general transmission lowering advice

JerryIrons

Active Member
I've never actually had to lower the transmission, or even raise the engine much before in all the years of doing work on my vehicle. I am just starting to replace my transmission lines, and really have just one basic question. As far as lowering the transmission, raising the engine, moving the transmission to the side, is there ever any kind of alignment or damage I can cause? I know there is a lot of weight there and to be careful. I'm asking because I've also done work on rav4s, and you have to be careful with the driveshaft not to let it "bend" over 20 degrees or you can damage it. That's kind of what I'm looking for, is there anything to be careful of in regards to damaging the vehicle (not me lol) For example, can I just put a jack under the tranny, remove the cross member and drop it down as much as it wants to go? I wouldn't do this without studying things that are dropping down and being esposed to stress as well, but I think you get the idea of what I'm asking.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Having done this Task back in early 2014-2015... it's an 11 on a 1-10 Difficulty Scale, I should say that it can be done (almost) Solo... but requires great physical strength to first work over the rear of the Transmission Hump twith LONG Extensions in order to access and finally break loose the last two recalcitrant Bell Housing Bolts. I cannot speak for the 4X4 Crowd as mine involved a "mere" 2WD 2002 Trailblazer... which 'only' required removing the following:

(1) The Aluminum Drive Shaft (Marked first at the Rear Diff "U" Joint Take-Off) a MUST.
(2) Transmission Cross Member and Shock Mount
(3) Transmission Bell Housing Bolts (11)
(4) Torque Converter Bolts (3) Through the Lower Oil Pan Access Hole)
(5) Transmission Guard Plate & Cooler Lines (Passenger Side via Tri-Lobe Wire Locks)
(6) Transmission Vapor Vent Tube
(7) Park Neutral Switch (Leave the Two Harness Connectors ON)
(8) Brake Fluid Lines Support Bracket (Driver's Side)
(9) Heater Line Bracket (Mind that it does NOT drop in between on Re-Assembly)
(10) Later.. Fluid Replacement, Warm Ups, Test Drives and Slow Top Off Re-Fills.

After that, you literally have to wrestle with it quite a bit to get it loose and then guide it back from the Flex-Plate on the Tranny Stand WITHOUT allowing the Torque Converter to slip off the Hydraulic Pump Shaft and crash to the ground. Then comes lowering it and actually having to roll the Transmission off of the Jack Stand (a Scissor version in my case) in order to be able to slide it out from under the front area of the SUV on layers of Cardboard. This is because most Jack Stands will only allow for raising the vehicle higher than 21" or so and that height will simply not be enough to roll the 4L60E Transmission out while it is still safely Chained down or Nylon Strapped on top of the Tranny Jack.

If you have rebuilt your own or purchased a Fully Re-Manned 4L60E and can convince a local Transmission Shop shop to install it for Labor Costs with No Warranty or Guarantee... that approach would be the preferred route to go. Otherwise...Count on a Bill of $3,000-$3,500 if they sell you one they have re-manned. Two People can probably burn through this job with relative ease for most of "The Nasty" bits described above. But working solo on this Job...is a Long Road... with No Turns. Considering what an enormous PITA this job was...in hindsight... it would have been WORTH the Extra Cost.

FWIW... I installed a Fully Re-Manned 4L60E I purchased from eBay for around $1,250.00 with a Three Year Warranty. When I had the $100.00 Case Re-Learn done (prior to my getting a "GYMKO" Tech2 of my own) the GM Dealership Service Manager and the GM Tech both came out and asked "Did YOU install this Transmission ...yourself?" I replied "Yes... of course." They just looked at each other with astonishment and replied, "Very NICE Work..." and smiled. :>)
 

JerryIrons

Active Member
Thread Starter
I think I worded my question wrong, I'm not replacing the transmission, only the lines. Just looking for anything to watch out for in regards to lowering the transmission somewhat, or raising the engine. Can I knock something out of alignment in the process? I don't think so.

I have one line off so far. I had to stop and buy new fittings for the cooler side because the old ones were so corroded and rusty the little line clips came right off after I removed the black cap. And of course the line ends themselves were rusted and bonded to the fitting, that's why they didn't just fall apart lol.

Also I am putting in a new transmission dipstick tube, the last time I refilled my transmission after a filter and fluid change half the fluid ran out onto the floor from a rusted out hole in the tube.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
I don't think that lowering the Transmission is necessary and may do more harm than good. You can gain MORE access to the Line Fittings by unbolting the Transmission Line Heat Shield-Guard. That action is covered here, jik you have not viewed this Video at around 10:00 ... this is my Favorite "How To" for the Transmission Lines R&R and I think there is also a dedicated Thread at GMTN about this issue, too:


Here is the Replacement Dipstick Tube:


Here is the Replacement Dipstick Rubber 4L60E Grommet:


Here is the 4L60E Replacement Tri-Lobe Fitting Clip:

 
Last edited:

Mooseman

Master Blaster
Moderator
You can lower the tranny by removing the rear tranny mount and the crossmember. You don't have to remove the drive shaft. You can lower it to the point where the rear of the engine will hit the firewall. I wouldn't let the full weight come down on it so basically, don't drop it all the way. Bringing it back into position, there is no alignment except to get the tranny mount studs to align with the holes in the crossmember.
 

JerryIrons

Active Member
Thread Starter
Thanks guys very good information and I really appreciate it. Have an out of town memorial to attend so it will be a few days before I can get back to this. Thanks MRSSM for the links, yep I watched that video already twice, and read everything I could on this easy fun job lol. Already purchased those parts, got them from rockauto. The new radiator fitttings I picked up from the gm stealership, and they come with clips on them so I now have even more extra clips :smile: Nice thing is I could practice with these things to see how they are supposed to work, taking off and putting on the clips.

So far I can see this job being an exercise in patience, and plenty of it. Got one line off without having to do anything other than putting front of engine on ramps so far, we will see how the rest of it goes. I am very tempted to buy a diagnostic camera from harbor freight so I can actually see what I am doing, I had to remove my gloves in order to feel around better and use a pick getting the line clip off. I did try out the knurled knob tool but things are just too rusty to get the thing to sink down into the line clip area, I suppose if I had worked at it enough maybe it could be done but like others have said there is very little room to work with and you can't see anything. It's a back and forth of removing hand to take line off, vs using flashlight and mirror to look at things.

Having said that, I will see this job to completion, and report back after a few days when I have time to work on it again with notes of my own. I may try doing the dipstick tube next, if that part of the job requires moving the tranny or engine it makes my decision of moving things around much easier.
 

Mooseman

Master Blaster
Moderator
My patience only went so far and I wound up cutting the new lines just above the disconnect and used compression fittings to get them back together. Mine was a V8 though so YMMV.
 

JerryIrons

Active Member
Thread Starter
I've actually repaired my original lines twice with compression fittings, but I've reached the point of not having anything good looking to bite on anymore for the original steel lines. I suppose I might have been able to sand some rust off of the lines going into the transmission, but they are rusty right up into the fitting, so I got some stainless lines and will change these out once and be done with it forever hopefully :smile:
 

JayArr

Active Member
I tilted my transmission to get access to the bell housing bolts, the description of what I did is here:


You should have fantastic access to the lines at this point.
 

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