Changing the transmission fluid - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 11-19-2011, 09:16 PM
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Changing the transmission fluid

My 07 RAV4 auto has approx. 80k miles, so I figure it is a good time to do some serious tune-ups.
I want to start with a transmission fluid exchange as the fluid is dark brown.

I purchased 4 gallons of Valvoline max-life, which says it is WS compatible. My system is not sealed and has a dipstick. I bought a replacement filter and gasket from autozone.

Today I removed the plastic shield to access the pan. On inspection, there are a few bolts which are almost inaccessible. If I remove the metal support which runs parallel to tire, I should have no problem. Is this something that can be removed without fear of screwing up another system?

My plan is to remove the return line from the transmission, add a barbed hose connector (3/8?) and run a clear tube to a milk jug. Am i correct in thinking that the hose that runs almost into the pan (lower of the two hoses and the one that connects to the cooler that is closer to the radiator) is the return?

The plan is to fill the pan, start the car for a few seconds and fill up the pan with the same amount being flushed out.

I also have a fluid pump. Would it be possible to have this pull the old fluid out while pulling the new fluid in, or must the actual transmission be pumping?

Also, Toyota parts dept claims the WS fluid must be heated before it is put in. Is this true?

Do I need to get a plug gasket from Toyota (they claim they are out) or can I get this elsewhere?

Lastly, the cost at the dealership for this is 240 bucks
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#2 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 07:44 AM
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Do you have picture of the metal support?
The reason toyota say you should warm up the fluid is it will flow much better when you pour the fluid into the transmission.
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 10:15 AM
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Here is a picture of one of those steel rails


Thanks for the help
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#4 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by avs View Post
Do you have picture of the metal support?
The reason toyota say you should warm up the fluid is it will flow much better when you pour the fluid into the transmission.
Warmer fluid usually has a lower viscosity, warming the car up heats up the fluid which will help it drain out faster with less accumulation on the internal parts.

So, you are draining out more of the old fluid and you won't have to wait 30 minutes for it to finish.

A warm engine/transmission has nothing to do with pouring the fluid in.


Ryan
2010 RAV4 Sport V6 4WD
2007 Honda Civic EX
2007 Aprilia SXV 550
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#5 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 11:19 AM
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#6 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 12:45 PM
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Oh, I see it now "I just want to mention that I just completed this job and found that you can remove the body bracket easily with the (4) 17mm bolts. This saves lots of headache with the three pan bolts above. Also, I unhooked the transmission cooler lines and blew the old oil out with compressed air. Over all a messy (as they all are) but easy job."

I would highly recommend removing this bracket as those bolts look like they would ruin my weekend.

Do people recommend blowing out or vacuuming out the cooler lines as opposed to running the engine for short periods? It seems like this would still leave whatever old oil is still inside the unit (torque converter?)
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#7 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by brianproctorla View Post
I purchased 4 gallons of Valvoline max-life, which says it is WS compatible.
Why bother the pan, filter and cooler hoses? Just drain & fill 3 times.
If you drain 50% of total fluid each time. (4 qt drained out of 8(?)qt for Rav4)

By simple calculation of the principle of dilution:
1st drain & fill - Trans has new 50%: old 50% (You wasted nothing from the drain)
2nd drain & fill - Trans has new 75%: old 25% (wasted 50%(=2qt) from the drain)
3rd drain & fill - Trans has new 87.5%: old 12.5% (wasted 75%(=3qt) from the drain)

Since you bought 4 gallons, you can drain & fill 4 times,
4th drain & fill - Trans has new 94%: old 6% (wasted 87.5%(=3.5qt) from the drain)

I guess 87.5% new ATF is enough
So, if you can use 3 gallons (5qt wasted), drain & fill will be much easier.

Personally I did 1st drain, I will do 2nd next week. that's it.
75% new ATF enough for me.

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Originally Posted by brianproctorla View Post
I bought a replacement filter and gasket from autozone.
Return them.

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Lastly, the cost at the dealership for this is 240 bucks
You paid only $70 for Maxlife 4 gallons.

Edit: you already opened the pan. never mind.
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 01:31 PM
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Why bother the pan, filter and cooler hoses? Just drain & fill 3 times.
Drain and refill doesn't clean filter and magnets. They tend to be very dirty at about 60,000 miles.
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 01:53 PM
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I was actually thinking the same thing about multiple pan fluid changes. Of course this would leave the filter and any possible sludge in the pan. It certainly would make it more easy. It also would prevent any pan gasket associated leaks.

Is 8 quarts the total fluid capacity? I've read that a full exchange can take between 12 and 16 quarts, perhaps my facts are wrong

As for the Maxlife, I bought 4 gallons at advance auto and used code big30, which is 30 off $75. You could also use code ES123 if you are buying in smaller increments.
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#10 (permalink) Old 11-20-2011, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by friendly_jacek View Post
Drain and refill doesn't clean filter and magnets. They tend to be very dirty at about 60,000 miles.
Rav4 2.4L I4 has no filter in it.
Rav4 V6 has a filter in it,
but I highly doubt if it's clogged anytime soon.
They've seen some "failed" transmission got clogged filter.
or 1960~1980 old tech vehicles got clogged, when I google.
These days some vehicles have only mesh screen type filter.

Quote:
I was actually thinking the same thing about multiple pan fluid changes. Of course this would leave the filter and any possible sludge in the pan. It certainly would make it more easy. It also would prevent any pan gasket associated leaks.
Did you find sludge? and clogged portion at the filter?
What about the magnet?

Quote:
Is 8 quarts the total fluid capacity? I've read that a full exchange can take between 12 and 16 quarts, perhaps my facts are wrong
I couldn't find total ATF amount of Rav4, but I guess 8~10 qt for the size of Rav4.
but dropping the pan still can not change total amount of fluid.

Basically, I am too lazy to open pan and seal it.
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