Checking Tranny Fluid '04 - Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-06-2010, 06:27 PM Thread Starter
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Checking Tranny Fluid '04

I cannot find anywhere on here or in my owner's manual on how to correctly check the tranny fluid. After I changed it out a few times I checked it while it was warm and I seem to remember that it registered right at the top of the 'Warm' part of the dipstick. Well, when I checked it a while ago and it was totally cold it registered higher than the 'Warm' area, which I would assume to be the case (the fluid should settle more). It wouldn't be an issue except that on the dipstick there is a marking for "Cool" which is located at the bottom of the dipstick. That makes no sense to me. So if I went by the dipstick when the engine is cold I would be getting a reading that is way too high. Can anyone enlighten me on this please?

2004 Sienna LE 7 in White 190K miles w/ alloys, power sliding door, homelink, trip computer, DVD, DRL mod.
1995 Odyssey LX in White 270K miles.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2010, 01:46 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

The following information is from 2005 Sienna Factory Repair Manual.
You can get it here: http://siennachat.com/forum/index.php/topic,805.0.html

CHECK THE FLUID LEVEL
HINT:
Drive the vehicle so that the engine and transaxle are at normal
operating temperature.
Fluid temperature: 70 - 80 °C (158 - 176 °F)

(a) Park the vehicle on a level surface and set the parking
brake.

(b) With the engine idling and the brake pedal depressed,
shift the shift lever into all positions from P to L position,
and return to P position.

(c) Take out the oil level gage and wipe it clean.

(d) Put it back fully into the pipe.

(e) Take it out and check that the fluid level is in the HOT position.

If there are leaks, it is necessary to repair or replace O-rings,
FIPGs, oil seals, plugs and/or other parts.

Romualds
2004 LE
Mods to meet European rules: http://www.siennachat.com/forum/index.php?topic=324.0
Download 2005 Sienna Repair Manuar here: http://www.siennachat.com/forum/index.php?topic=805.0
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-07-2010, 04:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Thanks very much.

2004 Sienna LE 7 in White 190K miles w/ alloys, power sliding door, homelink, trip computer, DVD, DRL mod.
1995 Odyssey LX in White 270K miles.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 06:04 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

I have tons of trouble getting a good reading. Everytime I put the dipstick in and pull it out, there is fluid way over the correct level like it's picking it up from residue in the dipstick tube. Anyone know a good way to get a good reading? I've already tried putting it in different directions but the stick only seems to go down all the way in one particular orientation.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 04:38 PM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

How far over the fill line is the fluid? When I changed tranny fluid the first time on my 1st gen Sienna I think I put 5 litres in and it was about 1/2 and inch over the hot mark on the dipstick. It didn't cause any damage.

I'm sure you will be ok. If its bugging you that much then remove the drain pan bolt and let some drain out and top up if necessary.

Regards, Jason.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-24-2010, 05:41 PM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang
Everytime I put the dipstick in and pull it out, there is fluid way over the correct level like it's picking it up from residue in the dipstick tube.
When engine oil dipsticks do this, a way to get a good reading is to pull the dip stick out and then wait 5 or 10 minutes before reinserting it. This gives a chance for any oil residue that's in the dipstick tube to drain back down so it doesn't smear all over the dipstick when you pull it back out.

2008 Sienna LE 2WD
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-25-2010, 02:22 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Let's just say if the dipstick was accurate, I think something would be broken because the fluid is like 6 inches over the hot mark. And it's more of a smear all over so there is no actual level you could say is the right reading.

You're supposed to read it while the engine is running right?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-27-2010, 05:59 PM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

If it's 6 inches above the fill line, how much fluid did you add to it? Did you let it all the old tranny fluid drain out? Maybe you should do the procedure again? When I did my first tranny fluid change it I added over 5 liters when it only needed 4 (even though I dropped the pan and replaced the strainer too).

You might want drain part of the fluid when it's cold (i.e. when the van has sat overnight), and then put the drain plug back in before it's totally empty. This wouldn't hurt, but may be a little messy.


Regards, Jason.

1998 Sienna XLE Silver Spruce Metallic
Air Lift 1000's
Bridgestone Ecopia Summer/Bridgestone Blizzaks Winter
284,xxx kms - Sold... soon to be retired from Siennachat....
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-28-2010, 12:12 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

I didn't do it, the transmission shop did it about a year ago. I'd hope a transmission shop knows not to overfill. Do you imagine the engine off checking would lead to a lower or higher level? I tried checking it with the engine off after 10 minutes and it was still this high smear. It seems the dipstick only goes in one way, every other angle I try to put it in results in it being blocked at some point of trying to put it in.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

I, too am assuming that the fluid checking instructions listed above are meant to be done while the engine is still running. At least that is how I read it. Per the instructions the fluid is meant to be read with engine at optimal operating temperature and running, but in Park (of course). I noticed that if I check it right after I turn the engine off it will read higher than when it is running. If someone is having trouble reading the dipstick then you might turn it around and look at the other side. Look for a point on it that is a somewhat horizontal line. That will be your level.

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1995 Odyssey LX in White 270K miles.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 09:00 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
I, too am assuming that the fluid checking instructions listed above are meant to be done while the engine is still running.
That's correct. ATF level have to be checked while the engine is still running. In other case, the instructions told us to switch off the engine before checking.

Romualds
2004 LE
Mods to meet European rules: http://www.siennachat.com/forum/index.php?topic=324.0
Download 2005 Sienna Repair Manuar here: http://www.siennachat.com/forum/index.php?topic=805.0
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 11:48 AM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Confirm that all you have on the dipstick is tranny oil, nice and clear tranny oil, with absolutely no sign of coolant . A tranny cooler may let coolant going into the tranny raising the fluid level on the dipstick.

I'M just fishing here but hey you never know !!

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-11-2010, 03:28 PM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang
Do you imagine the engine off checking would lead to a lower or higher level?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
I noticed that if I check it right after I turn the engine off it will read higher than when it is running.
I believe this is how it works:
When the transmission is running, it pumps fluid up into parts which likely drain down to some extent when not running/pumping, so more fluid is down in the pan when the engine is off.

The same would presumably apply to an engine; I can only assume that transmissions are checked in the operating condition because fluid level is more critical to the transmission than to the engine.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-18-2011, 06:08 PM
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Re: Checking Tranny Fluid '04

Quote:
Originally Posted by brian_bp
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcwang
Do you imagine the engine off checking would lead to a lower or higher level?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robster
I noticed that if I check it right after I turn the engine off it will read higher than when it is running.
I believe this is how it works:
When the transmission is running, it pumps fluid up into parts which likely drain down to some extent when not running/pumping, so more fluid is down in the pan when the engine is off.

The same would presumably apply to an engine; I can only assume that transmissions are checked in the operating condition because fluid level is more critical to the transmission than to the engine.
Yes, I believe so. After sitting and cold, the fluid drains back to the pan. Once engine is running it pumps fluid to the top of tranny. The cold measurement is the minimum fluid quantity with the fluid cold engine running. The hot is the maximum with it at operating temperature engine running. Remember ...with the engine running the tranny pump is pulling ATF out of the pan and pumping it up to the top end so the level will be lower in the pan than engine off and it has been sitting. The AFT expands as it heats up.... hence the difference in measurements between cold and hot with the engine running.


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