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sgretchko

Transmission Issue

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My '97 LS with 186k has just had a new timing belt and major tune. In the course of the work, a leaking transmission pump seal was found. I had it repaired and transmission fluid added to replace the leaked fluid. It now has a little "hop or jump" when shifted into Drive or Park. It happens about half the time and the frequency seems to be decreasing. A senior Lexus tech told me not to worry about it.

In addition, I found that Dextron II was used when the Lexus dealer changes or adds transmission fluid. I know that this forum strongly supports using Toyota ATF and was surprised when the dealer used Dextron II. Any thoughts on whether the Dextron fluid contributes to the problem and more importantly, is my little hop something to be concerned about. (A long weekend may be ideal for a fluid change to Toyota ATF.) Thank you.

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A Lexus dealer put Dextron in the transmission!! If your transmission was fine before the fluid change and now isn't I think you have answered your own question.

Use ONLY Toyota Type IV fluid and find another Lexus dealer.

If you are planning to DIY there is an excellent tutorial on Lexls.

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They used Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF (for cars with 75,000 or above). Looking at the spec sheet online, it is recommended where Dex II is specified but only suitable where various Toyota T-type fluids are used. The dealer uses it for efficency because it comes in bulk. If I was told, I would have gladly paid extra for the Toyota fluid.

The hop may or may not be the transmission fluid, but I am very disappointed in the Lexus dealer. You pay for the recommended service, OEM parts and factory fluids at the dealer. You go to a quick lube for the "suitable".

Now, the best way to get it out of my transmission. I could do a series of drains and fills. After 3 or 4 it should be mostly gone. The only way I know to remove it completely is a "power" flush which I hesitate to do. Open to ideas and suggestions, thanks.

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They used Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF (for cars with 75,000 or above). Looking at the spec sheet online, it is recommended where Dex II is specified but only suitable where various Toyota T-type fluids are used. The dealer uses it for efficency because it comes in bulk. If I was told, I would have gladly paid extra for the Toyota fluid.

The hop may or may not be the transmission fluid, but I am very disappointed in the Lexus dealer. You pay for the recommended service, OEM parts and factory fluids at the dealer. You go to a quick lube for the "suitable".

Now, the best way to get it out of my transmission. I could do a series of drains and fills. After 3 or 4 it should be mostly gone. The only way I know to remove it completely is a "power" flush which I hesitate to do. Open to ideas and suggestions, thanks.

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I would love to see the spec sheet you are referring to. I have never hear of a dealer not using the recommended product if it was available. I would never put anything but what was recommended by the manufacturer in my car without a lot of documentation and input. I have the same year car with 146k miles on it. I just did a flush at 145k with no issues using Toyota fluid. I used dextron 2(now 4 i think) in the power steering fluid only as stated in the manual. I would flush it out asap.

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They used Valvoline Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF (for cars with 75,000 or above). Looking at the spec sheet online, it is recommended where Dex II is specified but only suitable where various Toyota T-type fluids are used. The dealer uses it for efficency because it comes in bulk. If I was told, I would have gladly paid extra for the Toyota fluid.

The hop may or may not be the transmission fluid, but I am very disappointed in the Lexus dealer. You pay for the recommended service, OEM parts and factory fluids at the dealer. You go to a quick lube for the "suitable".

Now, the best way to get it out of my transmission. I could do a series of drains and fills. After 3 or 4 it should be mostly gone. The only way I know to remove it completely is a "power" flush which I hesitate to do. Open to ideas and suggestions, thanks.

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I just looked at your post again. If this is from Valvoline, I would call it worthless. If that is the case you are now in a he said she said with the dealer pointing at Valvoline and you in the middle. If the dealer did this. I would go directly to Lexus and, ask them put something in writing that the other fluid is ok. But this will not be easy. Do this after the flush.

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The Valvoline fluid will be flushed by the end of the week and replaced by Toyota T-IV. The spec sheet can be found on the Valvoline website on the Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF page. In the middle of the page it allows you to download the product PDF. If you give me your fax or email, I would be happy to get it to you.

I am going to point it out to the dealership service manager and shop foreman, both of whom have always treated me very well. Beyond that, it is their business. I am only concerned that I have the recommended fluids and do not have a transmission problem caused by improper fluid. Thank you for viewing and adding your comments.

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I just bought a 97 LS400 and im having the same issue. The car hops when i select drive or reverse. Please let me know if you find out what the problem is.

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The Valvoline fluid will be flushed by the end of the week and replaced by Toyota T-IV. The spec sheet can be found on the Valvoline website on the Maxlife Dex/Merc ATF page. In the middle of the page it allows you to download the product PDF. If you give me your fax or email, I would be happy to get it to you.

I am going to point it out to the dealership service manager and shop foreman, both of whom have always treated me very well. Beyond that, it is their business. I am only concerned that I have the recommended fluids and do not have a transmission problem caused by improper fluid. Thank you for viewing and adding your comments.

A series of drain/fills is quick and easy to do, and although people specify using OE fluid only, I've had no issues using over the counter Dexron III fluid in my car. I wouldn't think a lot about a little hiccup being fluid related unless it's too full or a bit low, you haven't had it in long enough to notice if the fluid type actually is causing an issue, nor was there enough added in if they only changed the front pump seal. They maybe lost 2-3qts, the transmission holds considerably more. I'd do the drain and refill a few times over the next few weeks and if you see further problems then consider taking action.

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I would love to see the spec sheet you are referring to. I have never hear of a dealer not using the recommended product if it was available. I would never put anything but what was recommended by the manufacturer in my car without a lot of documentation and input. I have the same year car with 146k miles on it. I just did a flush at 145k with no issues using Toyota fluid. I used dextron 2(now 4 i think) in the power steering fluid only as stated in the manual. I would flush it out asap.

A lot of dealers use bulk fluids, Nissan for example is known to use Penzoil oils even though they sell their own brand Nissan oil in the parts department, it's basically just relabeled name brand stuff anyway.

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It is true, alot of dealers use bulk fluids and I generally have no problem with it when the fluid is the same formulation made by another manufacturer. In this case, the formula is different. The Dextron has an additive that makes it suitable for but not recommended for Toyota/Lexus because the formula is different.

It may not make a difference, however, after 13 years and 188,000 miles the car has had OEM parts and fluids (where recommended) throughout. If my transmission fails, for whatever reason, I would like to think it was due to useage and wear rather than using improper fluid. You pay more for dealer service with good reason. One of those reasons is the confidence that appropriate parts and materials are used. They put in 5.5 quarts of fluid after repairing the seal. It should be the fluid specified by the factory, not a substitute.

To their credit, once it was pointed out to the dealership they apologized and offered to fully flush, drain and exchange the fluid for Toyota T-4 at no charge. Everyone makes mistakes, it is the action taken after the mistake is discovered that determines the character of a person or entity. In this case, the dealership showed very good character.

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Might also be it is shifting firmer as it is cleaner but you have worn or broken engine transmision mounts.

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1. The engine and transmission mounts were replaced approximately one year and 17k miles ago.

2. The hop is significantly less prominent and decreasing more every day with the proper fluid.

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The hop and hard shifts are gone. The replacement of Maxlife with T-4 makes a noticable difference. The shifts are smoother and the hop is gone. I agree, the only transmission fuid that should be used is Toyota T-4.

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