Changing Transaxle oil

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by Weinerneck, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. jayman

    jayman Senior Member

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    Also the FJ Cruiser
     
  2. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Roger that.
     
  3. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I may need to be corrected, but I think the washer for the engine oil and the ATF is a crush type -- meaning it deforms to make a tight seal between the bolt and the hole. I avoided the $1.5/washer rip-off by buying a box of them along with other stuff from an online store a couple years ago for engine oil changes, and I have enough left for another couple of years. IIRC 10 cents a washer that way.


    Anybody know if the same washer size is used for the ATF bolt ?
     
  4. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    The transaxle ATF drain plug washer is the same as the transaxle coolant drain plug and fill plug washers. They are all aluminum and have a larger inner diameter than the engine drain plug washer which is made of a softer material.
     
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  5. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    Lots of good info here. Thanks to all. I'm about to change my ATF and don't see a specific answer to 'do you need to raise the car' to do this job? I have a floor jack and 2 ramps (i use to change my oil), but I'm not real comfortable raising all 4 wheels off the ground, then sliding under the car. I can easily drive the car up the ramps and lift the front end 2' or so, to get under the car, but then the car is not level and what I'm reading indicated the car should be level when refilling. Can I lower the car back down after draining? (meaning I need to drive if off the ramps). I plan to try and snake the tube down to the fill hole and then pour in the AFT - but I have a pump and I can (if I can reach the fill hole) slide under the car to try and reach the fill hole - but a very tight fit for me.

    I COULD (but not desired) drive the car up the front ramps, then use the floor jack to raise the back of the car, but then I've got a small issue with "will the car tip" or potentialy roll if the floor jack is not centered? I doubt it, if the jack is close to center, but this is something I have not done before.

    Comments?
    Thanks
    Scott
     
  6. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer and Ebike enthusiast.

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    Scott,
    Do you have jackstands? If not, get some (they are cheap). Absolutely do not do what you describe in the second para. The best way (safest) to do this is to raise the car up and place on 4 jackstands. Never get under a car that is supported by a jack. If there is a slight hydraulic leak in the jack, the car can slowly crush you. Jackstands are cheap insurance and allow you to jack up the car evenly.
     
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  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I think you will find it very difficult to reach and loosen the transaxle fill hole plug, if the car is not raised up.

    The car needs to be level when you are adding the transaxle ATF.

    It is a good idea to use ramps to hold up the front of the car and to use the floor jack to raise the rear of the car at the center jacking point.

    If the hydraulic jack were to fail, then the rear of the car will come down. However since you are limiting your under car access to the front, that should not cause a significant safety issue for you.

    Nevertheless, best practice requires the use of jackstands at the rear to supplement the hydraulic jack.
     
  8. Mike500

    Mike500 Senior Member

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    Not as complicated as it sounds.

    I'd put the car on ramps, remove the plugs, drain out the fluid, fully tighten the lower plug, fill the transaxle with 3 quarts of fluid, drive the car off the ramps to level off the car, add fluid to to the required level, and then replace the fill plug.

    Then, if need be, I'd put the car back on the ramps to tighten the upper fill plug.

    Hope that "splains" the procdure.
     
  9. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    Thanks for the comments. I do have 2 jack stands. I'll use in combination with the ramps. Should do the trick.
     
  10. bobodaclown

    bobodaclown Member

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    I used ramps and jack stands, drove up on the ramps, used a hydraulic jack on the back, put in the jack stands, under the back end, lowered the back of the car to level, changed the fluid from the front between the ramps. All went well and only took 10 more minutes to lift the back end and level it out.
     
  11. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    Success.. changed the ATF for the 1st time, 65K miles on an 08 Prius. Just like everyone said, just like changing the oil. Here's a step by step for those that have not done this - and this is certainly not the only way, but what worked for me.
    1) Bought Toyota WS ATF from the dealer, $10/qt!! Went to Ace hardware, brought my funnel with me for the proper fit, and purchased 3' of hose.
    2) I put the Prius on my ramps (front).. picture 1
    3) Ran the hose down to the right of the Inverter which lead right to the ATF fill plug (a small bend required) - picture 2
    4) As all tell you, make sure you crack lose the 10mm hex fill plug before you drain the old ATF in case you can't get it out (meaning once drained, you could not refill if this plug was stuck) - no issue with mine. I cracked lose the 10mm hex plug.
    5) I put the drain basket under the drain plug, and removed that plug and let the old fluid drain into the basket. I was actually surprised it still looked somewhat "red" (dark brown/red) in color. The splashes were red when it hit the blanket - (shown) but the fluid was more brown than Red, but not dark black. Once the fluid was drained, I unscrewed the fill plug and pushed the hose through the hole, as the car was on the ramps and easy to do.
    6) I was not sure if all the old ATF had drained out, with the car raised in the front only, so I started the car and lowered it down to the floor level, making the car level. What you see in the last (5th) picture is the extra old fluid what came out when I lowered the car - not much.
    7) I had my wife start filling as I watched the hose from under the car - yes a tight fit, but I could see if any fluid was leaking out around the hose - none did. I put in 3.5 quarts here at this step (the book says to put in 3.8 quarts)
    8) I drove the car back onto the ramps, and finished filling to 3.8 quarts. It is easy for me to move around under the car when the car is in the ramps. I tightened all plugs, wiped the few drops from the bottom area, and I was done.

    As with anything, the 1st time takes a while.. but I was in no hurry. This took me about 2 hours, but I was happy I did it and it all worked out well. Did my car need to have the ATF changed at 65K miles? I don't think so - the ATF was brown as mentioned, but still very 'oily'. The drain plug magnet did show small metal filings, but not excessive at all. I cleaned with spray carb cleaner and it was like new.

    I would encourage anyone that has changed their own oil to do this.. it really was as easy as everyone says. Good Luck
    on ramp.jpg top hose.jpg fill hose.jpg View attachment 47189 View attachment 47191
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    One comment on my above post - If I ever do this again, I will put the car on the ramps, loosen the drain bolt, take out the fill bolt and place the fill tube in the hole (other end sticking out by the inverter with the funnel attached), then lower the car to flat ground (off the ramps), place the drain bucket under the drain bolt, reach under and unscrew the loosened drain plug (you can reach is easily from under the front), let the fluid drain, put the drain plug back and tighten enough to not let the fluid leak out, fill with 3.5 qts of WS ATF, then drive the car back on the ramps, and finish filling (another .3 quarts) and tightening the bolts. This sequence prevents any movement / starting the car, while there is no ATF fluid in the car. I think I could do the above sequence in about 20 minutes now that I have done it once.
    Scott
     
  13. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Looks like a lot of work, when the alternative is to drive the front up on ramps, raise up the rear with a floor jack, and support the rear with jackstands...
     
  14. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    Yes, we each have a technique we are comfortable with. For me, raising a car off the ground is not something I'm comfortable doing. It would be my luck to have some issue and the car comes crashing down - when it's on the ground, no issues. But that's just me.
     
  15. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    I didn't even bother with the whole "leveling the car" bullhonky. Just jacked up the front, drained, refilled, done in 30 mins. So I left 1/2 pint of old fluid in the car...

     
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  16. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Raising a car off the ground is easy and safe and allows you to do countless jobs with much less effort.

    It sounds like you're scared of the car falling. Here's how I mitigate that possibility:

    I put the car up on jack stands, and when possible leave the hydraulic jack in place as a backup. Then I bump the car (with some muscle) from a couple different angles, jump up and down on it, etc. The car shouldn't move, the stands shouldn't make a noise. This gives me the confidence that no matter what I do, or how badly I screw up, the car ain't falling.

    Man up, get that car in the air, make life easier. As we speak, there are over 14 million cars in the air (note: quoted statistic is accurate to +1000%,-99%)
     
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  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Belts and braces approach: after doing something similar to the above, I push a squat, cylindrical section of tree trunk under, under the main cross-beam just aft of the engine bay. If a jackstand weld ever failed or whatever, the tree trunk section is thicker than me.
     
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  18. maestro8

    maestro8 Nouveau Member

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    Yeah, if I'm taking wheel(s) off I'll throw one under the car as a secondary / tertiary backup. That or the wife. ;)
     
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  19. PriusGuy32

    PriusGuy32 Prius Driver Extraordinaire

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    If they dont find you handsome, they should at least find you handy :D
     
  20. scott.in.colorado

    scott.in.colorado Junior Member

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    I don't see me 'manning up' for some time. While safe I'm sure, we all have our 'safety zones' and this is not one of mine. If I need to get the back of the car up, I put the ramps in the back, if the front, they go in the front. I don't mind the few minutes of extra time here. Your way is more efficient, but that's OK.. we each get the job done.
     
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