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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, let me say that I am fairly new to working on cars/trucks. I have been changing my oil for a while now, and can do really basic stuff. I have never replaced the ATF in a vehichle before, so please bear with me.

I have it in my mind that changing ATF is/should be like changing the engine oil. True?

From my searching around on this site, I didn't find an exact 'how to' for the ATF. I don't want to buy a pump to get all of the fluid out, just change as much as I can through a drain and fill.

Are there any walkthroughs that someone could point me to?

Thanks for your help.

-eSlon
 

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There are a few threads regarding it...but the simplest method that some (ok at least I) believe in is pull the plug on the bottom, and drain it for 30 min or so. Put the plug in, pull the plug on the top and fill with 3.3qts or however much you need...go drive for about 10 miles after the truck has warmed up, come back, repeat the process 1-2 more times until you've got a pretty good ratio of new to used ATF in there. Thats what I do for the first time anyways.

You'll still have some residual of the stuff it shipped with, but as long as you're continuing to use the Honda ATF-Z1 you should be ok. This is one of the fluids (like the rear VTM-4 fluid) that you shouldn't deviate on. If you do, make sure whatever you're using has the Honda Z1 specification. I use Amsoil ATF myself and am happy with it.


If you're towing or daily driving will have an impact on it's lifespan, but the maintenance minder will give you it's input on the topic from time to time. I've always beleived fluids are cheap insurance so I typically drop mine a little more than most, so thats the part I'll leave that to you and the other folks to debate ;)
 

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Not hard to do.

Buy 4 quarts of Honda transmission fluid and two crush washers, one for fill plug and one for drain plug. They are different sizes, make sure you get right size from dealer they sometimes will give your the wrong size.

Remove tranny drain plug under car, as there are plugs nearby for the oil and transfer case, make sure you open the right one. On top of the tranny is the fill plug, almost under the master cylinder fluid to the left a little. The plug is blue or faded blue in color. This is really tight. You will need approx. a foot long extension between the socket and rachet. Also, you may need a pipe for leverage to loosen this nut. You will need a long neck funnel to re-fill, make sure you have one.

With the trans. you can only remove approx. 3qts as fluid is trapped within the trans. - not all will come out. Notice the magnetized drain plug, is there alot of gray matter / metal fillings? This is normal. Hopefully old fluid is still a bit red and not brown.

Re-fill according to manual - fluid warm, level ground, and not sure if engine is to be off.

RidgeLI
 

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here is a great way we do it at the shop, of course having the lift makes it easier:
open dip stick tube to help tranny vent more
usually a drain plug on bottom, remove it
use an old windshield washer bottle or something clear to drain the fluid into (great to have 2)
after it's done, mark on the spare bottle the amount you took out
fill that bottle, or just fill the tranny with that amount...

saves alot of time and usually is dead on too, no worries about overfilling or under filling


since there are drain plugs on tranny's now, not sure why people refuse to drain em and fill em. when i was at the shop, on my cars that had em, i changed it every oil change, keeps the tranny in great shape and fluid perfect color too.

if you don't have a drain plug (this may apply to other vehicles) you can always use one of the cooling lines as a drain, and fill it is you run and drain it, great flush method, but usually 2-3 people are needed for that
 

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You have received good advice. I changed my tranny fluid yesterday and it was very easy. I jacked up the front end a little and removed the dip stick. I measured 3 qts and 20 oz in about a 30 minute drain. I found a funnel and stuck a hose up in it and wrapped it real tight with duck tape so there would be no leak. The hose just fit in the dip stick tube so I did not have to fool with the fill plug. I put the same amount of fluid in as I took out and drove it around for a few miles, going through all the gears several times. I did the same thing again, this time removing 3 qts and a half.

A couple of tips: be sure you have a breaker bar (I used a piece of conduit) and slid it over the 3/8" wrench. I could never have loosened the drain bolt without it. And be sure to have a new crush washer for use after your second (or third if you wish) drain. Also, if you jack up the front end as I did it is best to lower the truck just to get that last few ounces out. All in all it was nearly as easy as changing the oil and a whole lot cheaper than it would be taking it to the dealer.
 

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If you want to spread out your costs so your not spending a lot by doing the 3X tranny fluid change and easy way is to just change the fluid at every other engine oil change. This keeps clean fluid in the AT all the time and spreads the cost over a longer period of time. It's also easier than changing, driving, changing, driving and changing AGAIN! JMHO. I do this with my MDX because of Acura's dismal history with their tranny. Jury is still out whether it will make the tranny last longer but, then again, it can't hurt.
 

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I did the 3.3 quart change out at ~15,000 miles, and will do it again here soon at ~29,000 miles. There is a large plug on top of the transmission housing for re-fill, makes it really easy to put in the new fluid. If your transmission fluid is clear and red, you are not over heating it, so the addition of 3.3 quarts (I believe it holds 8.5 quarts total) will replenish the additives that could have been scavenged in the transmission. Since I tow during the summer, I also change the transfer case gear fluid and the VTM-4 fluid on the same intervals. $120.00 in fluids and filter every 15,000 miles is not much to spend to keep everything clean and working well, hopefully.
 

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First, let me say that I am fairly new to working on cars/trucks. I have been changing my oil for a while now, and can do really basic stuff. I have never replaced the ATF in a vehichle before, so please bear with me.

I have it in my mind that changing ATF is/should be like changing the engine oil. True?

From my searching around on this site, I didn't find an exact 'how to' for the ATF. I don't want to buy a pump to get all of the fluid out, just change as much as I can through a drain and fill.

Are there any walkthroughs that someone could point me to?

Thanks for your help.

-eSlon

I think the link to the thread below is what you are looking for.

http://www.ridgelineownersclub.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20628
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of the thorough responses, everyone. I think I will opt for the 3x drain/fill pretty soon here since I don't know how meticulously the Ridge was maintained by the previous owner.

I am pretty partial to using Amsoil products, is there anyone that has had a problem with the Amsoil ATF? If not, I will likely go with that.

Thanks again for the help.

-eSlon
 

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I am pretty partial to using Amsoil products, is there anyone that has had a problem with the Amsoil ATF? If not, I will likely go with that.

Thanks again for the help.

-eSlon
I'm sure some have used other ATF, but I personally don't know of anyone that has used anything other than Honda ATF-Z1 fluid. Honda warns that using a non Honda ATF can affect shift quality.

Honda has had automatic transmission issues in the past. I wouldn't use something other than Honda ATF. Just my .02
 

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I use the supertech stuff from walmart, just gotta make sure it says honda z1 compatable on the bottle, I use the supertech oil too, no problems after 2 years yet.
 

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While looking at the service manual I noticed that the ATF goes thru a cooler and thru the radiator. Therefore, has anyone disconnected the supply and return lines to the ATF cooler and radiator and then used compressed air (low pressure) or vacuum to remove the ATF in these lines. The supply and return lines attached to the transmission via std. hose clamps, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to disconnect. Also according to the service manual this is where you would disconnect to do a "power flush” for the ATF cooler/radiator (not the transmission).

So if you “drain” the ATF supply and return lines you MAY get another couple of quarts (maybe up to 3qts) out of the system. Which I think means that you could change almost 2/3 of the ATF, during one ATF change.

Once the system is drained you should be able to fill up the transmission and run the ridgeline for ~10 sec to pump new fluid thru the system. Then recheck the level (add more fluid) of the transmission.

I noticed on the Honda Odyssey that when you install the hitch you need to also install the ATF cooler. Also they just merely state to add fluid once the AFT cooler is installed. So I think there should not be any issue in allowing the transmission to “refill” the cooler and radiator area with ATF - just do not run the engine for a long period time without checking the level. But I’m not sure, so I’m asking any Honda service technicians if there is anything I should be concern by draining the AFT from the ATF cooler/radiator and allowing it to be refilled by the transmission?

JoeyO
 

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I changed the fluid at 10,000 mi., and was surprised that it was brown-red, and had a slight burnt smell. The magnetic plug also had a fair amount of very fine wear particles on it. I had towed my trailer (4,200 lbs), but only a few hundred miles.
I did the 3 times deal, and drove about 12 miles between each. I used Amsoil ATF for the tranny, Amsoil (75w-110 severe gear) in the transfer case, and changed the power steering to Amsoil also.
I towed the trailer over 4,300 miles, many times keeping the truck floored for several miles straight. I was pretty impressed that the Ridgeline never even started up the temp gauge... never moved that I noticed. The ATF is still bright red, and the shift points and smoothness are the same as with the Honda fluid. Can't say whether or not the towing mileage improved... averaged very close to 11 mpg towing.
 

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My local shop charges $70 for a complete trans flush and fill. Why not do that? After adding the price of the fluid and drain plug washers and dumping the old fluid, I like the shop route. Especially when it comes to the trans.
 

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My local shop charges $70 for a complete trans flush and fill. Why not do that?
They probably use a pressure flush system. Honda recommends not doing a pressure flush.

They probably don't use ATF-Z1. Honda recommends using ATF-Z1 except in an emergency, and it should be changed out afterwards.

It's your truck.
 

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Has anyone use the Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. On their web site they say it is suitable for the following fluid requirements ..... including Honda ATF-Z1

But the Mobil stuff is about the same price as the Honda ATF-Z1... so I guess I'm going with the Honda stuff, just to be on the safe side.

Copied from Mobil web site...

Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF is formulated for use in most North American, European and Asian vehicles.

  • Approved for Allison C-4 applications
  • Exceeds JASO 1-A performance standard
  • Also suitable for use in vehicles that specify the following fluid requirements:
    • Audi G 052 025-A2, G 052 162-A1
    • BMW LA2634
    • Esso LT 71141
    • ETL-7045E, ETL-8072B, N402
    • Ford* MERCON*, MERCON V, MERCON LV
    • All 2005 and earlier GM vehicles**
    • Honda ATF-Z1*
    • Hyundai SP-II, SP-III
    • Idemitsu K17
    • JWS 3309
    • Kia SP-II, SP-III
    • MAN 339F, V1, V2, Z1, Z2, Z3
    • Mazda ATF-III, ATF-MV
    • Mercedes-Benz 236.1, 236.2, 236.5, 236.6, 236.7, 236.9
    • Mitsubishi Diamond SP-II, SP-III
    • Nissan Matic-D, Matic-J, Matic-K
    • Subaru ATF
    • Toyota T-III, T-IV
    • Voith 55.6335.XX (G607, G1363)
    • Volvo 97340
    • ZF TE-ML 03D, 04D, 09, 14A, 14B, 16L, 17C
*Not recommend for CVT applications, Mercon® SP, Ford Type F**Mobil DEXRON-VI ATF is recommended for 2006 and newer GM vehicles and improved performance in 2005 and earlier vehicles, wherever DEXRON is specified.
 

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I changed my ATF for the first time recently. I drained both the transmission and transfer case fluid and let them drain for about an hour while I worked on another project in the garage. While the transfer case required the nearly 1/2 quart amount stated in the service manual to refill, the transmission required a full 4 quarts. Could possibly the extended drain time have allowed more fluid to drain than the usual 3.3 quarts? What ever the reason, I was pleased to have the opportunity replace a little more than the norm.

My Ridgeline has 16000 miles on it and is my daily driver. I have pulled so little with it that it is not even worth mentioning. I was surprised that the transmission fluid was not cleaner than it was. The fluid was not dark nor did it smell burnt but it was just not as red as I thought it would be.

I think I will adopt the fluid change at every other oil change as someone posted earlier. The transmission fluid change is to easy not to in my opinion and will be excellent insurance for an extended service life of what I bet is a VERY expensive transmission.
 

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When looking at a replacement fluid beware of words like "suitable for", or "for use in", or "recommended for" or other similar words. Those should be danger signs since it does not mean the fluid meets or exceeds the specification.

What your looking for is that the fluid "meets or exceeds Honda ATF-Z1".

The problem with these multi-vehicle fluids is that they are such a compromise so they are acceptable for the various fluid specs that they are not very good at any of the specs. A multi-vehicle transmission fluid is generally a very poor substitute for a single spec fluid.
 
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