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Most manufacturers have now gone to what is known as a "sealed tranny". What this really means is that they removed the dipstick. They did this for several reasons including ease of assembly on the line, cost savings of the part itself, but most importantly taking away the dipstick means you have to go to the dealer for any transmission service because you can't check your own fluid anymore. In the old days, sales profits ran the dealership and service was a necessary evil. Nowadays sales profits are not enough to keep the ship afloat and the service department profits are needed more than ever. thus the dipstick disappeared.
As far as lifetime fluid is concerned, if you read the fine print, lifetime fluid needs to be changed under severe conditions. If you use your truck at all off-road, you are operating under severe conditions. I have worked in the transmission industry for over 50 years and if I have learned one thing about transmission longevity it's this. Changing your fluid on a regular basis is the key to a real lifetime transmission.
I agree. I just flushed mine after about 50K miles of severe use (with a transmission cooler). Off road use, several towing trips (some near capacity), cross country trips, driving too fast when not towing, and etc.

The fluid needed to be changed (dark cherry color), but was not burnt. Took 11 quarts to get a nice new color. I also dropped the pan and changed the strainer & cleaned the magnets.

I would not want to go a 'lifetime' without changing it.
 

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this thread is why i love the fj forum, alive for almost 10 years and still active. i recently picked up a 2011 tt with 95k miles. everything is mint condition. all the diy projects I researched before buying and had planned to do are already done. zerks all greased. Coolant fresh and new. Brake fluid perfect(need new pads and rotors but that’s easy). I spoke to the service rep when I had it inspected and they said there were no records(using Carfax and Toyota dealer records) of the transmission fluid being drained or flushed. It feels like the previous owner babied this truck and probably did it at some point. Id hate to do a flush if its already been done recently. Anyway. Can I just open that #30 torx bolt and put a straw in and draw some fluid out to take a look before I dump it all and do something that’s not needed? Is that a terrible idea?
 

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Pulling a few drops of fluid out and "looking at it" won't tell you squat. A few drops on a white paper towel might look pretty clean, but drain a gallon into a translucent container and it will be black.

If you can't absolutely confirm that the fluid WAS changed, you've got to assume that it wasn't, and either perform a full flush, or 4 sequential pan-drain-and-fill cycles.

Even if the vehicle was "babied" by the previous owner, 95K miles is WAY too much on the original fluid.

With the known issue with the A750F transmission developing lockup-clutch judder problems, fluid changes every 30-50K miles (depending on severity of use) is a cheap way to help the transmission survive to 300K+ miles.
 

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I agree. I just flushed mine after about 50K miles of severe use (with a transmission cooler). Off road use, several towing trips (some near capacity), cross country trips, driving too fast when not towing, and etc.

The fluid needed to be changed (dark cherry color), but was not burnt. Took 11 quarts to get a nice new color. I also dropped the pan and changed the strainer & cleaned the magnets.

I would not want to go a 'lifetime' without changing it.
I can only imagine what the color or state of ATF would have been if used without the transmission cooler. One of the reasons I do drain and fill very 30k even with the Hayden 679 installed.
 

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Finally getting back to this...
I did this procedure over the weekend, so for anyone looking to do it also, here is what you will need:

16 qts of WSATF from your dealer.
an empty 5qt oil jug that has the little see thru part and qt marks on the side (most of the oil jugs have them)
about 4 feet of 1/2"ID x5/8"OD clear plastic tubing
a funnel that fits inside the tubing above
( i picked up the tubing and a 1/2 pint funnel at HD for about $10 total)
a short length of clear tubing (3/8" I think) to drain the old fluid.
a 24mm box end wrench to get the fill plug off.

Procedure:
Start by opening the fill plug with the wrench, its on the passenger side toward the rear of the gearbox. Clean it up and set it aside.
From the engine compartment run the 1/2" tubing from the middle of the firewall back down to the fill port keeping it away from the exhaust pipe and cats. The 5/8" OD fits the fill port pretty nice and should not fall out once you push about 3/4" of it in there. I only pushed that much in and it did not leak while filling. Attach your funnel to the other end of the tube and tape it up with some electrical tape just in case.
Locate and remove the black tube on the bottom line of the radiator, this is the return line to the gearbox. Put your clear tube on the radiator nipple now showing. If it is snug you don't need a clamp since there is very little pressure. Put the other end into your empty 5 qt jug.
Now start your engine and watch as the old fluid goes into the jug. It should take about 10-15 seconds to dump 2 qts. Stop the engine and put that much new fluid back in by pouring it into the funnel. Repeat this until you have gone thru all 16 qts. Make sure that each time you dump some, you put exactly that much back in. By the time you have gone thru all the new fluid, the old fluid coming out should look new too...
Now clean up, put the plug back in, the return line on the radiator and give it a test drive.
This is from memory so if I forgot something, please post up...
Hope it helps..
Last step is to remove the overflow plug and drain while the engine is running and after having been driving for about 20 minutes to heat up the ATF to operating temp.
 

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So I hit my 100k service mark and did a DIY transmission flush.

Here is what I did... It was pretty much what Bartt did but notice the added remarks and my tweaks (not better... just different)

  • Picked up 16 qts of WS ATF from the dealer. ($9.92 per qt)
  • Used an empty 5qt oil jug that has the little see thru part and qt marks on the side.
  • Got 4 feet of 1/2"ID x 5/8"OD clear plastic tubing from Lowe's (thought it would be too short but it is plenty... for a 2007 FJ, anyway).
  • Got a funnel that fits inside the 4' long tubing.
  • Got a 1 foot long 3/8" OD clear plastic tubing from Lowe's
Procedure:
- Opened the fill plug with the wrench

- From the engine compartment ran the 1/2" tubing from the middle of the firewall back down to the fill port keeping it away from the exhaust pipe and cats. The 5/8" OD fits the fill port pretty nice and did not/should not fall out once you push about 3/4" of it in there. (The trick to keep it from leaking is to keep the tube as straight as possible so the ATF flows quickly into the transmission. It took me a few quarts to figure this out. To compensate, I would stick the hose in the tranny as much as I could... about 2" -- REMEMBER to pull the hose back to 3/4" depth BEFORE you start the engine or you might just get more than ATF in your transmission. Better tip... keep the tube from drooping and you shouldn't have any leaking when the hose is only 3/4" inside the fill hole.

- Locate and remove the black hose on the bottom line of the radiator (I removed the black hose from the metal tube that runs along the bottom of the radiator. Then I stuck the 3/8" OD clear tube into the black rubber hose. This worked fine and was easier to reach and work with.) I put the other end of the clear tube into the empty 5 qt jug.

- Started the engine and watched as the old fluid goes into the jug. It took about 20 seconds to dump 3 qts. (I hope that wasn't too much, but I figured it would be ok as draining the pan will empty 3.8 qts).

- Stopped the engine and put that much new fluid back in by pouring it into the funnel (My accuracy was a little shaky because the fluid would leak out of the hose/transmission fill plug). I wanted to repeat this until went thru all 16 qts. (Unfortunately I was running out of time and the fluid was looking good so I only ran through a total of 13 quarts... I flushed about 12.5 qts then used the remaining 1/2 quart to top off the transmission.

- The way I measured/assumed the correct amount of fluid in the tranny was to remove the overflow bolt on the bottom of the pan. I poured ATF in the transmission until the fluid started flowing out of the overflow hole. I then let it drain out until it was just a trickle while the motor was idling.

So far I have driven about 30 city miles and 410 highway miles with no issues.

Here are my two questions:
1. Do you see anything listed above that would make you nervous?

2. Does unopened ATF have a short shelf life? (I have 3 quarts leftover but I plan on doing 30k pan drains from here on out. I want to hang on to those 3 quarts and then pick up 1 more qt when I get ready to drain the pan... 30k miles from now.)
You should do the overflow step while the engine is running and the ATF is at operating temp from after a 15-20 minute drive. A Toyota certified mechanic told me about how to drain to the correct level.
I think that it would be good to have the tranny and old ATF at oper temp before starting the flush so that all flushes smoother.
 

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Quick question on the flush. Would it be better to drain the pan and refill with new fluid first then start the process of flushing. That way you don't contaminate the new fluid you put into the trans. After pumping the first 2 qts. Out and it would eliminate at least one cycle.
 
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