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Old 04-04-2007, 12:25 PM   #1
TXSaturn02
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2002 SL2
Default Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Hello everyone:

I read the "how to" from Wolfman on doing this project. Seems simple enough. I have a lady friend who drives a SL1 2002 auto and she is not big on maintenance. I've always driven manuals so I've never had to try anything like this. Anyway, the toughest part about this appears to be making sure you have the correct wrenches. I'm thinking about offering to do this for her since she is the type that waits for there to be a problem to do anything. Her "service engine" light has come on and the only thing I could see that may be a problem is that her ATF level was low. I also noticed some gooey yellow looking stuff on her garage floor - could that be it? Could it be leaking? I called the dealer and they charge $10.87 for the OEM filter. Last question. Can I do this without jacking the car up? I'm limited on tools!

Any comments are appreciated.

...
2002 SL2 Manual - new in November, 2001
As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
New owner report of 08/08/19: 234,408 Miles

2013 Mazda 3 HB - new in October 2012
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

The tranny filter is not hard to access and can be done without jacking it up but on the service engine light I would swing by a Advanced Auto or the like and have then code read it for free.

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Old 04-04-2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by TXSaturn02 View Post
Can I do this without jacking the car up? I'm limited on tools!
Can you change your engine oil without jacking the car up? The drain plug on the transmission is usually very tight. In theroy, you can do it, but in practice, it's much easier have the car higher so you have more space. You can change the filter without jacking the car up though.

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Old 04-04-2007, 01:45 PM   #4
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Thanks guys. Well, I've been trying to get her to get the "service engine" code checked, but she can be stubborn and always "busy".

I've never changed my own oil, believe it or not. I'd rather let someone else do that for $18. But $100 for a ATF change on someone else's car is a different ball game. I guess I'll just have to crawl under her car this weekend to see how hard it is to reach that transaxle bolt.

Whenever I come over to visit, she has other things on her mind.

...
2002 SL2 Manual - new in November, 2001
As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
New owner report of 08/08/19: 234,408 Miles

2013 Mazda 3 HB - new in October 2012
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Old 04-04-2007, 01:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by amazinghl View Post
Can you change your engine oil without jacking the car up? The drain plug on the transmission is usually very tight. In theroy, you can do it, but in practice, it's much easier have the car higher so you have more space. You can change the filter without jacking the car up though.
As long as you have a pan the catch oil that is short enough it is not a problem. Engine oil change is a different matter because of where filter is located.

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Old 04-04-2007, 02:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by 97coupe View Post
As long as you have a pan the catch oil that is short enough it is not a problem. Engine oil change is a different matter because of where filter is located.
I can change the engine oil and filter on my 93 SL2 just fine. I can get access thru the wheel well. The transmission drain plug, I amost needed a breaker bar to break it loose because it was very tight.

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Old 04-04-2007, 03:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by amazinghl View Post
I can change the engine oil and filter on my 93 SL2 just fine. I can get access thru the wheel well. The transmission drain plug, I amost needed a breaker bar to break it loose because it was very tight.
Thanks. Those are the type of "hints" I'm looking for. Makes me cautious about trying to do it myself with limited tools. Making a mess is the least of my worries.

...
2002 SL2 Manual - new in November, 2001
As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
New owner report of 08/08/19: 234,408 Miles

2013 Mazda 3 HB - new in October 2012
As of 07/25/18: 51,495 Miles

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Old 04-04-2007, 03:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

The tools you need are far from exotic. If the plug is on tight, you just need a longer lever arm. Just slip something stiff but hollow over the wrench handle to extend its length. My fave is a piece of steel vacuum cleaner pipe that I probably "curb shopped" from an old canister vacuum being pitched on the curb many years ago. Thing is, that'll probably require the vehicle to be raised some (for room to swing the longer arm). I like ramps for stuff that doesn't require removal of a wheel. Easier to handle than jack/stands, can be stored outside (no moving parts), FAST to use. For the filter, a standard oil filter wrench, or one of those cheapo Harbor Freight strap wrenches, should git 'er done.

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Old 04-04-2007, 04:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
"curb shopping"
I never knew there was such a technical term for doing that...........

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Old 04-04-2007, 04:11 PM   #10
TXSaturn02
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2002 SL2
Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
The tools you need are far from exotic. If the plug is on tight, you just need a longer lever arm. Just slip something stiff but hollow over the wrench handle to extend its length. My fave is a piece of steel vacuum cleaner pipe that I probably "curb shopped" from an old canister vacuum being pitched on the curb many years ago. Thing is, that'll probably require the vehicle to be raised some (for room to swing the longer arm). I like ramps for stuff that doesn't require removal of a wheel. Easier to handle than jack/stands, can be stored outside (no moving parts), FAST to use. For the filter, a standard oil filter wrench, or one of those cheapo Harbor Freight strap wrenches, should git 'er done.
Thanks madpoque, your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

...
2002 SL2 Manual - new in November, 2001
As of 09/30/17: 223,751 Miles - SOLD
New owner report of 08/08/19: 234,408 Miles

2013 Mazda 3 HB - new in October 2012
As of 07/25/18: 51,495 Miles

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Old 04-04-2007, 04:18 PM   #11
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

Your "gooey yellow" stuff might be an oil leak, or possibly some fresh oil that was spilled while it was being changed or topped up... .

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Old 04-04-2007, 04:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Automatic Transaxle Fluid & Filter Change

The gooey yellow stuff, if a bit greenish/yellowish like a urine color, is probably leaking anti-freeze. As for changing the ATF without jacking the car up....it's possible...alot more possible than changing the oil without jacking the car. Because you remove the filter from under the hood anyways....so all you have to really worry about underneath is draining the fluid. But there's a trick for this....if you can drive up onto a curb carefully without hurting the car, that would do the trick for being easier to get to the drain plug. All you really need is one wheel on the curb...preferably the driver's side since the transmission is on this side. Or you could probably rent/borrow a jack/jackstands from any auto parts store. Also, have the SES (Service Engine Soon) light read at any auto parts store....just ask them for the codes and bring them back to this site. Don't let them explain to you...just tell them you want the codes printed out or written down...preferably printed out.

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