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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2003 1.8T Tiptronic, AWM Engine Code.

I've just had my transmission serviced. I asked them to drain it, drop the pan, change filter and gasket. I gave them 6 quarts of M1 ATF.

The problem is: Out of the 6 quarts, they only used 4 (or less). WTF?
From everything I read, if you drop the pan to change the filter you will need to refill with 6 quarts.

Am I under-filled? Is there a way to change the filter and gasket and somehow use only 4 quarts to refill the tranny to proper level? I need to know, as I'll be going head-to-head with a mechanic on this one.

For all of you who KNOW, because you've been through this please adivse.
TIA.
 

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did they drive thru all the gears and reverse while on the lift?
for you to check get the car up or down to 119f. (use a laser temp checker ) then open the fill plug and 1:if it pours out its overfilled,2:if nothing comes out its underfilled , 3: if it Drips out its just right
 

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Per Bentley N00-4 (5-Speed Automatic Transmission 01V, Front Wheel Drive)
Capacities:
Initial filling 9.0 ltr.
Changing approx. 2.6 - 3.0 ltr. - Oil change required only following repair work or removal of pan up to 3 liters.
IIRC, the 6 quarts is needed if you disconnect the cooler lines and run everything out (excluding the fluid still in the torque convertor, of course).
By the book - the Tiptronic fluid temperature is supposed to be monitored with VAG-COM.
bksuperman is correct on the fluid level check notes for underfilled, overfilled, just right.
 

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They probably did not have the car running when they filled it. It should take at least 5L. I have done 8 of them, and that is the least any of them took.
 

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Dropping the pan, mine took 5.75 L
That was with the engine running and using Vag-Com to monitor the temp.

4 Qt is 3.785 L, so I'd question if they filled it correctly :icon_eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
They probably did not have the car running when they filled it. It should take at least 5L. I have done 8 of them, and that is the least any of them took.
Pardon my ingnorance, since I have not done any tranny service before, but Having the engine running while the tranny is being filled (low on fluid), seems dangerous. Yet two of the posts above mention having the car running.

Also according to the Betnley, it does say up to 3 liters, which would make it just about 3.5 quarts or so. They may have done it "by the book", and I would still be underfilled. I'll talk to the mechanic tonight, and ask a few questions.
 

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Checking the fluid in any auto trans requires you to have the engine running (even a good old Chevy pickup).
Reason being is that the pump will suck fluid up from the pan and circulate it through the valve body and such, dropping the fluid level down. Upon refilling the trans, you need to cycle through park and reverse a few times and top it off when the fluid hits the correct temp.

I'll admit it was a little unnerving lying under my car on jack stands with the engine running :icon_eek:
 

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When I filled my A4 1.8T Tip it took at least 6 maybe closer to 7 liters.
I bought 9 and used the other 2 bottles checking the fluid level as well
as get out the extra in the torque converter.
 

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Pardon my ingnorance, since I have not done any tranny service before, but Having the engine running while the tranny is being filled (low on fluid), seems dangerous. Yet two of the posts above mention having the car running. .
It's not the safest thing in the world, but it is required. It's worse with the 4MO when you run it thru gears. I remove the RF wheel so I don't get caught by it spinning. I have had several reminders on how hot the exhaust can get while the car is running :icon_eek:
 

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Have them check it again

Is it possible that they just refilled the pan? If the engine wasnt running, you are short ATF, very short. 3 quarts sounds about right to bring the fluid level in the pan from empty to the overfill plug without the pump running.

For my V6 2.8 Tip, I used 4.5, spilled .50 and transfused 1.50 and dumped .50 quarts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is it possible that they just refilled the pan? If the engine wasnt running, you are short ATF, very short. 3 quarts sounds about right to bring the fluid level in the pan from empty to the overfill plug without the pump running.

For my V6 2.8 Tip, I used 4.5, spilled .50 and transfused 1.50 and dumped .50 quarts.
I think Mikel212 has it right. This is what I was looking for. A scenerio where you drop the pan, change ATF filter with gasket, put in less than 4 quarts of new ATF and be able to say that the tranny is filled.

I hate to admitt this (I'm acutally squinting while typing this), but my machenic did say that "running the engine while changing ATF is bullshit". Do I need to start looking for a new mechanic?? :( He's a good family friend, so I trust him. Why do I feel guilty questioning his knowledge/preocedures. urghhhh.

I'm going to have him check the ATF level again this Saturday, following the procedures that bksuperman (and others) suggested.
 

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I did indeed have the car running while I ran through the gears,
including reverse, as well as others state so that I'm not underfilling.

The hose was long enough so that I didn't need to be under the car
while someone else ran through the gears. I also raised the back just a tad
to purposefully overfill. I proceeded to fill until it ran out. Then shut off
the car and quickly removed the hose & tightened the drain plug.

No offence, really, but your friend doesn't know what he's talking about.
 

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I hate to admitt this (I'm acutally squinting while typing this), but my machenic did say that "running the engine while changing ATF is bullshit".
Changing it while running, yes that's not necessary (plus very difficult).

Checkingthe fluid level while the engine is running is absolutely necessary.
Check the owners manual of any domestic or foriegn car. It will say to check the fluid when it's Hot and with the engine running.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just to give this thread some closure, here's an update.

About 6 weeks after the initial drain, pan drop, filter and gasket replacement by the mechanic. I placed her on the jack-stands and went through the process of checking ATF level. I opened the check/fill plug, and a small amount of ATF drained out, and then was just dripping.

Then I turned the engine on, waited 20 secs or so, and dripping stoped. I knew at that point I was low. How low?

With engine running I began adding ATF. I added two quarts. While adding, some of the dirty ATF was dripping back along the filling tube into a waste pan underneath the Tranny pan. Two quarts is all I had, so I stopped there.
Closed up the check/fill plug, turned of the engine. The waste pan collected about half quart. So I ended up adding about 1 1/2 quarts altogether.

The tranny is performing much better. I'm feeling better. I plan to do a full drain/pan drop and refill by this coming weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
how was the tranny performing before the drain and underfilling ? what was the symptoms?
Before the underfilling the tranny was performing fine. I was having my TB done, saved plenty by getting my own parts, so decided to spend that on tranny service because...no symptoms just age (87K).

After the underfill, it was shifting oddly. Noticeable jerks when putting into drive, (solved by replacing MAF), odd whining sound, slight jerks between shifts up or down.

After adding more ATF...a lot smoother. Not perfect, but much better.
 

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The pan/fluid should be warm to the touch and the engine needs to be running while filling (at least the last liter or so) as well as when checking ATF level. Otherwise it's impossible to know how much is really needed.

Running the engine also runs the trans. As such, the trans. cycles fluid through its various parts. Once it's shut off, the fluid mostly drains down and sits in the sump waiting to be cycled through next time the car is started. If you remove the check/fill plug with the car shut off, ATF will gush out, leaving you underfilled.
  • Engine running: vehicle up on lift, ramps, etc.; check/fill plug removed for filling and/or level check.
  • Engine off: vehicle on ground, waiting for owner to get in and drive somewhere while enjoying the fruits of his/her labor, all the while experiencing fewer strange sounds and vibrations from the transmission and much smoother shifting.
Oh, and 6 liters is just about perfect for a pan drop with filter and gasket change.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The tranny is performing much better. I'm feeling better. I plan to do a full drain/pan drop and refill by this coming weekend.
So the story continues. I wanted to do a tranny drain, pan drop, clean out, and refill....but it did not work out that way. I know that my pan had been dropped before, because a few of the Torx27 bolts were stripped. So, I could not drop the pan. I ended up just draining the tranny (about 3.75 quarts of dirty ATF flowed out). I then refilled it with 5 quarts of fresh M1 ATF.I'm now satisfied that my tranny is "relatively cleaner" than before, and filled close to the correct level.

BTW, one of the earlier tranny posts advises to first make sure you are able to open the check/fill plug (the one that needs a 17mm hex key) before opening up the drain plug (8mm hex key). Do yourself a favor and LISTEN TO THAT ADVISE. I did, and boy was I glad. I tried as hard as I could to open up the check/fill plug and no go. It was a bitch. It was cold outside, and I was sweating underneath the car. I finally used my foot to get it open.

You can imagine the possible predicament, had I drained the tranny, with no way to refill it.

END of Story.
 
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