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  1. #1
    Member NT Vettman's Avatar
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    Corvette(s)
    1990 white coupe

    Default Transmission removal

    Looking for some advice and techniques. Yesterday on my way to opening day at Watkins Glen race track my automatic transmission in my 90 vett went south. Lost drive and 2nd gear, had to be towed home. Big bill for that ride. Any way I am not sure if I want to pull it or have my mechanic do it. I looking to see how easy is it to get to the bolts on the bell housing. Any body got any secrets or tips on pulling it out. I pulled a complete engine and tranny from my friends 89 but this looks to be a little more difficult to get to the tranny only. When it does come out Im taking it to a local performance transmission shop in my area for a rebuild

  2. #2
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    Although I have not removed an automatic transmission from a 90 Vette, I was able to successfully remove, rebuild and replace the 4+3 manual from my 85. I was able to do this in my garage using jack stands but it was not the easiest repair I have ever performed.

    Some tips you might find helpful:

    1 - Get some big heavy duty jack stands. You are going to spend a lot of time under the car and you want to be safe.

    2 - The car will have to be raised high enough to slide out the transmission, which means that you will have to raise the car in stages. If you simply raise one side of the car up really high and place it on stands, there is a chance the car will fall off the stands as you start raising the other side. Be patient and careful here.

    3 - The driveshaft will have to come out. Not a big deal, mine came out easily even though it had not been removed for 20 years.

    4 - The torque arm will have to be disconnected and removed. The bolts on mine could not be removed with hand tools, I had to use an impact gun. If you don't have access to an impact gun, you may have a problem here. Not saying you can't get the bolts out, I'm just saying that on my car they would not come out without an impact gun. You will also need a box wrench to hold the nut on the top of the torque arm as you work to loosen the bolt from the bottom. (Note: the box wrench really hurts when you drop it on your face, I know from personal experience).

    5 - In order to remove the bolts at the top of the bellhousing, I had to remove the following: both valve covers, plenum, runners, distributor, oil pressure sending unit, and fuel rail. Removing these components gave me access to the bolts at the top of the bellhousing. You may be able to get by with removing fewer components, but I found I needed to remove them all.

    6 - I used a regular floor jack to support my transmission as I removed it, but I needed one person to handle the jack, and 2 people under the car to get the transmission out. As I said, mine was a manual, and I believe that the manual is lighter than an automatic. I found my 4+3 to be quite heavy, so be careful if you decide to remove the automatic. I found that getting all of the bolts removed was the biggest challenge, and the actual removal was not that bad since I had help.

    If you want to get your car fixed and running again quickly, I would recommend getting a shop to remove and replace your transmission. I did mine in the garage because I was determined to rebuild the transmission myself, and my car was out of unavailable for almost 8 weeks.

    Note: When I was done, I promised myself "never again". But if my transmission were to fail tomorrow, I would probably do the work myself again.

  3. #3
    Member Edmond's Avatar
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    Default

    Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! I have never removed a tranny before but I've seen it done on Horsepower TV and they always make it seem easy. Then again, they did have the luxury of using a lift.

    Does the exhaust system need to be removed in order to access the driveshaft?

  4. #4
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    Opps. Forgot to mention the exhaust. Yes, it needs to come out. I took it out as a complete unit and replaced it as a complete unit (two people needed).

    I also managed to break one of the studs on the manifold, which required the removal of the driver side exhaust manifold to extract the broken stud.

    I'm starting to remember why I said "Never Again".

  5. #5
    Member Edmond's Avatar
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    Generally speaking, aren't the manual transmissions built to take more power than their automatic counterparts?

  6. #6
    Member wishuwerehere82's Avatar
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    You should be able to remove the bellhousing bolts from under the car with a couple of long extensions(2-1/2 Ft.) and a universal joint on the end of the extensions. You can position the socket by reaching up with your hand between the tunnel and the top of the bellhousing. Once it's positioned, the long extensions will go over the tranny to the rear, where you can get some room to swing the ratchet.

    I used a platform jack on a creeper to move it back and lower my tranny out. The rear of the engine will need to be supported to get the tranny off the guide pins.

  7. #7
    Member Hrtbeat1's Avatar
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    '90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51

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    The whole exhaust needs to come out, all the way to the exhaust manifolds. They can stay unless you break one of the bolts as 77-85 and I did. I replaced the exhaust manifolds with headers so that took care of that problem. The torque arm (C-beam) has to come out. I got mine with a 1/2" drive ratchet and a box end wrench. The front two bolts are 18mm the rear two are 21mm. I used jackstands to support the car, you need about 18 inches clearance to slide the tranny from under the car. A good floor jack is needed to lift the tranny just a bit to get the C-beam out, a matter of jacking/prying to releive the stress (line it all up). There is an epoxy that helps to secure the C-beam, between the C-beam and the tranny in the front and between the C-beam and the rear diff, mine was so old it just crumbled. One note of caution, the C-beam is most likely covered in old grease, road grit, ect. wear a good set of gloves as the edges of the C-Beam are very sharp (ask me how I know.) A little PB Blaster on the u-joint strap bolts helps. It is a good idea to run a tap thru the bolt holes after you get them and the drive shaft out, the size is 1/4"-28 tpi (threads per inch.) use another jackstand to support the tranny when you remove the C-Beam, and remove your distributor cap as the tranny will tilt the whole engine assembly back and possibly crack the dist cap on the firewall. When you pull the driveshaft tranny fluid will leak out of the tailshaft housing, unless you were smart enough to empty the tranny first. Some tranny shops like to look at the fluid for inspection. When you go to take out the tranny mounting bolts, tilt the engine/tranny back to ease in the removal of the upper bolts (9/16" all around.) It would be a good idea to have a variety of extentions and swivels (I have a 3/8" drive extention two feet long that helped a great deal.) Its almost easier to leave the tranny dipstick in the car with the engine. BTW make sure to replace the seal at the dipstick and the TV-cable. Oops forgot about that you need to disconnect the TV cable from the Throttle Body. The tranny side of the TV cable is secured with a 10mm bolt, remove it and pull up to disconnect from the inside of the tranny (its a little hooked wire that just slides in the end of the cable.) Disconnect the tranny cooler lines with a flare nut wrench (box end with a split to go around the line AKA line wrench.) My floor jack has a large pad (about 6" in diameter) but I used a piece of 2X8 to disperse the load across the pan, jack up a bit, remove the jackstand and place it under the front edge of the oil pan (again I used a piece of 2X8 to disperse the load) when you remove the tranny the engine will want to rotate forward. I used the jack / 2X8 and pulled the tranny back then lowered it, slid it off the jack and out from under the car. The tranny weighs 163 lbs dry and about 180 wet. If you are thinking of upgrading your torque converter this is the time to do it. Also check the flexplate very good for warping or cracks. I replaced mine with a B&M SFI after mine broke. (Yea, had to drop the tranny again)

    Oh I forgot about the inspection cover and the starter. you have to pull the starter to get the inspection cover off. After its all out use some compressed air and brake parts cleaner to flush out the tranny cooler / lines.

    Sorry if I bounced around, remembering things as I typed. I think I got it all though. I've pulled mine out three times so I've gotten pretty good at it. The first time took a day to pull and a day to reinstall. I could probabally get it out in three hours now.

    Hope this helps.


  8. #8
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    1995 Red Coupe *Sold* 1997 Silver Coupe *Sold*

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    You can get the top bolts out of the bell housing if you have access to 36 inch extension. Have someone pull down on the tail shaft of the trans just a little, and slide the extension over the trans between it and the floorpan. Then attach you ratchet or air tool the extension and back out the bolt. Do the reverse to reinstall the trans.

    With the trans cross member out, there is enough complience in the motor mounts to rock tail of the trans down a few inches.

    Brett

  9. #9
    DMGroh
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    The first time took a day to pull and a day to reinstall. I could probabally get it out in three hours now.

    Hope this helps.

    [/QUOTE]

    3 Hours! Damn! I'm gonna drive out to Hawaii next time I need this!

    Neat little tip is to put a large baggie over the end of the tail shaft (tape it up pretty good) after pulling the drive shaft out---it keeps the shop floor a little cleaner as you lower that end during removal.

  10. #10
    Member Hrtbeat1's Avatar
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    '90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMGroh
    3 Hours! Damn! I'm gonna drive out to Hawaii next time I need this!
    Man did they finish that bridge? The real trick is to catch me when I'm there, better yet catch me when I'm here (Biloxi) much shorter drive, and no water damage.

    That's no joke roughly three hours to pull ... and I did it alone each time. I guess practice makes perfect .... I've still got lots of practicing to do before I try out for one of the NASCAR pit crews. Them guys could probabally do it in 20 minutes.


  11. #11
    Member Edmond's Avatar
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    Yeah, they finished that bridge. I'm the only one who owns a gas station along the bridge.

  12. #12
    Member Hrtbeat1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond
    Yeah, they finished that bridge. I'm the only one who owns a gas station along the bridge.
    You better have 8 to 15 or one of those rolling BP stations from the commercial a few years back.


  13. #13
    Member G Winter's Avatar
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    This is off subject a little but talking about doing things fast. Back in 1970 a guy I know had a 68 Nova. About 7 pm he raced someone and got beat. He dissapeard till about 9 pm. Raced the same guy and kicked butt. Turns out he went home and switched engines.

  14. #14
    Member wishuwerehere82's Avatar
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    I didn't know Clark Kent raced back in the 70's?

  15. #15
    Member G Winter's Avatar
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    One thing , back then you had an engine and alternator under the hood and that was about it. It didnt take long to pull an engine in those, you had all kinds of room.

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