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Ralph Wiggum

Checking Tranny Fluid

Question

Ralph Wiggum

I've noticed a small bit of what I think is tranny fluid under my fiancee's car the past few days, so I figure I should check the level. I've heard several differing opinions over the years on how the level should be checked, so I thought I'd pose the question here.

The car is a 1999 Olds Cutlass with the 3100 motor, automatic transmission.

Thanks!

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Shack

I think Airjer will be able to tell exact procedure, but I would say warm car up to operating temps and check while eng. is at idle and in park. I know some models, you used to have to check in neutral, but I have not run into that for some time now. Some late model vehicles do not even have trans dip stick anymore.

It is always a good thing to check trans fluid level. It could be cooler line fitting leaking and in need of tightening (I have seen this on some models this time of year), that or a pan gasket or some seal.

Or it could possibly be a power steering fluid leak. A line, pump or rack bellow seal. I would also check power steering fluid level.

Good luck!

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Jeremy airjer W

Yup! If it has a dipstick get it up to operating temp, make sure vehicle is level, and check in park.

If there is not a dipstick the vehicle needs to be jacked up and supported safely on all for corners so that the vehicle is level. Bring the vehicle up to operating temp, and remove the brass plug on the right side towards the end of the housing. If fluid comes out then your fine if nothing comes out remove the red fill plug on the top side of the trans and fill until fluid comes out. Replace the plug and lower the vehicle.

This will be the same for all GM vehicles. The only difference is whether or not you have a dipstick.

8024283.jpg Thats Awsome!!! grin.gif

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Scott K

With a warm engine, there is a plug inbetween the bellhousing and the rh axle pull the plug out if fluid comes out it is full, if not add until fluid comes out. With engine running.

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Scott K

Or just ask the shop to check it on your next oil change!

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Ralph Wiggum

Thanks guys!

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pisces

I've always been told to shift through all the gears, then back to park, then check.Any truth to that?

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Shack

I believe that is if you have found low and after adding fluid. Good thought though. If you add a large amount of fluid to a low system, or change fluid (via dropping pan) and adding fluid, it always a good idea to run threw the gears to get a correct level reading. Now, if there proof this does anything now a days, I do not know. I just have learned it from years past.

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Jeremy airjer W

The only time I run through the gears is after replacing the trans filter. Normal checking after driving around its not necessary. Cold start check (no driving around) probably wouldn't hurt.

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Shack

Thanks Airjer!

I totally missed it in your last post. It's a good time of year to be Christmassy. grin.gif

Its a great album. I am going to bring it to the in-laws, to play during opening gifts. cool.gif

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Down2Earth

Air,

Not a mechanic but I try to do everything I can to save a dollar. I have a 99 Jeep Gr Ch. When I changed all the fluid and filter in the tranny I took off both lines. I had one in the new jug of tranny fluid to suck new in while the other spit the old out so I could get all the fluid out of the torque converter. I was thinking when i started the vehicle it would start to suck tranny fluid out of the full jug but it didn't. Then I put it in neutral and it began to pump. So wouldn't someone want to check the tranny fluid with the vehicle running and in neutral?

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Jeremy airjer W

Jeeps and some other older Chrysler products do need to be in neutral. I can't remember if late model jeeps are the same. When in doubt it will be marked on the dipstick for the transmission. I don't recall a "domestic" vehicle that it is not marked. The recommended fluid is usually on there as well.

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Shack

Down2earth,

You did the correct thing by putting in neu.

Most all jeeps and rear wheel drive Chrysler's from mid nineties on back, have to be in Neutral for internal pump to circulate trans fluid. When I flush a Chrysler or jeep, if no pressure is showing up on flusher when in park (right away), shift in to neutral and away you go.

Now as far as checking the fluid, this still might not be the spot (neutral) to check fluid level. Read your trans fluid dip stick (on the bottom, up the shaft). This will tell you the proper fluid and how to properly check the level. If not, call local dealer or ask on here. We can find out.

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Shack

I just repeated every thing Airjer said. grin.gif

(I just read his post)

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Down2Earth

Let me ask another question then? If most vehicles start to circulate when the vehicle is started. When I start my Jeep and let it warm up in the morning should I start it up and let it warm up in neutral?

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Jeremy airjer W

Good question!

My thought is no for safety reasons. If the vehicle is not attended than it should be in park to prevent an accident!

Shack?

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Down2Earth

I would put the parking brake on and throw a couple of blocks from my "man wood pile" around the tires. grin.gif

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Valv

Yes, all Chrysler group vehicles need to have transmission in neutral to check fluid and to warm it up when cold.

You can use ATF+3 if you can still find it, or switch to the new ATF+4

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Shack

Good question.

During warm up time, the T-q converter in turning and forward intermeadiat shaft. After a long warm up time, the heat from the eng. will tranfer threw bell housing of trans and start warming up unit. As for fluid running as a way to warm fluid up, I do not see how this would help. The pump when pumping, just moves fluid (cold fluid). The is no heat from a combustion chamber and almost no friction heat would be generated.

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Jeremy airjer W

I think his thought is that the trans cooler is also a trans heater during a cold warm up. If the fluid is not circulating while it is in park it can not take advantage of the heat transfer from the coolant to the trans fluid.

As far as emergency brakes, there is a golden rule in MN. If your going to use it use it all the time. If your not going to use it all the time don't use it at all!

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Shack

Good point!

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