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You are crazy if you drain and fill three times. All of you are crazy.
Agreed. If you open the drain plug, drain it. Put the plug back in. Fill it and then repeat this process 2 more times, that WOULD be crazy!!! I change it based on color and transmission response. When I first changed it, the transmission was slipping a bit and the fluid was reddish-brown. The fluid I put in was bright red. After a couple thousand miles, the fluid was much closer to red, but with a brown tint. Now, 50k miles later, I'm ready to do it again because the transmission is slipping a touch. I meant to do it in the Fall, but things happen (Winter and Xmas), so it's now on my Spring calendar... or Summer. Well, definitely by Fall.

And THAT is the correct approach to trans fluid changes. Do it every so often. If you change your own oil, changing the fluid at the same time is easiest. You already have the tools out and are ready to go. You just need a clean drain pan and an empty jug to measure the fluid.
 

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I guess I am one of the crazy ones. I would never intentionally run it until it slips. I do a drain and fill every 15k miles and have since the van was new. I swear I can feel it start to shift hard and I look at the mileage and realize it's been 13-14 thousand since the last drain/fill. Once the fluid is changed it's back to shifting like butter. My fluid ALWAYS comes out a nice red color and the trans filter was nearly spotless at 147k miles.

Could I drain/fill it less often? Probably. But why? I do it less than once a year, it costs me about $40 and an extra 15 minutes maybe at an oil change. I absolutely NEVER worry about how long my transmission will last. YMMV.

-Mike

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2006 Sienna LE
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At that time, someone posted he investigated that the environmental folks put a major fine on each new car which is sold if the fluid has to be replaced. I could not verify but that makes sense.
That's close, but got slightly distorted in the telling. It's not a major fine just if it needs to be replaced, but the EPA has imposed limits for total lifetime consumption of petroleum products, based on the maintenance schedule. If you are the manufacturer who has to meet those limits, you have two choices:

  1. Engage in costly research and design (which will take years) to create a transmission and transmission fluid which will not need to be changed a lot (same for engines, differentials, etc.), OR
  2. Publish new maintenance schedules with extended service intervals. Make sure it's enough to get most of your customers safely past the warranty period. (Then happily sell them new transmissions!)

Which route do you think they chose?



Change it, period.
Agreed! And do it a lot more often than the manufacturer recommends!
 

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My van has 153000 miles and I read somewhere that I don't need to replace it for the life of the car. Is it true? Also it's bad for the transmission if I replace it if it has too many miles on it?

Our van is 18 years old, 125K, we flush ours every 30K, I don't understand why anyone would tell you otherwise, if it makes sense, do it.
 

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You are crazy if you drain and fill three times. All of you are crazy.
It is because "drain" really isn't a drain. It only gets something like less than half the fluid out. Do the math. Even at 50% change of fluid after three cycles you are still only at about 88% actual fluid change.
 

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Agreed. If you open the drain plug, drain it. Put the plug back in. Fill it and then repeat this process 2 more times, that WOULD be crazy!!! I change it based on color and transmission response. When I first changed it, the transmission was slipping a bit and the fluid was reddish-brown. The fluid I put in was bright red. After a couple thousand miles, the fluid was much closer to red, but with a brown tint. Now, 50k miles later, I'm ready to do it again because the transmission is slipping a touch. I meant to do it in the Fall, but things happen (Winter and Xmas), so it's now on my Spring calendar... or Summer. Well, definitely by Fall.

And THAT is the correct approach to trans fluid changes. Do it every so often. If you change your own oil, changing the fluid at the same time is easiest. You already have the tools out and are ready to go. You just need a clean drain pan and an empty jug to measure the fluid.
What people dont realize is that it "draining the transmission" really does not drain it. Less than half the trany fluid is actually drained out when you "drain" the trany. That is why you need to do it more than once if you actually want to change ALL the fluid. That is also why the "hahnge" interval is sometimes quoted as being pretty frequent (like every 50K miles). Since it takes multiple cycles to get the really old stuff out you do partial changes much more often. IIRC these tranys hold somewhere around 7 quarts of fluid, a "drain" changes between 2 and 3 quarts.
 

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It is because "drain" really isn't a drain. It only gets something like less than half the fluid out. Do the math. Even at 50% change of fluid after three cycles you are still only at about 88% actual fluid change.
I just want to say I think most people know it doesn't get it all. Every guide I've ever seen explains this clearly.
 

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I just want to say I think most people know it doesn't get it all. Every guide I've ever seen explains this clearly.
I will embarrassingly admit I did not know this 2 weeks ago. Now I’m ready to open my own transmission shop. 😁
 

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Total fluid held in the U151E/F transmission is 9.3 to 9.5 quarts (dry fill) respectively. The manual specs a drain and fill as 3.7 to 3.8 qts. My drain and fill (U151E) is 4 qt 5 oz. Not sure why my measurement is so different from spec.

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Perhaps a reading problem? The drain and fill three times, I think I made this clear, is when the system shows it has never been done, which was the case on mine. If it is done from new, you would not ever need to do it three times. When you call someone crazy, that sounds like you are saying anyone who has a different viewpoint than you have, is insane. Not so. The American way, and the liberty we so loudly acclaim says you get to make your choice and pay your bills for it.
 

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Check the dipstick for “T-IV” or “WS”. It will be printed on the metal.
He's got a 2008. It takes WS.

I had 323K when I did my first drain and fill. I did it three times with a 20 min local and highway drive in between. If i had to do it over again, I would definitely do it early and more often.
 

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Total fluid held in the U151E/F transmission is 9.3 to 9.5 quarts (dry fill) respectively. The manual specs a drain and fill as 3.7 to 3.8 qts. My drain and fill (U151E) is 4 qt 5 oz. Not sure why my measurement is so different from spec.

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nothing wrong with your measurement, all spec are true
total transmission are about 9.5 qts, with the structure of the transmission, there will be 4.5 qt in drain pan, the rest are trapped inside the torque converter and inside the planetary gears, valve body, etc.

i flush my transmission on all my vehicle annually with box of atf, and by the 10th bottle, the fluid started changing color to bright red.
 

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Total fluid held in the U151E/F transmission is 9.3 to 9.5 quarts (dry fill) respectively. The manual specs a drain and fill as 3.7 to 3.8 qts. My drain and fill (U151E) is 4 qt 5 oz. Not sure why my measurement is so different from spec.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
I get almost perfect 3.75 quarts out when draining the transmission. So weird how there is variation. I have the front of my van slightly lifted when I've done this and let it drain for maybe 10 minutes or so.
 

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Just did my 2nd drain and fill. The fluid that came out was still pretty dark. I think this is all I’ll do though. I have another 4 quarts I’ll save for 30,000 miles down the road.
 

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I get almost perfect 3.75 quarts out when draining the transmission. So weird how there is variation. I have the front of my van slightly lifted when I've done this and let it drain for maybe 10 minutes or so.
I do mine with the front on ramps and let it drain seemingly forever.

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I take the hose off going to the radiator and let the running engine pump it out.
They just happen to be on the top on the vehicle I have now which is nice.
Pump out 2 to 3 quarts, shutoff engine. Add 2 to 3 and repeat. Until it comes out clean.
 

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I use ramps and I backed it up with jack stands and bottle jacks in strategic positions. Can't be safe enough!
And by the way , if any of you own the 3 and 6 ton Harbor freight , jack stands there is a recall on these.
 

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Yes, almost never too late, mine had over 200k when I got it, first thing I did before driving it home about 60 miles was siphon out 4 quarts and replaced it, then when I got home I followed this example;
2009 Toyota Sienna Transmission Fluid Flush and Filter Change

The initial siphon was because I knew it was likely never changed and the hour drive home, I wanted to do the least amount of harm. I showed up at the dealer with a Multi-Use Transfer Pump and a recovery jug, and the Valvoline Maxlife Multi-Vehicle ATF transmission fluid. Just did the siphon right there in their lot, and after 200k I was glad I could do something being it was likely otherwise neglected via the service interval.

Toyota's transmissions are very durable and most of the normal ones are best serviced when you acquire the vehicle, then about every 40k. Another thing I try to avoid is rapid acceleration from 1st gear, being that is probably what previous owner did often, try not to stress the clutch plates as much.
 
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