Automatic Service

Servicing is not hard at all with modern automatic transmissions with no more bands to adjust and should be done every 48,000 kms or 30,000 miles. This shows you how to do the fluid and filter change on a AW4 electronic four speed automatic which came on all the 4 speeds, ( the three speed needs the bands adjusted ). Try to do this in a clean place that doesn't have dust and dirt lying around, i.e. hose the driveway or work area first.


The first thing to do is remove the plug an have a container that will hold around 4 litres to catch it in. Next remove all the pan bolts ( 10 mm ) and try to remove the pan using a scraper or similar to push between the cork and the pan. Hopefully you wont find what I did on this one which had been sealed using a sealant only and was stuck fast and had to be pried loose using a screw driver and a hammer.


The dipstick tube will stop the pan from coming down and if  possible you can separate the two in the joint that you can see in the above photo top right above the exhaust where it changes color from silver to black ( arrowed). This joint has an 'O' ring inside but if wasn't greased when last assembled then it will be seized. If this was the case then from under the bonnet you can remove the retaining bolt ( 13 mm ) that screws into the front of the bell housing above the starter solenoid. I then twisted the tube 90 degrees clockwise using multigrips being careful not to crush it so it now can be lowered all the way and separated when it is more accessible. You can also try what Rally Fan from JU did: He took a small hose clamp, one that is a little larger than the tube (not too big as a tight fit is required ) and tightened it around the upper section just above the joint. Make sure it is tight, it will not damage the tube, as it will break first (the clamp that is). A 1/4" wrench or socket works best. Then use something about 12" long and a flat tip, a piece of flat bar or a long screwdriver will do, and tap on the clamp from the underside with a hammer. Go easy on it as you are just separating an O-ring. It will pop right out! Remove the cross member for easy access to the pan bolts and you're there. You can also just drop the pan with the whole tube still attached ( remove holding bolt from bellhousing ) as I did above on this customer one so long as the take the cross member out first.
Put a dab of grease on the O-ring before reassembly and it will slide back in. That is it. What then should greet you is what is above. The large pressed tin part that you can see is the filter which is removed by un-screwing four ( 10 mm ) bolts and it drops out.


Once the filter has been removed it will look like above and it is worth having a good stare at. You should be able to buy a transmission service kit from a auto parts store that will include a new cork gasket and a filter. If in Australia or New Zealand, buy it from Repco and buy Automatic Transmission Service Kit  No.GFS456. In the USA they are available from here. The filter has a very fine mesh screen that is sandwiched in the middle of the pressed tin part seen above. I was sometimes told to just backwash the old filter and refit it but would never do it on my own car and don't recommend it. The fun job of removing all the sealant that should not have been there in the first place and wiping the pan clean until it is spotless can now begin. You will also find two magnets that sit in the bottom which should be removed and cleaned and put back in the recess that they came out of.


Check in the drain pan and make sure that you haven't knocked off one of the retaining clips for the solenoid plugs like I did once and didn't notice until it was all back together so the oil and pan had to be dropped again to fit it back on. Fit the pan back in place with the cork gasket dry and without sealant and put the bolts in a cross hatch pattern before going back over them until the cork just distorts ( avoiding over tightening them ). Clean the 'O' ring and lightly grease the joint before putting it back in and replacing the bolt. Fill the transmission with Dexron III transmission fluid down the dipstick tube using a funnel and you will need about 4 litres. Start the car and run through all the gears before leaving it in neutral and still running and checking the cold level on the back of the dip stick. This is not very accurate and it should be driven 25 kms ( 15 miles ) to bring it up the full operating temperature  and then run back through all the gears and checked again with the car still running and stick wiped and reinserted before checking the correct level on the hot side. It only takes 0.5L to go from ADD to FULL on the stick. It is also a good idea to adjust the throttle cable by pushing the button under my right thumb and pushing the part where the cable comes out all the way in before pushing the throttle all the way to the floor and it's done.