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Replacing Your Automatic Transmission Fluid on your Porsche 911 Carrera
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Automatic Transmission Fluid on your Porsche 911 Carrera

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

**

Tools:

Transmission fluid pump, 17mm hex tool, 6mm, 8mm hex tool, T-30 male Torx driver, infrared thermometer

Applicable Models:

Porsche 996 Carrera (1999-05)
Porsche 997 Carrera (2005-08)

Parts Required:

Automatic transmission fluid, filter, gasket kit

Hot Tip:

Don't neglect this maintenance

Performance Gain:

Long-life transmission

Complementary Modification:

Oil change

Replacing your oil is easy. Porsche knows that this needs to be performed once about every 3,000--5,000 miles and designed the car that way. On the other hand, changing the tranny fluid is not an easy task, and you can probably bet that the previous owner of your car did not perform this task as often as they should have when they owned it.

What are the symptoms of low automatic transmission fluid? I experienced this when I purchased a car with a known transmission problem. When the car was stopped suddenly via the brakes and then the accelerator was immediately pressed, the transmission would slip, and then slam into gear, lurching the car forward. I had a strong suspicion that the transmission was low on fluid. A thorough inspection of the car showed the remnants of significant leakage of transmission fluid.

What causes this symptom with the transmission? Well, when you slam on the brakes, all of the fluid in the transmission flows to the front of the car and away from the fluid pickup, which is located toward the rear of the transmission. With the fluid at the front of the car, the transmission loses fluid for a very short while. Automatic transmissions use the fluid both as a hydraulic fluid and a coolant--ÂÂ"they won't work if there isn't any fluid running through them. After the car has stopped and the fluid has moved back toward the pickup, the transmission began to work normally. If the transmission had the proper levels of fluid, then this condition would not occur. Needless to say, after I replaced the transmission fluid and checked the levels, the problem disappeared. The previous owner had let it run down about two quarts low (the Carrera transmission takes about 10 quarts, with about four quarts replaceable during a fluid change). Driving for any more time with the transmission in this state would have led to substantial damage and could have resulted in a wrecked tranny (replacement cost: $2,500 or so).

Okay, enough background on the automatic transmission. The first step in replacing your fluid is to jack up your car so that you can reach the underside of the transmission (see Pelican Technical Article: Jacking Up Your Porsche 911 Carrera). It is very important that the car be level--don't jack up just the front or rear of the car, make sure that it is as level in the air as it is on the ground. The reason for this is that you will be checking the transmission fluid by removing a drain plug and checking the fluid level. If the car is not level, then you will not achieve an accurate reading. Also elevate the car with the rear tailpipe sticking way outside the entrance of your garage--you will be running the car while it's on the jack stands in order to top off the fluid.

With the car elevated in the air, the first step is to remove the plastic underbody trays. These are held in place by three Phillips screws and a series of plastic 10mm nuts (see Pelican Technical Article: Transmission Removal - Porsche 911 Carrera). Set the trays aside and locate the two 15mm bolts holding the aluminum crossmember piece between the suspension uprights (see photo1). Wear safety glasses when you're under the car, as you never know what small piece of dirt may fall into your eye.

The next step is to remove all of the existing fluid from the main transmission sump. There is a drain plug on the bottom of the sump that can be used to empty most of the fluid contained inside. Remove the drain plug and let the fluid flow out into a container. Your container should be able to hold at least three gallons (about 12 liters) of fluid. Once the fluid is empty, replace the drain plug. This plug should be tightened to 40 Nm (29 ft-lb).

Now you will proceed to remove the sump from the bottom of the transmission. You need to remove the sump so that you can replace the transmission filter, clean the sump magnet, and also remove the extra fluid that may be trapped inside. You remove the sump by removing each of the small Torx bolts that attach it to the bottom of the transmission. Once those are out, you should be able simply to pull on the sump cover and it should fall off. Be aware that there will still be some transmission fluid in the sump that can spill out if you're not careful.

Plastic cat litter boxes make excellent containers for catching fluid in these types of situations. They are wide and large enough to prevent you from making quite a mess on your garage floor. Turn your attention now to the sumps and clean them out. Then, remove the transmission filter from the bottom of the transmission.

What type of fluid do you use in your automatic transmission? The Carrera requires a special type of fluid that you cannot easily find in most auto parts stores, the part number for the 1998-2005 is 000-43-207-00 and the 2005-2008 is 000-043-304-01. The Carrera also can use off-the-shelf Esso LT 71141 for the 1998-2001 and ATF 3353 Plus for the 2002-2005, or Pentosin ATF-1, all are available along with gasket/filter kits from PelicanParts.com. The 2005 and newer Carreras use newer "light-running oil, that has extended the service life (000-043-304-01). Be sure to check your owners manual for the transmission oil specific to your car. I would avoid using any other type of fluid in your transmission. Also, use the same fluid for the entire replacement process--ÂÂ"mixing and matching different types of transmission fluid can cause your transmission to fail.

With the new filter in place, you will now reinstall the lower sump. No need to fill it with fluid--simply bolt it up into place. Torque each bolt to 11 Nm (8 ft-lb), and use a crisscross pattern as shown in Figure 6. Now it's time to fill the sump with fluid. Using a hand pump attached to the bottle of transmission fluid, thread the hose up into the filler hole and through one of the access holes in the side of the filler baffle (Figure 5). Fill up the transmission sump until fluid starts to significantly run out of the filler hole. A few drips can be expected when the fluid runs down the side of the hose--when the fluid level is at the top of the filler, it will start to exit the filler hole rapidly. Replace the filler plug and tighten it hand-tight.

At this point, you are ready to start the car. Keep in mind that the transmission fluid can only be checked when the transmission temperature is within a semi-narrow range. This temperature range is 85-100 degrees F (30-40 degrees C). You will need to start the car and let it warm up before you can check the levels. Depending upon the outside temperature, it may take up to 45 minutes for it to reach this temperature. Check the temperature of the fluid by using one of those handy infrared laser thermometers. Years ago, these used to cost thousands of dollars, but nowadays, you can pick one up for about $50.

You will be running the car while it is up and on jack stands. This can be dangerous if the car is not secure on the jack stands--ÂÂ"check them again before you continue. You will also be running the car for an extended length of time while it warms up and you will need to make sure that you perform this outside (on level ground), or funnel the exhaust gases out of the tailpipe and out of your garage. I used a long, flexible aluminum tube that I purchased from the hardware store that is typically used for venting gas dryers out to the atmosphere (see Figure 8). If you clamp this tightly to the end of your tailpipe and run the other end out of your garage with the garage door open, you should be able to safely have the car idle inside the garage. Also make sure that you use an electronic carbon monoxide monitor inside your garage (also available from most hardware stores) as an added measure for safety.

Climb into the car, place your foot on the brake, and start it. If you hear anything amiss, or encounter any unusual problems, then shut off the car immediately. It should start and idle normally. You will need to let the transmission warm up until it is in the operating range indicated above. Note that this will make the bottom of the sump feel warm to the touch, not hot. Use your infrared thermometer to periodically check the temperature. Again, it should take 10-45 minutes depending upon the outside temperature to heat the transmission to this level, if the car is simply idling.

With the car at the proper temperature, remove the filler plug, and begin filling the transmission again. It's okay to use your finger to gently stick the hose attached to your pump up inside the transmission. At this time, the fluid should be warm to the touch. But be careful not to burn yourself on the catalytic converters, headers, or the mufflers while under the car. When the fluid begins to empty out of the filler hole, replace the filler plug again, and tighten it hand-tight.

Now, sit inside the car, apply the brake pedal, and slowly shift the transmission through reverse, and first and second gear, using the manual shift lever. Leave the car in each gear for about 10 seconds. Repeat this twice, move underneath the car again, and remove the fill plug from the side of the transmission. With the engine still running, top off the transmission once more until fluid comes out of the fill hole. Replace the fill plug, using a new sealing O-ring. This plug should be torqued to 80 Nm (59 ft-lb).

That's about all there is to it. When you've topped off the fluid, lower the car down off of the jack stands and take it for a short drive. If all is well, you shouldn't notice any difference in performance or operation. If you were having problems with the transmission slamming into gear, then these issues should be gone by now. One last thing to note: The automatic transmission also has a built-in differential that requires standard gear oil. Check and fill your gear oil as per the instructions in Pelican Technical Article: Replacing Manual Transmission Fluid - Porsche 911 Carrera.

In order to gain access to the bottom transmission sump, you will need to remove the rear plastic under body trays and the aluminum cross bar.
Figure 1

In order to gain access to the bottom transmission sump, you will need to remove the rear plastic under body trays and the aluminum cross bar. The under body trays are held in place by three Phillips screws and a series of plastic 10mm nuts. The cross bar is held in place by two 15mm bolts (green arrow).

I recommend that you start the draining process only when the car is cold.
Figure 2

I recommend that you start the draining process only when the car is cold. When the car is warm, a lot of the transmission fluid will be trapped within the transmission itself. When the car is cold, almost all of the transmission fluid has seeped out and is trapped in the lower sump. Note that this is opposite from the procedure for changing the oil--Â"where you should empty it when the engine is hot. That is because the engine oil is thinnest and flows best when it's hot. The transmission fluid has a totally different viscosity. Working on the car when it is cold also assures that you will not be burned by hot exhaust, transmission, or engine parts. The green arrow shows the transmission filler plug, and the inset photo shows the 17mm hex socket required to remove the transmission drain plug.

Using a lint-free cloth, carefully wipe down the inside of the sump (I used KimWipes, available from PelicanParts.
Figure 3

Using a lint-free cloth, carefully wipe down the inside of the sump (I used KimWipes, available from PelicanParts.com). You want to use a lint-free cloth, because tiny cloth fibers left in your transmission sump can clog the transmission and filter. The sump needs to be clean, spotless, and look brand new, as shown on the right. Make sure that you remove any remaining gasket material from the edge of the sump cover. A new transmission sump gasket has been lined up with the holes, and the assembly is ready for installation back onto the transmission. In the upper left, the new transmission filter is displayed. You should always use a new O-ring on the transmission filler plug, as shown in the middle left photo. Pay close attention to the magnet in the bottom of the sump (shown on the lower left). You should be able simply to pluck this magnet from the bottom of the sump and clean it.

The 2002 and later Carreras use a different style of oil pan, gasket and retaining bolts (shown here on a C4).
Figure 4

The 2002 and later Carreras use a different style of oil pan, gasket and retaining bolts (shown here on a C4). The pan is held on by 6 bolts and clamping sleeves (yellow arrows). Both the drain and fill plugs are now 6mm. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the pan (red arrow) while the fill plug is located further up and to one side of the pan (blue arrow). When reinstalling the pan, make sure you tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern.

The transmission fluid filter is a large canister that is attached to the bottom of the transmission and needs to be removed and replaced.
Figure 5

The transmission fluid filter is a large canister that is attached to the bottom of the transmission and needs to be removed and replaced. Remove the bolts that attach it to the bottom of the transmission and carefully pull off the filter. Discard it in the trash. Check the mounting surfaces where the sumps attach to the transmission, and remove any excess gasket material that may have been left there. When you reinstall the filter into the transmission, use the same bolts that you just removed. These bolts should be torqued to a very light 6 Nm (4.5 ft-lb). The inset photo shows the new filter installed in place.

Getting the hose into the sump area so that you can fill the transmission can be a bit tricky if you're not aware of where the hose is supposed to go.
Figure 6

Getting the hose into the sump area so that you can fill the transmission can be a bit tricky if you're not aware of where the hose is supposed to go. This photo shows the hose threaded up the bottom of the filler hole and sticking out into the transmission sump. When the sump is installed back onto the transmission, you will need to feed the hose up the filler hole and through the openings in this baffle attachment.

With the sump installed, tighten the bolts according to the following pattern.
Figure 7

With the sump installed, tighten the bolts according to the following pattern. These bolts require very little torque--only 11 Nm (8 ft-lbs). Be sure to clean off any dirt or debris that may be on the screws prior to reinstalling them.

You will need to use a transmission fluid pump, which you can find at almost any local auto parts store, in order to fill the sump.
Figure 8

You will need to use a transmission fluid pump, which you can find at almost any local auto parts store, in order to fill the sump. The pump works just like a liquid soap pump in your bathroom. The transmission fluid should be pumped into the bottom of the sump through the transmission fill hole. Remove the plug, place one end of the pump into a bottle of transmission fluid, and start pumping. Pump fluid into the filler hole until fluid begins to run out rapidly. Clean up the small spill (be sure to use a large oil drip tray during this process), then replace the fill plug, only slightly tighter than hand-tight (you will be removing it again shortly when you recheck the levels).

Carbon monoxide is dangerous, and although today's modern cars don't emit too much of it, you can still kill off some brain cells by breathing it in.
Figure 9

Carbon monoxide is dangerous, and although today's modern cars don't emit too much of it, you can still kill off some brain cells by breathing it in. Play it safe and route the exhaust from your tailpipe out of your garage area, or perform the job outdoors on level ground. Use a standard dryer vent hose and plug the sides of all tailpipes if you happen to feel exhaust escaping.

The infrared thermometer is one of those whiz-bang devices that never ceases to amaze me.
Figure 10

The infrared thermometer is one of those whiz-bang devices that never ceases to amaze me. Years ago, these used to cost thousands of dollars, but nowadays, you can pick one up for a mere $50. Monitor the temperature of the transmission sump by pointing the thermometer at the bottom of the metal sump in the center.

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Comments and Suggestions:
steveo Comments: My 911 2007 997 started not wanting to start in park and would only start in neutral, just recently it has started slipping out of drive and you have to push it quite hard to park so that you can remove your key. Been using tiptronic because of drive fault and now that has become slow or giving up completely. Please any ideas, it is due a service for 60000
September 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shifter mechanism or cable may be faulty.


Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rpastir Comments: Hi. When using the infrared thermometer to check the temperature, should it the infrared thermometer be pointed at the sump?...and should the temp of the sump be in the 85-100 degrees F range?
Thanks.
May 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It can be a challenge to get a good reading. The window for the right temp for level checking is narrow. So if using this method, check the sump and all surrounding areas. As soon as you are close to the noted temp, go for it. As it will rise quickly after. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Eric Comments: hi there, I have a 2007 Carrera 3.6L. What transmission fluid do I need and how much of it? Also, I see that this model requires a big enclosed filter. Do you still pour the fluid in through a fill hole? picture of the tranny filter attached
April 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article does apply to your vehicle.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ozzy Comments: For Carrera S 2010 PDK, automatic transmission is in overhaul shop and they want me to buy complete oil, what type of oil and quantity for transmission oil ? is it different between transmission and gear fluid for this car?
February 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have a 2010 showing up for me.


Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dean Comments: Which automatic transmission fluid and differential fluid is used for a 2006 Carrera S?
January 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All fluids and filters for your vehicle are here:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi?action=frameset&return-url=/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi%3Faction%3Dframeback%26page%3D1746&catalog-url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pelicanparts.com%2Fcatalog%2FSuperCat%2F0946%2FPOR_0946_TRAUTO_pg1.htm %3Futm_source%3DSuperTech%23item3



- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Shadow993 Comments: Is this the same process for the 997.1 TT??
November 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It covers up to 2008 models. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bruce Comments: I had a shop change out my Tip fluid for a 2000 3.4L. They used ZF5HP19FLA Boxster fluid, instead of the recommended ZF5HP19HLA. It only has 76K on it. I don't know enough about transmission fluids to know if this is a problem, should I be concerned? Thanks Bruce
August 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: These are the numbers I come up with:

999.917.077.00 Pentosin ATF-1
or
999.917.547.00 Esso ATF LT 71141

Looks like there are two options.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eyad Comments: Hi Pelican Experts; I have a 2006 Carrera 4S with 30,000 km only. I noticed a very slight oil leak gold color oil under the two rubber cover 7222710287 at the bottom of the gear. Slight means that I find some traces of oil if I run my fingers on the inside of the gear and on the inside of rubbers.
Should I be worried or simply add oil?
If I need to fix it, what does it involve?
May 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is a common issue on the C4 and Turbo transmissions. As far as I know the only option is to replace the transmission. Neither Porsche or Mercedes supply the gasket separately. This should be fixed ASAP!! I know a guy who tried to make various gaskets out of various materials for that leak, and he was unsuccessful. Send me a photo just to verify leak location. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
JC Comments: Hi,
Recent owner of a 996 3.4 cab tiptro 1999. 70kmiles, engine changed at 40k in 2005, transmission never serviced.
Tiptro show rev instabiliy when cold +/ - 400 rpm oscillations and as if is hesitating between two gears. Also I loose a bit of cooling fluid. Finally the dealer told me that my sump screws and nuts are very crroded to such a point he does not dare intervening
Questions :
Is there any risk to get cooling fluid leaking in the gearbox ?..that could explain and link the issues
What could be possible reasons for tiptro instability ?
What is your advice for the corrosion issue to open without damages ?
Thanks for your article above, just perfect.
April 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: OK, I am going to separate this in to three separate issues...that is probably what they are. The RPM oscillation is likely a vacuum leak or some issue with the oil separator, possibly even a mass airflow sensor. What you need to do is check the vehicle for faults, and check the fuel trim TRA, and FRA numbers. That way you can determine if the car is running rich, lean or if the problem might be somewhere else. The Tiptronic needs a service PERIOD. Make sure that the shop OR you use the factory recommended fluid, and filter...and utilize a scan tool to reset the transmission adaptations. This will make sure that if the Tiptronic control unit has picked up some strange shifting characteristic over the years it will be reset and will hopefully not re-learn that hesitation between gears.
Is there any risk of coolant getting in to the gearbox, yes but you will see that when you do the transmission service. It will look like chocolate or strawberry shake coming out of the gearbox and you will have some external leakage as a result of the fluid level going above the max fill level due to the added coolant.
As for the corrosion, you might have a tough time saving those fasteners. Buy all new ones, and try the FILL plug first. There is no point in taking the pan off if you will not be able to refill the trans... SNAP-ON makes a bolt extraction socket set which should get the pan bolts off relatively easy. You might need to buy a new pan if the fill plug will not come out. - Casey at Pelican Parts
 
Angry in La Jolla Comments: I have a 2008 Porsche Turbo with Tiptronic. I took it into the dealer to investigate a soft "clunk" sound which sometimes happens when it downshifts into second gear. Car has 69000 miles on it. Now he tells me that the tranny has the wrong fluid in it. I know it's the original from the factory fluid as I've never changed it and I bought it new. Dealer says the fluid is white and should be red. Could this error of Porsche's have damaged the tranny and caused the "clunk" sound?
March 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: First don't trust the dealer, if they come up with something like that RUN get a second opinion from a trusted independent shop who is familiar with the modern Porsche. That transmission has two parts to it, the transmission and the differential. The differential fluid should be gold, and the transmission fluid should indeed be red. This thump is likely from the transmission mount. Have your trusted independent shop thoroughly check the transmission mount rubber for wear.

- Casey at Pelican Parts
 
Bryan Comments: I have a 1999 911 Cabriolet 2 Tiptronic . I have a 150k miles and original owner. When in auto my tranny searches between 3rd, 4th & 5th gear when on frwy. Stays in gear when in manual. Just had full tranny service and did not solve problem. Could it be a TCU/Electrical problem?
February 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: First check the transmission fluid level to be sure it is correct (double check it). Then check the transmission ECM for fault codes. If the system is not working properly, a fault code will be set. This will be your best bet when diagnosing. Could be a simple switch fault or something like a solenoid.


- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ncsabi Comments: Does the 2001 911 c tiptronic also have gear oil?

In other words, is there gear oil in addition to the trans fluid that I should service?
November 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Automatics do have a separate diff fluid. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Smiffy Comments: Great artical.Had my fluid changed in my 2001 996 tip because of excessive noise rumble when dive is engaged and held by braking prior to moving away, the noise is more apparent in reverse.Otherwise gearbox performs normaly.
I hoped the change of fuid would help.Not so any ideas?
Thanks.
August 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There could be a faulty part inside the transmission. I would inspect the drive axles and mounts before condemning he gearbox. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
johnson Comments: can you recommand a infrared thermometer for this job?
thanks
May 23, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I like the Raytech products. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Reebuck1 Comments: Should have said can anyone tell me where to go to find where the 2 transmission wiring harnesses are supposed to run in a 1999 Carrera2 tiptronic trans
February 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This repair manual should have the wiring diagrams:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/996J/POR_996J_TOLbks_pg1.htm #item1 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Reebuck1 Comments: Is there anywhere I can find where the wiring harnesses 2are supposed to run in a 1999 996 Carrera??
February 14, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This repair manual should have the wiring diagrams:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/shopcart/996J/POR_996J_TOLbks_pg1.htm #item1 - Nick at Pelican Parts - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: It appears that the 2002+ transmission pan is deeper. Just want to confirm that the same proceedure is used to fill it using the three steps you described for the 99-2001.
July 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The procedure is just different enough where you can run into problems. I would grab a repair manual to be fure you get it right. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tag10 Comments: Excellent article on Tiptronic oil change. I have just checked under the car and I have the later unit post 2002 996 Targa. Your fig4 do you have the torque for the 6mm fill,drain screws and sump screws.
Thanks
June 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chris Comments: Hi,

I am planning on doing this service and the differential service to an MY00 Carrera 2 Tiptronic soon. The Bentley manual and the Porsche service manual both say to replace the differential fill plug seal, however I can't for the life of me find it in the parts catalogue, anyone have any ideas of the part number?
April 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799
They will help you find the part number. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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