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Transmission fluid change

Discussion in '5th Gen 4Runners (2010+)' started by Slopemaster, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. Aug 10, 2021 at 8:55 PM
    #31
    Thatbassguy

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    I have been thinking about this lately, as I recently hit 60K miles on my '19. I prefer to change all of the fluid, but I'll probably just do whatever the manual recommends.


    I don't ride motorcycles, but I fully agree with your philosophy on tires. Long tread life is great, but I'll take performance over longevity every time.


    Seems like it should be the 1st step, IMO. :D
     
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  2. Aug 10, 2021 at 9:03 PM
    #32
    lrizzo

    lrizzo New Member

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    I bought the scan gauge when I had my Rav4. I under-filled the trans by 1/2 quart using the infrared thermometer method and it was not shifting correctly. The scan gauge takes all the guess work out of it and so much easier than the blinking lights. The window to get the fluid filled is very short before the temp shoots up.
     
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  3. Aug 11, 2021 at 7:13 AM
    #33
    olliechristoper

    olliechristoper New Member

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    Mine and my families vehicles have a outstanding track record of reliability regardless of brand. This is in direct correlation to my diligently and "ridiculously low maintenance intervals". Getting 300,000 miles plus on multiple vehicles with minimal time in the shop is a pretty decent track record.

    We all have different backgrounds, budgets, experience, and how we process information. Some people go by the owners manual/service schedule. Others like myself go beyond what is required. And yet others just run their vehicles into the ground and shell out the money when something breaks. I am not going to change my habits just as I do not expect other members to change theirs.

    All it takes is one time being left stranded with a failed transmission to change ones outlook on maintenance intervals in regards to fluid changes. At under 12 bucks a bottle for WS fluid (under 7.00 for the T-IV), it's very cheap insurance to do a drain and fill at each oil change interval. Any way you slice it the 4Runner is a mechanical object with moving parts. The transmission can and will fail if not properly maintained.

    FWIW, a re-man transmission without torque converter is going to run close to $3,000.00. Add in another $800.00 - $1000.00 for the torque converter and gaskets. Now you are looking a serious money for a repair that can be prevented by simple drain and fills and bi annual filter service.
     
  4. Aug 11, 2021 at 5:55 PM
    #34
    nimby

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    But how many people are replacing these transmissions (I'm talking about the 5th gen here)?

    Has anyone on this forum ever had to replace their 5th gen transmission?

    These things are way overbuilt.

    I'm not saying NOT to do any maintenance.

    I'm just advocating for changing the trans oil at the appropriate interval using the specified oil :notsure:
     
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  5. Aug 11, 2021 at 6:19 PM
    #35
    71GS3504sp

    71GS3504sp New Member

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    The reason why I do a pan drain and fill is to avoid the typical torque converter shutter that occurs. I had the same transmission on my 08 FJ and first time I felt the transmission shutter I started doing a pan drain and fill and it got rid of the problem. I sold my 08 FJ with 200k miles on her and it is still running today. So this is the reason why I do a pan drain and fill every 15k miles.
     
  6. Aug 11, 2021 at 6:20 PM
    #36
    olliechristoper

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    I'm not sure about forum members but most Toyota dealer service departments have a few Tundras, Tacomas, and 4runners up on a lift getting transmission replacements. Transmission failure is a lot more common than you think.
     
  7. Aug 11, 2021 at 6:29 PM
    #37
    Slopemaster

    Slopemaster [OP] New Member

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    When you say pan drain and fill, are you pulling the pan like the video? or just pulling the drain and fill plugs?
     
  8. Aug 12, 2021 at 2:39 AM
    #38
    71GS3504sp

    71GS3504sp New Member

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    This transmission doesn't have a filter like the old days, it's just a screen just like a oil pickup in the oil pan.
    So to answer your question, yes I drain the transmission pan and fill. I measured the exact amount when drained and put the exact back.
    I have check the fill plug every other time and it always just dribble out when checked at the correct temperature.
     
  9. Aug 12, 2021 at 7:01 AM
    #39
    nimby

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    I'm skeptical.

    I'm sure it happens, but I get the sense that it's very rare.

    I follow two 4Runner enthusiast forums and the only talk about the trans centers around oil changes.

    If these transmissions were going out with any regularity, you'd be sure to hear a bunch whining about it here.
     
  10. Aug 12, 2021 at 7:30 AM
    #40
    olliechristoper

    olliechristoper New Member

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    Hey there Jake, to get a feel for what are common issues your best bet is to simply drop into a Toyota (or any brand dealer) and look into the service bays. That is always a good indicator of what to look forward to in terms of common repairs.

    That being said Toyotas are very well built rigs from the factory. And I can say with confidence with proper transmission maintenance you are going to lessen the chances of yours having issues.

    Another added benefit is the sharpness and feel of the shift points and smoothness by using fresh fluid. So my wife's car is a 2000 Lexus and her moms is a 98 Lexus. Both are the exact same 300ES models. When I started maintaining her moms, it was shifting very sluggish, had a bit of slipping at lower RPM, and the shift points were odd. If I did not have My wife's car to compare it would have felt normal.

    It has taken a few years of not only 2 full services of the transmission but at least 3 or 4 drain and fills at each oil change to get it shifting like my wife's car. The first time servicing it the fluid was very dark and smelled pungent. Not good. It had just over 100,000 miles and according to the service records it was never serviced.

    Now both vehicles are shifting almost exactly the same and the fluid is bright red and has a sharp sweet smell at every fuel fill up. Please do not take this as a lecture or argument. I am just sharing my experience.
     
  11. Aug 12, 2021 at 8:32 AM
    #41
    ToddD

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    I just sold my 2006 tacoma with 270k miles since I finally got my 2021 4runner. I changed the transmission fluid once at about 100k. Granted it was a manual transmission but never had any problems. Even had the original clutch in it. Not that I am advocating my maintenance "schedule" and since my 4runner is an automatic (wish it came in manual) I will change more often for sure but changing transmission fluid at every oil change interval seems like a waste of time/money. This is my first automatic transmission in the 4 cars I have owned so maybe the automatic transmissions are harder on the fluid?
     
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  12. Aug 12, 2021 at 11:28 AM
    #42
    nimby

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    My sense is that this is probably the typical interval change for the average owner.
     
  13. Aug 21, 2021 at 12:10 PM
    #43
    Kayakeur

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    01 4Runner 237,000 miles. Auto trans starts ok in first, does not shift to second until rpm screaming 4000+, hard jerk. No third. 4th gear stays in 4th even after stopping. Fluid 50% change 10,000 ago. Thinking of draining 1 Qt and replacing with 1 Qt Lucas Transmission Fix. Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  14. Aug 21, 2021 at 3:08 PM
    #44
    Slopemaster

    Slopemaster [OP] New Member

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    Just watched the latest live stream from Car Care Nut. He gets a lot of questions regarding this.

    He suggests just drain and fill.

    Apparently you want a little sediment in the fluid so the clutches will grab.

    He actually recommended not changing fluid too often. Says 60k interval is fine.
     
  15. Aug 21, 2021 at 7:03 PM
    #45
    lrizzo

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    Are you positive you didn't underfill the trans? When they are underfilled they do all sorts of crazy stuff like you described.
     
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  16. Sep 2, 2021 at 4:35 AM
    #46
    peter2772000

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    Geez, can't get away with anything on this site....

    Ok, ok, so I cracked open a beer while flushing. Happy now?
     
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  17. Sep 2, 2021 at 4:44 AM
    #47
    Thatbassguy

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    :rofl:

    Well, you don't want get dehydrated. I always make it a point to stay hydrated while working on the 4Runner. :cheers:
     
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  18. Sep 2, 2021 at 4:45 AM
    #48
    peter2772000

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    Spoken like a true veteran!!!
     
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  19. Oct 17, 2021 at 7:12 AM
    #49
    Smar969905

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    I have started getting stuff for trans fluid change for wifey's car, and I seem to recall reading the the owners manual that the trans fluid was listed at 30,000 miles for servicing. That seemed a bit low to me. Her ride is a little over 50,000 now.

    On the topic of factory vs aftermarket fluid, I've got Amsoil on order. I've read some of the oil studies done using several different brands of oils, measuring at different temperatures, and conditions. Amsoil came out as best or second best in all the categories. Other oils might have been better in one spot, but none were as consistently high up on performance.
     
  20. Oct 17, 2021 at 7:49 AM
    #50
    TrailGuy2016

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    Chiming in on this AT thread.
    57k on the 2016 when purchased. Immediately had the pan dropped and 4 quarts and the filter changed (I will do this moving forward) in May 2020.
    This month I am up to 77k and did a drain and fill (with the proper check-valve opening) and used Idemitsu WS fluid. Everything's fine. I don't think you need a scan gauge with temp monitoring, but do you what makes you feel good.
     
  21. Mar 5, 2022 at 3:15 AM
    #51
    4-Funner

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    I would hope that everyone on a forum like this would understand how drastically A/T, power steering, etc type fluids expand and the importance of checking their levels only at the required temperature ranges. Toyota's sealed transmissions make this a bit trickier than the typical A/T dipstick. You don't necessarily need a >$100 'Scan Gauge' to do so though. You could also use a custom PID in the Torque Pro android app (~$5) along with a compatible OBD dongle (~$10-20) to monitor AT temps (how to go about it is mentioned elsewhere in these forums), or many have used an IR Thermometer gun (~$20-50) on the pan though that is of course less accurate. For all the high-drama nay-sayers that say the IR gun isn't accurate enough here's a vid with someone doing a simple drain & fill with a comparison of using an IR thermometer to the actual temp monitored using Toyota's TechStream app ($$$) and the IR gun from about 3" away from the pan runs a couple degrees lower than actual.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej_6BZpK3gg (part where she compares temps is about 14 min in)

    Judging by that example if you carefully monitor the pan temp as it heats up so that you're ready to crack open the level check plug when it nears the min 97 deg F you'll easily be within the required temp range of 97-115F.

    EDIT: Almost forgot to mention the cheapest/best way to make sure you are at the proper temp for checking the AT fluid level without any special tools is to follow the 'without intelligent tester' method as The Car Care Nut tries to explain in the OP's linked vid. Here it is explained in the factory service manual (I would note that this method uses the computer's 15 deg F higher temp range for checking than the 97F-115F that is specified by Toyota in this same manual. Seems to me this will slightly underfill the trans, I think this is why some recommend closing the check plug as soon as it slows to a trickle).

    04 AT fluid temp check.jpg

    Anywho, as I'm about to tackle this job again here's a few tidbits from Toyota regarding proper fluids for different 4th gen model years and proper temp ranges, etc that should hopefully help make clearer some of the previous debate / discussion on this thread.

    2003 4Runners call for ATF Type T-IV...
    01 AT 2003.jpg

    All other 4th Gens call for ATF Type WS (2009 isn't listed here but it's the same as 2004-2008), Do note that WS is NOT compatible with Type T-!V (I think it might have been suggested differently earlier in this thread).

    FWIW I can vouch that Valvoline MaxLife is a suitable alternative to WS BUT I would only recommend making the switch with a full flush of all 12 qts. I wouldn't trust mixing it. For those wanting to stick to Toyota's WS you might also search for AISIN WS as they are Toyota;s EOM for the trans and Toyota just rebrands their WS ATF fluid at a slight markup.

    02 AT WS TSB.jpg
    03 AT Temp.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2022
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  22. Mar 5, 2022 at 10:40 PM
    #52
    McSpazatron

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    Option 3, a simple/partial drain and refill, seems like the safest route all the way around. I think the biggest threat to the transmission is human error. The modern auto transmission puts swiss watches to shame. It can be easily be screwed up, so I think “if it aint broke, dont fix it” applies here. Draining the 3-4 quarts on a regular basis is enough to keep it happy for a really long time.

    A full drain and refill requires a machine to pump in new oil. There is more potential for oil contamination.

    Dropping the pan, cleaning magnets, changing filter. It can be done without problems, but there are more steps to screw up. Installing the filter incorrectly, releasing particles after cleaning magnets, pinching a gasket, etc.

    Basically, I think it would be healthier to be more uneasy about anything other than drain/refill, simply because they are more complicated procedures. Being uneasy would motivate me to be extra careful if I decided to do a more complicated procedure lol
     
  23. Mar 6, 2022 at 1:31 AM
    #53
    Slopemaster

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    I’ll pay my $200 bucks at get it done right.
     
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  24. Mar 6, 2022 at 9:35 AM
    #54
    nimby

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    Now that I've had some time to marinade on this topic, I agree.

    I would most likely do a cold drain, measure the amount that was drained, and cold fill that same amount.

    Seems like the easiest and safest way to me.
     
  25. Mar 6, 2022 at 9:59 AM
    #55
    McSpazatron

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    I have a psychological block about jumping the pins and doing the D light procedure to get temp info.

    But after watching the care care nut video several times, I think I need to get over it and just do it. It looks much simpler when you can see someone doing it. Mine will be getting to 30k around the beginning of summer. Perfect time for the first drain/refill.
     
  26. Mar 6, 2022 at 11:50 AM
    #56
    Smar969905

    Smar969905 New Member

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    I can appreciate going for simplicity and not messing things up, I would suggest changing the filter and pan gasket at some point, rather than strictly drain and fill. While the filter is a metal screen, it can get plugged up in time. Also, the magnets will eventually hold all the iron based friction material they can, then it starts going more to the filter.

    For better or worse, it is still subject to human failure. If you go to places like Jiffy Lube, they can change the fluid, but the people there are trying to push vehicles through quickly and may not get things right. I had a Jetta years ago that I didn't have time to change the engine oil when it was due, so I took it to a Jiffy Lube. Next oil change, I found the drain plug cross threaded. They of course wouldn't do anything about it when I found the issue. I then paid somebody else to swap the aluminum oil pan at my cost.

    A friend of mine used to work for an automotive shop, and has a few tools. In working on trans fluid in my truck, and one thing he has, that I wish I had for wifey's 4runner trans fluid, is a graduated bucket. I plan to get one, maybe 2 later on, when I'm getting closer to another trans fluid change. I can definitely advise you get some for yourself for measuring fluid.

    Being an electrician for a living, I happen to have some bits of wire around, which made it easy to find a piece. I used some 22 gauge solid. What I found was that the drawing showing the pins to jump is upside down from orientation in the 4runner. Take that into account when you get there.
     
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  27. Mar 6, 2022 at 12:32 PM
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    TrailGuy2016

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    [​IMG]
     
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  28. Mar 6, 2022 at 12:33 PM
    #58
    TrailGuy2016

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    But, will it be?


    Now I'm in your head.....:)
     
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  29. Mar 6, 2022 at 2:28 PM
    #59
    ElectroBoy

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    If you have an OBDII interface dongle and a cellphone app you can read the transmission temperature directly without messing with jumper wires and flashing dash lights.
    It’s easy.

    Check out this video.
    https://youtu.be/ej_6BZpK3gg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2022
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  30. Mar 6, 2022 at 5:23 PM
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    captrussia253

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    That’s my plan too. Just ordered 6 quarts of Toyota WS fluid.
     
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