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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thread index:
  • Post #1 (this post): Overview of initial test methodology, reasoning, and general rambling
  • To be added later by editing, for future readers joining this conversation. Posts will be added here with links by future edits, as new data comes in.
Overview of Myself
I'm a 31 year old guy with occasionally too much time on my hands, who likes to read and post on forums for fun, tinker with stuff, and always learn new things. I have a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and am currently employed as a Test Engineer in a tech-heavy company, though not automotive related. While not a fan of math, I'm certainly not afraid of it, and managed to get through the required three semesters of calculus and one of differential equations, though promptly (and mostly happily) forgot most of that. And both my general outlook on life and my science-heavy college education makes me someone who heavily questions anecdotal information and always wants the real data behind things, not some random opinion. I obviously have my own biases and opinions, some quite strong, but I also would like to think of myself as someone who will readily admit when they are wrong.
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Motivation Behind Testing
Toyota declared the 3rd gen transmission to have "lifetime" fluid, only specifying that the transmission fluid be replaced at 60,000 miles in cases of towing, using car-top carrier, or heavy vehicle loading, and does not otherwise specify that it should be changed. From what I've read, it seems likely the reason for this was to avoid paying some environmental tax levied when the fluid must be changed. This seems to be further backed up in that the Factory Service Manual (FSM) does not even specify a procedure for changing the fluid, only for checking and setting the level, and appropriate replacement amounts if the transmission or front drive axles are changed. While oils have certainly improved over the years, it does seem unreasonable to me, and many others, that the transmission fluid should never be changed, if one expects a lifespan of 200-300 k miles on their original transmission.

The question, therefore, is at what frequency should one change the fluid. This is further complicated in that unlike the engine or differential oil, one cannot simply unscrew a drain plug and drain all the fluid before replacing it. If the drain plug is removed, then only a portion of the fluid can be drained, which leaves a majority of the original fluid in the transmission. I've not yet seen any data to support any specific fluid change mythologies, nor the mileage at which one should reasonably expect to change the fluid. All appear to be opinion based, and my personal observations on this forum have found recommendations from a drain and fill (partial) change every 60,000 miles, or more commonly every 30,000 miles, to a much more extreme take for a complete fluid change as often as every 15,000 miles. From what I've read, and my own opinions and biases, the partial change every 60,000 miles seems likely to be too little, and the complete change every 15,000 miles is likely very excessive. So the question is, how often should it be done?

The ultimate motivation for this was a discussion (some would say argument) between myself and others on a different thread, where a poster initially asked how much fluid they should expect to drain at a single go, and others said you would never get out all the oil fluid with partial changes. I suggested that you do not need to drain all the fluid, as partial changes can be very much equivalent to a complete fluid change, if done more often. I supplied graphs and reasoning behind my position, but these seemed, to my own eyes, to be completely ignored and shot down without serious consideration into the matter, with the reasoning that "you still have old oil in there" behind the reason why a partial change is not, could not be an equivalent method when compared to a complete fluid change. I disagreed.


Getting More Math-y
I do not find the thought that any amount of old fluid left automatically makes the fluid inferior, but rather that the amount of old fluid left is inversely proportional to the "goodness" of the new fluid. In general, my opinion based on thinking about this is that if one could change, say 50% of the fluid, and did so twice as often as one changed 100% of the fluid, both methods would be more or less equivalent. In fact, I think changing a smaller amount of fluid more often could even be more adventurous to a complete fluid change, within certain bounds.

My proposal was that you could calculate a simple "Average Miles per Unit Fluid" and use this to compare a complete fluid change to multiple partial fluid changes. This is based on the idea that if the viscosity of the fluid changes, new fluid would adjust the viscosity, as mixing oils of different viscosities results in an oil with a viscosity that is in-between the two viscosities (not quite linear, but very close for small viscosity changes). Particulates will build up in the oil, from the oil breaking down and from parts like clutches and gears wearing out. Particulates are not desireable, as they will cause increased wear on the clutches and other parts. If one changes a portion of the fluid, the particulates will be reduced, and this should be a completely linear process assuming the particulates are mixed in suspension when the fluid is drained. So if the particulate could is X per unit fluid, and 25% of the fluid is changed, the particulate count will be 75% of x after the partial fluid change. Similarly, there are various additives to the fluid, which will be used up as the transmission operates, presumably at something resembling a linear relationship with miles. If these additives are at say 50% the level of new fluid, and 25% of the oil is changed, then one should expect the additive level after the 25% change to be 62.5% instead of the 50% it was before (simple weighted average of 0.75*0.5 + 0.25*1).

Assuming particulates build up, viscosity changes, and additives are used up and these processes are more or less linear with miles leads therefore to the conclusion that one can use "average miles per unit fluid" as a benchmark for either complete or partial fluid changes. Partial fluid changes are after all, one of the first and most common examples in my Differential Equations textbook. Industrial processes involving continuous fluid production often use continuous fluid mixing. Taking a partial fluid change to an extreme, this would be, if quite impractical to do so for a car, the same as continuously adding a small but constant stream of new transmission fluid at all times while driving, while continuously draining a small but equal amount of fluid.

Graphs and Such
To consider the problem, in the initial linked thread, I set up a simple spreadsheet to generate some graphs. Using weighted averages to calculate an "average miles per unit fluid", which I will hereafter refer to as AMUF for short, I considered several different partial drain/fill intervals. My spreadsheet is pretty messy, and I assumed 2.5 quarts of new oil, on a 7 quart capacity transmission. Our 3rd gen transmissions do hold 7 quarts, but changing 2.5 quarts may be a bit generous. Various people gave different amounts drained, and seemed like 1.5 quarts was most typical. When I initially made the spreadsheet and graphs, I assumed 2 quarts could be drained, which on further research seems unlikely. The general advise I've seen is when refilling, to add an extra 0.5 quart more than drained, which I assumed is more or less mixed, so you could consider the partial drain and fill to have changed 2.5 quarts, not the 2 that was initially drained. I have yet to do this myself so I do not have what I consider solid data on this, but I do question how exact various people are in this process, as some or many people are only measuring transmission temp in the fluid setting step, and have not seemed to realize that you are supposed to engage Engine Idle Speed Control when setting the fluid level. The FSM is very specific that engaging Engine Idle Speed Control is necessary to setting the fluid level correctly, and not doing so could change the amount of fluid kept in the transmission, potentially leading to a slight underfill from factory spec and less fluid being drained on the next fluid change. This is therefore another yet undefined variable in the process that I need to account for later on.

My spreadsheet is very messy, as I did not initially intend to share the spreadsheet itself, only the graphs. But this is what it looked like, assuming a 2.5 quart fluid change on a 7 quart transmission.
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The generated graphs included three options for comparison. Firstly, considering that many seem to purchased used vans around the 100 k mile mark before they do the first fluid change, I graphed the case of a 100 k interval with full drain and fill. I then considered the seemingly common recommendation to do a partial fluid change (drain/fill) every 30 k, as well as every 10 k, as at least one person does a transmission drain/fill every time they do an oil change, and I assumed the factory oil change interval of 10 k miles.
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Obviously, if doing a complete fluid change every 100 k miles, one would end up with an AMUF of 50 k miles. When doing a partial change every 30 k, the AMUF was 55 k miles. And when doing a drain/fill every 10 k miles, the AMUF was 18 k miles. The partial changes all assume starting at 100 k with no changes, but regardless of starting high or starting from a new vehicle, the AMUF will either decrease or increase to the steady state AMUF, and hold steady after enough changes. For any flush intervals different than 100 k, the AMUF is always simply 50% of the mileage interval, since all the fluid is changed in a flush.

By visual observation of the graphs, one can see that even a drain/fill at 30 k, starting at 100 k, will result in an AMUF close to the equilibrium value by the time the vehicle reaches 200 k miles, and at 10 k, it is close by the time the vehicle is at 150 k miles. The 10 k interval is striking in that the AMUF, even starting at 100 k, will drop below the 100 k flush AMUF of 50 k before the 2nd change. I am under the impression various manufacturers recommend a transmission fluid change every 30-60 k miles, and while I'm unsure if that is a partial change or a flush, the 10k interval will ultimately result in equivalent fluid to a flush every 36 k miles...if the AMUF is an accurate representation of a partial fluid change. And one can prove that the AMUF is, or is not, accurate through testing.

Used Oil Testing
So now we get to the nuts and bolts of the matter. There are many opinions, but actual data is apparently hard to come by. Well, hard to come by if one reads forums populated with opinions, but actually dead easy to get if one desires. Various companies test used oil for multiple things, so one can easily get hard, concrete data to prove a point. Few, however, go through the mild trouble and minimal cost to obtain this data, and instead rely solely on their own opinions, and the opinions of others, with the necessary conclusion that the advice for fluid changes is all over the place.

One such oil testing company is Blackstone Labs. I have in the past tested my own used engine oil with Blackstone, and the most consistent data I have is on my former 2013 Honda Pilot. On this, I tested used engine oil on ~10,000 mile oil change intervals, which was based on the Honda Maintenance Minder, which adjusts mileage for oil changes based on actual engine usage data through the oil change interval. In my case, I was probably 95% or more highway driving, which is the easiest on oil, and the intervals indicated were always within a few hundred miles of 10,000 miles, which should be noted is the engine oil change interval of the 2GR-FE engine used in many 3rd gen Siennas. My changes often were over the indicated change to as much as 400 miles as I always went till the 0% oil life remaining to change, and at ~100 miles a day, could easily overshoot if I was busy and didn't have oil and a filter on hand when I hit the 0% mark. In all three cases, the result from Blackstone was the oil was not only fine, but I could extend the oil change interval by some amount if I were to choose to do so. I've attached my oil testing change testing results (see attachments section under this post for the original PDF with personal data redacted) for reference of what a used oil analysis looks like. In my initial report, they indicated the "Universal Averages" in the rightmost column were based on an average mileage of ~6250 miles, so my wear items of aluminum and iron being higher than average are to be expected for my ~10,000 mile change intervals.
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Note, in particular on this report, that my viscosity of the oil is still well within the "should be" range of 46-59, and the rest of the properties are good. TBN "should be" >1.0, and was tested on the first change at 2.2, well above that, so I did not do the $10 addition of a TBN test on the two subsequent tests, as I was not close to hitting that "limit" of 1, and so did not think it was important to continue testing unless I tried to extend my change intervals to 12 or 14 k miles instead of 10 k. I also don't have records of what brand of oil was used in each change, unfortunately, but given the step changes in viscosity, molybdenum, and magnesium, I think I used a different brand of oil in the first change compared to the second two changes.

Transmission Fluid Testing and AMUF
So, where now that I've outlined the basics of used oil testing, how does this relate to transmission fluid and AMUF? Well, transmission fluid is an oil, just a special type of oil, and Blackstone will happily test transmission fluid just like engine oil. The only difference is on transmission fluid, one general tests for TAN (total acid number) instead of TBN (total base number). My understanding is limited, but TBN is a measure of how much base is left in the oil to neutralize acids, and is used for engine oil because combustion byproducts are acidic and need to be neutralized in the oil, while TAN is a direct measurement of how acidic the oil is. Since transmission fluid isn't neutralizing combustion byproducts, it doesn't contain a base, or as much as engine oil, so TAN is instead used to track the acidity of the oil. TAN can be tested on engine oil, but in general, it will remain low until the TBN is too low to sufficiently neutralize acids, at which point it will increase. My understanding may be wrong, so feel free to correct me or go visit Bob Is The Oil Guy to learn more, with people who are very enthused about understanding oil. Still lots of opinions there, but also way more data than your average automotive forum oil thread...

In addition to the base testing, which is the same for engine oil and transmission fluid, which contains wear items like iron and properties like viscosity, and the TAN as already mentioned, one can at an additional charge add particulate counting. This breaks down the number of particles present in the sample at various micron sizes, so one can test for particulates in the fluid, which is one of the things I previously mentioned, and one thing often talked about on transmission threads where people talk about the clutch pieces floating around in the fluid.

Anyway, by testing transmission fluid, before and after a partial change, and by knowning the composition of brand new Toyota WS (or any other transmission fluid), one can determine exactly how much things change with a partial fluid change vs a complete change, and thereby determine if AMUF is an accurate methodology to compare partial fluid changes to transmission flushes. Additionally, by getting the fluid tested, with or without a change, one can determine the state of the transmission fluid and if a change is really needed or not.

Specific Test Plan
My specific test plans is as follows:
  • Test brand new Toyota WS fluid, to get the properties of unused fluid, including TAN.
  • Test the fluid in my transmission before I perform a partial drain.
    • I think I will drop the pan, and change the transmission filter, but I will verify proper fluid level first and carefully measure total fluid changed to account for the additional fluid changed that contained in the pan and cannot be drained by removing the drain plug.
    • The sample fluid will be pulled using a small tube and vacuum pump from the fill port, so that it is the most direct comparison to the after drain test sample as is possible to do.
  • After performing the partial drain/fill, I will allow the fluid to mix, then use a small vacuum hand pump to pull out a 3 oz sample and send that to be tested.
    • I will carefully measure drained fluid, added fluid, and overflow fluid amounts.
    • This direct before and after fill, combined with data from fresh WS fluid, will allow comparisons to be performed to see if AMUF is correct or not.
    • Sample will be performed in as close to the before drain sample as possible. Same state of transmission either being cold after an overnight settle, or at the same temp while the engine is running, depending on what I decide. Likely engine running in both cases to ensure mixing of any particulates that temporarily settle while the engine is off.
  • After some miles, likely 10 k, I will draw another sample before draining.
    • I will carefully measure fluid drained, added fluid and overflow fluid amounts.
  • After partial drain/fill, I will allow fluid to mix and draw off another sample to test
  • Repeat at each partial drain/fill, but since I already have the two prior before and after samples, will likely switch to simply sampling fluid only before the drain, and not after the fill.
    • Careful measurements of fluids drained, added, and overflowed will still be measured of course.
  • Document the results of this on this thread as the test progresses. This will include:
    • All data I have (miles, vehicle usage, fluid added, etc)
    • Copies of the oil analysis reports
I may adjust the mileage between drain/fills up or down, or other aspects of the test, after the first few changes based on previous changes and the actual report on the fluid condition. I plan on adding an OBD reader and tablet with Torque Pro or similar to record continuous vehicle usage data, including transmission temp, engine load, miles, etc, and export this data into graphs or reports.

Given I've driven about 12 k miles in the 6 months I've owned the Sienna, this will likely take some time to collect data, hence why this is a long term test. I also plan to do engine oil testing at the same time.

Feel free to leave any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on my plan, or simply to follow the thread to learn more about transmission fluid as I do. I'm not certain when the initial testing will take place, as I'm often pretty busy these days and this will be somewhat time consuming to do, but hoping to get the initial data (new fluid + initial drain/fill) by the end of the year, at the latest.

Raise your glasses to hard data!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Couple other thoughts after sleeping:
  • I started wondering what the transmission history was, where was I starting at in this process?
    • Looking at the Toyota service history for my van, it appears that the van was serviced at a Toyota dealer every 5-15k miles. Only one gap I saw of 15 k, usually it appeared it was 5-10 k.
      • 32 total service visits to a Toyota dealer. So in addition to the relative lack of rust for vehicles in this area, it appears it was well cared for and issues were not ignored. Looks like I got a good one.
      • At 101,221 miles, part of the service listed was "Transmission flush (WS) (W/Out Dipstick)
      • Unsure if this means a true flush, or a drain/fill
      • May see if I can contact the dealer to confirm what process they use for performing a transmission fluid flush
      • Fluid testing will probably indicate this as well, as if it was a complete flush the fluid is probably going to be in pretty good shape.
      • Van has slightly over 119 k miles now
      • This was the only transmission service listed
        • Right front axle shaft replaced 1/2021
          • Mileage appears to be mistyped, as the 12/2020 service was 90,071, and 2/2021 service was 91,922
          • Date could have been mistyped as well, on 9/2019 at 72,177 services performed said "axle concern"
            • I'm leaning towards the dealer pointing a possible axle issue at 72,177 mile service, but not being actually replaced until about ~91,000 miles
          • Replacing a front drive axle would have drained about 3 quarts of fluid from the transmission, so a partial drain/fill on the fluid when this service was done.
  • My other thought is with one vehicle, and not to many miles per year, it won't really be practical to try both the drain/fill and flush at the same time
    • I feel that my testing outline for drain/fills though will result in lots of good data, to support if this is a suitable method for transmission fluid changes.

On an unrelated note, also realized I can add my own service history into the Toyota service records. This is an easy way to show service history to any new potential owner, should I sell the Sienna at some point. I find this quite handy, and plan to continue filling it out, as most of the service on my van will be performed by myself. When entering a service record, you list the date, service type (self-reported or third party, only difference is 3rd party adds a box for the name of the provider of the service), mileage, check boxes for common service items and an "other" check box that allows you to manually explain the service, and a section to list notes on services performed.
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In any case, there are now 34 service records for my vehicle.
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Detail view of a self-reported service record.
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Quick update: Blackstone lists prices of $35 for standard oil test, and $10 for an add-on TAN test. Oil + TAN + PC (particle count) listed at $60. You can buy a 6-pack of tests for a discounted price of $27/each. I didn't see a price for particle count add-on, only a price for $25. I contacted Blackstone and they said the $25 is for a standalone particle count. If adding onto an existing test, it's $15.

So the test prices will be, per test:
  • Base test + TAN + PC): $52
  • Base test + TAN: $37/test
  • Base test: $27/test
I suspect the first few transmission tests will be base + TAN + PC, but after a couple of tests, I will see if I want to continue or drop the particle test. I'll probably test TAN most of the time I do a transmission fluid test, for overall fluid health and to help track the tests. I suspect I won't often or ever do a base test only on the transmission oil, that would be more for engine oil testing. I plan to track the health of the engine oil, and may do a TBN or two, but unless I push changes I probably won't get a TBN for the engine oil, and just stick with the base test.

I plan to order test kits today. Weekend before this last weekend I was doing some cleaning and found my Blackstone sample vacuum pump, so all set to go there. This pump fits the Blackstone sample bottles, and draws fluid into the bottle without running it through the pump and possibly contaminating the sample that way. Will allow sampling of transmission or engine oil without doing a drain, if desired.

EDIT: 6-pack of bulk tests pre-ordered. I'm sure I'll have these by the end of the week.
 

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Here we go again...


A complete fluid change results in.... new fluid in the transmission.

A partial change results in old and new fluid mixed inside the transmission... the old fluid will continue to degrade as more miles are driven.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A complete fluid change results in.... new fluid in the transmission.

A partial change results in old and new fluid mixed inside the transmission... the old fluid will continue to degrade as more miles are driven.
A portion of the old fluid is removed in the next partial change, and new fluid comes in, "not worn" and with all the additives new fluid has.

Consider the human blood circulatory system. The average life of a red blood cell is ~120 days. Do humans dump 100% of their blood every 120 days days to refill with new blood full of new red blood cells? Of course not! Red blood cells are continuously created by the body. Old ones die and are continuously removed. A portion of the old blood is constantly removed, and a portion of new blood constantly added. In fact, this sort of sounds like:
Taking a partial fluid change to an extreme, this would be, if quite impractical to do so for a car, the same as continuously adding a small but constant stream of new transmission fluid at all times while driving, while continuously draining a small but equal amount of fluid.
Saying "the old fluid is left behind" is somewhat akin to saying pool filters do nothing, because the filter on a 30,000 gallon pool may only flow 4000 gallons per hour, and you're "just mixing the clean water with the old water, so you never filter it all." Yet people still use pool filters, for some reason. Because it doesn't matter that you don't filter all the water at once. Mathematically speaking, filtering a portion of the water will eventually filter all of it, or close enough that it doesn't matter.

On a more relevant note, I mentioned particulates:
Particulates will build up in the oil, from the oil breaking down and from parts like clutches and gears wearing out. Particulates are not desireable, as they will cause increased wear on the clutches and other parts. If one changes a portion of the fluid, the particulates will be reduced, and this should be a completely linear process assuming the particulates are mixed in suspension when the fluid is drained. So if the particulate could is X per unit fluid, and 25% of the fluid is changed, the particulate count will be 75% of x after the partial fluid change.
Particulates are probably the biggest reason to change oil/transmission fluid in the first place. Because the filters for engines and transmissions typically flow 100% of the fluid through the filter, they are necessarily made with relatively large pores to flow fast enough and so they can't filter out small particles. These build up and will cause wear. In the automotive world, some people who wish to extend fluid changes add bypass filtering. This pulls a portion of the oil out, runs it through a very fine filter, and returns the clean oil. This eventually filters out all the small particles in the oil, allowing (with some limitations) greatly increased oil life. It's a lot more common in the semi truck and industrial world to do this.

Take the Kleenoil bypass filter system. This bypass filter removes particles down to 1 micron in size, along with 99.95% of the water, and they advertise up to 5 times longer engine oil life and hydraulic oil up to 10 times longer. Look at the testimonials:
Edan Farms has been using PowerUp for over 20 years in all our Semi-tractors. We have been a contractor for Fedex Ground running from 20-30 rigs nearly every day. Each truck travels over 200,000 per year.

One of the first things we noticed when we started using PowerUp is that our engines run cooler. Since using PowerUp, we have not had to overhaul an engine in less than 1 million miles and most we haven't overhauled in less than 1.4 million miles. When we do take the engine apart, it is always very clean, and wear is extremely minimal. In 20 years, we have not had a single differential gear failure due to lubrication.

With PowerUp, we extended our oil drains to 30,000 miles and could have probably run further if we had chosen to.

About 10 years ago, because of your presentation on KleenOil Filtration, we started adding these filter units to our engine. With the continuous purification of the oil and complete removal of water, we now have been able to extend oil drains to well over 300,000 miles per rig. We still sample each engine every 30,000 miles and have been very impressed with the condition of the oil even after these extended oil drains. We have never had an issue due to lubrication with any of the engines.

PowerUp and Kleenoil have saved us thousands upon thousands of dollars in oil changes, engine repairs and overhauls. Presumably, though we have never collected the data, we have saved thousands in fuel costs because the engines maintain their efficiency due to very low wear.

I personally maintain our engines and I am a believer in these products because I have seen the results. I would recommend them to anyone. Please feel free to have anyone call if they have any questions.
300,000 thousand miles between engine oil changes!

We were changing our engine oil on our drilling rigs every 250-500 hours depending on the type of engine. When we tested the new Kleenoil filter system, we still had good oil at 5000 HOURS and made the decision to use the Kleenoil filter systems on all of our engines. We now change our oil at 2000 hours and have extended our oil life 8 times. Based on ISO standards, our oil at 1000 hours is better than new oil. One big question is how this affects warranties? None of these practices will affect our warranty.
Or this oil report that shows the engine oil is in good shape and can continue being used after 233,938 miles!

Now we're talking about partial oil changes, not bypass filtering, but in both cases it's only acting on a portion of the oil, not all of it. Of note though is that by removing only the particulates, oil life is extended 5-10x or even more. This really points to the particulates being the biggest issue, not the oil "degrading". And this lines up with everything I've read too. Oil, unless overheated, doesn't really "break down" or "degrade". Multi-weight oils can have the viscosity index improvers sheared, but even this is relatively minimal. The two major issues with oils therefore, is that additives get used up, and particulates build up. And partial fluid changes will remove particulates and replace additives just as well as a complete fluid change, if done at a similar interval adjusted to account for the differences in volume between partial and total fluid changes. And the entire point of thread is to either proof or disprove that last point, as well as get actual data on just how often you need to do this anyway. The latter point being one of the bigger points of this research.

Actually, after reading about just how good bypass filtering is (again), this research may eventually swivel over to the addition of a bypass oil filtering unit on my transmission, and seeing how that affects the transmission fluid tests over time, without fluid changes, if possible.

But the bottom line is this is a data based thread, so if you have actual data to share, please, do share! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Got my Rockauto order. Mostly parts for my 120,000 mile spark plug change, various accessories and wipers for me and my friends, but added a transmission filter too.


I heard the OEM filter was just a metal mesh, and the Viaco brand filter I got off Rockauto is certainly a metal mesh filter as well. I’ll compare to the OEM filter once I change it.




 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also just got my Blackstone Labs sample kits. Came in an envelope with the 6 kits, and 6 prepaid return envelopes. Used to be you just shipped them in the black bottle. They had an address label pre-applied on the bottle, and you had to add your own postage. But they probably had to many customers having issues, as the post office wouldn't take liquids placed in mailboxes, and often asked a lot of questions when you said it was a liquid at the post office. Plus it's if the customer doesn't have to pay for postage.


For those curious, the sample bottle itself is a translucent white bottle. Takes 3 oz of oil. Fill and cap, then wrap with the absorbent pad, stick inside the plastic bag, then fill out the sample slip, along with CC info or a check (if not pre-paid like these bulk samples are), then stick the plastic bag with the sample and slip inside the black bottle, cap, place in the envelope and drop in the mail.


For sample you want to take without draining, they have a vacuum pump. This uses 1/4 semi-rigid tubing (refrigerator water line tube), which happens to be small enough to fit down most dipstick tubes (one of the advertised things Blackstone does is pre-purchase engine and transmission fluid analysis). This pump is what I'll used to get samples when I'm not draining fluid.


Tube enters the top, and a threaded knob tightens it into place.


Sample bottle threads directly to the bottle of the pump. Tube sticks completely through, allowing a sample to be drawn without the sample ever touching any part of the pump at all. Pump pulls a vacuum on the sample bottle to pull the sample up the tube. Yes, it's dirty. Been floating around in my junk for years. I'll clean it well before using. Never actually used it. Got it to do a pre-purchase sample, never used. Should have...would have avoided buying a 2004 GMC Envoy with a failing transmission had I used it...


Actual sampling may wait a few more weeks. Money is tight still, and I just spent $500 at RockAuto. :LOL: While the samples are pre-paid, that's just the base sample. I need to add particulate test and TAN to the three initial samples, at $25 per sample for those two tests. First three samples are new Toyota WS fluid, current fluid before draining, and fluid after partial drain/fill. Likely this first drain/fill will include dropping the pan and changing the transmission filter, hence why I bought a transmission filter.
 

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The "filter" on practically any automatic transmission is really just to keep the "big" chunks out of the valve body when it starts to go, so you can at least get it to the shop.

Heat and age is what degrades ATF, a filter won't do anything for that.
 
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