ATF, to flush or not - Page 2 - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 03:20 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your great inputs!

To CNY_Dave, what is the benefit removing the ATF from top vs draining?

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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 09:04 AM
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There are two active Toyota Sienna forums, both under the AutoGuide umbrella. ToyotaNation has a sub board for the Sienna that get's limited traffic, and SiennaChat where I'm also a moderator. Toyota Sienna Forum - siennachat.com You can post future questions about your 2004 Sienna under the Gen-II Van section, and particularly for your case, under the Problems-Maintenance-Repair section.

About your van....

Your 2004 uses a U151E or F (FWD or AWD) transmission. It's set up for Toyota Type T-IV Transmission Fluid. This is an older, 'heavier' fluid meeting the JWS3309 specification. Don't let anyone sell you on the lighter WS used in the 2007+ vans. While it's the same transmission, the calibrations are different. Which in my opinion also says avoid MaxLife and other lighter fluids meeting the WS spec.

Toyota, per Tech Tip T-TT-0122-11 recommends the use of Flush Machines only in the event of serious grenading, and then only for lines and coolers. Not for preventive maintenance.

Other doc's I've seen express concerns about the use of the solvent cocktail with these recirculating machines. Cleaning a bit of varnish from close tolerance valve body components is good. Freeing up big chunks in not!

Agree with the gentle pan drain and replace 3-4 quarts procedure as a way of upgrading the additives package and removing some circulating contamination. You don't want to shock an old, unmaintained unit.

Your transmission should have a real filter that you might consider changing after some fluid changes loosen up some gunk and chunks. There was some discussion as to whether the 2004 vans use the Filtran filter with the Dacron microfiber element, but I believe that was settled by someone who replaced it.

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 09:37 AM
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Thank you all for your great inputs!

To CNY_Dave, what is the benefit removing the ATF from top vs draining?
I know this wasn't directed at me, but removing from the top will likely be much less of a mess.

However, if you drop the pan you get some benefits: you can inspect any particles in the pan (clutch material, metal shavings, chunks of metal, etc) and get an idea of wear on the transmission, you can clean the pan before re-installation, and you can change the filter.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 09:54 AM
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For what it's worth, don't go by the color of the ATF alone. Yes, if it's brown/black that could indicate problems... There's a Youtube channel by ChrisFix that cautions against ATF replacements after 200k+ because of dislodging stuck-on goop and it making its way into the VB. That being said, if you do nothing, you almost certainly will have a problem. A conundrum.

At least yours is easier to do than my CVT!

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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@Fibber2, thank you. I am a member of siennachat and I see your posts many many times.
@stocker, I was thinking of dropping the pan for the last drain. Before that, just drain it. Yes I do agree it is less messy. Probably saves a gasket or two.
@CNY_Dave the suspense is killing me...
@Pilot1226 I will go check his video. Thanks!
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 01:58 PM
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@Fibber2, thank you. I am a member of siennachat and I see your posts many many times.

Like certain diseases, I do make the rounds!!

Don't forget the special left handed doohickey shallow angle wrench you'll need to get to the pan bolts under the frame rail!

2002 OBW base model with automatic. Added: CD player, Security System, tweeters & subwoofer, trailer hitch, lighting mods, cabin filters, hood deflector, drivers lumbar mods, winter tires.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 02:29 PM
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Thank you all for your great inputs!

To CNY_Dave, what is the benefit removing the ATF from top vs draining?
It is hugely easier and no mess, so greatly increases the chance you'll actually do it!

If you want to do the 1st one with the plug to get anything in the bottom of the pan to flow out, it's still great on #2 and #3 and into the future to make it a lot easier.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-26-2018, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you CNY_Dave. I will search this method. I have a harbor freight hand pump.
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