Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level - Toyota 4Runner Forum - Toyota 4Runner Enthusiasts Forum

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Old 05-24-2006, 11:44 PM
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1
Default Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level

While changing the oil in my 2006 4runner for the first time I mistakenly removed the automatic transmission fluid plug. I immediately replaced the plug with only a minimal amout of fluid loss. I would estimate less than a cup. After completing the oil change I tried to find the automatic transmission fluid dipstick but was unable. Am I just blind or is there no dipstick? If not, how do I check the automatic transmission fluid level?
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Old 07-05-2006, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 29
Default RE: Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level

Well on my 4 runner the dip stick for the trany is right next to the one for the oil except the trany one has a little lock on it
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 6
Default RE: Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level

You may have already resolved this issue, but maybe not if it seemed to be driving well.

More and more vehicles sold today have what is referred to as a sealed transmission. A sealed transmission should have a dummy light to warn you of a low fluid condition but then you would have to go to a dealership or transmission repair shop to have it checked. I am not aware of any Toyota unit being sealed yet but they may have begun. Heck they may have been using them a few years but seriously I hardly ever have a Toyota in the shop for automatic transmission work since the problem with the front wheel drive 540 series differentials several years ago. I am aware that the Tundra truck line is experiencing a serious transmission failure at around the 100,000 to 150,000 mile range. I did do a Lexus sport ute last year with only 70,000 miles. Car lot car. I haven't personally had to operate on a Tundra yet though my dad and uncle have each done one apiece. But seriously, as many Toyotas are on the road I hardly ever see one for a transmission job, my rez runner has 207,000 miles on it without ever having the transmission out or the differentials.

Back to sealed transmissions. There is a way to check it and there is a way to fill it. It varies with each vehicle but the shop manuals will give you a time estimate and most shops charge 1 hour at their labor rate to check it. IF they can or will do it. A transmission shop could but you always have to be careful about handing over your keys to someone. Ask around before you take your car to anyone for anything.

As a recent example, last week I had to rebuild a late model Isuzu Rodeo transmission. This particular transmission is actually a General Motors unit and they were the ones who started the sealed transmissions with their Cadillac and Corvette brands. After installation I had to remove a plug on the pan and pump fluid into it with a hand pump until it runs out. Then you have someone start the car and put it in drive and hold the brake and once again you pump fluid into it until it runs out (keeping in mind that you are under a running vehicle that is in gear). Then replace the plug and test drive then raise vehicle again and remove plug, (while it is running and in gear with someone holding the brakes) if no fluid runs out pump fluid into the hole until fluid runs out (now everything is good and hot, exhaust pipes catalyctic converter, transmission drain plug and pan...). Replace plug and clean pan, (and self) and observe for leaks. That is just an example but you can see how a simple filter change for a sealed automatic transmission can get up to 3 hours labor rate plus parts and fluid. A lot of the companies have proprietary fluid blends now and if you use something off the shelf on a new transmission, it has the potential to cause problems. Volkswagen fluid costs around $30 a quart.

Anyway if it is driving fine and you lost a couple of spoonfuls don't worry a cuo or more maybe have it checked out. If it is a sealed unit though, and you want to check it in the driveway you better ask yourself; Just how much do I trust my _____. Wife, buddy, girlfriend, roomie, brother, sister, you get the picture lol.
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Old 10-06-2007, 10:16 AM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2
Default RE: Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level

OK, so a friend of mine did this and now we need to fill the tranny back up. Will I need to fill it, run it to heat everything up, then re fill untill it comes out?Also, check it in drive ,running? Sounds like fun
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Old 10-07-2007, 10:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2
Default RE: Checking Automatic Transmission Fluid Level

Well, have been unable to figure out how to pump fluid back into the tranny, so I'ts going to the shop! Pretty bad design, since that's what the dealer said is a very common problem. Why is there 2 drian plugs, but only one is an allen cap bolt? If they were both allen bolts, people would not make thaes, I kn mistake. They would know it's not a standard service thing. Yes, I know most non mechanics are the ones doing it, but still.
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06, 2006, 2007, 4runner, automatic, change, check, checking, dealer, fluid, level, oil, runner, toyota, transmission

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