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Old 01-03-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
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transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

It's that time again. My 2004 Chevy Malibu Classic is leaking ATF due to a faulty gasket on the pan. I'm almost certain it's the pan gasket because the automatic transmission is completely dry above the leak. I thoroughly cleaned the transmission, refilled it, drove the car for 10 miles, and put it in the garage with a piece of cardboard (covered with newspaper) underneath to catch ATF leaks. There were no leaks after 8 hours. It did leak overnight though. In the morning after, there was a six inch circle with what was obviously ATF on the newspaper on the cardboard.

It is leaking enough that the car should not be driven. Stupid GM (and most other cheap *** bastard auto makers) did not put a dipstick on the transmission so you have to unscrew a plug near the bottom of the case to check it and to me its a real PITA.

Anyway - has anyone changed a transmission pan gasket on a GM with a 4T40E or similar trans? GM used the same gasket on many cars over mulitple years. The car has the 2.2L L61 engine which again is installed in a great many GM's. The OEM gasket is a rubber coated metal one. I bought an aftermarket neoprene rubber gasket as a replacement because I read that using a new OEM gasket can be a problem if the old gasket indented the seating surfaces on the pan or transmission. The car has 140K miles and probably (?) has the original gasket installed.

Is there any potential problems or concerns with this transmission? The worst case scenario is snapping off one of the 12 pan bolts while loosening them. I don't have a hoist and would have a great deal of difficulty extracting a bolt if I did break one.

Your comments/suggestions are welcome.

P.S. White Lightning has been a good car so far. I have driven the Prius for 5000 miles so far and have had no problems with it at all. I have been disappointed with the winter fuel economy (about 43 mpg) but that's the penalty for choosing to live in Michigan.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

I hate automatics without dipsticks. Is it really common? I've never seen one until I saw my wife's Isuzu with a cheap GM dipstick-free transmission. My Buick and my GM pickup both came with transmission dipsticks.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:05 AM   #3
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Re: transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

I suppose ALL automakers aren't as cheeeeeeeap as GM was. My 2010 Nissan Versa automatic trans has a dipstick.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

i hope that it is the gasket. not familiar w/ that tranny, but recent GM V6s w/ ATs had issues w/ pump seal leaks.
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:54 PM   #5
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Re: transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

I'm not familiar with your transmission either, but if you've never changed a pan gasket be sure to check the torque specs. Some people don't know that the bolts on the transmission pan are usually very low torque and if you over do it, it will warp the pan and cause leaks. You may have done 1000's of them, but I didn't know and just wanted you to be aware not to overtighten.
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Old 01-08-2011, 07:59 AM   #6
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Re: transmission pan filter and gasket replacement -easy?

I haven't done one on your car in particular but I have done several before. Like ford man says: proper torque!!! If you want to live life on the edge, do the 2 finger method but I'd suggest getting a torque wrench for under 20 ftlbs (and in in-lbs obviously)
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