Toyota Camry 1983-1996 Repair Guide

Automatic Transaxle

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FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



All 2WD models use DEXRON® II (or its superceding type) ATF fluid whereas all 4WD models use type T ATF.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

Check the automatic transmission fluid level at least every 15,000 miles (24,000 km). The dipstick is located in the engine compartment. The fluid level should be checked only when the transmission is hot (normal operating temperature). The transmission is considered hot after about 20 miles of highway driving.

  1. Park the car on a level surface with the engine idling. Shift the transmission into P and set the parking brake.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 1: Make sure the shift lever is in PARK and the emergency brake is on



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Fig. Fig. 2: The automatic transaxle dipstick is marked on the head of the indicator

  1. Remove the dipstick, wipe it clean and reinsert if firmly. Be sure that it has been pushed all the way in. Remove the dipstick and check the fluid level while holding it horizontally. All models have a HOT and a COLD side to the dipstick.
  2.  



COLD -The fluid level should fall in this range when the engine has been running for only a short time.
 



HOT -The fluid level should fall in this range when the engine has reached normal running temperatures.
 



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Fig. Fig. 3: The automatic transaxle dipstick shows the fluid type and level indicators

  1. If the fluid level is not within the proper area on either side of the dipstick, pour ATF into the dipstick tube. This is easily done with the aid of a funnel. Check the level often as you are filling the transaxle. Be extremely careful not to overfill it. Overfilling will cause slippage, seal damage and overheating. Approximately one pint of ATF will raise the level from one notch to the other.
  2.  

The fluid on the dipstick should always be a bright red color. It if is discolored (brown or black), or smells burnt, serious transmission troubles, probably due to overheating, should be suspected. The transmission should be inspected by a qualified service technician to locate the cause of the burnt fluid.

DRAIN & REFILL



See Figures 4, 5 and 6

The automatic transaxle fluid should be changed at least every 25,000-30,000 miles (40,000-48,000 km). If the car is normally used in severe service, such as stop-and-go driving, trailer towing or the like, the interval should be halved. The fluid should be hot before it is drained; a 20 minute drive will accomplish this.

  1. Remove the dipstick from the filler tube and install a funnel in the opening.
  2.  
  3. Position a suitable drain pan under the drain plug. Loosen the drain plug with a 10mm hex head wrench and allow the fluid to drain.
  4.  



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Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the transaxle drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 5: Allow the fluid to drain form the transaxle pan into a container



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Fig. Fig. 6: Inspect the plug threads (1) and gasket (2) prior to installation

  1. Install and tighten the drain plug to 36 ft. lbs. (49 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Through the filler tube opening, add the proper amount of transmission fluid as specified in the Capacities Chart.
  4.  
  5. Check the fluid level and add as required.
  6.  


WARNING
Do not overfill the transaxle.

PAN & FILTER SERVICE



See Figures 7 through 16



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Fig. Fig. 7: Transaxle pan retaining bolt locations



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Fig. Fig. 8: Loosen and remove all of the bolts in a crisscross fashion

  1. To avoid contamination of the transaxle, thoroughly clean the exterior of the oil pan and surrounding area to remove any deposits of dirt and grease.
  2.  
  3. Position a suitable drain pan under the oil pan and remove the drain plug. Allow the oil to drain from the pan. Set the drain plug aside.
  4.  
  5. Loosen and remove all but two of the oil pan retaining bolts. Try to remove them in a crisscross pattern.
  6.  
  7. Support the pan by hand and slowly remove the remaining two bolts.
  8.  
  9. Carefully lower the pan to the ground. There will be some fluid still inside the pan, so be careful.
  10.  
  11. Remove the three oil strainer attaching bolts and carefully remove the strainer. The strainer will also contain some fluid.
  12.  

One of the three oil strainer bolts is slightly longer than the other two. Make a mental note of where the longer bolt goes so that it may be reinstalled in the original position.

  1. Remove the oil strainer. Remove the gasket from the pan and discard it.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 9: Be careful when lowering the pan. There is still some fluid left in it



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Fig. Fig. 10: Some transaxles may have wires attached on the side of the valve body; detach them



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Fig. Fig. 11: There are usually three bolts retaining the strainer to the valve body-A541E transaxle shown



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Fig. Fig. 12: Unbolt and remove the oil strainer



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Fig. Fig. 13: When the strainer bolts are loosened, some fluid may still come from the valve body; be prepared



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Fig. Fig. 14: Check for a gasket once the strainer is removed. It may need to be scraped from the valve body



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Fig. Fig. 15: Remove and clean the magnets on the bottom of the pan

  1. Drain the remainder of the fluid from the oil pan and wipe the pan clean with a rag. With a gasket scraper, remove any old gasket material from the flanges of the pan and the transaxle. Remove the gasket from the drain plug and replace it with a new one.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 16: Scrape all old gasket material off the pan

Depending on the year and maintenance schedule of the vehicle, there may be from one to three small magnets on the bottom of the pan. These magnets were installed by the manufacturer at the time the transaxle was assembled. The magnets function to collect metal chips and filings from clutch plates, bushings and bearings that accumulate during the normal break-in process that a new transaxle experiences. So, don't be alarmed if such accumulations are present. Clean the magnets and reinstall them. They are useful tools for determining transaxle component wear.

To install:
  1. Install the new oil strainer. Tighten the retaining bolts in their proper locations.
  2.  
  3. Install the new gasket onto the oil pan making sure that the holes in the gasket are aligned evenly with those of the pan. Position the magnets so that they will not interfere with the oil tubes.
  4.  
  5. Raise the pan and gasket into position on the transaxle and install the retaining bolts. Tighten the retaining bolts in a crisscross pattern to 43 inch lbs. (5 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install and tighten the drain plug to 36 ft. lbs. (49 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Fluid is added only through the dipstick tube. Use only the proper automatic transmission fluid; do not overfill.
  10.  
  11. Replace the dipstick after filling. Start the engine and allow it to idle. DO NOT race the engine!
  12.  
  13. After the engine has idled for a few minutes, shift the transmission slowly through the gears and then return it to P . With the engine still idling, check the fluid level on the dipstick. If necessary, add more fluid to raise the level to where it is supposed to be.
  14.  


CAUTION
Check the fluid in the drain pan, it should always be a bright red color. It if is discolored (brown or black), or smells burnt, serious transmission troubles, probably due to overheating, should be suspected. The transmission should be inspected by a qualified service technician to locate the cause of the burnt fluid.

 
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