GM: Electra/Park Avenue/Ninety-Eight 1990-1993

Automatic Transaxle



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Fig. Fig. 1 Automatic transaxle dipstick location

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Fig. Fig. 2 Automatic transaxle dipstick and diagnostics

The automatic transaxle fluid level should be checked at each engine oil change. When adding or changing the automatic transaxle fluid use only fluid labeled Dexron®Ii or iie.

  1. Set the parking brake and start the engine with the transaxle in P (Park).

With the service brakes applied, move the shift lever through all the gear ranges, ending in P (Park).

The fluid level must be checked with the engine running at slow idle, with the car level, and the fluid at least at room temperature. The correct fluid level cannot be read if you have just driven the car for a long time at high speed, city traffic in hot weather or if the car has been pulling a trailer. In these cases, wait at least 30 minutes for the fluid to cool down.

  1. Remove the dipstick located at the rear end of the engine compartment, wipe it clean, then push it back in until the cap seats.
  3. Pull the dipstick out and read the fluid level. The level should be in the cross-hatched area of the dipstick.
  5. If necessary, add fluid using a long plastic funnel in the dipstick tube. Keep in mind that the pan is flat, and a small amount of fluid will raise the level on the dipstick quickly.

Damage to the automatic transaxle may result if the fluid level is above the hatched area. Remove excess fluid by threading a small rubber hose into the dipstick tube and pumping the fluid out with a siphon pump.


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Fig. Fig. 3 Transaxle oil pan, gasket and filter

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Fig. Fig. 4 Pour fresh transmission fluid into a clean funnel here to fill the transaxle

According to General Motors, under normal operating conditions the automatic transmission fluid only needs to be changed every 100,000 miles unless one or more of the following driving conditions is encountered. In the following cases the fluid and filter should be changed every 15,000 miles:

  1. Driving in heavy traffic when the outside temperature reaches 90°F.
  3. Driving regularly in hilly or mountainous areas.
  5. Towing a trailer.
  7. Using a vehicle as a taxi or police car or for delivery purposes.

Remember, these are factory recommendations and are considered to be 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 change interval is adequate. If you are a normal driver, a two-year/30,000 mile interval will be more than sufficient to maintain the long life for which your automatic transaxle was designed.

Use only fluid labeled Dexron®Ii or iie. Use of other fluids could cause erratic shifting and transaxle damage.

Change the transmission fluid as follows:

  1. Jack up your vehicle and support it safely with jackstands.
  3. Disconnect the negative (-) battery cable.
  5. Remove all but the rear pan bolts.
  7. Loosen the rear bolts about four turns.
  9. Carefully pry the oil pan loose and allow the fluid to drain.
  11. Remove the remaining bolts, the pan, and the gasket. Discard the old gasket.
  13. Clean the pan with solvent and dry it thoroughly.
  15. Remove the filter and O-ring seal.
  17. Install a new transaxle filter and O-ring seal, locating the filter against the dipstick stop. Always replace the filter with a new one. Do not attempt to clean the old one!
  19. Install a new gasket. Thoroughly clean and dry all bolts and bolt holes. Install the pan and tighten the bolts in a crisscross manner, starting from the middle and working outward.
  21. Lower the car and add about 4 quarts of transmission fluid.
  23. Start the engine and let it idle. Block the wheels and apply the parking brake.
  25. At idle, move the shift lever through the ranges. With the lever in P , check the fluid level and add as necessary.