A413 trans rebuild part 1 – removal

23Oct06

Saturday, after a very long delay waiting for funds and time, I finally tore the transmission back out of the Acclaim in order to rebuild it. It turned out that the no-upshift issue I mentioned back in May was really a failed seal in the transmission. After a lot of playing around with the valve body, I finally broke down and obtained a gauge and did a diagnosis using the line pressure test ports on the front of the unit, and realized that pressure dropped to zero almost as soon as I would put it into gear. So this past summer was spent on other projects while I did research and gathered opinions about what I might do.

Finally I got things back underway, though and yanked it out on Saturday. Some thoughts on removing this trans:

  • First and foremost, a lot of people mention what a bitch it is to get the 15mm bolt out that secures the starter through the engine block to the transmission. I literally spent a few minutes looking for “the difficult bolt” after I already had this one out. True, you cannot get a traditional socket and ratchet on it, however it’s a piece of cake with a 15mm ratcheting box-end wrench. I already had pulled the axle shafts before I got around to loosening this one. This is one of those cases where having the right tool for the job pays off handsomely. I had the thing out in under a minute, and I understand some people have taken hours and hours to do this.
  • Removing the flex-plate to torque-converter bolts: there are four of these, and first you have to remove the sheetmetal access cover, which involves backing out two 18mm bolts — one through the front engine mount, the other just between the engine block and the transmission in the rear (firewall side) of the drivetrain. Then you have to remove the 10mm bolt that is in the center of the access plate. I then struggled for a bit trying to get the plate to come loose — I hadn’t loosened any of the other engine-to-trans bolts yet. I hammered it out using a long socket extension to catch the edge of the cover from above. You will also need some means of locking the crankshaft into place while you loosen the torque converter bolts themselves. I used my good old fashioned crowbar wedged between the flexplate and the bottom of the bellhousing. It doesn’t take much pressure to hold things in place. Finally, you will need to rotate the engine 90 degrees at least three times to bring each bolt around to where you can reach it. I used a 13mm socket on a long extension to the center of the crank pulley and my 3/8ths ratchet. Works great when all of the sparkplugs are removed.
  • I tossed ’round the idea of just pulling the entire engine/trans as an assembly. In the end, I think just dropping the trans out the bottom using an engine crane is less work. I have the car supported on jack stands with 20″ of clearance between the floor and the bottom of the radiator support. This proved to be more than enough room to easily slide the trans out. I’m still a relative newbie, but working with air tools by myself I had the trans drained and sitting on my workbench 3 hours after I started raising the car. Not bad…

So some words to the wise about stuff you need to do this the way I did:

  1. An engine crane or cherry picker. I got mine used for $60 — I think they’re around $140 new at places like Harbor Freight. If the roof in your garage has exposed rafters, you might get by with a come-along, although I’m sure glad I don’t have to do it that way. For one thing, you’d probably have to remove the hood to use a come-along, while the engine crane will just sneak right in under the hood. After I got the transmission out, I backed up the crane a few inches and attached the chain to the main ground point on the driver’s side of the cylinder head to support the engine–which hung in there just fine on the two remaining engine mounts while I removed the trans. I don’t think you need to have any special support for the engine while removing the trans– for a short term, it apparently is well enough supported on the front and passenger side mounts that it isn’t going anywhere.
  2. I think the transmission jacks that support the trans from underneath would be a lot more difficult to use. I attached the crane’s chain using the bolt-hole on the top of the bellhousing, just to the right and slightly below the timing window. It isn’t the largest bolt on the transmission, but it supported it with no sign of strain.
  3. Get yourself a 15mm ratcheting box-end wrench for that starte bolt!! Check out Sears item #00942596000 Mfr. model #42596, or #00947819000 Mfr. model #9115 — either one of these will do the job.
  4. Jack stands. Must have. No excuses.
  5. I am fortunate enough to have air tools to use, including a pneumatic ratchet and an impact gun. It makes the business of removing some of those big 18mm engine-trans bolts or the 15mm sway-bar bolts a piece of cake. If you don’t have this luxury, invest in a good quality 1/2″ breaker bar.
  6. A ‘rough service’ bulb for my trouble light. I drop my trouble light. A lot. I would’ve replaced at least three standard lightbulbs after that thing hit the floor just while pulling the trans alone. Worth the $1.99 at Autozone. If buying online, consider http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/slp60016.html
  7. Have lots of oil dry handy, in case you do what I did, which was not moving the drain pan far enough away from underneath the trans when I actually dropped it down. Yep…most of the fluid I had so carefully drained ended up on the floor anyway. Yuck.
The patient sits on my bench awaiting surgery.
Yes, it’s purple, that’s the color my kids picked when I cleaned it up to install it…


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One Response to “A413 trans rebuild part 1 – removal”

  1. 1 PAUL KNISELY

    HEY CUZ,

    THE TC BOLTS ARE REMOVED BY PUTTING A BREAKER ON THE

    HARMONIC BOLT, EASY 90* TURNS FOR THE OTHER 18mm BOLTS W/

    WRENCH. THE BELLEVILLE SPRINGS WILL SHATTER IF YOU SLAM

    GEARS WITH THIS A413; THE LO-CLUTCH PISTON GETS WIPED, AND

    THE FORWARD COIL SPRING GETS CRUSHED. THERE IS NO-WAY I

    CAN ALLEVIATE THIS DAMAGE EITHER……REPLACE DRUMS & GUTS.

    THE GOVERNOR HAS ‘HUNG’ A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT TO DRY, AND

    A QUICK RESOLVE IS TO GET A MANUAL SHIFT KIT FROM A CALIF

    COMPANY CALLED SUPERIOR PRODUCTS…….PULL GOV-TUBES, A

    FEW SPRING CHANGES, J-B WELD A FEW HOLES………

    I HAVE POUNDED THIS MACHINE FOR 6 YEARS AND AM REBUILDING

    IT AGAIN. GONNA LAY OFF THE LAUNCHES FROM NOW ON !

    -P- 4258065209


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