transmission fluid level check [Archive] - Forum


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01-26-2005, 07:45 PM
Sorry if this is an elementary question, but I need to check my trans fluid level and I want to know if I'm doing this right. Our automatic transmissions don't have a regular dipstick, so my understanding of the level check is as follows... I invite those who know to correct me.

1. The trans needs to be slightly warmed up, but not hot and not fresh off the freeway. I usually drive it a block or two to warm it up a little if it's set all night.

2. The car must remain level for the check- no problem as I have a drive-on lift

3. Remove the small plug on the trans and if the level is correct, it should just drip out of the hole.

4. As I understand it, the car needs to be shut off when checking, not idleing in park as we used to do with the this correct?

Is the above correct? Any advice appreciated, especially if you have a GM shop manual for the GA. I need to pick one up, but haven't yet.

Thanks in advance!

01-26-2005, 08:20 PM

01-26-2005, 09:09 PM

01-26-2005, 11:04 PM
Thanks guys! I changed it a few months ago and have checked it, but according to what you say, I've been doing it wrong. Hope I haven't hurt the transmission. I'll check it out tomorrow and add/subtract as necessary. Thanks again!

01-26-2005, 11:17 PM
Just for information purposes, my Haynes manual says to check it after running it and then turn the engine OFF and remove the plug to check. That is the way I've been doing it. If anyone is following the Haynes manual directions... stop now! It is likely that I've been running with a low level if my guess is right. The car runs well, but seems to have a little more slippage than normal. If it's low, I may just change the fluid and filter again. Wish me luck.

01-27-2005, 02:37 AM
As with ANY automatic transmission in ANY brand of vehicle. Always check the fluid level with the vehicle running in park, on a level surface, and having been driven through all available gears.

This ensures that fluid has filled all passages in the valve body with trns fluid and that the sump is at the proper indication level for the dipstick. (Plug in the 4T40/5 E's case.)

01-27-2005, 12:24 PM
Yup, I checked it and it was low. I had to add about a quart and a half with some of that coming back out (likely about 1 1/4 quart down total) and it now slowly dribbles out the check hole with the engine running. For those with Haynes manuals, don't follow their directions as I have just found out. The original directions sounded weird to me when I changed the fluid last time as it just didn't sound right. Wish I had checked here on the forum to check out my suspicions, but I blindly went ahead and followed the Haynes recommendations. The Haynes manual clearly says to warm up the fluid, put it through all gear positons. STOP the engine and leave it off and then jack up and check via the plug. I've gone quite a ways with it this way. The trans still seems to shift ok (actually much better after getting the level right), I have likely shortened it's life though. I'll drop Haynes a letter with a complaint, but I doubt it will do any good. Their disclaimer of responsibility in the front of the manual covers them leagally. This is the last Haynes product I will ever buy. Nothing but the factory shop manuals for me from here on out. Thanks to everyone who responded, you likely saved my transmission from an early death.