Last post on Mar 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM
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Toyota Camry, Transmission, Sedan
#2 of 181 2003 Solara - TRANSMISSION FLUID changing
Jan 22, 2005 (7:32 am)
I have a 2003 Solara SLEv6.
Some may say I am a bit cuckoo about maintenance.
At 15k I dropped the transmission pan drained the transaxle, cleaned the pan and filter, and replaced the gasket and fluid.
At 30k I simply drained the transmission pan and transaxle and replaced the fluid. I have repeated this process TWO more times since 30k, and I'm now at 44k.
Each time I do this, at first I view the fluid as it drains as having SOME red coloring to it. But when I then transfer the fluid from the pan to a container (to dispose of it) it looks QUITE BROWN!
I can't imagine that there's much residue in my pan that this is coming from, as the pan has not been used that much.
My question is....Do you think I'm over-doing it?
I HATE to see such a brown color in my fluid, so I am obsessed with changing it. If I had a more convenient place to do this, I would probably do it every 3k miles!
Each time I drain/fill it's only 4 quarts, which costs me all of $8 at WAL-MART.
I use CASTROL DEXTRON III.
ALSO...FYI...be VERY CAREFUL as to which fluid you use. I had a BIG disagreement with the Toyota Parts Manager regarding this. He was certain that it was okay for me to put in Toyota Type IV fluid but before doing so I found a Lexus/Toyota TSB that warned NOT TO.
Jan 22, 2005 (6:19 pm)
3000-mile oil changes are probably not absolutely necessary, but I go no more than 4000 miles on my Camry, after the sludge controversy of a couple of years ago. I used to go 5000 miles on my former '97 Camry before the sludge issue came up.
That's great for you that you can look over the mechanic's shoulder. I wouldn't mind doing the same. However, if I were the mechanic, I wouldn't like it.
Checking with a torque wrench is a good idea. I never used one in the past except for specialized jobs like replacing seat belts or spark plugs, but we've got one at work now, so I do check my lugs now. I found that I was overtightening them.
H-rated tires are perfectly adequate - they're good for 118 mph, and I'm almost certain the original Solara tires were not rated higher than H.
I think you are overdoing it on the tranny fluid changes; a drain and refill every 30K miles should be enough, even if you can only get about half of it out.
Where is the fuel filter located and where did you obtain the flare nut wrench? Also, I don't think the fuel filter needs to be changed anywhere near as frequently as you're doing it.
The maintenance manual, IIRC, doesn't even mention changing the fuel filter at all under normal operating conditions. But on my lawn tractor, I'm supposed to do it every year...go figure.
#4 of 181 Re: solaraman [210delray]
Jan 23, 2005 (6:58 am)
I USED to be able to look over the mechanics shoulder, where I USED to live and bring my car. No more. I moved 2 years ago and need to find a LOCAL mechanic that I can trust.
With the tranny fluid, I just HATE draining it out and seeing it on the brown side, so I will continue to do it perhaps every 10k.
On my car the fuel filter is cylindrical in shape, perhaps about 6" long, 4" wide. It is located in front of the area where the battery is. I believe I had to take the battery out to access this area. This special wrench can be bought at SEARS. I would recommend buying a complete set of about 6 or 10. I'm not a mechanic, so I cannot tell you the real specifics, but I CAN tell you that certain nuts call for this type of wrench. You can cheat and use a plier, vice-grip, or other, but you risk damaging the nut AND not getting the job done right. These tools don't cost much more than the other box-end wrenches and will be required for several other tasks on an automobile.
You've GOT TO have the RIGHT TOOLs.
You're probably right about the manul not saying anything about changing the fuel filter. But I don't believe the manual says anything about changing the tranny fluid either. But that issue is sometimes controversial. I've actually heard some people say NEVER to change the tranny fluid. NEVER. Can you imagine? I can't.
But as I said, I believe heavily in preventive maintenance and I enjoy tinkering. So for the $$$ it's going to cost to buy the parts it's still worth it to me because I have fun at the same time AND I learn something more about my car(s).
Isn't there a saying that goes "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?
Jan 23, 2005 (4:36 pm)
Thanks for the info on the fuel filter; I will likely replace mine somewhere down the road. I only have 12,000+ miles now on my Camry.
You are absolutely right about having the right tools for the job; I've learned this in working on my cars, bicycles, and lawn mowers. Quicker, easier, and safer.
I made a mistake in my earlier post. H rated tires are good for 130 mph, IIRC. T rated tires are rated for 118 mph, and S rated for 112 mph.
You certainly don't need V rated tires on a Camry or Solara.
#6 of 181 Re: 2003 Solara - TRANSMISSION FLUID changing [solaraman2003]
Jan 27, 2005 (9:16 am)
I do think you were "over-doing it"
if you are serious about the transmission, I suggest you to have it "power flush" (which will suck out most of the fluid compare to just draining it from the pan which only drain about 1/3 of the actual fluid).
That's the reason your PINK fluid get BROWN because you are mixing that new 1/3 to the rest.
My Camry has 110K miles and I only have the tranny flushed twice (1 drain ($70, replace gasket & filter), 1 power flush ($130) I can tell you the different.
If you want a PINK looking fluid, Power Flush it. By the way, you don't have to do it every 15K or 30K. You know how you drive your car, I think 48K is about right
#7 of 181 Re: solaraman [solaraman2003]
Jan 27, 2005 (9:26 am)
I don't think it's necessary to change the tranny fluid every 10k.
The reason it's brown because when draining, you only drain out 1/3 of the fluid, so you are basiclly mixing the new PINK fluid into the BROWN fluid so it doesn't really matter how many miles you put on it will still be BROWN.
I don't know how much time and money it costs to do a tranny drain. But next time, you might want to have it power flush by a toyota dealer. You will be surprised to see the different if you really want to get the PINK looking fluid back in your tranny. And you usually don't need to do it that often,. I think you can have it done every 36-48K miles.
Same for the fuel filter. I was thinking about replacing mind too but after talking to 3 different dealers (2 I trusted told me it's not necessary since the filter supposed to last for the life time of the car unless the fuel I used has problem) I did some research from the Internet and made me believe it's not necessary.
What I do instead is to use FUEL SYSTEM CLEANER about every 2000-3000 miles
#8 of 181 Re: solaraman [loucapri]
Jan 27, 2005 (4:04 pm)
Thanks for your input.
I use TECHRON in my tank about every 12k. I understand it is THE BEST in it's class. Be careful not to buy a sister product that you'll see on the shelf that is packaged VERY similar in style/color, in fact made by the same manufacturer, but it only CONTAINS Techron, as opposed to the bottle I buy which IS Techron.
#9 of 181 Re: Transmission Fluid Changes
Jan 27, 2005 (4:06 pm)
When the weather gets warm, I am going to try to IMPROVISE and do the power-flush myself WITHOUT the fancy shmansy equipment.
I'm going to try to attach hoses to the transmission fluid tubes that run into the radiator part where it gets cooled. I'm going to put one into a pail on the ground, the other into a bucket that will contain about 15 quarts of fluid. I will then run the engine until it flows all the way thru. The only residual should be what's left in the radiator/cooler.
What do you folks think about that idea?
Jan 27, 2005 (8:55 pm)
... to both the car and the environment.
You'd be running the transmission for a short time with low or no fluid. I don't think that's a good idea.
Also, what if the bucket tips over?
Seems to me that you're just better off draining and refilling at more frequent intervals if you want cleaner fluid but don't want to spend the money on a flush.
Personally, I wouldn't get a flush either.