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How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

XJ4081
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How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby XJ4081 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:43 pm

Hello everybody,

I wanted to do something good for my transmission and so I had the fluid exchanged after 25 years and ~100K km. The guy who did that for me obviously had problems to correctly read the dip stick but finally claimed that everything is fine. After I arrived home, I noticed a smell of ATF around the car, but could not see any leakage. Next day I checked the dip stick when car was cold (engine off) and realized that the dip sticks measure scale was fully drowned, same effect on hot fluid. When accelerating hard, shifting was slow, especially from 1st to 2nd gear, felt like the gear was slipping and didn't sort in at first.

Today I evacuated about 1,5 litre of ATF! Now the dip sticks scale shows fluid up to its middle on cold. That's actually still more than the cold reference mark, but I didn't want to remove too much, so I went for a test drive. Shifting is now much smoother on hard acceleration but not perfect every time. When I read the dip stick on hot fluid with engine running (like the mech did) dip stick is almost dry, when I turn engine off and wait some minutes, dip stick finally shows something.

So what is the correct way of measuring?

Thanks
Oliver
1993 XJ12

old del boy
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Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby old del boy » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:54 pm

The oil should be at working temperature , i think i read a drive of about seven miles is needed , then park up and cycle through all the gear positions then stick it in park and let it idle , keep the engine idling and check on the hot side of the dipstick and fill to halfway between min and max , the manual tells you that the cold side is only for use at the Jaguar dealers , it is also no use checking the level with the engine stopped , it has to be idling ,

Derek..
'93 4.0L Daimler, solent blue,
'93 4.0L Daimler, Westminster,
'85 2600 Rover sd1 vdp oporto.

pimgmx
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Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby pimgmx » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:09 am

Draining such an amount of fluid COULD have done serious damage to the gearbox...

I would strongly recommend to get yourself a workshop manual, and follow factory procedures for this kind of stuff!

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XJ4081
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:12 am
Location: Germany (South-West)

Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby XJ4081 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:09 am

Actually I got me an official workshop manual CD-ROM, but it doesn't run on any of my computers :x . If anybody had a source for a new digitial or printed version that would be welcome - but all links I found so far lead to dead ends.

I don't think I damaged the gearbox, it shifted smoother than before and that ATF smell is also gone! Will measure it again and refill it if necessary.

BTW: I once had an old Opel with GM 3-Speed Automatic, one day it started to drop the gears when cornering hard or especially in roundabouts. We finally found that there were missing 3 out of 6 litres ATF! Gearbox is still alive. Don't have to mention that I had advised my mech to check ATF long time before.
Last edited by XJ4081 on Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1993 XJ12

XJ4081
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:12 am
Location: Germany (South-West)

Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby XJ4081 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 1:32 pm

Checked ATF again according to your procedure and must say it is really hard to read the dip stick, if you measure 5 times you can read 10 different values, i.e. cold site always shows (completely) different value than hot side. Refilled ~400ml and I guess now it's somewhat close to how it should be.

Forgot to mention another thing: after the initial oil exchange it wouldn't shift to 2nd gear when I used the J-Gate, only blocked 4th gear but not the 3rd. Now that's fine, too.
1993 XJ12

old del boy
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Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby old del boy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:53 pm

Cold side will always show different to the hot side but you shouldn't really use that side unless you know what you are doing .

Derek..
'93 4.0L Daimler, solent blue,
'93 4.0L Daimler, Westminster,
'85 2600 Rover sd1 vdp oporto.

XJ4081
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:12 am
Location: Germany (South-West)

Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby XJ4081 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:33 pm

In the meantime I have tried various levels of fluid, but I am still not confident. There is a certain range of levels where the gearbox practically behaves like it should (no hard shifting or delayed shifting, manual J-Gate locks all gears accordingly, warm and cold) but when I measure the dip stick it is still to little. When I add more fluid (or remove some), the gearbox starts to go bonkers, especially using the J-Gate on 2nd Gear then only works as long as fluid is cold.

I am starting to doubt that the fluid that was filled in is really suited for that gearbox. It is a kind of Dexron VI fluid (just like GM recommends), but I assume it has a too low viscosity. Maybe it would be better to use Dexron III or Dexron II E (like it was factory-filled). What do you think?
1993 XJ12

XJ4081
Posts: 166
Joined: Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:12 am
Location: Germany (South-West)

Re: How to correctly measure fluid on GM 4L80-E

Postby XJ4081 » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:13 am

So, solved that issue, too. Probably the problem was the fluid itself, high-end modern car fluid ('the best you can get, Jaguar spec') caused the issue, it simply had too low viscosity. Replaced it with Dexron III doing a complete filter replacement and everything is fine now. I can only recommend not to use Dexron VI or similar fluids in GM 4L80-E.
1993 XJ12


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