whether it's going to help or not since my fluid looks pretty good on the dip stick. I decided to go from the original Fluid to Mobil 1 synthetic.
The entire process is pretty easy except that i had a hard time getting the hose off between the cooler and the transmission. Took me 2 and half hour to finish up the process.

After Checking on to the fluid level, i went on a road trip the next day.
It's quite amazing that the noise during normal driving actually decreases a lot. And more surprising to me was that i actually pick up 5 MPG. i went from a normally 26-27MPG highway to a 31.8MPG! same thing happened on my return trip!

so ya, the process is highly recommended.
Could someone give more detail on this? Maybe even with pictures? I would hate to pull the wrong line. I drive a 1995 Toyota Camry V6 XLE. I am going to pull the factory service manual, but I want to be absolutely sure.

I recently just threw a sticking solenoid valve code twice and my transmission fluid is brown. (The transmission shop says that the fluid is fine, it's just old, but I don't want to take any chances).

My biggest concern is all of the starting and stopping of the engine so many times. Would it also be possible to just take the intake line off as well and drop it into a can of fresh ATF? If so, why has this not been done?

Thank you in advance,
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#7 Old 07-02-2010, 12:10 PM
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Techniker probably the worst that happens if you pull the wrong line is ATF fluid drains out of the radiator connection instead of the hose.
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#8 Old 01-12-2013, 07:53 AM
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Thank you so much for this post. I'm hoping that someone will answer this considering I'm bumping a 2.5 year old thread.

I just bought a 2009 Camry with 70k miles, and the transmission fluid has never been changed. The mechanic who checked it out before I bought the car said he could do it for $250, which seemed too steep for me...so I'm going to try this.

Here are my questions:

1. Is there any danger in sitting in your car to crank it, hit the break, change gears, etc. while the car is on jack stands? I do have some ramps, which I know will be safer, but the jack stands will give me much more room to work under the car.

2. Is transmission fluid as controlled as used oil? Meaning, do I need to take the old transmission fluid to a autoshop somewhere so it can be disposed of properly or recycled...or can I just seal the containers and throw it in my trash?

3. I haven't gotten under my car yet to look at the transmission fluid hoses...can anyone describe for me exactly which hose on the 2009 Camry LE is the return hose?

4. The first time I filled up I got 25.6 miles per gallon. I was expecting closer to 30. Do you think this will improve the mileage?

5. My manual says to use "Genuine Toyota ATF WS" transmission fluid. Looking online this stuff is north of $10/qt. I found a case of 12 quarts on eBay for $120. Is there anywhere else I can get this for considerably cheaper, or is there another ATF that works just as well, but is less expensive? The high price of the ATF explains the high estimate given by the mechanic.


Thanks a ton!

Last edited by AUZambo; 01-12-2013 at 08:28 AM. Reason: God wasn't happy with my original post.
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#9 Old 01-12-2013, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUZambo View Post
Thank you so much for this post. I'm hoping that someone will answer this considering I'm bumping a 2.5 year old thread.

I just bought a 2009 Camry with 70k miles, and the transmission fluid has never been changed. The mechanic who checked it out before I bought the car said he could do it for $250, which seemed too steep for me...so I'm going to try this.

Here are my questions:

1. Is there any danger in sitting in your car to crank it, hit the break, change gears, etc. while the car is on jack stands? I do have some ramps, which I know will be safer, but the jack stands will give me much more room to work under the car.

2. Is transmission fluid as controlled as used oil? Meaning, do I need to take the old transmission fluid to a autoshop somewhere so it can be disposed of properly or recycled...or can I just seal the containers and throw it in my trash?

3. I haven't gotten under my car yet to look at the transmission fluid hoses...can anyone describe for me exactly which hose on the 2009 Camry LE is the return hose?

4. The first time I filled up I got 25.6 miles per gallon. I was expecting closer to 30. Do you think this will improve the mileage?

5. My manual says to use "Genuine Toyota ATF WS" transmission fluid. Looking online this stuff is north of $10/qt. I found a case of 12 quarts on eBay for $120. Is there anywhere else I can get this for considerably cheaper, or is there another ATF that works just as well, but is less expensive? The high price of the ATF explains the high estimate given by the mechanic.


Thanks a ton!
Wow, this is actually kind of exciting- I was in this thread a while ago before I started working in a shop. Blast from the past. I will answer your questions in order:

#1- Use the ramps if you can. There should be more than enough room to do so even with the ramps. Not to start a flame war over this here, yes, jack stands are safe when used properly- but everyone and their grandmother has a story about how their neighbor was killed when the car jumped off the stands and crushed them. Don't do it to your family. It is not safe to be using a running car on jack stands- period. Especially when changing gears, the transmission can shift its weight (as well as the momentum of the engine) and rock the car off the jackstands (same is actually true of lifts as well, but us techs do it anyway).

#2- Yes, ATF should be treated as used oil- it can go in the same container at Autozone as used oil. You should dispose of it properly.

#3- I can print/email you a document from Alldata or Mitchell on Demand of your ATF lines- just send me a message with your email.

#4- Anything's possible, but I doubt it; regardless though, you should change the ATF out of proper maintenance for the vehicle.

#5- Yes, there are alternatives. This is a Toyota forum and I know there are going to be fanatics- assuming you don't go with OEM ATF from Toyota (you can't go wrong with OEM fluid), I highly recommend Valvoline Maxlife ATF- it is compatible with Toyota WS (UNLESS IT IS A HYBRID) and it's a great all around ATF. In fact, it's what most of us keep in our shops in our transmission flush machines- it's probably what the mechanic you got the price quote from is using too. Customers unfortunately, underestimate the cost of running a shop/our tools and equipment. The flush machine can easily run us $5000 alone, plus the other overhead costs.

Again, DO NOT USE if your Toyota is a hybrid that calls for Toyota WS. The Valvoline Maxlife ATF will run you about ~$20/gallon or $5/qt from Autozone/Walmart.

Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask,
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#10 Old 01-12-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Techniker View Post
Wow, this is actually kind of exciting- I was in this thread a while ago before I started working in a shop. Blast from the past. I will answer your questions in order:

#1- Use the ramps if you can. There should be more than enough room to do so even with the ramps. Not to start a flame war over this here, yes, jack stands are safe when used properly- but everyone and their grandmother has a story about how their neighbor was killed when the car jumped off the stands and crushed them. Don't do it to your family. It is not safe to be using a running car on jack stands- period. Especially when changing gears, the transmission can shift its weight (as well as the momentum of the engine) and rock the car off the jackstands (same is actually true of lifts as well, but us techs do it anyway).

#2- Yes, ATF should be treated as used oil- it can go in the same container at Autozone as used oil. You should dispose of it properly.

#3- I can print/email you a document from Alldata or Mitchell on Demand of your ATF lines- just send me a message with your email.

#4- Anything's possible, but I doubt it; regardless though, you should change the ATF out of proper maintenance for the vehicle.

#5- Yes, there are alternatives. This is a Toyota forum and I know there are going to be fanatics- assuming you don't go with OEM ATF from Toyota (you can't go wrong with OEM fluid), I highly recommend Valvoline Maxlife ATF- it is compatible with Toyota WS (UNLESS IT IS A HYBRID) and it's a great all around ATF. In fact, it's what most of us keep in our shops in our transmission flush machines- it's probably what the mechanic you got the price quote from is using too. Customers unfortunately, underestimate the cost of running a shop/our tools and equipment. The flush machine can easily run us $5000 alone, plus the other overhead costs.

Again, DO NOT USE if your Toyota is a hybrid that calls for Toyota WS. The Valvoline Maxlife ATF will run you about ~$20/gallon or $5/qt from Autozone/Walmart.

Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask,
Techniker
Thank you so much for the quick response. I now have a 6th question.

I called the local toyota repair shop to see how much they charged for ATF WS. I then talked to a service person to ask how much the ATF flush would cost and he told me rather definitively NOT to change the fluid. He said the 2009 Camry has the type of fluid that NEVER needs to be changed.

Seems too good to be true, but in telling me that he lost potential business, so I can't imagine he would say it unless it were true.
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#11 Old 01-12-2013, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AUZambo View Post
Thank you so much for the quick response. I now have a 6th question.

I called the local toyota repair shop to see how much they charged for ATF WS. I then talked to a service person to ask how much the ATF flush would cost and he told me rather definitively NOT to change the fluid. He said the 2009 Camry has the type of fluid that NEVER needs to be changed.

Seems too good to be true, but in telling me that he lost potential business, so I can't imagine he would say it unless it were true.
Yeah, so Toyota, as well as most manufacturers today, claim that their ATF is a "lifetime fill"- it's a load of crap- good luck getting the OEMs to tell you exactly what they mean by "lifetime"- ballpark guess is that they expect transmission to last 100,000 miles. When you drain the ATF you will see why I say that (maybe not at only 70,000 miles though; it's good that you're doing it preemptively). If you want to learn more about oil and automotive fluids, head on over to Bobistheoilguy.com Lots of good info there.

You will also find that dealerships, especially dealer service writers, are drones- they just spit out exactly what the manufacturer tells them to say. Unfortunately, their techs often aren't any better, especially when it comes to diagnostics.

Then again, he's not really losing business, he's just hoping to make a lot more commission off of the $4500 transmission rebuild.

I will offer you a second alternative...since you are doing this early- if you want to make the job a lot easier on yourself just do a drain and fill. You'll only be draining about half of the ATF but if you do it every so often (every year? every 5 years?) it will eventually remove nearly all of the old ATF; plus, like I said, it's a HECK of a lot easier and less likely for the job to go bad. I don't quite recall your vehicle, but there should a little hex bolt on the bottom of your transmission pan for doing so. It's even easier than changing your engine oil.

Last edited by Techniker; 01-12-2013 at 03:30 PM.
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#12 Old 03-19-2013, 04:55 PM
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Changing all the transmission fluid at one time when a vehicle has more the 50k miles is risky at best. There is at least a 50% chance that seals will start leaking.

Tranmission fluid contains addtives that swell the seals x amount. The seal swelling capability of the fluid increases as the fluid ages. Replacing all the fluid at once will change the seal swelling capability of the fluid and could cause the lip of an aged seal to crack. The more miles on the vehicle, the more likely a seal will leak.

A safer alternative is to drain the sump and replace the 3 or 4 quarts of fluid every 8k to 10k miles with new fluid.

Last edited by worahm; 03-19-2013 at 04:56 PM.
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#13 Old 03-25-2013, 04:27 AM
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I guess I got lucky - my 07 V6 Tacoma and wife's 07 V6 Lexus ES350 both had over 100K when I flushed the trannys, their first tranny service. Both have over 5K miles since the flushes and neither leak, knock on wood.

On the Lexus, I used a 5-gallon can with quart markings to collect the fluid in one shot, without having to turn off the engine. I filled up the tranny as the fluid was pumped out. See post #17 at http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums...mission/page-2 .
You need to register to view the pics. If there is interest, I can copy and paste the pics here. I plan on doing the same thing on my daughter's new-used I4 06 Camry. It has 87K miles and the owner claims she had the tranny flushed every 10K miles. Sounds kinda extreme but the fluid on the dipstick does look very clean and red. I plan on flushing it next at 130K.


Before I knew about MaxLife, I bought WS for the Taco and Lexus. I bought it online for about $7/qt and $15 shipping; came out cheaper than the local dealer who wanted $12/qt plus CA tax. It's gone up a bit but still cheaper than my dealer http://www.oemtoyotascionparts.com/00289-ATFWS

Last edited by Chuy; 03-25-2013 at 04:38 AM. Reason: more info
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#14 Old 03-25-2013, 05:38 AM
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+1 on just doing a drain and fill. The transmission on our '98 Sienna is still going strong after 262,000 miles and all I've done is a simple drain and fill every 30k miles. I did drop the pan a couple years ago to replace the filter and while it was worth it for the peace of mind, I could have skipped doing this based on how clean it was.

+1 on the Maxlife, too. I did three drain and fills within a month's time about 70k miles ago (to gently switch over to the Maxlife) and am pleased with it, although its newer formulation might make it a little thin for our 98's Dex III application. It's about ready to go in the '07 Sienna we just bought. The local dealer can sit on the WS fluid that he has priced at $12.99 plus tax per quart. The guys at BITOG say it's nothing special, anyway. I'd rather keep fresh Maxlife in the tranny than to leave the factory fill WS in there FOREVER as Toyota suggests. I know, there is risk in using anything besides the WS fluid, but I've spent hours looking for reports of Maxlife grenading a transmission where Ashland said it can be used, and have found none. Meanwhile, the company that advises against using an alternative to the WS fluid is the same one who put a rubber oil line on our '07's engine (2GR) then replaced it under recall with another rubber oil line. And they say WS is a lifetime fluid. YMMV!

Last edited by TierOneSupplier; 03-25-2013 at 05:48 AM.
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#15 Old 03-28-2013, 08:15 AM
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AUZambo,

Just to clarify what Toyota has a listed maintenance schedule on the '09 Camry.

You didn't specify which sub-model of the Camry you have, so I omitted that when checking.

The first image I am posting, is what Toyota list for TOWING.
I checked all the different mileage intervals that were listed for vehicles WITHOUT towing as well.
The maintenance for the NON towing vehicles, only specifies "INSPECT FLUID".
Basically, it is like a maintenance free battery... You leave it alone, until it needs to be fixed.
At least that is what I'm taking from it.

The second image I am posting is just for fluid capacities. You should note, the Manufacture Code U660E does not state "Drain and refill", so it may be a "Lifetime" sealed transaxle that the dealership doesn't want us touching!

Should you flush it? Well, since it is only at 70k+, No.
Should you drain and fill? SURE, why not!?! If you have the funds and capabilities to do it properly, you're only going to help the longevity of the transaxle (In my Opinion).


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