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Transmission dipstick


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13 replies to this topic

#1 jarl

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 03:13 AM

This should be a quickie :)
How on earth do you get a good measurement of the ATF level on a '99 OBW? I replaced the ATF on my transmission yesterday, and added exactly the same amount of atf I removed. Everything would be fine, except when I removed the plug and filter 5.6 quarts of ATF came out. That's almost 2 quarts more than what other people have mentioned, which implies the tranny was -and is- overfilled.

I measured the level several times and removed some 8 ounces of ATF, but I 'm still not satisfied with the reading. So... any tricks to measure the level?

#2 davebugs

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:35 AM

Not really.

Not a real exact science on most cars.

I believe some Acura's you check them like oil. When cold and not running. Now that's the way it should be.

Yea - I understand all the TC reasoning and it's effects on level. But if folks can't read it well it's less likely to even be checked. Leading to premature issues and possibly failure. I'm talking all auto trans - not just Subaru.

I think this could be the best advancement in automotive technology. Keep your battery cars, give us an ATF dipstick that's easily read!

#3 johnceggleston

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:17 AM

the filter holds some fluid that will not drain out when you do just a drain and fill. not all 4eat have the filter and not all that do are replaced when doing a drain and fill.

but it does sound like it was over filled.

when doing a drain and fill to change the fluid, i always check the fluid level cold with the engine off just to make sure it is in the ball park. the dip stick has markings for a cold trans, at least the 97 obw and GT do. once i know i'm in the ball park i then warm up the trans and look again. note: the difference between low and high is NOT a qt., more like 1/2 a qt.

tips:
remove the dip stick and wipe it clean, then WAIT for the fluid in the fill tube to run back down in to the pan. when you pull it out the fluid on the stick will coat the inside of the fill tube. after a few minutes, put the dip stick back and then remove it.

read both sides of the dip stick. the lowest level is the real indicator.

i have not tried this one but i have heard it will help...... while waiting for the fluid to drain down out of the fill tube, put the measuring end of the dip stick in ice water. and then just before you re-insert it, wipe the water off. something about the contrast between cold and hot helps make the stick easier to read. don't leave the stick in the fluid long enough to warm up.

#4 porcupine73

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:18 AM

I've really only ever been able to get a good reading cold. I know they want you to use the 'operating temperature' hot reading but I simply have not been able to read it very well that way.

Of course, if you pour ATF in the dipstick hole, you'll have to pull the stick in and out about three times wiping it each time and not even trying to read it before you can then try to read it again.

It's almost more of a 'voting' type thing, like trying to see the most obvious fluid line on either side of the stick while ignoring the 'noise' of spurious fluid.

#5 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 05:05 PM

awesome replies.

#6 jarl

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:52 PM

...and it was supposed to be a quickie :)

I measured the level again this morning after letting the car sit overnight. This time I got a very clear reading... way over the hot "full" mark.

I used two pieces of hose, a jug and a vacuum cleaner to suck some fluid out of the stick, and now the level is just a notch short of the cold "full" mark. Approx. 1.2 quarts came out so, when adding the 8 oz. from yesterday, this thing was 1.5 qt. overfilled :eek:

I'm somewhat curious about something: what are the symptoms of an overfilled transmission? What kind of permanent damage can be expected?

#7 porcupine73

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:19 AM

Now make sure to clean off any traces of ATF from the vacuum before the wife spots it.... :dead:

Overfilled AT may not not necessarily give any symptoms. There is a vent on the AT, so if it is way overfilled, the fluid will come out the vent tube...I have tested it. :dead:

One of the bigger problems in overfilled AT can be air entrainment in the fluid. That can cause slight lack of lubrication between parts. Sometimes if the air bubbles collapse under pressure it can also cause cavitation erosion on parts. Overfilling can sometimes also cause trouble with oil seals that are intended to only have the static liquid head pressure on them more or less, and that increases if there's too much fluid.

#8 jarl

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:21 AM

There's the trick, Watson:

I made two holes on the jug's cap for the hoses to fit tightly, so I could keep a vacuum inside the jug.

The vacuum cleaner sucked air from the jug (near the top), which in turn sucked the oil from the transmission. I measured the distance from the top of the dipstick (where it stops against the tube) to the cold "full" mark, and placed a stop on the hose at exactly the same distance, so the whole thing stopped sucking ATF at exactly the right height :banana: The only problem was that the *really* cold ATF was so thick, and the hose so thin (1/4" OD) that it took forever for it to finish. Next time I'll do the same thing but with a warm transmission.

If the transmission spills the excess ATF through a vent or something like that, that may explain the mess below the front differential. We'll see if that improves.

I hope there isn't any permanent damage to the tranny. The delay on the transmission seems to be worst now than it used to be with all the crap it had before. Maybe the tranny is missing the sludge :(

#9 porcupine73

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:24 AM

Ahhh good idea, vacuum cleaner secrets!

The delay on the transmission seems to be worst now than it used to be with all the crap it had before. Maybe the tranny is missing the sludge

Oh...you've got the dreaded delayed engagement to drive. It is possible then that maybe some sludge or gunk was helping to seal up that drum. Did you read the Trans-X thread? Many people claim that helped their slow engagement.

#10 jarl

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

Yep... it looks like the '99 had a couple built-in "niceties" in them :)

Part of the reason to do the fluid change was the thread you mention. I put a bottle of Trans-X with the new fluid, but so far the changes have been limited. When cold I saw a similar -or worse- delay as before. After driving it some 10 miles, though, the delay has been reduced a lot (I had not driven it more than 5 miles after replacing the fluid). I'll have to check again after it cools down.

The other thing that annoys the cr__ out of me is a hard downshifting into 2nd., and that doesn't seem to have been corrected. At least not yet :(

#11 porcupine73

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:40 PM

I don't know how 'fast' the Trans-X is supposed to fix the delayed engagement. I would think it would take it a little while anyway for it to work. I am guessing it contains extra seal swell agents to seal up the drum a bit better.

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#12 jarl

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:45 PM

Yep... I'm hoping the cure takes a few miles/days. After all, hope should be the last thing you lose :)

I have seen some threads about the '99 seal failure. $6 piece of rubber, but replacing it costs how much? :mad: I don't think anyone around here has a how-to, right :)? I don't see myself swapping the transmission any time soon either...

Oh well... let's wait and see... :(

#13 johnceggleston

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:57 PM

how much trans-x did you put in?

my '00 was working better immediately and almost perfect in just a few miles.

#14 jarl

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:10 PM

Crap... I was afraid of that :)

I put a full bottle of it, and seems to have changed things a little bit when warm. I have driven some 50 miles so far, so I guess I'm reaching the point where we can say the magic-in-a-bottle is a no go :(

I'll need to do another flush in the not-so-distant future, though... the ATF is still not as clear as I would like it to be. That's the only chance left :(




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