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I'm trying to change my trans fluid on 2015 Rav 4. I took the tire off, panel off, and tried taking out the "WS" fill plug before draining the fluid from the pan. I couldn't get that bolt to pry loose. I used a 24mm long neck socket with a 6" socket. I don't have a longer socket for torque so I gave up (actually pulled my groin muscle trying to tug it free). I went to the Toyota place in town and asked if they will break it free for me. After hearing 4 people tell me the fluid is "lifetime" and doesn't need to be changed, they said they have a machine which fills from the drain plug and that they never ever take the WS fill plug out. The guy said they recommend not to do the service and leave the original fluid in the trans and they don't even stock the metal gasket for the drain plug. Go figure. So I asked why did Toyota put one there if you're not supposed to take it out. I wish I can drain it from the pan and then use a pump to fill it from the bottom. once full and I pull the hose out, if overfilled, it will drain out. Problem is if I drain it and don't have a correct size hose or can fill it up, I'm screwed (tow to Toyota I guess which will cost 200 plus tow). My plan is to take it to an independent shop to help me break that fill plug loose and then go home and finish the job.

Has anyone done this before at home? how hard was it to get the plug off? I'm turning counter clockwise so I hope that's the right way and it's not a reverse thread plug. Once open, did anyone fill from there and then finish the job? thanks for your help. I hate paying someone for something that I feel I can do.
 

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This video will explain what you're up against. Even if you remove the drain plug, there is a red plastic sleeve that will prevent the fluid from draining unless you remove it as well. Why Toyota chose to do this is beyond me:

 

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I know there is a red tube. it's the overflow tube. I'm worried about getting the fill plug out. the video you attached is on the net and I've seen that. He uses the machine to fill from the drain plug hole, not the fill hole. That video doesn't help me unless I find a tube/pump to fit inside the overflow tube hole (not sure of the diameter of the tube hole) and fill the trans that way. Then I won't have to get the fill plug out but if I am not successful, then it's a tow to the dealer. embarrassing.
 

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I know there is a red tube. it's the overflow tube. I'm worried about getting the fill plug out.
Sorry! I read "fill plug" but this old brain interpreted it as "drain plug". Sounds like you need a big ratchet with a long extension.
 

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Sorry! I read "fill plug" but this old brain interpreted it as "drain plug". Sounds like you need a big ratchet with a long extension.

Or just put a piece of pipe over the short ratchet handle for more leverage. FWIW, the process of having a fill hole with tube to control the level is not that uncommon. Its used in quite a number of german cars. And those cars generally don't even have a drain plug. You have to drop the pan to drain the fluid.
 

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Just watched the video - very informative! It's a shame he didn't mention servicing the tranny filter. I imagine that once you drain the fluid you drop the pan, replace the filter, re-secure the pan and then refill the tranny with fresh fluid using the described method in that video.

Now for those tools! :wink
 

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Use a quality socket with longer ratchet or breaker bar.

Use a torque wrench and new oring/washer on the drain/fill plugs when reinstalling.

You will also need a IR temp gun, ATF temp gauge, or OBD scanner for the ATF temp when checking the level.

If you don't have the correct tools, or can't measure the temperature of the fluid, don't start the job. And, with the number of dipstickless Toyota's that I've seen that were underfilled, I would not trust the "pour in what was measured as drained out" method.

The transmission filter doesn't catch much. Install a Magnefine/Racor/B&M/Permacool kit if you want real filtration. And, if you drop the pan, upgrade to the 4-magnet system as seen in the Toyota Camry TSB for 'shudder' from the u760. The extra magnets catch more of the wear as the transmission grinds itself to death, pretty much acknowledges the useless capability of the OE pan filter. The aftermarket filter will also catch the dust when the case bearing trashes itself and grinds up the aluminum case into fine dust that isn't caught by the pan filter or magnet. But, I still like the u660/u760 family of Toyota transmissions regardless of the known issues. Glad that they don't 'flare shift' anymore.

After removing the drain plug, you can remove the straw if you want to drain it that way. I find it easier to simply pump fluid out of transmission via the cooler line method.

The video is only one of the two methods of checking the fluid level.

The original method, at a less likely to burn ~109°F, without any fancy vacuum pump or depth tool, works just fine with original 'straw' that is in the pan. Works great for the DIY when checking level from 'cold start' or 'cold fluid exchange'.

The new method, as seen in the video, at ~190°F temp, is because it takes too long for a vehicle to cool down. Don't want the consumer or tech having to wait forever to check the level. The OSHA vacuum pump is to prevent burns since the 190°F ATF can hurt when you're bathing in it. And, the environmental/eco crowd like that the ol' fluid is not splashing all over the place because of the drain tube that should lead to some method of collected ATF recycling. The adjustable depth tool is for the additional fluid expansion at 190°F(when compared to 109°F) and calibrated for all the different pan volumes/dimensions in the FWD/AWD/2WD/RWD 5/6/8 speed transmissions.

The vacuum pump also contradicts all that scare fear ATF moisture absorbing storage issues that some preach. Geez, now we can have the dealer pump all that high moisture humidity air bubbling thru the pan to keep it from spilling on the tech.
 

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2013 Rav4 Full Transmission fluid flush at home.

This Rav4 is my wife's daily driver. She's a pretty conservative driver, won't go more then 5mph over the speed limit when on the highway. I hate driving with her, I'm a lead foot.

Having to use her car for several day's, I noticed when getting on the highway that there was a slight stumble when shifting between 4th and 5th gear. Other then that, everything seemed normal. The car now has a little over 66K miles. I bought it with 22K miles on it, was clean as a whistle and came with all the service records.

After not finding a tranny dip stick I realized that the Rav4 has a "Sealed" tranny just like my 17 Murano. I went online searching and came across a bunch of posts and the 38 minute video about checking/changing the "Sealed" tranny fluid. Pretty daunting, started to think that I wouldn't be able to do it, and I've rebuilt manual/auto trannies and engines. Not one to give up easily, and really hate having anyone else work on my vehicles, I went ahead and ordered a tranny filter kit and 8 qts of Toyota WS tranny fluid. This tranny holds 6.9 qts.

The car set in my garage for several days, at about 50 degrees F this time of year, until the filter and oil came in. Set the parking brake, turned the front wheels to the left, jacked up the car on the driver's side a little and set a jack stand. After removing the front wheel liner shield I removed the "WS" fill bolt. Removing the WS bolt confirmed my suspensions that the tranny fluid was having issues. Fluid that was on the inside of hollow WS fill bolt was brown and sticky, but didn't have a burnt smell.

I removed the underbody shield and placing a clean catch pan under the tranny, I removed the drain plug. I waited about 15 minutes figuring that the oil would be draining slowly due to the temp. Next the level straw inside the drain plug opening was removed, again waiting about 15 minutes. The tranny oil pan bolts came out pretty easily except for a few that needed a small shot of JB Blaster. The tranny oil pan still held about 3/4 qt of fluid even after there wasn't anything coming out of the drain hole. Removed the tranny filter and another 1/2 qt of fluid came out.

Examining the inside of the tranny oil pan, both magnets had a good coating of particles and the bottom of the pan had a thin layer of sludge. Pouring the tranny fluid into a clean old oil jug filled it to about the 3 7/8 qt mark. The oil was a dark heavy brown, nothing like tranny fluid, but no burnt smell.

After waiting a good hour for everything to stop dripping, excess fluid was mopped up, gasket area cleaned and new filter installed. Cleaned, installed level straw, drain plug and installed the pan with a new gasket, without any gasket sealer, and poured 4 qts of tranny fluid into the tranny thru the WS drain plug hole using a long flex necked funnel.

Wanting to fully flush out the old tranny fluid, I decided that I'd try using the engine to pump out the old tranny fluid. After removing the return (Upper line from the tranny to the cooler.) hose that goes to the 5" round tranny cooler located at the front of the engine from the metal return line, a 3/8" clear hose was inserted into the return tranny hose and the other end of the clear hose was stuck in to another clean old oil jug.

The low pressure flow rate out of the return hose while the car is running is about one qt per 5 - 6 seconds, so you don't have to worry about the pan getting sucked dry quickly. I had a helper adding tranny fluid while the old fluid was pumping out to maintain the fluid level in the tranny. Most tranny pans will hold 4 qts of tranny fluid when dry before getting close to the overflow tube, varying upon the manufacturer.

After opening 3 qts of tranny fluid the engine was started. As tranny fluid flowed out into the jug, new tranny fluid was poured into the funnel left in the WS fill hole. After about 2 1/2 qts flowed into the jug, it started to turn red. Let the engine run for about another 2 seconds and ended up with a fluid level in the jug just under 3 qts. Finished pouring in the third qt of fluid into the tranny.

Installed and tightened the WS fill bolt, removed the jack stand and let the car down off the jack. Started the car and waited for the engine temp gauge to go up. Got under the car and using a Temp gun aimed at the tranny oil pan, waited until the tranny oil pan was at about 109 degrees F. Removed the drain plug and about 1/4 cup of tranny fluid came out before going to a pencil lead thin stream that immediately slowed to a steady dribble. I then replaced the drain plug and tightened it up. Wiped everything down to remove all the tranny fluid and replaced the underbody shield and front wheel well shield.

Drove the car around town doing a few errands. Shifted smooth and seemed to be a little quieter then before. Went back home, let the car cool down some and got under it to check for any leaks. Everything looked good. No sign of red fluid anywhere.

So I drove the car to where my wife works, 7 miles up the highway. Shift stumble was gone and the acceleration was smoother along with the RPM being a little lower at speed. Swapped out cars and went to do my thing.

When I got home that evening, after hearing about how when she got out of work, she thought my car was stolen before she spotted her car fiasco, she surprised me by telling me that she noticed how her Rav4 was quieter and was shifting smoother, along with being a little peppier.

I hope that this helps out others who want to fully flush out their "Sealed" tranny at home. I figure that I replaced a good 98% of the tranny fluid. I'm glad that I didn't go to one of those shops that just uses a pump to replace the fluid. The gunk on the bottom of the pan would have ended up mixing with the new fluid and I'm sure that tranny would have craped out sooner then later. Next time I have to bring the Rav4 to the dealer I'll ask them to check the tranny fluid level. Except for a few vehicle specific issues, this guide can be used to change out the tranny fluid of any "Sealed" tranny.

Have a good day. :smile

PS Anyone who want's to rewrite this as a straight walkthrough can be my guest. Sorry I didn't take any photos.
 

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What was the total cost with this... to include pumps and tools all inclusive please, thank you

I bought the Toyota ATF WS oil on Amazon, 4 qts was $41.00 x 2. The filter kit was about $32, also on Amazon. The clear 3/8" tube can be bought at just about any dept. store or hardware chain for $5 -10, depending on length. The 5 qt empty clean oil jugs I had left over from oil changes, no charge.


Standard tools, nothing that any full DYI auto mech doesn't already have.


Have a good day.
 

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Thank you for your help with this today~! I got a long way to go, but want to be prepared when needed... Take care
 

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Does the toyota dealership offer/change ATF oil as a regular maintenance option, with everything being sealed? How much would they normally charge? Hopefully normal pricing, bc Honda you can do yourself and at dealership cost is around $70-100, with a full 3 time change around $250.
 

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Requested changes made to paulday's post 10.

Does the Toyota dealership offer/change ATF oil as a regular maintenance option,...
No. Toyota's official position is their WS fluid is lifetime and as such never needs changing.
 

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Requested changes made to paulday's post 10.

No. Toyota's official position is their WS fluid is lifetime and as such never needs changing.
Thanks.


I see that you must live near me, NE CT.


Have a good day.
 

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Requested changes made to paulday's post 10.

No. Toyota's official position is their WS fluid is lifetime and as such never needs changing.

Which is funny because I took my car in a 60k for an issue and the first thing out of the dealership's mouth was that I was due to have the trans fluid changed. My comment "I thought it was lifetime". His comment "Yeah it is, but the life of the fluid is over. Time to change it.".


I guess it depends on your frame of reference as to which lifetime you are comparing it to.
 

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Which is funny because I took my car in a 60k for an issue and the first thing out of the dealership's mouth was that I was due to have the trans fluid changed. My comment "I thought it was lifetime". His comment "Yeah it is, but the life of the fluid is over. Time to change it.".


I guess it depends on your frame of reference as to which lifetime you are comparing it to.
Yep, its the lifetime of the warranty....
 

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Toyota service schedule recommends CHECK TRANS FLUID every 30K miles! :serious
 
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