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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Confusing trans dip stick reading

Normally, I have the service staff check my transmission fluid level on my 2008 Santa Fe SE with auto trans, but decided to check it myself when I got home after having a complete flush and fill done on the tranny. As instructed in the manual, the trans was up to temp and I had it idling in neutral. The problem is the stick reads OK on the side with the level information, but when I turn the stick over the level is way up the stick. How does this happen and do I need to worry about it? Thanks
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 12:08 PM
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I keep mine filled to just above the first hot mark on the dipstick.
The dipstick on mine curves as it goes in so a little trans oil gets on the edges as I pull it out to check the level.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-05-2012, 11:41 PM
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Make sure you wipe the stick dry before putting in, I think its normal to have some atf on the back of the dip stick.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 02:51 PM
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Mine is always smeared on the reverse side of the dipstick, too. Probably normal.

On a slightly different note, I can't seem to get consistent hot vs. cold readings. Cold readings are normal, in fact they haven't budged over the vehicle's 70,000 km (43,000 mile) life. But hot readings (taken at operating temp, idling in neutral) suggest that a top-up is needed.

Anyone else notice the same thing?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 03:04 PM
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Never mind. Silly post! I assume you are checking it with the engine running?

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 03:14 PM
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The trans oil cold reading is well above the top hot mark on both the Santa Fe and Sonata dip sticks. I attribute that high reading to the trans oil draining down from the torque converter when the motor is off.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2012, 08:55 PM
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That's what my 'silly post' was about. Guess I'll repost to add to the confusion.

Hot running - lowest reading you will get
Cold not running - next higher reading you will get
Hot, but not running - at the mercy of how long you've had it off, but highest reading of all due to fluid expansion + due to drain-down once you've given it some time. If I do this, I always wait about 15 minutes before taking a measurement, and assume it's going to be high. Obviously, this isn't a mode that they recommend for measurement due to the variability on time and temperature both.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 02:44 AM
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Engine off readings are always falsely high on torque converter transmissions because some fluid drains down from the converter and will give a meaningless high fluid reading.

So ALWAYS check the transmission fluid level with engine running - a number of cars have hot/cold calibrations on opposite sides of the dipstick.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
Engine off readings are always falsely high on torque converter transmissions because some fluid drains down from the converter and will give a meaningless high fluid reading.

So ALWAYS check the transmission fluid level with engine running - a number of cars have hot/cold calibrations on opposite sides of the dipstick.
Whats strange is that the Hyundai's have a cold fill level on the dip stick. The level marks are way too low to be of any use.


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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2012, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wymi View Post
Whats strange is that the Hyundai's have a cold fill level on the dip stick. The level marks are way too low to be of any use.
My Hyundai doesn't have a transmission dipstick! but for all my previous cars the cold mark still required the engine to be running.

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