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1996 Toyota Camry transmission fluid information needed.

Customer Question
When the transmission fluid is...

When the transmission fluid is drained in a 1997 Camry LE, is the fluid in the differential also drained automatically? I recently had my transmission serviced. About 100 miles later my car died. The original mechanic said it wasn't his problem.

The mechanic that fixed my car said it was because when you drain the fluid in the transmission it also drains it from the differential and this was never refilled. I needed a new transmission after all this. I took the original mechanic to small claims court & won, but now he is appealing. I just want to know for sure the my ''second'' mechanic is correct.

Submitted: 10 years ago.Category: Toyota
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Answered in 28 minutes by:
1/5/2008
Toyota Mechanic: Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech. replied 10 years ago
Auto Tech Guy
Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech.
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience: Toyota Certified Technician, ASE Accredited, Engine rebuilder, Turbo specialist, Engine Diangnosis
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I have an answer for you but need to know if its the MANUAL or AUTO trans and I have supporting documentation.

I'll get right back to you.

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago
It is an automatic transmission.
Toyota Mechanic: Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech. replied 10 years ago

After some careful thought I've changed my mind and am going to answer this like this:

1.) "When the transmission fluid is drained in a 1997 Camry LE is the fluid in the differential also drained automatically?"

NO, there is a separate drain for the differential, this drain is there to completely remove the fluid from the "trans" area. The differential is a "low" spot that holds less than 1 qts.

a. Its not going to hurt your car if its not drained, if you paid for the trans drain/fill it SHOULD have been done though.

From Toyota:

Automatic transaxle fluid:

(w/o Differential oil)

Dry fill 6.75 liters (7.1 US qts, 5.9 Imp. qts)

Drain and refill 3.50 liters (3.7 US qts, 3.1 Imp. qts)ATF D-II or DEXRON®III (DEXRON®II)

Differential fluid 0.85 liters (0.9 US qts, 0.7 Imp. qts) ATF D-II or DEXRON®III (DEXRON®II)

-------------------False--------below----------------------------------------------------

"The mechanic that fixed my car said it was because when you drain the fluid in the transmission it also drains it from the differential and this was never refilled."

-------------------False-----------above-------------------------------------------------

Why false: When you fill the Transmission thru the dipstick tube the fluid automatically FLOWS into the differential. As noted above the only reason there is a Differential drain is to completely remove the fluid from the transmission because the differential is a low spot.... meaning----> If you just open the trans plug the diff will remain full.

"I took the original mechanic to small claims court & won, but now he is appealing. I just want to know for sure the my ''second'' mechanic is correct"

-Unless your first mechanic "gives up" the case I fear you are going to lose in court when he provides more information....

I'm sorry this question did not result in what you truly wanted to hear. Unfortunately the second mechanic is wrong.

Auto Tech Guy
Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech.
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 304
Experience: Toyota Certified Technician, ASE Accredited, Engine rebuilder, Turbo specialist, Engine Diangnosis
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Customer reply replied 10 years ago

Why they, does it say right on the transmission dipstick to be sure to check the level in the differential? Also, isn't it a reasonable assumption that if a mechanic is going to charge me $89.99 to 'service' my transmission that he would also check the differential?

Why would my transmission have no fluid in it 100 miles later and show bits & pieces of the metal in it? The second mechanic sent pictures and also is holding on to my old transmission.

Toyota Mechanic: Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech. replied 10 years ago

There is a problem right there, you said after 100 miles you had "NO fluid" in your trans. Something was leaking very bad or the drain plug was never filled.

"Also, isn't it a reasonable assumption that if a mechanic is going to charge me $89.99 to 'service' my transmission that he would also check the differential? " In your case YES, for RWD or AWD vehicles NO.

-There really is no way to "check" the differential. You merely check it by running the vehicle, send it thru all gears then check fluid, by then the fluid level can be checked and adjusted.

Why would my transmission have no fluid in it 100 miles later and show bits & pieces of the metal in it? The second mechanic sent pictures and also is holding on to my old transmission. NO FLUID: Large leak, or drain plug loose/missing. PIECES OF METAL: This makes sense, no fluid will make a mess of your transmission and ruin it.

Here is something to think about:

If you believe so strongly that there is a separate fill for the differential, WHERE did you transmission fluid go? If you believe they are separate the fluids could not have drained into one or the other. (Both differential and transmission use the SAME fluid, they are also formed into 1 unit a "transaxle".

On a manual transmission is is also the same, both fluids are the same but in that case both 75-90 gear oil). The fluid was either never there, not enough was added, it leaked out some how, or by some act of god it failed by coincidence after its service.

Does the dipstick say "Check differential fluid at filler plug"?

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago

YES, the dipstick does say check the differential fluid at the the filler plug.

Toyota Mechanic: Auto Tech Guy, Friendly Toyota Tech. replied 10 years ago

I have spent hours and hours hunting for an explanation to the "Check filler plug" on the dipstick, it has been haunting me, it didnt make any sense.

Note: my 1993 Camry with the same A140 transmission HAS the same label.

This is what mine says to do with the diff:

This is your trans procedure, DIFFERENTIAL, not identified as a fillable part (1997)

For reference here is the prior year 1996 that DOES SPECIFY a fill of the differential

And here is the year AFTER that DOES specify a fill.

This is most interersting, Its is good news for you because my original statement is wrong! Oops! I am really sorry!

The confusion lies within the fact that the 1997 manual does not specify any procedure for which to manage the differential, allowing the assumption that it is connected to the trans, a common arrangement for toyota automatics.

The label on the dipstick tube led me to researching this more. I found it very strange that 1996 AND 1998 both had fill specifications and procedures while the 1997 DID not. While I doubt that toyota would discontinue a feature like this for one year this *may* be the reason as to why the individual who performed the transmission service did not do it, toyota must have typo'oed the procedure and complety ommited it from the 1997 manual.

Either way, you are right and while I am no legal expert, you could use this information if you need to in his appeal. I am really sorry about my first response Customer, I made a mistake and I hope that this new information is to your likings, I'm sure it has made your day.

Thank you for using Just Answer.

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Customer reply replied 10 years ago
THANK YOU FOR THE TIME YOU HAVE SPENT ON MY QUESTION. I REALLY APPRECIATE IT. I LIKE THAT YOU VERY THOROUGH AND WERE ABLE TO ADMIT THAT YOU MADE A MISTAKE, BUT CONTINUED TO THINK ABOUT THE PROBLEM. I WILL CERTAINLY BE ABLE TO USE THIS.
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