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Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Transmissions
Satisfied Customers: 8598
Experience:  ASE Certified Diagnostic Technician
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Mitsubishi Outlander XLS: How do I change the transmission

Customer Question

How do I change the transmission filter on a 2004 outlander awd?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Transmissions
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.
Hi,Do you have the transmission out of the vehicle? This model does now have an externally serviceable filter is why I ask.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No I bought a kit off rock auto the had the filter and gasket. I took off the pan the has the filler stick in it. I though the filter would be in there.
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.
Unfortunately that is not the case.... the filter on these is stored in the center of the transmission, requiring the transmission to be removed, the case split, and oil pump removed. It can then be slid out.The filter is considered a lifetime filter on this model... there is zero reason to replace it under normal circumstances, and any circumstance that would warrant replacement would also warrant transmission removal/repair anyway. That is why they moved it so far internally, as it was a better use of space for something that does not need to be changed as regular maintenance (unlike for example many American transmissions etc).Is there a specific reason you wanted to change it, or was it strictly wanting to stay on top of maintenance?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So this is my gf car and I have a 03 qx4. I changed it in mine along with the fluid and it made a big difference in shifting and also staying on top of maitnenece.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Do you recommend installing a magnafine inline filter?
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.
Honestly there isn't any real reason to run an auxiliary filter in this car unless it is being put under a considerable amount of stress. This is a very clean operating transmission, and if the fluid is changed even relatively regularly (60k) with the correct SPIII fluid, there is no significant sediment to even need a filter for. They really did design this transmission quite well. In fact, the early 40/50 series actually had two filters on it, the internal one like you have, and a separate spin on one mounted to the top of the transmission. After a few years of research they determined the spin on secondary filter was completely unnecessary at this point and it was eliminated. In some of the early ones after this transition (2001.5 or so was when they changed) you will still see a round boss on the top corner of the transmission where the filter used to go.If you wanted to add a filter anyway... it certainly wouldn't hurt anything provided it was a minimal restriction filter so that fluid pressure would not be reduced coming back into the transmission. Is this car seeing any considerably difficult operation... like towing or lots of highway operation (90%+) etc?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No just normal city driving. When I drained the trans fluid though it was black. I did a second drain and fill and it came out much more red. I just though another filter might help pull any of the metal left out.
Expert:  Doug replied 2 years ago.
Perfectly understandable, but yeah not something that is going to happen as far as the factory filter goes (well, not without a ton of labor to do it of course). With just regular city driving too there really shouldn't be much need anyway.I looked to see if there was a filter procedure I could show you in the service manual to help illustrate the amount of work and location but unfortunately there is not; so I did clip a diagram of the filter position anyway to show how buried it is, and you can fill in the blanks yourself as far as step by step operations to get to it. It is attached below.If you really want to get the fluid out of there and keep it nice and clean, I would strongly recommend getting a case of Mitsubishi or Hyundai SPIII (this is pretty critical... the Dexron and other universal base fluids have compatibility issues with this transmission and should be avoided) and either having someone with a flush machine flush it out, or if you are comfortable doing so, you can manually flush it by running the fluid from the cooler line into a bucket while you refill from the dip stick tube as the engine runs. Obviously this is a bit more dangerous as well as messy and a flush machine is preferred.If you want to add a filter for the future you certainly can, tapped in to the cooler lines. Just be cautious of how much restriction it causes as any restriction in the cooler lines will cause undesirable behavior from the transmission and could in some scenarios even cause damage. It is preferred to flush the system out to get it clean, then maintain regular flushes every 30k preferred, but no longer than every 60k.