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Thread: Yet Another CVT Fluid Change Yarn

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    Yet Another CVT Fluid Change Yarn

    Ive been enjoying this forum for the past couple years and just now feel like I have the opportunity to give back a little. Well, maybe its mostly worthless blabber, but I know there are those of us that hunger for any and all data points regarding our cvts. So, heres my experience with the 1st cvt fluid change on my 2017 ES with 30,000 miles.

    Parts:
    Mitsubishi J4 cvt fluid, 10 qts @ $18.50/qt
    Main filter, aux filter/o-ring, and pan gasket from Cobra Transmission; $63 including shipping.

    Procedure:
    1. Raised car 5 front and back (so level), and drained 2 qts 12 oz from drain plug (cold engine).
    2. Remove pan and collect additional fluid for a total of 4 qts 8 oz.
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    3. Cleaned metallic residue (for lack of a better term) from bottom of pan and magnets. It was fairly minimal in my opinion.
    4. Re-install pan and add same amount of fluid that was drained, plus 2 oz to account for spillage etc.
    5. Drive 27 miles, park, raise only front of car 5 (figured this would make it easier to drain fluid from rear of pan when removing it).
    6. Remove front left wheel and inner fender liner (thanks for that bit of advice Fummins!).
    7. Remove & replace aux cvt filter.
    8. Drain 3 qts 5 oz from drain plug (somewhat hot engine).
    --> Why did 9 oz additional fluid drain compared to 1st time? Should be less since front of car is angled
    up and the drain plug is at the front of the pan. Possibly due to hot fluid (measured 115 deg F), or
    maybe removing aux filter allowed more fluid to drain into bottom of transmission?
    9. Remove pan and collect the additional fluid for a total of 5 qts 7 oz total.
    I let the fluid cool before taking this volume measurement. So, nearly a quart more was drained the 2nd time. My best guess is that more fluid came out because it was hot. Other theories anyone?
    10. Remove & replace main filter. I would guess around 2 oz drained from the filter during removal (included in the 5 qts 7 oz total).
    11. Re-install pan (re-used original gasket even though I had bought a new one, so stupid) and add same amount of fluid that was drained, plus 2 oz to account for spillage etc.

    Filter Inspection:
    1. Cut apart both filters.
    2. Main filter screen has minimal debris. I dont think this filter needed to be replaced, and Im not planning to ever replace it again.
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    3. Aux filter has some debris but nothing serious. Still I plan to replace this filter with each fluid change (every 30k miles). The last 2 pics below show the inside and outside, respectively, of the filter in a stretched condition (Hey, I warned early on there would be useless info here ).
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    Compare Old Fluid vs New:
    Old fluid looks very dirty compared to new pics say it all.
    Shown is the fluid from the 1st drain compared to fresh fluid. Each jar is back-lit using identical Harbor Freight led lights (I just love their free crap).
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    For future fluid changes Im leaning towards just one drain & fill. I will do it with the engine hot in hopes of repeating the large amount of fluid drain (5 qt 7 oz) I saw here.
    With the cvts capacity of 7.4 qt, this results in 73% dilution (5.44/7.4), so I think Im good with that.

    Thanks to everyone who has posted cvt maintenance tips on this forum over the years, you have really been helpful!



  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Macmoto For This Useful Post:

    18slcmirage (10-22-2020),Basic (04-09-2021),Eggman (10-22-2020),Fummins (10-22-2020),Top_Fuel (10-22-2020),Wil B (05-05-2021)

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    Hey Macmoto that’s a great writeup and some fine pictures too.

    Thanks for sharing your work.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 49.5 mpg (US) ... 21.0 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 59.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Nice write-up and pictures. Thanks for posting it. I don't have a CVT but I'm still interested in the process.

    I'm still waiting for someone to send in a sample of used Mirage CVT fluid for an oil analysis. That used fluid isn't looking too good...but an analysis would tell you if that fluid is terrible or if it's in decent shape.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 52.1 mpg (US) ... 22.2 km/L ... 4.5 L/100 km ... 62.6 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    Nice write-up and pictures. Thanks for posting it. I don't have a CVT but I'm still interested in the process.

    I'm still waiting for someone to send in a sample of used Mirage CVT fluid for an oil analysis. That used fluid isn't looking too good...but an analysis would tell you if that fluid is terrible or if it's in decent shape.
    Hmmm, that would be interesting. I'll look into it. Thanks for the Blackstone link.

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    Used CVT fluid looks like engine oil, as if it has products of combustion in it - but of course that’s not possible.

    So it makes me wonder what is causing all the discoloration? What contaminants are causing that? The answers would be found in the used oil analysis.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 49.5 mpg (US) ... 21.0 km/L ... 4.8 L/100 km ... 59.4 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    Nice write-up and pictures. Thanks for posting it. I don't have a CVT but I'm still interested in the process.

    I'm still waiting for someone to send in a sample of used Mirage CVT fluid for an oil analysis. That used fluid isn't looking too good...but an analysis would tell you if that fluid is terrible or if it's in decent shape.
    I called Blackstone to ask if my sample was usable since I had drained the cvt fluid into a pan that is normally used to drain engine oil. Since the pan was not clean they recommended against testing my sample. Oh well, maybe next time. But I won't change fluid for another 3 years so hopefully someone else here will beat me to the punch.

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    Ethay earthway isway atfl Fummins's Avatar
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    I just ordered a kit, will post results in the next month or two or 6.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2014 Mirage SE wussie cvt edition. 1.2 automatic: 37.7 mpg (US) ... 16.0 km/L ... 6.2 L/100 km ... 45.3 mpg (Imp)


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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    Used CVT fluid looks like engine oil, as if it has products of combustion in it - but of course that’s not possible.

    So it makes me wonder what is causing all the discoloration? What contaminants are causing that? The answers would be found in the used oil analysis.
    I believe it gets dark because the CVT fluid in the Mirage gets pretty hot and as such oxidizes at a faster rate than when it's cooler. The fluid in my daughter's 2015 Mirage DE CVT was very dark and murky after ~70K miles. The CVTF deterioration date of ~28000 indicated the fluid temp surpassed 90°C quite a few times.

    Compare this to my experience with my 2014 Altima CVT. I changed the CVT fluid in it after 85K miles - its first change since it was new. The fluid was darker than new fluid but was still translucent. The fluid had only been above 90°C for about one hour in seven years. Its CVTF deterioration date was 50.

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    I have posted this in another thread but I'll toss it in again here...


    How hot does the CVT fluid in a Mirage have to get before the driver gets an overheating warning?

    Answer: 137 C (279 F)...

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    Is that too hot for CVT fluid? I don't know...but I think I would want to know what's going on in the transmission before the fluid reaches 279 F!



    Here are some interesting comments from a Fit owner who monitored his CVT temperature over time...

    2018 Honda Fit EX w/CVT

    I have a Scangauge 2 and the ability to monitor CVT temps. 7+ months have taught me.... The car does have a CVT warmer. Basically a heat exchanger between the engine and CVT. This will bring up CVT temps quicker for fuel economy and my best guess is that once it tries to go over the engine coolant temp, then you could consider it a CVT cooler. That is very loosely said, but the truth is that it works both ways.

    So, about the temps...

    Southern Indiana Winter, under 20 degrees: The trans almost never gets over 100F degrees with my driving and short trips under 15 minutes. From there the temps creep up very slowly and I believe interstate cruising was around 150 degrees. No interstate hills in Southern Indiana.

    Spring temps into the low 70's: CVT acts just like the winter, but add about 20 degrees. It warms up sooner of course, but not a lot sooner.

    Summer 85-100 degrees: The CVT warms up incredibly quickly. I know it helps that it's already warmer to start with... With the car running between 185-190, the CVT is usually 195-205. This is interstate at 75mph. Temperature wise, I feel like interstate driving is where it sees the hottest temps and most of my driving is interstate.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 52.1 mpg (US) ... 22.2 km/L ... 4.5 L/100 km ... 62.6 mpg (Imp)


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    Has anyone ever seen a flashing selector lever position indicator? Sure hope not as this would put the CVT into limp mode or should do so. I don't know if Nissan has a target temperature that sends its CVTs into limp mode - they don't say but I suppose that temperature is one of the important parameters that would trigger it.



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