If you are looking for Chrisfix’s downloadable checklist pdf for removing and installing a transmission here is the link. Link to Chrisfix’s Downloadable Transmission Removal Checklist.
Follow the steps in his video here for an in-depth guide to removing and replacing a transmission. It is more or less the same steps with an automatic transmission. Watch the video and you will be well on your way to being good at replacing transmissions. This video took Chrisfix around 300 hours to make, so please like and subscribe to his channel. Remember that not all transmission replacements are the same, so take his video as a general guide.
To read more about who is Chrisfix click here. Or to read about his beef with Scotty Kilmer click here. Also if you love tools check out my list of the top ten cool automotive tools, or a list of mechanics favorite tool inventions for car repair.
Most important steps when removing transmissions:
Always remember to remove the negative battery post terminal before starting any transmission removal. If you don’t you will be quickly reminded to do it because of sparks flying underneath your car when you accidentally ground out the live (hot) starter.
Next, make sure to empty all transmission fluid out. You will make a big mess if you forget this step before dropping the transmission.
Keep track of what bolts go where! Many professionals won’t pay much attention, because they just know what bolts go where after time. However, if this is your first transmission swap, it is useful to take a piece of cardboard (like a cereal box) and puncture holes in it and slide the bolts into it in the order they were removed (make a circular diagram that matches the transmission). This will give you the confidence to put the bolts back in the correct order.
A magnetic tray also helps a ton as does having paint marker pens or actually using bright nail color polish works perfectly well. Both of these things are just items that professional mechanics have on hand anyway. Plus they don’t cost much at all, so they are PERFECT for anyone trying to tackle a transmission swap on their own.
Hardest Part of Transmission Swaps:
The hardest part of any transmission swap is getting the transmission in and out of the car.
Especially if you’re not working on a lift and doing this in your driveway. The most important thing is to get the car as high off the ground as you can both front and rear to give yourself the most working space possible. The key word here is safe, as every inch that the car gets up off the ground the more unstable it gets, and the more taxing it is on your jack stands.
Typically how I do this is by using wood blocks on my jack to be able to get the car up high. Then I place heavy-duty 6-ton jack stands at the proper jack spots starting with the front then lifting the rear.
Trust me, you will thank yourself for spending an extra hour getting the car nice and high up off the ground before starting. The best is if you can use a creeper as you will be spending a ton of time going from under the car to grabbing more tools.
Swapping transmissions means paying attention to detail and planning ahead. Thanks to Chrisfix for the awesome video and checklist to help you out! Follow it closely and you will have no problems swapping a transmission on your car. Just remember the first time you do it it will take you like 4-6x as long as your second or third time.
Therefore, it can be really helpful to hire a professional mechanic to help you with your first transmission swap. They will have the confidence to pry, bang, push or kick when you are feeling timid. And believe me, sometimes transmissions really just need some extra persuading.
If you want to read some old-school mechanic tricks click here to read my list of ten (still adding) mechanic lifehacks/tricks.