Chevrolet Citation/Omega/Phoenix/Skylark 1980-1985 Repair Guide

Transaxle

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FLUID RECOMMENDATION & LEVEL CHECK



Manual Transaxle


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Fig. Fig. 1 Location of the manual transaxle fluid filler plug

The fluid level in the manual transaxle should be checked every 12 months or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first.

  1. Park the car on a level surface. The transaxle should be cool to the touch. If it is hot, check the level later, when it has cooled.
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  3. Slowly remove the filler hole plug from the left side of the transaxle. If lubricant trickles out as the plug is removed, the fluid level is correct. If not, stick in your finger (watch out for sharp threads); the lubricant should be right up to the edge of the filler hole.
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  5. If lubricant is needed, add DEXRON® II automatic transmission fluid until the level is correct. The use of a manual transmission lubricant is specifically not recommended.
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  7. When the level is correct, install the filler plug and tighten until snug.
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Automatic Transaxle


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Fig. Fig. 2 View of the automatic transaxle fluid dipstick and filler hole location



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Fig. Fig. 3 The automatic transaxle dipstick is marked to indicate fluid levels



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Fig. Fig. 4 Check the automatic transaxle fluid level with the dipstick, while the engine is warm



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Fig. Fig. 5 One pint of fluid is represented by the area between the low mark (B) and the full mark (A)



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Fig. Fig. 6 Add automatic transaxle fluid slowly, in small amounts, to prevent overfilling

The fluid level in the automatic transaxle should be checked every 12 months or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first. The transaxle has a dipstick for fluid level checks.

  1. Drive the car until it is at normal operating temperature. The level should not be checked immediately after the car has been driven for a long time at high speed, or in city traffic in hot weather; in those cases, the transaxle should be given a half hour to cool down.
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  3. Stop the car, apply the parking brake, then shift slowly through all gear positions, ending in Park. Let the engine idle for about five minutes with the transmission in Park. The car should be on a level surface.
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  5. With the engine still running, remove the dipstick, wipe it clean, then reinsert it, pushing it fully home.
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  7. Pull the dipstick again and, holding it horizontally, read the fluid level.
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  9. Cautiously feel the end of the dipstick to determine the temperature. Note that on the X-Body cars the cool and warm level dimples are above the hot level area. If the fluid level is not in the correct area, more will have to be added.
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  11. Fluid is added through the dipstick tube. You will probably need the aid of a spout or a long-necked funnel. Be sure that whatever you pour through is perfectly clean and dry. Use an automatic transmission fluid marked "DEXRON® II." Add fluid slowly, and in small amounts, checking the level frequently between additions. Do not overfill, which will cause foaming, fluid loss, slippage, and possible transaxle damage. It takes only one pint to raise the level from "Add" to "Full" when the transaxle is hot.
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DRAIN & REFILL



Automatic Transaxle


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Fig. Fig. 7 Clean the area around the automatic transaxle pan bolts



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Fig. Fig. 8 If your automatic transaxle does not have a drain plug, remove the front fluid pan bolts



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Fig. Fig. 9 Loosen the rear automatic transaxle pan bolts about four turns each ...



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Fig. Fig. 10 ... then allow the front of the automatic transaxle pan to slip down and drain the fluid



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Fig. Fig. 11 Remove and discard the automatic transaxle fluid pan gasket



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Fig. Fig. 12 Once the pan is removed, you can access the automatic transaxle filter



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Fig. Fig. 13 Remove and discard the automatic transaxle filter and O-ring



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Fig. Fig. 14 After removing the pan, clean it and allow it to thoroughly dry



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Fig. Fig. 15 Place a new gasket on the pan before installation



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Fig. Fig. 16 Use a long-necked funnel to fill the transaxle to the proper level

The fluid should be changed according to the schedule in the "Maintenance Intervals" chart. If the car is normally used in severe service, such as stop and start driving, trailer towing, or the like, the interval should be halved. If the car is driven under especially nasty conditions, such as in heavy city traffic where the temperature normally reaches 90°F, or in very hilly or mountainous areas, or in police, taxi, or delivery service, the fluid should be changed every 15,000 miles (24,000 km.).

The fluid must be hot before it is drained; a 20 minute drive should accomplish this.

  1. There is no drain plug; the fluid pan must be removed. Place a drain pan underneath the transaxle pan and remove the pan attaching bolts at the front and sides of the pan.
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  3. Loosen the rear pan attaching bolts approximately four turns each.
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  5. Very carefully pry the pan loose. You can use a prytool for this if you work CAREFULLY. Do not distort the pan flange, or score the mating surface of the transaxle case. You'll be very sorry later if you do. As the pan is pried loose, all of the fluid is going to come pouring out.
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  7. Remove the remaining bolts and remove the pan and gasket. Throw away the gasket.
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  9. Clean the pan with solvent and allow it to air dry. If you use a rag to wipe out the pan, you risk leaving bits of lint behind, which will clog the dinky hydraulic passages in the transaxle.
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  11. Remove and discard the filter and the O-ring seal.
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  13. Install a new filter and O-ring, locating the filter against the dipstick stop.
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  15. Install a new gasket on the pan and install the pan. Tighten the bolts evenly and in rotation to 12 ft. lbs. (16 Nm.). Do not overtighten.
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  17. Add approximately 4 qts. (2.8 L) of DEXRON® II automatic transmission fluid to the transaxle through the dipstick tube. You will need a long necked funnel, or a funnel and tube to do this.
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  19. With the transaxle in Park, put on the parking brake, block the front wheels, start the engine and let it idle. DO NOT RACE THE ENGINE. DO NOT MOVE THE LEVER THROUGH ITS RANGES.
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  21. With the lever in Park, check the fluid level. If it's ok, take the car out for a short drive, park on a level surface, and check the level again, as outlined earlier in this section. Add more fluid if necessary. Be careful not to overfill, which will cause foaming and fluid loss.
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If the drained fluid is discolored (brown or black), thick, or smells burnt, serious transmission troubles, probably due to overheating, should be suspected. Your car's transaxle should be inspected by a reliable transmission specialist to determine the problem.

Manual Transaxle

The fluid in the manual transaxle should be changed at the interval specified in the "Maintenance Intervals" chart, or more often if the car is used under severe conditions. You may also want to change it if you have purchased your X-car used, or if it has been driven in water deep enough to reach the transaxle case.

  1. The fluid should be hot before it is drained. If the car is driven until the engine is at normal operating temperature, the fluid should be hot enough.
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  3. Remove the filler plug from the left side of the transaxle to provide a vent.
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  5. The drain plug is located on the bottom of the transaxle case. Place a pan under the drain plug and remove it.
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CAUTION
The fluid will be HOT. Push up against the threads as you unscrew the plug to prevent leakage.

  1. Allow the fluid to drain completely. Check the condition of the plug gasket, and replace it if necessary. It will probably be ok. Clean off the plug and replace, tightening until snug.
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  3. Fill the transaxle with fluid through the filler hole in the left side. Use only DEXRON® II automatic transmission fluid to fill the transaxle. DO NOT use conventional manual transmission lubricants. You will need the aid of a long necked funnel or a funnel and a hose to pour through. Lubricant capacity is only three quarts (2.8 L); do not overfill.
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  5. The fluid should come right up to the edge of the filler hole. You can stick your finger in to verify this. Watch out for sharp threads.
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  7. Replace the filler plug. Dispose of the old fluid in the same manner as old engine oil. Take a drive in your car, stop on a level surface, and check the fluid level.
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