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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone


I finally got around to my first ATF change. I've done everything from clutches to timing belts, but I've only ever had manual transmission cars before, so this was a first for me.


I'll focus on the aspect of filling through the dipstick by putting a hose AROUND the distick. Most threads I've seen describe filling through the dipstick by putting a small-opening funnel INSIDE. This of course lessens the already small opening, leading to complaints about how long it takes to fill.


I was prepared to use the filler-bolt method, but when I asked for a new crush washer at the Honda parts counter to go with my case of ATF, the salesman said "you don't want that; our techs fill through the dipstick". While pondering this a few minutes later looking for a funnel at Walmart, I saw this little Flo Tool ATF filler contraption for about 4 bucks & picked it up.


The end had nearly the same diameter as the dipstick tube, so I bought a foot of 1/2" ID automotive hose, and using 2 small hose clamps with thumb screws that I had sitting around, easily connected one around the end of the contraption, & one around the end of the dipstick tube. The quart bottles of ATF screw right on to the end with the fitting, and the one quart bottles easily emptied in less than one minute (I'm guessing about 40 seconds). All in all, this worked out very well for me, and I'll be using this method going forward.



Following are some details/lessons-learned:

  • Before connecting to the dipstick tube, put a dab of fresh ATF on a clean rag & clean the outside of the dipstick.
  • Use the smallest hose clamps that will fit. Otherwise, the clamp will not tighten in a nice circle, and you may get a bad connection.
  • Do NOT turn the clamps down real tight. It is not required. Just make sure things no not easily pull apart.
  • I had absolutely no seepage between the filler tube & the hose
  • Do not use a clear tube like on the Flo Tool. It is much stiffer, and will not get you as good of a seal around the dipstick.
  • Using the Flo Tool, you can shut off the flow simply by rotating the outer portion, which makes it easy to get the right amount of fluid into the ATF
  • The tool also accommodates larger bottles by removing the adapter it comes with
  • I pre-twisted the end in the opposite direction from what is required to twist it onto the bottle. Made it a lot easier/quicker to get the bottle on.
  • Having slightly more than 12" of hose might make it a bit easier to get the bottle on, but you don't want it much longer, otherwise you need to be real tall to hold the bottle in a position where it can drain quickly.
  • I had trouble getting one of the bottle 4 quart bottles on, but found out that simply holding it on to the end was enough to keep from spilling any ATF :29:
  • In mine, the rubber washer between the quart-bottle adapter & the larger end was not put on right, leading to a tiny amount of leakage at the beginning. If you get one in person, make sure this washer is on correctly. I was fine after I tightened it up a bit.
  • Learning from others, I poured the old ATF into an empty 5qt oil bottle with the handy measuring lines to see how much to put back in. Even after spilling a little bit, I still had close to 3.7 or 3.8 quarts come out. According to the manual, it should be 3.6. I guess it was high to start. I put about 3.6 back in, & it seemed to come up to the lower line. I'll bring up to between the 2 lines after the next iteration.


Hope this all helps someone. I do have a few questions for those in the know:

  • I compared the color of the old & new fluids by pouring a little of each into a glass. I was surprised how dark the old fluid was, so I made up my mind to do another round after driveing around for a day or two. Then I though I remembered reading that color has little bearing on the condition of the fluid. Any thoughts/comments? FWIW I bought this Pilot w/50K miles on it, & it has 52K now. CARFAX indicated a "transmission service" (which I take to include a drain/fill like I did) at about 30K miles, this at the same Honda dealer that regularly serviced the vehicle. I have done one trip towing a 1500 lb trailer up to around 6000' feet, where the ATF topped out at 200F. Getting ready to tow again soon.
  • When I drained the 2 glasses, I noticed that the fresh fluid ran out quicker than the old. Is this simply a fresh vs old thing, or could this be a difference in the new DW-1 fluid?
  • I screwed an empty bottle onto the end of the FLO Tool when I was done to keep dust out, & capped the other end with a baggie. Does anyone see any harm in letting this sit like this? Will the ATF degrade the rubber or plastic over time?


Enough already. Thanks everyone for your time & patience!
 

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Thanks for the info!

I used some contraption of a large syringe where the end fit on the dipstick tube and sealed and inserted a funnel into that which sealed nicely... only problem is I had a 5 qt jug and it took FOREVER holding that 5 qt just up over the engine. I think I spilled a pint or so of ATF while doing that so I'm definitely looking for a new way to do it. I'll give this method a shot, I like it.
 

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Nice write up. I've not done the refill using the dipstick tube. My dealer told me that they do not replace the fill crush washer with each change and to just reuse it. I've done three changes using the fill hole on top. No issues with any leaks around the fill nut. The only things out of the ordinary you will need is a really long funnel to reach the fill hole and a good sized breaker bar to free up that fill nut.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice write up. I've not done the refill using the dipstick tube. My dealer told me that they do not replace the fill crush washer with each change and to just reuse it. I've done three changes using the fill hole on top. No issues with any leaks around the fill nut. The only things out of the ordinary you will need is a really long funnel to reach the fill hole and a good sized breaker bar to free up that fill nut.
Yeah, that was my plan too until I heard the dealers comment & stumbled across the Flo Tool. It seems people here are about 50/50. Just happy to provide another option!
 

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To answer your questions the only quantifiable way to check fluid condition is to send it to a lab. The fluid getting dark is normal as particles from the friction plates, etc. mix into the fluid. That would also cause the old fluid to be less viscous than the new fluid.
If you did one drain and fill and the fluid did not smell burnt and if there was not an over abundance of crud in the old fluid or stuck to the drain magnet I think you’re good to go.
As for filling method I used to use the dipstick port but that took too long. In my opinion going through the fill port is quicker, but I never knew about the funnel you used. I’m pretty anal about replacing crush washers each time but I don’t worry about it for the tranny fill port since that opening is not in constant contact with the tranny fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
To answer your questions the only quantifiable way to check fluid condition is to send it to a lab. The fluid getting dark is normal as particles from the friction plates, etc. mix into the fluid. That would also cause the old fluid to be less viscous than the new fluid.
If you did one drain and fill and the fluid did not smell burnt and if there was not an over abundance of crud in the old fluid or stuck to the drain magnet I think you’re good to go.
As for filling method I used to use the dipstick port but that took too long. In my opinion going through the fill port is quicker, but I never knew about the funnel you used. I’m pretty anal about replacing crush washers each time but I don’t worry about it for the tranny fill port since that opening is not in constant contact with the tranny fluid.
Thanks, road2cycle

That info is helpful. My suspicion is that it is not burnt, based on my perceptions of how the vehicle was driven & maintained before I bought it (I know it never did any towing among other things). But I bought it to tow with, (including up some steep grades in summer), so until I learn more about automatic trannies & their fluid, and considering I really don't know exactly what tranny service it had before, I think I'd rather err on the side of caution & do one more drain/fill. Plus, I ended up putting the old crush washer on the drain plug in anticipation of doing another drain, so if I wanted to put the new crush washer on it would mostly drain out anyway.

The second time will go much quicker. I'll try to time how long it takes to drain a quart bottle & report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Back with an update.


We timed one complete drain of a quart bottle at 65 seconds. A bit longer than I thought, but still not bad. Tilt the bottle back like in the photo (throat side of the bottle toward the top) to let the air in.


The second time was amazingly fast & easy, having done it once. The only thing I would do different is get 2 feet of the black 1/2" ID hose instead of just 1 foot (see original post), making it possible to bend the top of the tube over to screw the bottle onto the Flo Tool & completely eliminate drips on the top end while attaching the bottle.
 

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Does atf fill in port (not dipstick tube) work as an "overflow" just like transfer case and rear differential fill in ports? Or do I still need to measure and add what is needed?
 

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You will need to measure. I have filled my 2005 to the correct level and fluid does not leak out the fill port.
 

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Does atf fill in port (not dipstick tube) work as an "overflow" just like transfer case and rear differential fill in ports? Or do I still need to measure and add what is needed?
Not an overflow tube.
If you drain your fluid out on level ground, you can be comfortable pouring back in 3.5 quarts. After this, take you Pilot on a drive, warming up the engine and transmission to operating temperature. Kill engine, pop hood quickly. Check level when hot. It should be between the marks, add fluid if more is needed. Be warned, reaching down past the catalytic converter and EGR tube will give you the Kung Fu mark of the dragon burn. Lol
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Thank you towtruck, road2cycle, pipipipi and Nail Grease for quick and very helpful answers. I am just getting ready for my first atf change on my 2019 EX AWD and trying to get as much information I can get to do it right. There are so many conflicting information on the net how much fluid is needed and how to check its level: 3 quarts, 3.3 quarts, 3.5 quarts, 3.7-3.9 quarts (even 4 quarts) needed to drain and fill then check atf level with engine warmed up and running (that is how I used to do it on all my previous vehicles), engine cold, shut down engine and check between 60-90 seconds etc.etc. It is just getting so confusing. I was just hoping that atf fill in port worked like overflow to make things easy.
 

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Hope it goes OK for you.

BTW, it's not "pipipipi" but "plplplpl" and it's designed so you can just quickly and easily alternate your first two fingers on the right side of the letter keys on your keyboard.
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This is what I use doing a tranny D&F on our '17 Gen 2 Rigi 6 speed......should work fine on a Gen 3 Pilot 6 speed, I would think. The vinyl tube is 5/8" OD and fits perfect inside the dipstick tube. Walmart funnel. I use a clear drain pan (Walmart) marked at 1 gallon. Lifting the front driver's side slightly drains 1 gallon of TF in a few minutes driping.
 

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I use this from Harbor Freight on my 3rd gen. It probably only sets in the tube a 1/2 inch, but I've not had a spill using it. If your pouring from a 1 gallon jug, like Full Synthetic Valvoline MaxLife ATF, I've placed a wider mouth funnel on top. 1 quart bottles like Amalie Universal Synthetic are easy to pour using the one funnel.
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Thank you towtruck, road2cycle, pipipipi and Nail Grease for quick and very helpful answers. I am just getting ready for my first atf change on my 2019 EX AWD and trying to get as much information I can get to do it right. There are so many conflicting information on the net how much fluid is needed and how to check its level: 3 quarts, 3.3 quarts, 3.5 quarts, 3.7-3.9 quarts (even 4 quarts) needed to drain and fill then check atf level with engine warmed up and running (that is how I used to do it on all my previous vehicles), engine cold, shut down engine and check between 60-90 seconds etc.etc. It is just getting so confusing. I was just hoping that atf fill in port worked like overflow to make things easy.
I have checked my atf level using various methods at different temperatures and they all turn back different answers. I've seen cold levels lower than hot, and then I've seen them higher when cold.

Sorry to get technical, but the dilatation or thermal volumetric expansion of transmission fluid is around 1% per 14*C change in temperature if it acts like other low viscosity oils. From average room temperature to normal engine operating temperature you can expect around a 2% increase in the oil's volume. In a total of 9 quarts that's less than 6 oz or 1/5 of a quart.

In addition to the oil expanding (slightly), the aluminum transmission case also expands with heat and it expands more than the oil which has the effect of lowering the oil level. Not only the case, but all areas filled with transmission fluid change dimension with changing temperature including oil galleys, valve body cavities, hoses, radiators, gears, shafts, etc. In other words, it's no surprise there's a wide range of opinions on how to measure atf levels because it would take more effort than it's worth to compute the effect of all that dimensional change, some raising the oil level, others lowering it.

Adding to this fun mix is the fact that different cars have different total volumes of atf based on coolers, filters, added lines and any other accessories owners add.

But the bottom line that affects atf sump level more than anything else are how level the car is and how long fluid is allowed to drain down from all those galleys, valve body channels, etc.

Most paved surfaces cars have access to are not level. Roads, driveways, parking lots are all designed to force rainwater to drain away to prevent puddling and standing water. Your best chance at finding a level surface is in your garage if it doesn't have a drain. Just raising the driver's side rear wheel a little will drain out an extra cup or two of atf.

What I do is measure how much fluid comes out. That's a good starting point. Keep in mind that what was in there might not be correct. Factory and dealer fills tend to be at or near minimum.

Assuming the car is level (hot or cold doesn't matter see above) Put back in about 1/2 quart less than what comes out. Drive around for 10 minutes letting the transmission shift through all the gears and put it in reverse. Get back on a level surface and turn the engine off and let it drain down for 60 to 90 secs. Check the dipstick. If it's below the low mark, add a 1/2 quart (equal to the amount you left out). Rinse and repeat until it reads between the marks. The temperature isn't as important as being consistent in how long you let it drain down and being on as level a surface as possible.

Having said all that and despite the technical rhetoric, this isn't rocket science. If the level is way too low or high (outside the dipstick marks) the transmission will let you know before it suffers serious damage. Typical symptoms of too low a level are erratic, rough shifting or failure to move, and for too high a level, high transmission temperatures from fluid foaming and the tendency to move forward at idle in neutral.
 

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Aha, now I feel less guilty about being a throw-caution-to-the-wind rebel when ignoring "check when hot" ATF admonitions.
 

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I did a D&F while reading that post. LOL, just kidding.
 

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