Was able to remove the old transmission oil pan, and installed the new one with the drain plug.
No gasket on the old one, just black silicone. It's funny, I could smell that distinct ammonia-type odor when removing the bolts, as though the material hadn't fully cured where trapped by a bolt. Not leaking at all though, so they did a good job, either at the factory or somewhere else subsequently.
The old pan had a small puck-like magnet that I transferred over to the new pan. The magnet had some gunk on it, but not a huge amount.
Changed out the filter, of course. I'd be interested in cutting open the old one.
Cleaned up the bolts (13 of them, all M8 x 1.25) with a die, because they had dried black silicone on them. In one of my old Mazda FSMs, they stressed how important it was to do this; the silicone won't compress much, and can crack the fitting it's being forced into on the end of a bolt.
Instead of silicone, I used a gasket and a tacky red Permatex spray. It's worked well for me in the past. No leaks so far.
Measured what had come out, and poured in four US quarts of Castrol Transmax ATF+4.
It's likely my imagination, but I think the shifting feels crisper now. Even if not, I've got more peace of mind, knowing I've done what I can for the tranny. (Well, not quite - should do another drain and fill in a few days.)
Sounds great. Hope the gasket method you got works. I have seen tons of those black flat gaskets leak real soon after the independent shops use them on a service then the poor customer has to pay again to get it sealed properly. They used to make a metal/rubber mopar gasket that I would use on all the rebuilds but I haven’t had one of those apart in quite some time for warranty purposes and not certain they make it. I used to have that part number memorized but that was a lot of years ago
That's something I'll be checking! Thanks for the heads-up.
Did the first drain-and-refill with the new transmission oil pan (which is equipped with a drain plug). Unfortunately, the drain plug is at the wrong end of the pan, if one's intention is to drain as much ATF as possible. The triple whammy of the natural orientation of the pan on the engine, the mild elevation of the front end caused by the slope of my driveway, and the more severe change in elevation of the front end due to the front wheels being on ramps, mean that most of the ATF is pooled downhill of the drain plug.
As a result, only about 1-1/2 quarts drained out.
I think next time I'll back in, with the nose facing downhill, and back onto the ramps. There should be room for me to get under with the drain pan anyway, and I should get the expected 4 quarts out.
Brian, I'm not sure where they rust - I will keep an eye on the 4th-gen ones here, and pay extra attention to those areas on mine. I plan to get ours oil-sprayed in the next few days. I like Rust Check. I think your closest one is Koopman's Autobody in N Battleford: