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#1863991 - 04/19/10 09:43 PM Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4
moss Offline


Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 83
Loc: south dakota
I'm planning on changing the tranny fluid in my niece's 2003 Olds Alero 3.4L engine with 70k miles. This would be my first time changing the fluid on a GM, but I have changed tranny fluid + filter on other cars before. It seems that it doesn't have a dipstick to check the fluid level, but under the airbox there is a case with a red cap on it, so I'm guessing that's the fill plug. I plan on dropping the pan and changing the filter and pan gasket. My questions are:
1)What fluid do I use? Is Valvoline Maxlife ok?
2)How many qts of fluid does the tranny take? How many qts will I most likely drain by dropping the pan?
3)How do I know the fluid level is full? How do you check the level?
4)Can I use tranny filter from Autozone? They have Duralast brand tranny filter kit for $16.99.
5)Is there any tranny fluid additives (Lucas etc...)recommended?
Thank you in advance.


Edited by moss (04/19/10 09:45 PM)

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#1864007 - 04/19/10 09:54 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: moss]
mechanicx Offline


Registered: 10/23/09
Posts: 8576
Loc: Ohio
My questions are:
1)What fluid do I use? Is Valvoline Maxlife ok?
Yes or better Dex VI
2)How many qts of fluid does the tranny take? How many qts will I most likely drain by dropping the pan?
Up to 12 but probably 7 will drain out of the pan.
3)How do I know the fluid level is full? How do you check the level?
There is a check plug on the transmission near the passenger side halfshaft.
4)Can I use tranny filter from Autozone? They have Duralast brand tranny filter kit for $16.99.
Yeah but it's probably a cheapy filter. You can reuse the orignal oil pan gasket. Make sure the filter oring is installed into the tranny before installing filter.
5)Is there any tranny fluid additives (Lucas etc...)recommended?
I wouldn't recommend any.


Edited by mechanicx (04/19/10 09:55 PM)

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#1864009 - 04/19/10 09:55 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: moss]
sciphi Offline


Registered: 03/24/07
Posts: 8431
Loc: Upstate NY
I'd use Maxlife without hesitation. Don't put additives in it, just use it. SuperTech Dexron-VI is also a solid choice. I'm using Dex-VI in my Buick LeSabre without issue.

The AutoZone filter is just fine.

For the rest, I'll defer to someone who knows what transmission is in your niece's car.
_________________________
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2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

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#1864026 - 04/19/10 10:05 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: sciphi]
moss Offline


Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 83
Loc: south dakota
Thank you gentlemen for your quick replies. I'm glad I can use Maxlife since I have 1 gallon of it in my garage from when I changed the tranny fluid in my 1997 MB E320.
Mechanicx, by check plug you mean the one that has a red cap? There is a case with a big plastic red cap right below the airbox on passenger side? Or is that just the fill plug? How do I know it is full?

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#1864032 - 04/19/10 10:11 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: moss]
Bluestream Offline


Registered: 09/13/03
Posts: 3908
Loc: Waterloo, ON
I used a floor jack to lift the car, and then jackstands for saftey. Then after the pan is dropped and filter changed, remove passenger wheel, oil level plug and lastly jackstands. Lower car to normal level, and pour in 5-6 quarts. Start engine at idle, and fill one quart at a time and look at oil level hole to see if fluid is present. A flashlight is helpfull. As the fluid get near level, you will see it moving around in the oil level hole. It will start to "spritz" out when full. I then jack car back up and put back jackstands for saftey. (Keep engine running) Put in fill plug, and you can then turn engine off, remove jackstands, install pass wheel and lower car.

Do a pan drop and filter change only. I think that tranny holds 11 or 12 quarts, so you will get 8 or 9 out with a pan drop. Thats all you want to doin IMO

Next time, with the drain plug, I will just measure what can out and replace that amount.


Edited by Bluestream (04/19/10 10:13 PM)
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#1870042 - 04/24/10 11:52 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: Bluestream]
moss Offline


Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 83
Loc: south dakota
I finally changed the transmission fluid today. The pan didn't have a drain plug, which made it a little messier, but not too bad. Old fluid didn't look too bad considering it was 7 years/70k miles old, actually in my opinion it could have been ok for use all the way up to 100k miles. There was some residue on the magnet, but not bad at all. I used some brake cleaner to clean the pan + magnet. Old gasket looked ok, but since the filter kit came with new gasket I used the new gasket. I did use some sealant on the gasket, didn't know if I was supposed to or not. It took exactly 7 bottles of Valvoline Maxlife to fill up to max, and I also noticed Valvoline Maxlife smells nasty. Took car for a drive after all done and it shifts smoothly.
Thanks again to everyone.

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#1870654 - 04/25/10 03:33 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: moss]
Ridds Offline


Registered: 04/24/10
Posts: 52
Loc: Ontario, Canada
The way I do a transmission flush at my shop is to hook up a fluid transfer machine to the cooler lines. Flushing 20L though the system and replacing the filter. When you just drop the pan and replace the filter, the pan only holds around 3-5 litres.
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#1870988 - 04/25/10 09:05 PM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: Ridds]
moss Offline


Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 83
Loc: south dakota
Actually in the Alero I was able to drain 6.5 litres by dropping the pan, and it took 7 litres to fill it until fluid start dripping from check hole. I was surprised that much fluid drained. The tranny holds around 9 litres, but changing 7 litres is more than enough in my opinion.
When I changed the transmission fluid in my 1997 MB E320 the pan only held 3.5 litres, but fortunately the torque converter had a drain plug so I was able to drain another 4 from there.

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#1871376 - 04/26/10 08:28 AM Re: Tranny fluid change on 2003 Olds Alero 3.4 [Re: moss]
Samilcar Offline


Registered: 07/11/08
Posts: 1478
Loc: Iowa
When I did a pan drop on our 2003 Alero 2.2, 7 quarts drained out of the 9.6 (IIRC) that is supposed to be the total capacity. I too was surprised at how much drained out with just a pan drop.

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