Originally Posted by olivelawn
The 30K, 60K, 90K, 120K were performed by the dealer. I don’t see any mention if a replacement filter on any of the invoices. Is the “trick” you’re referring to the one with the clothes pin? Also, did i read Mark’s writeup correctly...you actually run the engine while the fluid is draining? Do you shift through the gears (while your foot in on the brake) as well?
Without any mention of what parts were replaced or what service procedures were performed I'm purely speculating then. We'll assume the filter was replaced but on another note it's commendable the transmission was serviced regularly but those mileage intervals are a bit sooner than expected---could be more profit-motivated than anything else.
The trick I refer to is when dropping the pan, how NOT to spill all 5+ quarts of ATF. You place a large catch pan of some sort, something with a bigger footprint than the transmission pan and proceed to remove all the bolts EXCEPT for four; two in the front and two in the back. With the catch pan in place loosen the four bolts just enough so with a little prompting or prying the trans pan falls away from the case. A bit of AFT should drain out but just that which is the "over filled" portion in the pan.
Further loosen two bolts those either in front or back so the pan tips downward allowing the AFT to drain into the catch pan. As the fluid stops draining loosen whichever bolts just a turn more but this time also further loosen the opposite end bolts so the pan isn't held against the transmission case and cannot tip downward any further.
This is done is stages until the transmission pan is nearly empty, enough so you can hold the pan against the case, remove the bolts completely and lower the pan into the catch pan. Easy ain't it?
Notice how the filter is situated, remove it and replace with the new part. Thoroughly clean the transmission pan and the gasket, being careful to not bend or otherwise damage it. Re-installed the pan, torque the bolts in the proper sequence and add at least 5 quarts fresh fluid. At this point you're ready to begin the transmission flushing.
(I install a drain plug similar to the oil drain so the above process is bypassed should I need to drop the pan ever again. As Mark says the filter is designed for the life of the transmission and not intended to be changed. You would however do the full flush about ever 50K miles or so.)
You did read correctly in the the engine is running, transmission in Park and wheels chocked or at minimum emergency brake engaged. Watching the line where fluid in the transmission is draining at first sight of bubbles stop the engine immediately. Measure how much fluid was pushed out, refill the case with that amount and repeat this process UNTIL the fluid being pushed out is the same color as that you're dumping back in. Reattach the fluid lines to the radiator cooler, restart the engine and let it reach operating temperature.
Holding the foot brake shift the transmission through the gears holding there for 10 seconds before shifting back into Park or OP, D or L. Check fluid level, refill as necessary.
Stop engine and remove the line where fluid exits, restart the engine and observe what color the fluid is now. Repeat the process until the fluid is now the same color as new.
After all this is finished and buttoned up take the van on a road trip---10-15 miles at freeway speeds would be great. Double check fluid level in the transmission pan and top off if necessary.
This process allows for a complete fluid replacement in the case but the torque converter as well. The 5 qts and filter replacement leaves about 13 quarts of "old" AFT still circulating.
This ain't cheap but its still cheaper than a new or reman'd transmission.