GM Corvette 1984-1996 Repair Guide

Automatic Transmission

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FLUID RECOMMENDATIONS



When adding fluid or refilling the transmission, use only Dexron(r) II or its latest superseding grade of automatic transmission fluid for 1984-91 vehicles. For 1992-96 vehicles, use Dexron® IIE or III automatic transmission fluid.

LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2 and 3

Check the automatic transmission fluid level at each oil change. Driving with too much or too little transmission fluid can damage the transmission. The fluid level should be checked only when the transmission is at normal operating temperature. If your vehicle has been driven at highway speeds for a long time, in city traffic in hot weather, or pulling a trailer, wait for about 30 minutes for the fluid to cool down so a correct reading can be read.

  1. Park the car on a level surface, with the parking brake on. Start the engine and let it idle for about 15 minutes for 1984-90 vehicles or about 5 minutes for 1991-96 vehicles. With the brake firmly applied, move the transmission through all the gears and then back to P , pausing for about 3 seconds in each gear.
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  3. For 1992-96 vehicles, allow the engine to idle for about 3 more minutes.
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  5. Remove the dipstick and carefully touch the wet end of the dipstick to see if the fluid is cool, warm, or hot. Wipe it clean and then reinsert it firmly for about 3 seconds. Be sure that it has been pushed all the way in. Remove the dipstick again and check the fluid level while holding it horizontally. Read both sides of the dipstick, using the lowest level.
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Fig. Fig. 1: Pull the automatic transmission fluid dipstick from the tube, located at the rear of the engine



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Fig. Fig. 2: Automatic transmission fluid color, level and condition check

  1. If fluid is cool (room temperature), the level should be about 1 / 8 - 3 / 8 in. (3-10mm) below the ADD/COLD mark.
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  3. If fluid is warm, the level should be close to the ADD mark, either above or below.
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  5. If fluid is too hot to touch, the level should be at the FULL/HOT mark.
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  1. If the fluid level is low, add Dexron(r) II, IIE or III Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF), as applicable, through the dipstick tube. This is easily done with the aid of a funnel. Check the level often as you are filling the transmission. Be extremely careful not to overfill it. Overfilling will cause slippage, seal damage and overheating. Approximately 1 pint (0.473L) of ATF will raise the fluid level from one notch/line to the other.
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Fig. Fig. 3: Using a funnel, SLOWLY add a small amount of fluid through the dipstick tube, stopping often to check the level

Transmission fluid should be red in color when the fluid is new. If the fluid on the dipstick appears discolored (brown or black), or smells burnt, serious transmission troubles (probably due to overheating) should be suspected. The transmission should be inspected by a qualified technician to locate the cause of the burnt fluid.

PAN & FILTER SERVICE



See Figures 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14

The automatic transmission fluid and filter should be changed every 15,000 miles (24,000km) if your vehicle is driven in heavy city traffic in hot weather, in hilly or mountainous terrain, frequent trailer pulling, or uses such as found in taxi, police car or delivery service. If your vehicle is driven under other than listed above conditions, change the fluid and filter every 100,000 miles (160,000 km).

  1. Raise and support the car on jackstands.
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  3. If equipped, remove the upper and lower underbody braces.
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  5. Place an suitable drain pan under the transmission.
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Fig. Fig. 4: Place a drain pan of sufficient capacity under the transmission pan

When removing the oil pan bolts, be careful not to damage the oil pan sealing surfaces.

  1. Remove the oil pan bolts from the sides and front of the pan only.
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Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen and remove the oil pan bolts from the front and sides of the pan

  1. Loosen the rear oil pan bolts about 4 turns each.
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Fig. Fig. 6: Loosen the rear oil pan bolts about 4 turns, then carefully pry the front of the pan down, and allow the fluid to drain



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Fig. Fig. 7: Allow as much fluid drain as possible before removing the rear pan bolts

  1. Lightly tap the oil pan with a rubber mallet or gently pry it downward to allow fluid to drain.
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WARNING
Do not damage the transmission case or oil pan sealing surfaces.

  1. Remove the remaining oil pan bolts, then remove the oil pan and pan gasket.
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Fig. Fig. 8: Remove the remaining bolts, then carefully lower the pan and dump any remaining fluid in a suitable container



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Fig. Fig. 9: Remove the transmission oil pan and gasket

  1. Remove the filter and seal. The seal may stick in the transmission case.
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Fig. Fig. 10: Remove the transmission filter and seal



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Fig. Fig. 11: If the filter seal does not come out of the filter, it is stuck in the transmission case and must be removed

  1. Inspect the fluid color and the filter. Pry the metal crimping away from the top of the filter, then pull it apart. The filter may contain the following evidence that may require further investigation:
    1. Clutch material
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    3. Bronze slivers indicating bushing wear
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    5. Steel particles
    6.  

  2.  
  3. Clean the transmission case and oil pan gasket surfaces with suitable solvent and air dry. Make sure to remove all traces of the old gasket. If equipped, remove the magnet and clean it off before reinstalling it.
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Fig. Fig. 12: Remove and discard the pan gasket, then use a suitable scraper to carefully clean the mating surfaces



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Fig. Fig. 13: Make sure to thoroughly clean the pan before reinstalling it



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Fig. Fig. 14: Remove the transmission pan magnet, and clean it off before reinstalling it

To install:
  1. Coat the seal with a small amount of Transjel(r).
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  3. Install the new seal onto the filter neck.
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  5. Position the new filter into the case.
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  7. Install the oil pan and new gasket.
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Inspect the oil pan screws and washer assemblies. The screws must not be used if the conical washer is reversed. Failure to replace the screw and washer assembly may result in improper fastening of system components.

  1. Install the oil pan bolts and tighten them to 15 ft. lbs. (20 Nm) for 1984-88 vehicles or to 97 inch lbs. (11 Nm) for 1989-96 vehicles.
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  3. Carefully lower the car.
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  5. Fill the transmission to proper level with Dexron(r) II, IIE or III fluid.
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  7. Check cold fluid level reading for initial fill. Do NOT overfill the transmission.
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  9. Follow the fluid level check procedure described earlier.
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  11. Check the oil pan gasket for leaks.
  12.  

 
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