Transmission Fluid Change

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Old 06-24-14, 08:26 AM
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Transmission Fluid Change

I need to change the transmission fluid on my newly purchased 2008 Acura MDX. I typically just drain and refill, but I saw an interesting video online where the guy disconnected one of the hoses and started the engine to drain the fluid out, then replenished it and flushed it out again. It makes me a little nervous to do this, but I suppose the only moving part is the torque converter. Is this a bad idea? What if I just did two quarts at a time? I'd like to get as much of the old fluid out as possible and this seems like it would do the trick, but I don't want to risk damage to the tranny. Also, Honda ATF is $11/quart so if possible, I'd like to flush the old fluid out with a cheaper alternative then replenish with Honda ATF. Only issue with doing so is I wouldn't know when the cheaper fluid (Dextron III) was all flushed out, unless I drained it dry. Should I just drain and refill then drive the vehicle for a while and drain/refill again? These Honda transmissions are known to have issues so I don't want to take any risks.

Seems like if I first drained the transmission via the drain plug, reinserted the drain plug, then started the engine with the hose disconnected, I could flush out the remaining fluid while pouring new fluid in. Then when the fluid is clean I would stop, then add the remaining fluid to bring everything back to the proper level. If the torque converter is the only moving part then it seems like this should be fine.

2008 Acura MDX Transmission Fluid Change 1080P - YouTube
 

Last edited by mossman; 06-24-14 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 06-24-14, 01:12 PM
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Yes. Will likely cost you much more in fluid too, as you have to have a bucketful handy for replenishment.
Here's a novel idea for you. Instead of doing this and taking chances, do 2 things, both will serve you well:
1. do NOT go cheap on ATF. Honda automatic trannies are KNOWN for being fluid burners and jerkers. Hence, going cheap on ATF will serve no good. Personally, as I have large Ridgeline transmission, I use Amsoil Mutivehicle ATF, as it is rated for basically ANY ATF, including Honda, replacement. Also, being full synthetics, it lasts much longer and lubes much better. Costs what it costs, but you always get what you pay for.
2. Do simple no hassle drain/refill ATF swap. Drain whatever drains, you can find exact volume in manual or online, and refill. Drive for a week or so, drain and refill again. Drive another week or so, drain and refill. To my knowledge, this is 99% fresh ATF now. A bit hassly, but safe and accident proof.
Btw, you may want to consider adding a can of Transtune to ATF for every refill, except the very last one, as it cleans tranny best. Yes, I use it on every car we have.
 
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Old 06-24-14, 02:14 PM
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If the vehicle is stationery and not in gear, then does it really matter if the fluid is emptied out completely for a few moments? At idle, the fluid is just being flung around by the impeller, not lubricating anything (right?).

BTW, the Amsoil ATF is a couple dollars more expensive than the Honda ATF. Also, the Amsoil mutli-vehicle ATF says it replaces the Honda ATF-Z1, but not ATF-DW1. The Amsoil Signature Series ATF is listed as a replacement for the DW1 fluid.
 
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Old 06-27-14, 08:02 AM
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I agree with and use Ukrbyk' s method. I actually saw this method of draining and re-draining, recommended in a 1980 Petersen Auto Repair Guidebook for auto cooling systems. Although with the cooling system it is drain, refill with plain water, repeat twice and fill with proper coolant all at once, not a week later.

I use it with our cars and did the wife's Camry trans fluid at 35,000 and will do again at 70,000 in a month or so from now. Just pull the drain plug twice in three weeks and replenished same amount that came out and checking the level over the next few days.

Toyota says you don't have to service the trans till 100,000 but I'm old school and the car is a 2003, doesn't get a lot of use and we intend to keep it in the family for many more years.
 
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Old 06-27-14, 08:04 AM
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I purchased 12 quarts of Honda ATF and will be doing three drain/refills. How many miles should I drive between changes to ensure the new fluid has had a chance to mix with the old?
 
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Old 06-28-14, 08:04 AM
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Mitsubishi manual says to drive for 15 miles between drains. I'd say, if you really want to cycle it, go for a week, then drain and refill.

PLEASE, do yourself a favor. For the 1st 2 drains, add Transtune. It will flush out all kinds of sediments. And yes, I did personally use Transtune on Honda transmissions.
MDX is the largest Acura SUV, right? We must be sharing same transmissions then, on my Ridgeline. Mine is just beefier, for towing. I just did 2nd drain/fill on mine. But I am Amsoil guy.
 
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