Tools Needed to Change the Automatic Transmission Fluid in an Aston Martin DB9

I’ve just changed the Automatic Transmission Fluid on my DB9 after 15 years and 45K miles.  The process applies to other Aston’s like the DBS and Rapide fitted with the Touchtronic II 6-speed automatic transmission made by ZF.   I’ve prepared an entire series describing the whole process, and you can find the index article for that here. As part of that process I spend sometime determining which tools would be needed to get the work done, PLUS I discovered a few tools and supplies that will make the process much easier. I wanted to share that with you in this article.

There isn’t an elaborate array of tools needed, some basic hand tools, a bunch of stuff for managing the drained fluid and the mess, plus the need for a fluid pump. Here’s what I ended up using:

Hand Tools

  • 8 mm socket
  • 10 mm socket
  • 16 mm 6-point socket (1/2″ drive)
  • T40 Torx Socket
  • 10mm combination wrench
    • A bendy ratcheting box end version will help. I picked up a whole set of this style of wrenches for about $120 USD on Amazon that I use all the time in the shop.
  • 22mm combination wrench
  • 6″ extensions (in both 3/8″ and 1/2″ drive)
  • Breaker Bar (1/2″ drive)
  • Ratchet (3/8″ drive)
  • Electric 3/8″ drive ratchet (optional, but there are a bunch of bolts)
  • 1/4″ drive Torque Wrench for low settings like 8 Nm
  • 1/2″ drive Torque Wrench for settings like 85 Nm
  • 8mm Hex Wrench – STUBBY
  • 10mm Hex Socket or Wrench
  • Small Flat Blade Screwdriver
  • Small Needle Nose Pliers
  • Small Snips or side cutter
  • Medium sized pry bar or large Screwdriver
  • Inspection light (essential – you’ll be working in some dark places)

Specialty Tools

I made my life a lot easier by purchasing a few inexpensive specialty tools. Yes, an expense, but how miserable do you want to be in life – splurg on yourself.  This gives you a reason to buy a few new tools and supplies for the shop.  “But Sweetie, think of all the money I am saving doing it myself…..”

  • Drip Tray
    • Fluid is going to drip everywhere. Seriously, a drain pan isn’t going to do the trick. Nor will a piece of cardboard (that will get absolutely soaked into mush). I had a moment of inspiration and found a large plastic dog kennel liner was perfect for this task. Inexpensive and effective. You can pick it up full of fluid, drain it, and wipe it out. One that was 35″ x 22″ was only $16 USD on Amazon with free shipping.  This will be a useful tool in your collection for other stuff in the future too.
  • Drain Pan/Bucket
    • It is wise to catch and measure all the fluid you manage to drain from your transmission. You’ll see me doing this in the video series. It will help you judge if you’ve got most of it. While a drain pan (of any kind) is handy, I also purchased a plastic measuring bucket in the paint department of my local home center. This had an easy to read scale up its side from 1 to 10 liters. It cost about $4 USD and you can find it here.
  • Transmission Fluid Pump
    • You’re going to have to pump some fluid. There are lots of ways to do this, from using a small $10 pump top you screw onto the fluid bottle, to the larger and easier transmission fluid pump I am going to recommend.
    • I purchased a Werkzeug model WKZ-VAS572001 Transmission Fluid pump. It holds up to 8 liters and works very easily to pump the fluid. It comes with a long hose and assortment of end fittings. While this would be overkill if you just had to pump in one liter of fluid, you need to do about 10 liters (and you have to do it all in under 10 minutes). I think this thing was TOTALLY worth it. Heck, you could always offer it up to the Aston Owners Club on Facebook and sell it on to the next person about to service their own fluid. Or share the expense with someone else from the club. It costs about $120 USD and you can find it online here at ShopDAP.com.  You can also search Amazon for “Automatic Transmission Fluid Pump” for alternatives, and I’d be tempted by the Motive Products Model 1735 Powerfill Pro 1 Gallon Fill Pump for about $85 USD on Amazon.
  • Foxwell NT510 OBDII Tool (or newer)
    • An essential tool for the final level setting process, and not just any generic OBDII tool.
    • You should have one of these anyways if you own an Aston Martin, this tool speaks the custom ‘Aston Martin Communication Language’ and knows all the Aston specific codes.
    • Under $200 USD from Amazon or Foxwell direct.
    • For all the details I’ve covered this tool in another article here.
  • Compressed Air Nozzle and Compressed Air
  • 1″x3″x5″ wood block (you can scrounge something equivalent up). You can see how I used it in the video here.
  • Short piece of 2″x4″ wood block (~4″ to 12″ in length, just to act as a wedge). You can see how I used it in the video here.
  • 12″ of 1/2″ ID plastic hose, a plastic 3/8″ ID Hose barb to 1/4″ MPT right angle fitting, and a 3/4″ hose clamp. I used this collection of bits to build a tool to stuff into the end of the transmission cooler lines to direct the fluid that was going to blast out into a bucket rather than my face. You can MacGyver something up yourself, just be sure to check out the portion of the video where I use it so you can see the challenge. I got all these bits at my local home center for under $5 USD.

Shop Supplies

  • Pig Mat absorbent towel
    • Pig Mat is an amazing oil picker upper. Vastly better than paper towels. One single sheet can soak up probably an entire spill and still have capacity for more. It’s not cheap, but I think if you do your own service on your Aston, its an essential shop supply. I use it for my annual oil change (around the drain plug and oil filter). You can get a 50 ft. roll for about $24 USD on Amazon.
    • Or substitute a lot of paper towels or shop towels/rags
  • 8″ Nylon Zip Ties
  • Size 00 and size 2 Rubber Stoppers
    • Optional
    • You’ll see me use these in the video to stop the dripping of the Transmission Cooler Lines. You can get a variety pack off Amazon for about $11 USD.   You’ll see me use these again in another video on changing the Power Steering Fluid.
  • Electrical Contact Cleaner
    • It’s very likely you will get some transmission fluid on the the electrical connections while you have it apart. You’ll see me use some generic Electrical Contact Cleaner to rinse off the connections prior to connecting them. You can get a small 4.5 oz can for about $12 USD on Amazon, or from your local auto parts store.
  • Electrical Tape
    • Optional – but was handy to ‘right size’ the air nozzle tip
  • Disposable shop gloves
    • I must have used 10+ pairs of gloves during the process. Its nice to be able to change to a clean pair after the super messy steps, drying off you hands, etc. I’d recommend you have a box on hand of your favorite gloves. I use the size XL Adenna Catch Orange textured gloves that you can get a box of for about $21 USD on Amazon. Or pickup a box at your local auto parts store.
  • Work glove
    • Something sturdy and thick to protect your hand from a very warm exhaust pipe at the end of the process. I just used one of my yard work gloves, but know this, it will get transmission fluid on it.
  • Lint free shop rags.
    • Even while gloved up, I was using shop rags to wipe down my tools, wipe up drips, wipe off parts, etc. I probably sacrificed 10 of them during the project, but well worth it to have some on hand. You want lint free rags for wiping up any of the interior parts, the last thing you want is some threads off an old tea towel getting inside the transmission.  Its becoming a pet peeve of mine, I hate crappy shop rags.  I get mine as a 100 pack of Red 12″ x 12″ for about $25 USD on Amazon. You can probably pickup a bag at your local auto parts store too.


Video

You can see me go over all the tools and supplies in the first part of the video series. Check it out here:

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