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97 Corolla Auto Transmission Fluid Change


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#1 Guest_Kyshorthair_*

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 04:40 PM

My wife's 97 Corolla is approaching the 50k mark. I'd like to jump the gun a little and change the auto transmission fluid.

Does the pan have a plug I can pull and drain some of the fluid out? If so how want quarts will drain and what kind of ATF should I use to replace it? Thanks.

#2 bhp02

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 07:12 PM

drain plug, just measure amount out and put back in same.
you may want to do this a week later again.

#3 Larry Roll

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Posted 15 February 2005 - 10:25 PM

I know for a fact that the '03 and later Corollas with AT have a transmission oil pan drain plug, particularly since I just drained/replaced the ATF on my '03. I'm not so sure about earlier models.

A word to the wise: Check your owner's manual for the TOTAL capacity of ATF in your transmission, and make sure you have AT LEAST that much new, Toyota-brand ATF on hand. The exact type will be listed on the AT dipstick. My '03 uses Type T-IV, yours may use something else.
Use EXACTLY the type specified. Don't use T-IV thinking it will be better because it's recommended for later model Corollas. It is not the same stuff that your transmission requires and it may RUIN your transmission!

BTW -- if your transmission oil pan does not have a drain plug, you wll have to remove it to drain/replace the fluid. Have a new Genuine Toyota brand gasket on hand and replace the gasket when you re-install the pan. Also have a small torque wrench handy -- all those bolts holding the pan on have to be re-torqued, I believe it's 48 in. lbs. but CHECK YOUR SERVICE MANUAL first.

#4 DaveAclm

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 09:02 AM

My '95 with a 4-speed auto has a drain plug. You'll probably get a bit more than three quarts out draining it that way; a lot of the capacity stays in the torque converter, which is why bhp02 suggested doing it a few times to change out more of the fluid. Mine called for Dexron II, but you can't buy that anymore; Dexron III is the substitute.

Interestingly, I couln't find information on ATF capacity for my car in the owner's manual. It's very light on mechanical information (quite a contrast from my old BMW's manual, which is sort of a "shop manual light"--I guess Toyota doesn't expect most owners to do much on their own, and they're probably right). Anyway, I'd pick up four or five quarts; I think total capacity on mine is about 9 quarts.

I know Larry is big on Toyota-branded stuff (and I have to admit that I've been impressed with the longevity of original Toyota parts on my car), but I think buying fluids from the dealer is in most cases a waste of money, unless it's a make-specific formulation. Thus you may be best off buying the Toyota-spec ATF he mentioned from the dealer. For Dexron, though (a GM designation used in many makes), just pick up a good name-brand fluid from your local auto parts store (or even Wal-Mart).

-Dave

#5 Guest_Kyshorthair_*

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Posted 16 February 2005 - 10:38 PM

Thanks for all the info!! If anyone has any more please share it. Hopefully, I'll keep this Corolla running smooth for many more miles. Its our second one (92 was our first) and it is a super dependable vehicle. Thanks again. :D

#6 Larry Roll

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 11:07 AM

Dave is correct; if my AT required Dexron III I would just buy a good quality name brand off-the-shelf at Wal*Mart. Since my Corolla needs "Type T-IV" I'm sticking with the genuine Toyota brand, since I haven't seen any "T-IV" ATF under any other brand name.

I guess drain plugs are standard issue on Corolla AT's; that's a nice feature.

Can someone please explain to me exactly how the ATF gets to/from the torque converter?

Also, someone mentioned that "overfilling" the transmission is a bad thing. On my '03 Corolla, that wouldn't seem quite possible, since the fill is thru the dipstick, which enters through the very top of the transmission housing. I would think that any "overfilling" of the ATF would simply spill over the top of the dipstick tube, since it really had no other place to go! Can someone confirm that for me?

#7 fishexpo101

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 11:50 AM

Good illustrations of torque converter here:

http://auto.howstuff...-converter2.htm

As for the overfilling of ATF - still possible to do. The transmission dipstick, like the oil dipstick, indicates the amount of oil in the sump or pan. You can actually add quite a bit more oil to the system than what is calls for - if you're not careful. In some cases - the oil will back out of the transmission fill tube. may be a case of too much fluid or case of a blocked vent liine from the transmission (common on Dodge Dakotas).

#8 DaveAclm

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 11:54 AM

Larry, I'm not exactly sure where the fluid flows into and out of the torque converter, but I think it's toward the inside of the "donut." At any rate, it is pumped in there as part of the normal cycling of the ATF. Thus much of the ATF is trapped in the lower portion of the converter when the car is shut off.

It is theoretically possible to do your own transmission flush of sorts by disconnecting a transmission oil cooler line, letting the car idle in gear and adding fluid through the dipstick tube as the old fluid is pumped out. But I'd be leery of trying this due to the dangers of running the transmission low on fluid or driving the car over my foot. It can happen!

But I do know that it is possible to overfill your transmission. Think about it: the full mark on the dipstick is very close to the bottom (measuring the fluid that is in the pan), but the mouth of the dipstick tube is several inches farther along, up by the handle. If you filled it until the fluid came out the top of the dipstick tube, you'd have several quarts too much fluid in there, which could cause foaming and many unhappy returns.

-Dave

Edit--Fishexpo, you beat me to it! :lol:

Edited by DaveAclm, 17 February 2005 - 11:55 AM.

#9 Slalom44

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 12:50 PM

Larry's right about transmission fluids. My wife has an '03 Highlander and I went to a local Auto Zone to get some ATF fluid for it. The guy behind the counter said that they don't carry it, and I had to go to a Toyota dealer.

The Toyota dealer said that the newer Toyotas take type T-IV. You can't just go to an auto parts store to get this stuff apparently.

#10 fishexpo101

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 01:19 PM

I've heard that Valvoline Mercon V AFT , Mobil ATF 3309, and Amsoil are compatible with Toyota Type T,T-III, and T-IV AFTs. But may be very difficult to find - as most auto places don't stock these all the time. Might change later when these fluids are being used in more and more vehicles.

#11 bhp02

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 08:25 PM

its a gamble that is not worth it, buy the expensive toyota
tranny fluid, sure they make big profits with it, but can you
afford to experiment with other fluids ??

#12 Larry Roll

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Posted 17 February 2005 - 11:20 PM

Dave/Fish:

Thanks for the info and the link to HSW. I've viewed that site many times, and especially the articles on torque converters and AT's. I must admit that I don't have a full understanding of how the thing works. The explanations seem thorough enough, but not clear enough. I know how the torque converter works, but still can't figure out how the fluid gets into it since there seems to be no actual connection between it and the transmission which would have a path for the fluid to take. By that I mean that the only connection I see is the input shaft of the transmission which is splined to the converter's output. Is there a channel in the tranny input shaft which has the fluid pumped through it? It is either not obvious enough, or the explanations and photos are not clear enough. I'd like to see an animated diagram showing the flow of one drop of ATF as it went completely through the transmission and torque converter.

More Q's: Would the Corolla's AT be considered to have a High Stall converter or not? What would be the stall speed of the stock Corolla's torque converter? Can the Corolla's engine handle a higher stall speed? If so, what would the benefit be in terms of everyday driving (not racing) performance, if any? I've always wished my engine would rev up a bit more before the converter started applying the torque to the driveline. I don't want to burn rubber, I just want to feel a bit more of a kick in the seat of my pants when the light turns green. However, I don't want to pay for that "kick" by using a bigger, thirstier engine. Anyway, this is just an academic discussion since I'm not going to change anything -- I just want to learn more about my transmission. Things like this have always fascinated me!

#13 fishexpo101

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Posted 18 February 2005 - 12:08 AM

The fluid travels between the turbine and stator shafts - depends on what illustration you're looking at. I checked - but have not stubbled across any animated GIFs or similar on the web. I may make one later for fun, when time permits.

The Corolla auto transmission does not have a "high stall" converter - may be higher than some people think. Most larger RWD autos are around the 1500-2000 RPM range. Most imports (especially higher revving engines) are around 2000-2500 RPMs. Trick is to match the TC to the powerband - without serious modifications to the 1ZZ-FE plant - there will be little to no benefit to a higher stall speed converter. In some cases - it makes performance much worse (much more inefficient). But have the TC stall too low - and you will tend to bog on launch - also bad.

To find out what the stall speed of the TC is - you can do the old fashioned method of brake torqueing the engine and note the speed when the car starts to take off (works on some cars). Or try to find the "flash" stall speed - basically stomp the gas pedal from a dead stop and note the RPMs when the car starts to move. If the tires spin or car bogs - it will read artificially high or low - but will be very close to the true stall speed.

There is a company called Level 10 - that specializes in tuning transmissions. Some have reported good luck with their TC upgrades. More responsive, better step off at lower speeds.

There was a discussion on this from an earlier post - I linked to it below:
http://www.corolland...ndpost&p=108282

#14 Aprendiz

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:52 AM

Is there a metal gasket in the transmision drain plug? I'm replacing the fluid on my daughter's 2006 Corolla and after put back the plug I found something like a metal gasket in the rags. Any help?

#15 brian28

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:38 PM

Is there a metal gasket in the transmision drain plug? I'm replacing the fluid on my daughter's 2006 Corolla and after put back the plug I found something like a metal gasket in the rags. Any help?


Yes, there is a metal washer that goes on the drain plug.