High Mileage Tranny Fluid change

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by eman08, May 10, 2017.

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  1. eman08

    eman08 Active Member

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    Quick question here before I order the ATF WS fluid as DIY. I currently have 173,793 miles on my 2009 Prius. Apparently, it looks like the Transmission fluid has never been changed based on full service records I have from the previous owner. Do think I would have issues changing out the fluid now as Imagine how dark the fluid is although the car runs fine? I heard about the risk that the transmission could fail or slip if I try to change the fluid out if never been changed esp at this mileage. I heard about many trannies have lifetime fluid but sounds like a bunch of baloney to me as fluid do break down over time. Many dealers refuse to touch them.

    Example of Service records from Toyota Dealership shows following from previous owner. No indication of tranny fluid change what so ever.

    VEHICLE INSPECTION INCLUDING
    CHECK ALL EXTERIOR LIGHTS,
    ENGINE COOLANT STRENGTH &
    CONDITION,ENGINE AIR FILTER
    ELEMENT, DRIVE BELTS, INSPECT
    ALL FLUIDS CONDITION & LEVEL
    ~|~REQUIRED MAINTENANCE
    ~|~PERFORMED WILSON TOYOTA
    MULTI-POINT INSPECTION

    50000 MILE MAINTENANCE
    INCLUDING TOP OFF FLUIDS & AIR
    TIRES TO SPECIFICATIONS
     
  2. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    Just change it
     
  3. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    Good News! You do not have a transmission in this sense. It has no torque converter or clutch, so nothing can ever slip. It never shifts gears, so it cannot fail to shift.

    A normal automatic transmission uses hydraulic logic circuits to decide when to shift, they have twisty little passage, that can be clogged. (see below) The Prius does not have any equivalent, as it never shifts and uses electronic logic not hydraulic.
    [​IMG]
    Your Prius is free of these fine passages in the transaxle.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Yeah change it. Just for a counterpoint: I've changed ours 3 times now, and I'm at 67K kilometers, lol. Even I'll acknowledge that's overkill, better pack it in for a while.

    Get four quarts (or liters) of Toyota ATF WS, and the fill and drain bolt washers (I believe they're different sizes on 2nd gen?). Dealership parts department is safest bet. Simplest way to put the new fluid is with a funnel from above, with a tube extension. Fill with the car level, till it starts coming back out.
     
  5. eman08

    eman08 Active Member

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    Right on. I always though a eCVT was still classified as a Transmission since its slightly different from a regular CVT that has drive pulleys and a pulley belt. Seems debatable.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  6. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    In some senses, a Prius does have a transmission. Also Transmission means different things in British English than in American English.
    In British, the transmission is what I as an American, I think of as the drive train. In American, the transmission is the part that provides different gear ratios.
    Transmission (mechanics) - Wikipedia
    One train of thought is that the Prius has a very talented differential. There is only one ratio, and there is no clutch, so no gears change.
    In the philosophical, however, it accomplishes the functions of a transmission, "the transmission adapts the output of the internal combustion engine to the drive wheels."

    The Wikipedia article waffles: "The canonical example of the EVT is Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. This implementation has no conventional transmission, and the sun gear always receives 28% of the torque from the engine.

    My point was that of all the reasons folks make up to avoid changing their ATF, none actually apply to a Prius. It is never a bad Idea, and I do so at 30,000 miles, 90,000 miles, and then every 90,000 miles.
     
    #6 JimboPalmer, May 10, 2017
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    When I first saw some essays and videos on the Prius "transaxle" I actually felt a bit "short changed". After a bit I came to understand: it is very simple, and effective.
     
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  8. eman08

    eman08 Active Member

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    Sounds more like a transmission and differential all in one as a power splitting device. Soon as I get a chance i'm going to see if i can get a small sample of the fluid to see how dark and dirty it is, I hope there isn't any metal particles.
     
  9. Aaron Vitolins

    Aaron Vitolins Senior Member

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    The fluid is doing to be VERY dark. Why not just change it? So easy.. and only $40. It once in the cars life time.. worth it.
     
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  10. TeamTEOR

    TeamTEOR New Member

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    What size tubing is needed to fit the fill hole properly? I’m getting ready to do this.
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    The only concern is that the tubing not be too big, that it can't fit the hole. I believe the stuff I'm using is slightly under 16 mm OD (5/8"), and that still had a bit of room. If you're using funnel from above, you'll likely end up with funnel plus about three foot hose extension. So maybe buy four feet, so you've got leeway, for fine-tuning.

    Addendum: went out and actually measured, it's around 15 mm OD. Again, that had a little play still.
     
    #11 Mendel Leisk, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  12. TeamTEOR

    TeamTEOR New Member

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    Thank you very much!!!!
     
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  13. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    Only caveat I have is the fill hole bolt is really socked on there if your the first to remove it. It may have thread lock on it from the factory.
    Use a breaker bar and longer the better. I have a one inch emit pipe cut into various lengths for custom breaker bar. Just slip it over the ratchet.

    And make sure your going the right direction you can get turned around under there. Don't want to be wailing on a bolt and your actually tightening it.
     
    #13 edthefox5, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018
  14. TeamTEOR

    TeamTEOR New Member

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    Things went well, it is surprising how easy it was to do the swap at my buddy's place since he had jack stands and a really nice jack. It drained out super dark, but at the end it became lighter. Refilling, it took right about 3.75-3.8 quarts and then started to spill out of the fill hole. The car is noticeably smoother now. Thank you all again for your help.

    Also, a huge plus was finding that my front shock are ROCKED before there becomes a major issue. The boots are done and they are starting to leak oil. So guess what is up next!
     
  15. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    You run the risk of breaking your ratchet wrench though. If it's cheap tools and you don't care, and it has to be done, well there you go. But best bet would be to buy a decent quality longer handled wrench; it will be beefed up, designed to to take the greater torque of the long handle.
     
  16. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    I agree. But most people may not have a breaker bar. I have done it myself a few times as was tired of rolling out from under the car to get it. A Craftsman will take it a Harbor Freight will not.
     
  17. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    In my early 20s, my car was a 1962 Ford Falcon, my wallet was continually empty and my tool collection was what I found, begged or borrowed -- mostly cheap, but my dad did grudgingly pack me off with a few of his Proto tools -- which in the day were top-quality and I still have and use them.

    However, I needed a breaker bar and K-Mart of the 1980s was my go-to place for tools.

    In my first few uses the actual knuckle snapped off (the black part below)

    [​IMG]

    At the time, K-Mart had a "lifetime warranty" on their auto tools, so back it went. The woman at the service desk insisted that the knuckle was supposed to come off like that and kept trying to jam it back onto the bar and convince me to go away. Finally had to insist on a manager. They would not refund, but did replace. The second bar actually lasted some 20 or so years.
     
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  18. iRunfastXC

    iRunfastXC New Member

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    Bumping this thread.
    I’ve read many on the issue (arguing whether or not to do the change, what fluid to use, etc.)
    I’ve come to the conclusion that if I do this, I’ll stick with the ATF-WS.

    Here’s my sitch: I recently got a 2005 with about 340,000 miles. I can’t be exactly sure, as the ODO only reads to 299,999. I use the trip to track oil changes / adding oil.
    As far as I can tell (per the official Toyota service records) the Transaxle / Tranny fluid was only changed at the mandatory 60,000 mile maintenance. That means my baby has 280,000(!!) miles on the current fluid.

    Should I risk doing this? Is there any risk? From what I’ve read there is no inherent danger, but for some reason I’m still wary of it.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  19. JimboPalmer

    JimboPalmer Tsar of all the Rushers

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    No risk, aside from bruised knukles.
     
  20. iRunfastXC

    iRunfastXC New Member

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    Haha I’m sure that’ll happen

    So it’s generally a good idea?
     
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