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Old 12-27-2006, 11:27 PM   #1
blackbeardrrr
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Default Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

15,000 Miles. Time for my automatic transmission fluid and filter change. I couldn't find a filter change guide after a little searching. Thought I'd submit my own.

Similar to SilverM3S's guide, but with the additional step of replacing the filter.



Start by jacking up the car





Brief review: Engine in silver, on the right. Transmission pan in black, on the left. This photo was taken looking up from below, with my feet facing the nose of the car.




What is that pink stuff? strange. Moving on...

also, despite the fact that the bolts say 8, they are not 8mm. They're 10mm's.




In addition to the jack, jack stands, tranny fluid, filter, and tools, you'll also need a fairly good sized drip pan.




When I was down there, I noticed that the drain plug is not only close to part of the driver's side suspension (including a rubber bushing or something similar), it is aimed directly at it.
I put a bag over the suspension parts just in case. Turns out it was a good idea - it got the bag a little bit at the beginning when I unscrewed the bolt.

So, first step: drain the transmission fluid, as per the original guide.


Second step: take off the transmission fluid pan.



The pan would NOT come off. Damnit! why? The pan was completely stuck. I decided to go for it. I pried it with a hammer and a flathead screwdriver used as a chisel and pry bar. After 10 minutes of profanity, it came off.
So, it turns out that Mazda uses something like liquid super glue in the place of a gasket. That's what the pink stuff is, and that's what made it so f-ing hard.
Just beware: this is the most frustrating part of the task - removing the pan. But, since you are replacing the pink stuff with a *real* gasket, it should only be this hard the first time.
(Note: while prying, I left one bolt in each corner screwed halfway on. This is so that the pan wouldn't fall off completely, but would sit nicely on the half-undone bolts. So, while it may appear in the picture above that I'm prying against a tightened bolt, I'm not. )




with the pan off of the transmission, you can see the nasty pink gasket that made the pan removal so difficult.
I'm no professional, but I have two problems with the use of this type of sealant. First: it doesn't seem to make a great seal. Sure, there's pink stuff everywhere, but at the raised lip along the edges, there is a noticeable absence of sealant (as seen by the black lines between the bolt holes). A traditional gasket seals here, while liquid is pushed away from here.
Second, liquid gaskets are more prone to break off and enter the transmission. Not good. A traditional gasket is a single piece of solid material. It doesn't really break off.

Anyway, you can also start to see the sludge that has accumulated at the bottom of the pan (especially around the magnet). This is literally liquid metal. Keep in mind that this car is only 15,000 miles old.

Clean it up, and make it look like this:





WTF? this filter has wires? Not really. Just some sort of sensor. Gently grab the black sensor and pull down. It'll come off easily.




The sensor is held in place by a black nipple. It doesn't put up much of a fight. Just pull straight down.




the bottom of the new filter. You can see the round hole where the nipple of the sensor will go.


Next: pull down on the filter.
There are no screws for this step - it's held in place entirely by the friction of the filter gasket. Gentle pulling straight down will do the trick.




The transmission after the filter has been removed. The circled holes are where you line up the filter




The top of the filter. line up these two posts with the ones circled above.




Mmm. Clean magnet.




I had initially tried to scrape off the liquid sealant. This didn't work too well. I tried other methods (steel wool, toothbrushes, etc), but nothing worked. I decided to stop, since it would still form a nice seal if I used the new gasket on top of the liquid sealant.
If anyone can tell me how to remove this, I'd love to know. I'll do that for my 30,000 service.




I did manage to scrape some of the pink sealant off of the transmission surface, though. But I also noticed that the chiseling action scored my transmission pretty badly. Right on the sealing line, too! I'm hoping I don't get leaks here. Just BE CAREFUL when you take off your pan.
Again, if anyone has any suggestions for improving the removal of the pan, I'd love to hear it, too. I won't have this problem again, but it will help out all the first timers out there.




Make sure the filter is on, and the sensor is plugged into the filter.
put the new gasket on the pan, and re-bolt the pan to the transmission.
My gasket didn't want to sit properly. To help with that, I like to put two bolts on either side of the pan through the pan and the gasket, and push the pan up to the transmission from below using those two bolts. It helps keep the gasket in place when you get the pan up there.

Also: DO NOT OVER-TIGHTEN THE BOLTS. I don't have a torque wrench, but my general rule of thumb for transmission pans is: as tight as I can get it with firm pressure on a socket wrench by gripping it around the socket, like this:




Then, I used an old milk container to get an approximate measure of the amount of fluid that came out. Fluid out = fulid in.
Replacing the fluid is the last step. Put in the amount you took out, then measure the level with the dip stick.

You're done!

So, this took me a loooong time to do. Mostly because I go slow, but also because there was the problem of getting the damn pan off!


To recap:
1. Jack the car up (see related thread)
2. Get your drip pan ready, put a bag over the nearby suspension parts, and open the drain cock.
3. Remove the bolts to the pan. Remove the pan.
4. Take the sensor off the filter. Take off the filter. put new filter on.
5. Replace the pan, tighten the bolts.
6. Replace the drain cock.
7. Measure the old liquid. Put that much new liquid in.


Problems (request for help!)
1. Getting the pan off.
2. Scraping off the old gasket/sealant liquid.



Haven't test-driven the car yet. I'll let you know if I feel a difference in shifting.
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:38 AM   #2
D Bone
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

Nice write up! I liked everything except those deep gouges on the tranny. A few taps with a soft mallet and a nylon paint scraper would have worked much better to pry off the pan, and a nylon toothed scraper wheel on a drill motor would have made quick work of the gasket residue. These tools would have prevented those gouges.

Keep an eye on those areas as your new gasket seats, as they will probably begin to leak. How much fluid did it take to fill and which ATF did you use?

BTW, that magnet was sure a mess, and you only had 15,000 miles on it. :shock: I can't believe that people have seen how black the fluid is when drained, and now your pics of the pan and magnet, and they still don't think they need to change the fluid until 60,000 miles................................Better their tranny than mine, that's for sure. :P



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Old 12-28-2006, 02:24 PM   #3
sano
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

The pink stuff is silicone gasket. It's a god send. Cheap, effective, and you don't have to worry about bending anything. Also, it comes off best with acid (or sometimes it'll just pull right off)
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Old 12-28-2006, 05:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

[quote author=D Bone link=topic=65560.msg1122939#msg1122939 date=1167287891]
Nice write up! I liked everything except those deep gouges on the tranny. A few taps with a soft mallet and a nylon paint scraper would have worked much better to pry off the pan, and a nylon toothed scraper wheel on a drill motor would have made quick work of the gasket residue. These tools would have prevented those gouges.[/quote]

Thanks for the tips! Yep, you're right. I should have used these tools. Very good suggestions. I was in a hurry to get it done. Others should heed your advice and have these items handy before beginning the project.

[quote author=D Bone link=topic=65560.msg1122939#msg1122939 date=1167287891]
Keep an eye on those areas as your new gasket seats, as they will probably begin to leak.
[/quote]

Will do. If it leaks, should I drop the pan again, and squeeze some silicone gasket into the cracks? What would you recommend?



[quote author=D Bone link=topic=65560.msg1122939#msg1122939 date=1167287891] How much fluid did it take to fill and which ATF did you use?[/quote]

I was reading this thread:
http://www.mazda3forums.com/index.php?topic=62476.0

and I just ended up using Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. I like their motor oil, so I just went with their ATF. Ungodly expensive, I know.
If anyone else decides to do this along with an oil change, and they use Mobil 1 for both, be sure to keep the oil and the ATF separated - the bottles look the same!

I was able to get just shy of 4 quarts into it.

[quote author=D Bone link=topic=65560.msg1122939#msg1122939 date=1167287891]BTW, that magnet was sure a mess, and you only had 15,000 miles on it. :shock: I can't believe that people have seen how black the fluid is when drained, and now your pics of the pan and magnet, and they still don't think they need to change the fluid until 60,000 miles................................Better their tranny than mine, that's for sure. :P
[/quote]

Gross, I know. I drive it kinda hard sometimes, so that's my explanation. I certainly am glad that I dropped the pan, though, and didn't just do a drain/refill. That way I can get all that metal sludge out of there.

I just did the same procedure on an 89 Corolla, at 90,000 miles, which had its last transmission service, like, 60,000 miles ago. The pan from my 3 was *much* worse than the Corolla's. I was shocked.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:30 PM   #5
skjfire
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

I didnt know a 3 had a filter...I thought it had a non servicable screen. Was this 2.3 or a 2.0 or do they have the same tranny?
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:35 AM   #6
HouRman
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

Silicone is some resilient stuff. What exactly did you reseal your transmission pan with?

I'm dumbfounded at how sludgy the bottom of the pan looks... Sort of makes me want to change my transmission filter...

So how much did the filter cost and where did you buy it?

I recently just bought some Castrol Mercon V at Wal Mart for $3.75. Was gonna install a tru-cool LDP transmission cooler soon and do a complete drain and refill of my fluid while doing so. I got the 11,000lb one (the lightest duty cooler) and it was only $40 shipped from bulkparts.com

I don't know how the installation and mounting is going to go though, I might end up just keeping the cooler and using it as a paper weight and going with the anodized "finned" cooler from hotzoneperformance. It looks like it's the same cooler from SCI only it doesn't come with all the hoses and connectors (but it's only $40).

I think that the low pressure drop plate coolers might work better than the long tube finned one... Don't know for sure, but I plan on posting my installation and experience soon enough.
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:46 AM   #7
D Bone
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

[quote author=HouRman link=topic=65560.msg1124712#msg1124712 date=1167410117]

I'm dumbfounded at how sludgy the bottom of the pan looks... Sort of makes me want to change my transmission filter...[/quote]


Yea, that's crazy. :shock: I'm dropping my pan in a few months because of what his pan/magnet looked like. I'll take some pics and report back on this thread.


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Old 12-29-2006, 12:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

Great write up. Seems like an awful amount of work to go through, but I give you credit for taking all those pics and showing us how your experience went. Good job on the Mobil 1 ATF. While it is expensive, considering how the transmission is on this car I want to use one of the best fluids on the market. I still can't believe the people on here who see all these discussions about the ATX, yet argue 60,000 mile service because some tech told them so. I can imagine how that pan would look after 60,000 miles. I do a drain and fill every 7500 miles (every OCI). Since I've been using Mobil 1 (when it got Mercon V approved), my fluid has always been bright red. With as much as I've read about these ATX's, it wouldn't surprise me for the reliability of this car to take a nose dive a few years from now.

1. Mazda doesn't even list a changing procedure in the manual.
2. People generally believe ATF's can last 50-75k, some "lifetime" fluid are even out there now. When people see no change interval at all in the manual, they just assume it's lifetime. Remeber, while some people goto the dealer, many more just bring it to a quick lube. They will likely just ignore the ATF and get simple oil changes. I think in a few years when many users have 80-100k on the early model 3's, there is going to be alot of blown transmissions. I could be wrong, but considering how awful the fluid is after 10-15k, how could it ever last even 100k?
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

Good write up man. You need to be more careful when prying on aluminum :?
I am assuming that your car is an 07? This makes me wonder if it has a different design than previous models.

[quote author=Mummyman link=topic=65560.msg1124758#msg1124758 date=1167412450]
I think in a few years when many users have 80-100k on the early model 3's, there is going to be alot of blown transmissions. I could be wrong, but considering how awful the fluid is after 10-15k, how could it ever last even 100k?
[/quote]

+1
Mazda's CD4E proved this 10+ years ago.

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Old 12-29-2006, 01:32 PM   #10
HouRman
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid & Filter Change w pics

15K miles on an 07 is a lot of miles to rack on... I think he "should" have an 06.

His fluid looks dark red, but at least it's still red. One question... Can you change the valve bodies by just dropping the pan?



(Hey, Maudi changed his avatar, now ppl will stop checking his profile to see if Maudi was that woman in the avatar. hehe)

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