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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well I really painted myself into a corner! Even though our CVT tranny is sealed and, reportedly, doesn't need fluid change, I went ahead and bought 5 qts of CVT fluid from my Toyota dealer ($95 bucks, holy cow!) My 2013 iQ just went over 50,000 miles.

I saw a youtube video from a guy with an iQ and he showed how to drain and refill the CVT...easy, right? (It should've been a tip-off that he disabled any comments on the video.)

WRONG! Draining was pretty easy....you have to remove the cap then you use an allen wrench to unscrew a strange tube thing then the fluid drained (which wasn't awfully dirty but not the cleanest, either.) According to the video, you just refill the fluid on another opening on the top of the tranny, just below the battery. Getting that open was just one cap but using a funnel to refill it was NOT working...it just kept running over and only a little went in. So I replaced the cap, started up the car and went through the gears and it did take some fluid but not as much as had come out. So I did that a few more times.

I guess we're supposed to use that strange tube I removed to refill the fluid from underneath...using some kind of a pump or something. (Or find a way, from above, to refill it...maybe that tube is in the way and I have to move it a bit to the side to get fluid to go in?

Has anybody done a fluid change on their iQ? I'm not driving it until I get the fluid back in...worst case scenario is I have it towed on a flat-bed truck to the dealer to get her refilled. (I won't be doing this job, again....ARGH!) :mad:

***JUNE 6 2017 UPDATE*** Okay, folks do NOT try changing the CVT fluid yourself. I just got my iQ back from the mechanic down the street and they got it all fixed. Apparently, these CVT trannies are like Mercedes which means you have to everything from the drain plug on the bottom. (Which requires a tool that cost about $400) While I'm glad I got it fixed, I wish I would've waited until she hit 100,000 miles before having this done....but maybe this will save others a major pain in the butt!! Oh the job was $230 but because I'm a loyal customer they did it for $180.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, Toyota (Scion) does say lifetime but even the Toyota service managers recommend every 100,000 miles. (But my master mechanic friend recommends every 50,000 miles.)
 

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There are three "holes" in the CVT. When filling you need to open the overfill hole and pour in until it starts pouring out the overfill hole, then when it slows to drops plug the overfill, add 0.4 qt, and run it slowly through the gears. (Something like that. It's on the techinfo site...)
 

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I found Valvoline makes a CVT full synthetic equivalent to Toyota FE. Also researched the warranty they provide with it. If done at a professional shop every 30k miles they provide $4k of protection to those areas exposed to the fluid, (as I understand). Wonder if Toyota brand FE is full synthetic...

(I know in other places MugenRep has noted heat soak issues with the CVT)....

Thoughts?
 

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based on the earlier posts, it requires an expensive special tool to refill the cvt fluid. so probably not a typical diy job.

even if you change the fluid around 70k instead of 100k miles, it is not too bad to pay $180 which includes $95 for the fluid.



There are three "holes" in the CVT. When filling you need to open the overfill hole and pour in until it starts pouring out the overfill hole, then when it slows to drops plug the overfill, add 0.4 qt, and run it slowly through the gears. (Something like that. It's on the techinfo site...)
 

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I downloaded the instructions from Toyota's technical site. The reason the OP had trouble was because (s)he only had one of the two holes open to fill. The overfill hole should be open to gauge the proper amount of fluid as it will start to pour out and slow to drips. (One is supposed to keep the vehicle within 1% of level while doing this job)! Imagine trying to fill a 1 liter Coke bottle with a funnel. It will get plugged and overflow because the air is not allowed to escape. Sadly the YouTube video did not show the overfill plug....
 

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that makes sense....

let us know how it turns out. :)

I downloaded the instructions from Toyota's technical site. The reason the OP had troubleha was because (s)he only had one of the two holes open to fill. The overfill hole should be open to gauge the proper amount of fluid as it will start to pour out and slow to drips. (One is supposed to keep the vehicle within 1% of level while doing this job)! Imagine trying to fill a 1 liter Coke bottle with a funnel. It will get plugged and overflow because the air is not allowed to escape. Sadly the YouTube video did not show the overfill plug....
 

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It is actually a lengthy process. I’ll call it a rinse cycle, as you repeat the steps over once. Then you check the level at operating temp. Change the old gaskets to new at the last opening of the fill and overfill holes. (Well worth the $15 I spent to get these valuable directions). I’m afraid it will be a while before I change the fluid in mine, but I wanted to look up the issue the OP was having, to correct some misinformation, just like the mirror cover....
 

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I downloaded the instructions from Toyota's technical site. The reason the OP had trouble was because (s)he only had one of the two holes open to fill. The overfill hole should be open to gauge the proper amount of fluid as it will start to pour out and slow to drips. (One is supposed to keep the vehicle within 1% of level while doing this job)! Imagine trying to fill a 1 liter Coke bottle with a funnel. It will get plugged and overflow because the air is not allowed to escape. Sadly the YouTube video did not show the overfill plug....
can you post or send me the instructions for the cvt drain and refill?
 

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can you post or send me the instructions for the cvt drain and refill?
I'm months late, but... The shop manual actually doesn't specify a procedure for this explicitly. They tell you the transmission is filled for life, and don't tell you how to change it. They do however provide a fill procedure, and the drain procedure isn't that difficult to figure out. It's probably best if I don't link to the bootleg manual in my first post, but it's not that hard to find via Google, as I recall. I made a video of the process when I did it, but I apparently can't include it in my first post. If you search on Youtube for the same keywords in this thread's title, you'll probably find it.

As I note in the video, I did it the hard way, and you don't have to remove the pan, like I did, if you're just changing the fluid.

The correct way is:
1. Remove the plug and level tube; let old fluid drain out.
2. Reinstall the level tube.
3. Fill through the fill hole until you get fluid coming out the level tube.
4. Put another 400ml of fluid in through the fill hole.
5. Start the engine and warm the transmission up to the proper measuring range, which is something like 95 to 110 degrees F.
6. Remove the fill plug, but not the level tube, with the engine running. You should get a little fluid out the tube. Put the plug back in.

I can't remember exactly how much fluid actually goes back in, and I don't have the manual in front of me immediately, but I think it's about 3 quarts. I talk about it in the video, I think. You can definitely do it with less than a gallon, which is the size it comes in from Toyota.
 

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Actually, no. The fill process is supposed to be done in two stages. There's a hole that you fill through, and the first stage is to fill until it comes out through the level tube weep hole, as you say.

THEN, you put the drain plug back in, put some more in, and confirm you got it filled right by starting the engine and removing the drain plug.
 

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There are two plugs, plus the level tube, which threads into the same hole as the drain.

To fill the transmission, you start with the drain and fill plugs removed, but the level tube installed. You fill until you get fluid coming out of the drain hole, which takes about 1.6 liters, as I recall.

You then put the drain plug back in, and add another ~400ml.

Finally, you start the engine, and remove the drain plug. Because the level tube is still in there, the fluid does not all rush out. You should get just a trickle, which is your indication that the level is correct. You can then put the drain plug back in a final time and take the car down off the lift/jackstands.

The manual takes like three pages to describe this because it also talks about two or three different ways of measuring the fluid temperature, which is important for measuring the level accurately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm never attempting to do this job again....worth paying the pros to do it for me!

I'm a little concerned about finding Scion parts. When my serpentine belt came off I stopped in at the Toyota dealership to buy one and they didn't have any, would have to special order one. I wonder if that's going to be the norm now that they don't sell iQ's in the US.
 

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There are two plugs, plus the level tube, which threads into the same hole as the drain.

To fill the transmission, you start with the drain and fill plugs removed, but the level tube installed. You fill until you get fluid coming out of the drain hole, which takes about 1.6 liters, as I recall.

You then put the drain plug back in, and add another ~400ml.

Finally, you start the engine, and remove the drain plug. Because the level tube is still in there, the fluid does not all rush out. You should get just a trickle, which is your indication that the level is correct. You can then put the drain plug back in a final time and take the car down off the lift/jackstands.

The manual takes like three pages to describe this because it also talks about two or three different ways of measuring the fluid temperature, which is important for measuring the level accurately.
Wow, I read that a long while ago now, and then thought there were three holes. Now I've gone back and reread it again. You are absolutely correct! I'm sorry I was mistaken! (I'm wondering if it is different for the Prius v in the household, and I got confused between the two)...

I'm never attempting to do this job again....worth paying the pros to do it for me!

I'm a little concerned about finding Scion parts. When my serpentine belt came off I stopped in at the Toyota dealership to buy one and they didn't have any, would have to special order one. I wonder if that's going to be the norm now that they don't sell iQ's in the US.
Not sure I'm going to attempt CVT fluid change when/if there is a noise that develops. Probably worth paying someone. I agree.

From past experience with older cars, this special order issue may be the case, as they don't always stock rarely purchased items. (I'm assuming there aren't many iQs around you/or around the dealer that you went to). That said regarding parts I've happily used aftermarket parts. I went to AutoZone and O'Reilly's websites and both have the two belts readily available in a local stores to me. (And some have 3 year warranties, unusually long considering they are rubber items, Continental at AutoZone and Gates at O'Reilly's).
 

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I'm never attempting to do this job again....worth paying the pros to do it for me!

I'm a little concerned about finding Scion parts. When my serpentine belt came off I stopped in at the Toyota dealership to buy one and they didn't have any, would have to special order one. I wonder if that's going to be the norm now that they don't sell iQ's in the US.
I'd imagine that will probably be how sourcing parts goes. You'll probably be able to get parts, but almost everything will have to be mail ordered. I'd have gone looking at Autozone et al for the serpentine belt, though. The stock one is probably made by Continental anyway.

Regarding the CVT change, having now done it once, and made a video of it, I could easily do it again in maybe an hour and a half. The hard part is figuring out how to measure the fluid temperature via the OBD2 port, which I discussed in the video I made.
 

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I understand that fluid do expand/contract with temperature... do you think it has to be at the exact temperature?

Regarding the CVT change, having now done it once, and made a video of it, I could easily do it again in maybe an hour and a half. The hard part is figuring out how to measure the fluid temperature via the OBD2 port, which I discussed in the video I made.
 
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