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M56H Transmission Fluid Change DIY

MVS forums contributor ThinAir gets to the bottom of changing manual transmission fluid in Volvos with M56H-type transmissions: “When I got my car it was advised that I change all the fluids. “Simple enough” I thought. It turns out that being blessed with a manual transmission is also a bit of a curse because there is very little info out there on these guys as compared to automatics. So just getting back from a spin after changing my tranny fluid in my S70 T5M, here is my write up on how to do this!”

What you are going to need:

1. 2 liters of Volvo Transmission fluid #31280771
(I’m not going to argue about OEM vs Brand X. I did my research and if this is what my mechanic uses (fanatical Volvohead) for his M56H tranny, then THIS is what I use.)
2. A 24mm Socket
3. A 24mm Wrench
4. A socket extension at least 10 inches long
5. A funnel and tubing or a pump of some kind
6. A large oil change container.
7. A lot of rags.
8. Jack.
9. Jack stands.

m56 transmission fluid

M56H Transmission fluid change.

Ok. First things first. Loosen the lug nuts on the left driver’s side wheel. Jack your car up, place the jack stands and chock the rear wheels. Next, finish taking the wheel off and place it out of the way. Now slide under the left side of the car with your head in front of the axel. Looking up you will see this:

Next grab your 24mm wrench and loosen her up:

Next place your oil change container under the drain. If you are not interested in making a mess like I did I would advise placing a funnel under the hole because the fluid is going to hit the frame, spread across it and cascade off of it. So pull the plug out and let the fluid drain. While it is draining I took out the fill plug. Mount up your 24mm socket to your extension and go at it straight through the wheel well.

1 Comment

I have seen a number of posts back and forth regarding the acceptable Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATF) for the Aisin Warner 5 Speed Automatics. The only thing that is generally agreed upon is this: Needs to meet JWS3309 Specifications. ATF at the dealer is very costly. Mobil 1 does not specify that it meets the JWS3309 spec. anymore.

Valvoline Synthetic ATF clearly states on the container that it meets JWS3309 Specifications. I also paid only $6.79 a quart for it at the local Pep Boys. Mobil 1, (which may or may not meet the spec.) was $9.79 a quart.

I have been told that Toyota Type IV is the same, probably it is. But, the Toyota Type IV fluids do not state that they meet JWS 3309. However, the fluids that meet JWS3309 do state that they meet Toyota Type IV. I very well could be that the JWS 3309 spec is not common enough for the ATF manufacturers to spend the $$$ in being certified for the JWS 3309 spec. But… if you want an ATF that clearly states JWS3309 on the bottle without going to the dealer look for the Valvoline Synthetic ATF.

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