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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wanted to share my experience with other members. I acquired a 2009 RAV4 2.5 auto with 80,000 miles from a family member. I noticed when driving the transmission shifts were not crisp, hunting when shifting, in and out of torque converter lockup and shudder among other issues. This vehicle has never pulled a trailer or any severe service. I finally found where the Aisan transmission has a little over (8) qts. for a complete drain and refill.
I then began researching various transmission fluids.
After checking the trans fluid by the dipstick it did not look good plus an odor.
I started the car and warmed it a little. Then removed the under body panels to gain access to the trans drain plug. I set a container marked at (4) qts. under the drain plug and removed the plug. The fluid was black and with a stench.
Once I saw the fluid decided to remove the trans pan. I was concerned there might be damage. Had to remove (4) cross member bolts to gain access to all trans pan bolts. Approximately (4) qts. were in the drain pan I had under the trans. When I removed the pan I was surprised to see that there were no aluminum or metal shavings. The magnets were all good. Then cleaned the pan with brake fluid and the screen filter removing black residue. Reinstalled the pan with new gasket and secured cross member.
I then found the return line to the transmission from the oil cooler. Located at the front of the trans pan rail next to the radiator. Used my channel locks to squeeze the spring clamp and moved it up next to the clamp on oil cooler. Removed the rubber hose plugged the trans fitting that goes into the trans from the cooler with a plastic cap. I then cut a 5/8 " in. ID heater hose to a (2) ft. length, placed it over the rubber hose from the cooler line to go into my drain pan, again marked at (4) qts.
I decided after extensive research and my experience to go with Valvoline Max Life trans fluid. Toyota's WS trans fluid is not acceptable for (100,000) drain intervals. In fact in my personal vehicle I would not use that fluid beyond (50,000) miles. Aisan does not recommend even going over (36,000) miles.
I then added (4) qts. of Valvloine Max life to the trans. I had my wife start the car. (told her to be ready to shut it off) The remainder of the BLACK FLUID came pouring out of the return line. As soon as (4) qts. accumulated in my drain pan I had her stop the car. I then proceeded to ad (4) qts. of fluid. Now a total of (8) qts. I then started the car once again and watched for clean red fluid to exit the return line and we shut the car off. About a half qt. before the clean fluid came out. Reconnected the rubber hose from the oil cooler and buttoned up the bottom. Then started the car and placed the gearshift through all gears twice and checked the fluid level having to add 1/2 qt. to top it off.
Subsequent road test proved all issues were addressed. Shifts are now crisp,gear hunting gone, torque converter lockup and shudder eliminated.
Toyota WS fluid is not synthetic and is rather pricey. I bought Valvoline Max Life for $17.00 a gallon.
I also had the same type experience with another OEM transmission. When the fluid was changed it corrected virtually all of the same issues as above.
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