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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, the last time I had my oil changed at Valvoline on my 2016 Enclave with 65k miles on it, they wanted me to let them do a transmission service. I declined because I actually don't trust those kids in there to know what they are doing.

I have noticed recently that upon hard acceleration, the engine will kind of rev up on some up shifts, I think from 2nd to 3rd or 3rd to 4th gear. During all other driving conditions, the transmission is buttery smooth and seems to work great.

What are your positions on whether to get the transmission service and where would you be comfortable getting it done? I tend to feel like it might be best to get it done at the dealer shop. Thanks much.
 

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Avoid what they call a FLUSH.
Many times they use chemiclals. GM considers anything other than Dexron VI, contaminants.
Have them do a drain/refill. (only half the fluid is removed/replaced).
Or a Fluid Exchange- where they simply pump in new fresh fluid- until the stuff coming out is clear.

Dont know if you change your own oil---- but draining half the trans fluid (GEN 1) is very easy. refilling is also easy.

a how to
 
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Automatic transmissions are a weak link on any vehicle so any routine maintenance like this can extend their life and prolong the inevitable failure of said transmissions. If you plan on keeping your vehicle past 50k or it already has over 50k on it change the fluid. Rbarrios has linked to an excellent diy tutorial, I did a double drain and fill last year and I’ll probably do another next year.
 

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Has anyone found any guidance on how to do this on a 2018+ showing exactly where the drain plug and fill port are located? There's no dipstick and the manual just says to take it to a dealer.
 

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Has anyone found any guidance on how to do this on a 2018+ showing exactly where the drain plug and fill port are located? There's no dipstick and the manual just says to take it to a dealer.
I've done it. There's a plug in the bottom of the trans. Drain the fluid into an empty container and measure how much comes out. Reinstall the drain plug. Remove the vent cap from the transmission. It's on the left (driver) side of the engine on top of the transmission. Fill the transmission with the exact amount of Dexron VI that you drained. I'd do this at least two times to get the majority of the old fluid out. Because I was the second owner and was not sure of the fill, I filled it about 1/2 qt more than what came out. There's a procedure for checking fill which requires getting the trans fluid temp up to a pretty high temperature which I was never able to achieve. The service manual says to drive it in 2nd gear to get temp up if needed. I just drove it normal and got it up over 170F and called it good. I then removed the fill plug and let it flow until it slowed to a dribble then screwed the plug back in. The plug is on the side of the trans behind the driver wheel well.

Check out this thread over at Traverse Forum where someone documented the procedure in their 2020 traverse (same trans). Lots of great photos. 2020 9 speed transmission service
 

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Thanks.

I'm very confused on the need for drains/refills though. The person in your link did it at 2K miles and then every 30K, but my service department said it's definitely not needed at 2k and the manual doesn't even require it ever under the normal schedule.

I know everyone has different perspectives on preventive maintenance, but it seems like there should be more specific guidance between every 30K miles and never.
 

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Just to give my 2 cents worth of personal experience here.

I performed the transmission drain and refill procedure (2x) at 60K km (37K miles). I also did the differential and transfer case drain at the same time. The initial transmission drain had a noticeable metal 'hue' and the rear differential oil was quite dark. The transfer case oil looked fine. Considering that the filter in the transmission is not (easily) serviceable and there are several complaints about transmission issues, I would hardly blame anyone for being overly aggressive with the changing of any engine / transmission / drivetrain oil on the lambda platform. From what I saw on my own vehicle, which is mostly driven in the city and we keep until they die, I wish I had done the initial ATF change earlier and plan to do it more regularly.
 

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Thanks.

I'm very confused on the need for drains/refills though. The person in your link did it at 2K miles and then every 30K, but my service department said it's definitely not needed at 2k and the manual doesn't even require it ever under the normal schedule.

I know everyone has different perspectives on preventive maintenance, but it seems like there should be more specific guidance between every 30K miles and never.
I keep cars forever so I'll probably do drain and refills every 75K miles. If you're someone who keeps a car for 3-5 years then gets a new one, there's really no need to do so unless you're doing lots of towing.

There's a known issue with certain 2018+ vehicles with the 9T65 transmission where too much assembly lube causes a shudder/chuggle/fishbite issue at low speed. The solution is to change out the old fluid with new and update the computer with new code. I had these exact symptoms in my 2018 with 45K miles. After I did 2 drain and refill procedures, the trans in my enclave ran beautifully. The fluid was very dark and had lots of suspended, almost microscopic particles.
 

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As mentioned- the 1st gen transmissions have a non user serviceable filter. To replace it- you have to remove the transmission and then split it in half. then remove other stuff to finally get at the filter.
Then, considering how easy it is to drain the fluid on this transmission (half the fluid)
Simply buy the trans fluid when its on sale.
The goal is to maintain the fluid clean and clear. This will also keep varnish from building up on the internal parts.
Once I learned of issue on the 1st gens. I began to do drain/refills. (on my 2013 I started the procedure a little earlier in mileage).
The cost of the fluid from 50K to 100K, is about equal to what a small shop will charge to do a flush at 100K.
Its easy to maintain clean fluid in this trans.


These are my intervals.
50,464
50,883
79,147
79,657
80,441
100,000
110,000
128,000
140,000
160,000
 

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Thanks.

I'm very confused on the need for drains/refills though. The person in your link did it at 2K miles and then every 30K, but my service department said it's definitely not needed at 2k and the manual doesn't even require it ever under the normal schedule.

I know everyone has different perspectives on preventive maintenance, but it seems like there should be more specific guidance between every 30K miles and never.
Just my opinion on this . . . at about 85,000 miles I looked at the fluid on the dipstick and it did not look pink at all. So for not much money, you can buy the fluid and drain the other stuff out (just like doing an oil change, but easier since you are not replacing any filter. Super easy, new fluid - hopefully guarantees your transmission a long life.
 

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Going to be doing my drain/fill/drain/fill next week. Just debating about how much to drive it between the fill and 2nd drain. I'd love to get it all done in one day but I have my doubts it's going to mix really well unless I drive it at least 30 miles so I'll probably give it a week or so in between.
 

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Going to be doing my drain/fill/drain/fill next week. Just debating about how much to drive it between the fill and 2nd drain. I'd love to get it all done in one day but I have my doubts it's going to mix really well unless I drive it at least 30 miles so I'll probably give it a week or so in between.
Maybe I did it wrong, but I didn’t drive that much in between - maybe 10 minutes or so . . .
 

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I keep cars forever so I'll probably do drain and refills every 75K miles. If you're someone who keeps a car for 3-5 years then gets a new one, there's really no need to do so unless you're doing lots of towing.

There's a known issue with certain 2018+ vehicles with the 9T65 transmission where too much assembly lube causes a shudder/chuggle/fishbite issue at low speed. The solution is to change out the old fluid with new and update the computer with new code. I had these exact symptoms in my 2018 with 45K miles. After I did 2 drain and refill procedures, the trans in my enclave ran beautifully. The fluid was very dark and had lots of suspended, almost microscopic particles.
I bought a 2019 Avenir with 6800 miles and noticed a shudder upon acceleration in town. I also had a brake squealing problem. Read here about a fluid change, had it done with new rear brake pads installed by a Buick dealer (not even where I purchased the vehicle) under warranty, and the results are dramatic. Get it done under warranty!!
 

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I had my dealer service the trans on my 2014 at about 85-90k miles. They did the fluid exchange method. It took quite a while as I was there 4 hours. No issues still at 107k
 

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i use to pull the tranny coolant tube going to the radiator (hard to reach) connect an auxiliary tube from that tube and direct to a bucket. run the engine 20-50 seconds til tube gurgles. add the 2-3 quarts u just pumped out, do it again. repeat until the outlet fluid is bright red. it’ll take 12-14 quarts. i’d say this is a 98% flush

i’ve since added an external raybestoes 3/8” filter and an external tranny cooler located under the front license plate. i now just disconnect the tube to the filter (easily accessed since i put it so) and future fluid changes are a breeze. i have this external filter installed on 2 of my other cars. i replace the $25 filter around 20k miles. i’ve saved them. at some point i’ll cut the filters open to inspect

ur using the trannys pump under normal pressure, no chemicals, no aggitation to free up loose debris (if u change fluid often, you really won’t have debris. i know bc i’ve removed my techm 3x over the past 167k miles and could’ve not see sediment at least in that area of the tranny), running tranny 10-30 seconds in park w no load/fluid won’t harm anything..... and you get a near 100% fluid exchange

rbarrios preaches time and time again, change ur oil and tranny fluids often. best advice i wish i’d practiced earlier when we bought our 2009 in 2010!
 

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jay, i replaced my 2009 167k tranny due to TC shudder w a used 2011/12 67k tranny. unfortunately, fluid was very dirty in the junkyard tranny. i did my 13 quart flush by disconnecting tranny outlet tube to a pan. did 10-25 miles of test drives as i was checking out my work over the next few days.... and my fluid was darker. i think ur 30 mile estimate is about spot on. i’d guess drive no less that 30 miles. ensure u shift between all gears. i then did another 12 quarts on the used dirty tranny, and it stayed bright red after that. then i added the external filter.

i’m sticking w the 13 quart flush. but the 4 quart drain plug method is faster. we all get the the same place
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just curious as to what you guys do with the old transmission fluid when you drain it yourself?
 

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Just curious as to what you guys do with the old transmission fluid when you drain it yourself?
The big auto parts stores almost always accept used fluids for recycle. Walmart stores that have auto and tire centers take it. Every state I've lived in, it's required by law that shops that do oil changes, etc are required to take used fluids from the public.

Check with your state/county/city. In my state, every county has numerous recycle centers that take trash, tires, recyclables, batteries, vehicle oils including transmission fluid, brake fluid and antifreeze free of charge. I have 3 within 10 miles of my house.
 

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I bought a 2011 Enclave with 87k miles on it a few years back. Trans started shifting late and other minor annoyances. Had the dealer change the fluid for $100 and things improved. Since then I have the trans fluid every 30k miles (120k & 150k). My Enclave has 164k miles on it and trans shifts fairly well but intermittently shifts late.
Cannot emphasize the importance of changing the trans fluid on 1st generation models. 2nd generation also seems to benefit as well.
I did research and have been happy with the XADO trans fluid treatment (on Amazon). Magic Russian "cureall" oil does seem to make a difference with how my Enclave shifts. Less delay and a bit less slippage.
You should also consider adding a transmission cooler to supplement the factory one.
Cheers.
 
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