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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Automatic Transmission change: drain & refill 2-3 times VS drop the pan and stuffs??

Hi folk, I have a White Nissan Altima 06 on 2.5 litres engine 4 speed at 55k miles. Everything looks ok and it is time change transmission fluid which never done before.I want to change ATF oil myself with Amsoil and I already bough it today. I don't like the idea of flushing the oil and I like to do it like drain and refill. I read another post http://www.nissanclub.com/forums/200...in-refill.html . It gave me a guideline on draining the old ATF oil from the drain plug and refilling the new one on the dipstick tube. I plan to do it 2-3 times to make sure it get almost 90-100% new.

However, today when I bough the AMSOIL from the dealer, he said I would waste the oil and money just doing drain and refill. He told me if I do like that the new will mix up with the old oil and it will use up the new oil so fast. He recommended me to go the shop to do the proper way by droping the pan, cleaning the gasket, changing the filter, and draning the oil out from the cooling line and from the torque converter. He said it was the best way to do it to make sure it get the new one in with 10 qts.. Ummm. I think I can't do it myself with all these stuffs. Only the labor cost is a lot too at least 100 bucks up and I still have to pay for amsoil almost $90 for 10 qts. That is pricey. Do you think it will be bad if I just do only drain and refill at 2-3 times? Also, I have another Nissan Sentra with automatic transmission 4 speed at 140 k miles. It is time to change the ATF as well. Can I do it the same way with drain and refill or I should take to the shop to do the big labor cost taking care the whole fluid line?:confused:
 

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VQ'D Sleeper
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Don't listen to him. I did the drain and refill 3 times myself. The third time it looked like new trans fluid was draining out. I drove for a week or so before draining the fluid each time. It's not going to use more oil/fluid and there is no need IMO on these cars to drop the pan.
 

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Good luck dropping the pan. Frame will be in the way. Get up under and look at it, you'll see. Drain and fill.
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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IMO, 2-3 back to back drain and fills is a waste of oil. do one drain and fill now, you should get about 5 quarts out on the drain (some people report getting up to 6 quarts out). fill it back up, when you reach 75k miles do another drain and fill. at 100k miles you can do the third drain and fill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think I'll go for drain and refill instead of dropping the pan and draining oil from cooling line and torque converter. Do you think how long I should take to drain it, over night or just an hour?

I plan to drain it over night to make sure the fluid come out as possible. However, I am afraid the humid and moisture from the morning foggy might get inside through the drain plug I leave open over night. Will it be any problem?
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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I think I'll go for drain and refill instead of dropping the pan and draining oil from cooling line and torque converter. Do you think how long I should take to drain it, over night or just an hour?

I plan to drain it over night to make sure the fluid come out as possible. However, I am afraid the humid and moisture from the morning foggy might get inside through the drain plug I leave open over night. Will it be any problem?
why not jack the car up and get it ready to drain at night, then do it first thing in the morning.
 

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I too use the amsoil fluid and did the drain and fill 3x. I got the engine fairly warm and then did a drain. Refilled what I drained out, drove around the block and repeated the process. I did it this way because I had gone 75k(dumb and in school) before I even considered changing the atf and when i did drain it out it smelled burnt and was very dark. 3 times was enough to get almost all of the old fluid out. From then on I have done a yearly drain and fill to keep new fluid coming in on a fairly regular basis since I do tend to drive the car hard and I want to prolong the life of the tranny. 120k on the odo and not a single hiccup from the tranny:D

also, if you are at stock height, the drain bolt is easy to get to without jacking up the car since it is facing the front of the car and not that far back
 

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Two Nissan dealers told me this procedure that they do:

For the QR...I can't remember the capacity...I'm thinking 4 quarts, but I could be wrong. For this explanation, take it as having a 4 qt capacity.

So, buy 7 quarts of the Matik-D fluid.
Drain the old fluid, reinstall the plug.
Fill with 3 quarts.
Start your engine, hold the brake and slowly shift into each of the shift positions. This will flush most of the old fluid out of the torque converter while pushing the new fluid into it. Notice the keyword is most. Most is all that is needed.
Drain the fluid. You'll see that it's dark fluid coming out again. Reinstall the plug.
Fill the tranny with your remaining 4 quarts and you're done.

It's cheaper than buying enough fluid to drain & fill 3 times. It's not overkill like draining and filling 3 times. It does all that is necessary for the maintenance of your transmission and it is what Nissan does for the maintenance of your transmission.
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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Two Nissan dealers told me this procedure that they do:

For the QR...I can't remember the capacity...I'm thinking 4 quarts, but I could be wrong. For this explanation, take it as having a 4 qt capacity.

So, buy 7 quarts of the Matik-D fluid.
Drain the old fluid, reinstall the plug.
Fill with 3 quarts.
Start your engine, hold the brake and slowly shift into each of the shift positions. This will flush most of the old fluid out of the torque converter while pushing the new fluid into it. Notice the keyword is most. Most is all that is needed.
Drain the fluid. You'll see that it's dark fluid coming out again. Reinstall the plug.
Fill the tranny with your remaining 4 quarts and you're done.

It's cheaper than buying enough fluid to drain & fill 3 times. It's not overkill like draining and filling 3 times. It does all that is necessary for the maintenance of your transmission and it is what Nissan does for the maintenance of your transmission.
^ im not sure about that method. IMO it will still mix old and new fluid together and you'll probably get more than 3-4 quarts out each time you drain.

IMO (and the safest way), just jack the car up, let as much fluid as possible drain out, then refill. this should remove 50% - 60% of the old fluid. after driving for 20k - 25k miles repeat this process. then after another 25k miles repeat it again.

caution, i don't know how this will work out (it's just an idea), you could disable the ignition system so when you crank the car it doesn't start. then start draining the tranny, after everything is out, crank the engine a few times, most of the torque converter fluid should then come out. refill it, most of the fluid should be changed (make sure you have enough tranny fluid to refill).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Today is my first time doing drain and fill. I was planning to do it tomorrow but I checked the weather forecast and it said today was the only most sunny day. Since I gotta take my wife to her work at 6 o'clock in the morning, I decided to do it when I came back home at 6:30 am. It was still pretty dark, and I lived in an apartment complex. The parking lot was right up front to my neighbors' tenant rooms on the first floor. so I tried to do it as quiet as possible to not disturb or wake them up. I didn't want them to think what the heck this guy is doing alone at a car at this very morning, an auto thief???:eek:

Anyway, it took me pretty long to do it very quietly possible and used only car jack to lift both front tires up and put the jack stands in. I finished pulling the drain plug out at 8, very long for a novice. Now, I am sitting relax to let it drain out as possible. I plan to let it drain for 8 hours and will finish the last job at 4 pm.

Before that, I got some questions to ask. It might sound silly for you guys but no for me who got very least experience in a car (I know only changing the oil and tires but eager to learn more). I want to know how to measure the amount of oil coming out, so I can figure out how much I need to put in. I don't have any empty gallons of milk or anything but I have a weigh scale. Also, I got a funnel but it doesn't have scale on it. Where can I get the funnel with scale, Schuck, or Walmart?

Besides my silly question above, I check my drain plug. It is just a male screw with 11mm. It doesn't have any magnet or anything except the tip of the screw was a black color. I though it was magnetic to attract metal dirt or small metal pieces but it is not. I am not sure it is like this on another car??

On last things, I heard Nissan Altima 06 2.5 litres 4 speed does't have a replacable transmission filter. I heard it from this forum and I called 2 Nissan dealer to make sure my curiosity. They both said the transmission filter came with the life of the vehicle. umm really?? They would change it if there was something wrong with transmission, and the part for the filter alone costs at $40. I am concerned about what they said "it comes with the life of the car." Why it lasts that long. We keep changing the oil filter everytime when changning the engine oil at 5 K miles, but what is about this transmission filter. Is that some kind of super special or something. I saw on the internet that they still had an OEM gasket and transmission filter for Nissan. What is it for? My question is if we keep maintenace the transmission fluid with drain and fill every 30k,we should change the filter once in a while or it has no need to do it at all even getting high mileage like 150 k or more later on?
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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Today is my first time doing drain and fill. I was planning to do it tomorrow but I checked the weather forecast and it said today was the only most sunny day. Since I gotta take my wife to her work at 6 o'clock in the morning, I decided to do it when I came back home at 6:30 am. It was still pretty dark, and I lived in an apartment complex. The parking lot was right up front to my neighbors' tenant rooms on the first floor. so I tried to do it as quiet as possible to not disturb or wake them up. I didn't want them to think what the heck this guy is doing alone at a car at this very morning, an auto thief???:eek:

Anyway, it took me pretty long to do it very quietly possible and used only car jack to lift both front tires up and put the jack stands in. I finished pulling the drain plug out at 8, very long for a novice. Now, I am sitting relax to let it drain out as possible. I plan to let it drain for 8 hours and will finish the last job at 4 pm.

Before that, I got some questions to ask. It might sound silly for you guys but no for me who got very least experience in a car (I know only changing the oil and tires but eager to learn more). I want to know how to measure the amount of oil coming out, so I can figure out how much I need to put in. I don't have any empty gallons of milk or anything but I have a weigh scale. Also, I got a funnel but it doesn't have scale on it. Where can I get the funnel with scale, Schuck, or Walmart?

Besides my silly question above, I check my drain plug. It is just a male screw with 11mm. It doesn't have any magnet or anything except the tip of the screw was a black color. I though it was magnetic to attract metal dirt or small metal pieces but it is not. I am not sure it is like this on another car??

On last things, I heard Nissan Altima 06 2.5 litres 4 speed does't have a replacable transmission filter. I heard it from this forum and I called 2 Nissan dealer to make sure my curiosity. They both said the transmission filter came with the life of the vehicle. umm really?? They would change it if there was something wrong with transmission, and the part for the filter alone costs at $40. I am concerned about what they said "it comes with the life of the car." Why it lasts that long. We keep changing the oil filter everytime when changning the engine oil at 5 K miles, but what is about this transmission filter. Is that some kind of super special or something. I saw on the internet that they still had an OEM gasket and transmission filter for Nissan. What is it for? My question is if we keep maintenace the transmission fluid with drain and fill every 30k,we should change the filter once in a while or it has no need to do it at all even getting high mileage like 150 k or more later on?
you could check to see if any oil is still coming out after 30 minutes of draining, if not then your done.

you said that you have a scale, weigh the new oil before you use it. weigh 4 quarts then 5, then 6. write down the #'s you got. after your done draining, weigh all of the old oil. you should be able to figure it out after that.

the tranny doesn't use a "filter", it uses a metal screen. you never replace that screen, that's why they said it's lasts for the life of the tranny.
 

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there are plenty of arguments about this on this board and varying opinions on what should be done with the atf.

The altima doesn't have a filter like jimnolimit just said and the drain plug is designed as a magnet to attract metal from the transmission. It is designed to do a drain and fill, drive it around to get the car in every gear, then drain and fill. If you do this 2-3 times, you should be fine.

However, I'm of the mindset that if you aren't having transmission issues, I don't mess with it. It is easy to do though. Just drain and fill. If you have anyone else do it, take it to the dealer. I have a 2005 3.5 SL and it takes Matik-K. You don't want those solvents that places like Jiffy Lube use going into your transmission.
 

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Use a half gallon or gallon sized milk jug for measuring. It's not hard.

I got 6.5 quarts out both times I drained mine. Make sure you had a pretty big container for it to drain into.

I'm not sure what I did or where I spilled it, but just about every time I start the car now I smell that disgusting Amsoil ATF. It's not leaking or draining anywhere, it just smells bad.
 

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That guy was right, the proper way to do it would be a flush. Some people hear "flush" and scream bloody murder, "it will kill the tranny" blah blah blah. There is the right way and right machine to do it, and then there's the wrong way and wrong machine to do it. Forced flushes, reverse flushes, STAY AWAY. The only machine that you should ever consider using is the like of BG, which has 2 bladders (one full of fresh ATF, the other empty) and which relies on the tranny's pump to rotate the ATF.

IMHO, Amsoil was way overkill for the 2.5. That motor simply doesn't put the tranny through it's paces to need such a high quality ATF but considering the prices the dealer charge for a quart of mineral OEM ATF, I don't blame you.
Drain/fill method is acceptable, but you are mixing Amsoil with old crappy fluid. To me that's like topping caviar with a can of beans. Do at least 3 drain/fills and you should be OK.

Regarding the filter, I thought most, if not all JATCO auto trannies have an external spin-on ATF filter that looks just like an oil filter. You should see it if you remove the battery, but I could be completely wrong. Either way, if you have a clogged filter, you have much bigger issues to worry about than an ATF change. A clogged filter means the tranny has basically started to eat itself.

Also, I have yet to see a tranny that holds 7-10 quarts of ATF drain more than 4 out of the pan, IF that. A drain will probably get you 30% of the ATF. Most of it is in the torque converter and lines, not the pan. The valve body that sits in the pan is like a f-ing maze. Mine still had fluid in it after a day of sitting OUT of the tranny.
 

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VQ'D Sleeper
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Lol. I didn't realize until now that eating beans with my caviar was inappropriate. Seriously, good points there fishbone. If you are going to use the best fluids, either do 3 drain and refills or have the system flushed in a way that won't hurt the tranny (whatever that is). I prefer the drain and refill method. It allows me to control the outcome.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Hi again everyone,

Believe it or not, I could drain the old oil out of 7.5 quarts. It is unbelievable I could drain out that much. I used a bucket with scale to measure it. I though I could get like 5-6 qt maximum but 7.5 qt is amazing. Maybe I lifted it at the right angle or I let it drain out for 8 and a half hour. Now, I can make it mix 50/50 old and new and plan to do it again in the next 1,000 miles.

By the way, I got few questions to ask. Do you think the transmission oil have any effect if it was spilled on a hose and wire? I spilled it a little bit by accident but I used a rag to clean it up right away. It left some stained but I don't know it'll be bad or not. Also, during the time I press a brake pedal, only when the car moves to completely stop, I always hear a small click sound coming from the gear lever console. It happened before I changed the oil. I don't know it is normal or not. Any idea?
 

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Hi again everyone,

Believe it or not, I could drain the old oil out of 7.5 quarts. It is unbelievable I could drain out that much. I used a bucket with scale to measure it. I though I could get like 5-6 qt maximum but 7.5 qt is amazing. Maybe I lifted it at the right angle or I let it drain out for 8 and a half hour. Now, I can make it mix 50/50 old and new and plan to do it again in the next 1,000 miles.

By the way, I got few questions to ask. Do you think the transmission oil have any effect if it was spilled on a hose and wire? I spilled it a little bit by accident but I used a rag to clean it up right away. It left some stained but I don't know it'll be bad or not. Also, during the time I press a brake pedal, only when the car moves to completely stop, I always hear a small click sound coming from the gear lever console. It happened before I changed the oil. I don't know it is normal or not. Any idea?
It is not out of the realm of possibility to get that much fluid out of the car. You would be better off running till either 10 or 15k miles before doing the next drain/fill.

No problems on the spill...The hose and wire will be fine.

The clicking is probably from the shift/lock mechanism. The shifter mechanism is nothing more than a cable that moves the lever out in the engine compartment. The area under the console does not go directly to the shifter.
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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Hi again everyone,

Believe it or not, I could drain the old oil out of 7.5 quarts. It is unbelievable I could drain out that much. I used a bucket with scale to measure it. I though I could get like 5-6 qt maximum but 7.5 qt is amazing. Maybe I lifted it at the right angle or I let it drain out for 8 and a half hour. Now, I can make it mix 50/50 old and new and plan to do it again in the next 1,000 miles.
if i got 7.5 quarts out of the tranny doing a drain and fill, my next drain and fill would be in 25k miles. you basically removed 70%-75% of the old oil, doing another drain and fill in 1k miles would mean that you'd be throwing away about 56%-57% of the new amsoil just to replace 18%-19% of the old oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all your comments. I am glad I can do it by myself and saves lots of money. From my driving experience for the past 2 days, I don't feel any different. At least I know I have the best oil in my transmission.

Anyway, today, I checked the tranny dipstick when the engine was warm. I found the tranny fluid was almost a half inch (0.5") above the full mark line on the hot scale side. I must have added it by accident. Do you think it should be ok or it is better to drain out a bit to meet at the full line? Also, during the time I poured the Amsoil fluid into the funnel, I noticed some small air bubble foam on the top of the fluid (Like pouring wine on a glass but a lot less). The air bubbles might have occurred when I broke the cap seal from the Amsoil bottle and the air might get inside. I should have waited a couple minutes to let the air bubbles dissolve but I was in a hurry. So I poured it all together. I think it should be ok but I heard some issue about the bad sign of transmission when having air bubbles on the dipstick. I think I should ask here just to make sure. Do you think it is ok when these small air bubbles were poured in with the fluid?

Oh, I almost forgot to miss the point to mention about the transmission drain plug (bolt size 11 mm). It is NOT magnetic. At the tip of the screw is black but it is not the magnet. I tested it with a paper clip but it didn't have any effect at all. I heard many folks talking about a magnetic drain plug. Where is it exactly? Does it use in this Altima 06 -4 cylindar model or in other model? Please let me know.
 

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2010 2.5s Sedan
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Thanks for all your comments. I am glad I can do it by myself and saves lots of money. From my driving experience for the past 2 days, I don't feel any different. At least I know I have the best oil in my transmission.

Anyway, today, I checked the tranny dipstick when the engine was warm. I found the tranny fluid was almost a half inch (0.5") above the full mark line on the hot scale side. I must have added it by accident. Do you think it should be ok or it is better to drain out a bit to meet at the full line? Also, during the time I poured the Amsoil fluid into the funnel, I noticed some small air bubble foam on the top of the fluid (Like pouring wine on a glass but a lot less). The air bubbles might have occurred when I broke the cap seal from the Amsoil bottle and the air might get inside. I should have waited a couple minutes to let the air bubbles dissolve but I was in a hurry. So I poured it all together. I think it should be ok but I heard some issue about the bad sign of transmission when having air bubbles on the dipstick. I think I should ask here just to make sure. Do you think it is ok when these small air bubbles were poured in with the fluid?
i would drain it to the full line. bubbles shouldn't do anything, the tranny fluid in an auto gets beaten up while the car is running. as it circulates the bubbles should come out.
 
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