Procedure To Change '06 Avalon Automatic Transmission Fluid

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Thread: Procedure To Change '06 Avalon Automatic Transmission Fluid

  1. #1
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    DefaultProcedure To Change '06 Avalon Automatic Transmission Fluid

    ************************************************** *******
    Replace Automatic Transmission Fluid - 2006 Toyota Avalon
    ************************************************** *******

    Contrary to what some dealer parts counter people believe, you really
    can change the automatic transmission fluid in your '06 Avalon. That
    model is equipped with a drain plug on the bottom of the transmission
    pan and a dipstick under the hood.

    It is important to know that you must use Toyota ATF WS. WS stands for
    "world standard" and this fluid is available only at a Toyota dealership
    I've seen price ranges from $4.75 to $6.15 per qt.

    The owners manual indicates a drain and refill requires 3.7 qts. In my
    case, 4 qts. 8 oz. of fluid was drained. The system was not over-filled.
    More on this further down.

    Toyota claims the fluid does not need changing in normal circumstances
    until 100,000 miles. I do not believe there's anything normal about
    driving in the 21st century and personally choose to ignore this bit of
    non-sense. Extended intervals were designed by marketing people to help
    lower the total cost of ownership so you'll buy the car. If you're the
    type who buys a new car every 3-5 years, then I would stop reading
    this and simply ensure that your tranmission fluid level is correct
    from time to time. This article is intended for DIYERs who prefer to
    keep their cars for longer than the dealer would like.

    I performed my first fluid change at 25,000 miles and the fluid was
    still red, but nowhere near as red as new fluid. I cannot imagine what
    it would look like left unchanged for 100,000 miles.

    Allow yourself ample time. I'm the type that allows fluid to drain until
    it has stopped draining completely, be it oil, tranny fluid, gear oil,

    Before beginning work, read this entire document and do understand this
    approach has served me well over the years. I cannot guarantee that you
    will succeed. If you do not feel comfortable with doing this service,
    then by all means, do not attempt to do it. It's not rocket science, but
    not everyone is wired up for this sort of work.

    ************************************************** *********************
    ************************************************** *********************

    - First gather required tools/fluids to include:

    a. At least 5 qts. of Toyota ATF WS. You may need more depending on
    what your fluid level is. 5 should suffice if your fluid level is
    at the HOT mark on the dipstick and transmission has been fully
    warmed up. Driving around the block a couple of times does not
    fully warm up the transmission. Remember, your local Toyota dealer-
    ship is your only source for Toyota ATF WS. You don't want to find
    yourself short on fluid at 9am on a Sunday when most dealership
    parts depts. are closed.

    b. Shop rags for the floor and your hands.

    c. Lint free rags to check fluid level on dipstick.

    d. Latex gloves for your hands or perhaps another material if your
    skin is sensitive to latex.

    e. Drain pan suitable for this task.

    f. Torx T-55 socket and short extension.

    g. Ratchet

    h. Long breaker bar - not necessarily required, but can come in handy
    if the drain pan Torx bit is tight. Offers greater leverage than
    shorter ratchet.

    i. Funnel suited for refill. Will insert into the transmission
    dipstick tube when it comes time to refill.

    - Drive car until transmission is fully warmed up. This take 15-20 mi.
    of consistent driving. There are 3 reasons for doing this.

    a. Hot fluid flushes out more sediment/dirt than cold fluid. You
    hopefully do not have much of this in your system, but draining
    hot will help to get more of it out.
    b. Hot fluid drains faster. Automatic transmission fluid is certainly
    lighter than motor oil, but drains quicker when good and warm.
    c. You want to check your existing fluid level before draining. The
    only way to accurately check transmission fluid level is when the
    system is fully warmed up. "Cold" level checks are good to ensure
    you have fluid, but in many cases, they do not always tell you if
    the system is low or over-filled.

    - After you've warmed up the transmission, check your fluid level with
    the engine idling and in PARK. Even though, you've warmed it up, be
    sure to first shift it through all of the gears a couple of times.
    You will of course have your foot on the brake when you do this.

    - Remove dipstick and wipe off with CLEAN-LINT-FREE-CLOTH. Dirt or
    lint can deep-six the transmission. Reinsert the dipstick and hold
    it in for a couple of seconds, then remove the dipstick and hold it
    parallel to the ground in good light so that you may easily read it.
    Fluid level should be at the HOT mark, assuming you did indeed warm
    up the transmission. Make a note in your mind where the level is if
    it's not at the HOT mark, be it low or high. More on this further down.

    - Shut off engine and remove keys from the ignition.

    - Drain and refill is done on a level surface and car is not elevated by
    any means.

    - Looking at the car from the front, the transmission drain pan is
    underneath, closer to the drivers side. It has a Torx T-55 drain plug.
    The engine oil pan uses a standard drain plug with a 14mm head, so
    it's pretty hard to confuse the two.

    - I ended up using a long 3/8" dr. breaker bar(Torx T-55 was 3/8s) to
    loosen a VERY tightly seated drain plug. Go slowly and make sure you
    have the Torx socket firmly seated. It's best to place one hand on the
    socket to ensure it stays seated and the other of course to turn the
    breaker bar counter-clockwise to loosen. The metal inside the drain
    plug can easily "round" if the Torx socket slips. In my opinion, a
    person will have to change this drain plug more than once during the
    life of their '06 Avalon. The metal inside this plug is soft and even
    with the precaution I've provided, the plug will eventually become too
    "rounded" to remove easily.

    - I noticed that as soon as the drain plug was barely loosened, fluid
    began to run out, unlike the drain plugs on automatics in transverse
    mounted engines which don't start flowing in many cases until the plug
    is further out.

    - There was no sediment of any kind on the drain plug.

    - Allow fluid to completely drain.

    - Wipe off drain plug and ensure that the gasket is still attached.
    Since this was my first drain, I reused the original gasket. It is
    a metal gasket and is tightly seated on the drain plug.

    - Reinsert and tighten drain plug. I did not use a torque wrench. I
    snugged it down with a conventional 3/8s ratchet, not too tight, but
    snug. More on this futher down.

    - At this point, I always measure exactly how much transmission fluid
    was drained. There are all sorts of ways to do this. One is to have
    a qt. size measuring cup handy. Pour in exactly 32 oz. of old fluid,
    then pour that into an empty 1 gal. water jug; the type that drink-
    ing water comes in for example. Keep track of how many of these 32 oz.
    qts. you pour in the water jug. In my cases I drained out 4 qts. +
    8 ozs. When I checked the HOT fluid level, it was at the HOT mark, so
    I needed to add 4 qts. + 8 ozs. back in on refill. If your unit was
    low when you checked it earlier, I would add in what you drained, then
    slowly top up during the refill process. If it was over-filled. I
    would guestimate how much to subtract from what you drained during the

    - Ensure your funnel is clean, not just the surface area you will be
    pouring into, but the stem area as well.

    - Remove the transmission dipstick. There are 2 dipsticks under the
    hood on an '06 Avalon. The oil dipstick is to the left looking at
    the car from the front. The transmission fluid dipstick is the one
    on the right. Set it aside in a clean area. I always wrap mine in
    a clean cloth before setting it aside.

    - Place another VERY CLEAN drain pan or first thoroughly clean the
    one used during the drain process underneath the drain plug before
    you begin the refill process. Up above you snugged down the drain
    plug, but not TOO tight. The idea here is to catch any fluid that
    might escape if you didn't tighten down the drain plug sufficiently.
    It's best to not over-do the torque on this plug.

    - Insert the stem end of the funnel into the the transmission dipstick
    tube. Slowly pour in 1 qt. of Toyota ATF WS. Afterwards, get down
    underneath and see if any fluid is draining due to a loosely fitted
    drain plug. If so, tighten just a hair, then wipe the plug area with
    a rag; then watch for more dripping. If it continues to drip, tighten
    again just a hair, then wipe with a rag to see if it's now sealed.
    If any drippage occurred, pour what's in the pan into the funnel.
    Reinstall the drain pan underneath the drain plug.

    - Pour in a 2nd qt. of Toyota ATF WS and once again, get down below and
    check for leaks at the drain plug. You should be OK now. This is just
    a precautionary measure.

    - You now have 2 new qts. of Toyota ATF WS. Continue to add based on the
    calculations made above.


    - After you've completed the refill process, clean off and reinsert the
    transmission fluid dipstick. Double check below for leaks.

    - Start the car and shift it thru the gears several times, holding your
    foot on the brake. With the engine idling and transmission in PARK,
    get out and look below again for leaks, then remove the transmission
    fluid dipstick. Wipe it off with a clean, lint-free rag and reinsert.
    Hold it in for a few seconds, then remove and hold parallel to the
    ground to check level on the stick. Because the engine is still likely
    to be warm, the fluid level may be higher than the COLD level.

    - Clean your hands and go for a drive to warm it back up. Drive it about
    15 mi. again, return home and with car parked on a level surface, once
    again recheck fluid level. It should be at the HOT mark if you drove
    it 15 mi. If it's lower, then SLOWLY add just a bit of fluid and drive
    again for a mile or so. I find that if I top it up and do not drive it
    again for a short distance, it takes awhile for the fluid to settle
    to it's true level. If the fluid level is above the HOT mark, you have
    over-filled the transmission and that is not good. You'll need to
    get back down underneath with the drain pan and pull the plug after
    first stopping the engine of course. Drain whatever amount you feel is
    necessary and be sure pan is clean as the fluid you're draining may
    be used again.

    Happy fluid changing.
    Mike Murrell

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Procedure To Change '06 Avalon Automatic Transmission Fluid

    Very helpful write-up, thanks! My drain plug, however is NOT a Torx-55. I purchased a T-55 ratchet bit and it worked to remove the plug, but when I cleaned it off and looked at it, it was a conventional hex head. It was bigger than 10mm which is the biggest size in a standard allen wrench set. I measured the dimensions on the T-55 bit and it appears the plug might be an 11mm, but that seems like an odd size.

    FWIW, I decided to change the ATF after noticing 3 or 4 odd/delayed/hard shifts within the last 2 or 3 weeks. I've had no problems at all with the tranny for the last 3 yrs, 65k mi. My local toyota parts guy thought I was crazy when I asked for the WS. He insisted I shouldn't even consider changing the fluid before 120k mi. However, when I drained the fluid it looked quite black. I put a few drips of old and new ATF on a papertowel to compare the color. After a while the drips had spread out over several square inches and the new ATF appeared pink and the old was clearly brown. Hopefully, my problems will be resolved but they were so intermittent I won't know for a couple of weeks. Thanks for the procedure, it was a tremendous help.


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