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Thread: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

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    Administrator llamavan's Avatar
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    Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Checking and adding fluids • Battery • Oil filter • Fuses • Wiper fluid


    Tools needed: Nada!

    BRAKE FLUID

    To check the brake fluid, open the driver’s door (yes, really):


    Looking closer, here’s a view of the "window” to check the brake fluid level:

    Add brake fluid by removing the black rubber cap. Use DOT 3 brake fluid. Use a funnel and go slowly. Wipe any spilled fluid up immediately.


    CHECK OR ADD OIL AND COOLANT

    First, lift the engine “hood” (under your driver’s seat). Yes, really.

    Here’s where it’s all found:



    Here’s what it is:

    1 = Oil fil cap. Add oil here! Toyota calls for SAE 10W30 oil in the 3Y and 4Y van engines. Some vans may require a different oil; most do not. Fill to the “full” line on the dipstick. If you are changing the oil, Toyota says you will need 3.7 quarts or 3.5 liters to refill.

    2 = Location of the oil dipstick

    3 = Radiator cap, which is on the “filler neck”, NOT on the radiator (vans be different)!

    4 = Coolant overflow tank. On the passenger (fan shroud) side of the tank, there are molded lines saying “ADD” and “FULL”. It helps to place a flashlight on top of the coolant bottle before looking at the lines; that way the coolant level shows up great. You will still have to lean waaay over.

    If you are checking coolant, DO include a check at the radiator cap (but NOT if the van is hot; wait until it cools down). If there is a leak anywhere in the system, the coolant overflow bottle (4) can be full, but the system itself can become dangerously low on fluid. You should see coolant up to the top of the filler neck.

    If the coolant regularly disappears (that is, the van needs coolant added to the overflow more than around once a year) or there is little or no coolant visible at the filler neck, the van has a serious problem. Don’t put off investigating that!!!


    BATTERY • OIL FILTER • POWER STEERING FLUID • TRANSMISSION FLUID

    Open the slider door. Yes, really!


    On 2nd generation (’86-’89) vans, slide the passenger seat forward first.
    On 1st generation (’84-’85) vans, the passenger seat doesn’t slide, so don’t try!


    The left cover (that should have a plastic-headed wing nut, but might not) is the access for your oil filter, power steering fluid, and (on automatic vans), the tranny fluid dipstick.

    Also notice that behind the driver’s seat on the floor is another carpet flap hiding the cover for the battery!
    If your van is not too beat up and hasn’t been modified by previous owner(s), the battery location sticker is probably still present on the interior trim panel:

    Get the largest battery that fits in the compartment — don’t mess around with dinky batteries for the vans.

    This is a 5-speed van, so no dipstick.

    Toyota calls for Dexron® or Dexron II® automatic transmission fluid (ATF) in the vans' power steering fluid system (and, in fact, for every other Toyota I’ve owned). These have been superceded by Dexron III®. DO NOT use “power steering fluid”! DO NOT overfill!


    Here’s the transmission fluid dipstick on an automatic transmission van:

    Toyota calls for Dexron II® automatic transmission fluid (ATF); this has been superceded by Dexron III®
    Add fluid, if necessary, with a loooong skinny funnel right into the dipstick tube.


    FUSE BOX

    Here’s your van’s fuse box, found in the area under the glove box:



    Here it is with the main cover off. Notice the small covered portion on the right side …


    And here’s what’s lurking under that small covered portion.

    These two fuses are necessary to the van’s operation — THEY ARE NOT EXTRA FUSES!
    Notice that the correct amperage and purpose of each is noted on the small cover.


    And here’s the back (inside) of the main fuse box cover, telling you what should be where and why.

    The upper arrow points to the REAL spare fuses.
    The lower arrow points to the very cool and effective fuse puller (thanks, Toyota!).


    WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID

    Open the (rear) lift gate. Yes, REALLY!

    Here it is!


    On the 1984 vans ONLY, there is a separate reservoir in the front. Access by lifting the passenger side carpet:



    Now, aren’t you glad you have one of these kewl and ingenious Toyota Vans?
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1984 A/T LE; barely broken in with only 125K! ("PJvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 405K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Thank you for posting this information. I have owned a Toyota van for 18 years and I did not know about the oil filter access hole. If you know that, maybe you can tell me where I will find the group of fusible links surrounded by a green rectangle in the accompanying section of the schematic for an '88 van.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  3. #3
    Administrator llamavan's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Using the search feature, enter "fusible link" and just like magic ...

    The Fusible Link Thread

    Gwen
    1985 5-speed window cargo van set up for llama haulin'; 345K ("Trustyvan")
    1984 A/T LE; barely broken in with only 125K! ("PJvan")
    1989 4WD 5-speed DLX; 405K and an odd sense of humor ("Skylervan")

  4. #4
    Van Fan RawbSpear's Avatar
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    Question Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    where is the fuel filter?
    At the sirens of humanity we STOMP!

  5. #5
    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Rawb, sorry but until now I somehow missed your post. I'm sure you've already figured it out but I wanted to reply so the "next guy" could benefit.

    The fuel filter is on the passenger side of the engine between the distributor and the oil filter (see arrow in picture below):


    This is a big filter so unless you have a contaminated fuel system it should only need to be replaced at 60,000 mile intervals. To access and replace you must 1st remove the passenger side seat, center console and engine access panel. Before you remove any lines, loosen the fuel cap enough to release pressure from the system. When pressure is gone use a 6 point 17mm socket on the top banjo bolt and remove. After that's off use a 12mm socket with an extension to remove the 2 bolts holding the bracket to the block. The lower fuel line is flexible, so once the bracket bolts are removed the filter can be maneuvered to a position favorable to access the lower fitting. Again, a 6 point 17mm socket will fit the banjo bolt, but since the filter is loose you'll also need a 19mm open end wrench to back things up (counter torque). Tim

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    This is great info! I haven't done any of this yet, but I also haven't driven the van since I drove it home months ago either. I plan on doing EVERYTHING that I can think, that needs to be replaced or checked. I want to eventually go thorough alot of stuff on the engine side of things too. Something like, if someone bought a van with no history on it, and it has over 100,000 miles on it, what should be replaced or inspected. I'm thinking sensors, valves, maybe even connections, but this is a great start for a new owner!

  7. #7
    Van Enthusiast brentlehr's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    What's the bolt size for a rear differential drain plug?

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    Administrator timsrv's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    It's 24mm metric but 15/16" SAE fits it nicely too. You should use a 6 point socket as there isn't much surface area here. It's common for these to round-off so be careful. I'm sure they make special sockets for this, but I use a 6 point 15/16" socket that I ground down on a disc grinder. I removed some of the open side to get rid of the interior chamfer (this provides more surface area between the socket and plug). That socket fits nice and tight and I don't need to worry about it slipping and rounding the plug. BTW, this is the same size used on the fill plug too. The front differential (for you 4wd owners), manual transmissions & transfer cases use this same plug size. Broached sockets (relieved areas between sides of hex, like the one below) are also preferred as they are less likely to round off the plug. Tim



  9. #9
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Any help on auto trannys? It's not like I know you're busy Tim, but thought I'd try.

    Even just a link would be great!

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    What type of basic knowledge are you after?

  11. #11
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Kinda like what I mentioned above;

    "I plan on doing EVERYTHING that I can think, that needs to be replaced or checked. I want to eventually go thorough alot of stuff on the engine side of things too. Something like, if someone bought a van with no history on it, and it has over 100,000 miles on it, what should be replaced or inspected. I'm thinking sensors, valves, maybe even connections, but this is a great start for a new owner!"

    So lets say I bought a van with 100,000 miles on it with VERY little history on it. So now I'm in the process of going through reading up on everything I can think of. Eventually I want to check off each and every item. Now I'm interested in reading up on doing all the maintance on the auto tranny.

  12. #12
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Assuming the transmission doesn't leak, doesn't slip, and shifts smoothly, all you would want to do is change the fluid and filter. I've purchased the filter and gasket from Toyota before and I've also purchased aftermarket. After a careful inspection of each, the only difference I could tell was the aftermarket kits came with everything I needed (Toyota parts are sold separately). www.rockauto.com had a sale on these kits a while back and I bought 6 of them for about $3 each . The ones I got are Fram #FT1112.

    Once you have the parts and the fluid (about 3 qts of Dexron III), pull the drain plug and get the excess fluid out. After it's drained remove the pan. The filter on these is blocked by a metal tube. The tube can be tweaked enough to get the filter off, but I usually pop one end of the tube off the valve body with a big slot-tip screwdriver........then you have ample room. I will usually start the van and cycle through the gears with the old filter and metal tube removed just to get a bit more fluid out. Once you get the filter and filter gasket replaced, put the metal tube back in it's bore and tap it into place with a hammer. Clean the old gasket surfaces, and thoroughly clean the pan. Pull the magnets out of the pan and use a rag to carefully wipe all the metal powder off of them. Once clean put them back in the pan and put the pan/pan gasket back on. I will usually put in 2 quarts, then start the van and cycle through the gears. Then check fluid and add as required while the van is idling. Stop and check level after every cup or so and cycle through the gears again when you get close.

    Note: pay attention to the old fluid and check it for excessive metal flakes. It's normal to have some black dust-like flakes on the magnets, but you shouldn't see the fluid glisten in the sun like a metallic flake paint job. Tim

    Helpful Hint: Catch all the old ATF in a drain pan then use a funnel to pour into a gallon jug (clear ones work the best). Now take a clean jug of the same type and pour your new fluid into that while it's sitting next to the one with old fluid. Allowing for transfer losses, put about 1/4" more fluid into the new jug than what was in the old. Now slowly pour the new fluid into your transmission while the engine is running and transmission is in park. Don't go too fast as it takes a little time for the transmission to pump the new fluid into the correct spots. When the jug is empty the fluid level in your transmission should be correct. At the very least it will be close and you can make minor adjustments as required. Tim

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    Assuming the transmission doesn't leak, doesn't slip, and shifts smoothly, all you would want to do is change the fluid and filter. The ones I got are Fram #FT1112.
    What is the difference between the Fram #1112 vs Fram #1112A ?

    They state that the #1112 is Internal transmission Cartridge
    and
    #1112A is Internal transmission Cartridge w/RN8011 Gasket RN8011 is a fiber based gasket with rubber binder

    Do I really need the RN8011? Also I guess the auto trannys are the same for 2WD vs 4WD?

    And dang! I wish all the Oyota parts were ratiolly (sp?) that cheap!

    Oh and I do have some leaks somewhere underneath. Does seem to be working correctly.

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    I'm not sure about differences from one kit to another, just make sure it's for the van and it has all the pieces. It should include strainer, strainer gasket, and pan gasket. The kits I have use cork for the pan gaskets and paper for the strainer gasket. I'm indifferent to the type of gasket material. I've used both and never had a problem with either. If a person pulls the pan and does a service every 60k miles (like you're supposed to) either type gasket will do the job. Tim

    PS: You are correct, 2wd & 4wd use the same kit.

  15. #15
    Van Enthusiast mahleek87's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    I just changed my transmission oil the other day. I went to the dealer and bought 3 qts of the Toyota Automatic transmission fluid that is engineered to replace Dex II / III.

    I pulled the drain plug on my tranny and let it drain for about 45 min- 1 hr. Then put the bolt back on and checked the dipstick. Dry as a bone. Started to add fluid. I added only 2 qts of ATF and looked at the dipstick and it said full in the hot zone. So I only added 2 qts of ATF even though I bought 3. Then two days later which is today I checked the dipstick in the morning before starting the van and noticed that the dipstick read that it is a little over full only after adding two qts? Does this mean that I added too much? Should I drain some out? What should the dipstick read on a cold van before starting? Is there a danger of adding a little too much fluid? Ive had bad luck with auto trannys and would like to make this one last as long as possible.

    PS I just got this used transmission installed last year. This is the first time I have attempted changing the fluid after putting 26K on it this year. It came looking great. Clean/ no leaks, shifts great and the person who installed it said it came out of a van with less then 120,000 miles on it.

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    I guess changing ATF without changing the filter/strainer is better than nothing, but kind of like putting dirty cloths back on after a shower. When you pull the pan & strainer you'll get more fluid out (that's why you got less than 2 quarts to drain). When I do the job, after removing the strainer I start the van and cycle through the gears to get a little more fluid out.

    If the fluid level is less than 1/2" above the "full" line of the dipstick it's probably no big deal, but I wouldn't leave it there. Just get back under and drain some out. Don't rely too much on the "cold" fill mark. Drive the van until it's at operating temperature, then do the final fluid adjustment to the "hot" range of the dipstick. Check the dipstick while the van is at temperature & idling in park. Tim

    PS: Major over filling the transmission (more than 1/2" over the "full line of the dipstick) is bad. If transmission fluid is high enough to contact the gears, they will whip the fluid into a foam. Foam is basically fluid mixed with air. The problem is air reduces the volume of fluid that's pumped and since it's compressible, the result is low fluid pressure & reduction in lubrication to the critical areas. Automatic transmission fluid is also used to transfer heat out of the transmission & when it's mixed with air it's less dense and less effective doing that. This can lead to slipping/overheating of the clutches and if driven this way for too long can burn or damage them.

  17. #17
    Van Enthusiast mahleek87's Avatar
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    Ok I will check the dipstick when the van is idling and is in park while its warm.

    How often are you supposed to change the filter and transmission oil? I got this transmission a year ago and have put 26,000 miles on it since. Back when my mechanic installed it a year ago, he drained out 2-3 qts and put in a new filter as well as a new gasket.

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    According to Toyota there isn't really any set schedule unless your van qualifies for "severe service". For "normal service" Toyota recommends checking for leaks and checking fluid level every 20k miles (they don't actually say when it should be replaced). The dealerships I worked at would replace transmission fluid as part of the 60k mile service. That seems about right to me so I always replace my ATF and swap out strainers every 60k miles. I like the Amsoil synthetic ATF and have exclusively used that for many years (at least on the vehicles I cared about). Tim.

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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners

    where do I put new transmission fluid in on a 5 speed??

  20. #20
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    Re: Basic Van knowledge for new owners





    Quote Originally Posted by timsrv View Post
    It's 24mm metric but 15/16" SAE fits it nicely too. You should use a 6 point socket as there isn't much surface area here. It's common for these to round-off so be careful. I'm sure they make special sockets for this, but I use a 6 point 15/16" socket that I ground down on a disc grinder. I removed some of the open side to get rid of the interior chamfer (this provides more surface area between the socket and plug). That socket fits nice and tight and I don't need to worry about it slipping and rounding the plug. BTW, this is the same size used on the fill plug too. The front differential (for you 4wd owners), manual transmissions & transfer cases use this same plug size. Broached sockets (relieved areas between sides of hex, like the one below) are also preferred as they are less likely to round off the plug. Tim


    Don't worry about measuring exact amounts. As long as the van is sitting reasonably level, just keep adding gear oil to the fill hole until oil starts coming back out (the bottom of the fill hole is the proper fill level). This is true for manual transmissions, transfer cases, & differentials too. In some places you'll have enough access to squeeze a quart bottle sideways (to force oil in), but in others you're limited on space. This is particularly true with the front differential (4wd). For this I use a gear oil pump (available at most auto parts stores). It fits on the top of the gear oil jug and pumps the oil through a clear vinyl tube. I bent a piece of copper tubing ~95 deg to go on the end of the vinyl tubing. The copper piece fits nicely in the front differential fill hole and will hang there while I pump gear oil.

    As for getting the front differential fill plug off/on, this requires an extensive vocabulary of naughty words . Tim

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