Toyota Pick-ups/Land Cruiser/4Runner 1970-1988

Automatic Transmission



1970-83-ATF Type F


Check the automatic transmission fluid level at least every 15,000 miles (more if possible). The dipstick is in the rear of 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 truck on a level surface with the engine idling. Shift the transmission into Neutral and set the parking brake.
  3. 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. With the engine running, the fluid level should be between the second and third notches on the dipstick.
  5. If the fluid level is below the second notch, use Type F automatic transmission fluid through the dipstick tube on all 1970-83 models. On 1984-88 models use only Dexron®II Automatic transmission fluid. This is easily done with the aid of a funnel. Check the level often as you are filling the transmission. 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.

Always use the proper transmission fluid when filling your truck's transmission. All 1971-83 models use Type F. All 1984-88 models use Dexron® or Dexron®II. Always check with the owner's manual to be sure. NEVER use Dexron® in a transmission requiring Type F or vice versa, as severe damage will result.

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.


The automatic transmission fluid should be changed at least every 25,000-30,000 miles (40,000-48,000 km). If the truck 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.

Toyota automatic transmissions have a drain plug in them so that if you are in a hurry, you can simply remove the plug, drain the fluid, replace the plug and then refill the transmission. Although this method is fine, a more thorough procedure is recommended.

Pan and Filter Service

See Figure 1

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Most Toyota automatic transmissions have a drain plug

  1. Remove the plug and drain the fluid. When the fluid stops coming out of the drain hole, loosen the pan retaining screws until the pan can be pulled down at one corner. Lower a corner of the pan and allow any remaining fluid to drain out.
  3. After the pan has drained completely, remove the pan retaining screws and then remove the pan and gasket.

To install:
  1. Clean the pan thoroughly and allow it to air dry. If you wipe it out with a rag you run the risk of leaving bits of lint in the pan which will clog the tiny hydraulic passages in the transmission.
  3. Install the pan using a new gasket.
  5. Install the drain plug.
  7. It is a good idea to measure the amount of fluid drained from the transmission to determine the correct amount of fresh fluid to add. This is because some parts of the transmission may not drain completely and using the dry refill amount specified in the "Capacities" chart could lead to overfilling. Fluid is added only through the dipstick tube. Use only the proper automatic transmission fluid; do not overfill.
  9. Replace the dipstick after filling. Start the engine and allow it to idle. DO NOT race the engine.
  11. After the engine has idled for a few minutes, shift the transmission slowly through the gears and then return it to Park. 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.