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Unread 08-29-2010, 09:02 PM   #1
mjcougler
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08 KK Automatic Transmission fluid & Filter change without a dipstick

I just finished changing the Automatic Transmission fluid & Filter. Because I did not have an Automatic Transmission dipstick, I wanted to share with you how I solved the problem. I used my 2004 Ran dipstick to check the level of the old AT fluid before I started, idling in Neutral. I used a carpenter's level to make sure the vehicle was perfectly level. I inserted the RAM dipstick just until it touched the bottom of the transmission pan. When I pulled it out and read the dipstick, The old AT fluid was in the middle of the O of the OK on the Ram dipstick. I measured it several times to get an accurate reference.

I failed to measure how many quarts of old AT fluid I had just drained, so I added 4-quarts of Advance Auto ATF+4, and took a level check using the Ram dipstick. I made sure to shift to D and R before doing each level check, after I waited 30-minutes or so for the fill tube to drain, idling in Neutral. As the level got to the O in OK, I had added 6-quarts.

I debated like many of you if I really needed to change the fluid when I only had 33K miles, no trailer towing, no off road use, and only 12-15 daily miles. Because the pan had a layer of metal shaving sludge, and the magnet was coated with sludge as well, and the filter material was black, Iím glad I decided to change the fluid. The filter from Advance Auto came with a rubber gasket that I installed using non-hardening Permatex. I also took the time to seriously clean the pan using brake-clean, and I painted it Chevy red. I really wanted to flush the old AT fluid from the cooling return line like posted on many forum sites and on YouTube. But, the transmission cooling return line on my Liberty cannot easily be disconnected.

Some of you may want to respond to tell me if I made any mistakes. Possibly you may have a better solution to the dipstick problem. I realize without a dipstick, I do not know if I am slightly low or slightly overfull. My assumption is that the dealer actually checked the AT fluid when they did their last oil change. They provide a free oil change and filter every 3k; and they perform a free 28-point (or so) vehicle check, including the AT fluid level. Maybe tomorrow I should visit my dealer to see if they will let me use their dipstick.

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Unread 08-29-2010, 11:00 PM   #2
richd
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There is a special dipstick you can buy thats used just to check fluid level.Chrysler uses a starscan and the special dipstick to check fluid level.Its suppose to reach a certain temperature before you take a reading.Here is one of the dipsticks you can buy,there are other companies,Chrysler uses Miller tools,:
Assenmacher AH CRY933 Automatic Transmission Dipstick | Engine, Trans., and Driveline Tools
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Unread 08-30-2010, 08:26 AM   #3
mjcougler
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Ref: 08 KK Automatic Transmission fluid & Filter change without a dipstick

Thanks Rich D,

I just read the PDF instructions attached for the $54.40 dipstick in the link. It says:

The transmission Oil Dipstick has indicator marks every 10mm. Determine the height of the oil level on the dipstick and using the height, the transmission temperature, and the Transmission Fluid Graph, determine if the transmission oil level is correct.

Now my follow-up question: Where do technicians find the Transmission Fluid Graph? With the vehicle at operating temperature, after returning from a trip home from work, without this chart, I still would not know the correct fluid level. And, does it matter if the level is checked in Park or Neutral?

Thanks again in advance,
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Unread 08-30-2010, 11:48 AM   #4
richd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjcougler View Post
Thanks Rich D,

I just read the PDF instructions attached for the $54.40 dipstick in the link. It says:

The transmission Oil Dipstick has indicator marks every 10mm. Determine the height of the oil level on the dipstick and using the height, the transmission temperature, and the Transmission Fluid Graph, determine if the transmission oil level is correct.

Now my follow-up question: Where do technicians find the Transmission Fluid Graph? With the vehicle at operating temperature, after returning from a trip home from work, without this chart, I still would not know the correct fluid level. And, does it matter if the level is checked in Park or Neutral?

Thanks again in advance,
The transmission graph comes from Chrysler,Its probably in the Factory service manual.Chrysler transmissions was always checked in neutral,So I think thats what I would do.What I dont understand is this tranny has been around for years and never needed to check the temp,and had dipsticks,I think its just Chrysler way to get people to go to the dealer for service.If you took a reading before service,then refilled with same reading,I dont know why this wouldnt work.Just make sure you run it through the gears like the PDF mentioned,then take your reading.
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Unread 08-30-2010, 06:26 PM   #5
Dave_B
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Check over on LOST Ithink it is posted in the tech section

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Unread 08-30-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
richd
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Thanks Dave,here is the write up:


CHECK OIL LEVEL

1. Verify that the vehicle is parked on a level surface.
2. Remove the dipstick tube cap.
WARNING: There is a risk of accident from vehicle starting off by itself when engine running. There is a risk of injury from contusions and burns if you insert your hands into the engine when it is started or when it is running. Secure vehicle to prevent it from moving off by itself. Wear properly fastened and close-fitting work clothes. Do not touch hot or rotating parts.


3. Actuate the service brake. Start engine and let it run at idle speed in selector lever position "P".
4. Shift through the transmission modes several times with the vehicle stationary and the engine idling
5. Warm up the transmission, wait at least 2 minutes and check the oil level with the engine running. Push the Oil Dipstick 9336 into transmission fill tube until the dipstick tip contacts the oil pan and pull out again, read off oil level, repeat if necessary.
NOTE: The dipstick will protrude from the fill tube when installed.

6. Check transmission oil temperature using the appropriate scan tool
7. The transmission Oil Dipstick 9336 has indicator marks every 10mm. Determine the height of the oil level on the dipstick and using the height, the transmission temperature, and the Transmission Fluid Graph, determine if the transmission oil level is correct.
8. Add or remove oil as necessary and recheck the oil level.
9. Once the oil level is correct, install the dipstick tube cap.
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Unread 09-07-2010, 07:37 PM   #7
mjcougler
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Ref: 08 KK Automatic Transmission fluid & Filter change without a dipstick

Thanks Dave and Rich,

Now for the next follow-up question. Is there a way to know the temperature of the transmission fluid without a thermometer or Dealer Scan tool? If I drive it home from work for 20-minutes, and the outside temp is say 70-degrees F, how hot would the internal AT fluid be by then? Remember how the old dip sticks used to read "Check while hot idling in Neutral".

Thanks again,
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Unread 09-07-2010, 09:12 PM   #8
VMF
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stupid question here, im gettin contradicting info as to if its should be changed or not. according to the manual, it should not be changed throughout the life of the vehicle while dealer is sending me coupons to come and change it every 15k. so whats going on? should it really be changed? if yes why and at what intervals?
i had a 1996 lexus ls400 and when i got it it has over100k and i decided not to change it, it is now at 180k and still going strong....
so can it be that the manual is right?
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Unread 09-07-2010, 10:29 PM   #9
richd
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My 08 KK manual says 60K for severe service,which is police,taxi,fleet,off road,trailer towing.Next change at 120K.
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Unread 09-07-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
richd
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Mike- From what I know,you need a scan tool for temperature reading.
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Unread 09-08-2010, 09:54 AM   #11
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my bad i was looking at transfer case section, well 120k is reasonable, why do you guys change it earlier then that?
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Unread 10-27-2010, 09:30 AM   #12
demarpaint
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Hi guys, new member here, thanks for allowing me to join.

I have an 08 Liberty and here is what I did to check the ATF level. I got a stick from an 06 Liberty, drove the Jeep, and parked it on level ground and allowed it to sit overnight. I took a cold reading, and have checked after driving and parking it over night, or longer, and it comes back to the same level every time. I then took it to a transmission shop to be certain it was filled properly from the MFG.

Now I plan on driving for at least half an hour, and then letting it idle for a few minutes. Take a lazer thermometer and take a tranny pan temp reading, then checking the level again to have a hot operating temp mark. I will test that over a period of a few trips to see where the level goes on the stick and then mark it.

I plan on using a Miti-Vac and measuring how much fluid I remove and replacing that same amount with fresh fluid, then using my cold marked stick to top it up the next day.

I'm 99.9% sure that method will work, with the cold level check after allowing it to sit overnight. Unless I have a leak and have to check fluid hot on a trip I'll always check it cold, its easier.

My buddy at the transmission shop agreed that as long as I had the time for the vehicle to sit over night, my cold check method will work. Thanks again!
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Unread 10-27-2010, 08:13 PM   #13
mjcougler
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demarpaint

You said you plan on using a Miti-Vac and measuring how much fluid you remove and replacing that same amount with fresh fluid, then using your cold marked stick to top it up the next day. I need to remind you of my original post.

I changed the fluid when my 08 liberty only had 33K miles. I had no trailer towing, no off road use, and my wife only drives it about 12-15 daily miles. The pan had a layer of metal shaving sludge, the magnet was coated with sludge as well, and the filter material was black, If you don't drop the pan and clean out the sludge, you have essentially left dirty oil (sludge) in the bottom of the pan. Why not take the extra effort, clean the pan, change the filter, and put a layer of chevy red paint to the pan?

my $.02,
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Unread 10-28-2010, 03:37 AM   #14
demarpaint
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Good question, let me clear a few things up. I have just under 15,000 miles on the Jeep, and planned on dropping the pan at 30,000K. I was just going to refresh the fluid by swapping out ~4 qts which is a little less than the 8.8 qts the unit holds, or I might drop the pan, drive a week, and swap out 4 qts. I have a few weeks before I actually hit the 15K mark to decide. My main concern was finding a way to check the fluid level w/o a dealer visit, that's all. I'm a maint nut, and would rather be early in maint then wait to long.

What I've done with other automatic transmissions in the past was a partial drain, at 15K miles via the fill tube [4-6 qts]. Then a pan drop at 30K with a drain and fill via the fill tube, it has been working well. JMO

Is there anything special I need to know dropping the pan on an 08 Liberty? Or is it pretty straight forward?

Thanks!
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Unread 10-29-2010, 06:48 AM   #15
demarpaint
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjcougler View Post
Thanks Dave and Rich,

Now for the next follow-up question. Is there a way to know the temperature of the transmission fluid without a thermometer or Dealer Scan tool? If I drive it home from work for 20-minutes, and the outside temp is say 70-degrees F, how hot would the internal AT fluid be by then? Remember how the old dip sticks used to read "Check while hot idling in Neutral".

Thanks again,
I had some free time yesterday, and took a 30 minute drive, backed into the garage, put the tranny into all gears for a few seconds and then into park. I let it idle for about 2 minutes and took a temp reading [lazer digital thermometer] of the flat side of the tranny pan, facing forward, on a spot that is an easy ref point. The temp was about 167*F.

Then I inserted my 06 dipstick and took a reading in Park as well as neutral, both levels were the same. I will be testing this a few times as well, after a 30 minute drive. When I'm finished I will be confident in checking and changing my transmission fluid once I'm finished calibrating the stick. Funny thing is with the 06 stick after that 30 minute drive I'm in the normal range, and if the pan temps get hotter than the 167*F reading I had the fluid level will go a little higher. IMO this isn't the rocket science they'd like us to believe it is, and I doubt a tech would take the same care when checking the fluid level at the dealership. JMO
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