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Transmission Fluid Drain and Fill Question ?

2133 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  AutoWerks
Hey everyone, recently did a drain and fill on my auto '10 SE, 161k miles. I only drained the pan from the bolt and refilled from the dipstick hole. I'm a little confused though as I drained 4000mL of fluid, and I added back 4000mL (4, 1qt bottles of matic s fluid) or therabout, plus a little extra (barely 250mL) for spillage I caused. I checked the dipstick and it is above the hot mark now. I let the car sit over a few days so I knew it was cold, checked again and it's still reading on the hot line. I figured a few days would be long enough to allow all fluid to seep down the dipstick hole but it's still reading too high. I've driven the car at least 30 miles to test it out and no issues. No slamming, hesitation, leaks, everything seems fine. Am I missing something here? I've checked the fluid at least 4 times at different temperatures and the dipstick is always high, regardless of temp. Obviously I'm cleaning it off before checking, so what the heck is going on?
Thanks anyone who may know what's up.
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Two tips.

1. Check your transmission fluid with your vehicle running , warmed up and in park.
2. I've read the service manuat indicates after removing the bolt, check the fluid with the dipstick tab turned 180 degrees from its original position and depressed fully
1. I feel dumb. It didn't occur to me if I tried with the x running or not. Most likely not though. D'oh! I'll check again now that it's been cold for a few days and I'll turn it on.
2. I was doing the little twist to get the dipstick seated properly, this led me to believe it was causing the improper reading as it seemed it was going further down the tube. So I will do this when I check it again.
Thank you
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Alright, I turned the car over, checked the dipstick and its sitting right at the top of the cold notch. I of course didn't take a picture of it before but remember it being around the same spot as well. Que sigh of relief. I'll need to read through my haynes manual but I don't recall it saying to check while the car is running. Its the little things those manuals neglect! Thanks everyone.
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I sympathize with the OP - getting the right fill is a major PIA. Here are my observations / opinions.

The difference between not on the stick at all - and overfull is around 8 oz's at absolute most - so you don't get much wiggle room.

Cold marks and hot marks on the stick do not correlate. If you get it full on cold it will be way overfull at hot. Full at hot will be bairly on the stick at cold?

The proper procedure from the FSM as I recall is to stick the dipstick in its correct position, then rotate it 90 degrees before pulling out.

Based on all this BS I underfill a little on a D&F and add 4 oz's at a time until i get back to the correct level which sometimes takes a bit of trial and error - and I fill it to hot level. I have also read that overfilling your trans can cause aeration of the fluid and also possibly extra pressure on the pump. However I am sure they have designed a small amount of safety factor - meaning over by 4 oz your likely OK. Overfull by a quart maybe could be an issue? Just guessing.
Very informative. For anyones future reference, I suppose if I had poured a perfect amount and got every drop out of every bottle, I addedd more than came out. 4000ml drained vs 4300ml added. But, with human error factored in, I feel that came out to about 4000ml. At idle the dipstick was a hair over the cold notch. Which sounds somewhat indicative to what you stated, so hopefully I did my shoddy math correctly haha
If I notice any issues, I'll be sure to update this post.
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