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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok - FSM's description of the procedure to remove the tranny pan SOUNDS good, but boy was I in for a rude awakening upon execution!

12 of the bolts came out NO problemo. The 13th, nearest the drivers' side exhaust pipe, was a total bear - gotta wonder if my exhaust is a bit outta whack - I had a helluva time getting a socket onto that one bolt - hardly any clearance. Anyhoo - success.

It appears that the trans filter has been replaced at some point (good news), but they used RTV to seal the pan back on instead of a rubber gasket (like the one that came with my trans filter kit). UGH.

The trans housing is aluminum, yes? I was deathly afraid of gouging the surface by trying to pry the pan loose - I used a mini-prybar and was able to sorta apply some leverage against the lip of the pan by prying back against the trans itself with the prybar 'elbow', but again, It felt like I would tear up the lip of the pan before I'd successfully break the seal.

Long story short - are there any tips the DI.NET hive-mind can offer to get the transmission pan off without damaging it? Was I worrying too much when I shoulda been prying like a madman? Should I go practice on the 99 ES at the local Pick-n-Pull? :rollgrin:

I settled for draining and filling the trans with some fresh ATF+4 for now. Better than nothin'.

Thanks!
 

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I would not have been "prying as a madman" as you stated it. You are right for holding back on it because it is aluminum, and very soft aluminum at that. The reason the pan was so hard to pull off is the RTV doing its job.

DO NOT use the rubber or cork gasket that comes with the filter. I tried it once, and it leaked like a sieve. I had to redo the damn thing and just used RTV to seal it up and it worked like a charm. Also, with the pan off, take a can of brake cleaner and spray the pan to clean all the metal and clutch material sediment out, and spray the inside of the transmission to clean off the sealing surface. Use a gasket scraper to remove all the old RTV off the pan. Lastly, it is most adventagous to change the trans filter while you are there. You wouldnt change your oil without changing the oil filter, would you?

If there is anything else you need to know, dont hesitate to ask.

EDIT: Using a torque wrench is a very good idea here. If you strip out one of the holes, you are gonna turn a 4 hour job into a weekend job lol.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would not have been "prying as a madman" as you stated it. You are right for holding back on it because it is aluminum, and very soft aluminum at that. The reason the pan was so hard to pull off is the RTV doing its job.

DO NOT use the rubber or cork gasket that comes with the filter. I tried it once, and it leaked like a sieve. I had to redo the damn thing and just used RTV to seal it up and it worked like a charm. Also, with the pan off, take a can of brake cleaner and spray the pan to clean all the metal and clutch material sediment out, and spray the inside of the transmission to clean off the sealing surface. Use a gasket scraper to remove all the old RTV off the pan. Lastly, it is most adventagous to change the trans filter while you are there. You wouldnt change your oil without changing the oil filter, would you?

If there is anything else you need to know, dont hesitate to ask.

EDIT: Using a torque wrench is a very good idea here. If you strip out one of the holes, you are gonna turn a 4 hour job into a weekend job lol.
Thanks for the advice on the rubber gasket that came with my filter. I guess I'll plan on the RTV.

But what I need to know is what's the trick to dislodge the pan after the bolts are out? Glad I was right not to pry - but what other options do I have that aren't going to dent/gouge/puncture the pan in the process?

I thought about using a thin but sturdy paint scraper and trying to tap it in between the pan and the trans - maybe I would be able to work it sideways around the pan...

And you're right - I'm gonna clean the inside of the pan thoroughly - hadn't thought of hosing down the trans innards tho - not a bad idea!
 

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If you are 110000000% that all the bolts are removed, you can pull down on it as hard as you can. If it still won't break free try a razor blade and lightly cut away at the RTV until its mostly broken apart so you can pull it off

Also, give this a read through http://www.dodgeintrepid.net/forums/t106638/
 

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Btw, I always recommend sticking a tube into the dipstick tube to remove the trans fluid BEFORE removing the pan. Otherwise you WILL get the fluid everywhere even if you leave couple of bolts on to hold the pan.

Another way to remove the pan is to take a rubber mallet and hit the pan a couple of times. If you DIDN'T empty the fluid in the pan, then I would recommend you put a couple of those bolts back on to prevent the whole thing falling off with fluid dumping all over the place.

As far as the rubber gasket is concerned, it is definitely okay to use it. I used it when I did my tranny and it never leaked a drop. What you need to make sure is that the pan's mating surface is flat. Because the pan is aluminum, if the previous person torque the bolts on too hard, the area near the bolt hole would pertrude out and that is what causes the leak. So after you get your pan off, what you should do is place the pan's edge on a flat surface to see if the edge is perfectly straight. If not, take a brass hammer and flatten out the pan before you attach it back up. After that, you can use whatever gasket you want. The factory recommendation is the RTV (mopar type) so you can stick with that. The rubber or cork gaskets will also work.
 

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My gut feeling is that the rubber gaskets that come with the filter are too firm to seal right. If I was going to use them, I would put RTV on both sides.

I'd still stray away from them simply because Mopar doesnt use them. (There is a gasket you can buy that lasts for 3 tranny changes and can be reused). However, I still say stick with just the RTV.
 

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I hit **** with sticks!
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I would not have been "prying as a madman" as you stated it. You are right for holding back on it because it is aluminum, and very soft aluminum at that. The reason the pan was so hard to pull off is the RTV doing its job.

DO NOT use the rubber or cork gasket that comes with the filter. I tried it once, and it leaked like a sieve. I had to redo the damn thing and just used RTV to seal it up and it worked like a charm. Also, with the pan off, take a can of brake cleaner and spray the pan to clean all the metal and clutch material sediment out, and spray the inside of the transmission to clean off the sealing surface. Use a gasket scraper to remove all the old RTV off the pan. Lastly, it is most adventagous to change the trans filter while you are there. You wouldnt change your oil without changing the oil filter, would you?

If there is anything else you need to know, dont hesitate to ask.

EDIT: Using a torque wrench is a very good idea here. If you strip out one of the holes, you are gonna turn a 4 hour job into a weekend job lol.
Agree 100%. DO NOT use the gasket on these...use grey or black RTV only...Chryslers hate the rubber pan gaskets, they will leak like a sieve.

As for getting the pan off, they can be a bear. Dont be afraid to pry a bit, once you get a corner of the pan down, go around the edges of the pan prying, and usually the rest of the pan will break loose easily. Its easiest to pry at the front drivers side corner of the pan first.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If you are 110000000% that all the bolts are removed, you can pull down on it as hard as you can. If it still won't break free try a razor blade and lightly cut away at the RTV until its mostly broken apart so you can pull it off

Also, give this a read through http://www.dodgeintrepid.net/forums/t106638/
GREAT thread!!! I shoulda searched on "trans" instead of "transmission" before I posted. Bookmarked!
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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18,595 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Btw, I always recommend sticking a tube into the dipstick tube to remove the trans fluid BEFORE removing the pan. Otherwise you WILL get the fluid everywhere even if you leave couple of bolts on to hold the pan.
I saw your post in another thread about doing JUST that - GREAT recommendation. I picked up a $8 hand-pump at Meijer and pulled a full gallon out through the dipstick tube in just a couple of minutes.

I can only imagine the mess I'd make if that pan was full when I broke the seal loose. :grlaugh:
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Agree 100%. DO NOT use the gasket on these...use grey or black RTV only...Chryslers hate the rubber pan gaskets, they will leak like a sieve.

As for getting the pan off, they can be a bear. Dont be afraid to pry a bit, once you get a corner of the pan down, go around the edges of the pan prying, and usually the rest of the pan will break loose easily. Its easiest to pry at the front drivers side corner of the pan first.
Y'all have sold me on the RTV. I actually have a few tubes of grey RTV (local Meijer getting ready to remodel - lots of auto stuff on clearance). Do you think 'standard' RTV would be ok? I saw mention of Mopar-branded RTV for trans pans in the other thread... How different could it be?

Thanks for all the prompt input everyone!
 

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They say that the Mopar RTV is specifically designed for ATF+4. I actually bought a tube when I did the trans. My tube was probably sitting in cold for too long that I CAN"T squeeze it out at all. That's when I said f*it and went with the rubber gasket. I would say if you are gonna use RTV, don't cheap out on the RTV and use the mopar. Cuz it's like 10 bucks, not worth the risk.
 

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I hit **** with sticks!
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Y'all have sold me on the RTV. I actually have a few tubes of grey RTV (local Meijer getting ready to remodel - lots of auto stuff on clearance). Do you think 'standard' RTV would be ok? I saw mention of Mopar-branded RTV for trans pans in the other thread... How different could it be?

Thanks for all the prompt input everyone!
Regular grey or black permatex RTV will work just fine, doesnt have to be the mopar stuff. Ive used the grey rtv countless times on tranny pans with no issues.
 

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Be assured Mopar doesn't have an RTV factory. There brand is made my someone else, whether its Permatex or 3M or whatever.
 

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I know many here prefer the RTV, but I and some others have had good success with the Chrysler metal sandwhich gasket that MEGATREP mentioned. It requires continuously smooth surfaces, so if someone has been prying on the surfaces to separate the pan, you need to make sure there's enough smooth surface for metal with some spring pressure behind it to seal against.

If that's the case, it just saves a lot of work in cleaning up before re-sealing - *AND* the next time you do a pan drop, once you have the bolts loose, the pan is off.

So if you wanted to go this route, you could take your time getting the pan off the first time - maybe whack it from the side with a flat piece of wood to shear the RTV loose. Then once you do that first RTV cleanup stuff, there is no more problem getting the pan loose and no more scraping old RTV off for any future drops.

Also - I was under the impression that RTV for tranny fluid use was a special formulation - but maybe they just package and label regular RTV as if that were the case.
 

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That rhythm is INFECTIOUS.
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So if you wanted to go this route, you could take your time getting the pan off the first time - maybe whack it from the side with a flat piece of wood to shear the RTV loose. Then once you do that first RTV cleanup stuff, there is no more problem getting the pan loose and no more scraping old RTV off for any future drops.
I like the idea of using a piece of 2x4 and whacking the end of it laterally against the pan instead of trying to pull straight down (no leverage with my big ass under the car on jackstands!). Heck, if given the right length of wood or even perhaps a piece of pipe, might be able to lever against something else underneath there.

Hmmm... I'll have to look much closer and do some pondering next time I try to tackle the filter change.

Again - thanks for all the suggestions - I hope someday I can offer up some of my own to some n00bs like myself. :fun_08:
 

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12 of the bolts came out NO problemo. The 13th, nearest the drivers' side exhaust pipe, was a total bear - ......
I settled for draining and filling the trans with some fresh ATF+4 for now. Better than nothin'.

Thanks!
This describes my experience exactly when I went to do this 2 years ago.

Later, (after I'd aborted and instead drained the pan overnight via siphon tube through the dipstick tube) I was told to :
1) Razor blade all around the sealing surface to break the RTV seal, Or
2) Whack the pan laterally (and carefully) with a 2x4 and a hammer to break the RTV seal.
 

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While you have the drain pan off, it might be a good time to add a drain plug to the tranny pan. Or, if you know you are going to drop the pan, get a spare pan, and have a drain plug added to it. It makes doing the job 100000000x's easier, and cleaner!!
 

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While you have the drain pan off, it might be a good time to add a drain plug to the tranny pan. Or, if you know you are going to drop the pan, get a spare pan, and have a drain plug added to it. It makes doing the job 100000000x's easier, and cleaner!!
Excellent idea.
 

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This DAMN tranny pan aint comin' off!!

I am doing the tranny fluid and filter on my 97 3.5L and the pan is on there SOLID. Does anyone think running the engine for a short time [to soften the RTV crap a little] then trying again might be a good idea? I would hear the pan drop and could kill the engine right away IF that even happened.

Mike
 

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I was reinstalling my pan and ck'ed this tread out for tips. Taking it off I used a box cutter blade and ran it around the perimeter as much as I could. I then used a wedge of hardwood to pry it enough to get my fingers in to pull it off. BUT I didn't siphon the fluid out as others did but I highly recommend it. Or get a bunch of cat litter/speedy dry. I'm using the rubber gasket that came with the filter but I "glued" it on the pan flange with RTV to hold it in place. One thing I'd offer though. I don't know what other tranny pans are made of. But my 2001 has a stamped steel pan. That's so the magnet in it stays put.
 
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