Proper way to check transmission fluid level?
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Thread: Proper way to check transmission fluid level?

  1. #1
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    Proper way to check transmission fluid level?

    I have recently encountered the "shudder" that many talk about - that led me to check the tranny fluid and it was a bit high. Funny because when I did the 3x drain and fill last month and added a magnefine and cooler, it was dead on when I was done.

    Haynes says to get the car warm (ie.. about 15 miles of driving) and check it with the engine off, in park and on a level surface. If the car is hot - ie.. 30+ miles, you should let it cool 15 minutes and then check. Others have told me to check it hot, running in park. While still others have said check it cold.. I am pretty sure you need it hot, but just want a confirmation of the best way to check it. Finally, if there is too much fluid, I have read it can lead to floaming - so my question is, how much is too much? Should the level be in-between the marks on the dipstick or at the high mark?

    thanks

    Jim

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  3. #2
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    I don't have an answer to your question but I find it hard to get a good read on the dipstick at the best of time. One side of the stick says one thing, one side another (no, I don't have it parked facing uphill on the side of a mountain ).

  4. #3
    Registered User 0dyfamily's Avatar
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    Re: Proper way to check transmission fluid level?

    Originally posted by jimmyt
    ...Haynes says to get the car warm (ie.. about 15 miles of driving) and check it with the engine off, in park and on a level surface. ...
    Jim, this mirrors what is in the Helm manual, and the owner's manual. Between the marks (or on the top or low marks).

    OF
    2003 Ody EX-L RES 103.5k OEM fogs & hitch, bbylon5 screen mod, chuck k fog mod#2, cnn 82C t-stat mod
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    1998 Accord LX174k. DIY: Haynes 676 ATF cooler; T & acc belts & tensioners.
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    Registered User William Wiles's Avatar
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    As ODYFAMILY says it needs to be on level ground with the engine OFF. This conflicts with other cars and in the past but the correct way for any vehicle is to consult the OWNERS manual. Wiyh that I find very little change in level with it hot or cold. I've never checked it cold at 0 degrees though.

  6. #5
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    My shop manual (the official Helm one) says:

    ATF Level Check

    NOTE: Keep all foreign particles out of the transmission.

    1. Warm up the engine to normal operating
    temperature (the radiator fan comes on).

    2. Park the vehicle on the level ground. Turn off the
    engine.

    NOTE: Check the fluid level within 60 90 seconds
    after turning the engine off.

    3. Remove the dipstick (yellow loop) (A) from the
    transmission, and wipe it with a clean cloth.

    4. Insert the dipstick into the transmission.

    5. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level. It
    should be between the upper mark (B) and lower
    mark (C).

  7. #6
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    thanks everyone... - joec - I have the service manual too and for the life of me I could never find that page.. as soon as you referenced it I found it! Thanks! Anyway you slice it, I have a little too much fluid in there. I might drain out 1/4 qt and see what happens - I doubt it will effect the shudder, but who knows, I noticed the shutter only after the most recent tranny fluid change.

  8. #7
    Registered User 0dyfamily's Avatar
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    Originally posted by William Wiles
    ...This conflicts with other cars and in the past but the correct way for any vehicle is to consult the OWNERS ...
    Wow, WW, you have a tremendously good memory. I sooooo forgot about this...getting it warmed up, cycling through all gears, leaving it in park, checking it with motor running on level ground for those old American auto trannies. No wonder I always felt kind of funny checking it the way Honda says to. It was always in the back of my mind, "Gee, wasn't there something else I was supposed to do? Hmmm...."

    Thanks for the memories!

    OF
    2003 Ody EX-L RES 103.5k OEM fogs & hitch, bbylon5 screen mod, chuck k fog mod#2, cnn 82C t-stat mod
    2002 Ody EX RES 96.0k OEM fogs & hitch, chuck k fog mod#1
    1998 Accord LX174k. DIY: Haynes 676 ATF cooler; T & acc belts & tensioners.
    1982 Ebbtide DynaTrak bass boat, 200hp Merc, DIY re-fit 2006-07: CMC jackplate, Teleflex Canada Steering, Torque-Shift 14-26 vari-pitch SS prop
    SNAPPER mower 5.5hp Honda


  9. #8
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    Originally posted by jimmyt
    thanks everyone... - joec - I have the service manual too and for the life of me I could never find that page.. as soon as you referenced it I found it! Thanks! Anyway you slice it, I have a little too much fluid in there. I might drain out 1/4 qt and see what happens - I doubt it will effect the shudder, but who knows, I noticed the shutter only after the most recent tranny fluid change.
    Since you're down there with your supplies out, I'd go ahead and drain the entire pan, then refill with 3.5 qts(or whatever gets you to the appropriate level).
    Definitely wouldn't hurt...

  10. #9
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    good call.. thought about doing another 3x drain and fill.. but will definitely do 1

  11. #10
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    Originally posted by jimmyt
    good call.. thought about doing another 3x drain and fill.. but will definitely do 1
    I think so. We bought our '03 with 102k on the original tranny. I immediately did the 3x drain and fill.
    I change the engine oil every 5k.
    Every 10k I do 1 drain and fill on the tranny.

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