02-26-2009, 10:11 PM
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05 Tundra Sealed Trans Fluid Procedure
Interesting that most of the many many questions I've read on these forums about the missing dipstick leads to a comment like, "you don't need to check the level because the auto trans doesn't use fluid up." There are certainly other reasons to check the level. Like when doing maintenance.
I am one of the many who drained the 2005 Tundra trans and then went to look for the dipstick so I could top off the fluid again. Yeah, I know this only drains a quart or so and it's not a flush. However, if done routinely it keeps replacing enough of the old stuff to keep the fluid pretty fresh and it gives the opportunity to check for problems. (Some OEMs even recommend doing several of these drain/refills in lieu of a trans flush.)
I followed the Toyota Factory Service manual procedure for adjusting the ATF level but now I am having problems so I could use some advice from someone who really knows what they are doing. I'm going to relate the factory procedure here for the 2005. You may use it at your own risk but if you know the 05 trans maintenance drill and can help... then here is what I did. It is different for the different years so you are on your own if you try to apply this method to your 06, 07, etc.
The 05 fluid check procedure is pretty complicated but the manual explains a way to do it without a techstream scanner. You jump terminals 4 and 13 on the techstream port under the dash to get the truck's temp sensor to tell you when the trans fluid is between 115 and 130F.
The first row of terminals in the techstream connector port under the dash are numbers 1-8. The white plastic connector is like a tapered rectangle shape. The 1-8 row is at the top, which is is the wider part, the lower row of terminals is in the narrower part of the connector and they are 9 - 16. So, it's 4 from the left on the top (wider) row and 5 from the left on the bottom (narrower row).
Then, with the engine running and AC off, you shift between neutral and drive at 1.5 second intervals for 6 seconds (4 shifts). At this point the techstream would flash a "D" for two seconds but your A/T Temp light will come on for two seconds then go out. The rest of your dash lights will be flashing in a great dazzling mindless parade of idiot lights.
At this point, you want to run the engine until the trans is at the proper temp or you can not read the fluid level. You will know when you are at the proper temp because the A/T Temp light comes on and stays on. If it starts flashing, you are over temp and you have to let the thing cool down before trying again.
There are two plugs in the bottom of the trans. One is a drain and the other one (uses a hex key type tool to remove it) is an overflow plug. Careful, the overflow plug only takes 15ftLbs torque to tighten, which is pretty light. Don't strip yours.
You can add fluid through a third plug, which is the fill plug, at the rear passenger side of the trans near the catalytic converter, which by the way gets roaring hot like nothing else this side of Venus. Be careful, since you will be running the engine during this procedure. It's bad enough there is no dipstick but you will be SOL if you burn your arms off too!
You add fluid a 1/2 quart at a time to the fill hole by the converter. Then, with the engine ON you remove the overflow plug and check for a stream of fluid coming out. If the level is correct, there will be a trickle. Not a fast drip, but a trickle. Replace crush washers with a clean/new one and replace fill and overflow plugs and you're done.
The key seems to be to get the fluid up to temp and then shift through all gear selections first with the engine running to fill all the fluid passages. I only use the WS fluid from Toyota, since it's fairly new and most cross references from the ATF manufacturers don't list a comparable grade yet. (is there no end to what Toyota will do to force you into their service dept?)
Here is my dilemma... Now, my trans is slipping when it gets hot. Silky smooth when cold. Slips and grabs from starts/stops or just slips going up hills like I'm not going to make it up. It's only been one 10 mile trip to work since I've topped off the fluid but I'm really concerned about driving it again before understanding if I'm making mistakes on my fill level check.
Any thoughts or input from the masses?