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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Folks, I plan to do a transmission oil drain and fill of my 2000 Avalon.

Till last year, I got it done from the dealership. Their job card says they used Mobil ATF for the drian and fill. Can sombody specify what that exaclty means? While researching this, I have pretty much decided I should not be using Toyota Type-IV fluid and should stick with Dex II or Dex III or compatible fluids.

Also, I plan to open the drian plug, shown in red in the photo below. I have bought the aluminum washer to replace the old one. Should I be also draining the ATF from the other drian plug, shown in green if I am not mistaken? Please note that the drain pan shown in magenta is the engine oil pan, not relevant to transmission oil change!
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-m82lMcxrxdE/U6o-AbYIHvI/AAAAAAAAAXo/CaKcAo-O8I4/w835-h520-no/2000Avalon_TransmissionDrainPlugs.jpg


Thanks.
 

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Use the ATF drain plug you show in red. Valvoline Maxlife (Dex/Merc use for DEXRON, DEXRON II, III and VI, Toyota T-IV etc), Castrol, or Mobil synthetic ATFs are good. Check out http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/104-5th-6th-generation-2002-2006-2007-2011/688353-hardtopte72-new-car-purchase-recommendations-thread.html for some info. I looked on my Avalon ATF stick and it says Dex III. You can use it but there are aftermarket compatible ones. It is also preference. Generally OEM ATF is fine but most like Valvoline, Castrol, or Mobil as well with good results and reviews.

About the washer, replacement is good. Can reuse the old one a few times. With less than 80 cents, replace when in doubt is always good.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Folks, the 00718-ATF00 from a local Toyota dealership is for $12/qt. The parts guy there said that it is a Dexron III fluid. I suppose that is the one I am going to get. Any better choice aftermarket fluid that is Dex III?

Thanks.
 

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Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc, Castrol, Mobil 1. Then adding Lubegard black (61910) makes it same a Toyota/Honda fluid. Without it you will notice some shifting difference (not that it is bad, it is not as smooth due to no special additives). More people have been using Valvoline... Some order Amsoil/Redline stuff from Amazon (its more expensive).

If you use OEM ATF, use Lubegard red (60902) for added protection. Lubegard is available in NAPA. Its about $10. One bottle is good for 3-4 uses.

Been doing this on my Honda for a long time, also do this to my Toyota's now.

$12? I remember paying 8.49 at my stealership but that was about a year back.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Folks, two quick questions.

1. Do I need to torque to the ATF pan drain plug to it torque spec or just tighten it snug? With the engine oil drain plug, I just snug tight it.

2. Does the drain plug shown in green (differential drain plug?) also need the same washer as the ATF pan drain plug?
 

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1. Its like the oil drain plug. Snug + little. Torque is 49 Nm or 36 lbft if you go that route. I have been using a torque wrench on Honda but Toyota seems more fragile for this particular bolt.
2. Looked up Haynes, mentions only the ATF drain info with same torque specs as above. Will try to look up when I get home. Service manual might have better pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Folks, thanks for your help. Job done.

Raised the front driver side a bit (with the scissor jack) to get the pan under the ATF drain plug. Removed the ATF drain plug from the bottom of the ATF pan (took some force, 10 mm hex Allen socket). Let the fluid drain in the pan. I also noticed that as I lifted the driver side front of the car more with the jack, more fluid flowed out of the ATF pan. Let the fluid dripping out for half an hour or so (even though I think it was out within 10~15 minutes).

I did not touch the front differential drain plug at all (see http://www.justanswer.com/toyota/7hg31-avalon-can-t-find-fill-plug-rear-differential.html for more info).

Put back the ATF drain plug with a replaced new aluminum crushed washer (got it from a local dealership). Tightened to around 30 ft lb (correct torque, IIRC, is 36 ft lb).

I measured that I got shy of 3 quarts of the old fluid. I put in 2.5 qt using a funnel though the ATF dip stick pipe. Got the car to operating temperature and checked the fluid. It was half way or so between the cold and hot ranges. Put in some more (brought the total fluid to 2 qt and 24 oz). Drove the car around for around 6 miles and checked the fluid again. It was right below the lower mark of the HOT range. Put in a bit more and now it is a bit above the start of the HOT range.

Thanks, everyone.
 

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$12 per quart for Dexron III type fluid is ridiculous. You can use dino Supertech ATF from Walmart, about $13/gallon, to the more shear- and oxidation-stable Supertech Mercon-V and Castrol Import Multi-vehicles ATF or Mobil-1 fully synthetic ATF.

I'd still recommend opening the differential drain plug and changing out the fluid in there, if the drain plug isn't rust seized. You'll likely need a 10mm allen and a short cheater pipe (some discussions here: http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/103-3rd-4th-generation-1992-1996-1997-2001/676881-how-do-i-drain-my-differential.html )

If the pan's never been dropped, I'd do that and change out the strainer (about $16+shipping, use the 5% discount code as I described here: http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/155-2nd-generation-2000-2004/822241-tranny-filter-change.html#post7345937 ). Inspect and wipe clean the pan and magnets, taking care not to leave lint from the shop towels.

 

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Discussion Starter #11
If the pan's never been dropped, I'd do that and change out the strainer (about $16+shipping, use the 5% discount code as I described here: http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/155-2nd-generation-2000-2004/822241-tranny-filter-change.html#post7345937 ). Inspect and wipe clean the pan and magnets, taking care not to leave lint from the shop towels.
I would be willing to drop the pan for a thorough cleaning, as well for the engine oil. However, I am not sure what it takes to installing a new gasket such that it doesn't leak. Never done it before, so a bit apprehensive whether I can pull this off easily and if there are no hidden or clumsy tricks to get it right. This is the only thing that is keeping me from doing this!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Here is an excellent DIY with pics from hardtope72

http://www.toyotanation.com/forum/104-5th-6th-generation-2002-2006-2007-2011/820538-diy-2002-2009-gen-5-gen-5-5-gen-6-trans-filter-change-fluid-flush-w-pics.html

You never mentioned the brand of fluid you used. End up with OEM? AM?
Thanks for the link.

ATF: OEM, Dexron III. Changed every year, around 20K mies.

Engine Oil:
I have been using this for the past three years or so now: Valvoline 5W30, conventional. Used to be every 5000 miles, but for the past years or so, I have been changing oil every 3000 miles approx (at 0, 3 and 6 miles).
 

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Sure, that's understandable. Clean off the gasket sealing surfaces (transmission and pan) with alcohol as well as ATF off the bolts removed (I just spray them with brake parts cleaner and allow to dry). Tighten the bolts in stages, in a criss cross pattern, will help make sure the gasket doesn't leak.

Clean off the bolts would help avoid overtorquing, that said I've never cleaned the bolt holes on the transmission side.

I use a Harbor Freight 1/4"-drive $12 torque wrench (on sale often) and tighten to 72 to 80 inch pounds (first with all bolts finger tight using a socket and extension only, then 24-48-72). IIRC the spec is 69 in-lb.

I know some want to use OEM fluids, but Walmart Supertech dino ATF ($13/gallon) or Ford licensed Mercon-V ($4.5/qt) are suitable for Dexron II/III applications. As are Castrol Import and Mobil-1. I'd stay away from the low viscosity Dexron VI for these older transmissions however.

3000 mile on dino oil is fine. You can also use the Motorcraft FL400S oil filter on the 1MZ, also available at Walmart.


I would be willing to drop the pan for a thorough cleaning, as well for the engine oil. However, I am not sure what it takes to installing a new gasket such that it doesn't leak. Never done it before, so a bit apprehensive whether I can pull this off easily and if there are no hidden or clumsy tricks to get it right. This is the only thing that is keeping me from doing this!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sure, that's understandable. Clean off the gasket sealing surfaces (transmission and pan) with alcohol as well as ATF off the bolts removed (I just spray them with brake parts cleaner and allow to dry). Tighten the bolts in stages, in a criss cross pattern, will help make sure the gasket doesn't leak.

Clean off the bolts would help avoid overtorquing, that said I've never cleaned the bolt holes on the transmission side.

I use a Harbor Freight 1/4"-drive $12 torque wrench (on sale often) and tighten to 72 to 80 inch pounds (first with all bolts finger tight using a socket and extension only, then 24-48-72). IIRC the spec is 69 in-lb.
Thanks for the great pointers.

For the pan (engine oil or ATF), I have a couple of concerns. First, is it necessary to use a sealant when reinstalling the gasket and the pan? Second, would I need to lift the transmission to drop the ATF pan (based on the link posted above in this thread)?
 
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