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2004 Rx 300 Transmission Fluid Change


smyrnagc
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We have a 2004 RX 300 and I am wondering if I need to change the transmission fluid. It has 74,000 miles on it and it has basically been used for in town travel with several 300-500 mile vacation trips. I have read to use nothing but Toyota ATF T-IV and have also read that under normal operating conditions with the 2 wheel drive transmission that I might not need to change the fluid out.

So here are my questions:

1. Should I change it out and if so do I have to use the Toyota T-IV fluid?

2. If there are other fluids that can be used what are they?

3. Do I also need to drop the pan and clean the screen?

I am sure that there are other things I need to consider, I have been a Ford truck owner for years, and this is my wifes vehicle.

Thanks for any help and advice you might give.

Hal/Nashville

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We have a 2004 RX 300 and I am wondering if I need to change the transmission fluid. It has 74,000 miles on it and it has basically been used for in town travel with several 300-500 mile vacation trips. I have read to use nothing but Toyota ATF T-IV and have also read that under normal operating conditions with the 2 wheel drive transmission that I might not need to change the fluid out.

So here are my questions:

1. Should I change it out and if so do I have to use the Toyota T-IV fluid?

2. If there are other fluids that can be used what are they?

3. Do I also need to drop the pan and clean the screen?

I am sure that there are other things I need to consider, I have been a Ford truck owner for years, and this is my wifes vehicle.

Thanks for any help and advice you might give.

Hal/Nashville

Read this:

http://www.clublexus.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220061

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I would definitely recommend synthetic ATF. If it calls for Toyota T IV fluid you can use Amsoil Universal ATF. I'm putting it into mine shortly. I would advise having it flushed or flushing yourself if its never been changed.

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lexrx3:

I have heard that you are not suppose to totally flush the transmission on the RX 300 but you recommend it. Could you fill me in on on this?

Thanks, Hal

wouldnt recommend it on a high mileage car. Do several drain and refills. within a short period of time... much safer.

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We have a 2004 RX 300 and I am wondering if I need to change the transmission fluid. It has 74,000 miles on it and it has basically been used for in town travel with several 300-500 mile vacation trips. I have read to use nothing but Toyota ATF T-IV and have also read that under normal operating conditions with the 2 wheel drive transmission that I might not need to change the fluid out.

So here are my questions:

1. Should I change it out and if so do I have to use the Toyota T-IV fluid?

2. If there are other fluids that can be used what are they?

3. Do I also need to drop the pan and clean the screen?

I am sure that there are other things I need to consider, I have been a Ford truck owner for years, and this is my wifes vehicle.

Thanks for any help and advice you might give.

Hal/Nashville

If you have a 2004 then you have an rx330. Our 04 rx330 has 144,000 miles on the transmission and is shifting fine. I do a single drain fill every 15,000-20,000 miles and at 90-100k did a series of 4 drain fills which will get you to 90% new fluid. You can drop the pan but my dealer advised against it. You can also get a flush for about $180 but the 4 drain fills cost me about $80 for the 12 quarts of T-IV

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lexrx3:

I have heard that you are not suppose to totally flush the transmission on the RX 300 but you recommend it. Could you fill me in on on this?

Thanks, Hal

I am not sure where you "heard" this but there have been old wive's tales about not flushing transmissions on older vehcicles but I would venture a guess that any reputable transmission shop would tell you that is like keeping old engine oil in your car. What is your source for your information?

The manual states tranny flushes at 60000 miles, iirc. As a minimum, you should do as the one poster does and change the ATF in the pan out on each engine oil change. I do a similar thing after the engine oil change I drain the pan. I drive the car for 50-100 miles and change the ATF again. I do this four times and I am guessing that I get 90% of the old ATF out. Don't forget the differential lube change too. That interval is also in the manual.

Gary

2005 330

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While I am nothing more than a shade tree mechanic, I have been reading about "do not flush transmissions or they will start leaking" for many, many years. I don't believe that there is any technical basis for this. Imo, if the only thing that is keeping your transmission from leaking is the gunk that has built up or the years (this being the basis for not flushing), then I suggest that I would rather clean out the tranny, fix what is leaking and put fresh ATF in it. Like I said, the same arguement could be to not change your engine oil to prevent the fresh oil from starting leaks. Fresh oil or ATF doesn't cause leaks - it may clean out the garbage but I know of no evidence that a fluid change can actually cause the leak.

As a parting comment, advice given on any forum (just like my advice), for any vehicle, should be taken with a grain of salt until you find out if the poster is passing along heresay or fact-based information. A report of one guy's transmission, or any other component, for that matter, does not prove anything.

What does your owner's manual say?

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The owners manual says that under normal city driving conditions, no 4WD or towing, that I should not ever need to change the fluid...or at least to 250,000 miles.

I am no expert either and am not questioning your statements...just wanting to do the right thing. When I pull the dipstick the fluid is still red and there is no burnt smell...might not need a change at all but I feel that it might be a good idea at 75,000 miles. At least just do a fluid change, drive it 100-200 miles and do one more. That should about do it.

What do you think?

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The owners manual says that under normal city driving conditions, no 4WD or towing, that I should not ever need to change the fluid...or at least to 250,000 miles.

I am no expert either and am not questioning your statements...just wanting to do the right thing. When I pull the dipstick the fluid is still red and there is no burnt smell...might not need a change at all but I feel that it might be a good idea at 75,000 miles. At least just do a fluid change, drive it 100-200 miles and do one more. That should about do it.

What do you think?

Hey, feel free to question me all the time. :D I don't claim to have any exceptional knowledge other than that gained from being a shade tree mechanic for the last 30 years. Plus, I read volumes, ask lots of questions from boards like this and from my friends. In addition, I never take offense when someone challenges me. I try not to pass on "old wives tales" unless I know or believe them to be true.

250000 miles and no recommended ATF change? I would be paranoid. Imo, this is cheap insurance, plain and simple. Some auto fluids last a long time and don't lose the capacity to do whatever their intended purpose is. For instance, some GM and Chrysler transmissions claim to have "no change" ATF, assuming that most owners will trade in their vehicle before any major service is ever needed. Other fluids have a definite life cycle and require change to protect the component. For instance, antifreeze has a limited life and that life cannot usually be checked by either a visual or a sniff test, like you did with your ATF. Some of the new antifreezes have a five year cycle and are thus labeled extended life. But not perpetual. The old school "green stuff" typically had a two life cycle. They typically lose some of their antirust capability but not usually their anti-freezing capability.

So, back to the original question. What do I think? My answer is to say that I have already changed the ATF and the differential lube in my 05 330 with 42000 miles on it. I do my own work so I am only out the cost of the fluid. I believe that preventative maintenance can reduce our trips to the dealer for major maintenance.

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We have an 04 RX330 with 94K on it. I had the fluid changed at 60K and it looked/smelled horrible. I have now gone to 30K changes with Toyota type-IV. I go to an independent that specializes in Toyota and they do a full fluid exchange and it runs about $119.

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lexrx3:

I have heard that you are not suppose to totally flush the transmission on the RX 300 but you recommend it. Could you fill me in on on this?

Thanks, Hal

wouldnt recommend it on a high mileage car. Do several drain and refills. within a short period of time... much safer.

I've heard people say not to flush and perhaps its true on some vehicles. I have a 2001 RX 300 AWD. At 35,000 I had it flushed by a Toyota dealer. At 50,000 I had it flushed again by the Toyota dealer. The fluid still looks good currently at 67,000 and now I will drain and fill with synthetic in a few days instead of flushing and instead of using Toyota T 1V. The trans has been working fine even after two flushings. I assume the Toyota dealer would not have done it if it was harmful for the trans. I go to Toyota versus Lexus because its cheaper and my car is essentially a fancy expensive Highlander. They are quite familair with the model too. Anyway, I've flushed mine twice and no problems. I am very paranoid about the trans due to the problems I've read about. I believe w/o a doubt that the best fluid for it is a synthetic. I will drain and fill from now on as long as the fluid hasn't degraded at all. Once it begins to degrade, I'd definitely have it flushed. Thats my opinion and experience to date.

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Is this the fluid I need? The term "Scion" throws me off...

Thanks, Hal

Hal,

that is what you need. They put Scion in the headline to capture anyone's search for ATF. Before you do that, call your local Toyota dealer and ask him what his price is for whatever quantity of T-IV ATF you want. It may be just as economical as ordering from ebay and paying shipping. Plus you can have it right now. That is where my ATF comes from, plus it saves me 25 miles or so to the Lexus dealer who charges more for the same product.

In addition, if you check the variousl manufacturers of ATF, there are bound to be some that now make ATF that meets the Toyota type T-IV specifications. Amsoil comes to mind, but I am not sure on that. If the product doesn't say that it meets the Toyota spec, I wouldn't use it personally.

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