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.
Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield!