"Automatic transmissions are the work of the devil."
- An unnamed BITOG member, quoting another unnamed BITOG member
So, guess what I did today? And if you're about to say I danced around the forest in green overalls singing nonsense about how I deserve a big juicy burger, for the last time, that wasn't me!
It's a lie, I tell you.
If you're more sane than that and think I changed my ATF, you'd be right. And from what I'd read over at J-Body.org, I knew the dipsticks over in GM's engineering department took away my precious, well, dipstick, on the 2000 model, but I thought it would be a simple matter of driving the car up on some ramps, removing that famous "check plug" everyone hates so much, and watching all the excess fluid I poured in drain out until it got to the right level. And it would have been quite a simple process, if I hadn't made it infinitely more complicated than it needed to be, but more on that later.
([censored] cell phone pics are all I have because, well, all I had with my was my [censored] cell phone. With a [censored] camera.)
Here is the vehicle in question. It would be (his) in my signature, as opposed to (hers), which comes with a dipstick!!!!!
My oh-so-convenient work area
My Chilton's guide was wrong... I wrote in my own correction for future reference
Pan removed. The old fluid is still it's normal color, and there's not too much sludge on the bottom for a fluid that's gone 8 years and 55,000 miles. I know it's the original fill because the filler cap was so crusted on that it couldn't have ever been opened, and the previous owner was an Asian female who didn't even know which engine the thing had.
My cleaning solutions of choice. Time to get to work.
Ironically, the Simple Green
. But it was Lemon-scented, which is coincidentally the name of the other half's parakeet, so I really had no choice but to buy it.
And here is the little bundle of feathers, provided for your viewing pleasure
All shiny and cleaned up, ready for a gasket and to go back on the car
All that khrap used to be inside my transmission. Now it's probably never going to come out of my towels.
Yes, that box has an orange label on it. No, I don't care
On a side note, I had no idea that when I removed the filter from inside the tranny, more
fluid was going to fall out. So, instead of catching it in my handy-dandy drain pan, I caught it with my clothes. And my hair. And everything in between.
Oh no, I seem to have a hole leftover and no bolt to fit it
But, as I like to tell my wimminfolk, why would there be a hole there if there wasn't supposed to be something inside of it ;).
Of course, at that point the woman in question usually slaps me if she hasn't already. The Chevy, though, appears to be a bit more... Cavalier than that, so I wouldn't expect that type of response from it.
Oh! There it is! Luckily it was just
big enough to avoid fitting through that hole there.
All screws are back in their proper holes, reattached to car, and tightened everything back up.
My lubricant of choice
"For TRANSMISSIONS!" That's lovely to know, I thought I might as well swap out the "premium synthetic lubrication technology" in my engine for this stuff as well, but I guess I can't. The label on the bottle has thwarted me again!
So, as I began pouring bottles of fluid into my tranny, I all of the sudden had one of those moments where something amazing dawns on you and you feel like either a complete idiot, or worthy of winning the nobel prize. I felt like the former, as I realized "oh [censored], it's not daylight savings time anymore. And I'm not done yet. And the sun is going down. And I am going to have to do the rest of this by candlelight. In the snow. Uphill both ways. With a candle made out of ice."
So, remember how I said I made the process of getting the fluid level way more complicated than it had to be? Well this is the part where everything starts going wrong, and I do exactly that. So everything I have read has pointed me to the fact that there's a plug somewhere on the bottom of the transmission (I emphasize somewhere
because not one of my sources provided me with a specific location, or a picture that made any sense) that I have to pull to allow excess fluid to flow out, leaving just the right amount of fluid in the vehicle.
Unfortunately, once I actually got down there and looked, there is not one, but three
plugs on the general bottom side of the transmission. And I only realized this after I had pulled what I thought was the one that I was supposed to remove. Long story short, it wasn't. Instead of draining the excess
fluid, this particular plug's purpose was in case I ever want to install a temperature gauge. Which I don't. However, when removed, it has the convenient side-effect of draining almost all
the fluid in the transmission. Strike one.
So I go back to Google and try again. I find a halfway decent diagram of my transmission, with the proper plug labeled, so I go with it. However, something gets lost in translation from the diagram to my brain, and I proceed to remove an utterly useless bolt. Oh well, at least nothing drained out, and the transmission didn't fall out of the car completely. I replace the bolt. Strike two.
And then there was one. It had
to be the correct bolt, and it was. Unfortunately, it was located right next to both my exhaust pipe and my oil pan. And as the engine had to be idling to produce the proper fluid level, both of these tended to be very hot. So with the utmost of care and a few curse words I threaded an extension socket around both of the aforementioned items, possibly inventing a new style of yoga in the process, and removed the bolt. Fluid poured out, into the drain pan that I almost
forgot to put there to catch it.
But my reign of stupidity was not over. I put the pan there, yes, but I forgot to remove the lid. So, while fluid did indeed pour onto
the pan, it did not pour into
the pan. It just collected in the little basin on top. And I had to reach my hand into the mess it created to remove the lid. Did I mention that fluid that's been sitting in an idling transmission is also
Moral of the story? I am never again driving a vehicle without a transmission dipstick.