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Old 02-01-2009, 06:15 PM   #1
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Default 2007 Saturn Vue Automatic Transmission Fluid Change

I have written a how to on changing the transmission fluid on a 3.5 V6 automatic transmission. I tried to post to the how to library but apparently don't have priveleges to do that. If someone else can do this and feels like it they may copy it and post it there. I also have pictures included here too, but don't know how to upload them to the thread. If someone can help there too that'd be cool.

2007 Saturn Vue automatic Transmission Fluid Change

Disclaimer: These are the steps I used to change the automatic transmission fluid on our 2007 Saturn Vue. These same steps may be applicable to other years. However these steps are not all inclusive. There might be a better way. I am not responsible for damage to any vehicle if someone chooses to use these steps and the result is adverse. These are the steps that I used and have had no problems. While I tried to document some detail and pertinent steps that might not otherwise be known, some common sense and mechanical aptitude is required for this.

Vehicle Info: 2007 Saturn Vue 3.5 V6 with 37,615 miles at the time of fluid change. The reason I decided to change the fluid was because we had experienced over the last 10,000 miles or so between 30 and 50 mph the transmission would sort of hunt for the correct gear and would lug down from trying to shift into overdrive.

This task is relatively easy, if you can change oil on your car than you can also change the transmission fluid.

Note: This fluid change was on the Honda Transmission. Z1 transmission fluid was used. I purchased 5 quarts from the local Saturn dealer.

Tools needed are pictured and listed below. Certain common items such as floor jack, oil pan, electrical tape, and paper towels aren’t pictured or listed. But it will state where these items are used in the process.

1. Small hammer – may or may not be needed, I used this to lightly tap the 3/8” driver into the drain plug.
2. Flathead screwdriver
3. 6 inch 3/8” extension
4. 10 mm socket
5. 3/8” driver
6. ˝” 9 inch extension and ˝” 4 inch extension
7. 17 mm socket.
8. 2 ft breaker bar
9. Narrow funnel with 18 inches of 3/8” ID Clear tubing electrical taped to the end.
Step 1. Removal of the air intake tubing. Using the flathead screwdriver loosen the hose clamp holding the intake tubing to the top of the air filter box and the hose clamp holding the intake tubing to the rubber sleeving going to the throttle body. See points below.
Step 2. Remove the bolt holding the intake tubing to the intake manifold using a 10 mm socket. See points below. Once the hose clamps are loosened and the bolt is removed then wiggle the intake tubing to remove it.

Step 3. Loosening the fill plug on the transmission. Locate the transmission fill plug, it is almost directly underneath the back side of the intake tubing just before the tubing bends around to go into the throttle body. Loosen the fill plug with a 17 mm socket connected to both the 4” and 9” extensions and breaker bar. The fill plug was torqued and locktited from factory so I had to give a good snug pull to break it loose. At this point just loosen the plug don’t remove it yet.

Step 4. Loosening and removing the drain plug. Underneath the car on the driver’s side from the front of the car you can see the drain plug for the transmission. It requires a 3/8” driver to loosen it. I had to take a hammer and lightly tap the driver into the drain plug. See the picture below.

Loosen the drain plug; it is also torqued from the factory. I had to apply a bit of force to loosen it. Once it is loose place an oil pan underneath to catch the transmission fluid and remove the 3/8” driver. By hand back out the drain plug and remove it. Take a break and let the transmission drain until it stops.

Step 5. Re-installing the drain plug. The factory drain plug has a magnet on the end of it. When I removed ours it had quite a bit of metal fragments on it. With a clean paper towel wipe of the drain plug so that it is free of any metal fragments or old fluid. Re-install the drain plug and tighten with the 3/8” driver.

Step 6. Remove the oil pan from underneath the car and dump old transmission fluid into a container. I used an old empty 5 quart oil jug, this way I could tell approximately how much transmission fluid came out. When I did this I got just a little bit over 4 quarts. The capacity for this transmission is 4.5 quarts as stated in the owner’s manual. So either there was a little bit left in the transmission that did not come out or it was slightly under filled from the factory.

Step 7. Refilling transmission. To refill the transmission start by removing the fill plug that we loosened earlier. There is a metal washer on the fill plug that will not stay with the fill plug when you go to lift it out. Carefully remove the washer also or it will fall down underneath the car. See picture below.

Step 8. Place the end of the clear tubing attached to the funnel down into the top of the transmission so that the tubing goes in an inch or so. You don’t want this coming out when your adding fluid or it will make a mess.

Step 9. Slowly pour in the first quart of transmission fluid making sure that the fluid is going into the transmission case and not going onto the floor. Then add 3 more quarts. I stopped filling after 4 to check the fluid level.

Step 10. Do an initial check of the dipstick. It can be located just to the left of the battery look down. It has a black handle. Pull it out and wipe it clean with a paper towel. Then re insert and pull back out to check the level. By this point the fluid level should be just touching the very bottom of the dipstick. Reinsert the dipstick. I added another half quart after this and it brought the level to just above the bottom mark on the dipstick.

Step 11. Remove the funnel and re install the fill plug. Go ahead and tighten the fill plug down, you may or may not need to add more fluid later, but the car must be driven around a little to bring the fluid up to operating temperature.

Step 12. Reinstalling the intake tubing. Re install the intake tubing in the reverse order that it was removed. Once this is complete. Take the car for a test drive. I drove for approximately 15 minutes until the coolant temperature was at the normal operating range. Once back another fluid check is needed. Now I’ve always been taught that the fluid on an automatic was supposed to be checked while the engine is running. I tried to do this here but could not get an accurate reading. So with the car warmed up and parked on a level surface I turned off the engine and checked the fluid level. It now registered right at the top mark on the dipstick in the acceptable range.


Over the next couple of days do another check or so just to make sure you are not leaking fluid anywhere. I noticed that the transmission shifted slightly smoother than before, it did seem to take care of the “searching for the right gear between 30 and 50 mph” a bit. It isn’t completely smooth like when we bought it new, but it is considerably better.


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