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Discussion Starter #1
Planning to do a transmission drain-n-fill on our new to me 2012 XLE with 87K on the odo. Can you Pl. help clarify the following as there seem to be conflicting info. Looks like it has been done both ways.
  • Should the initial drain be done when the fluid is cold (after sitting overnight) or should it be done with the warm/hot tranny. if latter then what should be the transmission oil tempo at which the drain plug is opened.
  • While the fluid is being draining for the first time, should the engine be running or stopped.
  • After filing the oil, the level is to be monitored between 108 - 113 deg F. Should the Van be running while the fluid is being drained (and temp being monitored)
Last, I plan to install a Magnefine transmission filter. How to identify the the transmission oil return line. Any pics and/or pointers Pl.

TIA
 

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I did 4 flushes, 150 miles apart and each time, drained the pan fluid when it was cold. The amount drained was between 1.2 - 1.5 quarts. I overfilled the Pan(1.6 quarts), started the engine until the temp was at 110 and then switched it off. opened the 6mm plug to let excess oil drain. Going forward, I'll be doing one drain/refill every 2nd oil change (around 14K Miles)

I had also contemplated switching out the entire fluid from the transmission return line but at 90K decided not to do that in one shot and instead opted with multiple drains and refills. The tranny filter is good idea. Pl. share pics when you do it..

As for the doing it, you do not need to get the van on ramps or jackstands. You can turn the wheels all the way to the driver side which gives you enough room to access the fill plug (it may not work on newer Siennas with the newer tranny). This also takes guesswork out of leveling the van. Just use a shallow container with capacity upto 2.5 quarts for the drian
 

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As I understand it, the ATF will expand and take up more volume, and probably flow or pour out of the drain plug faster, as it warms up. Similar to draining motor oil, I was told to do it with a warmed up, but not too hot, engine. I don't think the temperature when draining makes much of a difference, other than avoiding scalding hot fluid that could hurt you as you remove the drain plug. The main reason that the temperature range is referenced is to ensure the proper amount of fluid is put back in. As you add the cold ATF back in to refill the car, you want the temperature to be raised to the 108-113 before reinstalling the drain plug.
 

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As I understand it, the ATF will expand and take up more volume, and probably flow or pour out of the drain plug faster, as it warms up
I guess that would work too or should i say that as long as you drain the fluid below 104 F, it doesn't matter. The critical part of the process is ensuring that the replaced fluid is leveled at the correct temp between 104F - 113F. That would ensure the correct volume in the pan.
 

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I overfilled the Pan(1.6 quarts), started the engine until the temp was at 110 and then switched it off. opened the 6mm plug to let excess oil drain. Going forward, I'll be doing one drain/refill every 2nd oil change (around 14K Miles)
Hello, you are doing this wrong. The engine MUST BE RUNNING for the final excess drain when the oil has reached temperature. If the engine is off, you are underfilled ! Repeat, the engine MUST BE RUNNING FOR THE FINAL EXCESS DRAIN .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you both for the details. Sbihue, the pointer on doing this without removing the wheels was great. There is enough space to move your arms. With the wheel turned, the fill plug is in line of sight but the drain plug is not. However you can feel it and remove it fairly easily. As for the drain pan, I used flat pail picked at the dollar store and it was a couple of inches below the tranny pan, just enough to get my hand on the drain plugs.

The old fluid was definitely dark brown but did not smell burnt which was good. I did two refills over two days (around 75 miles apart) and will do the final one this weekend.

Since I had conflicting info on the engine running or not, I did it both ways and I can conclusively say that the engine has to be running when draining excess ATF otherwise you are between 1/2 to 2/3rd quarts short (that is what I found on my van).
On day1 I did it with the engine stopped at 107F. Day2 kept it running. Measuring the drain and the refill volume, I was just shy of 3/4 quarts on day1.

Start-2-end, took around 40 minutes. I have now added this to my maintenance schedule and will be doing it every 2nd oil change.

I also decided to forgo the Magnefine filter install. I am thinking that any metal shavings would be taken care of by the magnets in the tranny pan which I'll be dropping it at 125K anyways.

btw, I lost the plastic push pin that holds the fill bolt splash shield. Anyone knows the part#. I searched online but nothing comes up under body parts.
 
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