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Discussion Starter #1
It wasn't that big of an ordeal. I ordered the filter and gasket kit, and Pentosin ATF1 fluid (which meets VW TL 52162 like the Esso LT 71141) from ECS tuning. By the way, the Pentosin lists a shelf life of 3 years, longer than the Esso as I recall. The original fluid with 54k miles was definitely dark but not too nasty. I got 2 quarts from the fill hole when I first opened it up. VW acts like the fill level requires the accuracy of titration but some of these obviously come grossly overfilled. The refill took about 5.75 liters total. The pan magnets had dark sludge stuck to them, but not large, identifiable metal fragments/shavings. The whole thing took about 3 hours but I could do it again in under 2. Just a fluid drain and fill could be done in 30 minutes.

Other people have given how-to's so I'll just add some comments...

To drop the pan, you have to remove a bunch of torx screws (one about every 2 inches all around the pan). I highly recommend a torx bit and a drill to make removal/installation quicker. Of course, do the final torquing by hand.

Once you drop the pan, the valve body will drip for a long time making for a dirty workspace and oily hair which you'll likely get a couple drips in. If you have the time, drop the pan, pull the filter, and then eat lunch or do something for an hour or two while it drips.

Remember to put the magnets back in the pan before you get half the torx screws back in. :crazy: At least I hadn't put any fluid in.

Next time I change fluid I'll use the gravity-feed method. I have this fluid pump that looks like a big syringe with rubber tube instead of needle. It worked, but since it only holds ~1/2 liter, it required multiple refills which added quite a bit of time.

My Radio Shack infrared thermometer worked great for measuring the pan temperature. I had been topping off the warming tranny and got it full to where it was starting to drip out. I checked the temp and it was in the 95-100 degrees F range. By the time it was ~105 degrees F (the pan temp varied by +/- 5 degrees depending on the spot), the fluid was coming out in a steady stream so I plugged it.

The car seems to shift into R and D slightly smoother now and might shift a bit smoother while driving, but that could be wishful thinking. It feels good to have mostly fresh fluid in there, though. I'm going to drive it for a couple days and then recheck the level, paying attention to the car being level and the temps.

I'll be doing ATF fluid changes semi-regularly now that I know the process.

Matt
 

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Mine is due. I always hated trans services. It used to be worse before they added the drain
plugs. Loosen the pan,crack it loose and watch out!

Did you add the cooler and inline filter? I have a cooler on my wifes car and just disconnected
the hose to change the fluid.
 

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I had mine done at 60,000 miles and had it tested. They said it looked like what was in there had probably been in there since new and that with this change it should last a long time. I plan to wait at least another 60,000 before doing it again or having it done because of that.

Have you changed "Front Differential Fluid"? If so, how did it look? At the time I had my tranny fluid changed, I didn't know there was a separate fluid to deal with.
 

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ganseg said:
I had mine done at 60,000 miles and had it tested. They said it looked like what was in there had probably been in there since new and that with this change it should last a long time. I plan to wait at least another 60,000 before doing it again or having it done because of that.

Have you changed "Front Differential Fluid"? If so, how did it look? At the time I had my tranny fluid changed, I didn't know there was a separate fluid to deal with.
How much did it cost you? Did you get it done at a dealer?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
PZ - Nope, I didn't add the filter and cooler this time. I'm recently gainfully unemployed so I figured I'd wait on those two items. I'm not towing with it yet but will definitely do the cooler and filter if I get a popup camper.

Hasneg - I didn't change the front differential fluid yet. I'm thinking about doing that in a couple days when I check the ATF level.

Speaking of the front differential, the Haynes manual lists 0.75 liters of synthetic 75W90 for the fluid capacity. I think I'll put in Redline 75W90 Gear Oil. I'll try to use my PELA to suck out as much of the old fluid as possible. I'd appreciate any tips on this job. For example, do you pull the wheel well liner to get to it? The picture in the Haynes manual is a shot from the side which appears to be from the wheel well but I think I can probably get it from below. I didn't pull the belly pan when I did the ATF change so I couldn't see all around the differential clearly.

Thanks,
Matt
 

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Cool. I'll be doing this starting tonight, as I just got my filter & gasket yesterday.

I will be refilling with Redline D4 ATF... no shelf life :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rusty, let us know how it goes. You're a braver man than I (going with Redline). I wanted to for the higher quality and lower cost, but couldn't justify taking the risk right now of possibly having to spend money to replace the fluid or a repair if worst came to worst. I did go pick up the Redline differential oil, though. I'll do that this weekend.

Matt
 

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Definately good information on this forum. :thumbup:

I am new to automatic transmissions, especially the tip. What are the thoughts of just replacing the tranny fluid through the drain plug and not doing the filter? I have 70k miles on my tranny and plan on keeping this car for a while.
 

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Rusty said:
Cool. I'll be doing this starting tonight, as I just got my filter & gasket yesterday.

I will be refilling with Redline D4 ATF... no shelf life :)
oh goodness... mixing 2 different hydraulic fluids :nervous: :nervous:

Does ZF recommend using redline fluid?

Goodluck and let us know how it turns out!!
 

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The dealer charged $206 for a full change of the trans fluid. I used a 10% coupon to shave a bit off that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Silberwagen, my thoughts are that if the tranny has 50k+ miles on it and hasn't been serviced, it's better to drop the pan and do the filter too. There's a few reasons for this. First, by 50k miles, the filter and fluid have seen significant service. Second, dropping the pan is the only way to get to the magnets which have gunk built up on them, possibly even pieces from the tranny manufacture/assembly. It's good to get those cleaned out. Finally, the total capacity of the system is 9 liters, dropping the pan and filter required ~6 liters to refill, and just draining via the drain plug only gets out ~3 liters. So you don't even replace 1/2 the old fluid if you only drain and refill.

From here on out, I'll do the drain/refill drill via the drain plug regularly (maybe once a year), to keep the fluid fresh and clean. Maybe I'll change the filter every 50k miles, or maybe longer since the yearly service should help keep the fluid cleaner.
 

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mtrostel said:
....

Speaking of the front differential, the Haynes manual lists 0.75 liters of synthetic 75W90 for the fluid capacity. I think I'll put in Redline 75W90 Gear Oil. I'll try to use my PELA to suck out as much of the old fluid as possible. I'd appreciate any tips on this job. For example, do you pull the wheel well liner to get to it? The picture in the Haynes manual is a shot from the side which appears to be from the wheel well but I think I can probably get it from below. I didn't pull the belly pan when I did the ATF change so I couldn't see all around the differential clearly.

Thanks,
Matt
IIRC, you will be pulling that pan again to reach the differential fluid :mad:
 

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mtrostel

The gasket from ECS tuning is made of rubber. I also bought the filter gasket kit from ECS tuning. Did you use any gasket sealant? If it is a rubber gasket, I do not think it needs sealant???
 

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Discussion Starter #16
l5gcw0b - The differential/final drive is outside of the tranny pan. It's just on the passenger side of the transmission: the half shaft comes out of it. I did change the fluid in it this weekend. I used my Pela to suck out as much fluid as I could and refilled with Redline 75W90 gear oil.

ms12339 - I used a tiny bit of sealant spread as thin as I could with my finger (not even a solid bead) only to hold the gasket in place while I mounted the pan.

Matt
 

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mtrostel said:
ms12339 - I used a tiny bit of sealant spread as thin as I could with my finger (not even a solid bead) only to hold the gasket in place while I mounted the pan.

Matt
The holes in my gasket turned out to be just tight enough to hold the screws, so I put four screws in, spaced around the pan to keep the gasket aligned, then placed the pan up against the tranny and tightened the screws in.

Oh, and here's another great tip that I found out by accident. Four of my screws dropped into the drain pain with the old tranny fluid. By the time I needed them (after changing the filter, draining the cooler lines, and cleaining the pan and magnets), the four dropped screws were squeaky clean, w/o any effort on my part. Next time I do this, I'm going to let all the pan screws soak in the old tranny fluid.
.
 

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Trans fluid is great for cleaning,but it will really dry out your hands.
 

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Mtrostel
I would be very interested in how the Redline auto tranny fluid performs now and in the future... please keep us posted :)
I emailed Redline and they recommended the same as you are using and I have been considering but have not heard of many using it.
 
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