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'08 Highlander Limtd
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Discussion Starter #121
Mine is always dark so..... (random, but I need to check the fluid on mine...its shifting bad again already....)


But in all seriousness, 2-3 fluid swaps usually gets most of it. remember that first 4.5qts is only about half the total fluid. The torque converter is totally full of old fluid when you drain the pan.
 

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no, before checking the fluid (cold) you should start the engine first and shift all through the options in your gear stick. From P down to L then back to P. then check the fluid level and it should be in the cold level marker.

Basically, after you drain and refill your AT system, the fluid is "not yet" in the system. So it would like that the fluid is too much ( an inch above the hot level marker even though you checked it at cold). This is normal because, again you didnt start the engine first and go through the options ( P N D 2 L ) then back to P.
 

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2015 Highlander Lmtd
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Short story as a lead in... I have a 2005 Honda Accord EX-L. Owners manual says "only use ATF-Z1" transmission fluid or equivalent. When we bought it new all DriveAccord forum members thought I was nuts running Valvoline MaxLife ATF. For one Maxlife was half the price. Five years later Honda changes the fluid to ATF-DW1. From 20,000 miles and currently at 145,000 miles, I have used Valvoline Maxlife every other oil change (Drain and fill the transmission). In short, what Honda said was gospel. But I called Valvoline, sent an email to them, and all representatives said it was equivalent and exceeded the specifications of Z1/DW1. The 05 Honda Accord shift so smooth you would think it is still new!

Fast forward to now...we bought our 2015 Highlander last year, used with 6,000 miles on it. Since I had no clue what the previous owner did I decided to do the same with our 2015 Highlander V6 AWD Limited in the same manner I did with the 05 Honda Accord. I did a drain and fill...adding 4.7 quarts of Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It is a FULL SYNTHETIC ATF (As apposed to a semi-synthetic WS) that meets or exceeds Toyota WS specifications and is recommended for use.

There are no issues to date and the Highlander is just as smooth as it was when we bought it. I will continue to use this readily available fluid from Walmart at a price just under $17 for a 5 quart jug...you can't beat that price for this 100% Full Synthetic ATF. When our Highlander hits 150,000...I'll report back more than likely the same results I've had using Maxlife in my O5 Honda Accord. Until then, I wouldn't buy into all the hype about only using one fluid. As long as a fluid meets/exceeds/or is recommended as a replacement to Toyota WS, use what makes you sleep better at night.
Jim

If you think Toyota WS is a good ATF...Read the test and indepth research on the fluid.
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=920161#Post920161
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1165056
 

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2015 Highlander Lmtd
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Mine is always dark so..... (random, but I need to check the fluid on mine...its shifting bad again already....) But in all seriousness, 2-3 fluid swaps usually gets most of it. remember that first 4.5qts is only about half the total fluid. The torque converter is totally full of old fluid when you drain the pan.
Switch to Valvoline Maxlife....just sayin :wink:
 

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2009 HL Limited
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Planning on it next time, however dumping in a bottle of lubeguard red fixed a lot of symptoms after about 2 weeks in mine.
I'm doing another drain and fill this weekend. How did the LG additive help your transmission - what problems did it solve?
 

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1st DnF

I bought a 2010 Highlander last year, certified pre-owned. I've put about 10K on it since I got it, and its at around 75K.

Just set about doing my first drain and fill. Measured ATF cold and it was well up the stick into the hot range. Drained it and measured the old fluid at about 4.75qts. WTF?

Put about 3.75 back in and took it for a drive. Measured and it seems to be in the hot range after the drive. Seems about right.
 

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13 Highlander AWD
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I plan on doing a drain and fill using Toyota WS at 30K miles, than when the power train warranty expires at 60K miles, switch to Max Life. Also, while I'm under the car, I will be doing a Transfer Case Drain Fill at the same time.

BTW, since the hole is to small in the splash guard to drain ATF successfully, has anyone thought about making it larger? I was thinking about using a 3" drill hole saw to make the hole larger once I remove the guard. Comments are welcome.

Update: I ended up cutting a round hole in the splash guard to drain ATF. Below is a picture.

 

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2012 Highlander Ltd
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Short story as a lead in... I have a 2005 Honda Accord EX-L. Owners manual says "only use ATF-Z1" transmission fluid or equivalent. When we bought it new all DriveAccord forum members thought I was nuts running Valvoline MaxLife ATF. For one Maxlife was half the price. Five years later Honda changes the fluid to ATF-DW1. From 20,000 miles and currently at 145,000 miles, I have used Valvoline Maxlife every other oil change (Drain and fill the transmission). In short, what Honda said was gospel. But I called Valvoline, sent an email to them, and all representatives said it was equivalent and exceeded the specifications of Z1/DW1. The 05 Honda Accord shift so smooth you would think it is still new!

Fast forward to now...we bought our 2015 Highlander last year, used with 6,000 miles on it. Since I had no clue what the previous owner did I decided to do the same with our 2015 Highlander V6 AWD Limited in the same manner I did with the 05 Honda Accord. I did a drain and fill...adding 4.7 quarts of Valvoline Maxlife ATF. It is a FULL SYNTHETIC ATF (As apposed to a semi-synthetic WS) that meets or exceeds Toyota WS specifications and is recommended for use.

There are no issues to date and the Highlander is just as smooth as it was when we bought it.
I will continue to use this readily available fluid from Walmart at a price just under $17 for a 5 quart jug...you can't beat that price for this 100% Full Synthetic ATF.
When our Highlander hits 150,000...I'll report back more than likely the same results I've had using Maxlife in my O5 Honda Accord. Until then, I wouldn't buy into all the hype about only using one fluid. As long as a fluid meets/exceeds/or is recommended as a replacement to Toyota WS, use what makes you sleep better at night.
Jim

If you think Toyota WS is a good ATF...Read the test and indepth research on the fluid.
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=920161#Post920161
https://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1165056

I had read where WalMart stopped selling the MaxLife ATF. I checked at my local store last week and confirmed this to be true. The only MaxLife they had was a single 1 quart bottle that was on Clearance for $2.50. The auto parts mgr. I talked to said clearance items mean they are no longer going to sell the product - he didn't know why it was being discontinued when I inquired. I snapped it up to supplant my existing home supply as I have 3 more total "drain and fills" to do on my Sonata (one) and Highlander (two). I checked online and was able to order and pick up 2 jugs of the MaxLife (with free delivery to store) for $17.87 each plus tax. Today I note on Walmart.com that you cannot order it at all any more, the "no stock" alert is given for both local store or online ordering :crying:.

FWIW, the jug is 1 gallon (4 quarts) and not 5 quarts as poster stated (probably confused with motor oil which is 5 quarts in the jug size). Check your local stores or Walmart.com in your area if you want to get this at the low price before it's totally gone.
 

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I had read where WalMart stopped selling the MaxLife ATF. I checked at my local store last week and confirmed this to be true. The only MaxLife they had was a single 1 quart bottle that was on Clearance for $2.50. The auto parts mgr. I talked to said clearance items mean they are no longer going to sell the product - he didn't know why it was being discontinued when I inquired. I snapped it up to supplant my existing home supply as I have 3 more total "drain and fills" to do on my Sonata (one) and Highlander (two). I checked online and was able to order and pick up 2 jugs of the MaxLife (with free delivery to store) for $17.87 each plus tax. Today I note on Walmart.com that you cannot order it at all any more, the "no stock" alert is given for both local store or online ordering :crying:.

FWIW, the jug is 1 gallon (4 quarts) and not 5 quarts as poster stated (probably confused with motor oil which is 5 quarts in the jug size). Check you local stores or Walmart.com in your area if you want to get this at the low price before it's totally gone.
You are absolutely correct...Walmart will no longer be carrying the 1 Gallon Jug. I noticed this 2-3 weeks ago and asked the auto department when new stock would be in...short reply, "Walmart will no longer stock the Maxlife ATF."

The alternative now for a couple dollars more but still at a great price, even after military discount is at Autozone for $19.99. I may even buy $100 worth to get 20% off... and free shipping. http://www.autozone.com/motor-oil-and-transmission-fluid/transmission-fluid/valvoline-1-gal-high-mileage-dex-merc-automatic-transmission-fluid/819367_0_0/
 

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2012 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER SE
2012 Highlander
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I plan on doing a drain and fill using Toyota WS at 30K miles, than when the power train warranty expires at 60K miles, switch to Max Life. Also, while I'm under the car, I will be doing a Transfer Case Drain Fill at the same time.

BTW, since the hole is to small in the splash guard to drain ATF successfully, has anyone thought about making it larger? I was thinking about using a 3" drill hole saw to make the hole larger once I remove the guard. Comments are welcome.
I just did a drain and fill at 60,000 miles.
I used a dremel tool to make a approx. 4" x 6" larger hole to drain fluid from.
I did take a old t-shirt and wedged it between the transmission pan and the splash guard to keep the draining fluid from running down the splash guard as it was getting close to the end of draining.
 

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2012 Highlander Ltd
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Thanks Army Strong.... Good to know about the AutoZone price. I had looked at O'Reilly's and their normal price is $25.99 for the gallon jug. I also have AutoZone stores locally so that will be my destination next time I need to secure some more.

Question for the forum members... I am about to do my first drain and refill on my 2012 HL Limited. I planned on measuring what came out and replacing that same amount. When i checked my ATF level on the dipstick with engine cold, it is right on the upper notch of the "cold" marker. When I check the fluid level with the engine hot, the fluid level is about 1/4 inch above the top notch for the "hot" marker (slightly overfilled).

What say you guys / gals about the replacement quantity? Slightly under fill the removed quantity (thinking about 1/2 quart)? Then drive the vehicle and check again for hot and cold readings and adjust as needed? I learned a long time ago when replacing fluid that it is much easier to add a little more than to try and remove a little bit. So want to initially error on the side of slightly underfilling....
 

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I just did the ATF drain and fill on my 2012 HL FWD 3.6L. I have 90k on it and bought about 6 months ago with 80k. Based on the condition of the ATF, I'm guessing its never been done, but has been topped off a few too many times. The color of the old fluid was very dark red, and almost looked black in a semi-transparent milk jug. Based on that, I think I'm going to do the full drain and filter replacement at 100k, then pan drain and filter every 30k there after.

I think it must have been overfilled. I've read (after I did the job) that you should expect about 4 quarts to drain out. My HL drained 5 1/4 quarts. I only had 5, and I put all of it back in. I haven't had a chance to check the actual level on the dip stick since last night, but I will do so tonight, and I expect to read high on the dipstick.

Also, I bought a new washer for the drain plug from the dealer, but it ended up being the wrong one and was too small to fit over the drain bolt... So I just put the old one back on...Will have to do for the next 10k miles.
 

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Cold level is just a quick initial reading and nothing else.

Proper running engine parked on level surface in park ATF level is hot measured at 176F using an obd scanner for ATF temp and level should be perfect at the full hot line.

Amount that drains and refills varies among methodology and initial fill. I find that some with no patience will never get a good capacity out of transmission. Ramp(s) location and drain time are major variables.

Drain/refill as often as or whenever you want. There is no point in changing the filter every 30k miles. Even with 100k+ on ATF filters, its not loaded and is why I recommend an ATF filter change at 100k(usually to replace filter's oring seal and clean magnets). I worry about dead tired overloaded magnets and a failing o-ring more than the coarse media Filtran maybe Microfelt media filter. Inline Magnefine or remotely mounted oil filter would catch more.
 

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Thanks Greasy for the reply and Info!

I meant to say that I plan to do the filter and full fluid change at 100k, and then just a drain and fill (not filter) every 30k thereafter.

Not sure if my (cheap) scanner will give me ATF temp. Any suggestions? Do you think just warming it up to operating temp and checking might be close enough? Maybe check it after my 30 minute drive home from work, so atf will be hot?

As for draining, I just had it on ~levelish ground in my garage, but on jack stands behind the front wheels and let it drain until the dripping slowed to almost a stop.
 

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I don't not think that warming it up to ANY temperature is a suitable guestimate. I've used torque app with a generic wireless OBD plug in. I programmed the app with the PID's from this forum long ago. I also use scangauge when in the mood to program it too. Bootleg mini-vci techstream off ebay will also provide ATF temp. I've got a box of bootleg software cds, plug in obd cables, plug in bluetooth adapters, IR gun when all else fails(or I fail and get annoyed)..

I drain/refilled my transmission pan today. It took exactly 4 quarts, 10 minute drain, with both front tires on the ramps. You could get more out with just the front left tire up in the air but I was changing the 2gr's oil/filter also and too lazy to back it down off both ramps and then drive up one. When the AT pan is empty, if you install the ATF drain plug a couple turns, the threads will catch the top edge of the meniscus, and capillarily or using handsome polar attraction, pull more ATF out of the pan thru the threads(i made that up just for you guys). Gotta hate pathetic drain plug locations when it comes to draining efficiency(efficacy?). I could probably get out a 1/2 pint more if I stopped for lunch and let 'er drip indefinitely.

I am pretty sure my torque wrench was set to 35 ft/lbs. I used a generic flat aluminum 18mm sealing washer on the ATF drain plug, which is a GoldPlug commonly used with Toyota transfer cases and front/rear differentials. My aftermarket ATF drainplug takes a big 25mm foolproof socket. The magnetic drain plug makes up for not dropping the pan often for magnet cleaning, like every 100k miles. And, I just hate Toyota's usage of 10mm hex head plugs all over the place.

Today was '08 5-speed AWD 2GR-FE U151F .... I don't want anyone with a 4cyl u760e or different year u660e to get confused.
 
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