How To: Transmission Fluid Change on the Aisin Warner AWTF-80SC (06+ Aero Automatic) - SaabCentral Forums
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  #1  
Old 20th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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Default How To: Transmission Fluid Change on the Aisin Warner AWTF-80SC (06+ Aero Automatic)

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THIS THREAD IS ONLY FOR THE 6 SPEED AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION!! DO NOT ASK QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS OR POST INFORMATION ABOUT THE OTHER TRANSMISSIONS AS IT WILL ONLY LEAD TO CONFUSION!!!

SIX SPEED AUTOMATIC ONLY!

With that said,

The AWTF-80SC is in 06+ Aeros as well as the 1.9 Diesel versions. It is also called the TF-80SC (AWF21, AF40-6, AM6, AW6A-EL) and TF-81SC (AF21).

Recommended Fluid: GM Part # 93165147. Or if you dont want to spend $25 a liter from GM then you can go for the Ford Motorcraft XT-8-QAW Transmisson fluid. Exact same stuff but much cheaper at $8 a quart from your local Ford dealer.

Saab, as well as Volvo and Ford all recommend fluid changes at 30K intervals on these transmissions. And they really do need changing every 30K miles because there is no fluid filter in these transmissions. Just a pickup screen, which is why the fluid gets so dirty so fast.

Step 1: Drive the car up on ramps, then jack the rear of the car up until it is level.

Step 2: Slide under your car and look for the drain bolt on the bottom side of the transmission near the drivers side of the car. Grab a pan to catch the fluid, as its about to come gushing out once that bolt is off. Get a Torx bit, a T40(Should be a T40 or T45) and un screw the inner bolt like so:



Once that is off fluid will come out of the middle and let it drain completely. Shoudnt take too long.

Step 3: Once its all drained out, get a 12mm hex bit and unscrew the drain plug.





I found these at Autozone. About $10 for all three.



This is where the majority of the fluid will come out. Careful cause this stuff is scolding hot. So hot it splashed on my sunburnt arm and gave me a second degree burn and made my skin peel and everything... Let that drain out completely. Be sure to measure exactly how much came out because that will be exactly how much to put back in!

Step 4: Refill. You have two options here. The hard way, and the hard way.

The first hard way involves unscrewing this POS of a bolt.


As you can see I stripped mine, because you cant get good angle on it because the turbo heat shield is in the way. You could take the heat shield off, but that involves unscrewing like 5 hard as hell to get to 10mm bolts.

So what to do now you may be asking with a transmission that has no fluid and no perciveable way to fill it back up?

Use the vent tube to fill it back up! Yes thats right boys and girls, The AWTF 80 has a vent tube attached to the side of the housing that SAAB was generous enough to attach a piece of 1/4" hose to and stick it near the ABS module. It looks like this!



The end of it should be hanging around the ABS module or brake booster/reservoir. The end of the hose will be pointing towards the ground. Find it, clean it off, and stick a tiny little funnel in it like so. I know its hard to see the funnel at first because its white and my Note 2 will sometimes over expose photos.



While you still have the drain plug open on the bottom, go ahead and flush about half of a quart of fluid through it to make sure youve got the right hose and if there was any debris in the hose it will flush it out.

Once clean fluid is pouring out of the drain plug, go ahead and put it back in and snug it all up down there. (sorry I dont have any torque specs for you by the book yellow bellies, I simply tightened it about the same amount I would the oil drain bolt. Be careful because it is an aluminum housing that can strip easily. Especially the little tiny one inside the big one.)

Anyways. Once its all tightened up, prepare to fill the transmission with clean new fluid. I did so by jamming the hose and funnel between the coolant reservoir and the brake fluid reservoir and stuffing a rag all around it in case I spilled any.

Go ahead and start slowly pouring fluid down the hose and prepare for the most boring thing you will ever do to your car. Throughout this process you will be staring at the tiny little funnel and start to question what you are doing with your life as the fluid takes its sweet time dripping in to the trans.



Be careful when doing this, because as you are filling the trans with a liquid, there is still alot of air inside of it that has no where to escape but out of the vent tube you are forcing fluid down. So, quite regularly as the fluid is draining, the transmission will burp and air will come bubbling up through tube. This will make quite a mess as you can see from the pictures so be sure to have some spare rags handy to wipe any up.

If you are impatient (like I am) then there is one thing you can do to speed it up. Remember that little tiny bolt inside the big drain bolt.



Yeah that one. If you take it out while filling up the trans, it will give the air thats trapped inside somewhere to go and it will fill up much quicker.

Now when I drained my trans I had about 2.75 quarts come out. So as I began to add it back with the little drain plug opened on the bottom I got about 2 quarts in the transmission before fluid began to pour out of the bottom. So obviously when that happens, you have no choice but to put the plug back in and just sit there and wait for it to slowly pour in.

All in all, the hardest part was jacking the car up in the rear and adding the fluid back was time consuming and boring as hell. I started draining the fluid at about 11AM and was all finished at about 12:45. So almost about an hour and a half if I knew what I was doing and hadent fought the dam stripped fill bolt.

So hopefully someone found this post helpful, and maybe it could even get stickied. Because it took me about a month to figure out exactly where that fill bolt was on the top of the trans and to find the dam fluid.

GM recommends doing a simple fluid change every 30K miles. And believe me, do it every 30K miles if you want your transmission to last. THESE ARE NOT "SEALED TRANSMISSIONS" FOR LIFE like some will say. The fluid in my car was changed at the dealer about 3 years ago at 64K miles by the previous owner. I changed mine at 93K miles and the fluid that came out was BLACK. Literally was black. Didnt smell burnt or anything it was just dirty as hell.

Ive drove about 300 miles on the new fluid so far and I can say that the downshifting has become ALOT smoother. These transmissions have sticking valve body issues and mine was starting to stick and clunk on downshifts. After I changed the fluid, I noticed an immediate improvement in shifting.

Last edited by swedespeed7; 7th October 2018 at 12:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 20th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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And if anyone is wondering. Yes I used the Ford fluid in my GM car



Heres the back of the bottle. I underlined the important part...

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  #3  
Old 20th July 2013
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Awesome. Into the How To sticky it goes.... Thanks!
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Old 20th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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Cool!

Another thing to note, these six speed AW trans dont have a filter... So that is why GM recommends changes every 30K. There is only a small screen on the pickup for the pump. So be sure whatever funnel you use to fill it up with is clean and dont let any sand/dirt in!
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  #5  
Old 20th July 2013
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Nice write up. Thanks for the excellent photos too. I found it entertaining to read too and I don't even have that transmission.
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  #6  
Old 21st July 2013
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dc99 dc99 is offline
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Nice right up dude, matter of fact I did the fluid change today and your right the fill plug is a PIA. I went through the trouble to remove the battery box to access the plug then used the torx socket with a swivel and long extension. It took alot longer but for the first time not too bad. The torque specs are still fresh if anyone wants them, the fill plug is 22ft lb, drain plug (allen) 33ft lb and the center tube bolt is 7ft lb or I used inch torque wrench 84 in lbs.
I read in another thread someone used a hand fluid pump to pump the fluid through the tube, I did buy one but there's no way your gonna get 3 liters in the trans using this method. The idea sounds good but you'll be too short on fluid this way.
Only 50K and my fluid was dark brown, first time change, 2 more to go....
BTW I change my coolant also, that was more of a PIA....
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Old 21st July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc99 View Post
Nice right up dude, matter of fact I did the fluid change today and your right the fill plug is a PIA. I went through the trouble to remove the battery box to access the plug then used the torx socket with a swivel and long extension. It took alot longer but for the first time not too bad. The torque specs are still fresh if anyone wants them, the fill plug is 22ft lb, drain plug (allen) 33ft lb and the center tube bolt is 7ft lb or I used inch torque wrench 84 in lbs.
I read in another thread someone used a hand fluid pump to pump the fluid through the tube, I did buy one but there's no way your gonna get 3 liters in the trans using this method. The idea sounds good but you'll be too short on fluid this way.
Only 50K and my fluid was dark brown, first time change, 2 more to go....
BTW I change my coolant also, that was more of a PIA....
Thanks for the torque specs. I'll edit them in to the original post shortly.

Could you share a little on how you changed your coolant? How did you drain it all and how did you refill it? Just through the over flow tank? How did you bleed the air out? And how much did it take to rldrain and refil?
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  #8  
Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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hi. thanks for this how-to. will be doing it this weekend. stupid question, but, does my wifes 2008 9-3 aero XWD have the same transmission as yours? same exact drain and fill procedure I assume?
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  #9  
Old 25th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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As long as its the 2.8L V6 then it does. If it is the 4Cyl then it may have a different trans, im not too sure... The only difference is there is if it was the V6 then there would be a transfer case slapped on the back of yours. but the drain and fill ports are in the exact same location.

Good luck with that Fill Port!
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Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
As long as its the 2.8L V6 then it does. If it is the 4Cyl then it may have a different trans, im not too sure... The only difference is there is if it was the V6 then there would be a transfer case slapped on the back of yours. but the drain and fill ports are in the exact same location.

Good luck with that Fill Port!
thanks mate. yeah, she has the v6. cool. not looking forward to this!
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  #11  
Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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forgot to ask....are there any other brands of fluid that can be used? like mobil 1? or are these two the only choices? thanks.
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  #12  
Old 25th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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There are a few "universal" Fluids that claim to meet the AW1 spec... But I would not trust these just to save $2 a quart.

Take a look at this thread, lists some universals that claim to meet the AW1 spec:

https://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=206312

But when the Ford Fluid is only $8 a quart and you shouldn't need any more than 4 quarts its a safe bet. Alot better than paying $25 a quart for the GM stuff
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Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
There are a few "universal" Fluids that claim to meet the AW1 spec... But I would not trust these just to save $2 a quart.

Take a look at this thread, lists some universals that claim to meet the AW1 spec:

https://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=206312

But when the Ford Fluid is only $8 a quart and you shouldn't need any more than 4 quarts its a safe bet. Alot better than paying $25 a quart for the GM stuff
agreed! apparently the non-synthetic mobil 3309 works well too and it's even cheaper.
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Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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pretty cheap...
Mobil 1 (55221-12PK) 3309 Automatic Transmission Fluid - 1 Quart, (Pack of 12) : Amazon.com : Automotive Mobil 1 (55221-12PK) 3309 Automatic Transmission Fluid - 1 Quart, (Pack of 12) : Amazon.com : Automotive
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  #15  
Old 25th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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No no no no! That fluid WILL NOT WORK! People get confused about the automatics in these cars. The 2.0 automatics came with a 5 speed auto that takes that kind of fluid. That fluid will not work in the AW 6 Speed. People have tried before and nearly ruined their transmissions.

The AW 6 speed needs a special mineral oil based fluid, that is why it is hard to find and generally more expensive. Normal dino and synthetics will not work. Trust me on this one, DO NOT USE MOBIL 3309! I literally did a months worth of research over many many different car forums all that use the same transmission to find out all of this stuff.
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Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
No no no no! That fluid WILL NOT WORK! People get confused about the automatics in these cars. The 2.0 automatics came with a 5 speed auto that takes that kind of fluid. That fluid will not work in the AW 6 Speed. People have tried before and nearly ruined their transmissions.

The AW 6 speed needs a special mineral oil based fluid, that is why it is hard to find and generally more expensive. Normal dino and synthetics will not work. Trust me on this one, DO NOT USE MOBIL 3309! I literally did a months worth of research over many many different car forums all that use the same transmission to find out all of this stuff.
oh ****! got it! thanks! ok, I read that the 3309 is NOT synthetic, but who wants to take a chance? I'll go with the Motorcraft!
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Old 25th July 2013
philbar71 philbar71 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by multistrada74 View Post
oh ****! got it! thanks! ok, I read that the 3309 is NOT synthetic, but who wants to take a chance? I'll go with the Motorcraft!
Yeah the 3309 is not synthetic, its dinosaur based oil. Ive read about other people putting the 3309 on other car forums that use the AW 6 speed and they said that all of the gears would slip and that it wouldn't shift right.

These trans need a fluid with a very very very specific viscosity. Only these mineral based fluids meet that viscosity requirement.
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Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
Yeah the 3309 is not synthetic, its dinosaur based oil. Ive read about other people putting the 3309 on other car forums that use the AW 6 speed and they said that all of the gears would slip and that it wouldn't shift right.

These trans need a fluid with a very very very specific viscosity. Only these mineral based fluids meet that viscosity requirement.
yep...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AWTF-80_SC
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  #19  
Old 25th July 2013
multistrada74 multistrada74 is offline
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this is interesting.... http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...Number=2579932
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  #20  
Old 25th July 2013
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dc99 dc99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philbar71 View Post
Thanks for the torque specs. I'll edit them in to the original post shortly.

Could you share a little on how you changed your coolant? How did you drain it all and how did you refill it? Just through the over flow tank? How did you bleed the air out? And how much did it take to rldrain and refil?
Unfortunately to do it correctly its a PIA, I dropped the lower cover, put a hose on the radiator drain and let it drain in a pan, then filled the overflow tank. Ran the engine for awhile with thermometer in tank till it reached temp fill as needed. You cannot empty completely but got about 6 qts of 50 50 in it. The radiator drain is a pain was afraid that it was going to break turned it back and forth and lube with wd40 a little. Im thinking next time maybe just take down the passenger side of the cover to access the drain will see on wifes car this weekend.
BTW on the trans fluid type, I used Eneos, fully syn and fully compatible with the Asian trans. Got it at a local foreign part place for 11.00 Qt.
18 qts ouch that hurt...... Hope this helps.....

Last edited by dc99; 25th July 2013 at 07:31 PM.
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