Transmission fluid exchange - Toyota FJ Cruiser Forum
Transmissions / Transfer Cases / Traction Aids This area is for discussion, questions and problems with the FJ Cruiser's gear train, including topics on A-TRAC, VSC, locking diffs, gear ratios, manual vs. AT, etc.

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
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Transmission fluid exchange

Just a quick note for those venturing into fluid exchanges on their transmissions, as there are a lot of first-timers floating around in here and I thought a little more info on the subject might be of some benefit. I just did a fluid exchange on my 2010 FJ (A750F transmission) today at 92,xxx miles. There are several good write ups on the forums already, so that's not the point of this post. I have read a LOT of back and forth posted by different members regarding the ATF fluids and "use this one, don't use that one". To that I will say, if you feel that Toyota brand WS spec fluid is the only way to go, then use Toyota brand WS spec fluid. There are alternatives made by other major brands that are equivalents to Toyota fluids that have been proven time and time again to work just as well. If your rig is still under warranty, it would be advisable that you use Toyota brand fluids. If you still have Toyota brand ATF in your transmission and you are about to attempt your first service, expect that fluid to be brown/dark brown or possibly brown with a reddish tint, depending on miles and how your rig is driven. The harder you push it, the more broken down your fluid will be. Another thing to expect is that the Toyota brand fluid will turn a shade of dark purple after it is exposed to sunlight/oxygen. I'm not sure what the additive is, but this is a known/repeatable occurrence with this fluid. Many have speculated "my ATF must have been changed with Royal Purple" or "something is horribly wrong with my transmission". Do yourself a favor, before you panic, and do a search for "Toyota ATF turns purple" and you'll see, that this is normal.

I drained the pan, dropped the pan, and replaced the screen. I have read dozens of articles for and against the idea of dropping the pan, based on the screen being a screen and not a true filter. Since this was the first service since this vehicle was built, I elected to inspect the interior and make sure nothing was amiss. I found my screen to have some very small metallic particles suspended, which I expected. There wasn't a lot, just the typical amount I expected with a 90,000 mile transmission with the original fluid. I cleaned the pan spotless, re-installed the cleaned magnets, and put everything back together. It made me feel better. I could have not done the screen service and been fine, but it was worth the extra time and a few dollars to inspect things. I did not use Toyota branded WS on my fluid exchange. I elected to go with a reputable aftermarket WS equivalent. I can say this so far - my shift from P to R is smoother and not as abrupt and my 1-2, 3-4 shifts are smooth as silk as are my 4-3, 2-1 shifts. They weren't bad before, but they are noticeably smoother now. I did elect to buy and install the Toyota crush washers for the "check" and "drain" plugs. Could I have re-used the originals? Sure, but why? They are cheap and readily available. Good insurance. Some don't agree, but that's their decision. Again, the whole process has been outlined by several others in detail. I was just trying to clear up some misunderstandings that others have had and maybe shed some light on the small details.

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 06:02 PM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

I just changed mine in my 2007 with 52k mi. It has 54k mi now no problems. I used WS Valvoline Max life full synthetic. I didn't drop the pan though. I'm supercharged with performance shift points so shifts are firmer already so no huge noticeable shifting. I may be crazy but moving my shifter from D TO L and park etc seems a lot smoother.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-14-2017, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

Same fluid that I used. Is your supercharger something you added on (a TRD unit?) or did you buy it that way?

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 04:48 AM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

What is the manufacturer recommended change interval for an FJ tranny fluid? Is there a difference between an auto vs manual tranny service interval? TIA........
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 06:36 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

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What is the manufacturer recommended change interval for an FJ tranny fluid? Is there a difference between an auto vs manual tranny service interval? TIA........
The A750 transmission is listed as a "sealed system" filled with Toyota WS (World Standard) that is supposed to be "filled for life" and not needing changed under "normal" driving conditions. You see the number of quotation marks. The ATF for life is HUGELY debatable. Toyota says only change it at 60k intervals if used for towing or severe duty use. Most people who have chimed in on the forums have all said the same things. "I changed mine at 50,000 (50, 60, 70, 100, 120k) miles and it was brown or smelled burnt, or this or that". Filled for life? Don't think so.

So, ask 10 people, you'll probably get 10 different answers. Toyota recommends 60k severe duty/towing and nothing for regular use. I do not know what the manual trans service requirements are as I have not had reason to study those. If you are in a pinch, I can research it and let you know

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 06:52 AM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

I flushed mine with the bucket method. It was easy and made a huge difference in shift quality in my 07. I used the Valvoline fluid due to ease of purchase and have had no issues. My FJ has been wheeled and driven a lot so I am not worried about the fluid compatibility. I cannot see a downside to changing the fluid, unless you don't add back the proper amount.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 07:50 AM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

x2. I try and change whats in the pan every 10K miles just to keep newer and newer fluid introduced. It was a little scary at first trying to figure out the proper temperature to p=open the check valve at but finally got the right ECU pins jumped and the dash light made an easy job of it!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 09:15 AM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

I have an app on my cell phone called engine link. It connects to the ecu via a bluetooth/wifi adapter ELM327 and both can be bought for under $10 combined. If you dont want to figit around with jumpering wires, this would be a more convenient solution to acquire the transmission temperature.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 09:42 AM
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

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Same fluid that I used. Is your supercharger something you added on (a TRD unit?) or did you buy it that way?
I got in the Magnuson group buy, same unit basically as TRD. Magnuson built TRD for Toyota... Probably just like Valvoline or another fluid company supplies Toy with ws tranny fluid. I do use the programmer that came with the s/c to keep track of the trans temp too. It's surprising how long it takes to get the trans to the proper temp to check fill level.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 02:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Transmission fluid exchange

Quote:
cliffy previously said: View Post
I got in the Magnuson group buy, same unit basically as TRD. Magnuson built TRD for Toyota... Probably just like Valvoline or another fluid company supplies Toy with ws tranny fluid. I do use the programmer that came with the s/c to keep track of the trans temp too. It's surprising how long it takes to get the trans to the proper temp to check fill level.
I've been curious about a s/c for the FJ. I just have these priorities that keep getting in my way (food, housing, bills) Ha! Seriously though, I've started researching charger options for the FJ and would like to someday make the leap. Found any downside to it yet?

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