Bill’s DIYs

How to change the Transmission Oil on a 2003 Toyota Sienna LE.

1) 4.75 Quarts of Dextron II or III automatic transmission oil.
2) Jack stands
3) Jack (I used my bottle jack from my 4runner)
4) Transmission oil filter (Optional: Toyota filters are not paper, but a wire mesh. Therefore Toyota says their filter doesn’t need to be replaced, just cleaned out, but I decided to go ahead and change it anyway considering that it’s not very expensive.)
5) Transmission pan gasket (This came with my Transmission oil filter kit)
6) 10 mm hex socket
7) 10 mm socket with 4” extension

1. Set the E-brake (Located on the left side of the floor board. The 03 Sienna has a double kick e-brake. Step on it to set and step on it again to disengage.)

2. Set the vehicle on jack stands or blocks.

3. Locate the transmission fluid dip stick.

4. Make sure you use the correct fluid type.

The dip stick is stamped with the correct transmission oil type.

5. Use your jack to hold the transmission fluid pan in place. Only crank the jack with your hand to avoid over tightening and bending the tranny pan.

6. Loosen the drain plug (You’ll need a 10mm Hex socket). And let the fluid drain.

7. Loosen, but do not remove the 17 transmission pan bolts (You’ll need a 10mm socket. I also used a 4” extension to help me reach the bolts at the front of the pan.)

8. Using a hammer, I gently tapped the corners of the trans pan to loosen the seal.

9. I left the bolts at the front end of the pan and one corner, and then removed the other bolts. The reason for this is because there is still fluid within the pan that hasn’t drained.

10. Slowly lower the jack allowing the rest of the fluid to drain from one corner of the pan so the fluid doesn’t get all over the place.

11. Remove the rest of the tranny pan bolts and drain any remaining oil. (Note: Be sure to note the position of the three magnets on the inside of the trans pan. After cleaning the pan, you’ll need to place the magnets in the similar position.)

12. Clean the pan and the three magnets. Try to place the magnets in the similar positions you found them.

13. Remove the three 10mm bolts which hold the transmission filter in place.

14. Place the new filter and replace the three bolts being careful not to over tighten them. (On my replacement filter, I needed to bend the wire hook in position before setting the filter in place.)

15. Replace the transmission pan with the new gasket in place. I simply used the transmission pan bolts to hold the gasket in place. Alternate sides when installing and tightening the trans pan bolts. (Be careful not to over tighten the bolts. I learned this lesson the hard way by breaking one of them off.)

16. Add about 2 quarts of fluid. Then making sure that the vehicle’s e-brake is set, and the front wheels are sufficiently clear from the ground on jack stands, turn the engine on and then go through all the gears from park (P), reverse (R), Neutral (N), Drive (D), Second (2), and Low (L), then move up through each gear till you get to park (2, D, N, R, P).

17. Add the remainder of the fluid and then turn the car on again while it is up on jack stands, and the e-brake is set. P, R, N, D, 2, L then up 2, D, N, R, P.

That’s it. You’re done!


2 responses to “Bill’s DIYs

  1. David Zubkis

    July 1, 2011 at 4:36 am

    did you have to replace the gasket on the transmission pan? also, what solvent/solution do you use to clean the pan itself?

    • billvorhees

      July 8, 2011 at 5:24 am

      I did replace the gasket. Sorry, I didn’t think to write down the type. After draining, then wiping the residue, I think I cleaned the pan with carb cleaner.


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