It's about time to change the transmission fluid in my 2003 Impala 3.8. I
thought I would order a Haynes manual (Chilton evidently does not make one
for that car) and do it myself. I'm a do-it-yourself maintenance type of
guy and have done this on a number of other cars over the years but never on
a transverse mounted engine. Is this a fairly simple job, or should I take
it to a mechanic? Thanks.
Ive never done it on exactly that car, but have done it on tons of other GM
On every one of them I have done, it is easy to do and well within the
most hobbyist mechanics.
If it's anything like my 2001 Impala, be sure to check how much tranny
fluid you'll have to drain - my old oil pan wasn't big enough, had to
do it in 2 stages, emptying the pan inbetween. As the gentleman said,
- Larry A.
Get one of those large plastic Rubbermaid storage containers to drain
the oil into. The one I got is about 24 x 17. It seems the oil drain
pans are not as wide as the trans pan and a mess on the floor will
The gasket on your trans pan may be the re-usable type.
05 Park Avenue 54,010
91 Bonneville 308, 892
On those GM transmissions I am familiar with of this type, there is a
the filter neck fits into.
Some people dont replace these, although they usually come with the filter
I do replace them.
You can use a small sharp flat blade screwdriver to pry the old one out or,
be, you can collapse the old one with a screwdriver and hammer and pry it
It is easy enough to do, but go easy and dont use a BFH where a tackhammer
Then I use a socket to tap the new one up into the bore.
I use a wheel bearing seal puller to get the old bushing out, which
most people probably don't have laying around but works well if used
carefully. On reinstallation, you must put the new bushing in first,
then the filter - trying to put it on the filter, then installing both
at the same time won't work.
Also (and I am NOT a transmission guy!) - my 2001 Impala has about a
2" X 1/4" flat spring thingie in there, basically just laying between
two posts (it is notched on both ends, with a bend in the middle).
This WILL fly off if you bump it, then you will have a period of
stress wondering just HTH it goes back on. Do yourself a favor and
look around a bit, after you get the cover off.
- Larry A.
That springy thing is a thermo element and very important. It's so when the
fluid expands, the level doesn't get too high.
That bushing, leave it alone. Remove at rebuild only. They send one with the
filter in case the old one comes out.
It is an easy drop the pan, clean the pan, change the filter, reinstall
job. There isn't a drain plug in the pan, so you need to be careful
about the order and pace of removing the bolts in order to let the fluid
out in a controlled manner. Also, be careful when putting the bolts
back in as you are going into aluminum and they can be easily stripped
if done ham fisted style.
My recollection is that the original pan gasket is a reinforced reusable
metal and steel type. If so, clean and reuse it. Even if the new
filter comes with a cork gasket, still use the original type.
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