I just replaced my Q-system ATF fluid last week, along with the engine oil/filter, coolant, power steering fluid and bled & replaced the brake fluid all ready for the British winter.
The Q-system box runs like a dream once the ATF fluid has been changed... Of course Alfa are right, it doesn't really need to be changed. But...... The ATF fluid is meant to be a cherry colour and if it turns thick and black, then it's good practice to replace it.
Here is a run down.
First of all many owners have differing opinion on what fluid to use wether it be DEXRON II or DEXRON III.
Give your local alfa dealer a call and they will advise on what is best to use for your year of make.
Mine was DEXRON II on a 2000 year model.
The whole ATF replacement capacity is 3.8 ltrs
so best to buy 4ltrs and remove 200ml into a jug for now and keep for top ups in the future.
You will need :
that will fit into the gearbox dipstick spout
or socket for the drain plug.
You will also need a suitable container for the old fluid.
A spray bottle of cold water to help cool down any warm gearbox casing parts before touching them
Take the car out for a quick drive in order to get the gearbox fluid up the normal running temperature and this will aid the draining
Get the car jacked up at the front and on to axle stands for safety.
You will need to remove the bottom engine guard if you have one fitted.
The drain plug is located at the bottom centre of the gearbox facing towards the engine.
It is the only 24mm bolt on the gearbox so you can't make a mistake
Slowly and safely remove the drain plug and keep it safe, let the old transmission fluid drain completely... Mine drained in about 30 minutes before the drips stopped.
There is no need to bleed the transmission radiator or any external filter to worry about
(there is a metal scrubber filter on the inside of the inspection panel at the bottom of the gearbox but best left well alone if your gearbox was working fine in the first place)
A fluid change is more than enough to keep it happy.
Refit the drain plug and tighten up.
Slowly top up with the 3.8 ltrs of ATF fluid (DO NOT OVER FILL)
Leave the dipstick out as this will bleed air out of the the transmission radiator.
Give the transmission fluid time to settle (about 20 minutes)
start the car in neutral with the hand brake on and you WILL get a gearbox warning light
on your dash... Don't worry, this is just the fluid getting to the right places it's needed.
Check for any leaks and once you are happy, turn the engine off and refit the bottom engine cover..
Remove the axle stands and lower the car down to level ground...
Start it up again in neutral and let it tick over for a while until the engine and gearbox is up to temperature.
Foot on the brake, select all the relevant automatic and semi auto positions
... You will find that the gearbox warning light has gone out by now
Turn off and replace the gearbox dipstick and take a fresh reading engine running and in neutral... Job done
Now take it out for a spin and make sure you select the city/sport and ice