Change TransAx fluid Question

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by cyberpriusII, May 7, 2014.

  1. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Prodigyplace says I'm Super Kris

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    It looks easy, so I am thinking about trying it as my car is just nudging 60K.

    However, I have no easy way to get under car. I have two jackstands that I inherited from my dad. I think they are 1970's era and they look pretty cheap and flimsy. He said he used to use them on his Datsun.

    Anyway, from what I see, the car needs to be pretty level to do this fluid change.

    I don't particularly want to buy four new jackstands (to be honest, I'd be a bit scared to be under a car on jackstands anyway).

    So, I guess this is just a longwinded way of saying is getting the dealer to do this the best bet. Or will my local independent do just as good a job?

    Not that my indy repair guy can't do it -- my real concern is the car really needs that super special Toyota fluid and my mechanic will convince me that left over "works on all vehicles" Valvoline is fine.
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Call and ask how much your local dealer will charge you. Since this is something that's done every 60k miles are so, $100 will be quite reasonable (assuming dealer's price). If going to an Indy, just buy the fluid at the dealership and bring it to them. It's 4 quarts of WS fluid.
     
  3. ksstathead

    ksstathead Active Member

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    head down a slope & drive the fronts up onto ramps like for an oil change.
    Or nail a 2x8 onto a 2x10 to make your own ramp, though more height would help with opening the oil change door.
    And an inexpensive set of ramps is a good tool to have around.

    The actual drain and fill is so simple that I did it.
     
  4. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Prodigyplace says I'm Super Kris

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    Ah, JC, you understand me so well. You even mentioned a price!!

    I may just end up at my mechanic with your suggestion of BYOB. :)

    Our "local" TOY dealer (some 45 miles away), has a somewhat dubious rep. I could see them telling me I need to replace all my mice "nibbled" wiring while I was there.

    I know it looks very simple. And I feel a bit stupid wimping out on this. But, I still don't like the idea of having a few tons of Japanese iron/steel/plastic a few inches above my head on somewhat, arguably, not-so-secure footing.

    I have had several cars slip and fall from jacks (changing tires on dirt/gravel roads), and that was scary enough....:eek:

    I'm skinny enough that I can change the oil with no problem. I can pretty much almost slide clear through under the car. That does not upset me. But, put it up on something...
     
  5. dorunron

    dorunron Senior Member

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    Kris,

    Get the local mechanic to do it for you. Make sure he orders the crush washers and the fluid from Toyota. And that he "understands" what plugs are for what. If he opens the wrong drain plug, he could drain the inverter rather than the transaxle. It is also a good idea to open the fill plug FIRST, before you open the drain plug. If for some reason you can't get the fill plug out and have already drained the transaxle fluid it is then "tow truck" time.

    I myself have two good stealers that do good work for reasonable fees. They did the Gen II at 59.5K and charged me $79 and some odd cents for the job IIRC. Remember it is a drain and refill. The easiest way is with a hand pump, other wise you have to snake a long hose down to the transaxle and pour the fluid into a funnel that has the hose on the end of it. The crush washers should be replaced and the plugs should be torqued to a specific amount. PM Patrick Wong and ask him what the torque rating is. I think it is 27 ft/lbs, but PLEASE don't quote me on that one... The torque might be less, I just can't remember. I do remember the drain plug for the oil pan was 27, so that may be what is causing my uncertainty. Patrick Wong will know for sure. I think he posted a string on the job also.

    Keep it up and you will be working for Luscious Garage with Carol soon ;)

    Ron
     
  6. Okinawa

    Okinawa Senior Member

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    I have contacted two Toyota dealer service departments and both told me not to change the fluid, that it is not necessary. It is hard for me to ignore their advice.
     
  7. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I guess that fluid is like human blood, lasts a lifetime. And if it doesn't last a lifetime, it'll only be a $4000 repair. Quite affordable risk

    SM-N900P ?
     
  8. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    It's not on their maintenance schedule and some dealers are reluctant to do it. Several other members have also reported hearing this from their dealer service departments. My dealer said much the same thing, only difference being that I had no difficulty at all in ignoring their advice. :)

    It doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Many people have reported seeing quite a lot of contamination in their drained fluid, particularly the first time it's done. I would definitely recommend changing it at 60k miles.

    Here are some of my photos showing the contamination on the magnetic drain plug at 60k and 120k miles: Second ATF drain at 125000 miles. Much cleaner than first. | PriusChat
     
  9. AzWxGuy

    AzWxGuy Weather Guy

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    I've had it done at the dealer twice now, nearing 175K miles. First at 97K and second at 170K. Both times for around $145. The last time I even had them check the brakes for another $30. They said there is still 70% left. Waited around for 2 hours, looking at and lusting over the "new cars". Didn't have to worry about jack stand failures or where to dispose of the spent fluid. It was worth it to me. I do the ICE oil/filter changes every 5K so it's not like I'm a total slug.
     
  10. uart

    uart Senior Member

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    Hi Cyberprius, I know exactly how you feel. The truth is that you really don't need a whole lot of space in order to drain that fluid. Draining the fluid and removing the filler plug does not really require any more room than doing an engine oil and filter change. These jobs are so easy that I just don't bother with stands (like you I am also very weary of them).

    Here's a brief run down of how I tackle this job without ramps.

    1. All I do is to get hold of a couple of short planks of wood, total thickness about 3" to 3.5", lay them on the ground in front of the two front wheels and drive straight up onto them. Apply the park brake firmly and chock the back wheels for good measure. The car is extremely stable like this (the planks are much wider than they are high so it literally cannot fall off). Such a small height does not significantly effect the level, but if you have a small amount of natural slope there (as I do) then orientate it so as the raised front tends to counter the slope. (I'm only talking about a very gentle slope here, obviously don't do it on a hill).

    2. Working under the car remove the filler plug (do this first, because if you can't get it lose then you don't want to proceed) and then remove the drain plug and drain the fluid.

    3. It's easiest to get someone to assist you to pour the new fluid in. Have the assistant standing in front of the engine bay and let them pass the end of the clear plastic tube (from funnel with plastic tube attached) down past radiator fans to where you're working. Insert and hold the tube in the filler hole while the assistant steadily pours the new fluid into the funnel. When about 3.5 qts are poured make sure they pour slowly, then when you see that most of what's going in is also seeping straight back out (from around the sides of the tube) then you know it's full and they can stop pouring.

    It's not really a very difficult job, and you definitely don't need a huge amount of working room down there just to remove the plugs and hold the tube as it's filled.

    Good luck! :)
     
  11. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    Get yourself a pair of these ramps from Harbor Freight. They're some sort of tough plastic, and not difficult to move around. Magnum-16000 Auto Ramp Set with Built-In Safety Chock

    Then check out what size wrench the empty/fill plugs need - I think they may be some sort of hex thingy that you may have to buy. Buy the fluid at the dealer, and everything else anywhere but the dealer. Pep Boys or similar have plastic tubs to catch the old oil, and funnels for refilling. Harbor Freight has cheap torque wrenches that are adequate. I've broken several of their socket extensions, but they're happy to just exchange the broken part for another one.
     
  12. Roland1555

    Roland1555 Senior Member

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    I had my dealer change it on my Gen 3 around 35k for $79

    This was my clean out any manufacturing debris service. I'll have them do it again soon as I am now at 95k (kilometers)

    IMHO it is far better to have them do it where they have decent hoists, trained techs and are fully responsible for the service that is also logged to the vehicle and seen on Toyota's website when the VIN is entered.

    Having said that, my dealer has no hesitation in doing the service and I have an excellent relationship with them. I did call a dealer close by to my work to do that first service, but they were hesitant... so I didn't even get a price out of them for comparison purposes, but feel I was treated more than fairly at $79 at my own dealer with a free wash to boot.

    Roland
     
  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    1. Regarding cars slipping and falling, please consider there is something wrong with your technique when jacking the car. You need to set the parking brake fully and use blocks on at least the tire that is diagonal from the tire being replaced, to prevent the car from moving. Also, you need a small wooden platform (like a short piece of 2x4 pine lumber) to put the jack base upon, if you are trying to jack up the car on a dirt/gravel road. That will help stabilize the jack base.

    2. If you are working on a level concrete driveway or garage floor, there really is nothing to worry about when raising the car if you use a decent set of jackstands.

    The Prius weighs ~2,900 lb. Assume 60% weight distribution on the front axle or ~1,800 lb. Each front tire bears ~900 lb. of weight. Therefore if you raise the car on jackstands, each jackstand will have to support ~900 lb.

    If you are concerned about the jackstands provided by your dad, discard them. Relatively inexpensive jackstands are rated to support 2 tons or 4,000 lb, so there obviously exists a great safety margin. For example:


    3. When replacing the transaxle ATF, there is no need to remove the front tires when raising up the car. Suppose a jackstand slips and a front corner of the car drops down. The tire will keep the car from dropping down very far. You only have to loosen the transaxle fill and drain plugs and this can be done without getting your body under the vehicle. The reason to raise up the car is to give yourself room to use a cheater bar so that you don't have to strain yourself unduly when loosening the plugs.

    4. Ideally you will fill the transaxle with the car level, but if it is not level this is not the end of the world. If the front of the car is higher than the rear, the transaxle might be overfilled a few ounces. So what. That is better than being paralyzed into deciding to take no action on the transaxle ATF drain/replace activity.

    5. Tightening torque on the drain and fill transaxle plugs is 29 ft.-lb. You need a 24 mm (or 15/16" socket) for the fill plug and a 10 mm hex key socket for the drain plug, along with a 1/2" cheater bar, ratchet wrench and torque wrench. BTW, tightening torque for the engine oil drain plug is 28 ft.-lb.

    6. It is much easier to use a funnel with a 3 ft. long tail, than to use the typical hand pump that screws onto the plastic quart bottle.

    7. I am really surprised that so many Toyota US dealers advise not to replace the transaxle ATF, but have no problem recommending many unnecessary services like "induction cleaning", fuel injector cleaning, or rear brake shoe cleaning (where there are no driveability symptoms that point to any need for those services), and charging three-digit amounts for this silliness.
     
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