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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello there all, first post but it seems from some of the failures I may be on here often lurking, anyways.

So I recently just got into a relationship with my gf and her car, a 2011 rs lt1 automatic, just hit 100k and she didn’t have an owners manual so I looked it up to see what is needed for 100k (thinking there may be a timing belt etc) and found out that the transmission fluid is supposed to be changed every 45k. She’s always been super ontop of everything else but because she has never had an owners manual she never knew that the fluid was supposed to be changed so often and she’s used to them needing to be done around this mileage not as often as is required by this car. She bought it at 12k so we know it’s never been changed. I will admit when I first drove/road in the car I said something to her about it feeling like the fluid may be low/old but I never looked into it (we both had a lot of other things going on in our lives as both our lives fell apart at the same time which is how we came together,anyways).

So of course when I saw that sheer panic went through me and now I’m worried about what will happen. Obviously I am planning to change the fluid immediately (within the next 3 days as we have a nor’easter today/tonight so I’m not sure whether it will happen today and I figure an extra day or two at this point won’t really matter) but knowing that when you change it you only get half the fluid out I’m planning on doing 3 fluid changes (one immediately, second within a couple weeks to allow the new fluid to try and work out some of the burnt ****, then the third probably 1k miles later) but I just don’t feel like this is enough, is it possible to do a complete exchange?

What I’m referring to is like disconnecting a cooler line, running rubber hose to both ends and refilling it while it’s running while it’s pumping out all fluid to be able to get a 100% change rather than a ending up with an 87% change after the three flushes (because it’s half each time you only get a partial amount and can never get the full amount)

Honestly I’m just super worried about it and sadly I am forseeing a transmission in our future so I’m not expecting the best news from y’all but I’m hoping there could be that “light at the end of the tunnel”

Let me know what you guys think and what we can/should do.. thanks :(
 

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It's called a transmission flush. For a complete change of fluid. The service used to run $150.

Back in the old days. It was also called a service. You pulled the pan. Drained the fluid. Changed the filter. Install pan with new gasket. Refilled. Usually took 4 - 5 quarts. Filter and gasket were sold as a kit. The oil change usually ran around $70. The only fluid that drained was what was in the pan. So, you only got 4 quarts out of the 12 quart capacity. The torque convertor usually held another 4 quarts and the remaining 4 quarts would be in the transmission body and radiator.

Transmission shops can hook a machine to the transmission lines. It would pull the old fluid while pushing new fluid back in. Usually involved 12 - 14 quarts.

I would assume a transmission flush could still be done on today's newer cars. Just a guess but today's prices would probably be around $250. All new fluid plus a filter.

In yesterdays world. You'd check the level by having the car warmed up. Transmission in drive and checked the dipstick. Obviously it was a 2 man job. If the E brake didn't hold and one didn't have a way to chalk the tires.

You can smell the fluid also. If it smells burnt. Or the red fluid looked black. Means the seals are detoriating and the transmission is going out.

I don't know what color today's fluid is or the seals but that's the general idea. IIRC. My 97 MT cavaleir had blue and I'm pretty sure my 14 hyundai AT was also blue.

Find a Transmission shop. They can do a FLUSH. All the fluid can be changed in 1 whack. Easier then trying to do 3 changes. And they can give you a diagnosis as to the health of the trans.

Transmission changes is one of those items that very rarely ever gets done.
 

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The 2011's and 2012's had a rust preventative put on the transmission internals from the factory. This made the fluid immediately black.

The 2011 Service book would not have a recommendation for changing. I believe the "Severe Duty List" was not added to the manuals until 2013-2014.

There's a very lengthy detailed How-To: on this board for changing the AT fluid. Full Synthetic Dexron VI. I found Valvoline at Menards of all places. Make sure you use the right fluids, get it changed and don't worry about it, better now than never.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Best you can do right now is change it out and hope that going too long on the transmission didn't cause any issues. Is it shifting erratically?
Ya it is, that was why when I rode in it I said something to her about it but had other pressing things and I never pursued it (wish I had cause it had 20k less on it then) when shifting into drive or reverse it’s delayed and the 1st - 2nd shift is alittle long before it does it in manual mode. General shift it’s okay besides it not seeming right when idling (almost like the toorque converter locks and unlocks, obviously it isn’t doing that but that’s what it feels like)

It's called a transmission flush. For a complete change of fluid. The service used to run $150.

Back in the old days. It was also called a service. You pulled the pan. Drained the fluid. Changed the filter. Install pan with new gasket. Refilled. Usually took 4 - 5 quarts. Filter and gasket were sold as a kit. The oil change usually ran around $70. The only fluid that drained was what was in the pan. So, you only got 4 quarts out of the 12 quart capacity. The torque convertor usually held another 4 quarts and the remaining 4 quarts would be in the transmission body and radiator.

Transmission shops can hook a machine to the transmission lines. It would pull the old fluid while pushing new fluid back in. Usually involved 12 - 14 quarts.

I would assume a transmission flush could still be done on today's newer cars. Just a guess but today's prices would probably be around $250. All new fluid plus a filter.

In yesterdays world. You'd check the level by having the car warmed up. Transmission in drive and checked the dipstick. Obviously it was a 2 man job. If the E brake didn't hold and one didn't have a way to chalk the tires.

You can smell the fluid also. If it smells burnt. Or the red fluid looked black. Means the seals are detoriating and the transmission is going out.

I don't know what color today's fluid is or the seals but that's the general idea. IIRC. My 97 MT cavaleir had blue and I'm pretty sure my 14 hyundai AT was also blue.

Find a Transmission shop. They can do a FLUSH. All the fluid can be changed in 1 whack. Easier then trying to do 3 changes. And they can give you a diagnosis as to the health of the trans.

Transmission changes is one of those items that very rarely ever gets done.
Yes I knew about having a shop do it, it’s just that money is extremely tight right now so if I can do it the way I explained as I have done in the past on different cars then it would be preferable. To clarify it’s essentially the same way as a shop doing it but instead of a machine “pushing” it you run the car in park and use the pumps to push the fluid.

For clarification I mean you disconnect a line at the radiator/trans cooler, attach a long hose to both ends run the “push” side into a drain bucket and feed new fluid into the “pull” side and just keep doing it till brand new fluid comes out.

I’m expecting that it will be severely burnt at this point considering it should’ve already had two changes done and it’s had none
 

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Your plan to do the 3x change will be absolutely fine. Recommend Amsoil. @XtremeRevolution can hook you up.

Good of luck and stay warm!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your plan to do the 3x change will be absolutely fine. Recommend Amsoil. @XtremeRevolution can hook you up.

Good of luck and stay warm!
I gave the dealer a call to get a flush price and they said 200$ everything included which isn’t bad but right now money is super tight and no offense I’m probably gonna go with super tech’s because it is verified by Chevy and is only 4$ a quart if I do the three changes.

What would be better, dealer complete flush or my three change method? I know you’d automatically jump to saying the complete flush being better but I am worried about the fluid almost being guaranteed being burnt and so there’s probably gummed up **** in there and I’m afraid the complete flush will stir up more and cause it to fail sooner compared to doing the slow flush method. I’m even thinking the slow flush method to slowly work the **** out of the tranny followed by a complete flush could be the best course of action
 

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You can do a complete flush/refill yourself by dropping the tranny cooling line inside the drivers side wheel well.. Connect a hose and stick it in a bucket (preferably with quarts marked on the side).

be ready with your 10 qts of ATF (caps undone).. have gf start the car and you pour in fluid at roughly the same rate as it comes out.. it will turn clear around 8ts. Shut it off just after 8ts have come OUT..

Pour in remainder of 9th qt.

Warm up transmission to 90C (use torque app pro) and drain out excess from the witness plug with car level.

Not hard if you have a few tools.

If old fluid smells burnt its probably not long for this world.. But it maybe totally fine too.

Good luck.
 

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Oh the fluid change is not "way overdue".. Manual says change at 97k for normal driving... Unless she's bee using it as a taxi don't worry about it.
 

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Most "severe" driving includes any stop-and-go or anything other then 90% highway driving.

Since the 6T40 is hard on fluid, we usually recommend 45k changes here. I will be doing the same for mine. Drain-and-fill (2-3x) or full flush method doesn't really matter; the important part is just getting a large % of new fluid into the transmission.

Shifting erratically isn't totally out of the norm for a 2011 Cruze. The transmission programming was TERRIBLE.
 

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I'm quite convinced the fluid in my Cavalier's 3T40 was original...at 258k miles. It was a nice shade of...brown. But it worked, and it too old for me to even want to change.
 

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I would do the Chevy dealership transmission service for $225 which includes sixteen quarts total flush.
 

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I kind of got the impression that money was tight? and that he could turn a wrench (when the storm had passed).. so $50 for DEX 6 equivilent if he did it himself would save about $175.. But the real benefit is you don't have to listen to the $tealership BS..:)
 

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He'll want to change the filter also. Not just change the fluid.

If the filter is plugged. He won't accomplish anything with a fluid change.
 

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Filter is changed when the trans is rebuilt. It's in between the case halves.
Yep - most newer transmisisons are this way with non-serviceable filtration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Bad news bears ? [transmission fluid way overdue]

You can do a complete flush/refill yourself by dropping the tranny cooling line inside the drivers side wheel well.. Connect a hose and stick it in a bucket (preferably with quarts marked on the side).

be ready with your 10 qts of ATF (caps undone).. have gf start the car and you pour in fluid at roughly the same rate as it comes out.. it will turn clear around 8ts. Shut it off just after 8ts have come OUT..

Pour in remainder of 9th qt.

Warm up transmission to 90C (use torque app pro) and drain out excess from the witness plug with car level.

Not hard if you have a few tools.

If old fluid smells burnt its probably not long for this world.. But it maybe totally fine too.

Good luck.
Would it be a better idea to do the partial changes first to slowly have the new fluid in there or just do the full flush from the get go? I know there’s two schools of thought on this and everyone has a different opinion so I’m just not sure which way I want to go :/

I’m afraid all the new fluid can “shock” the transmission and free up more bad **** too quickly compared to “easing” into it

Plan currently if I don’t do the full flush from the get go is to drain/change the fluid (so 4.2qts our) then have her drive it for a bit (maybe a couple weeks or a month or something) then do another drain/change and have her drive it like that till we can get a flush done at the dealership (or at home), that way it will give the fluid time to work through everything before completely flushing it.

I can definitely turn a wrench, auto tranny’s just sketch me out lol

Oh the fluid change is not "way overdue".. Manual says change at 97k for normal driving... Unless she's bee using it as a taxi don't worry about it.
For some reason I cannot find the same manual that I found the first time, the first one had a chart breaking what to do at each mileage (with the little dots and all that) and for each 45k it said transmission fluid change, now the one I am looking at says at 50k for severe use and 100k for normal use, it’s really weird because I just googled it and got it from chevy’s website both times but now it’s a different format

Edit: even weirder, I thought I found the chart and it said 97k on it. The one I just got from Chevy only has writing no chart. Oddly enough when I looked up YouTube’s of the procedure they also talked about it requiring it every 45k, it’s just weird that when I looked a month ago or whenever I found one thing and now something different? I wonder if it was updated in between then and now and they extended it??

Edit edit: welp this is for the 2012 but this is the same chart I had found for the 11 and it has the change listed to be done at 45k each


Soooooo ya now I’m confused lol, is it right where/when it should be changed or is it way past haha

Edit edit edit: ohhhh I just looked closer and saw it lists “for severe” the chart I had seen before did not list that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ guess I’m good to go and don’t have to worry about doing a complete flush from the get go anymore

Most "severe" driving includes any stop-and-go or anything other then 90% highway driving.

Since the 6T40 is hard on fluid, we usually recommend 45k changes here. I will be doing the same for mine. Drain-and-fill (2-3x) or full flush method doesn't really matter; the important part is just getting a large % of new fluid into the transmission.

Shifting erratically isn't totally out of the norm for a 2011 Cruze. The transmission programming was TERRIBLE.
Good to know lol, that explains the poopy way it acts, not like it’s failing, just like it’s dumb haha

I’ve seen mixed things about doing a complete flush vs doing the drain a refill method, I’m unsure of which I should do out of fear of causing issues if I were to just flush it just because of the bad stories and opinions about it. It sucks because I’m looking to do it like tonight and idk which way to go lol.

I kind of got the impression that money was tight? and that he could turn a wrench (when the storm had passed).. so $50 for DEX 6 equivilent if he did it himself would save about $175.. But the real benefit is you don't have to listen to the $tealership BS..:)
Correct, I got 9 qts from Walmart (online, in the stores it’s a multi vehicle blend) and it is dexron 6 and says right on the front dexron approved.

I assume if it’s got the dexron stamp right on the front then I should have no reason to question the fluid correct?

Paying 3.88 a qt is much better than 9$ a qt right now lol



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