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Replacing ATF including torque converter

1490 Views 35 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  moneymo
Hey Folks,

I`m new to the Odyssey world with my 2010 Odyssey that I bought about 3 months ago. She has 160000k miles in the clock and since I have no records of the ATF ever changed I guess it`s time to change it. On my prevoius car with automatic transmission (which was a SAAB) I changed ATF by pumping out the fluid from the entire system using the transmission`s own oil pump. I simply disconnected the return line from the cooler at the tranny and drained off all the fluid while constantly topping up the system while the engine was running at idle. It took like 5 mins until I observed the clean fluid leaving the cooler indicating the whole system is flushed with new fluid. I looked around the web and this forum but I couldn`t find a detailed description of this method. So, I thought I ask around before I start exploring myself if there`s a DIY for this. Thanks!
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Hey Folks,

I`m new to the Odyssey world with my 2010 Odyssey that I bought about 3 months ago. She has 160000k miles in the clock and since I have no records of the ATF ever changed I guess it`s time to change it. On my prevoius car with automatic transmission (which was a SAAB) I changed ATF by pumping out the fluid from the entire system using the transmission`s own oil pump. I simply disconnected the return line from the cooler at the tranny and drained off all the fluid while constantly topping up the system while the engine was running at idle. It took like 5 mins until I observed the clean fluid leaving the cooler indicating the whole system is flushed with new fluid. I looked around the web and this forum but I couldn`t find a detailed description of this method. So, I thought I ask around before I start exploring myself if there`s a DIY for this. Thanks!
Welcome to the OdyClub.

Honda does not recommend the method you’re describing. In Honda’s manuals, the best way to change out the most ATF is to do 3x Drain and Fill with driving a few miles between each D&F.

There are hundreds of threads on here for the same and more than one DIYs with Videos too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! I don`t see the reason why Honda does not recommend this, it does no harm to the transmission if done properly. On the other hand, draining the fluid 3X is a huge waste and not too eco-friendly.
 

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Well. Search and read up. Hoards of debates on that here. Good luck with the searching and reading. It’s a LOT to go through.
 
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Hey Folks,

I`m new to the Odyssey world with my 2010 Odyssey that I bought about 3 months ago. She has 160000k miles in the clock and since I have no records of the ATF ever changed I guess it`s time to change it. On my prevoius car with automatic transmission (which was a SAAB) I changed ATF by pumping out the fluid from the entire system using the transmission`s own oil pump. I simply disconnected the return line from the cooler at the tranny and drained off all the fluid while constantly topping up the system while the engine was running at idle. It took like 5 mins until I observed the clean fluid leaving the cooler indicating the whole system is flushed with new fluid. I looked around the web and this forum but I couldn`t find a detailed description of this method. So, I thought I ask around before I start exploring myself if there`s a DIY for this. Thanks!
Don’t do this.
 

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Really a 3x drain and fill is more than adequate 99% of the time. There are other methods that can work, but why deviate from what Honda has outlined? They designed and built the transmission, they know what is best for it.

Unlike your 2010 with the tougher Ridgeline 5-speed AT, my Odyssey has the older model 5 speed AT that is generally considered weaker. I did a 3x drain and fill at 30k, and then I have done single drain and fills every 30k since then. At 109k, getting closer to 110k, the transmission (and the rest of the powertrain for that matter) behaves just like new. Proper maintenance is the key.
 
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"why deviate from what Honda has outlined?" Because I don`t understand the reasoning behind it. Unless it`s because Honda does not want the user to mess with the cooler lines because if they screw up something they will point at Honda that they were just following their guidelines. Instead, they make the user buy the Honda specific fluid 3X more than necessary, it certainly makes some profit. I would do the same. Sorry, I just like questioning the status quo, especially if it makes no sense. Again, I understand the reasoning for not recommending power flushing the system that some shops used to do, but this is completely different and many other enthusiasts do that on their cars, including Japanese brands.
 

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this is completely different and many other enthusiasts do that on their cars, including Japanese brands.
And Honda's transmission is also unique, like no other manufacturer's. So I tend to stick by what they've outlined. Other manufacturers also say their fluid is good for 60k, sometimes even 100k. Honda ATs are different.

Also, you are not required to use Honda fluid to do this. I personally use it, but there are others out there that work.
 
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Last time I looked at the dipstick it didn`t look bad.
Then do a single drain&fill now, and the next 30k miles later. Some folks do it every other oil change.
I think the reason your direct method to pump out the old and fill in the new won't work is that the fluid in the torque converter doesn't move until the TC locks up at highway speeds. :unsure:
Somebody recently resurrected a thread promoting your Saab method- think it might have been in the 2nd gen section.
 
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"why deviate from what Honda has outlined?" Because I don`t understand the reasoning behind it.
Did you remove the drain plug during your procedure, if not , highly recommended to remove and clean the magnet every ATF change.
You will get about a teaspoon of black sludge along with metal shavings.
 

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... I don`t see the reason why Honda does not recommend this, it does no harm to the transmission if done properly. On the other hand, draining the fluid 3X is a huge waste and not too eco-friendly.
Using the ATF cooling circuit line is an even bigger “waste“ of fluid.

If you have a Helm Publishing Honda Odyssey shop manual, look at the ATF pump / torque converter clutch / cooling circuit diagram at the beginning of the transmission service section. Disconnecting a fluid line from the cooler results in missing all of the fluid from the torque converter clutch and its clutch proportioning valve fluid pathways. That's quarts of fluid that don't get removed. You're essentially only removing ATF from the sump using that "technique" ...

... draining the sump by simply removing the drain plug gives the same result with less fluid waste.

Removing an ATF cooler line is just extra work to no extra result. Just drain, refill, drive van through all gears up to torque converter clutch lockup, go home, drain again (and repeat, repeat if you're doing a 3x drain/refill because you bought a van with an unknown service history).

Pulling a cooler line is just "re-inventing the wheel"... except, it's a square wheel.

OF
 

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There is no extra or wasted fluid involved with doing the multiple drain and fills.
You need to know that only a little more than 3 quarts drains out and is then replaced with new fluid. Doing this 3 times uses about 9 quarts of fluid, which is just a little more than the capacity of the transmission and about the same amount as you would use doing it your way.
 

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"why deviate from what Honda has outlined?" Because I don`t understand the reasoning behind it. Unless it`s because Honda does not want the user to mess with the cooler lines because if they screw up something they will point at Honda that they were just following their guidelines. Instead, they make the user buy the Honda specific fluid 3X more than necessary, it certainly makes some profit. I would do the same. Sorry, I just like questioning the status quo, especially if it makes no sense. Again, I understand the reasoning for not recommending power flushing the system that some shops used to do, but this is completely different and many other enthusiasts do that on their cars, including Japanese brands.
Issue with your method would be that it MAY just replace SOME of the ATF and not all ATF since ATF does not necessarily will be flowing from all locations until the tranny is engaged and can't do that unless you are actually on the road and moving.

Now, your method may just work if you do it 3x. Like do it once, drive around do it again and drive around and do it 1 more time. Pretty easy to check IMHO whether your method works well - do it, drive around and work all gears and then drain again to see if the ATF still looks clear and red, if so, then your method works well, if not, then you KNOW it did not drain all old fluid. Also, ATF drain bolt has magnet which is supposed to trap the metal shavings that you won't be able to clean off if you use your method.

Also, I am in team "Valvoline MaxLife" when it comes to ATF (not DW1 like most guys here swears by). Cheaper to boot and worked well for me. (the jerky shift is gone and I did use DW1 before).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Then do a single drain&fill now, and the next 30k miles later. Some folks do it every other oil change.
I think the reason your direct method to pump out the old and fill in the new won't work is that the fluid in the torque converter doesn't move until the TC locks up at highway speeds. :unsure:
Somebody recently resurrected a thread promoting your Saab method- think it might have been in the 2nd gen section.
On transmissions I`ve worked on (Aisin) that`s not the case and almost the total volume including the converter can be drained. Some oil channels of course remain unaffected, those that belong to dormant functions, but that`s negligible compared to the volume of the converter and the heat exchanger. I don`t think this transmission should be very diferent from an Aisin, but i`ll take a look, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Using the ATF cooling circuit line is an even bigger “waste“ of fluid.

If you have a Helm Publishing Honda Odyssey shop manual, look at the ATF pump / torque converter clutch / cooling circuit diagram at the beginning of the transmission service section. Disconnecting a fluid line from the cooler results in missing all of the fluid from the torque converter clutch and its clutch proportioning valve fluid pathways. That's quarts of fluid that don't get removed. You're essentially only removing ATF from the sump using that "technique" ...

... draining the sump by simply removing the drain plug gives the same result with less fluid waste.

Removing an ATF cooler line is just extra work to no extra result. Just drain, refill, drive van through all gears up to torque converter clutch lockup, go home, drain again (and repeat, repeat if you're doing a 3x drain/refill because you bought a van with an unknown service history).

Pulling a cooler line is just "re-inventing the wheel"... except, it's a square wheel.

OF
Thanks, I`ll take a look at the circuit diagram. Again, this works well in Aisin transmissions and replaces the used ATF efficiently in the converter, the heat exchhanger and the related oil lines, which is a huge mass of fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Issue with your method would be that it MAY just replace SOME of the ATF and not all ATF since ATF does not necessarily will be flowing from all locations until the tranny is engaged and can't do that unless you are actually on the road and moving.

Now, your method may just work if you do it 3x. Like do it once, drive around do it again and drive around and do it 1 more time. Pretty easy to check IMHO whether your method works well - do it, drive around and work all gears and then drain again to see if the ATF still looks clear and red, if so, then your method works well, if not, then you KNOW it did not drain all old fluid. Also, ATF drain bolt has magnet which is supposed to trap the metal shavings that you won't be able to clean off if you use your method.

Also, I am in team "Valvoline MaxLife" when it comes to ATF (not DW1 like most guys here swears by). Cheaper to boot and worked well for me. (the jerky shift is gone and I did use DW1 before).
Depending on the easyness of this job I`ll test all scenarios and see what the outcome will be. Again, the mass of fluid that remains in the torque converter and the heat exchanger that you deal with when you just drain the ATF is not comparable to the volume that remains in the oil channels of belonging to dormant functions. Maybe Honda is different. Maybe the best is to combine both methods, one full drain of the sump, refill, then cycling the fluid through the cooler line. That`s still a much better flush then just draining ATF 3x IMHO.
 
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