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A week ago I decided that 55k on the existing trans fluid was too much in my 2004 Sequoia. Knowing how bad power flushes are for any transmission (esp. GM transmissions) I went ahead and dropped the pan and changed the fluid and filter.

To do this yourself, you'll need a pan gasket and filter kit, lots of free time, 8qts (to be safe) of T-IV ATF or whatever you decide to use. (2003+ require T-IV compatible fluid). You'll also need a gasket scraper since the pan is RTV'd into place. You'll also need a long funnel.

I did mine on a drive-on Hunter alignment rack. I realize that most of you guys don't have access to one, but it's still possible to DIY. First things first:

Make sure the trans is in park and the parking brake is set.
Inspect the contents of the filter kit: make sure there is a good gasket, a filter that's shrink wrapped, and a new copper gasket for the drain plug. If anything is missing, get it. Remove the transmission dipstick.

Drain the fluid out of the transmission by removing the drain plug. Using a jack, gently lift the front of the vehicle ever so slightly to aid in getting the pan completely empty.

Now remove the 10mm head bolts (I think there's 19) holding the pan to the trans case. The rearmost middle bolt is going to be very tough, I suggest a short 10mm socket on a 1/4" drive 6" long extension. Pry gently at the corners, evenly, to drop the pan. Some fluid will be in it, so don't get wet. The dipstick tube is split, as long as the dipstick is out, the pan and lower tube will gently separate from the upper tube. There's an o-ring in there that keeps it sealed so it will be a little firm.

Once the pan is off, remove the filter. There are four bolts holding it on. Pull it gently straight down to remove. Installation of the old filter is simple, push it in, and reinstall the bolts. Make sure the two pairs of bolts go in the same place you removed it from.

You'll need to clean the pan mating surfaces on the transmission case and on the pan itself to remove the nasty RTV Toyota used. It won't let go for nothing. Use the putty knife or gasket scraper to get the bulk off. Then spray some kind of solvent like gasket remover spray or brake parts cleaner on the remainder and hit it wish a brash bristled brush.

It took me an hour with a solvent tank and two different brushes to get all the gunk off the pan. There will be only a little bit on the transmission case, but make sure you get it all. Spray some solvent on a shop rag and gently scrub at the spots to get all the residue. Make sure you don't drop any pieces into the transmission.

Once the pan and mating surfaces are SPOTLESS, prep the gasket and reinstall the pan, gently torquing the bolts down to 5 lb-ft (62 lb-in's to be exact). That is virtually nothing, so be very careful. You don't want to crush the gasket or distort the pan. When the ATF touches the gasket, it will make it swell so do NOT put any kind of adhesive or RTV on the gasket. Let it do its job.

Once the pan is back on and the drain plug is reinstalled with new washer. Get out from under the truck. Take your long funnel and add 3-4 quarts of fluid to the transmission. Start the truck and let it warm up. When temp is withing operating range (middle of the gauge), run the truck through the gears by putting the selector in R, N, D, 2, and L with your foot on the brake. Then, put it in NEUTRAL, and check the fluid level using the dipstick. You'll be low on fluid, so add some more, run through the gears, sit for a minute, and check it again. I used close to 8 quarts and it's a little bit above full.

When you get close, add fluid SLOWLY. Aim for the middle of the dipstick, but a hair high is better than a half-quart low. Once you are within the "hot" range, take the truck on a test drive, gently. Come back and check the level again and add fluid as needed.

You just saved a ton of money doing it yourself and prolonged the life of your transmission.
 

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2003 Sequoia

I’ve been meaning to ask someone about that dip stick attached to the pan. Is it necessary to take the top half of the dip stick , or just pull the transmission pan down along with the bottom half ? If so would it slide off easily with a little force ?
 

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2003 Sequoia

I’ve been meaning to ask someone about that dip stick attached to the pan. Is it necessary to take the top half of the dip stick , or just pull the transmission pan down along with the bottom half ? If so would it slide off easily with a little force ?
I just did a fluid and filter change on Saturday on my 04. The dipstick tube would not separate and I didn't feel like destroying it by forcing it. On bolt on the passenger side head. Pull the pan and whole dipstick tube out through the bottom.
I used a fine wire cup on my angle grinder and it made short work of the gasket on the pan. I used a gasket scraper for the big stuff left on the trans and used very fine steel wool to remove the rest of the old gasket material.

I had my truck up on ramps which gave me enough clearance to easily move around and drop the pan assembly.
 
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