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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By some standards, I may be late in changing the trans fluid, but I'm about to hit 150,000 miles so it was time. I'm amazed at how flawless this car has been over the last 4 years. Purchased with 17,000 miles on it in Sept. 2018 and here we are 133,000 miles later.
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Transmission fluid change is super easy on this car. I removed the drain plug, the overflow plug and the fill plug on the top of the transmission. Drained roughly 3 1/2 quarts out, and refilled until it started coming out the overflow. Fluid looked good, was not burned or odd smelling and still had decent color.
I'll do another drain/fill at 200K miles for good measure.
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I gotta say, the bottom of the car is super clean, again, no doubt due to the fairly easy Freeway driving the car primarily does.
Tomorrow morning I'm swapping the spark plugs out for new AC Delco units. The ICE is right at 101,000 miles, so it's ready for new plugs.
 

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I'm surprised you only got 3.5 out. My 2011 needed 6 qts. Were you out of level significantly?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm surprised you only got 3.5 out. My 2011 needed 6 qts. Were you out of level significantly?
The car was level. I drove up on ramps, and then jacked up the rear to match the height of the front.
I drove around prior to draining the fluid, to allow the temp to get up, but in 30 minutes of driving, it never got past 108f. I had purchased 6 quarts thinking I'd be changing more, but, yeah, I was surprised by the 3 1/2 that came out as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll throw these pictures of the spark plugs in this thread. I don't feel like starting another thread on plug swapping...

These too were super easy to swap out. I went back with the AC Delco 41-122 that came out.
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Not terrible, but you can tell the Ground Electrode is pretty well worn.

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No oil pooling in the spark plug holes, which is good...

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And all closed up for the next 100,000...

Took it for a shake down run just now and I'm still getting 45 miles out of the battery.
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Nice post Jim_N_Tonic...good pics. Now we know why GM had to stop building this car...if nothing wears out, you'd never have to buy a new one! I'm still amazed how, after a 40 mile drive, the front wheels are still cold and you can touch everything under the hood. Super Efficiency.
 

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Impressive. I've been contemplating doing a transmission fluid change on mine 2014 at 83,000 mi. Now I'm not sure it's actually needed. Was going to pay the dealership to do it but I'm thinking I should just borrow some ramps and do it myself.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Impressive. I've been contemplating doing a transmission fluid change on mine 2014 at 83,000 mi. Now I'm not sure it's actually needed. Was going to pay the dealership to do it but I'm thinking I should just borrow some ramps and do it myself.
Thanks Christian. It's really not very difficult. I waited to do mine simply because my car spends most of the time on the freeway. My commute is 156 miles a day, so I knew it wasn't going to be a case of "Extreme Duty" service.. Putzing along at 65 mph for a couple hours a day is very easy on the mechanicals in any car.

I'm not sure what the dealership would charge for a Transmission Fluid service, but for the 35 dollars I spent on the fluid, I'll gladly spend the savings elsewhere.

Working on your own car is not for everyone, but when I think about what it would've cost me to have someone else install 4 spark plugs and do a drain/fill on the trans, it makes me shudder.

This is very much a DIY project. Get the car level before draining. Make sure the transmission is warm. You may need to drive around on ICE for a while prior to draining, to heat it up and get the most fluid out.

When I serviced the trans on my LS430, I'd have to measure what came out, so I'd know how much to put in. The Volt does that for you with the overflow hole on the side. The drain and the overflow plugs are both 11mm and the fill port on the top was a 14mm

Buy a long neck funnel from Autozone and service the transmission fluid until it spills out the side overflow/inspection hole.

Fill to spill and you'll be golden!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What is secret to keeping engine compartment "showroom" clean?
I clean it maybe once a year... That's really about it. after a good cleaning, I use a small amount of plastic dressing/protectent and let her fly...
 

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Buy a long neck funnel from Autozone and service the transmission fluid until it spills out the side overflow/inspection hole.

Fill to spill and you'll be golden!
Jim,
When you filled the trans, the check plug should be left in, engine started, and the transmission run through the gears a couple times. Once the trans comes up to a specified temperature, then you pull the plug to see if any spills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Jim,
When you filled the trans, the check plug should be left in, engine started, and the transmission run through the gears a couple times. Once the trans comes up to a specified temperature, then you pull the plug to see if any spills.
Thank you. Good info for sure. I'll have to take a look tomorrow morning.
 

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Here is the procedure from the 2012 manual that I use...

I found that I needed to add 6 qt. after draining the trans...

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Jim,
When you filled the trans, the check plug should be left in, engine started, and the transmission run through the gears a couple times. Once the trans comes up to a specified temperature, then you pull the plug to see if any spills.
I feel ... confused ... about this advice. I was under the impression that the Volt "transmission" contained the planetary gears and a reducer. Neither of those will move unless the wheels do, right? What does running through the shifter and waiting do? What temperature should it get to and how does it get there without moving?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I feel ... confused ... about this advice. I was under the impression that the Volt "transmission" contained the planetary gears and a reducer. Neither of those will move unless the wheels do, right? What does running through the shifter and waiting do? What temperature should it get to and how does it get there without moving?
I believe the assumption is the car is off the ground and wheels are free to spin. SO, putting it in gear will get the trans moving and wheels spinning. Just keep your hands and clothes away from the large mass of spinning rubber...
 
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I feel ... confused ... about this advice. I was under the impression that the Volt "transmission" contained the planetary gears and a reducer. Neither of those will move unless the wheels do, right? What does running through the shifter and waiting do? What temperature should it get to and how does it get there without moving?
Well, that is what the procedure says... The trans has a torque damper that must be filled (by running the ICE if you believe the procedure...), and it has two hydraulic pumps, several solenoid valves, valve body, etc... I am guessing it is like any other hydraulic system, when you run the pump and move fluid around, it gets warm (sometimes hot depending on the pump design). There is likely a bypass to allow for minimum flow. Most pumps running on bypass will increase the fluid temperature to a greater degree when compared to when the pump is delivering volume and pressure to the system it is driving (this is due to the limited flow of the system). Overall less energy is delivered, but the temp will certainly rise.
 

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I believe the assumption is the car is off the ground and wheels are free to spin. SO, putting it in gear will get the trans moving and wheels spinning.
I think that is a bad assumption, the wheels do not need to be spinning (and that would be a bad idea to attempt such). Believe me, the temp of the fluid will come up if you follow the procedure, even while the car is sitting on the ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well, that is what the procedure says... The trans has a torque damper that must be filled (by running the ICE if you believe the procedure...), and it has two hydraulic pumps, several solenoid valves, valve body, etc... I am guessing it is like any other hydraulic system, when you run the pump and move fluid around, it gets warm (sometimes hot depending on the pump design).
I drove around for about 10 minutes in EV mode with my scanner on the car watching the trans temp. The temp didn't get much higher than ambient, which was right around 85f. I then proceeded to drive on ICE for about 20 minutes and was able to get the trans temp up to roughly 108f. That's when I drove home, got it up on ramps and drained the 3.5 qts out.

.02
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
great post ! I did my transmission fluid flush also myself and was, like you, amazed on how easy and cheap it was !
Did you notice any changes after the flush ? My 2015 volt was driving so much nicer and smoother
Thanks very much!
Not really "smoother", afterall it is a single speed transmission.... That may be a placebo effect. I did notice about 3-4 mpg better on my commute this last couple days. I think a combination of the Air Filter, Spark plugs, and the fluid change made for the improvement.
 
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