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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here's how to service the new 9 speed transmission. The wifey's Traverse just hit 2k miles, so lets take a look as see how it's doing. If you can change your own oil, you can do this!! The dealer charges a ton of money to do it, and putting it off could cost you a transmission... so lets get to it! The reason I'm doing it so early is to get the factory oil out, look for any debris, and to install a magnetic drainplug. These transmissions have a non servicable filter.... how dumb! The Allison 1000 in my Duramax trucks has a small spin on, much like a engine oil filter. Why the new 9 speed does not is beyond my thinking. This is the Allison filter...
8927


First, find a good level spot. Most garage floors are level enough. Start by draining the old fluid.... you need a drainpan and 11mm or 7-16ths socket. Let it drain all the way out. This could take 10 minutes or so.
8926


Next, replace the stock drainplug with the Gold Plug. It's not like a cheapo you get a Autozone. This thing is strong!
8928
8929

It screws in with a 10mm socket . I got mine from Amazon.
8930


There is allot of metal slinging around is this transmission, including the ring and pinion gear. Some FWD transmissions have a separate "Final Drive" full of gear oil for the ring and pinion... not this one. You want any debris to gather on the magnet, rather than plug up the filter.

Then, take the old oil and pour it into something to measure the volume. Here it is sitting in the drain pan. For only having 2k miles on it it's already turning dark and a has a bit of a stink to it.Healthy atf is cherry red... this is more like dark cherry..
8931
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Here it is being measured.You can see how dark it is. It measured out a 5.5 quarts exactly.
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Next , pop off the engine cover and remove the fill plug and shove the funnel in.You need a T30 Torx driver to get one bolt out, then the cover pops right off. This long funnel is available at any auto supply store.
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Dump in 6 quarts of DEX VI ATF. I like Valvoline Synthetic . But wait!! Only 5.5 quarts came out. WTF? Well. You can make a choice here. You can put 5.5 quarts in and call it a day, or you can put in the full 6 quarts and set the fluid level... and here's how.

Start it up and let it run for a bit. Let the engine fan come on a few times, so you know it's at full operation temp. Then pull out the "Level" plug WHILE IT'S RUNNING!. It lives behind the left front tire. If you added 6 quarts, then .5 quarts should come out and then it will slowly drip. Reinstall the "Level" plug now. This is what I did. I collected the oil that came out and it was exactly .5 quarts.... so either method works fine.
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Then, go for a test drive and look for leaks. I plan to do this again at 5000 miles, then every 30k miles afterwords.

I keep my vehicles for 200k miles.... and regardless of brand or size I do this to every single one..... and I've never replaced a trans in any of them. It's very cheap insurance. The 6 quarts of ATF and the gold plug was $60 and a hour of time. If you have any questions.... ask away. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
 

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Preventative maintenance leads to exceptional/dependable performance. Always worked for aircraft, and no reason it won't work same for cars/trucks! Manufacturer "recommended" maintenance is the "minimum" and may get you to 100k or so. Thanks for the "how to".
 

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Thanks for the good advice. I love to baby my vehicles.
Here's how to service the new 9 speed transmission. The wifey's Traverse just hit 2k miles, so lets take a look as see how it's doing. If you can change your own oil, you can do this!! The dealer charges a ton of money to do it, and putting it off could cost you a transmission... so lets get to it! The reason I'm doing it so early is to get the factory oil out, look for any debris, and to install a magnetic drainplug. These transmissions have a non servicable filter.... how dumb! The Allison 1000 in my Duramax trucks has a small spin on, much like a engine oil filter. Why the new 9 speed does not is beyond my thinking. This is the Allison filter...
View attachment 8927

First, find a good level spot. Most garage floors are level enough. Start by draining the old fluid.... you need a drainpan and 11mm or 7-16ths socket. Let it drain all the way out. This could take 10 minutes or so.
View attachment 8926

Next, replace the stock drainplug with the Gold Plug. It's not like a cheapo you get a Autozone. This thing is strong!
View attachment 8928 View attachment 8929
It screws in with a 10mm socket . I got mine from Amazon.
View attachment 8930

There is allot of metal slinging around is this transmission, including the ring and pinion gear. Some FWD transmissions have a separate "Final Drive" full of gear oil for the ring and pinion... not this one. You want any debris to gather on the magnet, rather than plug up the filter.

Then, take the old oil and pour it into something to measure the volume. Here it is sitting in the drain pan. For only having 2k miles on it it's already turning dark and a has a bit of a stink to it.Healthy atf is cherry red... this is more like dark cherry..
View attachment 8931 .

Here it is being measured.You can see how dark it is. It measured out a 5.5 quarts exactly.
View attachment 8932

Next , pop off the engine cover and remove the fill plug and shove the funnel in.You need a T30 Torx driver to get one bolt out, then the cover pops right off. This long funnel is available at any auto supply store.
View attachment 8933 View attachment 8934

Dump in 6 quarts of DEX VI ATF. I like Valvoline Synthetic . But wait!! Only 5.5 quarts came out. WTF? Well. You can make a choice here. You can put 5.5 quarts in and call it a day, or you can put in the full 6 quarts and set the fluid level... and here's how.

Start it up and let it run for a bit. Let the engine fan come on a few times, so you know it's at full operation temp. Then pull out the "Level" plug WHILE IT'S RUNNING!. It lives behind the left front tire. If you added 6 quarts, then .5 quarts should come out and then it will slowly drip. Reinstall the "Level" plug now. This is what I did. I collected the oil that came out and it was exactly .5 quarts.... so either method works fine.
View attachment 8935

Then, go for a test drive and look for leaks. I plan to do this again at 5000 miles, then every 30k miles afterwords.

I keep my vehicles for 200k miles.... and regardless of brand or size I do this to every single one..... and I've never replaced a trans in any of them. It's very cheap insurance. The 6 quarts of ATF and the gold plug was $60 and a hour of time. If you have any questions.... ask away. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Wow! Superb how-to thread. Just ordered a magnetic drain plug and will be doing the same on my 2019 in a week or so.
Great pics! Thanks for going to all the trouble with this one, very well done! Going in my permanent how-to file folder.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One thing I should mention. These are "Pipe plugs" which nearly always take some kind of sealant, either teflon tape or the brush on stuff. The OEM plugs were installed without any, so thats how I put them in. Also, dont over tighten them. The spec is 6 ft.lbs., but you dont need to break out the torque wrench. Just use a little common sense.
8967
 

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Nice job, first writeup I've seen for a 2nd gen!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Yes, 2018 was the first year of the "Gen 2" which has the new 9 speed transmission
 

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On my 2010. Ive done a bunch of drain/refills.
Once I hit 100,000- I added up the cost of the trans fluid that was purchased.
Turns out that having fresh fluid in the trans is very close $$ to what a dealer charges to do a 'flush' (say at 100K).

I think it was $260 for trans fluid vs $250 for dealer flush
 

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Discussion Starter #12
My dealer said to service the trans was $325. I reminded him there are no hardparts. Just fluid and labor. He replied that was why it was so cheap.....
:oops:

If you've ever had an aquarium or swimming pool... you know the goal is to keep it clean and fresh at all times. It's easier and cheaper.
The transmission is the same way. If you wait until the fluid is black or are experiencing shifting issues before servicing it, you're doing it wrong.
 

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That quote was several yrs ago... Its probably gone up...
This was the same dealer that quoted me (2 weeks ago)-- to change the water pump on my wifes 3.6 Equinox.... $1200.
ummm.. yeah... I went out and spent $114 on parts.

some pics of my how to... (my son cleaned up parts) and I wiped up the face of the timing cover.
 

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Great how to - Thanks AlisoBob !

Anyone have specific suggestions for these higher quality magnetic drain plugs for the engine oil and transfer case.
Just hit 7K miles on our '19 AWD and now that the the weather is warming up I intend to do all 3
 

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Discussion Starter #17
More reasons to service your transmission. It seems a fair number of GM 6, 8 and 9 speed transmissions are suffering from transmission or torque converter shudder. The GM "fix" is to flush out all the crappy Dex VI we've been discussing and putting in Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ( Low Viscosity) ATF.


If this is the cure, does it not make sense to put it in before the shudder starts? It does to me. I've already ordered it, and will put it in at my next service.

You dont need the fancy flush machine. Drain and refill it, drive around the block, and drain and refill again. This swaps out about 90% of the fluid.
 

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More reasons to service your transmission. It seems a fair number of GM 6, 8 and 9 speed transmissions are suffering from transmission or torque converter shudder. The GM "fix" is to flush out all the crappy Dex VI we've been discussing and putting in Mobil 1 Synthetic LV ( Low Viscosity) ATF.


If this is the cure, does it not make sense to put it in before the shudder starts? It does to me. I've already ordered it, and will put it in at my next service.

You dont need the fancy flush machine. Drain and refill it, drive around the block, and drain and refill again. This swaps out about 90% of the fluid.
I didn't see anything in that link talking about transmissions other than the 8L series, nothing about the 6L, 6T or 9T series transmissions...

The fluid states it's Dexos approved, but what does that mean? Is it Dex6? All Dex?

I agree the factory Dex6 is a crappy fluid, but I would still be looking at a Dex6 approved product UNLESS your dealer AND/OR Mobil1 both tell you this is Dex6 approved. Just my opinion, I tend to be cautious.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)


This is from a GM bulletin. It's all I need to know to swap out the DEX VI before problems arise.
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