A4 Auto Transmission Servicing (Long)

Bhatti, Mohammed Mohammed.Bhatti at si-intl.com
Tue Mar 23 10:17:43 EST 2004

Ok, I thought I'd update any of those interested on the procedure for changing the tranny fluid for A4 1.8tqa.  Someone had posted a question on this few days ago.  What I did was just top off the fluid after I found a leak in the transmission cooler line.  I didn't drain the pan since I had the trans fluid replaced about 3 months ago and I had apparently lost quite a bit from the leak.
Anyway, I used the link provided below and my Bentley as a guide:
The Bentley says that a VAG-COM is required to monitor the temp of the ATF and to stop topping off when temp reaches 45C.  But here is what I did:
Tools Needed:
17 mm hex wrench (Sears $9)
Pump (Advanced Auto Parts $4 or the one mentioned in link above)
Audi ATF (5 litres at $19 a pop more if draining and filling probably more)
Jack stands
Floor jack
Copper tubing (about 6"); see above link as to how to use this
Duct tape (to tape copper tubing to end of pump)
Wide mouth spagetti sauce jar (without the sauce) for the ATF
Lots of rags
1. Place jackstands on all four corners.  I got great tips on this from the thread I had posted earlier on how to do this.  The jackstands I have, have a wide base which makes it difficult to place the jack stand under the specified jack point when using a floor jack.  I bought another pair of jackstands that a are lot narrower from Sears.  I was able to place the wide ones on the rear corners and the narrow ones slid into the front using the floor jack.
2. I left the car overnight in this position since both the link above and Bentley say that the trans should be at ambient temp before filling with fluid.
3. Next, get underneath the car.  This is always scary for me.  I always have thoughts of being falttened into the concrete.  I'm still posting so it hasn't happened.  Anyway, I came under from the drivers side behind the front left wheel.  From here, you can access the 17mm fill plug.  Open the drain plug.  According to Bentley, a few drops should flow out.  Mine was so low that nothing came out.
4. Pour some ATF into the jar.  Take your pump with about 3"-5" of copper tubing coming out of the other end.  Place the tubing into the fill hole.  Make sure it goes into the opening inside.  You can put your fingers inside the fill hole and you'll notice a couple of holes.  The copper tubing needs to go into one of these holes for the fluid to pumped in.  Pump as much as you can into the fill hole until some ATF starts to drip out.
5. Start the car and let it warm up (about 5-10 min), get back underneath (scary) and pump another litre or two (handbrake ON!!!)
6. Get back in car and go through D, 4, 3, 2 for about 20 seconds each.  Then reverse, then D, 4, 3, 2 for 20 seconds (with foot brake on at all times).
7. Get back underneath and pump another litre of ATF.  By now (about 15 minutes) the trans should have reached operating temp.  Keep pumping ATF.  The level is correct when the ATF starts to flow out of the fill hole.
8. Close the fill hole and clean up.  Test drive and check for leaks from fill hole.
Total I pumped in was 5 litres which is rougly 5 quarts (1 qt ~ 950 ml).
Ok, to sum then, I didn't drain the ATF because I had already had the trans serviced from the dealer.  Also, I didn't change the filter.  This entails dropping the trans pan.  I plan to do this next go-around.  I also plan to change the rear tail tran seal as it has a minor leak.
Overall, the procedure to drain and fill is very straightforward with the hardest part being to place jack stands at each corner.
Shifting is much smoother but I have a feeling I'll be doing this again very soon because of the rear trans seal.
97 A4 18tqa

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