Toyota CVT oil change

Changing transmission oil should be a simple process, but in case of Toyota CVT (2004 Toyota Vitz RS in this particular case) it is not very simple.

Yes, the drain plug is not really a drain plug.
Yes, the sump has to come out, and new gasket is needed.*

* Except I believe there is another way (quick and lazy) as the oil can be sucked out via the filler plug given the tube is rigid enough. I haven’t tried this method. It is lazy because you don’t inspect and clean the magnets, and you cannot tell the condition of the transmission beyond the oil condition.

Here you will find how I changed it (not necessarily 100% “by the book”, just applied common sense with some googling).

What is needed:

  • Jack
  • Axle stands
  • Oil tray
  • Funnel
  • ~12mm diameter, ~1m long hose (to attach to said funnel)
  • 6mm hex socket (for sump plug)
  • 10mm socket (for sump and filler plug)
  • New sump gasket (p/n 39168-52040 for Vitz RS)
  • Toyota Genuine CVT Oil (p/n 08886-02105 for Vitz RS)
  • New sump plug washer

Toyota would not tell me how much oil is a normal fill. Basically I was told to put the same amount that came out. To figure out correct volume I drained old oil into an empty container and weighted it. Then I emptied old oil out and matched the weight (in same container +100g for spillage) with new oil. Basically I had about 2.8kg of oil (excluding 275g container weight) in the sump (about 3.2-3.5L depending on the temperature and spillage). It works out that oil must be just below the filler hole that I used.

To drain the oil one needs to remove the sump “plug” (6mm hex).
IMG_20150725_182552

It is not a real drain plug as only about 200ml-300ml would come out. Once the fluid stops draining, use the same 6mm hex socket in the hole where the sump plug was, and gently unscrew the plastic tube. This time there will be about 1-1.5L of fluid coming out.

Here is the plastic tube that sits inside of the drain hole:
IMG_20150725_182709

By removing the plastic tube the oil level will become just below the gasket line, if the car is jacked up front up the fluid will be above the gasket line (about 200-300ml) on the far side of the sump (due to angle of the car). The spill can be avoided if the rear of the car is jacked up as well to make it levelled. I found this hard way.

Once it is drained via sump plug, put the plug back in and unscrew 10mm bolts holding the sump. You will find the sump is “stuck” and will need a gentle pry to remove it. Watch out for oil as there is about 1L of oil left in the sump!

IMG_20150725_183302

Clean magnets while the sump is out (they should have minimal amount of shavings):
IMG_20150725_183930

New gasket:
IMG_20150725_184201

Make sure the mating surface is clean:
IMG_20150725_184413

Don’t forget to screw in the plastic tube! It goes in the same way it came out.
Check the condition of the strainer (should be clean).

The torque that the sump screws needed to be tighten to is very tiny (8-10Nm), I don’t have exact figure, but it should not be too different from other Toyota auto transmissions (hence the 8-10Nm figure), it must be done evenly. Do not over tighten, as the torque required is almost finger tight! I tightened it in multiple passes (allowing gasket to spread evenly). Best way to start once the sump is held by all screws, is to undo all screws so there is a play (sump can be pushed up) and tighten them in criss-cross pattern with very small torque evenly.

Oil comes in a metal tin can:
IMG_20150725_191052

The filler hole (in the centre of the picture, black flat oval plug) is located where the dipstick on normal auto will be, it is blocked by a plug held by a 10mm screw:
IMG_20150725_190136
To find it just look down from throttle body, it will be just below the transmission breather, in midst of various plugs a next to oil cooler.

Here is the filler plug up close:
IMG_20150725_194519

I used a funnel with a plastic hose to fill new oil:
IMG_20150725_194137

Here is another angle of the filler with tube in it:
IMG_20150725_194155

As interesting note to this exercise, one could retrofit dipstick from conventional auto, as well as to weld on a real sump plug, to make these changes easy enough (although they are not frequent enough to warrant such measures).

19 thoughts on “Toyota CVT oil change

    1. iamroot Post author

      I get my parts through Manawatu Toyota (I deal with Mark).
      The gasket is around $60-$80.
      Any Toyota franchise with parts department can get that for you.

      Reply
  1. Victor

    Hi your post is really helpful here, thanks. Can you please advise how much roughly the fluid (CVT TC) will cost, thanks.

    Reply
  2. Saeed

    Hi, your post is really very helpful. I need an additional help, I have Toyota vitz 2004 1.3 under the speed of 40 km/h as I release the Accelator pedal it seems like break is pressed and very fast lows the speed. Even I don’t press the break pedal. Could you please tell me what to do where is fault how to fix it.

    Reply
    1. iamroot Post author

      Hi,
      I from symptoms you have described I believe you have overrun fuel cut off issue. Specifically where it happens too early (where throttle is not fully closed).
      This issue is accompanied by high idle. Normally it happens when the throttle body was cleaned or ECU was reset (eg.: due flat battery or disconnected battery for unrelated work). Generally it should go away after a while.

      This is a technique “I” “came up” with:

      1) Reset ECU (by pulling EFI fuse from the fuse box in the engine bay for about 10 seconds).
      2) Start the car and let it idle until fully warm. The idle might be very high (>2000rpm), this is temporary.
      3) Gently bring the rpms to 4000-5000rpm and keep there for 10-20seconds (pretty much until it stops hunting around the target). Don’t worry about high rmps, despite what old people say this is entirely harmless (it is not like you are bouncing off limiter for hours).
      4) Let the throttle off until idle stabilises.
      5) Repeat 3 and 4 a few times (or until idle is around 800rpm).

      I hope this helps.

      Reply
  3. Praneeth Lal

    Hi
    I got toyota fielder 2007 model car
    I changed the transmission filter filled with new cvt oil
    But now i hear a sound when I start moving my car.
    When the speed going more than 20km per hour the sound stops n runs normal.
    Pliz I would like to know what’s the problem

    Reply
  4. Sim

    Hi Sir, Can you tell me please. when can we changes the Toyota cvt -tc oil changes. 40.000 or 60.000 or up to 100.000 K/M. do I need to replace the transmission oil tilter or not.
    Thanks you so much
    Sim
    2017.7. 17

    Reply
    1. iamroot Post author

      Hi Toyota does not really have a recommended schedule as far as I know.
      I normally check if the oil is clean, and the car has done ~50k since last change, I would replace just the fluid. If the fluid is dark (not normal for CVT), I would do a flush by removing one of the oil cooler lines and running through 8L of fluid.

      As far as I know there is no filter as such, just a mesh strainer (at least it was in this model), thus there was no need to replace it (as the fluid was fairly clean to start with).

      Fluid in CVT should last longer than in conventional AT as there are no clutches in there to burn it (and the chain normally does not slip).

      Reply
  5. Trilok Ramkalawan

    Hi,I have a 2011 Vitz 1320cc,at first the car’s performance was very good and at about 75000km I have changed cvt oil, but after, the car performance has decreased,my question is that if overfilling cvt oil can damaged the tramission box?

    Reply
    1. iamroot Post author

      Probably not, depends how much you over filled.

      Did you use correct oil?

      Does it slip at the moment, or generally does not have enough power? Have you checked your air filer and MAF sensor? MAF sensor can be cleaned with MAF sensor cleaner spray at very low cost, and can improve performance dramatically (if it was dirty).

      Reply
  6. Zoheb

    Hi there,

    This is a very good instructional content for all those toyota car owners with CVT. I have a question please. I have a Toyota Corolla Axio 2007 with K310-02A CVT. I bought the car @ 19400KM on ODO and now @ 34550KM I have some “grrr” sound coming from the CVT i think. On park, when I rev the engine I don’t hear this sound. When I move the car from stop and raise the rev, when around 20Kmph to 30Kmph, I can hear that “grrr” sound. At high speeds the sound gets significantly lower.

    Any ideas as to why this could be happening please? CVT oil has not been changed since i bought.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. iamroot Post author

      Perhaps try changing oil, sounds like the clutch is slipping… I thought this was Honda specific problem.

      Reply

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