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#245048 - 02/05/09 12:52 PM Change transmission fluid in my vehicle.
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13318
Loc: Iowa
Ok, I change my oil, rotate tires, etc...but have never tried to change the transmission fluid in a vehicle. My 95 Isuzu Rodeo is starting to feel a little funny when at highway speeds, especially when going up hill. Seems to lunch forward/back a bit...It has 140,000 miles and I don't recall ever having the fluid changed, not sure this will fix it but thought I would try...can't hurt...

So, for the mechanics out there, what would be involved in doing this process, or should I take it in to a mechanic ($$$$$) I don't think I need to flush everything, just drain the fluid, replace, filter, etc?

thanks, Randy
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#245052 - 02/05/09 01:02 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: SirQuack]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17739
Loc: NoVA
Is this an automatic?
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#245054 - 02/05/09 01:21 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: Ken.C]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6599
Loc: It's all about the location.
What was your quote to get the fluid/filter changed, Randy? You definitely have a few miles on there, I'd be changing both if you plan on keeping it for a while.(don't use a dealer though, they'll charge upwards of double) Might be a pain in the a$$ to do yourself unless the cost of a mechanic is outrageous.
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#245066 - 02/05/09 01:40 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: Adrian]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6730
Loc: PEI, Canada
By "lurch" do you mean that is seems to rev a bit then suddenly take a lurch forward, as if it were slipping a bit and then catching? I am also assuming you mean this is an automatic transmission. Also, is there any unusual noise before/as it does this?

Changing the fluid is certainly a good idea but if the problem persists or you are hearing whining noises as above, then it may need work. However, if it comes to that, try dumping a bottle of this in to it.

Molly Slip

It's not a cure but can (depending on the issue) add tens of thousands of miles to the point where you eventually have to have the transmission repaired/replaced.

HOWEVER, as with all automotive problems, your best bet when you are not sure yourself is before trying any best intentioned advice, take it to a trusted mechanic who can take it for a drive and tell you what is realllly wrong.
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#245071 - 02/05/09 01:47 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: SirQuack]
PeterChenoweth Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 1349
Loc: Jacksonville, IL
This is an automatic, right?

You could be just low on fluid. It's pretty easy to check the level yourself (in most cars).

Somewhere under the hood there should be a transmission fluid dipstick. It's basically like checking your oil. I'm almost positive that the last time I needed to check this, the manual for whatever car that was said the engine should be running and the transmission should be warmed up. Check the owners manual for the location and procedure on your Isuzu.

If the level is low, add whatever type of fluid that the owners manual recommends (specific brands need specific types). Your local auto parts store (AutoZone, Napa, Express AutoParts, etc, etc) should have it. That might just take care of your problem. Keep an eye on the level though, you might have a leak.

Look at the color too. Fresh automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is bright red. Almost pink. As it ages, little bits of metal are worn off your transmission and the ATF turns more brown, and eventually black. If the ATF dipstick reveals something that looks like used motor oil, you're in need of a full flush/change.

Most quick-E-lube places can do ATF changes. I want to say it's like $75, but I don't really know. Whether or not you trust them is entirely up to you. I was just at my Chevy/Pontiac dealer the other day for an oil change and I'm pretty sure that it said that ATF changes were like $99. Not too bad. You should be able to call around to different mechanics and/or dealerships for quotes. An ATF change is a pretty standard thing, so they ought to be able to quote you a price.

If it's a manual transmission, your clutch may be on it's way out. \:\(
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#245072 - 02/05/09 01:49 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Ken.C Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17739
Loc: NoVA
My Volvo recommends the engine be running and you go through a specific set of steps to check the transmission fluid level on the dipstick. Check your manual.
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#245073 - 02/05/09 01:49 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: SirQuack]
davidsch Offline
aficionado

Registered: 06/02/03
Posts: 678
Loc: Houston, Texas
I had mine changed in my Civic just two days ago and it did make a big difference in the smoothness of the shifting. My mechanic charged me $101 for changing the ATF, oil and wiper blades. It seemed worth it to me. I used to change my own oil and do my own brake jobs but my life is too busy now.

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#245097 - 02/05/09 02:48 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: davidsch]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7031
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
take it to a trusted mechanic

Amen to that! I am lucky to have such a mechanic. He even calls me a jackass when I don't treat my vehicle right (it only takes one of him to convince me).

The fluid should be checked warm and [I think] with the engine running.
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#245102 - 02/05/09 02:55 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: PeterChenoweth]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6730
Loc: PEI, Canada
 Originally Posted By: PeterChenoweth

Look at the color too. Fresh automatic transmission fluid (ATF) is bright red. Almost pink. As it ages, little bits of metal are worn off your transmission and the ATF turns more brown, and eventually black. If the ATF dipstick reveals something that looks like used motor oil, you're in need of a full flush/change.


And the smell is near impossible to wipe from your skin. The only thing worse is diff fluid. Just thought I'd add that in to help justify the cost of garage change.

Good point about the flush/change. If it's already black, it needs a double run through of fluid. Empty, fill with new, let it churn a bit, drain again to rinse out the crap and then fill with clean again. I mention it just so it's not a surprise when you see it on the bill or if you decide to do it yourself.

On most vehicles, its a pretty easy job. just depends where they put everything and how easy it is to get under your car.
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#245120 - 02/05/09 03:30 PM Re: Change transmission fluid in my vehicle. [Re: Murph]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10398
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
As a mechanic, If you are noticing a surging effect it sounds like the torque converter lock up is slipping to me and a full fluid change MIGHT help or at least put off the inevitable repair for a little while. A quick way to tell if it is the converter clutch is to tap the brake pedal while it is doing the lurch/surge. Hit the brake pedal just hard enough to activate the brake switch but not so hard as to engage the brakes, if the surging stops you have found the culprit. It could also be slipping in O/D so shifting to 3rd or D or whatever you have to do to take O/D off in your vehicle, if the surge is gone with O/D out of the picture then you have an issue with the trans itself, most likely a one way clutch is not holding and an overhaul will be required. If the surging is still there then it could still be the trans and/orconverter clutch and it just isn't disengaging/working as it should, a plugged/restrictive fuel filter or worn fuel pump, plugged up injector, slight ignition misfire even, causing the surge as well as a myriad of other itmes I won't get into, but those are the most usual suspects from my experience.

I would say the easiest thing to do is to take it in for a full trans service including a flush, pan drop and filter/screen change, this way you can see if there is any debris in the pan. You can drop the pan yourself and do the filter etc, it can be a little messy if the pan doesn't have a drain plug. When you drain/remove the pain you are only draining about 1/3 of the volume out as the torque converter holds 10-14 liters/quarts on avg. and the pan hold 4-6 liters/quarts, so I would still look at taking it in for a fluid flush as well.

If you take it in for a flush it is a 1:1 fluid swap process, no fuss or mess.

And Murph is right about the smell of burnt trans fluid, it is quite possibly the worst smell there is, I think it is even worse then diff oil which comes in a close 2nd, IMO.


Edited by jakewash (02/05/09 03:33 PM)
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