Suzuki Samurai/Sidekick/Tracker 1986-1998 Repair Guide

Automatic Transmission

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FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



The automatic transmissions covered by this guide use Dexron® III Automatic Transmission Fluid for lubrication. DO NOT use improper fluids such as Type-F® or hypoid gear oil. Use of improper fluids could lead to leaks or transmission damage. Always use new, clean ATF whenever adding fluid to the transmission.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figure 1

It is very important to maintain the proper fluid level in an automatic transmission. If the level is either too high or too low, poor shifting operation and internal damage are likely to occur. For this reason, inspect the automatic transmission fluid at every engine oil change.

The transmission fluid level must be checked with the engine running at slow idle, the vehicle parked on level ground, and the transmission fluid at least at room temperature (70°F/21°C).

  1. Apply the parking brake and start the engine. Allow it to idle for 2 minutes.
  2.  
  3. With your foot on the brake pedal to hold the vehicle from moving, move the transmission gearshift selector through each gear, then move it back to the P (Park) position.
  4.  

Do NOT read the fluid level if you have drive in city traffic in hot weather, if the vehicle was pulling a trailer, or if you have just driven the vehicle for a long time at high speed. Allow the transmission fluid approximately 30 minutes to cool down before checking the fluid level, otherwise the level indicated will be misleading.

  1. Open the hood.
  2.  
  3. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick at the rear of the engine compartment, near the distributor. Pull the dipstick out of its tube and CAREFULLY touch the wet end of the dipstick to ascertain its temperature. The fluid should be at least room temperature (70°F/21°C). If the fluid feels cold, drive the vehicle for a minimum of 5 miles (8 km) before checking the fluid level.
  4.  
  5. If the fluid is room temperature or hotter, wipe the dipstick clean with a shop rag and reinsert it in the dipstick tube. Ensure that the dipstick is fully seated in the dipstick tube.
  6.  
  7. Pull the dipstick out of the tube and, while holding the dipstick horizontal, read the fluid level on the dipstick end. The fluid level should be between the two marks in the cold range on the dipstick if the fluid is not hot (approximately 4°F/20°C for 3-speed models, or 77°F/25°C for 4-speed models). If the fluid is hot (approximately 194°F/90°C for 3-speed models, or 13°F/75°C for 4-speed models), the fluid level should be between the two range marks on the dipstick.
  8.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: The Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) should fall between the two applicable marks on the dipstick, depending on the temperature of the ATF

  1. If the fluid level is below the specified range, add just enough fluid through the dipstick tube to the transmission until the level is correct. It only takes 0.37 qt. (0.35L) on 3-speed transmissions or 0.32 qt. (0.30L) for 4-speed transmissions, to raise the fluid level from the low cold mark to the full cold mark or from the low hot mark to the full hot mark. Always add a little fluid at a time so that you do not accidentally overfill the transmission, which would require you to drain fluid back out. If the fluid level registers above the specified range, some fluid must be drained out of the transmission to bring the level down within the acceptable range. If some transmission fluid needs to be drained because the level is too high, you might as well remove and clean the transmission fluid pan and replace the filter.
  2.  
  3. Install the dipstick, close the hood and turn the engine OFF .
  4.  

DRAIN, PAN/FILTER SERVICE & REFILL



Under normal service, the manufacturer indicates that the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) used in 3-speed models does not require periodic replacement, and the ATF used in 4-speed models only requires replacement every 100,000 miles (160,000 km). However, if a major service is performed to the transmission, if transmission fluid becomes burnt or discolored through severe usage, or if the vehicle is subjected to constant stop-and-go driving in hot weather, frequent trailer towing, long periods of highway use at high speeds, commercial use (such as taxi, police, delivery or rental vehicles) fluid should be changed to prevent transmission damage every 52,500 miles (84,000 km) for 3-speed models, or every 15,000 miles (24,000 km) for 4-speed models.

3-Speed Transmission

See Figures 2, 3 and 4

Whenever draining and replacing the ATF, it is good preventive maintenance to always install a new fluid filter.

  1. If necessary, raise the vehicle and support it securely on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Along with a large catch pan, tools (such as sockets, an extension, a ratchet and a gasket scraper), several clean shop rags, and the new fluid filter and pan gasket, crawl under the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. If necessary, matchmark and detach the driveshaft from the front differential, then position it out of the way by suspending it with cord or wire to the side.
  6.  
  7. Place the catch pan under the transmission fluid pan.
  8.  

Draining transmission fluid can be extremely messy. Work slowly and carefully, be sure to use a very large drain pan, and wear old clothing (ATF stains are very difficult to remove from clothing) when draining the fluid.

  1. Remove the right-hand side, left-hand side and front pan attaching bolts, and loosen the rear pan bolts to within a few turns of complete removal, then carefully break the gasket seal allowing most of the fluid to drain over the front edge of the pan.
  2.  


CAUTION
DO NOT force the pan while breaking the gasket seal. DO NOT allow the pan flange to become bent or otherwise damaged.

  1. When fluid has drained to the level of the pan flange, remove the rear pan bolts and carefully lower the pan, doing your best to drain the rest of the fluid into the drain pan.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: To drain the ATF from 4-wheel drive models, matchmark and detach the front driveshaft from the differential flange ...



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: ... then remove most of the pan bolts and allow the fluid to drain into the catch pan



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: If the fluid filter is to be replaced, remove the attaching bolts (arrows) and pull the filter off of the transmission valve body

  1. Clean the transmission fluid pan thoroughly using a safe solvent, then allow it to air dry. DO NOT use a cloth to dry the pan which might leave behind bits of lint. Discard the old pan gasket.
  2.  
  3. If necessary, remove the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) filter mounting bolts, then remove the filter by pulling it down and off of the valve body. Make sure any gaskets or seals are removed with the old filter.
  4.  
  5. Install the new oil filter screen making sure all gaskets or seals are in place, then secure using the retaining bolts, if applicable. Tighten the filter mounting bolts to 14 inch lbs. (19 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Clean all of the fluid pan attaching bolts thoroughly, then apply threadlocking compound, such as Suzuki Cement Super 1333B, to the pan bolt threads.
  8.  
  9. Place a new gasket on the fluid pan, then install the pan to the transmission. Tighten the attaching bolts in a crisscross pattern to 115 inch lbs. (13 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Attach the driveshaft to the differential flange so that the matchmarks are aligned, then tighten the driveshaft-to-differential bolts to 36 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
  12.  
  13. If necessary, remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  14.  

It is a good idea to add ATF to the transmission slowly and check the level often to avoid overfilling. There are not many frustrating circumstances worse than having to remove the transmission fluid pan a second time to drain out excess ATF, which is necessary to avoid damaging the transmission.

  1. Add the proper amount of Dexron III ATF to the transmission through the filler tube.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine and move the gear selector through all gears in the shift pattern. Allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature.
  4.  
  5. Check the transmission fluid level. Add or remove fluid, as necessary, to obtain the correct level.
  6.  

4-Speed Transmission

See Figure 5

The manufacturer does not indicate that the 4-speed automatic transmissions require any sort of periodic filter replacement.

  1. If necessary, raise the vehicle and support it securely on jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Along with a large catch pan, tools (such as sockets and a ratchet, or a wrench), and several clean shop rags, crawl under the vehicle.
  4.  
  5. Place the catch pan under the transmission fluid pan drain plug.
  6.  

Draining transmission fluid can be extremely messy. Work slowly and carefully, be sure to use a very large drain pan, and wear old clothing (ATF stains are very difficult to remove from clothing) when draining the fluid.

  1. Remove the drain plug, allowing the ATF to drain into the catch pan.
  2.  
  3. When fluid has completely drained from the transmission, install the drain plug. Tighten the drain plug to 203 inch lbs. (23 Nm).
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: Unlike the 3-speed automatic transmission, the 4-speed transmission is equipped with a fluid drain plug (1)-according to the manufacturer, the ATF filter does not require periodic replacement

  1. If necessary, remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  2.  

It is a good idea to add ATF to the transmission slowly, and check the level often to avoid overfilling the engine.

  1. Add the proper amount of Dexron III ATF to the transmission through the filler tube.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine and move the gear selector through all gears in the shift pattern. Allow the engine to reach normal operating temperature.
  4.  
  5. Check the transmission fluid level. Add or remove fluid, as necessary, to obtain the correct level.
  6.  

 
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