GM Prizm/Nova 1985-1993 Repair Guide

TRANSAXLE

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Before attempting to repair the clutch or transaxle for reasons beyond obvious failure, the problem and probable cause should be identified. A great percentage of manual transaxle and clutch problems are accompanied by shifting difficulties such as gear clash, grinding or refusal to engage gears. When any of these problems occur, a careful analysis should be performed to determine cause.

Driveline noises can become baffling, but don't be too quick to assign fault to the transaxle. The noise may actually be coming from other sources such as tires, road surfaces, wheel bearings, engine or exhaust system. Noises will also vary by vehicle size, engine type and amount of insulation within the body. Remember also that the transaxle, like any mechanical device, is not totally quiet in its operation and will exhibit some normal operating noise.

When checking for driveline noises, follow these guide lines:

  1. Select a smooth , level asphalt road to reduce tire and body noises. Check and set the tire pressures before beginning.
  2.  
  3. Drive the vehicle far enough to thoroughly warm up all the lubricants; this may require driving as much as 10 or 12 miles before testing.
  4.  
  5. Note the speed at which the noise occurs and in which gear(s).
  6.  
  7. Check for noises with the vehicle stopped and the engine running.
  8.  
  9. Does the noise change when the clutch pedal is pushed in or released-
  10.  
  11. Determine the throttle condition(s) at which the noise occurs:
    1. Drive (leading throttle) - the engine is under load and the car is accelerating at some rate.
    2.  
    3. Float (neutral throttle) - the engine is maintaining a constant speed at light throttle on a level road.
    4.  
    5. Coast (trailing throttle) - the engine is not driving the car, the throttle is closed with the car in gear and in motion. An example is a long downhill grade.
    6.  
    7. Some combination of the above.
    8.  

  12.  
  13. Does the noise change as the car corners or changes direction- Is the change in the noise different on left and right turns- Does the noise change as the car rises and falls on its suspension over bumps and dips-
  14.  
  15. Identify the noise by type (whine, click, knock, grinding, buzzing, etc.) and think through possible causes such as loose components, something rubbing, poor lubrication, or worn parts.
  16.  
  17. Check all other causes first. Its much easier to check the wheel bearings and the exhaust system than to remove the transaxle. Modern manual transaxles are extremely reliable and rarely fail if given reasonable maintenance and freedom from outright abuse. Assume that the noise is not in the transaxle until diagnosed otherwise.
  18.  

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



1985-88

See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

  1. Disconnect the negative battery terminal.
  2.  
  3. Remove the air cleaner and inlet duct.
  4.  
  5. From the transaxle, disconnect the back-up light switch connector, the speedometer cable, the thermostat housing and the ground wire.
  6.  
  7. Remove the 4 shift cable-to-transaxle clips, the clutch slave cylinder-to-transaxle bolts and the slave cylinder.
  8.  
  9. Remove the (2) upper transaxle-to-engine bolts and the upper transaxle mount bolt.
  10.  
  11. Attach an engine support tool or equivalent, and support the engine. Raise and support the front of the vehicle on jackstands.
  12.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: GM engine support apparatus

  1. Remove the left wheel. From under the vehicle, remove the left, right and center splash shields. Remove the center beam-to-chassis bolts and the center beam.
  2.  
  3. Remove the flywheel cover-to-engine bolts and the cover.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the lower control arms from the steering knuckles.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect both halfshafts from the transaxle.
  8.  
  9. Disconnect the battery cable and ignition switch wire from the starter. Remove the starter-to-engine bolts and the starter.
  10.  
  11. Support the transaxle with a floor jack.
  12.  
  13. Remove the transaxle-to-engine bolts and the lower the transaxle from the vehicle.
  14.  

To install:
  1. Make sure the input shaft splines align with the clutch disc splines. Elevate the transaxle and slide it into position. Do not remove the jack until the retaining bolts are installed; the transaxle may be damaged if left hanging on the input shaft.
  2.  
  3. Install the lower bellhousing bolts and the bolts at the back side of the transaxle. Tighten the 12mm bolts to 47 ft. lbs. and the 10mm bolts to 34 ft. lbs.
  4.  
  5. Install the starter and the starter retaining bolts. The jack may be removed from under the transaxle when these bolts are secured.
  6.  
  7. Connect the driveshafts to the transaxle and tighten the bolts to 27 ft. lbs.
  8.  
  9. Reconnect the left and right control arms at the steering knuckles.
  10.  
  11. Reinstall the flywheel inspection cover.
  12.  
  13. Install the center beam and tighten its bolts to 29 ft. lbs.
  14.  
  15. Install the splash shields and the left front wheel.
  16.  
  17. Lower the vehicle from the stands. Install the 2 upper bellhousing bolts and the transaxle mount upper bolt. The engine support devices may be removed from the engine.
  18.  
  19. Connect the back-up light switch.
  20.  
  21. Reinstall the shift cables and their clips. Install the clutch slave cylinder.
  22.  
  23. Connect the ground wire to the transaxle and attach the wiring to the starter.
  24.  
  25. Connect the thermostat housing and the speedometer cable to the transaxle.
  26.  
  27. Install the air cleaner and intake duct.
  28.  
  29. Connect the negative battery cable.
  30.  
  31. Check the level of the fluid in the transaxle and fill or top off as needed.
  32.  

1989-93
  1. Install an engine support and tension it to support the engine without raising it.
  2.  
  3. Remove the battery hold-down, the battery and tray.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the electrical connector to the reverse lights and disconnect the ground strap running to the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the 2 actuator mounting bolts and the actuator line bracket.
  8.  
  9. Remove the shift cable retainers and end clips.
  10.  
  11. Remove the shift cables from their brackets and place the cables out of the way.
  12.  
  13. Remove the cover and brace from the left transaxle mount.
  14.  
  15. Remove the through bolt from the mount.
  16.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Location of mounts and crossmembers. Prizm shown, Nova similar



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: Location of transaxle mounts



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Detail of left transaxle mount assembly

  1. Remove the 2 upper transaxle to engine bolts.
  2.  
  3. Remove the upper starter bolt and remove the speedometer cable.
  4.  
  5. Raise the vehicle and safely support it.
  6.  


CAUTION
The engine hoist is in place and under tension. Use care when repositioning the vehicle and make necessary adjustments to the engine support.

  1. Remove the splash shields. Drain the transaxle oil.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the electrical connections at the starter.
  4.  
  5. Remove the bottom starter bolt and the starter.
  6.  
  7. Remove the drive axles.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 3 bolts holding the center crossmember to the radiator support.
  10.  
  11. Remove the covers from the front and center mount bolts.
  12.  
  13. Remove the 2 front mount bolts, then the center mount bolts and then the 2 rear mount bolts.
  14.  
  15. Remove the 2 bolts holding the center crossmember to the main crossmember.
  16.  
  17. Remove the 3 exhaust hanger bracket nuts and the exhaust hanger.
  18.  
  19. Use a floor jack and a wide piece of wood to support the main crossmember.
  20.  
  21. Remove the 8 bolts holding the main crossmember to the body.
  22.  
  23. Remove the 2 bolts holding the lower control arm brackets to the body.
  24.  


CAUTION
The crossmembers are loose and free to fall. Make sure they are properly supported.

  1. Slowly lower the main crossmember while holding onto the center crossmember.
  2.  
  3. At the front transaxle mount, remove the through bolt and mount.
  4.  
  5. Remove the front mounting bracket from the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Remove the center mount from the transaxle with its 2 bolts.
  8.  
  9. Remove the inspection cover bolt.
  10.  
  11. Remove the 2 lower transaxle bracket to transaxle mount bolts.
  12.  
  13. Lower the vehicle to the ground.
  14.  


CAUTION
The engine hoist is in place and under tension. Use care when repositioning the vehicle and make necessary adjustments to the engine support.

  1. Remove the remaining transaxle mount to transaxle bracket bolt.
  2.  
  3. Slowly lower the engine support device to gain clearance for the removal of the transaxle.
  4.  
  5. Remove the transaxle mount.
  6.  
  7. Safely elevate and support the vehicle on stands.
  8.  


CAUTION
The engine hoist is in place and under tension. Use care when repositioning the vehicle and make necessary adjustments to the engine support.

  1. Support the transaxle with a floor jack, making sure it is properly placed and balanced.
  2.  
  3. Remove the lower front and rear bolts holding the transaxle to the engine.
  4.  
  5. Remove the transaxle assembly from the engine and lower it slowly on the floor jack.
  6.  

To install:
  1. Elevate the transaxle into position, making sure the input shaft aligns with the clutch splines.
  2.  
  3. Install the lower front and rear bolts holding the transaxle to the engine.
  4.  
  5. Remove the floor jack from under the transaxle.
  6.  
  7. Attach the electrical wiring to the starter.
  8.  
  9. Install the lower starter bolt snugly.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle to the ground
  12.  


CAUTION
The engine hoist is in place and under tension. Use care when repositioning the vehicle and make necessary adjustments to the engine support.

  1. Install the left transaxle mount upper bolt and 2 lower bolts snugly.
  2.  
  3. Take tension on the engine support device and raise the transaxle. Install the through bolt loosely in the mount.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the through bolt to 69 ft. lbs. Tighten the upper transaxle mount bolt to 45 ft. lbs.
  6.  
  7. Install the mount cover and bracket. Tighten the cover bolts to 45 ft. lbs.
  8.  
  9. Install the 2 upper transaxle to engine bolts and tighten them to 34 ft. lbs.
  10.  
  11. Install the upper starter bolt and tighten it to 29 ft. lbs.
  12.  
  13. Connect the speedometer cable.
  14.  
  15. Position the shift cables into the brackets and connect the cable retainers and end clips.
  16.  
  17. Install the 2 actuator mounting bolts snugly, then install the actuator line bracket and bolt. Tighten the actuator line and mounting bolts to 15 ft. lbs.
  18.  
  19. Connect the ground strap and the electrical connector for the reverse lights.
  20.  
  21. Install the air cleaner assembly.
  22.  
  23. Elevate and safely support the vehicle.
  24.  


CAUTION
The engine hoist is in place and under tension. Use care when repositioning the vehicle and make necessary adjustments to the engine support.

  1. Tighten the 2 remaining lower transaxle mount bolts to 45 ft. lbs. (These are the bolts installed in step 39.).
  2.  
  3. Tighten the lower starter bolt to 29 ft. lbs.
  4.  
  5. Install the center mount and its 2 bolts and tighten them to 45 ft. lbs. Install the inspection cover bolt and tighten it to 45 ft. lbs.
  6.  
  7. Install the front mount bracket on the transaxle.
  8.  
  9. Install the front mount and through bolt loosely.
  10.  

When installing the front mount, the weight on the mount must go toward the transaxle for proper mount alignment.

  1. Position the center crossmember over the center and rear transaxle mount studs; start 2 nuts on the center mount.
  2.  
  3. Loosely install the 3 bolts holding the center crossmember to the radiator support.
  4.  
  5. Loosely install the 2 front mount bolts.
  6.  
  7. Raise the main crossmember into position over the rear mount studs and align all underbody bolts. Install the 2 rear mount nuts loosely.
  8.  
  9. Install the 8 main crossmember to underbody bolts loosely.
  10.  
  11. Install the 2 lower control arm bracket bolts loosely.
  12.  
  13. Loosely install the 2 bolts holding the center crossmember to the main crossmember.
  14.  
  15. Install the exhaust hanger bracket and its 3 nuts. The crossmembers, mounts, through bolts and brackets should now all be in place and held loosely by their nuts and bolts. If any repositioning is necessary, do so now.
  16.  
  17. Tighten the components below in the order listed to the correct torque specification:
    1. Main crossmember to underbody bolts: 152 ft. lbs.
    2.  
    3. Lower control arm bolts: 94 ft. lbs.
    4.  
    5. Center crossmember to radiator support bolts: 45 ft. lbs.
    6.  
    7. Front, center and rear mount bolts: 45 ft. lbs.
    8.  
    9. Exhaust hanger bracket nuts: 9.5 ft. lbs. (115 INCH lbs.)
    10.  
    11. Front mount through bolt: 69 ft. lbs.
    12.  

  18.  
  19. Install the covers on the front and center mount bolts.
  20.  
  21. Reinstall the drive axles.
  22.  
  23. Fill the transaxle with the correct amount of oil.
  24.  
  25. Install the splash shields.
  26.  
  27. Lower the vehicle to the ground. Remove the engine support apparatus.
  28.  
  29. Install the battery tray, battery and hold-down clamp.
  30.  

 
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