Sign in to follow this  
RX in NC

Changing Atf In The Rx330....

Recommended Posts

I did a drain-and-fill on my wife's 2004 RX330 AWD yesterday as part of a routine service that included an oil-and-filter change, some fuel injector cleaning, and a tire rotation. The vehicle currently has just over 105,000 miles on it, and this is the third ATF drain-and-fill I've done on it since we purchased it in January 2007....

While this RX330 AWD transmission is certainly better than the first-generation RX300 AWD transmission, it still needs fresh fluid from time to time. Don't believe what your owners manual says - there is no such animal as "lifetime" ATF. I change our RX330's ATF every 30,000 miles and while the old fluid isn't completely worn out-looking or smelling, it certainly isn't still pristine dark red, either. I've stuck with Toyota Type T-IV ATF because it is inexpensive, not because I believe it is the only fluid to use because Lexus says so. Every drain-and-fill I've done has been consistent - right at 3.8 quarts out, and a fresh 3.8 quarts in. No transmission issues until last week when my wife reported a couple of very minor slips while driving in city traffic. I expect yesterday's drain-and-fill to clear up that issue. Time will tell....

So don't take your RX330 ATF for granted. Pick a change interval and stick with it. It's cheap and easy if you do it yourself. All you need is a 10 mm Allen wrench, 4 quarts of ATF, and a drain pan. Using my electric jig saw, I cut a 2-inch by 2-inch hole in the plastic undertray just below the transmission pan drain plug so I don't even have to remove the undertray to do my drain-and-fills. You don't even have to jack the vehicle up. Takes all of 30 minutes, and most of that time is just waiting for the last drop of old fluid to hit the pan....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I am not a DIY kind of guy but I also have had the trans serviced in the rx330 that we used to have a few times. I think I had it serviced 3 times when we did get rid of the rx 330 it had about 92k on it and the trans had 0 issues. I do check the fluids on a regular basis and the rx330 fluid always was bright red and seemed to have no burned smell at all. I think you are 100% right there is no such thing as lifetime fluid! My x5 now has about 64k on it and I think the next service I will see if they can do a drain and fill on it too.

Good post!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

-

there is no such animal as "lifetime" AT

I agree. My wife's new 2011 Camry doesn't even have a dip stick or provision to add any fluid so you can't even see or smell how the fluid is doing. I don't like that one bit, since I'm a hands on guy. By the way, when I change the fluid in any vehicle I pull the pan and clean and also change the filter, then fill with 4 qts. of fluid then pull the return hose and pump the system empty by running so that I change the ENTIRE fluid rather than mixing new with old. DON'T like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, our 2005 Jaguar S-Type has the German-built ZF 6-speed transmission with no dipstick and no fill tube. Want to check your ATF? You have to put the car on a lift, raise it, use a special tool to remove the transmission pan fill hole plug, and stick your finger in there to get an idea of how the fluid is doing. Absolutely nuts. When I bought the car in December 2008, ZF ATF was selling for $55 per liter - the car runs 10 liters. ZF ATF is now down to about $23 per liter at some online retailers, still ridiculously expensive. When you want to change the fluid, you have to pump it in with a hand pump while the engine is running with the car up in the air. Again, absolutely nuts. The car is pushing 51,000 miles. ZF Corporation says the fluid is good for at least 100,000 miles, but I won't wait that long to change it. But what a major production (and expense) it is to change this car's ATF. It's been a great car, but I really hate dealing with the ZF unit in it....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, our 2005 Jaguar S-Type has the German-built ZF 6-speed transmission with no dipstick and no fill tube. Want to check your ATF? You have to put the car on a lift, raise it, use a special tool to remove the transmission pan fill hole plug, and stick your finger in there to get an idea of how the fluid is doing. Absolutely nuts. When I bought the car in December 2008, ZF ATF was selling for $55 per liter - the car runs 10 liters. ZF ATF is now down to about $23 per liter at some online retailers, still ridiculously expensive. When you want to change the fluid, you have to pump it in with a hand pump while the engine is running with the car up in the air. Again, absolutely nuts. The car is pushing 51,000 miles. ZF Corporation says the fluid is good for at least 100,000 miles, but I won't wait that long to change it. But what a major production (and expense) it is to change this car's ATF. It's been a great car, but I really hate dealing with the ZF unit in it....

X5 is the same way! Crazy...no dip stick!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, our 2005 Jaguar S-Type has the German-built ZF 6-speed transmission with no dipstick and no fill tube. Want to check your ATF? You have to put the car on a lift, raise it, use a special tool to remove the transmission pan fill hole plug, and stick your finger in there to get an idea of how the fluid is doing. Absolutely nuts. When I bought the car in December 2008, ZF ATF was selling for $55 per liter - the car runs 10 liters. ZF ATF is now down to about $23 per liter at some online retailers, still ridiculously expensive. When you want to change the fluid, you have to pump it in with a hand pump while the engine is running with the car up in the air. Again, absolutely nuts. The car is pushing 51,000 miles. ZF Corporation says the fluid is good for at least 100,000 miles, but I won't wait that long to change it. But what a major production (and expense) it is to change this car's ATF. It's been a great car, but I really hate dealing with the ZF unit in it....

X5 is the same way! Crazy...no dip stick!

Seems the 330Ci is the same. How often do you think the dealer really performs the check when you go in for an oil change (motor)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems the 330Ci is the same. How often do you think the dealer really performs the check when you go in for an oil change (motor)?

The mechanics hope... NEVER, more work for them!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, the answer is "never". If you want your fluid checked, you better learn to do it yourself. Besides, I would never pay the Jaguar dealership charges to work on our car - they are astronomical. I rode the remaining 7 months of factory warranty like a race horse after I purchased the car. This resulted in more than $3,000 worth of warranty work done to the car to get it ready for me when the warranty ran out. So I've been fortunate....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man for that price on fluid I would switch to Amsoil or Mobil 1 synthetic....probably a lot cheaper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. After the factory warranty expires, a number of S-Type owners switch to Mobil 1 or Castrol when they decide to change their ATF. I've researched this topic quite a bit this year, and I'm leaning towards Castrol. Time will tell....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this