Saturday, November 22, 2008


The SAAB mechanic in town refused to change the automatic transmission fluid (ATF) at the 60K service because it is not on the SAAB scheduled maintenance, but by then the fluid looked too dark for my taste so I decided to DIY it myself.
You need a 24mm wrench (open ended-ring spanner) to take the drain plug as show in the pictures, right in front of the catalytic converter. You need 4 qt of fluid; I read it must be Mobil 3039; I used Valvoline Life-Max, which is Dexron III and Toyota IV compatible. There is no serviceable filter on the 9-5 auto transmissions.
I lifted the front of the car and set it on stands on the lift points on both sides. I guess because of the inclination, I was able to drain ~4 qt of old fluid, out of the 7 qt in the transmission; that’s the best you can do. So, to replace ~82% of the fluid you need to change it 2 times in a row, say at each oil change or 3,000 miles. Afterward, people recommend to replace ~4 qt every 3rd oil change or ~9,000 miles or ~yearly.
Once you drain the fluid and screw back the plug, refill with new fluid through the dipstick; you’ll need a little funnel for this. Check the level when the fluid is hot; after you drive the car for a while. That’s all there is to it; piece of cake.

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