GM Astro/Safari 1985-1996 Repair Guide




See Figures 1 and 2

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Fig. Fig. 1: Exploded view of the 4-speed shifter assembly and mounting

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Fig. Fig. 2: Exploded view of the shift lever mounting-MH3/ML3 5-speed transmission

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety.
  3. Raise and support the vehicle safely using jackstands.
  5. Matchmark and remove the driveshaft from the vehicle. For details, please refer to the driveshaft removal and installation procedure found later in this section.
  7. Place a clean drain pan under the transmission, then remove the drain plug and drain the fluid from the transmission assembly. Install the drain plug to keep any remaining fluid from dripping throughout the procedure.
  9. Loosen the shifter control knob-to-shifter control lever nut, then remove the shifter control knob. Remove the shifter control boot-to-chassis plate and the shifter control boot.
  11. If removing an MH3/ML3, 5-speed transmission, unscrew the shift lever from the control lever.
  13. If removing an MR2, 4-speed transmission, remove the shifter rods, then the shifter control assembly from the extension housing.
  15. Disconnect the speedometer cable and the seal from the transmission.
  17. Disengage the electrical connector from the transmission.
  19. If necessary for clearance, disconnect and lower the exhaust pipe(s).
  21. Place a transmission jack under the transmission housing, then secure it to the transmission. Raise the jack slightly so that it supports the weight of the transmission.
  23. Remove the transmission-to-crossmember nuts/bolts and the transmission-to-chassis braces nuts/bolts, then remove the braces and the crossmember.

If any spacers are used, make a note of them so that they may be installed in their original positions.

  1. While supporting the transmission, remove the transmission-to-bellhousing bolts; DO NOT allow it to hang on the input shaft.
  3. Move the transmission and jack assembly rearward, then carefully lower and remove the transmission from the vehicle.

To install:
  1. Place a thin coat of high temperature grease on the main drive gear splines.
  3. Align the transmission's input shaft with the bellhousing and clutch assembly, then slide the transmission into the clutch.

When installing the transmission, shift the transmission into High gear, then turn the output shaft to align the input shaft splines with the clutch plate.

  1. The balance of installation is the reverse of the removal procedure. Be sure to tighten all fasteners properly including:

    transmission-to-bellhousing bolts: 50 ft. lbs. (68 Nm).
    transmission-to-mount bolts: 40 ft. lbs. (54 Nm) for the MR2 or 33 ft. lbs. (45 Nm) for the for the MH3/ML3
    crossmember-to-mount bolts: 26 ft. lbs. (35 Nm) for the MR2 or 18 ft. lbs. for the MH3/ML3
    crossmember-to-chassis bolts: 37 ft. lbs. (50 Nm).
    transmission-to-brace bolts: 26 ft. lbs. (35 Nm).
    shifter control assembly-to-extension housing bolts: 23 ft. lbs. (31 Nm).
    shifter rod swivel nut: 18 ft. lbs. (24 Nm).
    shifter lever nut: 35 ft. lbs. (47 Nm).


  1. Align and install the driveshaft, using the marks made during removal.
  3. Remove the jackstands and carefully lower the vehicle.
  5. Connect the negative battery cable.