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Automatic Transmission Do-it-Yourself Installation Procedurestransmission install rwd

Procedures for installing an automatic transmission in a rear wheel drive vehicle.


safety firstBefore beginning - Please Read these Safety Precautions


Hydraulic Floor JackDIY transmission install

Jack Stands

Wrench Set

Socket Set w/Extensions



Pry Bar


Shop Rags

Drop Light


ATF Automatic Transmission Fluid

An assistant to help raise the transmission in place

Transmission Jack (optional)

If you followed our DIY Instructions for Removing Your Automatic Transmission, your vehicle is already jacked up and secured with jack stands.  Below are the transmission installation instructions. 

1Poor one quart of transmission fluid into the torque converter and install the torque converter in the transmission.  See Note below.

Torque Converter Installation Note: You must be certain the torque converter is fully seated into the transmission before installation.  You should feel three distinctive clicks each time the converter drops into place.  Continue wiggling the torque converter and rotating it back and forth while pushing in until it is fully engaged.  Do not proceed with transmission installation until the converter is fully engaged.

Tip: If you had your transmission rebuilt, ask the rebuilder to install the torque converter into the transmission.  

1Install any brackets to the transmission that were removed after the transmission was removed from the vehicle.

1Oil Cooler Line FlushFlush transmission cooler lines

Flushing Cooler Line Note: Flushing the cooler lines before installing a new or rebuilt transmission is necessary to insure the new transmission is not contaminated with debris and metal left in the lines from the old transmission.  To flush the lines, first blow compressed air through the lines.  Use a gallon milk jug to catch the fluid and debris as it is blown out of the lines.  After blowing compressed air through the lines, use a transmission line flush product to complete the flush.  Follow instructions provided with product.

1Inspect the mating surfaces of both the transmission bell housing and engine for dirt and grease and clean as needed.  Also check the dowel pins on the engine and the dowel pin holes on the transmission as they also must be clean and free of burs.

1Look closely at the crank pilot hole to insure it is free of burs, dirt and rust.  Use a small round file to remove any burs.  Finally, check to make sure electrical wiring and cables are moved aside so as not to interfere with the transmission installation.

1Lift up one side of the transmission and have your assistant slide the jack under the transmission pan.  With the transmission balanced on the jack, slide the jack under the vehicle.  Position the jack so that when it is raised the transmission bell housing will be slightly behind the engine.

1Hold the transmissions stable on the jack while raising it.  When the transmission is in position, carefully slide the jack forward until the bell housing touches the back of the engine.  You may need to raise or lower the jack slightly or move it slightly to one side or the other to line up the dowels with the dowel holes.  Once lined up, push the transmission forward.  When the dowel pins are in the dowel holes, install the bell housing bolts.

Bell Housing Bolt Installation and Tightening Note:  Once you have the transmission bell housing bolt holes lined up with the threaded holes in the engine block then start a couple of bolts and tighten just enough so the transmission does not slip back away from the engine block.  Then install the remaining bolts.  DO NOT FULLY TIGHTEN ANY OF THE BOLTS UNTIL ALL THE BELL HOUSING BOLTS ARE STARTED AND SNUG.

Warning:  Do not attempt to draw (or force) the transmission into position by tightening the bell housing bolts as doing so can crack the bell housing.  You have to be sure the transmission and engine block mating surfaces are lined up on both the top/bottom and the left/right axis before tightening the bolts.

1Install the torque converter bolts.  Line up the torque converter holes with the holes in the flywheel.  Install one bolt but do not fully tighten.  Then, use a large flat head screwdriver or small pry bar to wedge between the flywheel teeth and the bell housing to turn the engine in order to gain access to the next bolt hole.  Repeat this until all the torque converter bolts are installed.  Once all bolts have been started then tighten each bolt to the proper torque specification.

1Next, install the starter.  Get both starter bolts started before fully tightening the bolts.  In some instances, it is easier to connect the starter wire(s) before bolting the starter in place.  Either way, connect the starter wires at this time. 

1Hook up/plug in all electrical connectors and vacuum hoses.  Install the transmission oil filler dipstick tube.  Install the new filler tube O-ring that came with the rebuild kit.

1Install the cooler lines, shifter linkage, exhaust, flywheel/flex-plate cover, cross member and then the driveshaft.

1Remove the jack and all tools from underneath the vehicle.  Jack up the vehicle and remove the jack stands.  Lower the vehicle to the ground.

1Install the battery and reconnect the battery cable(s).  If both battery cables have been disconnected, install the positive battery cable first and then the negative cable.    Plug in any top side electrical connectors and vacuum hoses.  Install any top side parts that you removed during transmission removal. 

1Poor 5 to 6 quarts of transmission fluid into the transmission.  You will need a funnel with a small opening so that it fits down into the transmission oil filler tube.  Start the engine and with the brake pedal depressed, move the shifter through each of the gears a coupler of times and then place the shifter back to the Park position.

With the engine still running, add two more quarts of transmission fluid and move the shifter through the gears again and then back to Park. 

With the engine still running, insert the dipstick into the filler tube and then pull it back out to check the fluid level.  Add fluid as needed until the dipstick shows "full" or in the "full range".

1Check underneath the vehicle for leaks.  If no leaks, it is time to test drive the vehicle.  Good luck.

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