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Discussion Starter #1
The new Toyota innovation is to seal the automatic transmission after filling with full synthetic auto trans fluid. This does not allow the owner the possibility to check the level of trans fluid, or condition of the trans fluid.

I was not pleased to discover this fact after purchasing the vehicle.

I keep the fluid in my other vehicles with auto transmissions as clean as possible, knowing full well the price of a new/rebuilt trans with installation.

I will deal with this situation, I think, by taking this RAV4 for a trans flush at 40K to 50K.

What are the opinions here regarding the sealed trans, and how to deal with it?
 

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Toyota is not the only manufacturer that has moved to sealed transmissions with "indefinite" fluid life. Several manufacturers have done this move years ago, without major issues. Considering how conservative Toyota is compared to, for example, VW or Honda, I bet that they did a lot of testing before making this change. I wouldn't be overly concerned. Material science, metallurgy, lubricants, etc. have changed (improved a lot) compared to a decade ago. It's the nature of progress. Otherwise we would still be driving Ford T's.

40k to 50k for transmission fluid replacement is awfully short, unless you drive in really harsh conditions or tow regularly. Even with "old" cars made in early 2000's 60k to 90k miles would be a reasonable transmission fluid life.

Many people think that cars today are designed and built like that cars they owned and drove 30 or 40 years ago. Comparing a 2013 RAV4 to a 1980 car is like comparing a laptop computer with a typewriter. They both have a keyboard and can be used to write letters, so a they must be the same thing, right?
 

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It's sealed for a reason. Toyota doesn't want DIY jokers messing with trans fluid, or adding all kinds of miracle $hit to it, as was the custom back in the days of non-electronic transmissions.
Toyota must be confident that the trans and fluid will last the design life of the vehicle provided it's operated in a reasonable manner. Towing more than the rated capacity, or spinning the wheels in mud or snow for long periods of time, or idling for hours on end as in taxicab or police use, is not a reasonable manner. Of course, all of this is spelled out in the owner's manual. I'm sure that less than 10% of total vehicle owners ever read an owner's manual except in an emergency, but that's another story.
I have no issue with a sealed trans.
 

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The transmission fluid in my 200 Tundra looks like new after 150k with lots of heavy towing. I see no reason why I would mess with the fluid until the manual says to.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses so far.

The idea that I will not know the condition of the trans fluid is bothersome. When the 5K check up is done by Toyota, I'll ask the Techs (NOT the Service Writers) how to check the condition and level. There has to be a way.
 

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I have a 2008. My RAV was giving a huge jerk when I backed up every morning at 20K miles. I drain/refill fixed that. May be it is the exception but I like to have the possibility to do such fixes myself.

Also, if ever I visit a garage or quick lube, I always demand that they do not top off any fluid. God knows what they'll put.

So it is a 2-edged sword.
 

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They are surely referring to running the RAV warm and then taking a bolt out to see the level, a bit like it is done for the transfer case/rear differential.

The issue is, if ever you need to add fluid, it needs to be heated to the correct temperature.
 

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They are surely referring to running the RAV warm and then taking a bolt out to see the level, a bit like it is done for the transfer case/rear differential.
The issue is, if ever you need to add fluid, it needs to be heated to the correct temperature.
Yes, transmission fluid temp should be 104F-113F, and rpm stable at 800 when checking level.

I flushed my 2013 RAV4 using the TIS Fluid Replacement procedure just to see how hard it would be. I will tow with it and want to be able to change fluid if/when need be.
Wasn't bad at all it turns out. I used a ScanGuage II in X-gauge mode to monitor fluid temperature for setting the final level. I used a MityVac MV6400 transfer pump with the Toyota fill adapter when refilling. I got out about 2.2 qts after each drain cycle (drained/filled 3x).
Outside of the hassle of no external fill tube, it's pretty straight forward. They just want the level set in a specific temperature range. The hardest part was getting the plastic covers off and back on the underside.

As an aside, I will also use the ScanGauge to monitor trans fluid temps when driving. Knowing transmission fluid temp will be handy when towing to see if I need an additional transmission cooler.
 
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^what kind of towing are you doing with a 4cyl rav? a small enclosed (uhaul type) or open trailer?
 

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^what kind of towing are you doing with a 4cyl rav? a small enclosed (uhaul type) or open trailer?
towing an open Kendon single rail motorcycle trailer w/700# bike. All up weight around 1000#. The RAV4 pulls it easily on level ground. I haven't towed it in mountain areas (like Colorado) yet though.
 

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The average DIYer will not have a ScanGaugeII and MitVac and adapter. And if you plan to do only 1 flush while you own the vehicle, may be taking it to a shop or dealer might be worth it.
True enough as the ScanGauge is a bit pricey at $150 or so, but one could use an infrared thermometer ($30) on the trans pan and be fairly close temperature-wise. And MityVac makes their MV7241 transfer pump ($15), but it may be slow pumping compared to the pressurized MV6400.

For those that may be interested in doing it, it is not a bad job. You do need a few tools and the TIS procedure though.
 

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For those that may be interested in doing it, it is not a bad job. You do need a few tools and the TIS procedure though.
I've got all that stuff, but if I had to I'd take it to the dealer. Maybe 20 years ago I'd undertake this, but these days I hate crawling around on the garage floor. Also, the dealer's lifts would have the trans perfectly level. My mixed jack stands, maybe not.
 

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I have a simple bluetooth OBD II adapter with software on my Android phone. With it I ca watch everything that any scan tool can see as well as reset the check engine light. It works well because I can search the internet with a touch of a button to see what each code means specific to the vehicle in question. Normally I can find out a lot more than the simple fault code name.

I hate crawling under cars so I bought a 2 post lift. When I had my Impreza it seamed like every road construction site would have large rocks pelting the underside of the car. It's nice being able to examine it to see if there's any real damage. Plus it makes you much more motivated to rotate tires and change oil.
 

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True enough as the ScanGauge is a bit pricey at $150 or so, but one could use an infrared thermometer ($30) on the trans pan and be fairly close temperature-wise. And MityVac makes their MV7241 transfer pump ($15), but it may be slow pumping compared to the pressurized MV6400.

For those that may be interested in doing it, it is not a bad job. You do need a few tools and the TIS procedure though.
Thanks, I think others might try this when they are close to 70K miles, in few years from now. Good to start the discussion early. :thumbs_up:
 

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I have a simple bluetooth OBD II adapter with software on my Android phone.
I'll have to look into that for iOS.

Just looked, and this is a problem for connecting iOS to a Bluetooth OBD2 dongle.

It seems Junebug had very thoroughly reviewed hardware and software to do this here:

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/102-rav-lounge/85876-review-elm327-wireless-obdii-code-scanner.html#post877839

Seeing as I have an iPhone 5, the Bluetooth linking won't work. The alternatives are WiFi and a direct cable link. Does anyone know if there is an OBD2 cable to link to an iPhone 5's Thunderbolt port?
 
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towing an open Kendon single rail motorcycle trailer w/700# bike. All up weight around 1000#. The RAV4 pulls it easily on level ground. I haven't towed it in mountain areas (like Colorado) yet though.
Very nice! Glad to hear it tows it easily!

I hate crawling under cars so I bought a 2 post lift. When I had my Impreza it seamed like every road construction site would have large rocks pelting the underside of the car. It's nice being able to examine it to see if there's any real damage. Plus it makes you much more motivated to rotate tires and change oil.
Totally jealous of your lift...I would love to have one in my garage!
 
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