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My car is almost at the magical 50,000 mile mark, so this weekend I am going to drop the trans pan and change the filter. I know there has been some confusion on here about whether it should be done or not, on the 4-spd auto is recomended to have a filter change and fresh fluid at 50,000. GM trying to help get business into dealerships didn't put a dip stick on the trans in this car, but I am sorry, I am not going to pay the dealership $170 for something I can do myself for $80.

So how do you know how much trans fluid to put in after the filter change? There is a level check bolt on the passenger side of the transaxle, right above the pan flange near were the axle comes out. Here is a pic.....



What you do is once you get the new filter on and pan put back on, you add 7quarts of trans fluid and then start it and let it run a few minutes and shift it through the gears a few times and let it warm up a bit and then pull the plug out. If no fluid is visible or coming out, then you add fluid till it comes out and then stop adding fluid, and when it stops coming out it is full.

I wanted to use Mobil 1 Dexron VI Synthetic ATF, but I can't find it anywhere so I picked up some Castrol Synthetic Blend Dexron VI for $7.50 a quart which wasn't a bad deal. I will take a few pics tomorrow when I am doing it and put them on here so ya'all can see how it went.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I actuall found this write up from an ASE mechanic on another site that explains how to change the filter really well....

This was on a Pontiac G6 with a 4T45....jhvcx.

Automatic Transmission Fluid Filter and Seal Replacement
Removal Procedure
Caution: Ensure that the vehicle is properly supported and squarely positioned. To help avoid personal injury when a vehicle is on a hoist, provide additional support for the vehicle on the opposite end from which the components are being removed.





Position the vehicle on a hoist and raise the vehicle.
Place a drain pan under the transaxle oil pan.
Remove the oil pan bolts from the front and sides only.
Loosen the rear oil pan bolts approximately 4 times.
Notice: Pry the oil pan carefully in order to prevent damage to the transaxle case or the oil pan sealing surfaces.

Lightly tap the oil pan with a rubber mallet or carefully pry in order to allow the oil to drain.
Remove the AIR. Refer to Transmission Fluid Check .
Inspect the fluid color.



Remove the remaining oil pan bolts and the oil pan.
Remove the oil pan gasket.



Remove the oil level control valve.
Remove the oil filter and oil filter O-ring seal. The seal may stay in case when filter is removed.



Important: Do not score or damage the transaxle case when removing the filter neck seal.

Using a chisel, indent the top of the filter neck seal to relax the press fit.
Remove the filter neck seal from the transaxle case and discard.
Remove all traces of the old gasket material.
Clean the transaxle case and oil pan gasket surfaces with solvent, and allow to air dry.
Installation Procedure




Notice: Use petroleum jelly when lubricating the components. Greases other than petroleum jelly will change the transaxle fluid characteristics and will cause undesirable shift conditions or filter clogging.

Install a new filter neck seal. A large socket can be used as an installation tool as shown. Two mallets can be used as well.



Coat the new filter O-ring seal with a small amount of petroleum jelly, and install the filter into the case.
Notice: Push straight down on the center of the oil level control valve in order to prevent damage to the case bore.

Install the oil level control valve.
Notice: Refer to Fastener Notice in the Preface section.





Install the oil pan gasket, the oil pan, and hand start the oil pan bolts.
Tighten
Tighten the oil pan bolts to 12 N·m (9 lb ft).

Lower the vehicle.
Refill transaxle using DEXRON® VI to the specified refill capacity.
Specification

• The bottom pan removal capacity is approximately 6.5 L (6.9 qt).

• The complete overhaul capacity is approximately 9 L (9.5 qt).

• The dry capacity is approximately 12.2 L (12.9 qt).

Start the engine. Warm up the transaxle and check for leaks.
Check for proper fluid level. Refer to Transmission Fluid Check

As for checking the level, there is a small plug that needs to be removed from right (passenger side) of the trans, sits just below the axle seal, and aprox 12 mm head on it, with car running, on a level surface, undo that plug, have a catch pan ready incase its over full, when the fluid stops draining out its full, if nothing comes out, add fluid until it comes out that hole. Fluid is added through the vent cap wich is on top of the trans, kinda under the air inlet duct for the engine.
 

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but I am sorry, I am not going to pay the dealership $170 for something I can do myself for $80.
Caution: Ensure that the vehicle is properly supported and squarely positioned. To help avoid personal injury when a vehicle is on a hoist, provide additional support for the vehicle on the opposite end from which the components are being removed.
THAT is the most important thing that will be posted in this thread.
Had a friends husband decide he would change the transmission fluid in his truck.....on ramps.....in PARK. He was gonna save around $200 too.

While he is messing around near the tranny, he bumps the shift linkage and it comes out of PARK. The rest isn't pretty.

It rolls down off the ramps, crushing one of his legs and his wife runs out to his screams to help get it off him. He likely will always walk with a limp but says he is lucky to have that leg at all. So far it took 3 fairly major operations to set and pin everything.........and it cost him a good bit more than $200 in the end.
 

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Not trying to make this thread take a morbid turn, but when I worked at NEC back in 2000-2001 there was an engineer on the Safety Team who was working on his car at home. It fell on him and he died.

Take the time to use a jack stand or two. Please!

PS: The plea for safety is for ALL who read this, not just the OP.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
THAT is the most important thing that will be posted in this thread.
Had a friends husband decide he would change the transmission fluid in his truck.....on ramps.....in PARK. He was gonna save around $200 too.

While he is messing around near the tranny, he bumps the shift linkage and it comes out of PARK. The rest isn't pretty.

It rolls down off the ramps, crushing one of his legs and his wife runs out to his screams to help get it off him. He likely will always walk with a limp but says he is lucky to have that leg at all. So far it took 3 fairly major operations to set and pin everything.........and it cost him a good bit more than $200 in the end.
That is a very sad story, but I am well of aware of the need to be safe. My father has worked in the auto industry for 40 years, and in the past I have worked in dealerships. I have built my own drag car, and usually do all my own maintence. I own a floor jack and four 2-ton jack stands to safely raise the vehicle up off the ground. I am n a position that can afford to have any maintence done at a dealership that needs to be done on my car. But I just have a hard time paying for something I can do myself. Plus I like working on my cars, and I know it is done right, and not by some kid justr out off high school.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Not trying to make this thread take a morbid turn, but when I worked at NEC back in 2000-2001 there was an engineer on the Safety Team who was working on his car at home. It fell on him and he died.

Take the time to use a jack stand or two. Please!

PS: The plea for safety is for ALL who read this, not just the OP.
Yeah, after I read my post I realized I came off as kind off an ass. I didn't mean too. My 8 month old has been sick the last few nights and I havent had much sleep. I appreciate the concern and agree that people should use proper tools and equimpment when working on their own cars. She seems to be doing better tonight, so hopefully my wife and I can get some sleep tonight.
 

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You didn't come off that way to me. I went back and edited in the PS: so you wouldn't think I was directing it at you. This is a public forum so I try to make sure that other readers are benefitted as well.
 

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Just pay for an atf exchange and get it over with. You will waste more time then money.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well I just got done. It wasn't very hard, but it would have been much easier with a hoist or bigger jack stands. I did really well not spilling a drop of trans fluid when I took the pan off, but forgot to put the drain pan back under when I took the filter out and about a half quart spilled on the floor.

As far as how it drives...before I did the change it had the classic GM clunk when going from reverse to drive. After words the clunk is gone, seems to shift smoother as well.

My wife and I are going out to dinner now, when I get back I will do a little write up and upload a few pics I took.
 

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Did you switch to a synthetic or blend?
 

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Well I orginally wanted to go with Mobil Synthetic Dexron VI ATF, but I couldn't find it anywhere. They show it on their website, but it apparently is a new product that isnt available yet. So I ended up using Castrol Dexron VI, which is a synthetic blend. Not sure if it is the Castrol or just the fact that I have new fluid in there, but we took it to dinner and shiftes SOOO good. Never realised new fluid could make such a difference. And like I said above, it did have that clunk that every GM car with a 4T45 in it that I have been in has when you shift from reverse to drive, but it went away after the fluid good circulated and warm.

It ended up taking exactly 7 quarts to refill it. Here are a few pics....

The trans with the pan off


The pan after I got it, and the magnet cleaned, and the gasket on


Where the filter goes into the bottom of the transmission
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Here is one more pic of the bottom of trans with the old filter off


I was kinda surprised at how little was under the pan. I remember on the 700R4 for my 88 camaro there was the valve body and all sorts of other valves and solenoids. I guess on a front wheel drive car the valve body is on the side.

If anybody else decides to do this themselves, it is very easy to drop the pan without spilling alot of fluid. Just make sure you have a big catch pan to catch the fluid, and start taking the bolts out in the middle of the pan that face the back of the car. Start in the center and work your way out, and after you get the back row out, the fluid starts coming out. I loosened the outer edge bolts a bit and it was coming out pretty well, so I just let it drain for awhile and when no more fluid was coming out, I just took the rest of the bolts out and dropped the pan. When you get the last three bolts or so, support the pan so that you dont bend the lip.

Then everythings else is pretty easy, there is no bolt holding the old filter in, just pull it down and out with a twisting motion, just make sure you have a drain pan underneath it cause there is about half a quart of fluid in it. Then use a screw driver and hammer to carefully tap in a side of the fitting that the filter goes into. Instal the new fitting, install the new filter, bolt the pan back up, and add 7 quarts of fluid.

Start the car, let it run a few minutes and then put it in reverse and drive and run it up through the gears acouple of times(Do this while on a hoist or jack stands, just be carefull). Then get underneath and pull out the fill/vent bolt. In my case no fluid was coming out, so added a half a quart and it almost instanly started coming out of the hole. So let it go a while till no more fluid was coming out and put the bolt back in. (This is all done while it is running). Then just take it down and go drive. Pretty simple.
 

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Nice write up and pictures. I also have the same trans. I have 32K miles right now, so I not ready yet. While my car is under the 5yr/100K warrantee, I'll take it to the dealer so there is an official receipt should something crap out and they point the finger at me.

I usually do my own oil changes, but I just had the 1st one done since I bought mine in Jan '11, at the deal, so there would be a record of it. I did have them put in my Mobil 1 full synthetic oil in though. It only cost $18 with my oil, and they even washed it for me!
 

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I have 32K miles right now,

I usually do my own oil changes, but I just had the 1st one done since I bought mine in Jan '11, at the deal, so there would be a record of it.
Something is wrong with this picture.

32,000 miles in 6 months......and you are just now doing the first oil change ??

Is there a small detail missing here.....like you bought it used 6 months ago with ~ 25K miles already ON it ?? :cool:
 

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Something is wrong with this picture.

32,000 miles in 6 months......and you are just now doing the first oil change ??

Is there a small detail missing here.....like you bought it used 6 months ago with ~ 25K miles already ON it ?? :cool:
I bought it used in Jan 2011, with 27K miles on it. It's a 2010 Malibu.
 

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I did my 4T45E at 25K Miles. Used a Purolator Filter kit and Castrol Dex VI. Used all 7 Qts. Had to reuse the factory Trans Pan Seal. When I hit 50k I am replacing it. Along with a new Purolator filter and Castrol fluid.
 

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I do everything myself minus a tire rotation+balancing and trans fluid. I usually spend the $120 bucks and get it flushed/cycled out on a car for the fear that something like what was posted by several others occurring to me.. My Xterra was parked and chocked so easy to do, plenty of vehicle clearance without any jacking/ramps.

Heck, I don't even like being under the car with my Rhino Ramps. I don't trust anything short of a lift, but i don't have that luxury as much as I'd like.
 

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The manual also states to remove the oil level control valve and replace the O-Ring? It can be seen in the picture in post #12. Is this necessary or no?
 
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