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use a level against the pan bottom and just jack up/down accordingly.
That makes too much sense(?).

What I came up with today for determining that the car is level was finding and marking a spot on my car's roof where if I place a torpedo level it reads level when the car is level.

I tested out a few parking places where I placed the level, checked it along the front/rear axis and left/right axis, then parked the car backwards into the same parking space and checked again.
Eventually, after visiting several near-level parking spaces and doing some fine-tuning of the spot location, I marked the spot on the roof where the level will need to be when I check it before my final drain-out at 104F.
I marked the spot with tape (instead of drilling a hole there, since I didn't have my tools with me).😉
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
The car sits about an inch higher in the rear on level ground. Pros use flat drive on lift is used like when doing an alignment. Your safe at about an inch higher in the rear.
( you'll need a floor jack) Jack up the front of the car. (there is a jack point in front between the wheels, it's a bulb looking thing don't jack it up by the exhaust pipe! Put the jack stands at the front outer rails and jack up the back, use a long level along the frame rail. Get it level, then go up an inch at the back. There is a jack point between the rear wheels, see the frame. Make sure the car is even from side to side if one side is lower you can use a small bottle jack on the low side if you have one to accomplish this, or the factory car jack if you don't have one of those. Most jack stands dont have infinite leveling capability so you might have to go just with the floor jack but put jacks or wood blocks (never cinder blocks) under the rear frame somewhere so if the jack fails you wont be killed. Yes its a pain but you can drain and fill every other oil change and get most of the nasty fluid out of there, or better if you have the knowledge and capability you can change the filter and pump out the old fluid by disconnecting the trans cooler line. caution!! watch a video first don't run the trans dry for more than a second.( that's another you tube video look for it) This uses a lot of fluid but it's cheaper than a transmission rebuild by a couple of thousand dollars. Takes about ten quarts to do it that way.
The dealer says he hooks up a machine and runs it until the fluid is red like new but I've found that not to be the case. The mechanics are generally in a hurry and do the minimum required.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Certainly the old myth that synthetic oils don't "mix" or don't work with dino oil has been laid to rest.
The dino oil is just a mix of a wider range of molecules than the synthetic oil, so they mix and are compatible.

It's not like trying to mix castor bean (racing) oil with mineral/dino/synthetic hydrocarbon oil, or like mixing different types of brake fluid, or like (god forbid) mixing gasoline with nitromethane fuel.

The amount of additives would seem likely to be different though, in that a synthetic oil base shouldn't need as much of certain additives such as viscosity index improvers or anti-oxidation chemicals (and which is part of why synthetic oils have less of a tendency to gum up piston rings at high temperatures).
A wider-range grade of synthetic oil can thus run as clean as a narrower-range grade of dino oil, something that is obvious when shopping for (and comparing) oils intended for turbo-diesel truck engines.

So the question might arise as to whether a mix of similar-grade dino oil and synthetic oil would in every case still have the required levels of additives to endure a full worst-case service interval?
Thank you for your opinion but several NIASE Licensed professional Toyota mechanics have said " It's better to be safe that sorry!" They use only Toyota Branded products. I checked with several.
Fly by night auto will use anything, the cheapest Walmart has!
 

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Thank you for your opinion but several NIASE Licensed professional Toyota mechanics have said " It's better to be safe that sorry!" They use only Toyota Branded products. I checked with several.
Fly by night auto will use anything, the cheapest Walmart has!
Note that Toyota does specify that non-synthetic oil or synthetic oil can be used, each with their own oil replacement interval.
They make no mention of not mixing them, because it causes no harm as long as the appropriate service interval is respected.
Are you seriously using Toyota-branded oil?
 

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just my two cents worth to toyota. the no dipstick on the transmission is stupid. their own dealers don't know how to change the fluid I had to take mine back twice to get the proper amount put back after I got my tranmission fluid flushed. I wonder how many of dealers have not refilled the transmission properly. no dipstick is just stupid.
 

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Yeah, I just bought two cases (12 quarts) of Toyota WS fluid online for just over $100 including shipping.

What I'm struggling with right now is how to determine when the car is level to plus/minus one degree.
I went looking for a level parking spot yesterday, to figure out where I could place my level in/on the car while I work on my tilted driveway. I need a level reference before I start at home. But I couldn't find a single level parking spot anywhere, including two shopping centers, a smog shop and a gas station. I would stop and place the level, then I would park backwards in the same spot, and the level would always change. So I did not even find one level place to reference my level and where to place it. I will also have to level it from front to rear, not just left to right. One degree is the tolerance.

Is there by chance a place on the car that is known to be level with level ground? Even the middle of my dashboard, looks level but is far from level! I am having to do a good bit of work here just to figure out how to determine if/when my car is level in my driveway. And I will of course then also have to actually level it while maintaining access to the underside of the car. This is turning out to be the most work of any individual step when changing transmission fluid at home.
I would try sub frame under, put your level on that . Thats how i saw ASE TECH do it. Hope this helps
 

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Check the tranny pan with a level on flat ground,, match it when lifted. (its going to be hard to replicate, you gotta get it ball park)
 

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I decided on the roof-spot to level it because I can adjust the jacks while checking the level without having to go under the car each time.

I really don't want to use anything other than "level ground car" as a reference because I have no reason to believe or know that any particular part of the car was level-referenced while the Toyota engineers decided on "level car" as the prescribed fluid-level checking reference.
A transmission pan's bottom might be a couple of degrees off of level, who knows?
Especially as I want to stay within +/- 1-degree (well within the capabilities of my simple torpedo level's glass tube).
Finding the one and only exact spot on the roof actually turned out to be easy, once I found a parking lot in a nearby town's shopping center with level-looking parking spaces. But finding such a parking lot may take some looking in some towns like mine!
I'm being fussy here because this might be the last time that I check/change the fluid for ten years or more (I only drive about 5K highway miles per year, gently).

I will try to remember to check my pan bottom's level after getting the car level (for reference info, to be used by others here).
 

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Right, I will keep track of everything, first to see how correct is the current fill volume of fluid, then draining the fluid and also evacuating the considerable depth of fluid surrounding the threaded bung that sticks up inside of the pan.
Of course my fluid should be clean, only 24k on the car and with the fluid supposedly replaced less than 10k before that. And it should be WS fluid, even though the previous owner's old receipt for the fluid change service shows "T4" on the description line.
Most likely I'll end up with the most pampered U760e transmission in the world!
 

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On other vehicles, I have added the extra cooler. (minivans)
The other thing I have done is install a Magnefine brand of inline filter.
The Magnefine has a big magnet that catches a LOT of the fine metal particles.....as well as a pleated filter media.
It also has a pressure bypass in case the media becomes clogged.
I recommend this for someone who is looking for an easy filter.
For those with the cartridge filter that has been added, you could add magnets to the outside of the filter case.
I had ordered a magnet assembly that was 1 unit with magnets that would be all around the filter case.
However, I was quite happy with the job done with the Magnefine, which I replace at least every 15K miles.

I have not done anything with my 2016 Camry other than have a fluid exchange done at the dealer.
So far, I plan to have the fluid exchanged every 30K miles.
 

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The ideal transmission service solution for everyone would be if Toyota equipped these cars with a filter fitted onto an external permanent mounting housing containing a calibrated bypass valve.
The filters would come pre-charged with WS fluid, sealed and with no air inside.
The fittings would allow easy replacement with no loss of fluid, and the filter would be serviced every 15k miles so additional fluid replacement would really never be required.

I like the Magnafine filter setup idea, but is this a kit that is made for (with bypass valve calibrated for) the specific vehicle in question?
I would hate to add ANY back-pressure to the return line without first knowing what exact effect this would have on the valve body's performance at what pressure level. A bypass valve would obviously need to be calibrated to flow adequately below that specfic pressure.
 

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following up here on the leveling procedure, I was able to level the car accurately and verify that this degree of levelness can be easily verified with the torpedo level on one of the frame rails, and for the left/right direction the level is perfect at the engine cover as shown.
I went to a good bit of trouble establishing the level-car condition as on level ground, so the frame rails and engine cover are confirmed quite accurate.



 

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I finally got the fluid replacement done today. I first drained out around 1.7qt and then another 1.3qt using a suction pump on a "J"-shaped tube that I snaked into the drain outlet.

So with 3 qts removed, I over-refilled with 4qts, then pumped 1.75qt out of the cooler return line.
I didn't see any air burping out at that point, and I had enough time to shift through the gears while the TC was pumping out the return line.
I then refilled with 2qts, and pumped out two quarts (with one bubble burping out at the end) while I again went through the gears..
I refilled a third time with 2 more qts, pumped out another 2qts going through the gears one last time, then refilled with two more qts.

I then drove the over-filled car up the street and back, placed it on my level ramps and let it cool a while until it was down below 100F.
I finally pulled the plug for the last time, drained off about a quart until the stream was bubbling out at 108F.

So I went through 10 quarts (full pan drain plus three TC flushes plus an extra qt of over-fill that had to be drained off). The last flush looked like new fluid.

This is on a five-year-old car with 24,500 miles. The job was messy at times and took quite a few hours to perform in it's entirety. I also replaced the oil with 5W30 for the summer (no filter change this time after just 2k miles on the oil/filter) and replaced the coolant (about 1.5 gallons of Toyota's pre-mixed coolant).

All this should be the last of my "special" extra servicing (due to this being a used-car purchase).
 

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Oh, and here is another important thing that I just figured out:

The transmission/engine heat exchanger ("cooler") is plumbed directly to the engine coolant flow, not to the thermostat and radiator.

So, if you are starting out with a warm engine and the trans pan temp has dropped below 94F, don't expect the transmission fluid temperature to rise normally unless the engine block temperature is also below 90F.
Otherwise, the transmission fluid temperature will rise very fast indeed, as it rapidly catches up to the engine block coolant temperature as soon as the engine has started. The engine cools off much more slowly than the transmission, and the pan oil cools fastest along with the differential housing.

I do think it is best to start with warm engine and transmission castings, at least 80-90F or so. Starting from cold seems to cause much more in the way of varying temperature at different locations in the pan since parts of the engine/transmission/differential are going to have much bigger temperature differences as the engine warms up from cold.
Just make sure the coolant temperature at the cylinder head is below 90F before starting the engine to check the fluid level.

Also, I just added to the other "transmission checking temperature" thread that I noticed that my IR thermometer reads low about 12 degrees when pointed at bare metal versus painted metal! The cast-steel bracket up at the passenger's side of the head reads hotter than the head because it is black-painted, even though it's just bolted on (so actually it is colder).
I added a black-painted spot to my cast aluminum valve cover for checking the head temperature (I got the highest readings up top).

So I think you can trust your IR temperature reader on the black trans fluid pan IF it has been tested indoors against a mercury medical thermometer at say 100F on an ENAMELED metal cooking pan (with the pan water temperature checked with the medical thermometer).

Just trying to be exact here since there will be variables in every detail of this fluid level checking procedure, such as where on the pan that the temp reading is made and how fast that the oil is (should be) dripping out when the plug is put back in. Hopefully too the car is actually level.
 

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so i just want to add, when im doing a drain and refill, i just catch the fluid that comes out in a measured bucket, and refill with the same amount that was taken out, never had a issue, even on my car, did my first drain/fill around 60k, im at 86k now
 
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