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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I check my level when engine is hot, it is just at the "low" mark. When I check with cold engine, it's higher than the "hi" mark (about the same distance as from "low" to "hi").

Does this mean I need to add more to it? Do you know how much more fluid is from "low" to "hi"?

This is my first time changing transmission fluid myself. Everything is easy, except for this part.

Thanks.
 

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You're right - checking the ATF level can be tricky on these vans.

The correct procedure is to check the fluid level within a minute or two of shutting down the engine after getting the drivetrain up to normal temperature and parking on a level surface. Don't bother checking it when it's cold - some fluid could drain out of the torque converter and down into the transmission case. That's not an accurate reading.

The volume of ATF between Low and Hi on the ATF dipstick is about half a quart, if I remember it correctly - it's not very much.
 

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Another trick I use to help get the level right the first time - take a level reading in the exact position the van is in before the fluid replacement (on jacks, etc.) - basically just before you loosen the drain bolt. Fill to that level or just below. That will help you get the level very close to correct before the test-drive-and-check step.

-Charlie
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. That's a good trick because the floor in the garage is definitely not level.
 

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See the fluid clearly is my problem. It's not dark like engine oil.
Use the help of a paper/shop towel:



Wrap the paper towel around the dipstick (don't move it!) then unwrap to see the level in comparison to the marks on the dipstick.

-Charlie
 

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good trick @phattyduck
just did the spring ATF drain and fill.... the transmission oil gauge aka. dipstick has holes, which makes it easier to determine the level.

wonder why the holes and cross hatch evaded the engine oil gauge.
 

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The volume of ATF between Low and Hi on the ATF dipstick is about half a quart, if I remember it correctly - it's not very much.
Does it matter what temperature the ATF level is checked at? Reading from the posts on this forum, it seems the ATF temperature varies a lot, from low 100's to over 200's degrees (F), depending on driving/cooling condition.

A 77 degree (F) variation in ATF temperature will result in, roughly, 0.25 quarts change in ATF volume, about half of the distance between the Low and Hi marks on the dipstick.

Or maybe I am too paranoid about the ATF level? I am more concerned with my Odyssey transmission than other cars due to Honda's automatic transmission reputation.
 

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Does it matter what temperature the ATF level is checked at? Reading from the posts on this forum, it seems the ATF temperature varies a lot, from low 100's to over 200's degrees (F), depending on driving/cooling condition.

A 77 degree (F) variation in ATF temperature will result in, roughly, 0.25 quarts change in ATF volume, about half of the distance between the Low and Hi marks on the dipstick.

Or maybe I am too paranoid about the ATF level? I am more concerned with my Odyssey transmission than other cars due to Honda's automatic transmission reputation.
I think you might be bit too paranoid. My rule of thumb is double-digit ATF is too cool, low to mid-100s is just fine to check and at 200 degrees, I'm sure as hell not sticking my hand as close to the engine and coolant hoses as needed to reach the teeny-tiny little grab hook on the ATF dipstick in my 2015. I have the luxury of defining this level of granularity because I have a Scangauge II that tells me the ATF temperature.

The official instructions from Honda say that the drivetrain should be up to "normal operating temperatures". So go for a drive and get everything nice and warm and worked in - don't load up the van, don't bag on it, don't do anything except drive it normally. And then find a nice level spot to park and check the fluid level.
 

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So go for a drive and get everything nice and warm and worked in
That would be a lot of driving than many assume - 5+ miles around town or 15+ highway miles - the trans fluid takes much longer to warm up than the coolant.

-Charlie
 

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That would be a lot of driving than many assume - 5+ miles around town or 15+ highway miles - the trans fluid takes much longer to warm up than the coolant.

-Charlie
Definitely - a spin around the block isn't going to be enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Do we need the engine to be warm/hot to change the transmission fluid? I guess if I am not doing the triple-change then I can change when it's cold and then drive around before checking the level.
 

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Do we need the engine to be warm/hot to change the transmission fluid? I guess if I am not doing the triple-change then I can change when it's cold and then drive around before checking the level.
Also, check the level right before you drain - when you refill add back to right at or just under that level. You will likely be perfect (or nearly so) after the warm-up-and-check drive.

-Charlie
 
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