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This is data I've had since last summer, have just been too busy to share.

The first image is driving to Atlanta from Denver in summer, and the second returning two weeks later towing a full U-Haul 5x8 trailer (208 cuft and contained re-flat packed furniture so was not a light load). Handling the full trailer was not problem at all.. we have enough power to tow these things. tongue weight was 295lbs.. higher than I'd like but it towed the best ever - super stable.

Transmission temperatures were ~209F going there, ~224F most of the way back but it did rise to almost 240F up the steepest inclines returning. Engine temps barely higher, weather outside was hotter on the way back so temps would have risen a little anyway.

Data is a via a BAFX Blutooth module + Torque Android app using the formula all over the web people are using for Toyota transmission temps.

My thoughts are that it was not too much higher, but I'll change the transmission oil before 50K miles. Has anyone figured out how to do that on our cars yet?

- 2015 LE
- Stock other than Curt Class 3 Hitch
 

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I would change the substandard WS out right now. Here is what my wife's 2014 Rav4 WS looked like at 21.400 miles. The Rav was a lease return from a lady in upstate NY. Then my wife drove it for 3,000 miles. Nothing was beat up in the car, no hockey mom or soccer mom hauling stuff or people. WS is not a very good ATF it is a Group2/3 ATF it is not a full synthetic. Like many things Toyota does to pinch penny's IE inadequate anti-corrosion plating on bolts, cheap quality paint on sub frames, high iron steel on exposed parts where a Honda would barely rust and Toyota would. They went cheap on a low quality ATF too. We even see this in NO location LED lighting for window buttons and locking switches on all Rav4 models even to date. Are you fricken kidding me!!!!

There is no way WS being a semi-synthetic could handle 240 degs for more then a couple of minutes let alone 48 hours. If you could smell what came out of my wife's trans when I changed it. I owned a hobby Audi repair shop out of my garage for 3 years and had 60 clients, I did many ATF changes in my day on high miled cars and I have never smelled such burn't ATF as can out of my wife's Rav. There is nothing special about WS other then it is cheap ATF.

You can put any ATF in your car without affecting warranty because you are protected by a USA warranty law called the Mangnuson-Moss Warranty Act. You have the right to use any oil as long as it matches or exceeds the quality of WS. (not hard to exceed). You will have to use low viscosity ATFs that is now the norm that all car manufactures are using to help bump up their CAFE ratings. I will use Valvoline MAX-Life ATF as an example of compatibility/suitability approval. It must be approved and on the list of the manufacture to use.

http://content.valvoline.com/pdf/maxlife_atf.pdf

http://www.amsoil.com/lit/databulletins/g3110.pdf




I myself run Redline D6, that is a Group 4/Group 5 ATF, others like Valvoline Max-Life, Mobil 1 ATF, and Amsoil Signature Series low viscosity version.


Understanding the Differences in Base Oil Groups


I would suggest to make sure whoever changes your ATF, that it is all flush out, and not just a drop the pan (3 qts) and fill. If you are going to do it, by dropping the pan and cleaning it out and changing the filter. and filling 3 qts. Then pulling the return cooler line to the trans and wait till you see it spitting weird or hear the pump grab some air and then refill anther 3 qts and repeat 2 more times. When I did this, I bought 11 qts for a the a system fill of 10 qts. I just barely made the fill with 11 qts, so next flush I will be buying 12 qts.

You MUST know there is a special way to get the proper final level on your dipstickLESS trans ( not hard or risky at all ) but you must follow directions on how to do it if you plan on doing the flush yourself.

I deal with high end rotary screw air compressors at work and am actually dealing with one now that has a hotspot (possibly) is stressing out the oil. I call and work with many oil engineers on this issue, so I have a grasp on the oils and capabilities more then most. I have switch from a OEM Group 4 that degraded and started to varnish up, to a boutique oil companies higher quality (PAO) Group 4/5 rated at a sustained 215 deg, and will be going to their Group 4/5 high Ester that has triple the Group 5 in it and that is rated at a sustained 235 degs. So basically you completely cooked your WS that is a Group 2/3 oil it just can't take anywhere near 240 degs for any time frame. ATF was used years ago in all rotary screw air compressors, so the modern day oil now used are hybrids of ATF, and in many ways are very very close. Some high perf auto trans specialty companies use rotary screw air compressor oil as the "set" oil for their transmissions because it is a basically a very high quality Type-F trans oil. Get that stuff out of your trans ASAP.



Added note: Hyundai from 2013 1/2 uses a high quality OEM Group 4/5 ATF in most of their transmissions, because they started to make their own designs and I guess their engineer's wanted to use high end fluids for their design, maybe when you have your name on it you only want to put the best in???? And they had enough power in their company to GET the higher ups not to go cheap on ATF oil like so many do.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank-you for the comprehensive response. I'll be doing DIY (want to be 100% certain it's done correctly).

Where can we buy a tool with the adjustable straw + the vacuum adapter?

Is there a good write-up/ video of the whole procedure anywhere? Last night I saw this informative video:

Is pulling the return cooler line and draining completely safe?
 

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MP3_E46 you should have installed an aftermarket transmission cooler when towing that long a distance. You are towing near the maximum I bet since the Uhaul is 900 lbs empty already.
There is a write up if you do a search where someone did a drain and fill.
 

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The first image is driving to Atlanta from Denver in summer, and the second returning two weeks later towing a full U-Haul 5x8 trailer (208 cuft and contained re-flat packed furniture so was not a light load). Handling the full trailer was not problem at all.. we have enough power to tow these things. tongue weight was 295lbs.. higher than I'd like but it towed the best ever - super stable.
Tongue weight limit is 150 lbs. isn't it?

Just bustin on ya cuz I towed that trailer with the same load from CT to Montana and the next year from CT to Nevada. Was in winter so I didn't think about trans temp.

I'm glad I saw this post and that Mania responded to a post of mine about the transmission in Mechanical. I should get my fluid changed now at 25,000 especially because I manual shift it constantly.

BTW, loved my e46. Traded it for a Miata. No regrets.
 

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Good write-up by this guy, a good write-up to read, read the whole tread. I state in there how i did mine. This thread is for the earlier model years of the Rav4 , so they may have a dipstick trans, you and I don't.

http://www.rav4world.com/forums/99-4-3-mechanical/249777-automatic-transmission-weakness-fluids.html




You do not need to use the tool in this video. I have seen and watched this video 4 times. This is what you would have to have for a shop with a car coming in HOT, and is not need if you do it the old OEM approved way used for years on a cool car.


I just let my Rav4 sit in my garage heated to 80 degs overnight, (Minnesota) and start the process on a cool car. Any other question on how to change the oil just ask. Not that I am an expert on it, I feel I have looked at every avenue and have wrenching experience that helps better then someone who never picked up a wrench. I spent 10 hours researching it before I did mine. I have seen almost every thread on it and different brands that have the dipstickLESS trans. I myself did not get to caught up on using even the factory shifter/dash light temp reading method ( old OEM way for years) because by the time I started and stopped the car while pumping out theold ATF with the new. Then adding the new to the top off point of the straw while idling (while level on jack stands) I had to add ATF 4 times my trans and was in the area of 104 to 113 and I fudged just a hair on leveling to have the rear just a bit higher if the temps got a bit higher knowing how fast temp rise on even an newly started idling car. I by no means would want a low reading on the final reading, I would rather be just a hair high. And I do take into consideration a high ATF level is not wanted either. But their is a swinging fudge area that even the factory works with seeing many people complained on low oil right from the factory. This I attribute to the WS Group 2/3 oil flashing/evaporating off as low grade oils can do.

When I add my oil cooler, which I might add there is a good possibility it does not void the warranty of the trans because it too can be funneled into the Magnusen-Moss Warranty Act. From the start of my research talking to actual Toyota dealers and previous trans warranty clams on how Toyota and the dealer "would" handled an aftermarket cooler install on a bad trans warranty that is not related to the cooler. It takes time to find guys that will talk and guys that even have the passion to care about this kind knowledge other then the company default line, that in some cases are wrong. The cooler and lines must be a text book professional install to have a chance.

I am going as far as to increase line size to 1/2 inch and 1/2 inch fittings to the cooler to reduce any falsely perceived back pressure issues they could falsely use. I also run a TransProtector in-line filter and I will use that on the incoming hot side of the cooler and not on the cooler side of the cooler seeing hot oil is a lighter viscosity then a cooler oil and a hot that increases flow rates. They just can't deny a warranty claim because that is on there, they have to prove it was that that tanked the trans. I have experts in all these fields plotted out if needed that if it ever comes up I will defer to that side with my consistence of design is safe and sound because it is used on other models that Toyota installs factory and went far beyond what even the factory does to increase flow by increasing line size that a 50 ton Caterpillar uses.


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Discussion Starter #7
Do we know that the straw level is set for 80F? If we have evidence for this I'd flush/ fill one day with a slight fudge; drive a little then ensure it's perfect the next day (heating garage to 80F overnight).


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Let's not get bogged down in towing/ tongue capacity. European RAV4s are rated from 1,500kg-2,200kg depending on spec; that's ~3,330lbs to 4,400lbs. I grew up there and they tow relatively massive RV trailers with relatively small cars. Tongue weight I was aiming for 250lbs max, but the Curt hitch it rated for 500lbs tongue (and 3,500 lbs towing). People could argue forever about this, but I had no issues on 99.9% smooth highway driving. US towing specs for identical vehicles tend be about half the European specs.

Transmission temp up steep inclines is all we need to worry about IMO. Obviously we also need a well loaded trailer - heavy items low down and a decent tongue weight.
 

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80 deg has really nothing to do with it, other then it was a good cool starting point for the Rav4. At the time my garage temp was 28 degs without the heat turned on. 104 to 113deg OIL is all you are striving for. If anything I was just a hair over or at 113deg by starting and stopping while adding a pint at a time. I added my final 3 qts give or take because I bought the 1 gallon bottles of Redline D6.

By running the Rav4 to pump out the old ATF after cleaning and filling the pan for the first time. Adding the new 4 times done --> 3 qt fills during the return line dumping process and adding a pint/or two each time to and speedily crawling under the car while it is idling to check id anything if overflowing the straw and quickly stopping the car to fill again, till I finally got a shot glass of fluid to drip out on my last 11th qt. The trans and fluid was heating up. I could feel the pan and my TransProtector filter. I just barely made it. I had some Vavoline Max-Life ATF left over from my daughters Honda Civic change in the wings if I did not make it. That is where I want 12 qts next flush because I wished I cycled 3/4 to 1 more qt of Redline D6 ATF out of the final point of stopping because I knew I had to have at least 3 qts for the final fill.


Also your 224 deg regular hauling temp is still way over what I would want on WS, Because a high temp on a good PAO Group 4 is 220 degs and WS is far from a good PAO oil.


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https://www.redlineoil.com/product.aspx?pid=115&pcid=9

ALSO, if you have a AWD Rav4 do a flush of the rear diff and transfer case. My rear diff was dirty, glad I got that flushed. Redline has the 75w85 is spec, where Amsoil does not. No big deal, because 75w-90 is just fine .001 less mileage doesn't bother me here. I used on my first diff and transfer case flush 3 weeks after getting the Rav4. I then flushed again 3 months later since I bought 3 qts of Redline I had enough for 2 diff and transfer flushes. No benefit waiting any time here, I could just as well could of drove it for 5 mins amd dumped but did not have time to do that at the time. Here is where I see people doing drain and fills more in the trans area and act as if they are doing them self a favor. When really you want to get ALL the bad oil out with new fresh oil. Old varnished oil degrades new oil faster. Getting ALL the oil out and having fresh oil is far far superior then doing long dragged out micro dumps. (transmission wise).

The transfer case was clean for the most part. But you need to remember the rear diff has the AWD clutch plates in it and it gets dirty fast and the particulate count is hard on the bearings. I have read this same design has had issues with taking out bearing later in life on Toyota and Pontiac/Toyota's So I will be changing the rear diff regularly. (need 2 qts) to make the 1.2 qt. fill. So 3 qts get you a 2 flushes. I will be going to 75w 90 when I start towing in both transfer case and rear diff. Unless I have a Redline order I will just use Amsoil Extreme Gear 75w-90 because my local NAPA has that. Redline has free shipping after $149 and I made that on my first order, but not on a small gear oil order buy.

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Discussion Starter #9
So 104 to 113F is the range where the stock straw will get the level correct? I Googled around and this seemed to be the case.

Am a little unsure how to safely totally flush. Is this about right:

1. Drop pan + clean, change filter
2. Reattach pan
3. Add new oil until overflows (say this is 3 quarts)
4. Pull off return hose
5. Run car until 3 quarts of old black oil have come out, then shut off car
6. Add new oil until overflows (say 3 quarts again)
7. Repeat from step 5 until new oil flows out of the return hose
8. Reattach return hose
9. When transmission temp is 104 to 113F let excess drop over the straw until next to nothing drips out
10. Put drain/ fill plug back in place and we are done
 

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If you are looking at the transmission hockey puck from the front of the car, the two lines that are next to each other on the flat side are the trans lines. The left one is the return line. Make it easy on yourself and get 7 to 8 ft of hose and run it from the left return line nub on the puck to a pail next to the open drivers door with a visegrip clamped on and electrical/ducktape the hose onto the visegrip into the pail. This makes it a one man show, and when you hear the pump grabbing air you can be right there next to the ignition switch to turn the car off. Add another 3 qts and repeat until you see clean oil. Remember to set aside 3 .5 Qts for the final fill or what ever you need to add under that, if you stopped after the 3rd repeat.



1) Drain the trans fluid from the drain plug, then use an allen wrench to take out the straw to drain the next level of fluid. When you pull the straw watch out for the small gasket for the straw comes out too.

2) Pull pan, watch out you will have another 1 to 1.5 qts in there that can't be drained because of the straw threading.

3) Install straw and drain plug, make sure straw is in snug, but not over tight. You will not be needing to undo the drain plug until the final height adjustment after all the new oil has been added.

4) Pump or get a transmission funnel and add a hose onto it to aid in getting it into the hole. ( pump is easiest in my view) and add in 3 plus qts of new oil. Here I reinstalled the trans filler plug on the left side every time I started up the car to drain the 3 qts.

On the final fill I went through the gears manually in manual mode by moving the shifter to the right or left??? Then did reverse too. Then now after this I feel I am close to temp WHILE THE CAR IS RUNNING IN NEUTRAL I quickly go under the car and open up the trans drain. Nothing came out for me so I quickly screwed the plug back in hand tight and stopped the car. If you stop the car while the drain is out you will lose qts of oil (a big no no). Then I added another pint and a half and started the car up and very quickly scooted under the car to pull the drain. Still nothing for me at this time. I screwed the drain in hand tight and went back to stop the car. I had only 1.5 pints left in my gallon of Redline D6 with a pump I got from Harbor Freight Tools. I liked this pump because it has a wedge thingy that holds itself in the hole while pumping.

Gear Oil and Fluid Pump

I pull the last 1.5 pints in and put the side plug in every time and started the car and went to the drain and BINGO!!! I got a shotglass full of oil and I quickly screwed back in the drain plug. Tightened the drain plug well.

DONE!!

I thought I needed to measure everything and got a large plastic beaker and after doing everything, that style of measurement meant nothing. All you need to worry about is temp and having the car running when pulling the drain plug.

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the great advice. One final question:

Do we need to raise the vehicle or is there room to scoot under? I made some 'ramps' from 2x10 wood that I drive on when doing oil changes. With the slope in our garage it also likely makes the vehicle approximately level.
 

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As long as the Rav4 is level or at the level point you want. Like I said I went with my rear end a hair high to give me a straw height a bit higher in the pan. I always want to be on the high side of "fudge room" I never want to suck air. I have seen videos of other manufactures filters/pan with a small round tube added to the filter diving deeper into a pan recess kind of design, I like that way of doing it then the way the Rav4 is setup. I am glad I am not in San Fransisco with the hills. But I know it is still safe because that angle of use has been designed it every car made. My concern in the future for me, are high angle boat ramps for my small boat ( when I finally find it). But around here, that would be on par with San Fransisco hills.

https://youtu.be/yb_1wbiPz9g?t=286

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that much tongue weight is really hard on the rear camber, and on inner tire wear.

whoa 240F, I try to stay under 225F when towing and even with that the oil turns dark very quickly. I would get that oil changed asap.
 

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whoa 240F, I try to stay under 225F when towing and even with that the oil turns dark very quickly. I would get that oil changed asap.
209F is its normal reading for transmission temperature using the Torque app. Does that sound correct?

Within a month or two I'll get the fluid changed out. Am a little hesitant to change it all in one go by pulling the return hose. Over the years I've done a lot of DIY, but am slightly hesitant about this one. Trust myself more than a garage though.. just want to totally verify the procedure first.
 

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209F is its normal reading for transmission temperature using the Torque app. Does that sound correct?

Within a month or two I'll get the fluid changed out. Am a little hesitant to change it all in one go by pulling the return hose. Over the years I've done a lot of DIY, but am slightly hesitant about this one. Trust myself more than a garage though.. just want to totally verify the procedure first.
with my external atf cooler, I usually see 180F when fully warmed up and not towing, so 209F would make sense with the stock cooler
 
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You chaps are being super helpful. Right now I am super busy either skiing all day (14 hour round trip) or looking for work - I am deliberately between jobs. Also we have a 22 month old in the house so spare time for me is the tightest it's ever been. I plan to do the transmission fluid change next week. Does this look like a good parts list; I want a little more ATF as I am going to change our 2015's CRV fluid too.

. Three gallons of RedLine 30705 D6
. U760E filter - 35330-0R010 (supercedes 35330-73010)
. Filter O-ring - 90301-A0026 (supercedes 90301-27010)
. Pan Gasket (19 bolt) - 35168-73010

. Fluid pump (already own)
. Clear tubing + extension fitting (should already have)

There should only be one cross-country tow left and I'll drip a little fluid out after it to verify condition. Right now I'd like to drop the pan, clean all filings out and get fully synthetic in there. Have no interest in adding a cooler as I'd rather just change to fluid again later this year if necessary; no more towing is in the car's future after this summer.
 

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Just a follow-up to help future readers of this post.

For changing the RAV4's transmission fluid there seems plenty of room to scoot under including dropping the pan. I will still drive onto my 2x10 'ramps' to do the flush. It's probably a bit excessive but I'll re-verify the fill level the next day on level ground at the correct temperature. Fancy driving at least a few miles including and going through all the gears first. With fluid, new filter etc this is a over $200 in parts/ new fluid.

The Honda has a CVT and it's a different fluid: Honda HCF-2 (Redline Non-Slip CVT is compatible). That CVT takes 3.9 quarts and are super easy to drain/ refill. From now on I may do all the towing with the Honda as it's so easy to drain/refill. Like the RAV4 in the US it's rated for 1,500 lbs max and in UK even the less powerful 2 liter model is rate for 3,306 lbs (braked trailer).
 

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Today I did this and have a few notes to add. Of course thanks to Mainia for the main pointers.

I used just ~8qts including running a reasonable amount of fresh fluid through. Looking up the U760F the Internet says it holds 6.9qts which seems about right:

Automatic Transmission, Total Fill
6 speed U760F..........6.9 quarts
6 speed U760E..........6.9 quarts

Despite almost 3,000 miles towing a 5x8 Uhaul the fluid looks reasonable (~24k miles on the car):



Interestingly our pans already contain the four magnets that were an original upgrade to the U660. Magnets and old filter were of course grey.

It looks like the torque spec for the transmission pan is 7.5Nm. Also they need tightening in a special sequence (or just make a 'star'). Probably most DIYers won't have a suitable torque wrench. I went to 4Nm then 7.5Nm following a pattern for a very similar looking pan.

All-in-all I'd say it was fairly easy, but took between three and four hours. Not something I wish to do again and only for people reasonably experienced. Our replacement for this car will have a CVT like our Honda CRV that's super easy to do a transmission fluid change on. This Redline should last the life of the car for us + be totally fine with the one remaining long distance trailer tow (it's going to be a light load).
 

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