Checking transmission fluid level and condition
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    1. #1
      Junior Member Synesis's Avatar
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      Nov 2004
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      Franklin, TN
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      409

      Checking transmission fluid level and condition

      I've been considering an XC90 2.5T for my wife, and when examining one I attempted to find the dipstick for the transmission so that I could see if it was dark, properly filled, etc. However I was unable to find the dipstick, and the owners manual was no help. The salesman told me the unit was sealed and had to be checked by a service tech. Sounded a little fishy to me, but then I have also read that Volvo says the transmission fluid is good for life. Any thoughts or suggestions?
      2004 XC90 2.5T AWD Ice White/Taupe
      2007 S80 V8 Electric Silver/Anthracite Sport, Climate, Dynaudio, Nav, ACC, PA. IPD Sway Bar, End Links, Nitto Motivo

    2. #2
      Member gascos80's Avatar
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      Jan 2007
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      Encino, CA
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      Re: Checking transmission fluid level and condition (Synesis)

      It is not sealed, but the dipstick is not easy to reach.

      http://forums.swedespeed.com/zerothread?id=63288

      2008 S80 3.2; 2005 XC90 V8 AWD; 2003 S60 2.4T

    3. #3

      Re: Checking transmission fluid level and condition (Synesis)

      The 2.5T is an excellent choice, we love ours.

      The dipstick is tricky to find, even with this picture:

      From VADIS:

      Oil level, checking
      Warning! Avoid skin contact with the transmission fluid.
      Note! Use only transmission oil, Volvo P/N 116 1540-8 (1 liter container), 116 1640-6 (4 liter container).

      Conditions
      The difference between the MAX and MIN volumes is 0.2 liters. Check the oil temperature in the transmission.
      At room temperature (+20 C) the oil level is close to the MIN mark on the "cold area".
      At room temperature (+20 C) and low oil level the oil barely reaches the dipstick.
      The "cold range" (+40 C) is reached after approximately 15 minutes idling in the workshop, while the "hot range" (+80 C) is reached after approximately 30 minutes highway driving at an air temperature above +15 C.
      Note! Carry out the check at an oil temperature of +80 C. Go to car communication function group 4. Select the digital display parameter. Select the parameter for the transmission oil temperature.

      Preparing to check the oil level
      Park the car on a level surface.
      Apply the parking brake.
      Apply the foot brake.
      Let the engine idle.
      Move the gear selector lever to position P.

      Move the gear selector through all positions. Wait in each position for approximately 3 seconds
      Move gear selector to position P and wait approximately 2 minutes before checking the oil level.
      The dipstick must be pushed down as far as possible into the dipstick tube.
      Caution! Wipe the dipstick with a nylon cloth or similar. Do not use a cloth which may leave fluff or threads.

      LTA

      2006 S60R 6MT BlackSapph/Atacama, Ferrita3"DP/EST-Catback/BMC/CustomCAI/A-Mist/18"PS2/NAV/iMIV/22mmRearSB/TME Springs (installed, finally! )
      2005 XC90 2.5T - Loaded family hauler
      Gone: '02 S60T5 5MT, '96 850T Wagon

    4. #4
      Moderator tmtalpey's Avatar
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      Re: Checking transmission fluid level and condition (LTA)

      Quote, originally posted by LTA »
      The "cold range" (+40 C) is reached after approximately 15 minutes idling in the workshop, while the "hot range" (+80 C) is reached after approximately 30 minutes highway driving at an air temperature above +15 C.
      Note! Carry out the check at an oil temperature of +80 C.

      I just wanted to highlight a couple of important points in your useful quote, and mention that 80C is 176F and can scald the skin right off your hands. Please be careful if attempting this.

      Also, be aware that the transmission is an extraordinarily high precision component and any dirt at all entering it will hasten its demise.

      Personally, I would strongly advise against even checking the level unless there is an issue, and the person doing it is rather highly skilled.

      Tom.

      2005 V50 T5 AWD 6MT w/Heico tune, Heico exhaust, Bell intercooler, IPD TCV, Viva CBV, Elevate rear swaybar, Snabb shift kit, etc.
      2004 XC90 2.5T AWD
      1956 PV444 complete, running
      1956 PV444 very original, very rough

    5. #5

      Re: Checking transmission fluid level and condition (tmtalpey)

      Quote, originally posted by tmtalpey »

      I just wanted to highlight a couple of important points in your useful quote, and mention that 80C is 176F and can scald the skin right off your hands. Please be careful if attempting this.

      Also, be aware that the transmission is an extraordinarily high precision component and any dirt at all entering it will hasten its demise.

      Personally, I would strongly advise against even checking the level unless there is an issue, and the person doing it is rather highly skilled.

      Tom.

      Checking the ATF level when the ATF is hot is standard operating procedure with most any automatic transmission or transaxle. ATF normally expands as it heats up causing an increase in volume. Checking it when cold to the touch can result in an inaccurate level reading.

      Naturally one should always whip out a clean, unsoiled hanky and wipe the dipstick on said hanky when checking the ATF level--not on one's bare fingers--so handling the hot dispstick and the few drops of hot ATF on it shouldn't be life threatening to one's person.

      Also any scant few particles of dirt that make their way onto the dipstick won't damage the transaxle at all. Of course, it goes without saying to remember to wipe the dipstick clean before reinserting it back into the dipstick tube.

      Note that since the invention of the automatic transmission more than half a century ago, people of all stripes have been using a dipstick to check their transmission's ATF. Huge numbers of automatic transmissions have been in service for hundreds of thousands of miles each with frequent ATF level checks performed both by skilled mechanics and laypeople alike.

      It goes without saying that regular ATF changes are critical to the life of any automatic and this is one thing that Volvo and some other automakers have tried to do away with as of late by taking away the conventional dipstick and encouraging the myth of "lifetime" ATF that, as it turns out, is good only for the lifetime of the ATF itself--which most definitely is *not* the same lifetime as the vehicle. No wonder then that people are complaining of early automatic transmission and transaxle failures against the advice of the automaker.


    6. #6

      Re: Checking transmission fluid level and condition (tmtalpey)

      Quote, originally posted by tmtalpey »

      Personally, I would strongly advise against even checking the level unless there is an issue, and the person doing it is rather highly skilled.

      Tom.

      The words that I 'bolded' offer good advice for many of the DIY threads around here. Also why a novice teamed up with a VADIS DVD off ebay often make for some precarious situations.

      It's the DIY brake job threads scare me the most

      LTA

      2006 S60R 6MT BlackSapph/Atacama, Ferrita3"DP/EST-Catback/BMC/CustomCAI/A-Mist/18"PS2/NAV/iMIV/22mmRearSB/TME Springs (installed, finally! )
      2005 XC90 2.5T - Loaded family hauler
      Gone: '02 S60T5 5MT, '96 850T Wagon