GM Celebrity/Century/Ciera/6000 1982-1996 Repair Guide

Automatic Transaxle

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FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



Under normal operating conditions, the automatic transmission fluid only needs to be changed every 100,000 miles (161,000 km), according to GM If one or more of the following driving conditions is encountered the fluid and filter should be changed every 15,000 miles (24,100 km):



Driving in heavy city traffic when the outside temperature regularly reached 90°F (32°C)
 
Driving regularly in hilly or mountainous areas
 
Towing a trailer
 
Using the vehicle as a taxi or police car, or for delivery purposes.
 

Remember, these are the factory recommendations, and in this case are considered to be the minimum. You must determine a change interval which fits your driving habits. If your vehicle is never subjected to these conditions, a 100,000 mile (161,000 km) change interval is adequate. If you are a normal driver, a two-year/30,000 mile (48,300 km) interval will be more than sufficient to maintain the long life for which your automatic transaxle was designed.

When replacing or adding fluid, use only fluid labeled Dexron®III or Dexron®IIE. Use of other fluids could cause erratic shifting and transmission damage.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

The fluid level may be checked with the transaxle cold, warm, or hot, as this is accounted for on the dipstick graduations.

If the vehicle has just been driven in extreme conditions, allow the fluid to cool for about 30 minutes.

  1. Park the car on a level surface and set the parking brake.
  2.  
  3. Start the engine, apply the brake, and move the shift lever through all of the gear ranges, ending up in Park.
  4.  
  5. Let the engine idle for at least 5 minutes with the transaxle in Park.
  6.  
  7. The dipstick is located on the driver's side of the engine compartment, ahead of the engine.
  8.  
  9. Raise the hood, pull the dipstick out and wipe it off with a clean cloth.
  10.  
  11. Reinsert the dipstick, being sure that it is fully seated.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Locate the dipstick, remove and wipe clean before reinserting

  1. Again, remove the dipstick. Hold it horizontally and read the fluid level. Touch the fluid-if it feels cold or warm, the level should be between the dimples above the FULL HOT mark. If the fluid feels hot, the level should be in the hatched area, between the ADD 1 PT and FULL HOT marks.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Notice the fluid level, smell it to make sure it is not burnt. Add only to the full mark, NEVER overfill

  1. If required, add just enough Dexron®II automatic transmission fluid to bring the level to where it should be. One pint of fluid will raise the level from ADD to FULL when the transaxle is hot. Recheck the level.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: A funnel is handy for adding fluid

  1. Reinsert the dipstick, again making sure that it is fully seated. Lower the hood.
  2.  


WARNING
NEVER overfill the transaxle, as fluid foaming and subsequent transaxle damage can occur!

DRAIN, FILTER SERVICE & REFILL



See Figures 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

Some transaxle use RTV sealer in place of a gasket. Do not attempt to replace the sealer with a gasket.

  1. Jack up the front of your vehicle and support it with jackstands.
  2.  
  3. Remove the front and side pan bolts.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: The transaxle fluid pan is usually located behind the engine oil pan (as shown here)

  1. Loosen the rear bolts about 4 turns.
  2.  



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Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen and remove the pan bolts

  1. Carefully pry the oil pan loose, allowing the fluid to drain.
  2.  
  3. Remove the remaining bolts, the pan, and the gasket or RTV. Discard the gasket.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the pan after the fluid has drained, be careful, there is still some fluid in the pan



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: Discard the gasket (if equipped)

  1. Clean the pan with solvent and dry thoroughly, with compressed air.
  2.  
  3. Remove the strainer and O-ring seal.
  4.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: Remove the strainer

To install:
  1. Install new strainer and new O-ring seal locating the strainer against the dipstick stop.
  2.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Insert a new O-ring seal on the new strainer

  1. Install a new gasket or RTV. Tighten the pan bolts to: 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) for the 440-T4, 8 ft. lbs. (11 Nm) for the 3T40, 13 ft. lbs. (17 Nm) for the 4T60.
  2.  
  3. Lower the car. Add about 4 quarts of Dexron®IIE or Dexron®III transmission fluid, check your owners manual.
  4.  
  5. Start the engine; let it idle. Block the wheels and apply the parking brake.
  6.  
  7. Move the shift lever through the ranges.
  8.  
  9. With the lever in PARK check the fluid level. If necessary, add fluid.
  10.  

Always replace the filter with a new one, don't attempt to clean the old filter. The transmission fluid currently being used may appear to be darker and have a strong odor. This is normal and not a sign of required maintenance or transmission failure.

 
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