Changing trans fluid, Impala

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Thread: Changing trans fluid, Impala

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    6.0 Liter L76 V8 logansowner's Avatar
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    Changing trans fluid, Impala

    While on a rear brake and oil changing whim, I checked the trans fluid and it is brown. It scared me, I thought trans fluid was always pink. I also heard that it would smell burnt if it was bad, and this didn't, it smelled just like the jug of it I have n the garage for the truck, which is very much pink.

    Regardless, it's getting replaced tomorrow, so how much of a job is it to change the fluid and filter on a 3.4 liter Impala?

    And of course the big question, has irreversible damage occurred here? Keep in mind it smells perfectly fine, it just looks funky.

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    not sure how much it will run. But get the tranny filter replaced while your at it.

    OR get the tranny flushed, that gaurentees a full fluid exchange. If you just get the fluid changed by them taking the pan off, there will still be old fluid in the torque converter. Hope that helps!
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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Quote Originally Posted by logansowner View Post
    While on a rear brake and oil changing whim, I checked the trans fluid and it is brown. It scared me, I thought trans fluid was always pink. I also heard that it would smell burnt if it was bad, and this didn't, it smelled just like the jug of it I have n the garage for the truck, which is very much pink.

    Regardless, it's getting replaced tomorrow, so how much of a job is it to change the fluid and filter on a 3.4 liter Impala?

    And of course the big question, has irreversible damage occurred here? Keep in mind it smells perfectly fine, it just looks funky.
    Hard to say. It depends what year your car is and how it's been driven. Generally transmission fluid change interval is 100,000 kms but some do it sooner if they do a lot of city driving, at 50,000 kms. Constantly going into o/d and out wears out the transmission quicker, which is why some people suggest disabling overdrive for city driving. The fluid itself should be pink and clear and at the proper level. If it is brown or has a brownish tint, or if it smells like it's burnt, or if you find small particles in it, get it changed. If you have high mileage on your vehicle it is not recommended to do the full flush as this may render your transmission useless. Drop the pan, clean it, refill with new fluid and change the filter. It's true that there will still be a little bit of old transmission fluid left in the torque converter but at least most of the old fluid will be flushed out. Also avoid putting any additional additives like Lucas with the new transmission fluid.
    Last edited by louda; 01-12-2008 at 06:15 PM.

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Thanks for the tips guys. I bought the filter and gasket kit tonight, for 26 bucks at CT and I decided to go all out and got 6 bottles of Mobil 1 syn fluid at $8/litre. On the back it says it exceeds Dex 3 standards which is what my owners manual says to use. Funky thing is that all 6 bottles have the same upc code but there are 2 different bottle designs. I'm assuming they just changed bottle designs and it's the same.

    Only concern is that the bottles that were in front say dex 3, but the other 4 newer bottles just say "meets Ford and GM transmission requirements and for use in older transmissions". Given that they have the same number, it would be safe to assume it is just a packaging change, right?

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Heres a crappy picture of the bottles, they both say the same thing on the front, just a different package it would seem.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    just read a similar post on a trailblazer owner. brown tranny fluid which didnt smell burnt.
    he said he was told the clutch surfaces had cracked and im guessing fallen apart or something similar....

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    really easy, just drop the pan, remove the filter, and do a trans flush. if you have a flush machine hook it up through the cooler lines. if not then flush it by doing it the quick way. drop the pan, let all the fluid drain. fill it up with new fluid.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Basically what I do is drop the pan, letting out the like 6 quarts in there. Wipe up everything you can with near sterile rags in there, change the filter, put the pan back on, and dump in the 6 quarts lost. With the tranny cooler return line removed, have an assistant fire up the car and let it pump out a quart (doesn't have to be exact). Turn off the car, dump in another quart, start it again and pump out another quart...etc until the fluid is clean and you replaced the capacity of the trans (which ought to happen at roughly the same time).

    Now, without a doubt, you've changed out every molecule of ATF that could be done without major work, and you don't have to wonder if it was totally done or not.

    Another option too is to pick up an "add it yourself" drain plug from a good auto parts store and install it to the pan while you have it out so you won't have to deal with such a mess when you do it again.
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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    i wouldnt wipe anything in the internals of the trans down with a rag. not a good idea.
    but thats just me.

    contaminated rag - not good for trans,
    also you get rag particles inside it. not a good idea.
    if you absolutely have to have it bare clean, spray it with brake clean. it will clean out the internals of the underside of the trans, if you have to have it that clean. when i do a trans flush, drop the pan, change the filter, replace the gasket if it doesnt have a reusable gasket, top off the fluid, do a trans flush with a flush machine. good to go. takes about 30 minutes.

    color of the fluid is a small indication of fluid life, unless its really dark. fresh trans fluid after you drive it around for a while will change color a bit. main thing is, not to have it burnt, and no metal shavings on the stick, in the fluid. you will have some converter dust on the pan magnet, dont worry about it. clean it off. if it has alot of copper and what not, then its wearing components.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    I understand being weary about getting rag lint inside the trans, but that's why I suggested using one that's "near-sterile" (including lint) .

    But brake parts cleaner works too
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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Dropping the pan only gets half (at best) of the fluid. I would replace the filter, replace any fluid loss, then take it to a shop and have the fluid exhanged.
    Most of the dirt and metalic flakes are in the fluid, not the filter. By dropping the pan, you do not get all the fluid that is in the actual trans nor the torque converter. You must take it to a shop.
    As for the fluid color, its brown and its time to change. As long as it doesnt smell burnt, then you are fine. What happens is over time, the tollerances between the clutches and other compontents start to widen. But with this, the fluid carries the metal particles and dirt around in the fluid, increasing the pressure and giving you a false feel of a solid transmission. Once all that dirt is flushed out, clearing out all that dirty fluid, and the metalic particles that go with it, you now have much larger tollerances and gaps between the parts, and you will start to get a slipping in your trans.
    At my shop, we do not replace trans fluid over 100k miles unless its been serviced before.
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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    yeah same with us, we dont bother recommending trans services unless its a decent color and not burned. regardless of miles, its ok for the trans to be a little dirty, over time, its going to happen. i wouldnt be affraid to flush it. change your filter, and like mentioned above, either flush it yourself or take it to a shop to get it flushed. just stay away from jiffy shops and quick places. go to a dealer, you will be better in the long run.
    There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

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    Re: Changing trans fluid, Impala

    Like mentioned above, fluid color is only a small factor towards the overall conditon of the transmission. Even if you pay for a power flush or do it yourself by pulling a cooler line off, next weekend the fluid will already be much darker than what you see in the bottle. The filter in your trans is more of a screen than a filter but it worth droping the pan depending on mileage just to see whats going on inside. Don't be surprised to see a sea urchin living in the corner of the trans pan when you drop it.

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