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This tutorial applies to 2014, 2015, and 2016 Mazda 3 with automatic transmission. I am not sure if Mazda tweaked the transmission design for 2017 onward, but process should be very similar.

Tools needed:
- Phillips head screwdriver (to remove the splash guard under the car)
- Flat head screwdriver (to remove plastic clips holding the splash guard)
- Ratchet
- 10 mm socket (to remove bolts holding the splash guard, transmission pan, transmission strainer, and transmission dipstick)
- 8 mm hex wrench or hex socket (to remove transmission drain bolt)
- Plastic spatula (or something flat, made of plastic) to pry open the transmission pan
- Wire brush (to remove old gasket material off of the transmission pan bolts. Do not use on transmission pan or transmission body.)

Fluid:
- 6 quarts of Mazda ATF-FZ fluid (if removing the pan and strainer you will need 5.5 quarts)
OR
- 4 quarts of Mazda ATF-FZ fluid (if only doing drain and fill without removing the pan and strainer you will need about 4 quarts)



Other items:
- Drain pan
- Funnel
- RTV gasket maker high temperature tolerant

Time required
- 3-4 hours (draining fluid, removing pan, removing strainer, cleaning old gasket material off of the surfaces)
- 24 hours RTV silicone cure time

Step 1- Put the vehicle up on ramps, jack stands or lift.


Step 2- Remove the splash guard by removing 5 10 mm bolts, 4-5 phillips head screws, 4-5 plastic clips.


Step 3- Locate the transmission pan, use the 8 mm hex wrench or socket to remove the transmission drain bolt and drain the fluid.


Step 4- Once most of the fluid is drained, put the drain bolt back on and tighten to spec and begin by removing the 10 mm transmission pan bolts.


Step 5- After removing the pan bolts use a plastic spatula, scraper, or anything flat made of plastic to pry open the transmission pan. Transmission pan will be stuck on due to RTV silicone material, you will have to break the bond.


Step 6- Once you see the pan is loose, use both hands to angle the pan towards your drain pan, so you catch rest of the fluid. You can expect another quart of transmission fluid.


Step 7- Remove the pan, set it aside, and place your drain pan under the transmission in preparation for removing the transmission strainer.


Step 8- Transmission strainer is held on by two 10 mm bolts, remove the bolts and pull down the strainer. Expect 200-300ml of transmission fluid at this step.


Step 9- Clean all the old gasket material off of the transmission pan and the transmission body under the car. Use a plastic scraper so you don't gouge or scratch the metal. It is important you take your time and thoroughly clean both mating surfaces, any old gasket material, big scratch or gouges can lead leaks.

Optional- I used an abrasive pad to remove the old gasket material which removed some paint, so I repainted the mating surface with high temperature paint to prevent rust.

Step 10- Clean all old gasket material off of the 10 mm bolts holding the pan. I used wire brush.


Step 11- Install the new transmission strainer with two 10 mm bolts torqued to 8 ft-lb.

Always compare new filter/strainer with old ones to make sure it is the correct one.

Step 12- Once everything has been cleaned (transmission pan, transmission body under the car, bolts) and new strainer installed, apply high temperature tolerant RTV silicone. I used Permatex High-Temp RTV Silicone Gasket Maker.

Go around the bolt holes and try not keep any gaps.

Step 12- Carefully install the pan back onto the transmission under the car and only hand tighten the 10 mm bolts.


Step 13- You can wait one hour(as suggested by Permatex) to let the silicone cure and tighten the pan bolts to torque spec or as I do, wait 3-4 hours to let the silicone cure. Only difference, if you tighten it after one hour all the silicone material tend to gush out.


Step 14- After tightening the bolts to 8-10 ft-lb, you will have to allow 24 hours until you can introduce transmission fluid. Silicone takes time to "properly" cure.


Step 15- After 24 hours start by measuring how much fluid came out, you will need to replace that much transmission fluid. Dropping the pan and strainer usually results in 5.5 quarts of fluid.


Step 16- You fill through the transmission dipstick hole. Since it is a hard to reach area with funnel, you will need to remove the engine air filter compartment to get to the dipstick.


Step 17- Pour new ATF-FZ fluiz. I used 5.5 quarts. Make sure you know how much came out, don't pour more than what is needed by the transmission.


Step 18- When you have reached the desired level, put the dipstick back in and tighten the dipstick bolt to 6-8 ft-lb. Install the engine filter compartment back in.


Step 19- Lower the car or start the car and reverse off the ramps. Go for a short drive to circulate the new transmission fluid and get the engine to the optimum temperature.


Step 20- Once the test drive is completed and engine is not cold, park is car on a level ground and turn it off.


Step 21- Pop the hood, remove the engine air filter compartment again and install it in a horizontal position. This will allow space for removing the transmission dipstick while car is idling.


Step 22- With engine filter compartment in horizontal position and car on leveled ground, start the car. With the car in Park and engine running, carefully remove the dipstick bolt then remove the dipstick, wipe off, insert, remove again, and make sure ATC-FZ fluid is adhering to the central marker area on the dipstick. This is where your fluid level should be, when your engine is at optimum running temperature.

Step 23- Turn the car off, install dipstick and tighten the dipstick bolt.


Step 24- Remove engine air filter compartment and install it back in its original position.


Step 23- As preventative measures, go under the car and check around the gasket for any leaks.


Step 24- Install the splash guard under the car.


Job done! transmission should be more responsive, and make driving the Mazda 3 more fun.
 

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