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transmission fluid change

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Old 10-19-16, 06:06 PM
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Default transmission fluid change

I know that these things are supposed to be sealed units and never have to change out the fluid. Im not programmed that way. Im nearing 100K mi on my 2010 and want to swap out the fluid. have any of yall done it yourself? I know there is a special way to put it into a check mode to make sure your tranny is at the proper temp to let fluid go out of the inspection hole when setting the proper level. I just don't know everything about how to do the job yet. If anyone has had it swapped out at a dealer, how much are they charging? I don't have a dealer withing 300 miles of me and its an ordeal for me to take it in for MX.
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Old 10-21-16, 12:46 PM
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highly not recommended
do not fix what is not broken!
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Old 10-21-16, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ELEX470 View Post
highly not recommended
do not fix what is not broken!
This!

Messing with it is more likely to cause you more problems than solve any.
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Old 10-21-16, 04:50 PM
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Had mine changed at 70k miles on my 2012. There are procedures to change the fluid from Lexus. There's NO way I'd leave a fluid like that in a car without changing it unless it were a lease. I've always changed the transmission fluid in all of my Toyota 'sealed' units after reaching about 70-80k miles. I did not do it myself. I had a local Lexus shop change the fluid.

The procedure is a little complicated. Has to do with making sure that transmission is at a certain temp (120 115 deg IIRC), then opening the level overflow plug on the transmission pan. I'll see if i can find the Toyota version of this and post it for you.

The attached PDF is for the 5 speed. I'll see if I can find the manual for the 6 spd.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
02800310.pdf (144.9 KB, 188 views)

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Old 10-21-16, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by machine323;9654614[b
]I know that these things are supposed to be sealed units and never have to change out the fluid. Im not programmed that way. Im nearing 100K mi on my 2010 and want to swap out the fluid. have any of yall done it yourself? I know there is a special way to put it into a check mode to make sure your tranny is at the proper temp to let fluid go out of the inspection hole when setting the proper level. I just don't know everything about how to do the job yet. If anyone has had it swapped out at a dealer, how much are they charging? I don't have a dealer withing 300 miles of me and its an ordeal for me to take it in for MX.
Wait, I am confused. Sealed tranny and never change the fluid? My 2011 manual...


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Old 10-21-16, 08:12 PM
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You can certainly change the transmission fluid. Sure the transmission is "sealed" but that doesn't mean you can't break the seal. It just means it doesn't have the traditional dipstick and checking the fluid levels are trickier. The fluid is said to be lifetime but that doesn't mean its your own lifetime, its the lifetime of the transmission or in other words, if you don't change it, you'll be changing the fluid and the transmission at the same time.

Suggestion #1
Go to https://techinfo.toyota.com and get at the very least a 2 day subscription. During that 2 day pull up the information for you car, look at the various TSBs and grab the proper procedure for servicing the transmission and whatever jobs you forsee down the line. I would also have it or get it again if you run into some trouble during the job. When working on my car, I see this as a mandatory thing if I have questions and the $15 for the subscription is still going to be cheaper than going to the dealership. Read up on the procedure beforehand and you can judge if you want to do it on your own.

Suggestion #2
Get an OBD-II reader that will scan the computer and tell you the fluid temperature, just like the subscription to techinfo its a tool, consider it as an investment for future jobs. I hear the ScanGauge is good, but I went 1 step further and bought a techstream cable from ebay. Read up on it on the various forums like Tundra talk and you'll see its worth. Besides checking the fluid temps, I've programmed keys, I've programmed additional TPMS sensors but the real reason I bought it was because I had a low tire pressure light and all 4 tires were properly inflated. The tool not only told me the actual reading from the sensors, it also told me that I had low pressure in the spare tire. I paid $30 for the cable and I had an old laptop that I use just for it, well worth the investment and cheaper than wasting my time at the dealership to tell me I didn't put enough air into the spare tire.

Suggestion #3
Watch this video on changing the transmission fluid in a Tundra. Its not a GX but it gives you an idea of what needs to be done.

Suggestion #4
Watch this video on checking the transmission fluid level. This video is fairly long and VERY technical but it goes over the proper Toyota/Lexus procedure for checking the transmission fluid level. The other video has a procedure for checking the transmission fluid levels but after watching this video you understand why the service manual has its own procedure.

Suggestion #5
Use genuine Toyota/Lexus transmission fluid. Toyota/Lexus transmissions are finicky as it is, go to the dealership or order some online.

Lastly...if you have any doubts or think that you are getting things over your head, get help from someone who knows what they are doing or even better, pay someone to do it.
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Old 10-24-16, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tecman View Post
Wait, I am confused. Sealed tranny and never change the fluid? My 2011 manual...


That recommendation is only if your vehicle is used for towing a trailer or other heavy load.

The other part of the services guide says: The transmission and transmission fluid are a completely sealed unit. Therefore, periodic checks and replacement of the transmission fluid are not required, and there is no dipstick on the transmission. Any repairs that require adding or replacing fluid should be performed by a qualified technician following procedures in Lexus service and repair publications.

For normal driving conditions, the guide doesn't ever recommend changing the fluid, and the schedule goes all the way to 150,000 miles. It doesn't even recommend an inspection of the fluid at any time (even if you're towing). The only time it contemplates having to change the fluid is if you're having some repair done which will cause you to lose transmission fluid.

To each his own and all that, but personally I would be very comfortable leaving the fluid alone indefinitely as recommended.
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Old 10-24-16, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by pinoyesv6 View Post
You can certainly change the transmission fluid. Sure the transmission is "sealed" but that doesn't mean you can't break the seal. It just means it doesn't have the traditional dipstick and checking the fluid levels are trickier. The fluid is said to be lifetime but that doesn't mean its your own lifetime, its the lifetime of the transmission or in other words, if you don't change it, you'll be changing the fluid and the transmission at the same time.
Anytime you replace the transmission you'll have to replace fluid. Has anyone had to replace a transmission on one of these yet? 2010s and 2011s could be nearing 200k now if driven a lot.

What is the lifetime of a Lexus/Toyota SUV transmission? I would guess half a million miles easily.

I plan on putting a lot more miles on my GX but I am pretty sure I will no longer own it once it gets into needs-a-new-transmission territory.
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Old 10-24-16, 10:32 AM
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The procedure to determine the correct level seems way more complicated than it should be.
As long as the transmission is not leaking, you can put back the exact same amount of ATF as you drained assuming you do the fluid change when the transmission is cold.
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Old 10-24-16, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by NewB2Lexus View Post
The procedure to determine the correct level seems way more complicated than it should be.
As long as the transmission is not leaking, you can put back the exact same amount of ATF as you drained assuming you do the fluid change when the transmission is cold.
I agree that it is complicated but it makes sense coming from the point of view of a servicing dealership.

When you get a car in for service, the engine and transmission are more than likely not cold. One could keep a car longer than usual to ensure that it is cold but why do that if you can do it hot and save time.

You apply the vacuum on the transmission so that you don't spill hot oil.

You do the fluid check when the fluid is at working temperature, again to avoid time wasted by waiting for the fluid to cool. the "straw tool" is adjustable for each model car and set to take into account the fluid expanding from its cold temperature to its operating temperature.
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Old 10-24-16, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Craigyyy View Post

What is the lifetime of a Lexus/Toyota SUV transmission? I would guess half a million miles easily.

I plan on putting a lot more miles on my GX but I am pretty sure I will no longer own it once it gets into needs-a-new-transmission territory.
Originally Posted by Craigyyy View Post
That recommendation is only if your vehicle is used for towing a trailer or other heavy load.

The other part of the services guide says: The transmission and transmission fluid are a completely sealed unit. Therefore, periodic checks and replacement of the transmission fluid are not required, and there is no dipstick on the transmission. Any repairs that require adding or replacing fluid should be performed by a qualified technician following procedures in Lexus service and repair publications.

For normal driving conditions, the guide doesn't ever recommend changing the fluid, and the schedule goes all the way to 150,000 miles. It doesn't even recommend an inspection of the fluid at any time (even if you're towing). The only time it contemplates having to change the fluid is if you're having some repair done which will cause you to lose transmission fluid.

To each his own and all that, but personally I would be very comfortable leaving the fluid alone indefinitely as recommended.
yeah, I hear you, but if it is recommended at 60,000 miles with harsh conditions, how do you expect 500,000 miles out of it under normal conditions?
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Old 10-25-16, 05:14 AM
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The "sealed for life" issue has been discussed on other forums many times. It really depends on the your expectations, if you expect the AT to last for 100-150k miles don't touch it if you expect more maintain it. Detergent in the ATF will deteriorate overtime as well as particles from the clutch plates will contaminate the fluid. While the GX transmission appears to be rigid, it will eventually fail. On our other vehicles I installed external filters into the ATF return line and changing them every 30-40k miles. I also do partial ATF change at every 15-20k miles meaning I simply drain the pan and fill back the exact same amount. Any time I check my ATF it is pink, the only contamination I need to clean is on the magnet of the drain plug.

I have not done anything on our GX so far so I have no idea where the drain plug and fill tube or hole is but there must be a way to gain access to the fluid. If draining is not possible you should be able to stick a thin plastic pipe and vacuum out some of the fluid and fill back in the exact same amount. Then drive the truck for a while and do it again until the ATF looks satisfactory. Doing a complete flush is a hassle most of the time and requires you to disconnect the line from the cooler but as long as you don't warm up the truck you can track the fluid volume. But I would not do a flush unless I have proper technical information about the lines and their locations.
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Old 10-25-16, 05:28 AM
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What fluid are you planning to use? Are you going with the WS or some 3rd party like MaxLife ATF?
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Old 10-25-16, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by tecman View Post
yeah, I hear you, but if it is recommended at 60,000 miles with harsh conditions, how do you expect 500,000 miles out of it under normal conditions?
Under harsh conditions, the fluid is heating up above the point where it breaks down and deteriorates, necessitating the change. If you're never in those conditions, it never heats up enough for that deterioration to occur.

And even in the harsh conditions where you're abusing the fluid, it still lasts for 60k which is quite a long time on the bad fluid.

I expect a Toyota product to last forever But honestly though since I know I won't have the car for even half that many miles, and the manual doesn't recommend it in the first 150k (or ever), I'm not going to mess around with it. With my luck the tech would overfill, underfill, not seal properly, put the wrong fluid in, flush and cause some damage, etc. and I'd have paid money to create a headache for myself.
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Old 10-26-16, 07:46 AM
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i checked with my dealership and its $195 to replace the transmission fluid. to do the service yourself you'll need a case of fluid which runs a little over $100 a case. so in this case, at least for me, i'd really consider just having the dealership do it, sip some hot cocoa while they do it and have in my service records that they were the last ones to touch the transmission.

to do it or not do it, its like an insurance policy. some people have it and have that piece of mind while others don't and just deal with whatever happens when it happens if it happens.

as for fluid if you do decide to do it yourself, I personally was on the fence between WS and Amsoil ATL since I run Amsoil on my other vehicles. After looking up the cost of getting it done at the dealer, i've decided to let them just do it when the time comes.
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