Suburban Transmission "Drain and Fill"

Discussion in 'Chevy Suburban Forum (GMC Yukon XL)' started by LowcountrySuburban, Oct 8, 2009.

  1. LowcountrySuburban

    LowcountrySuburban New Member

    Just purchased a 2003 Suburban on Monday. Since I don't know the vehicle's history, I'm assuming there is none. I've changed the oil, air filter, and tires. This morning, I did a "drain and fill" on the transmission. 3 quarts drained out. I replaced the fluid, drove around(getting up to highway speeds), came home and checked the fluid. Everything seems ok and the fluid is within the hash marks on the dipstick.
    Anyway, can anyone confirm 3 quarts is correct?...I never get a good feeling from those dipsticks.

    BTW--It has 93k on it. I plan to drop the pan and replace the filter at 100k.
  2. dsfloyd

    dsfloyd Epic Member 5+ Years ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    Transmissions are a little different like that. just a drain you wont get much out because most is held in the torque converter. so with just a drain and fill you arent completely draining the transmission so you don't want to add the capacity amount. only add what was taken out and check. there are ways to completely drain, but I beleive is a flush or seperating the transmission (could be wrong on that), but one way (can be expensive also) is drain and fill drive around, drain and fill, drive around, this will atleast mix the fluid well and after a couple times will have fairly new fluid throughout. But this also does waste a bit of transmission fluid.
  3. LowcountrySuburban

    LowcountrySuburban New Member

    Yeah, I believe I read the transmission holds 14 quarts. I'll probably do the "drain and fill" 2 more times over the next couple of hundred miles--or, whenever I get the time.
    I know there are better ways of doing it, but, for me, it is easy and cheap way and I'm sure it's much better than doing nothing at all.

    EDIT--Can anyone confirm the pan capacity?
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2009
  4. nutpants

    nutpants New Member

    i always pull off a tranny cooler line and attach a hose to it (the blow line) then run the motor untill its stops pumping out. always get quite a bit out of the tranny that way.
    if you fill a bucket with new fluid (5gal bucket) with a hose attached to the other tranny cooler line (the suck line) it should be as good as a flush.
    just exchange as much as you feel you should. shops exchange 1 to 1.
    i just almost empty the 5 gal bucket when i do it.
    (old tranny fluid bucket (that has only held tranny fluid) with a hose connector gerry rigged to it on the bottom) you could even use a funnel if your fast enough i guess.

    just dont try this at home, this is just what i do.
    im too cheap to pay so i could be burning out my tranny

  5. LowcountrySuburban

    LowcountrySuburban New Member

    Assuming your tranny holds 14 qts., I think the proper way to perform your method is to first drain the pan. Then, fill it back with the amount that came out. Next, with your hose going to the bucket, run the engine until 2 quarts comes out. Shut off the engine and add 2 new quarts. Repeat until you've replaced all the fluid...I don't think it's a good idea to let it run dry.

    EDIT--Just re-read your post. Maybe you have two buckets going at the same time, so it appears you are replacing at the same time you are draining.
  6. 1st Synthetics

    1st Synthetics Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    For a 2003 Burb:

    Automatic Transmission, 4L80-E Initial Fill..........7.8 quarts
    Automatic Transmission, 4L60-E Initial Fill..........5 quarts
    Automatic Transmission, Total Fill
    4 speed 4L80-E..........13.6 quarts
    4 speed 4L60-E..........11.3 quarts
  7. Jimmiee

    Jimmiee Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Transmissions do not have a "suck line". The fluid is pumped out to the cooler and returned via the same line. It's just a loop.
    Once the engine is running and fluid coming out into the bucket you just add fluid to the transmission through the filler tube at the back of the engine. The new fluid is then sucked into the filter by the pump and enters the torque converter where it is mixed with the old fluid.
  8. nutpants

    nutpants New Member

    i always thought it sucked it back in..
    must have just gravity fed the fluid back on the other line..

  9. 2COR517

    2COR517 Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Pumping your tranny dry is not wise. Kinda like draining the oil out of your engine for a while. I drop the pan, change the filter. Put in 8 quarts. Pull the cooler line and pump out about a gallon. Shut off, put in 4 more quarts. Keep pumping it out till it changes color. Top off and your done.
  10. reallytalljon

    reallytalljon New Member

    At what point in this process do you put the pan back on? I'm wondering where this old fluid is coming out as you're adding new fluid.

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