Chevrolet Chevette/1000 1976-1988 Repair Guide





Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1Bottom view of the 4-speed manual transmission. The fill plug is located on the driver's side of the transmission case

Check the level of the lubricant in the transmission at 7,500 mile intervals or every 6 months. The lubricant should be maintained at the level of the filler plug. To check the level, remove the square-headed plug from the side of the transmission case. A slight amount of fluid may run out (indicating the transmission is full) or you can use your finger to determine if the lubricant is at the filler plug. If not, top it up with SAE 80 or 80-90 gear oil in all 4-speed (70mm) transmissions. Cars operated in Canada and equipped with a 4-speed transmission should use the SAE 80 all year.

All Diesel engines equipped with 5-speed (69.5mm) transmissions use SAE 5W-30, type SF engine oil. All gasoline engines with 5-speed (77mm) transmissions use DEXRON®II automatic transmission fluid.


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2View of the automatic transmission dipstick markings

Check the automatic transmission fluid level whenever you check the engine oil. It is even more important to check the fluid level when you are pulling a trailer or driving in a mountainous area. Automatic transmission fluid that smells burned or has a dark brown appearance is a signal of impending problems.

Check the fluid level with the car parked on a level spot, shift lever in Park, and with the engine running and warmed up.

  1. Remove the dipstick, which is located in the engine compartment on the passenger's side.
  3. Carefully touch the end of the dipstick to determine whether the fluid is cool, warm or hot.
  5. Use a clean rag to wipe off the dipstick.
  7. Fully reinsert the dipstick until the cap at the top if firmly seated.
  9. Remove the dipstick and take your reading. If the fluid felt cool, the level should be about 3-10mm ( 1 / 8 - 3 / 8 ") below the Add mark. There are two raised dots below the Add mark to denote this range. If the fluid was warm, the fluid should be right around the Add mark. The level should be between the Add and Full marks if the fluid was hot to the touch.

One pint will raise the fluid level from ADD to FULL when the transmission is hot. Be careful not to overfill the transmission, as this is just as bad as running with the fluid low.

If it is necessary to top up the transmission fluid use DEXRON®II automatic transmission fluid only.


Manual Transmission

The manufacturer states that the transmission lubricant need never be changed. However, persons buying a used vehicle or those subjecting their cars to heavy-duty use may wish to change the lubricant. This may be done by removing the drain plug and draining off the old lube. Dispose of this in the same manner as you would used oil. Reinstall the drain plug. Using a suction gun or squeeze bulb filler, fill the transmission to the level of the filler plug. Use SAE 80-90 or 90 GL-5 gear lubricant for the 4-speed and DEXRON®II automatic transmission fluid for the 5-speed.


The manufacturer recommends that the fluid be changed at the first 7,500 miles, then every 30,000 miles. The lubricant should be filled to the level of the filler plug hole. Use SAE 5W-30 SF engine oil.

Automatic Transmission

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3Exploded view of the automatic transmission fluid pan and filter

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4Remove the retaining bolts from the front and sides of the pan, then pry the pan down and allow the fluid to drain into a suitable pan

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5Remove the fluid pan and gasket

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6Unfasten the retaining nuts, then ...

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7... remove the screen (or filter)

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8Remove the automatic transmission dipstick

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9Check the fluid level and add if necessary

The manufacturer recommends that the automatic transmission oil pan should be drained, the screen cleaned, and fresh fluid added every 60,000 miles (1976-78), 100,000 miles (1979-86 gasoline engines), 30,000 miles (1981-86 diesel engines). If you're frequently pulling a trailer, you should perform this service every 15,000 miles.

  1. Jack up the front of the car and support the transmission with a jack at the vibration damper.
  3. Place a drain pan under the transmission.
  5. Remove the oil pan retaining bolts at the front and sides of the pan.
  7. Loosen the rear pan retaining bolts about four turns.
  9. Using a prytool, pry the transmission pan loose and let the fluid drain into the drain pan. Be careful not to gouge the pan mating surface on the transmission.
  11. Remove the remaining bolts and remove the oil pan and its gasket. Throw the old gasket away.
  13. Drain off all the fluid from the pan.
  15. Clean the pan with solvent and let it dry.
  17. Remove the two screen-to-valve body bolts, screen, and gasket. Throw the gasket away.
  19. Give the screen a good cleaning in solvent and let it dry.
  21. Install a new gasket on the screen and replace the two bolts. Tighten the two bolts to 6-10 ft. lbs. (8-14 Nm) 1976-77, 13-15 ft. lbs. 1978-86.
  23. Install a new gasket on the oil pan and install the oil pan. Tighten the bolts to 10-13 ft. lbs. (14-18 Nm) 1976-77, 7-10 ft. lbs. 1978-86.
  25. Lower the car and add the correct amount of DEXRON®II automatic transmission fluid through the filler tube. (See capacities chart). A long neck funnel is handy for this operation.
  27. Place the selector in Park, apply the parking brake, start the engine and let it idle normally.
  29. Shift the selector through each transmission range, place it in Park, and then check the fluid level.
  31. Add fluid as necessary.