Ok for starters, you technically don't ever have to service the transmission if you never tow. It supposedly uses lifetime fluid (which I call
on....anyway). If you tow the service manual says to change it every 60k miles, well I change mine every 45k miles. Because of that, the fluid is still in fairly good condiiton (as you'll see). Speaking of fluid, there is only one kind this transmission takes, the good ole OEM ATF WS. There are no aftermarket equivalents or different types of fluids that will work, you have to use the OEM stuff unfrotunatly. They also strongly suggest you do not use additives in the transmission as well. The manual says a drain / fill takes 3.7qts, well mine drained a tad over 4qts. I put in all 4 qts I had and am still a touch low, so I'm goign to get more fluid monday and get it right. The dealer wanted over $100 to do this, well I paid $42.63 in supplies and did it myself. So do yourself a favor and save a few bucks
UPDATE: since this was posted, there have been a few aftermarket companies releasing products claiming equivalency to Toyota WS. Use at your own risk, the FSM still specifically states that anything other than proper WS can lead to issues and the price difference isn't that much so....
Tools / Parts Needed:
-Drain Bolt Crush Gasket - P/N 90430-18008 (~$3)
-4-5 qt's of Toyota ATF WS Transmission Fluid - P/N 00289-ATFWS (~$9 for 1 qt)
-Long narrow funnel
-oil pan to catch the fluid
-10mm Hex socket driver
-optional- 10mm socket and small flathead screwdriver
15-20 min (if you leave lower skid plate on) OR 20-30 min (if you take lower skid plate off)
This is the fluid you want...nothing
else will work:
Get the transmission warm, drive around some. You want the fluid and tranny warm to make it easier for the drain bolt to come out and fluid to flow. Then Park on level/flat ground
There is a skid plate/cover that covers the bottom portion of the engine and transmission. Toyota left an opening where the drain plug is, but its barely bigger than the bolt it self.
I checked it is
possible to get the bolt out of that opening, but you are more than likely going to get fluid all on the top of that panel. Combine that with wind from driving...well I didn't want fluid splashing around all over the place. So I dropped the panel. Its your choice to do it or not, but here is how. Also my car is missing a lot of the fasteners for this cover (along with the oil filter cover and front jack point cover) so I'll show where the fasteners should be.
There are 4 10mm bolts up front that have to come out. 2 of of them are at the edges and 2 of them are in the middle (that also hold the front floor jack point cover on). They are in yellow below. The circles in red are push pins. Remove those by using a small flat-head screwdriver, putting it between the "head" and base of the pin and twisting. It will pop it free. To re-install it, just put the pin in the opening and push the "head" back in place. it will lock it there.
Also notice this panel we are dropping goes ABOVE the one that comes down from the bumper. So remember that when you install it, it isn't the very bottom piece, it has to slide in above the other.
There are 5 total fasteners on the back (2 screws with 10mm heads and 3 push pins.
On each back edge there are a single screw and push pin (it works like the pins up front), and at the very back in the middle there is a single push pin (red circle).
Once those are out it is completly free and will drop from the car. The picture below is the cover. I marked on it where the bolts are while you can see the whole cover, to give you a better idea.
again yellow = 10mm bolt ----blue = 10mm screw-----red = push pin
And Now you have access to the whole transmission
Put your drain pan under the transmission drain bolt, and use a 10mm Hex tool (I used a socket driver that fit my socket wrench) to break the bolt loose. Once its loose you can turn it by just twisting the socket driver by hand, no socket wrench is needed. It will start pouring out before the bolt is out. And if you drove around a lot before its likely to be VERY hot.
It will take 3-4 min to fully drain, while that is happening, you need to switch the crush gasgets out. The old will look slightly deformed:
Just remove it and put the new one on:
Now put the drain bolt back in place. If you have a torque wrench, get it to 36 ft*lbs. If you don't get it snug but don't kill it. You want to be able to get it out again, and the last thing you want to do is strip the pan.
The fluid that came out was slightly darker that the new stuff, but it was still in good condition. Again this was at a 45k mile interval, so it should be fine.
Your done working on the bottom of the transmission, re-install the lower cover, remember it goes ABOVE the slanted panel from the bumper up front.
Refill the transmission. Find the dipstick (its to the left of the air intake tubes, near the front right corner of the engine. Toyota doesn't want people to change their own transmission fluid, so there are no markings anywhere to indicate dipstick location in the manual or on the stick itself. Honestly at least there is a dipstick, when they first changed to using the ATF WS fluid, they stopped installing dipsticks on new cars, using a fill plug instead to keep people from changing their own fluid...glad to see they got their head out of their asses
Now your going to need a long narrow funnel
And fill her up through the dip stick tube. As mentioned above it took a little over 4 qts to fill my transmission. The service manual says 3.7. So if you can, measure how much came out of the transmission and fill that much (or a little less). Remember its just as bad as under filling to overfill a transmission, so put in a little less than you think you need. I put in 3.5 qts at first (I knew I drained 4+). At this point start the engine, and let it idle some. Then slowly shift through all the gears (I even drove around a little bit). The point is to let the fluid in the tube drain into the transmission and heat the new fluid up. Now you need to check the level, do it like you do engine oil. While the car is running pull the dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert all the way back in, and then pull it back out again. There are 2 sets of notches on it. One for cold and one for hot. It needs to be in the hot zone (top set). If your below, fill it a little bit at a time, giving the fluid time to drain from the tube into the transmission each time you put more in (3-5 min). If you try to check to soon, the fluid in the tube can give you a false reading.
Once you get the level right, your done (besides disposing/recycling the old fluid). Go on a test drive and make sure it shifts through all the gears normally. Next time I change the fluid (in 45k) I'm going to drop the pan and change the filter. I'll show how to do that when the time rolls around.
Disclaimer: Do at your own risk. I will not be held responsible for any damage to vehicle or bodily harm when performing these modifications, or any voidage of certain parts of your warranty.