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DIY: How To Replace Your Transmission Filter

Regular transmission fluid and filter changes are important to keep your transmission in peak operating condition.

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   Replacing the transmission filter is something that must be done but is all too often forgotten. A dirty or clogged transmission filter will cause a transmission to go bad before it's time and give erratic transmission shifts and performance.

   Most car makers recommend the transmission filter be replaced every 30,000 miles. I would recommend 30,000 miles or every two years. It is a simple and cheap job and it will pay off with added transmission life and top transmission performance.

What you will need:

  1. New transmission filter
  2. New transmission pan gasket.
  3. ¼" drive ratchet and socket set
  4. Transmission drain pan
  5. Flat scrappers
  6. Clean rags
  7. Latex or rubber gloves.
  8. 3M Weatherstrip cement
  9. Wheel bearing, or other thick, grease
  10. Cleaning solvent

Difficulty : Average       Time Required: 60 - 90 minutes

Before You Start:

  • Follow these instructions carefully. Read and be sure you understand them before you begin.
  • Gather together all of your tools and supplies before you begin.
  • Remember that these are general instructions. For detailed instructions for your specific vehicle, consult an appropriate repair manual.
  • Never work on a vehicle that is only supported by a jack. Use jack stands to support the vehicle while you work. Work on a solid, level surface. Never jack a car up on dirt or grass.
  1. Remove the transmission dip stick and lay it aside for now. Jack up the vehicle and support it with jack stands.
  2. Some transmissions have a drain plug either in the transmission pan or on the case. Check to if yours has a drain plug and place your drain pan underneath it. 
  3. If it does not have a drain plug, place the transmission drain pan under the transmission pan and remove every other transmission pan bolt. 
  4. Leaving two pan bolts on each side, remove the rest of the pan bolts. Transmission fluid will start running out at this point. 
  5. Remove the two bolts on one side carefully, allowing the transmission fluid to run out. Then loosen the other two slowly. When they are three or four threads from coming out, push the pan up, hold it with your hand and remove the last two pan bolts. Once the bolts are out, lower the pan and drain it into your drain pan. 
  6. Look inside the pan. A grayish dust and some very small pieces are normal. If there are any big pieces or chunks, you have a problem. If this is the first time you have the pan down and it is a Ford product, you will see a small plastic plug. This is normal and not needed any more. Just throw it away. It is used in the building of the transmission only. 
  7. Use the scrapper to remove the old gasket from the pan and the mating surface of the transmission. Don't put in any gouges or deep scratches. A wire wheel in a drill also does a very good job of removing the gasket. 

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Part 2

Additional Information provided courtesy of and Warranty Direct
© 2000-2007 Vincent T. Ciulla

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