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Discussion Starter #1
Turns out these cars have a Metal transmission pan! For starters you got a little spot in the corner for your nice big pan magnet, which you can see at the top of the pan.
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Mileage was at around 103,000 miles when the service was done. I don't think the bottom of the pan looks too dirty for the mileage.

Here's a closer look at the magnet. Looks pretty filled to capacity with metal shavings:
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... And here is the same magnet after wiping it down. Back into the new pan it goes...

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Then, right above the pan, sandwiched in between the pan and the transmission itself is your filter and strainer. When you turn your car off, all the ATF fluid sits at the bottom of the pan. The transmission pump then begins to pump ATF fluid around the unit. The fluid goes through the filter box to strain out the fluid before it reaches the unit itself. All the sludge, which is mostly metal shavings mixed with old ATF fluid is supposed to stay at the bottom of your pan. Here it is:

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Here I managed to get a shot inside the filter. Obviously it looks really dirty, but that is why the bottom of the pan is pretty clean and free of shavings. Many other cars don't have a filter at all, just a strainer meaning at around this mileage the bottom of the pan will be full with metal shavings.

About half of the ATF capacity (8L) drained out when we dropped the pan. It looked dirty but not horrible, didn't smell burnt and it still had some useful lubricational properties from what I can tell when I rubbed it on my finger. By keeping the inside of your transmission free from these metal shavings, you are protecting your valve body and shift solenoids which may get damaged over time due to the ATF fluid which has exponentially higher than usual metal values when left sealed inside the transmission for so long.

First Drive - Initial Impressions:

The transmission now shifts notably quicker and more smooth than before. Overall it was a $290 CAD (with oil change) well spent in my opinion.
 

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not an expert on this stuff, but there's other threads that talk about transmission service where people debated this stuff. Is it part of the routine service to get the pan/filter changed? Apparently there's no requirement to do a transmission fluid change at all.
 

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There's some debate on whether ATF + filter change is necessary. Me, I'm firmly in the 50,000 mi changeout-of-both camp.
I see you're Canadian also. Whats the rough price to get this done? I feel like it definitely cant hurt to do it. I have a 2015 with 83k KMs and I aim to keep it for a few more years, so just trying to do anything I can to keep the car in good shape.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Why do you have to replace the pan? I thought you just renew the gasket after replacing the filter.
Good point! There's actually no need to replace the pan. You can just clean the old one and put it back in. I am not sure why mechanics always insist on changing the pan. Maybe the filter cannot be ordered seperately? Who knows. I live in a Condominium, otherwise I probably would have figured out how to do the job myself. It's not too difficult.

I see you're Canadian also. Whats the rough price to get this done? I feel like it definitely cant hurt to do it. I have a 2015 with 83k KMs and I aim to keep it for a few more years, so just trying to do anything I can to keep the car in good shape.
I agree. Keeping your transmission filter and magnet clean, IMO is imperative if you want your transmission to easily last the life of the car.
 

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I feel like the answer is no, but is there any harm in getting the fluid flushed, pan changed, and filter/magnet cleaned even though Mazda dealers say to not do it?
 

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I see you're Canadian also. Whats the rough price to get this done? I feel like it definitely cant hurt to do it. I have a 2015 with 83k KMs and I aim to keep it for a few more years, so just trying to do anything I can to keep the car in good shape.
It's a deep rabbit hole to go down, i.e. the discussion of whether to drop your ATF / change filter... or not. I won't go down that hole anymore. If it were my car, I would do it at 50,000 mi / 80,000 km intervals. I tend to keep my cars a long time.

I don't know what it'd cost to have the dealer do an ATF drop / filter change, as

i) my Mazda6 is a manual;

ii) my Mazda6 has never been to the dealer for anything; and

iii) if it were my Mazda6 A/T car - I'd do what Tickerguy does... drop the ATF using the drainplug, then remove the pan, clean, change the filter, button back up; then in a few days, suck the ATF out of the fill-hole... and replace with fresh; and then in a few more days, do it again one last time. For that sequence of events, especially, I would not go to the dealer.

I cannot for the life of me see why the A/T pan needs to replaced. Not fun to clean it (and the magnet) off... or take the RTV sealant off it (without scratching the sealing surface)... but even if the pan were wholesale-changed-out - you'd still have to scrape (carefully) the bottom surface of the transaxle case... to clean IT off for re-application of RTV (sealant).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I feel like the answer is no, but is there any harm in getting the fluid flushed, pan changed, and filter/magnet cleaned even though Mazda dealers say to not do it?
There may be some risk doing a simple drain and fill at very high mileage. But so long as a good mechanic/transmission shop is working on your car, the only harm that will come to your transmission is neglecting to clean the magnet and replace the filter past 100,000km.
 

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thanks! i know a bit about mechanical car stuff but definitely not enough to REALLY understand this job. there really seems to be a divide in opinion across other forums on this topic - kind of makes me nervous about it since im not an expert. I do have an auto transmission. I guess the consensus would be to maybe leave the fluid as is, but get the filter/magnet cleaned.
 

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Well a couple posts here (and in the thread linked below) sort of mentioned the fluid change is a little risky/tricky? But cleaning the magnet and changing the filter can be done more reliably...unless im getting confused. I guess it does come down to having a trusted mechanic who knows Mazdas.

Here is the other thread where its been discussed if anyone wants to see it (even Mazda dealers are giving the run around):
 

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When it comes to an automatic transmission, particularly, cleanliness is of paramount importance. What I refer to here is that any opening-up of the transmission, like for example to check the level, has to be done with this very clearly in mind. Access to the dip-stick, and potentially knocking road-debris into the transmission during that operation, is tricky, and merits (IMHO) removal, first, of the airbox to thoroughly clean the area and prevent that from happening. Careful removal of the dipstick (which will have road-debris in its O ring and on the ledge of the transmission case...) also, again IMHO, should be done with the airbox removed... so you can see what you're doing and so you can remove that debris immediately. Subsequent removals and replacements of the dipstick could perhaps be done from under the car... once cleanliness is established... and if the removal/reinsertion of the dipstick is done soon after the area cleaning has been completed..

Now some might say that I'm over the top with this methodology... but I'm just saying if it were my car, this is exactly how I would do it.

So, my adage is that if it were me, and I could NOT ensure that these steps are taken first, then maybe not changing the ATF might be better. I also strongly believe in the 50,000 mile changeout intervals... so you can see where this is going... I would allow no one to do this... and I would do it myself.

The good thing about all of this is that the Mazda6 (and other Mazda vehicles with this Skyactiv-AT transmission) is NOT so super sensitive to ATF level... and you don't need a Doctorate from M.I.T. to perform the fluid level check. This is good, and is a whole lot less intense than it is, say, in a Camry.

Just to clarify, you cannot access the bottom of the pan to clean the pan + the magnet, nor can you access the filter for removal and replacement... unless you drop the pan.
 

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Thank you. Clearly I'm a huge noob about this stuff. But this is a great help so I appreciate it. I'll have a talk with my local mechanic shop to see what we can do and hopefully they're familiar with the Skyactive stuff. Alot of people mention the importance of buying the ATF from Mazda at least (and maybe the filter too?) , then taking it elsewhere if needed.

Overall I do get some jerkiness when my car shifts in certain situations so I definitely want to really look in to this.

The other thing I just thought of was that im under CPO power-train for another 2 yrs. Im wondering since Mazda says no service required, if doing any tranny service by an outside shop will void my CPO.
 

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The other thing I just thought of was that im under CPO power-train for another 2 yrs. Im wondering since Mazda says no service required, if doing any tranny service by an outside shop will void my CPO.
My guess is that it will absolutely void any warranties provided by Mazda if you do the service outside their facilities/guidelines. Heck, my stealership won't honor their "if you buy a new car here we'll do free state inspections for life" deal just because I don't have them service my car on a regular basis. Nonsense.
 

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First, if you use Mazda branded correct ATF, how would they know?... Second, you are NOT obligated to only maintain at Mazda dealers and third Mazda CANNOT sanction you for doing more frequent mtce. than they recommend!
 

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First, if you use Mazda branded correct ATF, how would they know?... Second, you are NOT obligated to only maintain at Mazda dealers and third Mazda CANNOT sanction you for doing more frequent mtce. than they recommend!
But the problem here is that Mazda has a lot of gray area for whether or not you should change the fluid at all - Just coming from the perspective of Mazda, if they say it's a "lifetime" fluid and you change it, they can very easily say any damage was your fault. Not saying it's right, saying that's what they can do.

They can just as easily say "we don't know if the place you brought it to used the correct fluid" and therefore, they could claim any issues that happen thereafter could've been your fault or that mechanic. Again, not saying it's right, but we live in a world where having a good lawyer means more than just about anything else.
 

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I don’t know what they can do in Canada. Read the warranty to see. CPO ‘warranties’ are often not actually warranties, but service contracts. Either way, their terms can be significantly different from those of the manufacturer’s original materials & workmanship warranty. This is why it’s important to read the document and see what it says.

Don’t be hysterically paranoid about these things. If you’ve encountered a dealer who tries to (perhaps illegally?) refuse to cover a warranty failure because you performed maintenance other than in their service department, then find a dealer that’s not crooked and give them your business instead.

I replace ATF periodically. I’m not scared.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you. Clearly I'm a huge noob about this stuff. But this is a great help so I appreciate it. I'll have a talk with my local mechanic shop to see what we can do and hopefully they're familiar with the Skyactive stuff. Alot of people mention the importance of buying the ATF from Mazda at least (and maybe the filter too?) , then taking it elsewhere if needed.

Overall I do get some jerkiness when my car shifts in certain situations so I definitely want to really look in to this.

The other thing I just thought of was that im under CPO power-train for another 2 yrs. Im wondering since Mazda says no service required, if doing any tranny service by an outside shop will void my CPO.
There's really nothing complicated about the process at all. You have a good enough understanding of the matter. The pan is held in by 16 bolts. once you remove them, you gotta pry the pan open because its going to be stuck in there good by the factory gasket paste. then you unscrew the filter, which you should be very sure to replace. The magnet as you can see is inside the pan. Make sure the bottom of the pan along with the filter is all perfectly clean, along with the mating surface between the pan and unit itself. Then you must carefully apply gasket paste onto the mating surface of the pan before resealing. torque the bolts gradually in a criss-cross pattern. ANY reasonably good mechanic should know how to do this. Don't forget that half of the old fluid will come out when you drop the pan. as long as you find a decent mechanic you don't need to worry.

@Cdn17Sport6MT The transmission dipstick can be accessed very easily from the bottom of the car. You do not need to remove the airbox to access it.. In my opinion this is an excellent transmission not only based on how it shifts but the design as well. I am very curious to try driving an MTX Mazda 6 now..
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My guess is that it will absolutely void any warranties provided by Mazda if you do the service outside their facilities/guidelines. Heck, my stealership won't honor their "if you buy a new car here we'll do free state inspections for life" deal just because I don't have them service my car on a regular basis. Nonsense.
The name of our ATX transmission is FW6A-EL Manufactured by Aisin-Warnerfor Mazda. Lexus and Toyota uses a very similar version of this transmission otherwise known as the U660e which was specifically made for them by Aisin-Warner. The previous version of this transmission is called the AW6A-EL which was employed for use in a number of other vehicles -
As far as long term transmission reliability is concerned the filter inside our ATX trans does quite a good job of keeping the bottom of the pan clean. Toyota's version on the other hand uses only a strainer to send filtered ATF fluid up into the transmission while keeping the sludge seperated inside the pan. This causes for a much dirtier pan as mileage accumulates and even higher chance of stuck shift solenoids/valve body damage which will eventually lead to complete transmission failure when left unattended, often at around 150K miles according to folks on the Lexus forums.

You can't do a flush with these transmissions, unless you have some sort of machine which will hook up to the drain and fill ports of your unit. As long as the filter and magnet is clean every 60k miles these transmissions will last the life of the car without any problems. Only then will drain and fills make sense to flush the rest of the dirty fluid out.
 
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