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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Y'all,
For those who've done it, how hard is it to just swap out an automatic transmission?

I did brief search, did not see any writeup for a regular straight-up AT to AT transmission swap. just a bunch of posts about people wanting
to swap from AT to manual.

Can I do it easily without engine hoist?
I've never done any transmission repair/swap (outside of swapping out the big bolt from the transgoshift kit) and a drain and refill a while back.

I have tall-ish jack stands, so i can hold car up at least a good 19 inches off the floor. (all rated 3 tons pairs or higher).
Is this enough to get out the transmission from below?

Any other items to consider besides clearance? (this feels like my only potential obstacle)
Wires that get missed/cut by accident?
Hoses that get especially tight/weak/broken?
Pointers on what part to swing in what direction?
etc.

I'm swapping because: first gear is not engaging barely while cold. it's Barely. once it engages and car warms up good, it's fine. So im thinking it's about gone.
Doing a reman myself, though would be educational, might not be worth my time and i think a swap would be cheaper and faster? So im jumping to the conclusion
of throwing a whole new transmission at the car instead of "fixing" it.

Many thanks in advance for your time.
 

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What year?
Did you check the transmission fluid level? If so how?
How many miles are on this transmission?
How many miles are on the transmission filter?
How many miles are on the transmission fluid?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
well fart. my signature is gone.
1997 LX.
i have transmission fluid level stick.. it's been on the overfilled side since dawn of time.
it's nice and red/pink.
this transmission should have over 170k on it.
fluid has about maybe 20k or less on it.
 

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You forgot to mention how many miles on the transmission filter. Mine got partially clogged from paint inside the pan that came off.

Honestly I would try using the cable adjustment to slightly increase line pressure (1/12 a turn, or something like that). The right way to do it involves using a gauge connected to a port on the transmission, but in your case just moving it a little to see if increase (tighten the cable adjustment) it just to see if it makes a difference is what I would do. If that doesn't work try fix in a bottle.

OR (easier method)
Just idle the car for a minute before engaging the transmission on a cold start in cold weather. On a cold start in warm weather 30 seconds. I did this for years and ended up getting either 265K or 267K miles out of my transmission before a clutch pack finally went.

OR (also very easy to do)
There is also the TSB fix, which is think is applicable to your year:
ATRATB039 02/01/1991 A/T - G4A-EL/4EAT Low Pump Pressure
This might be one of the reasons my transmission lasted as long as it did. If you need parts for this I might still have mine.

I would not swap out that transmission yet. You still have a lot of easier and cheaper options, and almost nothing to lose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Im not sure if I did swap out the filter when i did the fluid swap drain or not.
I think i did. so that should be about 20k on the filter too.

That link you show.. that is the "big bolt" transmission update. Already done that like maybe 30k to 40k miles ago or so?
I did my fluid change out after this part update.

So try cable adjustment to increase line pressure by a smidge.
Is there a write up for that so I don't over turn something.
 

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OK, so if you have known good fluid and filter, and have done the TSB, I would just try idling it for a full minute before engaging the transmission and see how that works and report back.

In so far as a smidge on the tightening the transmission pressure line, there should be plenty of information about this on the internet. Error on the side of doing it too little. Think of it as a bicycle brake or shifter cable that has stretched a little over the years. When the cable stretches you get lower line pressure and your transmission does what yours is doing. Tightening it a little to bring it back to the length it should be should restore proper transmission oil pressure. The right way to do it would be to attach a pressure gauge that has a long enough tether and drive around with the gauge taped to the windshield so you could read the gauge. But try the idling for a minute suggestion first. I swear I did that for like 10 years, and it worked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, the extra warming up doesn't necessarily help that much. Though recently, im on a slight incline front-side up when i start the car. And by the time I back out to the street, I end up front-side down slight incline, and my 1st seems to engage slow but ok. Whereas previously, i would be flat and the 1st would have a hard time engaging and have to high rev to get the car to move at all. Though after driving for any amount of time (like more than 5 minutes or so), it would generally be "normal", so i don't get the very dangerous "no movement when light turns green".
Not sure if it's the incline helping me right now or what. (i just moved into a new house so my starting dynamic has changed a little).
 

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i think you are on the right track. slip in 1st when cold could be related to a cooked low drum clutch or holding clutch, have to find a shift table to find out whats on and off in first. as far as getting it out, totally doable with basic garage stuff. I found that it is probably easier to do coming out of the bottom balanced and strapped to a jack. the cross member will have to come out, which leaves one mount holding the engine. a block of wood under the oil pan should suffice, to hold it up.. only thing to really be aware of is making sure the converter is completely engaged with the pump, and should be pre fitted as a reman. but always good to check... also, get a can of cooler flush and run it through the trans cooler lines, then blow it clean with compressed air, that will get any crap out of the cooler/lines.
 
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