DIY : Transmission Filter Change - Page 4 - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
Highlander 2nd Generation (2008-2013) Forum dedicated to the discussion of 2nd generation Toyota Highlanders.

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post #46 of 59 Old 05-24-2019, 03:29 PM
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Fluid change only?

Hello, thanks for the guidance. I have a 2009 Highlander LTD, 80k miles, good shape, regular oil changes, what do you think of only changing out the transmission fluid only and not replacing the filter? I'm not being lazy, I just want your opinion about the filter/strainer. Thx, Ed
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post #47 of 59 Old 05-24-2019, 09:35 PM
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Filter should be good for the life of the vehicle. I typically recommend changing it out at 100k miles. So, you got some more driving to do. I would start a drain/refill regimen on the ATF NOW since its a decade old and has 80k miles.

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post #48 of 59 Old 05-25-2019, 05:38 AM
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My take on fluid changes is that if done without the dealer or a regular mechanic, the cost is so minimal, that it should be done every 30K, and no more. There is a low probability of issues, but the transmission is one expensive part on a vehicle. I sold mine in 2012, but now the 2005 Corolla, in where the fluid was not dirty, but pretty clean has since gone through 2 fluid changes and the filter. The fluid is super clean and I plan on a drain/fill every 30K moving forward, maybe a little less, but no less than 20K. All up to comfort and your wallet.

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post #49 of 59 Old 05-25-2019, 01:28 PM
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My '06 Avalon has the same engine/transmission as the 2nd Gen Highlander. I generally find more good discussion in this 2nd Gen HL forum than the 3rd Gen Avalon forum. SweeneyP's spark plug tutorial came in handy 6 yrs. ago along with many of his other write-ups.

My Avalon is now at 227,000 miles. The transmission filter has never been changed. I'm not saying anyone should do this, just pointing out my situation. I have done countless 3.7 qt. pan drains. My Avalon has a dipstick. Many moons ago I switched from Toyota WS ATF to Valvoline MaxLife; then to the WM Super Tech Dex-VI product - WM in my area quit carrying Valvoline MaxLife awhile back. The WM Super Tech Dex-VI product has a WS rating on the label. Both have performed very well in my opinion. I'm not knocking Toyota WS ATF - again - just pointing out what I've done.

Some people believe the filter in these transmissions is a mesh type like that found on 2nd Gen Tacoma's / 5th Gen 4Runners and some other models. Many have reported this is not the case. The filter might need to be changed at some point in time. My owners manual says nothing about it.

One of these days I may get around to pulling the transmission pan and seeing how things look in there.

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post #50 of 59 Old 05-26-2019, 07:08 PM
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I've read somewhere that about 70% of the debris in the transmission fluid is from the break in. Myself I would say at the 60,000 mile range change the fluid and filter and clean out the bottom of the pan and then after that every 20k or 30k do your drain and fills, then you're probably good for the life of the vehicle Considering 300k miles is the life, at 300k miles I might change the filter again.
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post #51 of 59 Old 05-27-2019, 07:13 PM
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Our 2009 Highlander does not have a Trans Cooler. How can I flush the whole system? Is there still a return line or port that is capped off?
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post #52 of 59 Old 05-27-2019, 08:24 PM
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It has a cooler. ATF lines go to/from the engine radiator.

Yes, most damaging wear is from the break-in. The 1st ATF exchange should be done very early. Another option would be a real aftermarket ATF inline filter.

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post #53 of 59 Old 05-27-2019, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greasymechtech View Post
It has a cooler. ATF lines go to/from the engine radiator.

Yes, most damaging wear is from the break-in. The 1st ATF exchange should be done very early. Another option would be a real aftermarket ATF inline filter.

Can you explain more. I always thought since I don't have a heat ex-changer behind or an opening near the left fog light, this indicated that there is no trans cooler.
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post #54 of 59 Old 05-27-2019, 08:45 PM
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Pop the hood and look. You have an ATF cooler as part of the engine radiator. You don't have the 2nd cooler that comes with the tow package.
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post #55 of 59 Old 05-31-2019, 09:57 PM
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I finally had some time today to do a complete flush. As indicated, there are two hoses connected to the transmission cooler, but may not be clear which one is the return, I've attached a picture of it. Though I'm only at 92.5k miles, but the fluid and magnets were pretty filthy.

Those "4" bolts were definitely a PITA to remove and reinstall. However, using deep offset and open crescent wrenches made the removal process go rather smoothly, just took some time due to the limited number of turns. Reinstalling them was assisted by using a magnetic picker to hold them in place while using a finger to turn to tighten. Once the bolts grabbed on, the wrenches did the rest.

I actually used 16 quarts of Toyota WS to flush the entire system out, might've been an overkill, but I had 18 quarts to work with. I didn't use car ramps, but actually jack stands to prop the vehicle up, so I had more room to wiggle the wrenches without hitting the car ramps. Removing the driver's wheel/tire would've allowed more room to work with, but I kept it on. Total number of hours spent was about 5 hours. Luckily, no cursing was involved since the good people here detailed a lot of the experience and I knew what to expect.
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2012 Highlander Limited V6 AWD
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post #56 of 59 Old 06-03-2019, 10:47 AM
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My understanding is that there is nothing much to the OEM trans filter. It's pretty much a metal screen. Please confirm.

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post #57 of 59 Old 06-03-2019, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinster2 View Post
My understanding is that there is nothing much to the OEM trans filter. It's pretty much a metal screen. Please confirm.
It's not a metal screen

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post #58 of 59 Old 06-03-2019, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinster2 View Post
My understanding is that there is nothing much to the OEM trans filter. It's pretty much a metal screen. Please confirm.
Post 4 includes pictures of what the strainer looks like, which is how my new one looked. I didn't see any metal screen.
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post #59 of 59 Old 06-03-2019, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luc View Post
Post 4 includes pictures of what the strainer looks like, which is how my new one looked. I didn't see any metal screen.
Correct.

In this case, I believe many of us(self included) have been led astray by confused Toyota dealer parts employees. When I first thought about replacing my U151E 5 speed transmission filter, I inquired about its availability at a dealership I had done a fair amt. of parts business with. Their senior parts man said this transmission used a strainer type filter. He had been there quite awhile and never let me down. I asked around at a couple of other local dealers and got the same answer. Time went by and I later learned they were all wrong.

Here are 2 correct part numbers. As mentioned by Luc - post #4 on page 1 shows this filter to be a fiber type and not a metal strainer :

Dealer part number -> 35330-08010

Wix replacement part number -> 58010

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