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Transmission Oil

  #1  
Old 02-05-2019, 09:36 AM
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Default Transmission Oil

Hi all,

I was hoping I could get some guidance on some transmission fluid.
I got this 2006 s40 2.4i a month ago and I don't know the history of this car. That being said I assume that the transmission fluid has never been changed. Here is what I see on the transmission stick..




It seems somewhat dirty. Car has about 132k miles. Would it be a risk changing this out? It shifts fine, maybe sometimes rough on downshifting when you get to a stop but otherwise shifting up no issues at all.

Also I did not see a drain plug on this transmission. I guess dropping the whole pan would be in order?

Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 02-05-2019, 11:26 AM
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That fluid doesn't look dirty enough to have never been changed. That's good news!

Draining and filling a Volvo tranny is dead easy (easier than an oil change). There IS a drain plug - you just need to pull the splash pan to see it. Pop the plug out, and check the magnet for metal bits, hoping that you don't find any - a nice coating of black sludge is normal. Let the fluid drain until it's a very slow drip, then reinstall the plug and pour in four quarts, using a long flex funnel pushed into the dipstick tube.

That will likely help your clunky downshift, though it's quite possible that you'll have to swap out the linear solenoids to really fix the problem. The good news is that they're not all that expensive, and it's not a huge job. But it's very possible that new fluid will help the solenoids return to their proper operation.

And just to make it clear - there is NO risk to doing a transmission fluid drain-and-fill. Some conflate the use of a "power flush" (which can stir up debris that then causes bigger problems) with a transmission fluid change or drain-and-fill.
 
  #3  
Old 02-05-2019, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
That fluid doesn't look dirty enough to have never been changed. That's good news!

Draining and filling a Volvo tranny is dead easy (easier than an oil change). There IS a drain plug - you just need to pull the splash pan to see it. Pop the plug out, and check the magnet for metal bits, hoping that you don't find any - a nice coating of black sludge is normal. Let the fluid drain until it's a very slow drip, then reinstall the plug and pour in four quarts, using a long flex funnel pushed into the dipstick tube.

That will likely help your clunky downshift, though it's quite possible that you'll have to swap out the linear solenoids to really fix the problem. The good news is that they're not all that expensive, and it's not a huge job. But it's very possible that new fluid will help the solenoids return to their proper operation.

And just to make it clear - there is NO risk to doing a transmission fluid drain-and-fill. Some conflate the use of a "power flush" (which can stir up debris that then causes bigger problems) with a transmission fluid change or drain-and-fill.
Thanks for the reply and instruction on how to drain the fluid. Do I need to worry about the filter (if it has one)? Also is there any other way to get to the dip stick without removing the air intake and vacuum pump?
Thanks
 
  #4  
Old 02-05-2019, 02:58 PM
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Check Youtube for vids which may give you some ideas on doing with or without removing the air box. If you can reach by hand then I'd think a flexible tube (say 3/8 inch) should get the job done. Just make sure you buy the correct ATF - I believe for the 5 Speed autos its JWS3309 spec. Also you want to maintain the proper level - you can use the dip stick markings which requires a process of measuring both cold and hot levels or you can drain into a measuring container and fill with same amount.
 
  #5  
Old 02-05-2019, 04:28 PM
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There's no filter - at least not one that you can change, so that saves some time. ;-)

If you DO figure out how to easily check the level, you'll be the hero of a whole lot of Volvo owners. Why Volvo thought it was a good idea to put it where it is... I can't imagine.

The good news is, you can reach the dipstick easily enough once you raise the front of the car, remove the splash panel, and crawl under there. Of course, that's going to preclude having the car sitting in the proper attitude to get an accurate measurement.

I agree with mt6127 that replacing exactly how much fluid you removed is never a bad idea. The only drawback is that if the previous owner had the wrong amount of fluid - you're going to repeat the same mistake. In the end, you're never going to go wrong putting in 4 quarts after draining the fluid. Because of the design of the transmission, you're always going to drain it down to the point where four quarts will refill it, if not to the ounce, certainly close enough that it will work perfectly. This will fix a problem caused by the previous owner under- or over-filling the transmission, and is a WHOLE lot less fiddly than trying to do an accurate dipstick-based measurement.
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-2019, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
There's no filter - at least not one that you can change, so that saves some time. ;-)

If you DO figure out how to easily check the level, you'll be the hero of a whole lot of Volvo owners. Why Volvo thought it was a good idea to put it where it is... I can't imagine.

The good news is, you can reach the dipstick easily enough once you raise the front of the car, remove the splash panel, and crawl under there. Of course, that's going to preclude having the car sitting in the proper attitude to get an accurate measurement.

I agree with mt6127 that replacing exactly how much fluid you removed is never a bad idea. The only drawback is that if the previous owner had the wrong amount of fluid - you're going to repeat the same mistake. In the end, you're never going to go wrong putting in 4 quarts after draining the fluid. Because of the design of the transmission, you're always going to drain it down to the point where four quarts will refill it, if not to the ounce, certainly close enough that it will work perfectly. This will fix a problem caused by the previous owner under- or over-filling the transmission, and is a WHOLE lot less fiddly than trying to do an accurate dipstick-based measurement.
Thanks for the tips.. I will give this a shot..
Yea on my previous 2003 s60 it was easy to access. I was shocked that a newer vehicle had it in that location. If I find a way I will post it of course
I am however having issues finding the right oil. I do not have the user manual and some google sites suggest to use synthetic and some dont..
 
  #7  
Old 02-06-2019, 10:56 AM
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I personally can't think of a reason NOT to use synthetic, other than the fact it might cost a bit more. I suppose if I had a contamination issue, I might run a few drain-and-fills with something cheaper to get the bad stuff out, then a couple more d-n-fs with synthetic.

I believe the full spec for the fluid you need is JWS3309. I've used Valvoline synthetic 3309 fluid, but Mobil 1 also makes a similar fluid (and I've got nothing but praise for their oil).

I really do think that there's a market for a retrofit kit that adds about a foot of tube to the tranny dipstick tube, and that includes a long dipstick. I guess it's a mixed bag, because long tubes tend to get smeared with fluid when you pull the dipstick in and out, making it harder to get an accurate reading. OTOH "hard" is always better than "impossible". ;-)
 
  #8  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
I personally can't think of a reason NOT to use synthetic, other than the fact it might cost a bit more. I suppose if I had a contamination issue, I might run a few drain-and-fills with something cheaper to get the bad stuff out, then a couple more d-n-fs with synthetic.

I believe the full spec for the fluid you need is JWS3309. I've used Valvoline synthetic 3309 fluid, but Mobil 1 also makes a similar fluid (and I've got nothing but praise for their oil).

I really do think that there's a market for a retrofit kit that adds about a foot of tube to the tranny dipstick tube, and that includes a long dipstick. I guess it's a mixed bag, because long tubes tend to get smeared with fluid when you pull the dipstick in and out, making it harder to get an accurate reading. OTOH "hard" is always better than "impossible". ;-)
So does all the oil drain out of the transmission? Someone at work told me that there is usually a few liters of old oil left and that a flush might be in order.. I heard some bad news when it comes to transmission flush.. So I don't want to think about it. If majority of the oil is drained then I suppose I can go with the Mobile or Valvoline synthetic oil. It's going to be a busy weekend

Thank you again..
 
  #9  
Old 02-06-2019, 07:52 PM
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You'll get about half of the fluid out with a drain, at least if you stop after the draining slows to a slow drip. I suppose it would keep going if you left it overnight, but four quarts is a pretty good start. Most people who are concerned about the tranny fluid condition will do 2-3 drain-and-fills over several days / weeks which will result in something like 90% new fluid.

I wouldn't recommend the "power flush" that some places sell - that CAN stir up debris that can cause bigger problems. OTOH, I've also routed the hose going from the tranny to the cooler into a calibrated container. Then you just start the car and drain out a couple quarts, then add a quarts, and repeat that process until the fluid coming out looks new. Took about 10 quarts to get there on my 2001 V70, IIRC.

But that's all a lot more work - just do a few drain-and-fills and your fluid will be about as good as it will ever need to be.
 
  #10  
Old 02-06-2019, 09:59 PM
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Would it help if I jack up the driver side and then drain? Would it drain more out? If not what you are suggesting is to change it 3 times to get to the 90% new.. Would it help if the oil was warm rather then cold? Since I took off wheel hubs and axles how long would I have to wait for the transmission fluid to get hot in idle?

BTW... I found the Transmission bolt while destroying my control arms and taking off the wheel hubs..
 

Last edited by Zippy83; 02-06-2019 at 11:14 PM.
  #11  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:31 AM
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My 2 cents is to keep it simple - tilting the car and warming the oil to get out a few extra tablespoons of fluid from a car that takes 10 or 12 quarts isn't worth the effort. Drain, fill, run till warm, check level, repeat if desired - you may want to put a few hundred miles on the car to get the fluid to mix up before you do a second drain fill. As noted on some earlier posts, its common practice for a shop to use a magnet to pull out and inspect any metal debris/filings that may be in the fluid. You may have small amounts of sludge that's settled to the bottom of the pan but its normal to have some. Given this is preventative maintenance, even doing one drain fill is beneficial and you should notice sharper shifting.
 
  #12  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by mt6127 View Post
My 2 cents is to keep it simple - tilting the car and warming the oil to get out a few extra tablespoons of fluid from a car that takes 10 or 12 quarts isn't worth the effort. Drain, fill, run till warm, check level, repeat if desired - you may want to put a few hundred miles on the car to get the fluid to mix up before you do a second drain fill. As noted on some earlier posts, its common practice for a shop to use a magnet to pull out and inspect any metal debris/filings that may be in the fluid. You may have small amounts of sludge that's settled to the bottom of the pan but its normal to have some. Given this is preventative maintenance, even doing one drain fill is beneficial and you should notice sharper shifting.
Makes sense.. Thank you.. I will get the first few quarts of oil done drive it 200-300 miles and repeat .. Thanks
 
  #13  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:51 AM
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Yep - what mt6127 said. It's best to run the car for at least some miles after each d-n-f, though I suppose you could do that with the wheels off. Hot or cold won't matter to the draining process, but it's a lot more comfortable doing this on a cold engine (since I invariably end up getting fluid all over my hand when pulling the drain plug).
 
  #14  
Old 02-07-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
Yep - what mt6127 said. It's best to run the car for at least some miles after each d-n-f, though I suppose you could do that with the wheels off. Hot or cold won't matter to the draining process, but it's a lot more comfortable doing this on a cold engine (since I invariably end up getting fluid all over my hand when pulling the drain plug).
Understood... I could drive it to work and back.. that is some 50 miles or so
 
  #15  
Old 02-07-2019, 08:46 PM
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So I was able to drain some of the oil out of the transmission today. Looks like only 3 3/4 quarts came out not a drop more... Inspected the plug and did not see any issues with it other then some sludge..



What the dip stick looked like



I got this oil to replace what I have drained (have not filled up yet)




Correct Fluid?

Now When I pulled the axle on the passenger side it was dry. I watched a youtube video where this guy says that the transmission needs more oil.. This is what it looks like



Stick with what I have drained? 3 3/4 QT..

Thanks


 
  #16  
Old 02-07-2019, 11:29 PM
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Hope you didn't fill it up yet. You want [color=left=#000000]JWS3309-rated fluid. If I'm not much mistaken, the fluid you have isn't.

The easiest to find might be the Mobil 1 "ATF 3309". There are other multi-spec fluids that do include the JWS3309 rating, though I've always figured that it makes more sense to use something that's really specific to the transmission I'm working on. With my Acura, I put in Honda fluid, for example.

Your plug and drained fluid look encouraging. Don't see anything too scary there. And hey, maybe the previous owner put the wrong fluid in the car (I've seen auto part store counter guys suggest the wrong thing before), and that could be part of the problem. They don't all carry JWS3309 fluid, and may be tempted to assume that the "multi-vehicle" fluid will work.

And if you got out less than four quarts, it's always possible that's because the fluid level was a little low. It's nearly impossible to check it otherwise, so I'd suggest pouring in four quarts (of JWS3309 fluid).[/color]
 
  #17  
Old 02-08-2019, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
Hope you didn't fill it up yet. You want [color=left=#000000]JWS3309-rated fluid. If I'm not much mistaken, the fluid you have isn't.

The easiest to find might be the Mobil 1 "ATF 3309". There are other multi-spec fluids that do include the JWS3309 rating, though I've always figured that it makes more sense to use something that's really specific to the transmission I'm working on. With my Acura, I put in Honda fluid, for example.

Your plug and drained fluid look encouraging. Don't see anything too scary there. And hey, maybe the previous owner put the wrong fluid in the car (I've seen auto part store counter guys suggest the wrong thing before), and that could be part of the problem. They don't all carry JWS3309 fluid, and may be tempted to assume that the "multi-vehicle" fluid will work.

And if you got out less than four quarts, it's always possible that's because the fluid level was a little low. It's nearly impossible to check it otherwise, so I'd suggest pouring in four quarts (of JWS3309 fluid).[/color]
no i have not filled up. I was looking for that spec JWS3309 but none of the auto parts stores knew what I was talking about. They told me that this one would work. I guess I could ask the dealer if they have the 3309 fluid.
 
  #18  
Old 02-08-2019, 09:57 AM
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I think a lot of Toyotas use the same spec fluid - might be able to find it cheaper there. Or, you might be able to get it delivered cheaper (looks like about $100 for 12 quart bottles from Amazon, for example).
 
  #19  
Old 02-08-2019, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by habbyguy View Post
I think a lot of Toyotas use the same spec fluid - might be able to find it cheaper there. Or, you might be able to get it delivered cheaper (looks like about $100 for 12 quart bottles from Amazon, for example).
Just got off the phone with the parts department and they said the cost for the fluid is $29.99 per liter... I guess I will look at the toyota option
 
  #20  
Old 02-08-2019, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Zippy83 View Post
Just got off the phone with the parts department and they said the cost for the fluid is $29.99 per liter... I guess I will look at the toyota option
Toyota’s price is $1 cheaper LOL. I will look online..
 

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