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No Transmission Drain Plug: What Do You Do?


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My friend who does some of my maintenance said my '04 LS 430 tranny has no drain plug on the bottom. Only on the side for filling apparently.

He couldn't figure out how to drain this thing and I seached the forums and Google for an answer, but none found.

Anyone here know how to properly change the transmission fluid? In particular, how to drain the old fluid?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Many vehicles no longer have a drain plug in the transmission pan. What you will need to do is simply remove the pan. You'll have to do that anyhow if you plan on changing the transmission filter. Caveat - That's assuming they have a transmission filter. Anyhow pretty straight forward, though a little messy. It's a good idea to leave at least two bolts on one side loose so that when you lower the pan you can direct the flow of oil rather than having it splash all over the place. Motor oil is best drained while hot, but I'd let the transmission cool off a bit before you start. It also gives you a good idea of the condition of the transmission by the color and smell of the fluid and checking to see if there is any metal filings or other crud in the bottom of the pan. Good luck!

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I know the UCF2Xs have a tranny filter.

And word on the street is it's pointless to change, since the magnet and filter supposedly do a fantastic job of filtering.

Couldn't tell you about the 3rd gens.

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Many vehicles no longer have a drain plug in the transmission pan. What you will need to do is simply remove the pan. You'll have to do that anyhow if you plan on changing the transmission filter. Caveat - That's assuming they have a transmission filter. Anyhow pretty straight forward, though a little messy. It's a good idea to leave at least two bolts on one side loose so that when you lower the pan you can direct the flow of oil rather than having it splash all over the place. Motor oil is best drained while hot, but I'd let the transmission cool off a bit before you start. It also gives you a good idea of the condition of the transmission by the color and smell of the fluid and checking to see if there is any metal filings or other crud in the bottom of the pan. Good luck!

That completely sux.......I'd really like to change my fluid, but it doesn't make sense w/o some form of a lift & a great BIG catch pan............More than I'm interested in getting involved with.

Hmmmm, I wonder if this was done to drum up more business for the stealer?..........

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I know the UCF2Xs have a tranny filter.

And word on the street is it's pointless to change, since the magnet and filter supposedly do a fantastic job of filtering.

Couldn't tell you about the 3rd gens.

Well I'd have to disagree with that. A magnet does a great job attracting most of the steel, but what about brass, and aluminum and other debri? Also although the filter does a fantastic job of filtering it begins to be less effective and more restrictive as the crud builds up on the filter surface. Lastly, transmission fluid does break down after awhile. If you want a quick check of yours, it should be clean, and light red. If it's dark and smells like it has been scorched, then it probably has, and you're well on the way to a major expense. A filter and fluid are very cheap insurance when you compare the cost of replacing a transmission at the dealership or one of the advertised transmission shops. For those that are even marginally mechanically inclined, dropping the pan and changing the fluid and filter are pretty much a no brainer. You don't need a lift and you don't need any special tools. You can do the same thing by jacking the car up and placing it on jack stands. Don't crawl underneath the car if it is only supported by a jack. Make sure you place the car in park, set the emergency brake and block or chock the rear wheels. And while you're there it'll give you a good chance to check for anything that might be loose, or leaking. Better to be proactive than reactive.
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Ask Blake about his tranny filter.

If you want to check your fluid... use the dipstick.

I don't know who Blake is, but he can surely jump in if he wants. Use the dipstick. what a novel idea! My point was once the color has changed dramatically or the smell of the fluid, then it's time (perhaps overdue?) to change the fluid and filter. I'd take a wild guess that somewhere in the owners manual it might even suggest the fluid needs to be changed at the suggested scheduled intervals. Who knows, they might even mention something about the other fluids in the car? For those who don't subscribe to regular maintenance that's okay too! I've always performed my own maintenance and so far it has paid off.

Brett

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if you don't want to mess with dropping the pan use an extraction pump and suck it out via the dipstick tube.

Do it a couple of time with a few miles on it and you'll have a pretty good change completed.

Bob

That's an easy way to do it and does eliminate the mess and chance of any leak around the pan gasket. If you bought the car from a private owner or if it is not a CPO at a dealership, you really don't know how the car has been driven. I would still opt for doing it the old fashioned way and drop the pan and change the filter. That way there is no question in your mind about the condition of your transmission. Years ago I bought an old Dodge Power Wagon and when I pulled the dipstick to take a look at the oil it was clean and clear. A couple of months later the oil pan developed a fairly significant leak so I dropped the pan and it had about an inch of sludge in the bottom. So moral of the story is you don't really know if you don't take a look. Granted engines and lubricants have dramatically improved over the years, but the basics remain the same.

Brett

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My friend who does some of my maintenance said my '04 LS 430 tranny has no drain plug on the bottom. Only on the side for filling apparently.

He couldn't figure out how to drain this thing and I seached the forums and Google for an answer, but none found.

Anyone here know how to properly change the transmission fluid? In particular, how to drain the old fluid?

Unfortunately you are getting a lot of useless info from folks who didn't bother to read that you have 2004 LS 430. This model has NO DIPSTICK! There should be a plug on the trans or pan that will allow you to drain about 2 qts which is recommended at 60k as I recall. There is a standpipe in the pan that allows fill to the appropriate level at a specified trans fluid temp since the fluid expands with heat. If you fill it cold, you will overfill it. This is not easy to do without a lift since the fill opening access is tight although I have done it with much difficulty. I plan to use the dealer or a good independent next time. It just isn't worth the grief and I have done my own maintenence for 40 years. Check your owners manual for the recommended intervals and exetent of service.

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My friend who does some of my maintenance said my '04 LS 430 tranny has no drain plug on the bottom. Only on the side for filling apparently.

He couldn't figure out how to drain this thing and I seached the forums and Google for an answer, but none found.

Anyone here know how to properly change the transmission fluid? In particular, how to drain the old fluid?

Unfortunately you are getting a lot of useless info from folks who didn't bother to read that you have 2004 LS 430. This model has NO DIPSTICK! There should be a plug on the trans or pan that will allow you to drain about 2 qts which is recommended at 60k as I recall. There is a standpipe in the pan that allows fill to the appropriate level at a specified trans fluid temp since the fluid expands with heat. If you fill it cold, you will overfill it. This is not easy to do without a lift since the fill opening access is tight although I have done it with much difficulty. I plan to use the dealer or a good independent next time. It just isn't worth the grief and I have done my own maintenence for 40 years. Check your owners manual for the recommended intervals and exetent of service.

Yeah! What he said :)

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  • 4 weeks later...
My friend who does some of my maintenance said my '04 LS 430 tranny has no drain plug on the bottom. Only on the side for filling apparently.

He couldn't figure out how to drain this thing and I seached the forums and Google for an answer, but none found.

Anyone here know how to properly change the transmission fluid? In particular, how to drain the old fluid?

U don'tchange tranny fluid on 04 LS430

call the dealer, and You'll see what they'll tell ya...

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My friend who does some of my maintenance said my '04 LS 430 tranny has no drain plug on the bottom. Only on the side for filling apparently.

He couldn't figure out how to drain this thing and I seached the forums and Google for an answer, but none found.

Anyone here know how to properly change the transmission fluid? In particular, how to drain the old fluid?

U don'tchange tranny fluid on 04 LS430

call the dealer, and You'll see what they'll tell ya...

There is a change interval. Just read the owners manual. My trans DOES have a drain plug, but you only get about 2 qts out that way which is the maintenance at 60K. As I said before, I have done it, but it is NOT fun. Unless you are a die hard DIYer, leave it to the dealer or trusted independent.

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