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Hey everyone,

Just wanted to get a better idea for changing my own CVT fluid. I’m going with OEM and already have it. Simple drain and fill. I would be using a oil extractor to get the fluid out.

Car is at 90k miles and never changed the fluid. My question is - do you recommend I drain it with a cold engine or warm it up some? I guess you couldn’t go wrong overfilling the fluid, as I would use the overflow to get it correct in the end once I put the new fluid in.

Thoughts on your experiences? Many thanks in advance! I’ve taken great care of my car and want to get another 90k+ miles out of it if possible.
 

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I dont think a hose will get much out, prob better to drain from under then replace same amount. you will only really get about half out as the other half is sealed in the cvt. do you have the dipstick 31086-JA00A? prob a good idea to have so you can note where you started before doing anything. important to note that the level on this dipstick is for a 2013 and will read low so dont try to compensate. it will also read different if engine is running ect. heres some notes I made.


CVT DIPSTICK
I was approaching 50K and wanted to see how my cvt fluid was doing but of course no dipstick. Saw a guy on Youtube using an older Altima's dipstick 31086-JA00A so I ordered one on ebay. It worked but not as expected. Removing the dummy plug was tough and the plastic tab broke prob by design. I understood that to take the reading you had to have the car leveled and idling but when I did this just the very tip of the stick had fluid, I knew my level could not be so low so I just learned to think of the tip of the stick as the "zone" I need to be in. Now the question how can you be sure that you level is right from the start? We need to do the overflow procedure.

OVERFLOW LEVEL PROCEDURE
Because the CVT fluid expands with heat it is easy to mistakenly over or under fill. To make sure things are proper a overfill drain is critical. Luckily it's not that hard. You can use an app to monitor the cvt temp or like me use a infrared thermometer like they make for grills. Level car and with the thermometer make sure overflow area is 80f or less, before starting you should actually add in a carefully measured amount of cvt fluid like 2 cups as this procedure is designed to purge excess fluid and if you have too little to start it could get complicated. Also you should make sure you have a proper length socket wrench for the overflow bolt, break it free then semi tighten and place a collection pan underneath. Start car leveled and slowly cycle through all shift positions to distribute the fluid. Get on ground and train thermometer at the overflow plug area NOT the drain plug some areas like the bolt will read high find a couple spots around the bolt to get an average temp. At 99F take out overflow screw "you should be able to loosen with wrench and then remove with fingers so pan catches stream", a good stream should come out. You have a small window of opportunity between 99 and 113 degrees F for your stream to turn into a weak stream. If you somehow reach 113 and still have a good stream you should let cool to 80 F and start again. Once you have a weak stream you should be ok to put screw back in and tighten. When I did this I added 2 cups of NS3 and when I measured what came out of the over flow I had 2 and 1/3 cups so if I did everything correctly I had 1/3 cup overfill which may or may not be a reasonable difference.


CVT DRAIN & FILL
Since the cvt drain plug leans towards the passenger side I put my car on ramps so it was canted to get the most fluid out. It's important to use a bucket that has quart measurements so you'll know how much to put back. My drain yielded about 3 and 3/4 quarts after putting the plug back on with a new crush washer I added about 3 and 3/4 quarts then got the car off the ramp and checked the level. Naturally before you drain you will want to familiarize yourself with the level reading on your dipstick both hot and cold. When checking levels you need to be sure you car is level as if it is on a incline the reading will be quite low. With my car turned off the level read right in the center of the fill zone, if it was running the level would be just at the very tip of the dipstick. When I compared my old fluid to the new I was shocked how dirty it looked, when I would wipe the dipstick it was amber but when poured in a cup you could see it was quite dark whereas the fresh ns3 was like gatorade. Keep in mind my car had nearly 50k on it. Since I had one qaurt of new fluid left I waited a week for things to mix and then used a siphon to take out a quart from the top and replaced with the new stuff. I suppose I you could keep doing this from time to time as a refresher.
 

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2015 Nissan Altima 2.5 Base & 2001 Nissan R50 Pathfinder SE 3.5 4X4 MT
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Here's some useful info on the matter.

 
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Here's what you "should" do.

 
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