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Equinox This SUV offers a smaller, sportier stance than the Trailblazer, all without compromising the SUV abilities.

Chevrolet Equinox
Platform: Theta

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  #1  
Old 11-07-2011, 08:48 PM
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Default complete transmission fluid change

So our 2007 Equinox FWD has 71K miles on it and I felt it was due for a transmission fluid change.

I called the local Chevy dealership and was quoted $257 for them to remove the transmission drain plug, drain ~4 qts of fluid, and replace it with new fluid. The filter is not serviceable w/o removing the transmission. The service advisor said the fluid was expensive. I was quoted $17.94 dollars per quart (GM p/n 88900925) when I contacted the parts dept at the same dealership so he wasn't kidding.

To add insult to injury, the local Toyota dealership sells their T-IV fluid for only $6.11/qt (Toyota p/n 00279-000T4-01) which meets the JWS 3309 service specification for the 5-speed automatic Aisin AW55-51 transmission used in the 2005-2009 Equinox w/3400 engine.

DO NOT USE DEXRON-VI FLUID!!! - It is not correct for this application.

The location of the dipstick makes checking/adding fluid a big challenge. It is located just inside of the front transmission mount on the engine side. It is covered by a couple wiring harnesses so it cannot be easily seen and is impossible to remove without crawling under the car. It has a round yellow handle and is held in place with one 12mm bolt. Adding fluid requires a long flexible funnel (~2.5ft long).

After doing alot of research, I decided to attempt to do a complete transmission fluid change. It was somewhat of a challenge, but I was successful.

I was unable to take pictures, but the basic idea is covered well in this video.

First, park the vehicle on a flat, level surface. Then shut off the engine and remove the transmission drain plug to drain all the fluid you can and measure what you remove. The drain plug faces the driver's side and has ~15/16" hex head. Next, remove the 12mm bolt that holds the dipstick in place and pour in the same amount of new fluid that you took out. For me it was about 3.75 qts.

Next, detach the lower transmission cooler line from fitting on the radiator. To remove the cooling line you first need to use a small flatblade screwdriver to remove the wire clip/retainer from the fitting on the radiator then gently pull the line straight back to remove it and clamp a 3/8" (inside diameter) clear vinyl hose to it (can be had from you local Lowes for $0.33/ft). This is where the old fluid will be pumped out when the engine is started. Be sure to make a mental note of the orientation of the metal clip when you remove it as the clip will need to be installed in the same position from which it was removed.

You will need to measure the amount of fluid you remove and replace it with new fluid. It is important that you get accurate measurements, so be careful not to spill any fluid. I used an empty milk jug that I marked to keep track of how much fluid I removed. To mark the jug I filled it with water using a measuring cup and marked every 1/2 quart increment on the jug with permanent marker. This transmission is supposed to hold about 8.4 qts when it is full.

In the video the guy adds fluid while the old fluid is coming out. This won't work for the Equinox since the fluid cannot be added fast enough. I had a partner shut off the engine after each quart that I removed so I could add a quart of new fluid to replace it. I also did this because I didn't want the run the transmission out of fluid.

When you are finished, reattach the cooling line and the retaining clip. Then start the engine and cycle the transmission by moving the shifter through each gear for 3 seconds while the engine is idling and the parking brake is on. Then put it back in park, leave the engine running and check the fluid level and add as necessary.

There are two ranges on the dipstick for checking the fluid: a HOT range and a COLD range. First, go by the cold range. If the fluid level looks ok then take it for about a five mile drive and then check it when warmed up and add as necessary according to the HOT range. You must cycle through the gears with the shifter in each position for at least 3 seconds leave the engine idling in park in order for the dipstick indication to be accurate.
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2007 Chevy Equinox LT FWD

Last edited by ruley73; 11-07-2011 at 08:58 PM.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2011, 09:23 PM
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So, didn't the dipstick call for DEXRON-VI? Was there something wrong with the way it shifted before or did you decide to use the T-IV on costs alone? If the latter, aren't you advocating risking a $2,000 transmission problem to save $200?
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Old 11-08-2011, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EinST View Post
So, didn't the dipstick call for DEXRON-VI? Was there something wrong with the way it shifted before or did you decide to use the T-IV on costs alone? If the latter, aren't you advocating risking a $2,000 transmission problem to save $200?
This transmission is not manufactured by GM and does not use Dexron-VI fluid. The Toyota T-IV is the Toyota equivalent to the "GM T-IV" fluid that the GM factory service manual calls for (see attachment below). There is no risk involved with using this fluid. It is the correct fluid and I purchased it from Toyota for 1/3 of the cost from the Chevy stealership.

Trans fluid replacement.pdf

The transmission shifted fine before and after the fluid change. I would strongly suggest changing the fluid long before the transmission doesn't shift fine. When the transmission starts acting up, it's too late. Every 50,000 miles is a good rule of thumb, regardless of what the owner's manual suggests.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:08 PM
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Okay, my bad. I didn't realize you were stating the obvious by "DO NOT USE DEXRON-VI." I get so tired of folks, present company excluded, of course, who go off on ill-conceived notions. I'm actually all for substituting equivalent or better lubes (licensed/certified and not just claimed by the manufacturer to "meet and exceed"). Thanks for an excellent write-up.
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  #5  
Old 11-23-2011, 08:18 AM
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I have and 05 AWD and work at a major parts retailer. As far as I know the fluid is only available from the dealer, we do not even list the spec on what type of fluid to use. Not only that but its pressurized and flushed through the transmission. There isn't a simple remove plug, drain, replace filter, and fill procedure. The price you were quoted is about What I payed to have mine done last year.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2011, 12:17 PM
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The AW series transaxle/transmission has also been widely used in the Volvo line for years. It's an awesome transmission as long as the fluid stays full and fresh. Waiting until 50k miles is stretching a bit in my opinion. The operation, a drain and fill, is quite simple once you get it down. Another fluid option is using a high quality FULL synthetic. Increasing the frequency of the drain and fills eliminates the need for a line removal, a sometimes destructive flush, or in worse case, an overhaul. Which is generally around $3500.
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I0ls View Post
I have and 05 AWD and work at a major parts retailer. As far as I know the fluid is only available from the dealer, we do not even list the spec on what type of fluid to use. Not only that but its pressurized and flushed through the transmission. There isn't a simple remove plug, drain, replace filter, and fill procedure. The price you were quoted is about What I payed to have mine done last year.
I was told the opposite by the Chevy dealership and a reputable local transmisson shop: there is no flush procedure - only remove drain plug, drain fluid and refill (as outlined in the FSM excerpt in post #3).

Quote:
Originally Posted by TransDr2759 View Post
The AW series transaxle/transmission has also been widely used in the Volvo line for years. It's an awesome transmission as long as the fluid stays full and fresh. Waiting until 50k miles is stretching a bit in my opinion. The operation, a drain and fill, is quite simple once you get it down. Another fluid option is using a high quality FULL synthetic. Increasing the frequency of the drain and fills eliminates the need for a line removal, a sometimes destructive flush, or in worse case, an overhaul. Which is generally around $3500.
I would've preferred to use a full synthetic fluid. However, I could not find one that could be verified to be correct and safe for use with this application.
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2007 Chevy Equinox LT FWD

Last edited by ruley73; 11-23-2011 at 06:07 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-26-2012, 05:46 PM
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hi can someone tell me how to remove a 2007 chevy equinox transmission dipstick??do i just pull or do i twist?? i need to know asap!! thanks
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojorandall View Post
hi can someone tell me how to remove a 2007 chevy equinox transmission dipstick??do i just pull or do i twist?? i need to know asap!! thanks
You first need to remove the 12mm hex bolt. Then it just pulls out. Unless you have a 6 year-old's hands, you won't be able to simply reach down and pull it out from under the hood. I've had good luck reaching up from underneath and sticking a 10mm open end wrench through the opening in the transmission mount and prying it out. Just like all other auto transmissions, you must first drive the vehicle for about 10 miles before checking the fluid for an accurate reading.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:21 PM
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I have done a lot of research on this topic. According to the professionals it is better to do a transmission flush because you will replace all 14 qts. When you drain the transmission you are only replacing 4qts.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:21 PM
 
 
 
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05, change, chevy, dealer, drain, equinox, equinoxtransmissionfluidchange, fluid, gm, mileage, replace, serviceable, ship, t4, trans, transmission


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