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Hi All,

I'm a new joiner and would like to know if anyone can help with this one;

I bought an RX300 (2004) about a month ago. Everything's been running well and I've covered about 300 miles so far with no gearbox problems.

Before I put it into my local garage for a full service 2 days ago, I checked the engine oil and gearbox fluid levels.

Both were fine and I noted that the gearbox fluid level was at the max mark. Following the service, on a short drive the following day, I noticed the usual 'kangaroo' effect that you get when the gearbox fluid level's low so I checked it. It was at the 'min' mark. I called the garage (thinking that they must have changed it but not filled it up enough). They informed me that they only checked the level on the service and didn't change the ATF. They told me that the level was ok when they checked it. We arranged that I take it back today for them to look at. This I've now done, and the mechanic noticed the 'kangaroo' effect when he drove it into the inspection bay. On checking the level, he couldn't see any fluid level! He's topped it off with about 2 pints of ATF and it's now just below the max mark. I'll be keeping an eye on it over the next few days. I've got no leak marks on my driveway and no smoking or smells when driving. Where's the ATF been going to? Any suggestions? TIA

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Hello and welcome to the LOC.

Seems a bit of a coincidence that the level was OK before the service and then suddenly drops, was the correct procedure followed for checking the level which is normally with the fluid hot and after moving the selector slowly through all positions twice before checking the dipstick level?

Also did the garage use the correct fluid which is normally only Toyota type IV?

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Keep a close eye on the level. If you are losing fluid from the casing or external oil cooler then it will be easy to spot under the vehicle but there is also an oil cooler built into the radiator so fluid loss will go into the coolant. If too much is lost and the pump can no longer circulate fluid around the cooler then coolant could come back into the transmission which you really don't want to happen.

Always use Toyota T-IV fluid.

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The garage didn't change the fluid, only checked the level. I'm unsure what they've topped it up with although I can guarantee it won't have been with Toyota fluid. I was present for the procedure and it came out of a very large 'ATF' container! I didn't realise that the ATF manufacturer was that critical on these vehicles. I'm going to monitor the level over the next week or so and I'll get back to you! Thanks for the welcome & reply.

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OK, so I've been out again this morning and the ATF level was about midway between full and empty. I took it for a spin and used the kick-down. I noticed a large cloud of mist coming from the rear of the vehicle, seemed to be from the nearside underneath somewhere, so wouldn't seem to tie in with the exhaust which is on the offside. Needless to say, the level has dropped! Any suggestions as to what's happening/at fault greatly appreciated!

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Check the coolant to see if it looks clean or contains transmission fluid in there. Also get someone to put it in drive, with the brakes on, rev the engine just a little and see if you can see fluid coming out under the vehicle.

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