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'Coma Nut
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know allot of people are interested in saving a few bucks on this service (drain and fill), but are apprehensive about performing it themselves. This guide can also be useful for those who have mistakenly drained the AT pan instead of the base pan when performing an oil change. The following will serve as an official "How To" and hopefully aid some individuals who need such information.

DIY'er beware however, as I take no responsibility if you should screw this up, costing you a tow to the dealer (or worse). I strongly recommend anyone who tries this should consult the Toyota Factory Service Manual for further clarification, and become competent in getting the truck to enter the temp check mode before attempting any drain/fill, but honestly it is only a little more involved than a typical oil change for anyone with moderate mechanical ability.

The drain and fill procedure on the Toyota 5 speed AT (mated to the 4.0L V6) is different than that of traditional transmissions. Since this transmission has no dipstick to check fluid level, the correct level must be confirmed by an overflow plug on the bottom of the pan. The fluid temperature MUST BE between 46°C (115°F) and 56°C (130°F) to accurately check the fluid level. Toyota techs utilize the Toyota computerized scan tool to accurately verify the ATF temperature. Since most of us have no access to the Toyota tool, we must utilize method “B” and use the trucks onboard diagnostic system (OBD).

MATERIALS REQUIRED:

24mm socket or wrench
14mm socket or wrench
5mm hex socket or allen key
4-5 quarts of Toyota ATF WS (WS certification is the only compatible fluid).
Small piece of copper wire (used to jump the OBD connector)
New Crush washers from dealer (not necessary but not a bad idea)
Bottle pump and hose or funnel and hose (both available at Wal Mart for few $$$)
Drain Pan











PROCEDURE:

Remove the fill plug (24mm) which is located on the passenger side of the automatic transmission (AT). It is important to first ensure that you can remove the fill plug. If the fill plug cannot be removed for some unknown reason or the head becomes stripped – the vehicle is still mobile as you haven’t YET drained the fluid. If you drain the fluid first and later can’t get the fill plug removed – a tow to the dealer is inevitable. No matter what service you perform, always remove the fill plug first!

Loosen the overflow plug (5mm hex) located on the bottom of the AT fluid pan to ensure its ability to be removed when required. If you should remove the overflow plug now, have a pan ready as fluid will spill.

Place your drain pan underneath the transmission fluid pan and remove the 14mm drain plug. You may want to gather the "used" ATF so you can measure exactly what had been drained – in my case it turned out to be 2.9 liters (3.0 quarts). I had purchased 5 liters from the dealer just in case as I was unsure of the required volume.

Replace the drain plug (and overflow plug if removed) and proceed to fill the AT with approximately 1/3 quart more than what drained out. It is important to overfill the AT slightly as you will want excess fluid to spill when you remove the overflow plug later in the procedure. Upon pumping the required amount into the AT with the bottle pump (or funnel and hose), replace the fill plug and start the engine. While the truck idles, move the shift lever through ALL of the gear positions to circulate the fluid. Return the gear selector to Park.

With the AT fluid circulated, it is now time to set the truck in "Temperature Check Mode" to verify the correct level. To describe the Temp Check Mode briefly, there is a light (AT TEMP) located within the the tachometer circle. After a series of shifts to enter the check mode, the AT TEMP light will illuminate when the ATF temperature is within the 46°C (115°F) and 56°C (130°F) range required to accurately check the fluid level. When the ATF temperature surpasses 56°C (130°F), the AT TEMP light will begin to flash indicating the system is too hot for verification.

You may leave the truck idling, or shut off the engine before the next step – your choice.

Jump the #4 and #13 pins on the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) white connector located near the drivers kick panel with a short piece of wire and start the engine (if not already started). There are 16 pins on the white OBD connector (8 top and 8 bottom). Number 1 is the top left corner, with number 8 on the top right corner. Number 9 is on the left lower corner, number 16 on the lower right corner. Start at number 1 connector and continue counting the connectors in the same order as you would read a book.







Several of the dash warning lights will begin to flash (normal). Then shifting from "P" to "N" (pausing briefly in "N"), began a series (six shifts) of "N" to "D" to "N" cycles with the shifter. After the 6 shifts are completed the red AT TEMP light should illuminate for 2 seconds (important to note). Place the AT back into "P" (light will illuminate again for 2 seconds) and let the truck idle to warm the fluid. It is important to note that the light illuminated verifying that the truck entered "Temp Check Mode". Without this verification, you may wait all day for a light to illuminate without the truck actually being in mode.

When the AT TEMP light illuminates constantly, the fluid is at the correct temperature for checking. If the AT TEMP light should begin to start blinking, this means the fluid temp has surpassed the allowable range and you must shut off the truck and let the system cool. Retry again after a 1/2 hour break.

Here is a linked Youtube video I uploaded to clarify the procedure. Sorry for the poor quality, but all I had to use was my P&S Camera with video mode.


After approximately 14 mins of idling (my fluid originally was at room temp of 13*C or 56*F) the AT Temp light finally illuminated, indicating the AT fluid was at the correct temperature for a fluid level check (sometimes it will flicker for several seconds, then illuminate steadily). With the truck still idling and in "P", remove the overflow plug to check the fluid level (THE ENGINE MUST BE RUNNING WHEN THE OVERFLOW PLUG IS REMOVED). Remember, the Toyota Service Manual describes the fluid being at the correct level when a "small trickle" escapes from the overflow hole. If a steady flow is found, it must be left to drain until all that remains is a "small trickle".

If after removing the overflow plug no fluid escapes, you must shut off the engine and return back to pumping in more fluid, then proceed again with entering temp check mode.

NOTES:

- Overflow plug torque = 15 ft/lbs
- Fill plug torque = 29 ft/lbs
- Drain plug torque = 15 - 20 ft/lbs

- Allow common sense to prevail. Set your E brake and block your wheels before crawling under your truck. Careful of the exhaust as it gets quite hot.

- This service is recommended at 60,000 miles in the United States. *Updated by Toyota Nov. 2009

- This service is recommended at 96,000 kms in Canada.

- Practice entering the “temp check mode” before attempting this procedure.

- Truck must be level when the procedure is performed.

- I have heard of individuals utilizing an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the AT fluid pan instead of the putting the truck in “temp check mode”. Differences in temperature exist between the AT fluid and the steel pan. Some posts on other forums (some from dealership techs) indicate a difference can exist of up to 25 degrees. Heat takes time to transfer from the fluid into the exterior of the pan. When the exterior of the pan reaches the appropriate temperature, the fluid has likely already surpassed it. Keep this in mind if you should want to use an IR thermometer.
 

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Take off, eh!
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1,430 Posts
and what about tranny cooler

Awesome write up!

Just one question: I have an aftermarket (non-Toyota) transmission cooler.

Will this affect this procedure (at the end, when you open the drain plug to let it "drain to a trickle"?
(i.e. along the lines of because the cooler is mounted up as the highest point in the whole system, is there any risk of all the fluid in it draining out, via a siphon effect?)

Thanks again, ForTech

D
 

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'Coma Nut
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1,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
What about the fluid in the torque converter?
That has to be removed/refilled by a flush machine. The drain and fill only replaces maybe 40-50% of total fluid by volume.

A flush machine is required to replace ALL the ATF. Some individuals however don't have access to a flush machine and wish to perform the drain and fill service themselves. This is a guide for such an instance.
 

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'Coma Nut
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1,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Awesome write up!

Just one question: I have an aftermarket (non-Toyota) transmission cooler.

Will this affect this procedure (at the end, when you open the drain plug to let it "drain to a trickle"?
(i.e. along the lines of because the cooler is mounted up as the highest point in the whole system, is there any risk of all the fluid in it draining out, via a siphon effect?)

Thanks again, ForTech

D
I don't see how it would as the truck is still idling in Park when the overflow plug is removed, therefore the fluid is still circulating via the transmission pump. Although your system will contain more fluid due to the extra capacity the cooler provides, only the excess in the pan should drain. For instance, when the drain plug is removed the only fluid drained is that in the pan. This is only meant to replenish/refresh the system, not totally drain and refill it. A flush machine is required to completely drain and fill, or you must remove the return line from your cooler and drain, refill 2-3 quarts at a time.

This is the same procedure used on Tacoma's with and without the factory cooler, which is similar to your aftermarket.
 

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Take off, eh!
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Ok, thanks! :chug:

D
 

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You can do full flush to replace all 12 quarts, but it's a bit more work. Disconnect the transmission outlet line from the radiator or trans cooler (tow pkg) and flush out several quarts at a time and then add new fluid into the fill hole, repeating several times. I'm fixing to do this in about a 1000 miles so I will try to get a detailed description up w/ pics. There are a few write ups already on how to do this.
 

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TN god
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I don't see how it would as the truck is still idling in Park when the overflow plug is removed, therefore the fluid is still circulating via the transmission pump. Although your system will contain more fluid due to the extra capacity the cooler provides, only the excess in the pan should drain. For instance, when the drain plug is removed the only fluid drained is that in the pan. This is only meant to replenish/refresh the system, not totally drain and refill it. A flush machine is required to completely drain and fill, or you must remove the return line from your cooler and drain, refill 2-3 quarts at a time.

This is the same procedure used on Tacoma's with and without the factory cooler, which is similar to your aftermarket.
I'd rather pay to change all of the fluid than to only change half. especially if you only do it once every 100k miles. I wouldn't want to change half of my oil, why would I want to change half of my trans fluid?

Nothing against you, It was a good write up.
 

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'Coma Nut
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1,210 Posts
Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I'd rather pay to change all of the fluid than to only change half. especially if you only do it once every 100k miles. I wouldn't want to change half of my oil, why would I want to change half of my trans fluid?

Nothing against you, It was a good write up.
I also agree, but changing half is better than neglecting it. Flush machines aren't available everywhere and this is the service that is specified by Toyota (dealers push the flush as it means more $$$) as Toyota doesn't require all dealers to have a flush machine.

For years and years before flush machines became popular this was all that was performed for an automatic tranny service - except the older iron required the pan to be dropped and the filter replaced. I usually drain/fill at half the interval specified by Toyota. Did this with my '98 Tacoma and when i sold it with ~185K miles on the clock the ATF was still a bright cherry red.

The main message I wanted to distribute was the method of checking the fluid level - which has to (should) be done with a drain and fill, a flush, or the DIY at home flush by removing the cooler line. Most individuals were discouraged by the lack of a dip stick - hopefully no more.
 

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GO PATRIOTS!
2007 Tundra
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8,677 Posts
MODERATORS OR ADMINS:

This is the official HOW TO to replace the one already in the DIY that I wrote previously - please sticky it there to aid individuals who may find it useful.

I'll be doing an oil change in the near future. Will take some pics of the drain pan, fill plug, etc. to make the DIY complete at that time.

Thanks and enjoy...

Done, thank you!


:Bruce:
 

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GO KING'S GO!
05' Taco Pre-Runner
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2,250 Posts
Well done! I have talked to many mechanics about this and most dealers don't even flush anymore. They call it a flush, but all they do a drain and refill and drain and refill. Forcing a flush on some models can and does clog the tranny filter. I know this is the case with my wife's Corolla. I said hey what the heck my buddy is a service writer at Norwalk Toyota so I would get the tranny flushed. All I can say is 1 yr. later and about 10k it is dirtier than crap. It cost around $100 for a darn four qt. drain and re-fill. So my mechanics said do it yourself, check the forums for a DIY, or check the manual which I have. I am gonna tackle this by buying 12 qt and a new gasket. Process drain 4 qt, drop pan and clean, refill 4 qt, drive around, drain, refill 4qt, drive around, drain, put new filter in, refill 4 qt. and put on new gasket. It may take a little longer, but it gives me a piece on mind that it will be done right and I can drink some beers :chug: while doing it!


P.S. If you have a manual tranny like me you don't have to worry about doing it like this. :naughty:
 

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'Coma Nut
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thanks, Fortech

I have an OBDII reader. Will that give me a trans temp reading instead of the jumper wire?
It could possibly if it supports the coding - you'll have to run through the system and check to be sure. Toyota has been secretive with some of their OBD coding - I think this is the issue with the Scan Guage II (that many members have) not being able to report AT temps.

Also I have access to an expensive Scan Tool from an Independent shop. When I tried to read my temps via this scan tool the results were less than comforting. The scanner informed me that there were two temp sensors in the AT (yes?/No?) and both of them reported temps that varied by as much as 50-60 degrees. Which one was to be used?

The reported temps would jump all over the place each time I entered the screen. One moment they would be believable (~55 degrees), the next time I entered the screen they would be like 150 degrees on a cold AT. Third time temps back down to ~75 degrees, etc. The unit was a competent aftermarket unit that allot of Independent shops use to diagnose problems - cost somewhere in the range of $3000 or so including all the different manufacturer adapters and literature. Other inidcators such as fuel pressure, coolant temp, rpm, etc appeared normal - but AT temps fluctuated too much to be believable. If the temp information didn't fluctuate so much you could use both the AT TEMP light as well as the aftermarket scan tool to see the accuracy of the scanner. Like I stated earlier, everytime I read the temp is varied up and down by as much as 6-70 degrees so I didn't bother.
 

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Anyone care to speculate WHY Toyota made the fluid level checking procedure so incredibly complicated?

Some manual transmission use automatic transmission fluid and those transmissions simply have drain and fill plugs just like manual transmissions that use 75W-90 gear oil. So ATF fluid expansion cannot be the sole reason Toyota made the fluid level checking procedure complicated.
 

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09 Tacoma Sport, DC,
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^ Follow the money trail. 99.9% of the Tacoma owners will take it to the dealer for transmission service because of the complicated procedure to check the fluid.
 

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So I was able to follow all the instructions for the most part. It took me a while to get comfortable with the process, but I finally decided to tackle the tranny fluid change on my '05 V6 5sp auto tranny.

I got the fill plug off no problem, and the drain plug and overflow plug came off easy as well. I let the fluid drain into a 5qt bucket so I could measure the amount of fluid that came out. It was just shy of 3qts. Once most of the fluid drained out, I put the drain plug back on with a new crush washer and put the overflow plug back in with a recycled crush washer as I only got one new one. I then proceeded to fill the tranny with a fluid using a pump. Kinda messy to begin with as the hose was all kinked and the end blew off once and spilled stuff everywhere. I cleaned it up and managed to fill the tranny, but not without some running out the fill hole and down the hose. I figured out it was the cheap little plastic thing at the end of the hose that is suppose to grab onto the opening with the wings. It wasn't fully engaged, so after a while some oil would spill out. I got 4 qts of WS Toyota Fluid. I ended up using about 3.5 qts as I have the 4th bottle about half full. I figured I lost about .25 qts that spilled and had about the .25 qts drain out the overflow when I checked it, so I think I am okay with the level. I say okay as I tried following the temp light sequence, but it never lit up right away. Only after about 4-5 attempts of following the N-D-N sequence did it finally light up. It stayed on finally and I put it into Park after it lit up in Neutral. I quickly crawled under to drain the overflow until it was trickling out. By the time I got back into the truck to look at the oil temp light, it was flashing though.

Do you guys think I am okay with the amount of fluid in the tranny? I drained it when the light was still solid, but it was flashing by the time I was done draining it to a trickle, which means it was overtemp. Doing my math, it means there is roughly 3 qts in the tranny (.5 qts remaining, spilled about .25 qts, and drained about .25 qts.). My other question is do you guys engage the temp sensor mode when the tranny is dead cold? I changed my fluid after driving to the dealer and back, so it wasn't first thing in the day when the truck was completely cold. I am wondering if that is why I had trouble with engaging the Oil Temp light?

Thanks in advance for any information!
 

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06 Taco 4x4 TRD
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First, I think you're fine with the fluid level. Sounds like you were just overtemp, but idling in park the temp rises pretty slowly so you'll be very close. If you are really worried, you can just add a couple tablespoons and call it good.

I've engaged temp check mode many times now, when cold and warm and hot, and it doesn't matter, goes in for me first or second try every time. But it took a little practice the first couple times to get the shift timing down, that's probably your issue. Practice.

I assume Oil Temp is a typo, it's the AT TEMP light, right?
 

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Thanks TurDonor!

You're right- I meant AT TEMP.

Timing I guess is key. This is how I understand it: After jumping the #4 and #13 ports, Start the truck, then move it from park to N. Then go to D, then back to N every 1.5 seconds. Do this 3 times and its suppose to light up in N?

As you advise, I'll probably just put a few pumps in and call it good...
 

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Taco Sport, you have the procedure right. As far as timing, the 1.5 second interval for me is about 1/4 to 1/2 second longer than it takes the transmission to engage or disengage the shift, if that helps. Also, I notice I can keep shifting back and forth until the light comes on, it doesn't require me to pause after 6 shifts.

Finally, while you're waiting for the temp to reach its range, you can always shift in and out of park. Every time you return to P, the light will relight for 2 secs to reassure you that you are still in the check mode, which is handy on a really cold day while you're waiting forever for the thing.
 
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