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Old 05-10-2016, 09:41 PM #1
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Tricky Transmission situation...

I know this is long and ridiculous, but please read! I needs your help wizards of T4R! I've read through a number of different threads on transmission fluid and none have yet addressed my unique situation!

So I've run into a sort of odd situation with my transmission and was really hoping some of you guys could help me--I know there are some Toyota service tech geniuses out there! I'm running a 2004 V8 SR5...so no trans dipstick.

My T4R is needing a transmission fluid change (badly)--just stumbled across the previous owner's receipt for the last trans flush which was at 114,000 miles. It's at 192,000+ at the moment (calm down, only 15,000 are mine) and is just starting to exhibit some mildly different behavior in shifting and at highway speeds operation, which I (in my limited knowledge) attribute to the transmission. If the only receipt I have for a trans flush is indeed the last time the fluids were changed, that puts the fluid at about 78,000 miles. Worse yet, the previous owner had this service performed at a JiffyLube. According to the receipt, they used 10qts of Dexron III and an extra quart of additive (whatever that was) in their flush.

So here is my dilemma, as I would like to return to Toyota WS:

1)Are Dexron III and Toyota WS compatible? I've scoured the internet like a frat boy for a drunk chick (no offense frat boys...or drunk chicks) and haven't found any conclusive answers. If they are compatible I would feel safe to do a few drain and fills over a short period of time to rejuvenate the fluids. But if they aren't compatible...

2)Do I do a full flush and replace with WS? Toyota dealers don't recommend doing a flush, however when I spoke to a "service advisor" he said the drain and fill will get rid of 98% of the old fluid...which I think is "slightly" optimistic so I'm not exactly sure how much weight to give his advice. I realize the dangers of flushing a transmission with this many miles, however if it truly hasn't been serviced in 78,000 miles I'm between a rock and a hard place--a flush might "shock" the transmission, a drain and fill with Toyota WS might not be a compatible combination with Dexron III. Then the thought crosses my mind "What if there was another flush performed prior to me buying but I don't have their receipt for it?"

And those two combined make me just want to do a flush and refill with Toyota WS so I know exactly what has been done when, and with what fluids; but there I'm back to Toyota saying NOT to flush after so-and-so miles. I realize I'm probably over-thinking things but I would hate to ruin a transmission by flushing it, but would also hate to ruin it by mixing two incompatible AT fluids...

Thoughts??? Anyone???
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Old 05-10-2016, 09:58 PM #2
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No, the Dex lll is not WS fluid and should not be used in your '04 with a sealed tranny. The drain and fill method only changes about 25%, the service advisor is an idiot. I would do a fluid exchange. There are a few write ups in here about it. Basically you take the lines off the tranny cooler and let the tranny pump out old fluid from 1 line and you pour new fluid into the return line. You will need a friend to help you and search on here for the proper procedure to get the fluid level correct. I did mine a few years ago. It was relatively easy on only took us about 30 minutes. Some Toyota dealers will do this, but you have to specifically ask them for full fluid exchange and not drain/fill.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:28 PM #3
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your issues might be coming from the dipshits who put dexron III in it. im at 103K on my original fluid without any issue. ill be doing the filter and a drain and fill in the next couple of weeks. but it sounds like the dexron has had some adverse effects on the tranny.
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Old 05-11-2016, 10:26 AM #4
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Supposedly there is an additive that was put in with the Dexron III that makes it "pretty much the same" as the WS, according to my local mechanic friend--but even if that's true, I don't like that it's Dexron and I definitely don't like the 78,000 miles on it. I'm gonna buy 12 quarts of WS (already have 4), a new filter and pan gasket, do the flush and pray.
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Old 05-11-2016, 01:24 PM #5
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These A/T's are pretty tough, with a thorough flush (maybe 16-18 qts in your case) I imagine it'll survive just fine. TBH I probably wouldn't bother with the "filter" (more like screen) unless you really suspect something has plugged it up.

I've seen automatics survive worse, some bright spark put Chrysler ATF 4 in my buddy's old Mercedes 300SD and ran that for about 120k without ever changing it again, he swapped the fluid and filter out and it ran like a top another 100k until he sold it, and I imagine it's still going strong. That car actually called for DexII, later replaced with DexIII; but yeah I'd get the DexIII out of yours ASAP.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:30 PM #6
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1) No they are not. Get the "OEM" fluid. Period.
2) Drain and fill will replace 98% of the fluid? Bullshit. Find a Toyota dealer who has the machine to do a "complete fluid exchange". This machine also checks the operating temp and knows how full it is. Done by Toyota so they will stand by the work.

Win.

Peace out.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:39 PM #7
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I think you might be overthinking this one. I've flushed transmissions with more mileage on them and was fine. Tranny fluid with 78k miles on it will be nearing the end of it's service life so you are on schedule to do another flush.

Would suggest you do it yourself as you will care more about the quality of the work that anyone else. If you drain the pan and fill it with WS fluid, as you flush there will be minimal cross contamination with the Dex3 in there.

You can go the drain and fill route but you will be doing multiple times and will never quite get all the Dex3 our as drain and fills just minimize contamination but don't truly eliminate it.

Agree skipping the filter. If you're worried about fluid fitration, get a magnefine or put a remote filter on.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:43 PM #8
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Search for the method where you pump out old fluid through the transmission cooler lines. It's easier than changing your oil.
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Old 05-11-2016, 02:46 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEL View Post
These A/T's are pretty tough, with a thorough flush (maybe 16-18 qts in your case) I imagine it'll survive just fine. TBH I probably wouldn't bother with the "filter" (more like screen) unless you really suspect something has plugged it up.

I've seen automatics survive worse, some bright spark put Chrysler ATF 4 in my buddy's old Mercedes 300SD and ran that for about 120k without ever changing it again, he swapped the fluid and filter out and it ran like a top another 100k until he sold it, and I imagine it's still going strong. That car actually called for DexII, later replaced with DexIII; but yeah I'd get the DexIII out of yours ASAP.
Thanks for the reassurance, I've been sweating it pretty good the last few days--Still a bit nervous about doing the flush causing problems but I really don't see much alternative to doing it. I imagine I could get away without changing the screen, but I would sort of like to drop the pan and inspect and clean off the pan magnets just for my own peace of mind. With it at 192,000 miles and no pan-drop/inspection having been done (to my knowledge), I feel like I might as well do it.
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Old 05-11-2016, 03:19 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieRoe View Post
1) No they are not. Get the "OEM" fluid. Period.
2) Drain and fill will replace 98% of the fluid? Bullshit. Find a Toyota dealer who has the machine to do a "complete fluid exchange". This machine also checks the operating temp and knows how full it is. Done by Toyota so they will stand by the work.

Win.

Peace out.
There isn't a SST like that (if there's an aftermarket machine that does that though, I'd be interested in a link) , Toyota has us do it via the multiple drain and fill method. Though you can flush the fluid through the cooler lines you still have to do the check plug method to set the fluid level.

Additionally, if you do 12qt via drain and fill or with the cooler line method; the fluid will end up looking about the same when you run it a bit and set the fluid. The thing to remember is you want the majority of the old fluid out and new fresh fluid in. Regardless of which method you go with, old fluid and debris will mix with the new stuff no matter how well you flush it.

~
@KaseyMcc

Unfortunately that's not a good thing they ran Dexron III (that's "older" than Type IV ATF in the '03) additionally, I'm curious if they even set the fluid level correctly.

You might be able to flush the system and get it to work for you. But it's a big if considering that Dexron III has had plenty of time to saturate the internals and friction material.

IF the transmission does fail after the flush (not saying it will) I would see what recourse you have since the wrong fluid was used in the vehicle by JiffyLube. Unfortunately since you're not the original owner who paid for the service, it's a long shot you have any options regarding them helping you out worst case scenario.

Last edited by BlackWorksInc; 05-11-2016 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 05-11-2016, 04:31 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackWorksInc View Post
There isn't a SST like that (if there's an aftermarket machine that does that though, I'd be interested in a link) , Toyota has us do it via the multiple drain and fill method. Though you can flush the fluid through the cooler lines you still have to do the check plug method to set the fluid level.

Additionally, if you do 12qt via drain and fill or with the cooler line method; the fluid will end up looking about the same when you run it a bit and set the fluid. The thing to remember is you want the majority of the old fluid out and new fresh fluid in. Regardless of which method you go with, old fluid and debris will mix with the new stuff no matter how well you flush it.

~
@KaseyMcc

Unfortunately that's not a good thing they ran Dexron III (that's "older" than Type IV ATF in the '03) additionally, I'm curious if they even set the fluid level correctly.

You might be able to flush the system and get it to work for you. But it's a big if considering that Dexron III has had plenty of time to saturate the internals and friction material.

IF the transmission does fail after the flush (not saying it will) I would see what recourse you have since the wrong fluid was used in the vehicle by JiffyLube. Unfortunately since you're not the original owner who paid for the service, it's a long shot you have any options regarding them helping you out worst case scenario.
Agh jesus that's a damn scary thing to think about. I don't know if it's worth reiterating that they used Dexron III plus a quart of some sort of additive to it so MAYBE it's not quite as bad as straight Dexron...I don't know, I'm hoping for miracles at this point. In the last nearly 18,000 miles I've owned it I haven't had any transmission issues--no overheating, it doesn't shift hard or slip, doesn't make noise or vibrate noticeably. The only thing slightly different lately is shifts are a bit more pronounced, when shifting from P to D there is a bit of a jolt, similar to the slip yoke needing greased (which it could just be that), and when going at highway speeds I notice a strange, really difficult to detect random "surging"...sort of like if you were headed into a strong wind and it instantly stopped--so less resistance--feels like a sudden, momentary acceleration or deceleration but RPMs and speed don't change. I'm not sure whether to attribute that to the transmission or to maybe a coil pack not firing?

Thanks for chiming in @BlackWorksInc , I was hoping someone of your experience would see this thread...though now I'm scared as hell that changing the fluid to WS is gonna tank my transmission!
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Old 05-11-2016, 05:06 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaseyMcc View Post

Thanks for chiming in @BlackWorksInc , I was hoping someone of your experience would see this thread...though now I'm scared as hell that changing the fluid to WS is gonna tank my transmission!
Well if she's gonna croak, she's gonna croak; but IMO you're still probably better off doing a cooler line flush and replacing all the fluid with factory WS than you would be not doing it. Worst-case it kicks off anyway, best-case it'll live a lot longer. :/

Best of luck, hopefully it'll work out.
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:08 AM #13
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The main diff btw the dex III and the WS is the viscosity. WS is thinner. I saw in a tsb that if non WS is used the car may not move right away when cold, but when it warms up a bit it will. Which makes perfect sense. I highly doubtful mixing the fluid will create a toxic concoction that will destroy your tranny. Only some coolant react if it's mixed. I don't think other fluids do that.

I would not risk a flush. I would do a drain and fill which is around 4 quarts then wait a few months and do another with the WS. It's a super easy diy if you don't round off the fill plug.

So relax, I doubt any damage was done.


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Old 05-12-2016, 01:36 AM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackWorksInc View Post
There isn't a SST like that (if there's an aftermarket machine that does that though, I'd be interested in a link) , Toyota has us do it via the multiple drain and fill method. Though you can flush the fluid through the cooler lines you still have to do the check plug method to set the fluid level.

Additionally, if you do 12qt via drain and fill or with the cooler line method; the fluid will end up looking about the same when you run it a bit and set the fluid. The thing to remember is you want the majority of the old fluid out and new fresh fluid in. Regardless of which method you go with, old fluid and debris will mix with the new stuff no matter how well you flush it.

.
I've been told it's a machine, we'll see when i take my mom's ES350 in to Toyota for a tranny fluid exchange this summer. I'll report back (most likely in another thread).
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Old 05-12-2016, 01:48 AM #15
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You don't have a problem right now and could likely run on the Dex for lots more miles, as it's a fine fluid but just a little thicker than what the car calls for. Don't go force flushing it and cause a problem that doesn't exist now. Plus spend $$. Drain and fill over time.
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