Silverado transmission pan removal

Joined
Jul 26, 2007
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I did this about a month ago. I vice-gripped the trans cable bracket to the driveshaft and used a floor jack/extensions to leverage the exhaust down. Nothing was loosened. Here are the pics I took-

20201108_041426.jpg 20201108_041353.jpg 20201108_041406.jpg
 
Joined
Feb 18, 2011
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I'm surprised it has a drain bolt. A lot of the SUVs including my 2006 don't. If you don't want to drop the exhaust you could try bending it with a pry bar enough to get the pan out or loosen up the transmission mount and jack the engine up a little bit. Or you could just do a simple exchange if you have cooler lines that go into the radiator. That's what I do. Super easy. My filter doesn't have time to get dirty.
 

ssspencerjr

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Nov 13, 2020
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I'm surprised it has a drain bolt. A lot of the SUVs including my 2006 don't. If you don't want to drop the exhaust you could try bending it with a pry bar enough to get the pan out or loosen up the transmission mount and jack the engine up a little bit. Or you could just do a simple exchange if you have cooler lines that go into the radiator. That's what I do. Super easy. My filter doesn't have time to get dirty.
I bought this truck used back in May with 118k miles on it, and the transmission has never been serviced. Chances are this will be the only time I change the filter before the transmission fails. If I can get the plug out I can do drain and fills until then.
 
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Even if you did get the drain plug out the exchange method from the radiator if it has it is still the way to go. Because you're not blending old with new. A drain and fill will only get 33% out of that transmission. Anyways if you own a grinder or a cutting wheel clean up the bolt so it will fit into a socket. Grind it down to a 13 or a 12 mm whatever the next size down is. Enough to bang a socket on it and get it off. Or grind some flat spots so vice grips can grab it
 

CKN

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Oct 14, 2014
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Utah
Didn't think it would be this difficult. I'm trying to drop the pan on my 04 Silverado 4x4 and I have 2 issues.

1. The drain plug is rounded off, I guess this is common being old, crap metal with shallow head and overtightened from the factory.

2. There isn't enough clearance to drop the pan without dropping the exhaust down by removing 3 bolts from each exhaust side.

Does anybody have any tips for removing the rounded off drain plug as well as breaking loose the factory exhaust nuts on the studs?

The difficulty is widely available on the web-via youtube.
 
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Dec 6, 2019
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The reaon to change the filter is so it will be clean from the break in wear.
In my opinion if there is that much wear then it’s failing. Torque converters and valve bodies don’t function long when there is wear. There’s nothing that has to “seat” or break in like an engine.
 
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Dec 19, 2013
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The trick to removing the drain plug before it gets mangled.....Use a shallow high quality chrome 1/2" drive 15mm socket along with a 1/2" drive impact, Preferably a "Big Hammer" air powered one. Push up on the impact & give it short burst to rattle the plug loose, Trying to not let the socket cam off the head!

I have a roughly 95% success rate with the above.....If the plug is already damaged.....Weld a nut to it & zip it out with an impact. An OE oil drain plug for the same vehicle works as a replacement & won't round off again.

Exhaust Studs......(I do not live where they use salt on the roads)
*Spray them with a good amount of PB Blaster a couple times. Let sit for a few minutes.
*Wipe off the PB from the exposed threads & apply some Anti Seize.
*Use a 1/2" drive impact, A "long enough" Extension, And preferably a 1/2" drive Semi Deep 15mm impact wobble socket to hammer them off.

Using an Impact is the key.....Trying to remove the exhaust stud nuts with hand tools is almost a guaranteed way for the nut to gall on the stud or snap the stud off.
Use Anti Seize upon reassembly.
 

ssspencerjr

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Joined
Nov 13, 2020
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The trick to removing the drain plug before it gets mangled.....Use a shallow high quality chrome 1/2" drive 15mm socket along with a 1/2" drive impact, Preferably a "Big Hammer" air powered one. Push up on the impact & give it short burst to rattle the plug loose, Trying to not let the socket cam off the head!

I have a roughly 95% success rate with the above.....If the plug is already damaged.....Weld a nut to it & zip it out with an impact. An OE oil drain plug for the same vehicle works as a replacement & won't round off again.

Exhaust Studs......(I do not live where they use salt on the roads)
*Spray them with a good amount of PB Blaster a couple times. Let sit for a few minutes.
*Wipe off the PB from the exposed threads & apply some Anti Seize.
*Use a 1/2" drive impact, A "long enough" Extension, And preferably a 1/2" drive Semi Deep 15mm impact wobble socket to hammer them off.

Using an Impact is the key.....Trying to remove the exhaust stud nuts with hand tools is almost a guaranteed way for the nut to gall on the stud or snap the stud off.
Use Anti Seize upon reassembly.
Thanks, really wish I would have had this kind of useful info before I got started, didn't know it was going to be a huge headache.
 
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All that is a lot of risk of causing more problems than it’s worth. There wont be one ounce difference in draining/dropping the pan than evacuating the fluid from the top side.
 

ssspencerjr

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Nov 13, 2020
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When I realized I couldn't clear the pan I suctioned out all the fluid from the pan using a small pump I had. I figured until I could find a way to get the exhaust lowered for the pan to clear this was better than nothing. Just doing that and adding fresh fluid made the shifting from 1st to second a lot smoother as well as downshifting. Original fluid wasn't black or burnt, just dark red, but fresh Valvoline Max Life (at least the amount I was able to add) seemed to help.

My whole goal with this is to extend the transmission as long as I can because they are the weak link in these trucks.
 
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Mar 20, 2008
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When I realized I couldn't clear the pan I suctioned out all the fluid from the pan using a small pump I had. I figured until I could find a way to get the exhaust lowered for the pan to clear this was better than nothing. Just doing that and adding fresh fluid made the shifting from 1st to second a lot smoother as well as downshifting. Original fluid wasn't black or burnt, just dark red, but fresh Valvoline Max Life (at least the amount I was able to add) seemed to help.

My whole goal with this is to extend the transmission as long as I can because they are the weak link in these trucks.

Regular fluid changes will be sufficient. There is no need to drop the pan. If you can get the drain plug off then replace it with a good one, you won't have to do anything else except drain and fill on a regular basis. And don't overtighten the drain plug :sneaky:

If you want to do a more thorough flush, what you do is a drain and fill several times in succession, with some driving in between. 3-4 drains with some driving in between. The amount of driving between drains can be a short drive around the block or a few thousand miles. You will only need to do the 3-4x drain once. After that, single drains will be sufficient.

For a problem transmission, do a drain and fill every year. Since you have a drain plug, it's easy :D
 
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Oct 3, 2010
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I’m stil a fan of changing the filter around 100K on vehicles, earlier on trucks especially if they are used for plowing. Nothing will change my mind about that.

I’m going to change the fluid and filter on my 6R140 before the months end. It has 96K on it.
 
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Aug 13, 2004
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VA
When I realized I couldn't clear the pan I suctioned out all the fluid from the pan using a small pump I had. I figured until I could find a way to get the exhaust lowered for the pan to clear this was better than nothing. Just doing that and adding fresh fluid made the shifting from 1st to second a lot smoother as well as downshifting. Original fluid wasn't black or burnt, just dark red, but fresh Valvoline Max Life (at least the amount I was able to add) seemed to help.

My whole goal with this is to extend the transmission as long as I can because they are the weak link in these trucks.
Your truck likely has a rubber section in the cooler return line. That's a perfect place for a Magnefine filter, and after the line is cut you could flush the trans before installing the filter.

That plug is a really bad design. The hex head is only about half as tall as a normal plug, so it's easy for a socket to slip off and strip it.
 
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Your truck likely has a rubber section in the cooler return line. That's a perfect place for a Magnefine filter, and after the line is cut you could flush the trans before installing the filter.

That plug is a really bad design. The hex head is only about half as tall as a normal plug, so it's easy for a socket to slip off and strip it.
That's where I do exchanges from. Pop off the return pipe and replace it with a Hayden 397 with a clear 5/8 hose. Starting and stopping the engine every 3 quarts takes a half hour to get all 12 quarts swapped out. Majority of the time it's just emptying the drain pan into empty jugs. It doesn't get any easier.
 

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Joined
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All that is a lot of risk of causing more problems than it’s worth. There wont be one ounce difference in draining/dropping the pan than evacuating the fluid from the top side.

You're entitled to your opinion.....But there is accumulative wear of the 500+ components in this unit. A half restricted filter won't cause issues under part throttle operation, But can be detrimental under WOT operations.....Especially to the 3-4 Clutch which takes a lot of volume to actuate.

Cleaning the magnet off & removing the clutch material from the 2-4 Band, 3-4 Clutch, & TCC Clutch from the bottom of the pan is also important....These are the Dynamic Members of this unit & accumulative wear is expected.
 
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