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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So, were were talking about the ATF level on before a cold start and were wondering what other folks were seeing in their cars. Discussion in this thread for the curious.

Was going to do an actual poll, but there are too many possible answers.

If you don't mind, please do the following:

After your car has been sitting overnight or at least 12 hours, whichever is longer, check your ATF level and reply with the following information:
  1. ATF level on the dipstick
  2. Temperature (please indicate if it is air temperature or ATF temperature obtained via a code reader)
  3. Transmission (if not 62TE, I'll assume 62TE otherwise)
  4. (edit) whether this is the factory fill, or your trans fluid has been changed or otherwise modified due to trans work
For those who don't know, you can use your engine oil dipstick. Before you start your car for the day, after it has been sitting at least 12 hours - Remove the "for dealer use only" transmission fill cap and set aside. Pull your engine oil dipstick and wipe clean. Insert the dipstick into the ATF fill tube until it hits the dipstick stop (it goes in about 16" and you will have about one foot of dipstick still sticking out). Pull dipstick out and measure how high the ATF is on the dipstick using a ruler/tape measure.

I was reading 90mm at 88F air temp (73F trans temp per OBD reader - I started the car, after measuring the dipstick, to get the OBD reading). Thanks for responses, wanting to see if most folks were in the same range when cold. My ATr has been changed, coupla times.
 

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2019 DGCGT flex fuel, 15K miles.
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2019 DGC 18K miles (factory fill?, bought used CPO). Transmission case temperature 82F. degees (IR temp. gun). Pre-start morning transmission fluid level: 4.5" (114mm).
 

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It must be noted that measuring atf level with the motor off is not an accepted measurement. If it were, there would be a factory spec for it.
No different than motor oil other than the drain down interval is very long, to get a final measurement. That measurement serves as a perfect reference when changing the transmission fluid, especially when using a drain plug.

On my 4th Generations, the level was at the crook in the dipstick. Remember, there's nothing absolute about the fluid level in the transmission. It's all about being within a range.
 

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July 5th, 2021; 4:30 PM, ADT; 25C/77F; 95 mm maximum reading."cold turkey". Other side of dipstick: 88 mm.
 

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2019 DGCGT flex fuel, 15K miles.
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2019 DGC 18K miles (factory fill?, bought used CPO). Transmission case temperature 82F. degees (IR temp. gun). Pre-start morning transmission fluid level: 4.5" (114mm).
Well this is embarassing!
"Cold turkey" reading this morning: 92mm (3-5/8"). Not sure what happened yesterday. I'll note if there is a change tomorrow.
 

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Well this is embarassing!
"Cold turkey" reading this morning: 92mm (3-5/8"). Not sure what happened yesterday. I'll note if there is a change tomorrow.
Make sure you know where the top of your dipstick is so that you don't go past the stop. It should only go down the tube about 16.1"/408 mm.

Took a "roasted turkey" reading after a trip today. Reading was in the middle for the temperature..Looks good.
July 6, 2021; 11:45 ADT; 19C/66F; 34 mm, 65.5C/150F IRT

My cold turkey readings are generally 95 mm, not much variation. Yesterday's was 95 mm after sitting for 17 hours.
 
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Checked yesterday after sitting for about 5 hours
July 6, 2021; 17:00 ADT; 19C/66F; 92 mm

Today, July 7, 2021; 13:30 ADT; 27C/81F; 95 mm after sitting for 14 hours.

A coupe things I have noticed:
1. Putting the dipstick down the tube, with the lettering on the yellow top piece facing me, which it should, seems to give a solid landing, more so than the other way around, which can sometimes go past the stop. The "crook" in the dipstick controls that, I guess.
2. The dipstick gives two "cold turkey" readings, a higher reading on one side which seems consistent, and is the one I use, and a lower reading on the other side by 5+ mm difference. The slant in the dipstick does that.
I will check this difference out for the hot readings, to see if it happens there.

I note that the universal dipstick, used for the 62TE, does not have a crook in it's blade. Interesting. Wonder what they say about taking readings with that dipstick? Seems to me it would be weird with one side of the dipstick rubbing against the tube. Maybe the plug on the end prevents that.

 

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Just measured mine, cold turkey, after a 13.5 hour shutdown.

Today, July 8, 2021; 13:00 ADT; 23C/73F; 95 mm max after sitting for 13.5 hours. Other side read 90 mm

My baseline is pretty much established at 95 mm max, cold turkey, overnight. Readings are totally consistent. :)
 
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November 8, 2021: Checked the transmission fluid level "cold turkey" in the 2016 DGC last week and it was at 95mm even though the ambient temperature was a little colder than previous checks. That is a very reliable way to know if the transmission has too much or too little fluid.

I do have an IR thermometer but not needed for this quick, and very simple, check.

Also checked a 2010 Hyundai Elantra that I previously worked on, way back in May, last week. Did an oil change plus a transmission drain and fill back then. Back then the pre-drain level on the transmission dipstick "cold turkey" was 3" right on. When I refilled it, it was 3" "cold turkey" right on. When I checked it last week, "cold turkey", it was 3.0" right on. What can I say other than the "cold turkey" method of measuring transmission fluid level is "right on". :)
 
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2009, 62TE.
Cold for 15 hours, level ground (front to back and side to side). Measures at 95.0 MM on the Dorman Measuring tool.
Outside ambient is 65 degree F.
Trans has been drained and filled three times.
Vehicle mileage is 235K.
 

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2008 Chrysler Town & Country Limited 4.0
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I checked our van's trans fluid level yesterday morning. Cold engine overnight, maybe 50 degrees in the garage, measured 88 mm on the engine oil dipstick 2 separate times. No records of the trans fluid/filter being changed, van has 87k miles.
 

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I checked our van's trans fluid level yesterday morning. Cold engine overnight, maybe 50 degrees in the garage, measured 88 mm on the engine oil dipstick 2 separate times. No records of the trans fluid/filter being changed, van has 87k miles.
It should measure pretty consistently in that 88 mm area unless you have a leak. Good luck.
 

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It should measure pretty consistently in that 88 mm area unless you have a leak. Good luck.
I'll measure it a couple more days before changing the fluid/filter. I should also check the fluid once it's warmed up against the fluid level chart...
 

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90 mm yesterday, December 1st, 0C ambient temperature, 95 mm today, 10C ambient temperature. That fluctuation is fine. I don't think I have ever seen more than 5 mm fluctuation from 95mm on my Van.
The ambient temperature overnight may have made some difference in the drain down but I don't think so. The vehicle was used until 11:00 both previous evenings.
 
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My method for setting up the procedure I use, in a nutshell.
1. Determine when the dipstick is bottoming out on the metal stop down under. That's 16.1" +/- below the top opening in the tube. Also observe where the yellow handle on the dipstick is located when that happens for quick checks thereafter. You don't want the dipstick going past the stop regardless of what procedure you use.
2. Mark the motor oil dipstick on the side opposite to the motor oil reading, using a file (triangular shaped or use an edge). I marked mine at 95 mm as that seems to be a common reading, certainly is on mine. For some it may vary slightly from that reading.
3. When putting the dipstick down the tube, keep the marked side to the rear for consistency. For my dipstick, the lettering on top faces me, same for when I'm checking the motor oil.
4. For more consistent readings, allow the transmission fluid to drain down for 6 hours, or even better overnight, as used to be recommended for motor oil. Transmission fluid takes a while to drain down.
The best time to check the engine oil level is about 5 minutes after a fully warmed engine is shut off or before starting the engine after it has sat overnight.
 

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It's strange to me that our vans have no dipstick, but my 2014 Jeep with a 3.6L has a transmission dipstick.
What?? :) Which automatic transmission?
Did that come from Quadratec maybe?
 
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