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So my mechanic is about to perform first ever drain and fill it (seems) on my newly acquired 2004 camry 4 cylinder with the u241e transmission. (170k) I am a little nervous because I have no background on the transmission/car other than one owner. The fluid is coffee brown and smells like old motor oil or crayons and not like burnt toast or some of the other things I have heard. It's also not thick and not completely black. We are using type 4 original toyota fluid changing the filter cleaning the pan.. could I have any of you guys stories of high mileage changes on your Toyotas and what the outcome was. The transmission changes fine it's just somewhat jerky in lower gears at stop signs. Any advice would be appreciated!
 

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Check for YouTube videos on the procedure for doing that on the correct model year (or at least same generation) of vehicle with same transmission. Check out multiple videos if you can them, because some of them are better than others, and not all of them are done by people who know what they are doing.

The procedure for doing it on a 2004 is likely to be very different than on the newer models which sometimes specify "lifetime" transmission fluid.
 

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So I just wanted to say that I do feel a noticeable difference in the toyota after the drain and fill. It may be a little early to see but I guess time will tell. My mechanic said that the pan looked great for the mileage and had no sludge or sediment so that was awesome news. He thinks it may of been changed once before but we are both still not 100 percent sure. I will keep you guys updated so maybe I can help end the no drain and fill or flush debate...
 

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2010 Camry SE V6
2008 Camry LE
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I’d honestly do around 3-4 drain and fills and change the trans filter on the last drain and fill if I were you. One will definitely not be enough if the fluid was that dark. I had to flush my 2002 XLE twice to get it nice and red.


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Thanks for your response! How many miles did yours have on it when you first started your drain and fill mission? I do plan on going with it atleast three more times to see that pink color again. I am just waiting it out to see how my transmission responds... what was yours like afterwards?
 

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Yeah I changed the filter this time around but will do it again the last time why the heck not they are cheap enough.
 

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2008 Camry LE
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Thanks for your response! How many miles did yours have on it when you first started your drain and fill mission? I do plan on going with it atleast three more times to see that pink color again. I am just waiting it out to see how my transmission responds... what was yours like afterwards?


My Camry had 128 on it when I got it. (U140e 4 speed) I opted to use a transmission fluid exchange machine to take care of mine. I didn’t bother dropping the pan mainly because it’s a pain in the ass because a few of the bolts are hidden by the subframe. The machine hooks up in-line with one of the cooler lines, as old fluid is pushed into the machine it is replaced with new fluid. I did one fluid exchange, drove the car around the block a few times, and did one more. Fluid is bright red and shifts are smooth and crisp. You honestly shouldn’t need to worry changing the filter again if you’ve already done it. The only thing that could really clog the filter is friction material from the clutch discs, and if they’ve shed enough to clog the filter you’ve got a serious problem lol.



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I really hope I don't have any problems come to the surface in a week or so and these camrys are as tough as every one says they are. I will keep everyone posted but so far so good. The drain and fill even eliminated a clunk into final gear I was having, literally can't even feel the gears now. Was there a problem with yours before you exchanged your fluid?
 

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This is just another example that there's no such thing as "lifetime fluid". Periodically change the fluid and less frequently the filter you should be fine with any car.

Good to hear it's on the good path and hopefully stays that way. It should.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all your support guys. I feel lucky to have a toyota because I doubt it would of turned out the same on an American tranny. I also have a friend who fully flushed around 140k and the transmission is super smooth. I would never have the courage to flush anything except the toilet though. 😂
 

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Welcome to the site Tis -

You sure the shop only did a drain and refill (meaning one drain, one fill)? It is a pretty easy task to "flush" the fluid, replacing it all. Curious if the shop just did the one drain then refill.
 

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I also never bothered to drop the pan and change the filter. Mine is the older A140E transmission though (2001).

Bought the car with 131K, trans fluid didn't look too bad, brownish but not too dark. I specifically asked the previous owner who had owned the car since 39K, and he said he never changed it. I didn't bother changing it until 139K and did another drain and fill about 100 miles later, to exhange most of the fluid. When I did another drain and fill at 145K, the old fluid came out very red, so I'll probably leave it alone for awhile. Never really had any problems shifting before, but changed it as preventative maintenance. Maybe the shifts have gotten smoother, but it could just be the placebo effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Welcome to the site Tis -

You sure the shop only did a drain and refill (meaning one drain, one fill)? It is a pretty easy task to "flush" the fluid, replacing it all. Curious if the shop just did the one drain then refill.


Thanks for the welcome. 😁
Yes I am positive that it was only drain and fill with new filter and a good pan cleaning including magnets. I took it to my mechanic who I have a good relationship with and we talked about it a couple times, (being a woman I made absolutely sure) so I knew we were on the same page about draining and filling. I was honestly a little worried because I had no history on the tranny. Im glad we took this route because it's being very responsive in a good way. Like I said before, the thump in fourth that could be heard and felt in my feet at fourth gear has completely disappeared and it makes me laugh because toyota tech thought I may of been describing OD lockout feature but I knew from the sound of it that something was not right. Wonder what it could of ACTUALLY been? Clogged filter perhaps or just really dirty fluid not getting adequate flow through the tranny....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I also never bothered to drop the pan and change the filter. Mine is the older A140E transmission though (2001).

Bought the car with 131K, trans fluid didn't look too bad, brownish but not too dark. I specifically asked the previous owner who had owned the car since 39K, and he said he never changed it. I didn't bother changing it until 139K and did another drain and fill about 100 miles later, to exhange most of the fluid. When I did another drain and fill at 145K, the old fluid came out very red, so I'll probably leave it alone for awhile. Never really had any problems shifting before, but changed it as preventative maintenance. Maybe the shifts have gotten smoother, but it could just be the placebo effect.
Thanks for your response. I was a little worried about mine being at 170k but I know that's apparently nothing for a toyota.
 

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My 2 cents - I dropped the pan at 188k to change the trans filter a few years ago. I don't think the transmission fluid was ever changed, but I can't remember. Regardless, the filter was clean and had no issues. The fluid definitely smelled burnt and was in need of a change though. I flushed the transmission system with about 10 quarts, and car ran much smoother.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My 2 cents - I dropped the pan at 188k to change the trans filter a few years ago. I don't think the transmission fluid was ever changed, but I can't remember. Regardless, the filter was clean and had no issues. The fluid definitely smelled burnt and was in need of a change though. I flushed the transmission system with about 10 quarts, and car ran much smoother.
Thanks for the reply. My shifts have gotten alot smoother as well, I can't wait to drain and fill again to see what happens then. My first gear changes fine but is a little jerky but not delayed, as I am reading it seems to be common on Camrys.
 
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