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Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

 
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Old 20 Apr 2016, 12:59 pm
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Location: Sacramento, CA
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Default Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Sunday's task:
Church, NASCAR Race at Bristol, transmission oil pan change and fill with the Indycar Long Beach Grand Prix playing in the background.
Nice to see Carl Edwards win one and do the backflip. Sad to see the Long Beach race turn into a fuel saving race with not much competition.

NitroPT recommended that while changing the fluid which requires removing the pan, to replace it with a Dorman 265801 which has a drain plug built in. That will make future drain and fills a bit easier. For $24 from Rock Auto, it's a good deal. I also bought a Fel Pro gasket for $5 instead of using the goop to form the gasket.

All the bolts had very light surface rust on them but they all came off without too much resistance. As NitroPT said, it looks as if none of the bolts have been worn so it's likely that the ATF had never been changed and certainly the filter had not.



With a catch pan underneath, I removed all bolts except one on each edge wich were held by a couple of threads. A light tap with a flatblade screwdriver on the edge of the pan side of the seal (I was going to replace it anyway so it didn't matter if it was going to get dented, but it didn't) and the goop-gasket opened up and poured the old ATF into the catch pan.





A moderate amount of shavings on the magnet


I don't know if this transmission is toast or if it will last a few more years. I'm hoping the latter. It seemed to shift smoothly. The fluid itself was dark, but still red and did not have a burned smell or anything else that would make me think things were bad.



Old pan and filter in the back, new one in the front



I don't know if I should have transfered the magnet from the original pan to the Doorman as I now think maybe the drain plug has a magnet on it. Oh well, I can drop the pan again sometime because it certainly wasn't a tough job.

I cleaned the small amount of goop-gasket on the engine side with a straight razor and some Scotch Brite


and buttoned everything back up.

DOH!

When torquing bolts, always test the torque setting on something else like a lug nut. I set the torque wrench to 13.75 ft-lbs (165 inch-lbs) and could not get the torque wrench to click and being the rookie, kept torquing the bolt until it let go. I then checked the wrench setting against a lug nut and it didn't click even when torquing 100 ft-lbs. When I went through the process of unlock-set-lock, I then saw how little 13 inch pounds of torque actually was. I could have hand tightened the bolts with a screwdriver type socket driver. Helicoil? Left-handed drill bit? Stuck bolt remover?

Well, I filled it up and checked for leaks and there weren't any. In the past couple of days I've been adjusting the fluid level when hot and I think I've got it set properly. I first checked it cold and thought it was way too high and was worried I'd do some damage to the transmission so I drained/checked/drained until I took out nearly 2 quarts. After warming up the transmission, I saw that the level was way too low so I added/checked/added until the level was at the bottom of the "hot" setting. Looks like I added about 2 quarts. That's OK, I was planning on a couple more drain and fills anyway.

I am checking the pan and around the gasket daily to feel if there are any drips or leakage and so far in the last 3 days, it's completely dry.

Additional handy tools:
Harbor Freight makes a $7 hand pump which works well at draining the transmission fluid without getting under the car.



The pump also works to drain the coolant far enough to swap out the thermostat. It reduces the need to do any "burping" because when you refill the cooling system, the fluid never left the engine compartment.

I just coincidentally got a call from NitroPT while writing this and he recommended a Time-Sert. I'll take a look at that.

Another little OT goof-up happened as I was cleaning out the ATF from the pump by pumping soapy water from the sink into the overflow drain. I did not know that there was just a cheaply made PVC fitting glued to a hose that went to the drain below the plug. The fitting was detached and I didn't know that I was pumping ATF smelling soapy water into our vanity until I saw it starting to flood the bathroom floor through the doors of the vanity!

The mess did not make me as mad as much as seeing the cheap workmanship that the installer did about 10 years ago when we had it put in.


Now to get the car smogged. It should have been done by the seller as required by California law but the guy at the DMV said "we have no way of enforcing the law so if you want tags, you'll have to do it yourself at your own expense". Typical of California "nuisance laws". Written in the books with no way of enforcing the law so long as the State gets the money.

Last edited by rsrocket1; 05 Dec 2017 at 09:55 pm. Reason: Changed photof*cket links to imgbox links
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Old 20 Apr 2016, 10:01 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: stockton, ca., USA.
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Nice to see another member in the Sac area. Welcome Sir.
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Old 21 Apr 2016, 01:19 am
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

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Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
Now to get the car smogged. It should have been done by the seller as required by California law but the guy at the DMV said "we have no way of enforcing the law so if you want tags, you'll have to do it yourself at your own expense". Typical of California "nuisance laws". Written in the books with no way of enforcing the law so long as the State gets the money.

I would suggest contacting the buyer if the PT Cruiser does not pass smog and send them an estimate of the repair to get it to pass smog. The seller is responsible for the PT Cruiser passing smog.
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Old 21 Apr 2016, 03:57 pm
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptcruisersteve View Post
I would suggest contacting the buyer if the PT Cruiser does not pass smog and send them an estimate of the repair to get it to pass smog. The seller is responsible for the PT Cruiser passing smog.
I originally planned on that, but I doubt that it would be more hassle than it would be worth. No matter, I just go back from lunch where I had the car smogged and it passed.

Originally we bought this car with the hope that it will last a couple more years until our son transfers to a 4 year college (he won't need, nor will he have a car there). With what I've done to it with the invaluable help of NitroPT and others on this forum, this car may last much, much longer. I'd be very pleased with that.
NitroPT likes this.
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Old 21 Apr 2016, 05:03 pm
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
I originally planned on that, but I doubt that it would be more hassle than it would be worth. No matter, I just go back from lunch where I had the car smogged and it passed.

Originally we bought this car with the hope that it will last a couple more years until our son transfers to a 4 year college (he won't need, nor will he have a car there). With what I've done to it with the invaluable help of NitroPT and others on this forum, this car may last much, much longer. I'd be very pleased with that.
Congrats on passing SMOG.
Well you know where I live so it shouldn't be a problem!

You are welcome anytime.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 21 Apr 2016 at 06:52 pm. Reason: Words aren't edited, only insults to other members. Ed
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 06:08 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 68
Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Forgive me for dredging up an old thread but...
My attempt at this job did not go as well. I assembled the needed supplies, and not knowing what the torque spec is on the bolts, I used my tq. wrench when
loosening them. Most were around 35 ft/lbs, which I thought was high. We all know over tightening a steel sump pan can warp it and deform the gasket. I was determined not to do that.
My pan was dry as a bone, never had a trans leak on this car. When I cleaned around the pan/bolts, I discovered black goo was used copiously to seal the mating surface. Nothing to worry about, right? I removed all the bolts, save 2 in the front to keep the pan from falling off (car is on ramps, so rear is lower). Not a drip. I went around the pan, tapping with a rubber mallet. Nothing. Started gently prying, tapping the pry bar with the mallet. The rear started dripping really slow. I continued for about 5 minutes, but the pan stuck there in defiance. I started to rethink the whole idea. I decided to abort. I put the bolts back in and used the tq. wrench set at 25#. No click at what I thought was enough. I reduced it to 20#. Seemed right, only the left rear and right front corners just keep spinning. SOB! A hamfisted ape has been under my beloved PT. He probably buys RTV sealant by the case. No wonder the dealer charges $260 for this job. Was the mechanic Clara Voyant?
Anyway, the pan seemed to be sealing again. I'll be checking it often, dreading oil spots on the driveway, which the wife is sure to notice. That will be a whole 'nother problem. If it leaks, to a shop it goes. If not, I'll use my Mity Vac to change fluid, and the filter + gasket will remain on a shelf.
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 09:54 pm
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Hi Jeff,
The torque spec for the transmission pan bolts is 165 INCH POUNDS which is 13.75 foot-pounds. That's barely hand tight. The number of bolts plus the give from the gasket is enough to hold the pan.

20 month update. Even though I may have damaged one of the bolts, every time I look under the car at the transmission pan I check and there is zero evidence of any leaking.

That hand pump is great for draining and filling the ATF but replacing the pan with one that has a drain plug is also a good idea. You still have to remove the pan to check the magnet for particles and replace the filter.
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Old 05 Dec 2017, 10:25 pm
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Default Re: Automatic Transmission Fluid Pan Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
Hi Jeff,
The torque spec for the transmission pan bolts is 165 INCH POUNDS which is 13.75 foot-pounds. That's barely hand tight. The number of bolts plus the give from the gasket is enough to hold the pan.

20 month update. Even though I may have damaged one of the bolts, every time I look under the car at the transmission pan I check and there is zero evidence of any leaking.

That hand pump is great for draining and filling the ATF but replacing the pan with one that has a drain plug is also a good idea. You still have to remove the pan to check the magnet for particles and replace the filter.
I like the plug in the transmission pan in case you overfill the transmission.
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