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4-Corners Moderator
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Hey everyone. So a month ago I decided to do some preventative maintenance on my 08 FJ and decided to dump and refill my automatic transmission fluid. I wasn't having any issues but I knew my ATF had never been changed so I decided to get it done (later found out the previous owner had it done around 80K but now I'm at 143K so I figured it was still a good idea.) This was by no means done as a proper transmission flush like at a dealership but I figured at least replacing some of the ATF with new stuff would be better than nothing.

I opened the transmission fill plug and the dump plug and let a whole bunch of black ATF pour out. Unfortunately I didn't precisely measure how much came out so after replacing the dump plug I started filling the transmission until ATF began to come out the overflow tube. After replacing the overflow plug and fill plug I turned on the FJ and shifted through all the gears and even took it for a spin around the neighborhood. I then topped it off again with a little more ATF until it once again came out the overflow tube.

In total I feel like approximately 5 quarts of ATF came out when I initially dumped it but after filling it I was only able to get approximately 2.5 to 3 quarts in before it overflows out the overflow tube. So that concerns me. And ever since doing the ATF change when I accelerate quickly from a stop I hear a sort of liquid squirting/spraying sound that seems like it could be coming from the transmission. I have felt no difference while driving or had any issues, not even the ATF temp light has come on, but the sound is definitely not normal, yet it goes away after driving for about 5 minutes or more. Is this sound familiar to anyone? Could this sound be the result of having low ATF levels in the transmission?

Any advice or insight would be awesome. Don't make my mistake and not measure how much ATF comes out and then you wont be in this situation! My idea is to pump a couple more quarts in without the overflow open, let the transmission run and cycle through gears until it reaches operating temp, and then open the overflow to see what comes out at that point with the hope that the extra liquid will circulate and surely fill up any empty areas. Does this seem like a good plan??

Thanks in advance for any ideas or insight you have!

For fun, here is a photo of some of the ATF that came out vs what I was putting in.
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I just did the exact same thing. Transmission sounded like the last part of a slurpee being consumed. Slurp! I think the issue is that the transmission needs to be filled with the engine running. This way the torque converter is filled with fluid while checking.

Im not looking forward to attempting to top mine off with a hot cat inches from the fill hole. Going to take finesse. Wondering if there is a dipstick available from a truck that uses the same transmission and actually has maintenance in mind.
 

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I just did the exact same thing. Transmission sounded like the last part of a slurpee being consumed. Slurp! I think the issue is that the transmission needs to be filled with the engine running. This way the torque converter is filled with fluid while checking.

Im not looking forward to attempting to top mine off with a hot cat inches from the fill hole. Going to take finesse. Wondering if there is a dipstick available from a truck that uses the same transmission and actually has maintenance in mind.
Run a tube down the firewall to the trans fill hole. Fill from the engine bay.
Don't burn yourself.
 

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So temperature is key to properly servicing your transmission. You can get your transmission temp with some scan tools or just use a temp gun on the transmission pan. Basically your looking for 100F. My 2013 says 97-115. That's when you want to check your overflow. Once you are in that temp range with the engine idling open your overflow and let it drain out until you get it down to a small trickle and close it and you are done. Just make sure you are on level ground and your engine is running when you do this.

If you are not satisfied with the color of the fluid draining out you can do this several times. When you pull the drain plug you normally drain about 3 quarts give or take. After each time you fill it run through the gears to help circulate the fluid. I normally spend about 5 seconds in each gear.

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4-Corners Moderator
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Discussion Starter #6
Can you confirm the FJ was running at operating temp when you refilled the trans?
It was not running while filling, I will need to do that it sounds like!

I just did the exact same thing. Transmission sounded like the last part of a slurpee being consumed. Slurp! I think the issue is that the transmission needs to be filled with the engine running. This way the torque converter is filled with fluid while checking.

Im not looking forward to attempting to top mine off with a hot cat inches from the fill hole. Going to take finesse.
Sounds similar to whats happening to me. And yeah filling without getting burned will be tricky! I will wear gloves for sure!!

So temperature is key to properly servicing your transmission. You can get your transmission temp with some scan tools or just use a temp gun on the transmission pan. Basically your looking for 100F. My 2013 says 97-115. That's when you want to check your overflow. Once you are in that temp range with the engine idling open your overflow and let it drain out until you get it down to a small trickle and close it and you are done. Just make sure you are on level ground and your engine is running when you do this.

If you are not satisfied with the color of the fluid draining out you can do this several times. When you pull the drain plug you normally drain about 3 quarts give or take. After each time you fill it run through the gears to help circulate the fluid. I normally spend about 5 seconds in each gear.
Thanks for the advice, I have a heat gun so I will use that for sure. This following YouTube video I watched actually shows how close the temp. on the pan using a heat gun is to using the ATF temperature sensor and a computer to read it.

Sounds like I will fill it up, get it running, and when the desired temperature is reached, I will open that overflow plug. Might even buy another 5 quarts and do the process a couple more times to make it more like a true flush.
 

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Heres how I change all my fluid. Run the hose from under the hood to the fill plug. Tape a small funnel to top of hose for easy filling. Unhook the top trans hose from the bottom drivers side of the radiator. Hook another hose a couple foot long right where you just took off that trans hose off the radiator. I use a old oil bottle so you can measure what comes out. Turn on the FJ and watch the bottle. It will take about 10-15 seconds for two quarts to come out. Measure what you took out and replace with the exact amount of new fluid poured into the funnel. It will take about 12 - 14 quarts to get all the fluid changed. I`ve done this several times and my FJ performs perfectly. Hope this helps :)
 
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The temp range should be between 115 and 130 if memory serves. The trans flush thread has the best methods.
 

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4-Corners Moderator
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Discussion Starter #9
Went ahead and filled the transmission with about 3 more quarts of ATF, then I ran the engine for a while while cycling through gears until the temperature raised and then I opened the overflow plug. About a quart or so came out so it definitely ate up the extra ATF. Took it for a test run and didn't hear the noise. Tomorrow I will test it again after it is able to settle and cool down completely and we will see for sure if that did the trick. Thanks everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
So just an update, the last thing I did DID solve the noise I was hearing.

This is what I learned about filling up the ATF, you need to do it while the engine is running, and you have to let it run for quite some time so it can get up to temperature, not just cycle through the gears and let it run for 10 minutes like I thought. It takes longer for the ATF to heat up and expand before you open the overflow drain and let the overflow pour out, leaving you with the proper amount of ATF.

After seemingly fixing the issue though, I ran into another hick-up when I started noticing a little bit of ATF dripping from underneath the FJ. I found it was coming out of one of the automatic transmission cooling tubes that connects the transmission to the radiator (can't remember if it was the sending or return line.) What had happened was the hose was just ever so slightly rubbing against the engine fan shroud and had started to wear through the plastic hose, to the point that the increased pressure of the ATF in the system with all I was doing was able to split the hose and squirt out ATF all over the place.

Luckily the split was near the end of the hose, so I removed the hose from the connection, cut off the bad section, and there was still enough slack in the hose to re-connect it without any issues or leaks! Took it to Moab the next day and have had no issues! Nice to know a little bit of handy work can solve simple issues like this one!
 
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