I wonder if the condition of the transmission screen (whether or not it is clogged up) can be easily seen with a borescope through the drain plug opening. I don't want to drop the pan if I don't have to. I assume it's the original 15 year old screen on it.
You will know how it is difficult / impossible to do what you are thinking of. The red part is the lower part of the strainer. The drain plug is located at right lower end.
The blue line indicates the ATF level after the drain bolt is removed. You will see still the ATF is remaining there. I had a bad experience with it. When I dropped the pan, it came down to my face. It was still hot and my face was burnt some. If I were a woman, I could not go out for a week or more after that. You should be very careful dropping the pan.
A650E transmission side view
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Thought I would post an update. The last time I had the car in the shop, they told me the transpan was 'seeping/leaking'. Yes, I just had that leaked 'fixed' not that many months ago, with FIPG, put in a new oil strainer, etc. I think the problem was the mechanic I chose, not the method. For what it's worth. I will never have anyone other than a highly trained (e.g., Lexus trained) mechanic work on my car ever again. Lesson learned.
I have a 99 LS and I have been draining about 2 qts every oil change, sometime more often. I have been reusing the drain bolt, didn't know I have to get a new one. Last time I drained and refilled, I felt the bolt wouldn't tighten, just keeps turning. Yesterday I tried taking it out for a drain and it wouldn't come out, just turns. What shall I do?
Toyota designed the bolt to be disposable, to keep someone from ruining the pan by over-torquing it - you will have to drill it, and unless you are quite skilled and preferably have a lift, that will need to be done with the pan off of the car, so I would be locating the correct Fel-Pro pan gasket, and might as well put a genuine Toyota filter in there while you are at it!
gonna be very messy with a pan full of oil, so be careful
also be careful on the torquing of the pan bolts, it is only 5.5 ft-lbs torque and you need to use a torque wrench (preferably inch-pounds)
for future reference, replace both bolt and metal crush gasket at each drain & fill, they are only about $5 for the pair at the dealership
I had put a new rubber gasket instead of ATV, I thought it would fix my leak, but leak remain the same amount. Opened up my service manual and said it need a new bolt for one particular bolt. So I loosed that one up and pry opened out the lock washer plus adding one new washer, tighten that up and no more leak. I know it sounds weird, but it works according to the service manual. That bolt is located at the top second one near the drive shaft. Hope this inform will help you all to solve the mysterious leak.
Volume 2 under AT-12 , there is 19 bolts, there are 3 bolts next to the drain plug, the one in the middle need to be replaced a new one according to factory manual. I didn't replace it, just pry open the flat lock washer make it back to spec. I added an extra washer to it. No more leak afterward, I guess there is the difference between factory service and DIY job. I can't figure why tho, may be that bolt is longer or shorter. I don't wanna take out all 19 bolts and compare. Good idea to play around that bolt before re do the gasket again.
After reading what pure drifter post, I think that bolt may be shorter than the others, by having a longer one in that spot, pan can't be complete sealed. I bet no one will pay attention to the length of each bolt when removing the pan. Lexus is smart by doing this dirty trick, they want you to have it done by dealership.