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      05-02-2013, 03:44 PM   #1
droptop335
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How to check auto trans fluid level?

Sorry this is a simple question. I am getting some tranny fluid on my garage floor, and have an appt in a couple of weeks to get it looked at. In the meantime I want to check to make sure I haven't lost too much fluid and whether I need to top off. There isn't much on my garage floor, but the car is also parked at work every day, so I don't know how much I've lost.

Tried a search and came up with too many hits to wade through. Thanks in advance for the help.
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      05-03-2013, 01:24 PM   #2
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You'll need to drive around to heat the transmission up, put the car on a lift or jack stands (level), and open the fill plug on the transmission. Fluid should be weeping out if it's full. Otherwise you'll need to add fluid until it starts to come back out the hole. Unfortunately there's not a dipstick or an easy way to check.
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      05-03-2013, 01:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squark View Post
You'll need to drive around to heat the transmission up, put the car on a lift or jack stands (level), and open the fill plug on the transmission. Fluid should be weeping out if it's full. Otherwise you'll need to add fluid until it starts to come back out the hole. Unfortunately there's not a dipstick or an easy way to check.
Oh, how convenient...
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      05-03-2013, 04:24 PM   #4
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If you open that fill hole a lot of fluid is going to come out. Yes, out of the fill hole. I'd leave it be for now personally.

Fluid leak is probably coming from the tranny pan gasket or mechatronics sleeve.
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      05-03-2013, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PINeely
If you open that fill hole a lot of fluid is going to come out. Yes, out of the fill hole. I'd leave it be for now personally.

Fluid leak is probably coming from the tranny pan gasket or mechatronics sleeve.
If that's the way the tranny is filled (until fluid comes out of the hole), and I have been leaking fluid, how is it possible that fluid would come out when the hole is opened? I can't have more fluid now than when it was filled.
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      05-03-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droptop335 View Post
If that's the way the tranny is filled (until fluid comes out of the hole), and I have been leaking fluid, how is it possible that fluid would come out when the hole is opened? I can't have more fluid now than when it was filled.
It makes no sense but that's what happens. A lot of that fluid is in the torque converter which seeps back down into the pan when the car isn't running. If you run the car it goes back to the converter but then the fluid heats up and expands. So basically if the fluid isn't at exactly the right temperature and exactly the right amount isn't in the torque converter, about half a quart of fluid is going to pour out.

I was pretty alarmed the first time I did a fluid change because so much came out of the fill hole. I actually thought I had removed the drain plug by mistake at first.
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      06-03-2013, 01:28 PM   #7
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I just did my tranny drain / fill last week - keep the engine running, then open the fill hole, if its low on oil it wont drip out, slight drip out means you're fine - with out engine running you'll drip 1.25 Qrts, thats the silver bullet in tranny DIYs
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      06-03-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 007_e350 View Post
I just did my tranny drain / fill last week - keep the engine running, then open the fill hole, if its low on oil it wont drip out, slight drip out means you're fine - with out engine running you'll drip 1.25 Qrts, thats the silver bullet in tranny DIYs
+1 on this! Engine must be running to check transmission fluid level.
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      06-03-2013, 04:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biz77
Quote:
Originally Posted by 007_e350 View Post
I just did my tranny drain / fill last week - keep the engine running, then open the fill hole, if its low on oil it wont drip out, slight drip out means you're fine - with out engine running you'll drip 1.25 Qrts, thats the silver bullet in tranny DIYs
+1 on this! Engine must be running to check transmission fluid level.
And I assume it must be at operating temp as well.
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      06-03-2013, 05:51 PM   #10
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Fluid temp should be between 86 and 122 degrees F.
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      06-03-2013, 06:22 PM   #11
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This time of year, operating temp should arrive pretty quickly.

According to Bentley service manual, 86 degrees is ideal, and an accurate reading is not possible above 122.
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