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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,


***THIS IS NOT A POWER FLUSH. NO ADDED PRESSURE IS BEING APPLIED TO THE TRANSMISSION SO THERE IS NO CHANCE OF DAMAGE IF DONE PROPERLY***

***THIS METHOD EFFECTIVELY REMOVES ALL THE OLD TRANSMISSION FLUID WHILE REPLACING IT WITH COMPLETELY NEW FLUID WITHOUT ANY CROSS CONTAMINATION***


I'm a little bit OCD when it comes to maintaining my cars, so I wanted to share with anyone that might have my "disorder" that wants to change their transmission fluid (AUTOMATICS ONLY).

So the procedure regarding the drain and fill on our cars (seen here: http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/diy-honda-civic-transmission/282957-r18-automatic-transmission-fluid-change-atf-diy.html) changes less than half of the actual transmission fluid. 2.5 qts of the supposed 6.2 qt capacity. So, that means that every time you change the fluid, you're never really getting all of it out since it mixes with the new fluid. This is why a drain and fill drives me nuts, because I always want everything to be super fresh and new.

Now I'll admit, I've not seen many transmission failures (just 2) in R18 cars in my years in a shop, and both had around 90,000 miles on them and had never had the fluid changed. So likely, you're not ever going to have a problem during the life of the car if you do drain and fills every 30k.

However, I don't like to leave old fluid, I like it all to be new. If you do too, then here's how to do it (as best as possible anyway).

***Note, I intended this to be a guide to supplement the other DIY transmission fluid change article and hence, I didn't snap pics of things like the drain plug and such***

Needed tools:

I wont list every single tool, but here's a good summary.
10-17 mm sockets
3/8" wrench
Extensions
Decent "mid sized" pliers
Measuring pitcher
Appropriate disposal methods for waste ATF.
Ramps/Jackstands
Jumper cables (eh? You'll see later on)
Long Narrow Funnel
Appropriate eye protection and footwear



Needed Supplies:
At least 6 qts (I recommend 7 or 8) of ATF-Z1 fluid or equivalent. I used Valvoline full synthetic.
Some rubber fuel line, maybe 3 feet (5/16"? I'm guessing, I used vinyl tubing I had from work).
Paper towels are nice
Engine degreaser if you make a mess like I did. :)


Step 1)
I didn't warm the car up all the way but found that simply starting it, driving out of the garage, positioning the ramps, driving the car up the ramps and then shutting it off was enough. Total time was maybe 3 minutes of idling, but I was surprised at how warm the fluid was already. It was 65 degrees today.



Step 2)

Drain the old fluid via the 3/8" drain plug. You will drain roughly 2.5 quarts. Clean the drain plug of metal filings. Be sure to watch if the oil actually makes it into the drain pan. Oops.



Step 3) Replace the drain plug and fill up with three quarts. Don't worry about checking the level yet (you'll see why soon enough). Here's the transmission dipstick if you weren't sure. DON'T START THE CAR YET!





Step 4) Remove the battery (make sure you have your stereo code if you have the factory radio). Wait what? Trust me, I'll explain later why it makes it a lot easier.





Step 5) Remove the "lower intake hose", held by two 10 mm bolts to the battery tray. Yeah I know my battery is still there in the pic...



The two bolts holding the intake hose are on the left. There are four bolts holding the battery tray to the frame. They are 12 mm bolts, but make sure you know which ones go on top and which ones go underneath. They are different lengths. They are easy to distinguish (at least on my car) because the top bolts had paint on them and the bottom ones didn't.



You can see about where the bolt is underneath near the back by where my hand is holding the wrench.


It helps to be left handed. :D


To remove the battery tray, there is a single 10mm bolt holding the positive terminal cable to the tray and also the coolant overflow tank needs to come off. Just pull and it slides off.



Step 6) (I personally removed the plastic intake box in the front fender area, but you don't have to). I am going for a hot air intake anyway so I wanted the "black box" to be gone.

Okay, real step 6, undo the TOP of the two hoses that are sticking out from the FRONT of the cooler. Don't undo the larger top most hose, that is the coolant feed.






Step 7) Here's where you need the MARKED measuring pitcher (that can accurately be read to the nearest 1/10th quart roughly). Stick the rubber tubing on the metal nipple of the transmission cooler and route it so that it will fill up your pitcher on the ground under your car. (Sorry, no pic).


Step 8) ***IF YOU DON'T HAVE A FRIEND TO WATCH THE PITCHER, BE CAREFUL.***

Connect your battery via the jumper cables to the battery terminals. Don't let them touch together. SPARKS!! :)

Start the car and immediately shift into reverse (HOLD THE BRAKE). Count to 5 seconds. Shift to Drive. Count to 5 seconds. Shift to 2, count to 5 seconds, then shut off the engine. You should be safe, but the reason I said be careful is because you don't want to run the car out of fluid. A friend should observe the pitcher level and then tell you to shut off the car if it passes the 2 quart mark.

***I PERSONALLY DID THIS ALONE AND WATCHED IT MYSELF. IT TOOK AROUND 35 SECONDS TO PUSH OUT 2 QUARTS, BUT TO BE SAFE, I AM SAYING 15 SECONDS. THAT SHOULD LEAVE MORE THAN PLENTY OF FLUID IN THE TRANSMISSION SO THAT NOTHING RUNS DRY.***


Step 9) See how much fluid came out of the car into your pitcher. If it was only a quart or so, then fill up the transmission via the dipstick hole with how much that came out (estimate is fine), just as long as it's roughly the same that came out.


Step 10) Repeat the Reverse 5, Drive 5, Second 5 cycle again. The reason I skip D3 and 1 is because drive puts you in 1st gear only, as does D3 and 1. However "2" locks you in second gear, so it shifts into second even when the car is stationary. Does it make a difference if you cycle new fluid into 2nd gear? No idea.

***OBSERVE AND REPEAT UNTIL ROUGHLY 5-6 QUARTS HAVE COME OUT TOTAL***

The stated capacity of the transmission according Amsoil is 6.2 quarts, so around 6 quarts worth of cycling through the fluid should have gotten all of the old stuff out.

After you have finished getting rid of 5-6 quarts, DON'T FILL THE TRANSMISSION JUST YET, YOU NEED TO BE ON A LEVEL SURFACE TO CHECK THE FLUID LEVEL. BEING A QUART LOW FOR A FEW MOMENTS IS OKAY, TRUST ME.


Step 11) Now reconnect the cooler line, reassemble the intake box, battery tray, etc etc. and drive the car off the ramps.


Step 12) Now that you are on a level surface, do the "Reverse 5, Drive 5, Second 5" method but this time instead of shutting the car off, put it in PARK and shut the car off. Now check the fluid level with the dipstick within 60 to 90 seconds after you have shut the car off. If you need to add fluid, do so accordingly a little at a time and repeat the fill and check procedure until you are in the crosshairs of the dipstick.

Now you're done! :)





So why to go through all those extra steps?

When you drain the transmission via the drain plug and fill up with 2.5 quarts, you only drain half of the fluid and mix the old fluid with the new. That means that even 10 minutes later if you change the fluid again, you're not getting all of the old fluid out because it's mixed with the new fluid.

This way of draining the transmission oil means that ONLY NEW OIL is pumped through the transmission because you are filling up the "reservoir" in the drain pan area and pushing the old fluid out directly into a container while supplying the rest of the transmission with completely new fluid. This means much less cross contamination compared to the drain and fill method.

Does it really make a big difference?

I'd like to think so, but honest I have no data to back it up though. However, I've done mine and my family's vehicles this way for over 10 years and have seen some incredible mileage out of some automatics that surprise a lot of people, such as my old Mercury Sable (known for bad transmissions) that did 230,000 miles on the original transmission. Just 30k mile transmission "flushes" and the car never had any problems until I gave it away. My Tacoma is the same way with 160k and it shifts very very smoothly, no typical Toyota 1st to 2nd lurch.

Okay, hope this helps anyone that was wondering if there was a way to completely flush the transmission of all the old fluid vs. a simple drain and fill.

Happy oil changing and may your automatic live long and prosper!

-RH Polarbear
 

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Great Job!!!! Think you are the only person on this forum who is not a knucklehead on how to change the ATF in your Honda Civic. You identified the problem and came up with what I believe is a GREAT solution. Thanks!!!

Sincerely,
J. Lightning
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Do u think i could use ATF-DW1? I couldnt find the Z fluid in amazon
Hey, just going by what your moniker says "808" if you're in Hawaii, O'Reillys stocks Z1 fluid over here. $7.99 a quart is what I paid and used. Sorry, no info on DW1.

@J lightning

Working with cars for years (new and old models) made me realize that factory procedures and maintenance intervals aren't always good things to follow. Best thing is that if you know how cars work, then trust your instincts as long as it's backed up by data. :)
 

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Hey, just going by what your moniker says "808" if you're in Hawaii, O'Reillys stocks Z1 fluid over here. $7.99 a quart is what I paid and used. Sorry, no info on DW1.



@J lightning



Working with cars for years (new and old models) made me realize that factory procedures and maintenance intervals aren't always good things to follow. Best thing is that if you know how cars work, then trust your instincts as long as it's backed up by data. :)

Oreilleys carrys genuine honda fluids? Awesome! I thought i could get honda fluids from the honda dealer. But thats good to know, oreilleys is the closest autoparts store to my house anyway. Btw, yes that is correct, i am from hawaii, unfortunately. I see myself paying more than what you paid for your fluid, since everything here is more expensive than there since everything has to be brought here by ship from the mainland. But its nice to know i can go somewhere other than the dealer for honda fluids, they charged me $41 for a gallon of antifreeze last time i went, seems a bit unreasonable. Ive done some reading around and the DW1 is supposedly hondas new synthetic atf fluid and is slowly phasing out the Z1, and also if backward compatible, so they can be mixed. I think i will do a drain and fill for now, i got my civic at 90k miles and have absolutely no idea if the atf fluid has ever been changed, a tranny oil change is supposed to be worse if the transmission has never had an oil change, the old oil would have some friction in it while the new oil would be too slippery for the old gears and cause them to slip, so basically, youre doomed to use the old fluid until the transmission gets rebuilt. But if i still can change the fluid out, i will defiantly try your method, i agree drain and fills seem pointless. But thank you for the reply and atf flush method


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Discussion Starter #6
^^Valvoline full synthetic ATF (I think it says "Import vehicles") on the bottle is what I used, no issues, actually I think it's doing much better now and I only have 28 or 29k on my car. On the back it says "compatible with Honda ATF-Z1". $7.99, bought mine from the Salt Lake O-Reillys by Sack N' Save/Office Max in that mall area.

In regards to fluid and changing it, you're right in a sense but I'll clarify.

Automatics have clutches (tiny ones) that hold the gear in place so to speak. When a certain gear is selected, the clutch pack is "locking" the gear in place. When a transmission starts to slip, it's not the gears that are slipping but the clutch packs themselves. Old fluid if you think of it, still has a bunch of "crap" from the worn off clutch plates which aids in the clutches being able to grab. However if you change out the fluid, all of a sudden that crap is gone and the clutches which were grabbing before are now slipping because the fluid is clean. Normally this isn't an issue if the fluids have been changed regularly because the friction modifiers of fresh fluid protect the clutches from wearing quickly and provide the necessary friction so that they don't slip.

Personally I would get the fluid changed completely because if you keep the old fluid in, it will degrade further and further and you'll start toasting other more expensive things like bearings, torque converters, input shafts, etc.

Up to you though, you know your car better than me of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just wanted to update with a few random bits of info.

Honda ATF-DW1 is the "upgrade" replacement for Z1. I visited the dealer recently and this was out of the mouths of the main techs that I know. The fluid cost was also only $.20 more than the Valvoline that I used (it's 2014 now), so in a few years time who knows, but it wasn't that much more expensive. I am not sure however if the fluid was "dyno oil" or "synthetic" forgot to ask, but it is a direct replacement for Z1.

Secondly, car has done 1,000 miles now and the shifts are getting "stickier" again. I drained some more fluid to look at it and it was a lot dirtier than I was expecting. I am going to flush it again in a few weeks since the original fluid smelled a bit burnt in the first place, and see if any new junk comes out.
 

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I was working with a Honda tech recently on an issue. Anyway, I brought up this ATF flush.

He said Honda (At the dealership) highly recommends *against* ATF flushes.

But... I think he means with a machine. This method is probably safe.

Any thoughts from a Honda technician?
 

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Thank you for the excellent writeup. I tackled this with my girlfriend and it went really well overall.

She had about 78,000 miles on the car and is a fairly aggressive driver. This is the first transmission service of any kind to her knowledge so it was likely the original fluid. Dealer had said the fluid was burnt and I was concerned about exchanging all fluid if the transmission had already suffered some excessive wear. The fluid was a dark maroon (but I disagree that it was burnt) and although it had some copper chunks in it, it didn't look bad. We used O-Reilly brand non-synthetic and haven't had any issues yet.
 

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Used to do this on my 93 Acura back in 2003, excellent way to get most of the fluid out, especially on unknown service vehicles and then do drain and fill every 15k miles after the "flush". No real Honda tech will tell you this method is sanctioned by Honda, because there is a risk that you'll toast your tranny if you don't shut off the engine on time. On my 93, I also went ahead and dropped the pan and cleaned the magnets as well as replacing the mesh filter.

One thing I've noticed was, ALWAYS use Honda ATF on Honda automatic transmissions. Anything else, just doesn't work.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Hi all,


***THIS IS NOT A POWER FLUSH. NO ADDED PRESSURE IS BEING APPLIED TO THE TRANSMISSION SO THERE IS NO CHANCE OF DAMAGE IF DONE PROPERLY***

***THIS METHOD EFFECTIVELY REMOVES ALL THE OLD TRANSMISSION FLUID WHILE REPLACING IT WITH COMPLETELY NEW FLUID WITHOUT ANY CROSS CONTAMINATION***


I'm a little bit OCD when it comes to maintaining my cars, so I wanted to share with anyone that might have my "disorder" that wants to change their transmission fluid (AUTOMATICS ONLY).

So the procedure regarding the drain and fill on our cars (seen here: http://www.8thcivic.com/forums/diy-honda-civic-transmission/282957-r18-automatic-transmission-fluid-change-atf-diy.html) changes less than half of the actual transmission fluid. 2.5 qts of the supposed 6.2 qt capacity. So, that means that every time you change the fluid, you're never really getting all of it out since it mixes with the new fluid. This is why a drain and fill drives me nuts, because I always want everything to be super fresh and new.

Now I'll admit, I've not seen many transmission failures (just 2) in R18 cars in my years in a shop, and both had around 90,000 miles on them and had never had the fluid changed. So likely, you're not ever going to have a problem during the life of the car if you do drain and fills every 30k.

However, I don't like to leave old fluid, I like it all to be new. If you do too, then here's how to do it (as best as possible anyway).

***Note, I intended this to be a guide to supplement the other DIY transmission fluid change article and hence, I didn't snap pics of things like the drain plug and such***

Needed tools:

I wont list every single tool, but here's a good summary.
10-17 mm sockets
3/8" wrench
Extensions
Decent "mid sized" pliers
Measuring pitcher
Appropriate disposal methods for waste ATF.
Ramps/Jackstands
Jumper cables (eh? You'll see later on)
Long Narrow Funnel
Appropriate eye protection and footwear

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014584_zps94165deb.jpg]image
[/URL]

Needed Supplies:
At least 6 qts (I recommend 7 or 8) of ATF-Z1 fluid or equivalent. I used Valvoline full synthetic.
Some rubber fuel line, maybe 3 feet (5/16"? I'm guessing, I used vinyl tubing I had from work).
Paper towels are nice
Engine degreaser if you make a mess like I did. :)


Step 1)
I didn't warm the car up all the way but found that simply starting it, driving out of the garage, positioning the ramps, driving the car up the ramps and then shutting it off was enough. Total time was maybe 3 minutes of idling, but I was surprised at how warm the fluid was already. It was 65 degrees today.

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014583_zps02bf5188.jpg]image
[/URL]

Step 2)

Drain the old fluid via the 3/8" drain plug. You will drain roughly 2.5 quarts. Clean the drain plug of metal filings. Be sure to watch if the oil actually makes it into the drain pan. Oops.
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014610_zps604ed170.jpg]image
[/URL]


Step 3) Replace the drain plug and fill up with three quarts. Don't worry about checking the level yet (you'll see why soon enough). Here's the transmission dipstick if you weren't sure. DON'T START THE CAR YET!

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014586_zpsd9a6d489.jpg]image
[/URL]
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014588_zps4ae5de8f.jpg]image
[/URL]


Step 4) Remove the battery (make sure you have your stereo code if you have the factory radio). Wait what? Trust me, I'll explain later why it makes it a lot easier.

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014590_zps252d106e.jpg]image
[/URL]
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014591_zpse4ebdfe4.jpg]image
[/URL]


Step 5) Remove the "lower intake hose", held by two 10 mm bolts to the battery tray. Yeah I know my battery is still there in the pic...

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014587_zps29cd7dfe.jpg]image
[/URL]

The two bolts holding the intake hose are on the left. There are four bolts holding the battery tray to the frame. They are 12 mm bolts, but make sure you know which ones go on top and which ones go underneath. They are different lengths. They are easy to distinguish (at least on my car) because the top bolts had paint on them and the bottom ones didn't.

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014593_zps3a225ede.jpg]image
[/URL]

You can see about where the bolt is underneath near the back by where my hand is holding the wrench.
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014602_zpsc04024db.jpg]image
[/URL]

It helps to be left handed. :D
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014603_zps8640a7ea.jpg]image
[/URL]

To remove the battery tray, there is a single 10mm bolt holding the positive terminal cable to the tray and also the coolant overflow tank needs to come off. Just pull and it slides off.
[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014604_zpsd1559e8c.jpg]image
[/URL]


Step 6) (I personally removed the plastic intake box in the front fender area, but you don't have to). I am going for a hot air intake anyway so I wanted the "black box" to be gone.

Okay, real step 6, undo the TOP of the two hoses that are sticking out from the FRONT of the cooler. Don't undo the larger top most hose, that is the coolant feed.

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014605_zpsaf9d2ee0.jpg]image
[/URL]

[URL=http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af131/kj4414/Mobile%20Uploads/03072014594_zpseedeeb1f.jpg]image
[/URL]


Step 7) Here's where you need the MARKED measuring pitcher (that can accurately be read to the nearest 1/10th quart roughly). Stick the rubber tubing on the metal nipple of the transmission cooler and route it so that it will fill up your pitcher on the ground under your car. (Sorry, no pic).


Step 8) ***IF YOU DON'T HAVE A FRIEND TO WATCH THE PITCHER, BE CAREFUL.***

Connect your battery via the jumper cables to the battery terminals. Don't let them touch together. SPARKS!! :)

Start the car and immediately shift into reverse (HOLD THE BRAKE). Count to 5 seconds. Shift to Drive. Count to 5 seconds. Shift to 2, count to 5 seconds, then shut off the engine. You should be safe, but the reason I said be careful is because you don't want to run the car out of fluid. A friend should observe the pitcher level and then tell you to shut off the car if it passes the 2 quart mark.

***I PERSONALLY DID THIS ALONE AND WATCHED IT MYSELF. IT TOOK AROUND 35 SECONDS TO PUSH OUT 2 QUARTS, BUT TO BE SAFE, I AM SAYING 15 SECONDS. THAT SHOULD LEAVE MORE THAN PLENTY OF FLUID IN THE TRANSMISSION SO THAT NOTHING RUNS DRY.***


Step 9) See how much fluid came out of the car into your pitcher. If it was only a quart or so, then fill up the transmission via the dipstick hole with how much that came out (estimate is fine), just as long as it's roughly the same that came out.


Step 10) Repeat the Reverse 5, Drive 5, Second 5 cycle again. The reason I skip D3 and 1 is because drive puts you in 1st gear only, as does D3 and 1. However "2" locks you in second gear, so it shifts into second even when the car is stationary. Does it make a difference if you cycle new fluid into 2nd gear? No idea.

***OBSERVE AND REPEAT UNTIL ROUGHLY 5-6 QUARTS HAVE COME OUT TOTAL***

The stated capacity of the transmission according Amsoil is 6.2 quarts, so around 6 quarts worth of cycling through the fluid should have gotten all of the old stuff out.

After you have finished getting rid of 5-6 quarts, DON'T FILL THE TRANSMISSION JUST YET, YOU NEED TO BE ON A LEVEL SURFACE TO CHECK THE FLUID LEVEL. BEING A QUART LOW FOR A FEW MOMENTS IS OKAY, TRUST ME.


Step 11) Now reconnect the cooler line, reassemble the intake box, battery tray, etc etc. and drive the car off the ramps.


Step 12) Now that you are on a level surface, do the "Reverse 5, Drive 5, Second 5" method but this time instead of shutting the car off, put it in PARK and shut the car off. Now check the fluid level with the dipstick within 60 to 90 seconds after you have shut the car off. If you need to add fluid, do so accordingly a little at a time and repeat the fill and check procedure until you are in the crosshairs of the dipstick.

Now you're done! :)





So why to go through all those extra steps?

When you drain the transmission via the drain plug and fill up with 2.5 quarts, you only drain half of the fluid and mix the old fluid with the new. That means that even 10 minutes later if you change the fluid again, you're not getting all of the old fluid out because it's mixed with the new fluid.

This way of draining the transmission oil means that ONLY NEW OIL is pumped through the transmission because you are filling up the "reservoir" in the drain pan area and pushing the old fluid out directly into a container while supplying the rest of the transmission with completely new fluid. This means much less cross contamination compared to the drain and fill method.

Does it really make a big difference?

I'd like to think so, but honest I have no data to back it up though. However, I've done mine and my family's vehicles this way for over 10 years and have seen some incredible mileage out of some automatics that surprise a lot of people, such as my old Mercury Sable (known for bad transmissions) that did 230,000 miles on the original transmission. Just 30k mile transmission "flushes" and the car never had any problems until I gave it away. My Tacoma is the same way with 160k and it shifts very very smoothly, no typical Toyota 1st to 2nd lurch.

Okay, hope this helps anyone that was wondering if there was a way to completely flush the transmission of all the old fluid vs. a simple drain and fill.

Happy oil changing and may your automatic live long and prosper!

-RH Polarbear
n ice write-up ... but scared to try the 5 and 2 second reverse and forward to empty out the tranny fluid...
 

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Hello all , where can I find the pictures posted by Right_Handed for the transmission flush?
You won't. RH posted on photobucket (google photobucket blocking images) and so they are gone. Right_Handed (If I remember correctly) sold his car a while ago so don't expect him to host his photos (if he still has them) somewhere else. I have a PB account, but I can't see his photos. If I find a way to recover them, I'll do so. So far, I'm not having any luck.

For what it's worth: I have 244,000 miles on my original transmission and have done the drain/fill every 30K miles and then one more during the next oil change. Everytime I change the ATF, it is still very red. Am I overdoing it? Perhaps, but I don't care, I change it anyway. (cheap insurance as far as I'm concerned).
 

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I've got a question, maybe Ed can answer. I'm planning on installing a trans cooler and using different fluid and no garage seems to want to do it this way or want $2500 to remove my tranny to get all 6 quarts out.. anyways I'm drifting way lol

When you say step 3 "fill it with 3 quarts" even if I'm putting different oil in? then if I fill it with the 3 quarts I completely drain the tranny of all 6 later on right?
 
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