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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello lovely people,

It's been a while since the last time I have posted anything here but I have been lurking around.
A couple of months back I looked into changing the transaxle fluid on my Ampera since it has passed the 100K miles mark, however between work , moving to a new house and my project car I couldn't find enough time to get it done button I finally got around to doing it today, following some DIY on the VOLT forum.
It was pretty simple really provided that you have a decent jack to lift the car enough to get the clearance you need or better do it on a lift if you have access to one.
The fluid that come out was nearly black, there was a lot of suspended brown matter in the fluid, in addition to that I spotted some metal shavings, nothing to be alarmed about but they were there nevertheless.
When I drained the fluid approximately 5.2 litres came out and that's what I poured in.

My advice is it must be changed every 50K miles if you plan to keep the car because I don't see how this transaxle would last with a fluid in that condition circulating inside it.
I seem to be getting 0.2~0.3 extra range per KwH
Pictures
IMG_20200331_184544.jpg
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IMG_20200331_184843.jpg

Just for comparison new vs old
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not that I am aware off, I have never had that done in all my service history nor has it ever been recommended, I am on 112K miles now.
It's not expensive to do either.
I have noticed the transaxle Is not as loud as it was, makes a very mild hum now.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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I had my 'gearbox' oil changed around 65k due to an error code showing up at a service, no EML though. The dealership had encountered it before and had changed the oil which, they said, cured the problem. They never did tell me what was fixed other than an error code.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I haven't had any codes since i owned this car, I changed the fluid because it made sense, I highly recommend it.
 

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Normally a gearbox oil doesn’t get changed in a service,but I used to ask if a customer wanted it done.
Every 50 k is what I normally do,and the diff oil.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Most people have had the fluid changed because most people have had the bearing replaced!

I was going to change mine when I got it, then at 80k then at ... well, when does one find the time ... then the bearing went anyway ....

The US service schedule has a change at 100k, the UK schedule has no change. I always recommend changing ALL gear oils after just a few thousand miles (take out any manufacturing debris, don't let it grind in there for 100,000 miles first ... yours might have been there since new, it is quite common) and then every 50k or so. With lease cars, pffft ... someone else's problem, no-one even cares any more.

Ampera is pretty kind on its oil, there are no sliding/friction events in its operation. TBH, that is not badly discoloured it is just showing the natural deterioration of gear oils in time as their molecules get physically sheared and broken up under the massive pressures between gear teeth. A regular auto box after 100k unchanged you're unlikely to see any 'red' colouration at all even when it forms a film over the surface of your bucket, it'd just be brown (at best) from every angle. Perfectly normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
This is good to know and thank you for such a comprehensive reply.
On a side note, i am seeing a significant increase of range per 1 KwH even though my driving habits and routes have not changed especially in these days, home to supermarket and back i managed to get 4 / KwH which is almost a mile more than what i used to get prior to changing the fluid
It was definitely worth it for me.
I think in 3k miles or so I'll change it again for the sake of ensuring a thorough flush of what's inside.
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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It is conceivable, but bear in mind it has warmed up considerably from the POV of EVs, though it is is not always easy to tell from the POV of humans. Just that extra bit more Sun heating means less cabin heat, drier roads and thinner air at the surface of the road. I got 3.8 mi/kWh today on a long run, normally 3.3mi/kWh just a few weeks back at similar, if not slower, speeds.

A second flush is perfectly sensible, as you will not have cleared all of the fluid out by drain and refil. There is a powered-flush protocol for Ampera, and it drinks its way through about 20 litres worth. Not necessary unless there was something amiss.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You definitely have a point there, generally speaking i wasn't expecting anything more than 0.2/0.3 m/KwH extra, which is why i was surprised.
I'll keep an eye, i am just happy that i am not running it around without doing everything that has to be done from servicing perspective.
Small things like that can save big £££ later on down the line.
 

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Is this something a novice could do?

Is it appropriate to follow the instructions in this video, but drain all the fluid?


Is there a filter to change at the same time?

I guess you have to drain the battery to get the engine running before and after the change?
 

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Is it correct that the total fluid volume in the 2012 Ampera is 8.45 litres? So that's about as much one should have at hand?
 

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I'm not crazy, the attack has begun.
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Is this something a novice could do?

Is it appropriate to follow the instructions in this video, but drain all the fluid?


Is there a filter to change at the same time?

I guess you have to drain the battery to get the engine running before and after the change?
Yes, but look how clean that oil is. Even slightly used ICE oil will appear black in such a scenario. This is like new. It barely gets used. There is no 'slip' action in the Voltec.

But I would still advise to follow the US maintenance schedule, I think the change is due at 80k. There is no change interval defined in UK maintenance.

Yes, it is a very 'normal' transmission oil change, and there is a level-plug on the side. If you can/have changed a standard auto/manual transmission, this is the same. GM went out of their way to make the car as 'similar' to maintenance techs as any 'normal' car.
 

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I haven't changed transmission fluid before.

Is that a steel plug in an aluminium casing? I suppose it will rust quickly and should probably be changed while changing fluid?

As I understand it the filter is difficult to change and is not worth bothering about?
 

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I've read the service manual now. Opening the hood starts the internal combustion engine, I was not aware of that! Good to know. No need to drain the battery before idling before transmission fluid change with grand total 8.9 litres including 0.5 litres to flush with.
 

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Ampera aka IGOR
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I've read the service manual now. Opening the hood starts the internal combustion engine, I was not aware of that! Good to know. No need to drain the battery before idling before transmission fluid change with grand total 8.9 litres including 0.5 litres to flush with.
Only if the car is powered on will the engine fire up.
I had my transmission fluid changed as the dealership had found an error code that they had experienced before and Vauxhall advised them to change the transmission fluid to cure it. I have been trying to find the invoice to find out how much it cost and how much oil was used but no luck.
 

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As a side note I can recommend WeberAutos 90 minute video on the history of GM transmission fluid on youtube:

 

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Is the drain plug/bolt identical to the level check plug? I can't find the drain plug for sale anywhere, only the level check plug: AcDelco plug adapter 8654382
 
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