Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug Help

Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug Help

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 3:03am

Hey folks,

Need some help. I was planning on dropping the transmission pan tomorrow and changing fluid + filter and installing a B&M drain plug.

I've bought the kit:
1 x Filter kit with gasket and filter seal
5 x Trans fluid bottles
1 x Funnel
1 x Gasket Maker
1 x B&M drain plug (could not find at any LAPS, had to get off amazon)

Trans Kit 1.JPG


Questions:
1) The B&M plug has only one nylon gasket, which side should this go on (inside or outside pan)? Should I just use the gasket maker instead?

2) The plug also only screws in about 1/4 of an inch which seems wrong:
Trans Kit 2.JPG


The instructions show the bolt sticking out:
Trans Kit 3.JPG


The actual nut is threaded the length of the bolt, but the bolt will only go in 1/4 inch. Is this right? Pictures on internet seem to show it like this, but it seems like it would catch things like that? hmm?? I have tried tightening, but that is as far as it goes.

Can anyone offer any advice or help? Never changed trans fluid or filter before and never used one of these drain plugs before.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 3:31am

Could I tap and die the bolt and nut? I'd have to buy a kit to do this as I don't know what size or thread pitch is used on the B&M.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Don1806 » September 9th 2015, 4:07am

I'd call B&M. They most likely have someone who handles product support and can tell you exactly how that plug works and if it only goes in a set amount, why it is designed that way. This isn't something I;d guess on or start running a tap in without knowing why I was doing it.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 4:20am

Thanks for the reply. From looking at other threads on different auto sites, it does appear to screw in all the way. I'm guessing mine is a lemon! I was thinking thread restorer/chaser...maybe or try another bolt.

I'll have to email B&M as I'm in Canada.

Any other advice for the transmission filter/fluid change is welcome as I've never done it before.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby visitor » September 9th 2015, 4:33am

Astroecho wrote:don't know what size or thread pitch is used on the B&M.
According to SummitRacing: "Drain Plug, 1/2 in.-20 Outside Threads, 1/8 in. NPT Plug", but i don't understand what you're planning on tapping. Looks like the end of the plug might come up against a non-threaded hole to seal better than threads the whole way through would.

Also, you can detach the pressure hose that goes from the transmission into the radiator, clamp a hose on the end to run the fluid into a big bucket. With a funnel ready at the fill tube you can keep up with the flow, engine running, and refill to get a full flush of the fluid in the torque converter. It'll take about another 6 qt to run through till you get nice clear red clean fluid coming all the way through. That's what i usually do when changing fluid in our vehicles.
Last edited by visitor on September 9th 2015, 4:50am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby visitor » September 9th 2015, 4:38am

Looks like there are: Mr. Gasket part #4470 & Dorman part #65128 available as well. The Dorman one looks to have nylon gaskets for both in & out side the pan contact area and an o-ring gasket for the plug going into the nut.
Haven't used any of these meself, though.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 5:10am

I was thinking of restoring the threads (more chasing / re-cutting threads I guess rather than tap and die).

The nut is fully threaded to allow for the bolt:
Nut.JPG


The bolt only goes in 1/4 inch, but should go in all the way:
Nut and Bolt.JPG


It cost $22 for this kit off amazon, doesn't seem to be a popular item where I am.

The hassle of returning etc means I won't be able to fit tomorrow. Mine look at thread restoring kits, or buying another bolt of similar size.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Mmusicman » September 9th 2015, 5:46am

Astroecho wrote:I was thinking of restoring the threads (more chasing / re-cutting threads I guess rather than tap and die).

I think this idea is just fine. They probably didn't do the job fully. It's a pretty simple thing to do.

I've installed these drain plugs.. no big deal. I seem to recall putting the nylon washer on the outside.

I've never used "gasket maker" ANYWHERE on a transmission! I ALWAYS install with the gasket dry... and with proper cleaning and prep I have never had a leak. Any kind of sealers will be a nightmare the NEXT time you need to pull the pan, and a huge issue to remove and clean up. Plus there is always a HUGE risk of getting some in the transmission. It only takes a tiny spec of ANY debris to block or lock up a valve! Then you got real issues!

Scrape and clean the pan and trans thoroughly! Scuff the pan with a little sandpaper if needed. When you re-attach the pan... gently keep re-torquing all the bolts, all the way around. I typically go completely around about 5 or 6 times, getting a little more snug each time. NEVER over-tighten or you will either distort the pan, or damage the gasket!

I wouldn't worry much about flushing (unless you really want to). With a new filter and new fluid... you'll be in great shape!
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 5:53am

Thanks for the advice. I'm thinking that I can dump, change filter, refil and all should be good rather than a full flush right now.

Good thinking about the RTV gasket maker....might avoid using it.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Lumpy » September 9th 2015, 6:27am

The plug in those B&M kits DOES stick out more than it seems it should. At least it does in the three I've installed. It will work perfectly fine with it screwed in till it seats as long as there's 3 or 4 threads engaged. Looks like you have five.

Slightly better would be a kit with a magnetic plug. Or buy a magnetic plug that fits 1/8-27 threads and use that instead of the naked B&M.

The nylon gasket goes on the OUTSIDE of the pan. DON'T overtighten it. Snug it up and you're there. Overtightening will warp the gasket. Even better would be to use a 2nd gasket on the inside as well. Regular Astro oil change gaskets will fit.


If that plug is an NPT thread then rethreading or chasing is probably not ideal. Pipe threads are tapered. The diameter at the open end of the pipe (the plug end of your plug) is smaller than farther up the threads. Pipe threads are designed to go in only so far. Then the threads jam up against each other to try and affect the liquid/gas seal.

If you DO decide to chase the female side -

It's a bit of an oddball sized tap 1/8-27 NPT. The 1/8 is the nominal ID of the pipe. That means the hole you're tapping is much bigger, to fit the OD. The guide hole is typically about 11/32, almost 3/8 inch. You can buy (you'll need) a tap designed specifically for 1/8-27 NPT. The important point of that is that when you look at the tap, it's three times the diameter you'd think it should be for a normal 1/8" bolt tap.

The way to do it is to start the tap, turn it in about one turn then remove it and test fit your plug. Continue to alternate turning the tap in one additional turn and test fitting. Does that make sense? Do that until you reach a point where your plug seats the way you want it. You should have maybe three threads still exposed when it's seated. If you just run the tap all the way through, you'll tap it out to the largest diameter of the tapered pipe seat - in effect the hole will be too big for your plug.

Think of it like a tapered wine cork. It is meant to seat only so far.


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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 9th 2015, 9:19pm

Great help Lumpy, helps explain why it only goes so far. I got a 1/8 x 27 NPT tap and chased the threads in the nut, all clean and perfect. The bolt still only goes in the same amount.

I ended up getting a little 1/8x 27 NPT grub screw/headless bolt and some copper washers:
Plug.JPG


Doesn't stick out so far but again only goes in the 4-5 threads. I believe the hole in the nut is not tapped deep enough but don't want to thread it deeper as it's right at the union and not much metal there.

Looks better as I could see the original bolt catching on something when driving.

I also got some thread lock to use to help keep the plug nice and tight.

Just about to jack the van up and get started.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Lumpy » September 9th 2015, 11:01pm

Astroecho wrote:
Doesn't stick out so far but again only goes in the 4-5 threads. I believe the hole in the nut is not tapped deep enough...



4-5 threads is all it needs. The plugs supplied by B&M are just too long. Sounds like you're on the right track.

If you haven't asked already, the next challenge is typically getting the old O ring out from the filter neck recepticle. A hook shaped pick just makes that job go so fast you'll wonder why everyone doesn't spend the $4 on the tool.

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Wear eye protection and poke up there and pull the old O ring out. You'll get a little ATF on you because it will drip forever. No worries. Gives you that "sun drenched glow" without the harmful effects of UV rays.

There used to be a guy here that swore you should put the new O ring up into the female part of the transmission first, then insert the filter male part. That's just plain backwards than the way that any O ring installs to me. Lube the new O ring and put it around the male part of the filter then push it up into the female part. It's kind of hard to tell that it's seated. It may or may not "click" when it hits the mark. But just give it a very light pull to be sure it wants to stay up there and you'll be able to feel it.



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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 10th 2015, 5:20am

Lumpy, great advise as usual, much appreciated.

The story so far - slowly started loosening all the bolts to drain the pan:

pan.JPG


Absolutely got covered in oil, all over the tools, everywhere! Such a bad design. I presume that the engineers wanted the pan to be taken off to encourage the filter to be changed, but what a joke...seriously!

trans inside.JPG


The transmission inside, had serious trouble getting the o-ring out, that thing was wedged in there. I bent two picks trying to get the thing out. Ended up having to hammer a small screwdriver between o-ring (actually metal ring!) and the transmission hole. managed to bend part of the ring and get needle nose pliers to pull it out.

pan empty.JPG


The oil seems a very dark cherry red.

metal.JPG


filter.JPG


The magnet was covered in 1/4 inch of metal filling. The filter was covered, too. You can see the difference where I wiped half of it off. Is this normal? Doesn't seem good to me.

At this stage, I was absolutely covered in oil and couldn't use the camera (phone) as my hands were filthy, so the photos end.

I installed the new o-ring but putting the ring in first. It was seriously tight, so had to use a socket and tap the o-ring into place. I then installed new filter and felt a "click".

There is hardly any room to install the drain plug as I have the shallow pan, but I installed it hopefully somewhere where it won't interfere with anything. I used blue thread lock (medium strength) and installed the pan as I didn't want moisture getting into the trans overnight.

Will continue tomorrow re-filling the trans and checking everything for leaks.

Lesson for the day - keep mouth closed when under dripping transmission!! :screaming:
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Lumpy » September 10th 2015, 5:56am

Astroecho wrote:
The story so far - slowly started loosening all the bolts to drain the pan:

...

Absolutely got covered in oil, all over the tools, everywhere!...



True that. Now that you've got a drain plug that's nearly eliminated for the next change.

Everything looks normal. ATF is usually red. It's normal to have that micro fine velvety metal fuzz on the magnet and filter. Means they're doing their job. Clean off the magnet with something like brake parts cleaner.

Good job on gittin 'er done.


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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 10th 2015, 8:20pm

Took the pan off today, as I just put it on to keep moisture out and finished the job.

pan bolt 1.JPG
pan bolt 1.JPG (84.02 KiB) Viewed 1552 times


pan bolt 2.JPG


Here you can see the location of the drain plug at the rear of the pan. Including approx sizes, might help someone. I again added thread lock to the drain plug to keep it from vibrating out. Just nipped it up, as it is such a small headless bolt.

new filter (2).JPG


This is the new filter and the arrow shows where the drain plug sits. Between two components...hopefully in a safe place!

gasket.JPG


The gasket is easy to install. The rubber holds the bolts in place, this means a few bolts can be added to keep gasket located whilst the pan is installed.

Finished.JPG


The pan re-installed. It should be noted that the gear change cable has to be removed in order to get the pan off. This is done with three bolts and the gear select is shaped, so will only fit on the bolt one way.

Re-filled with ATF fluid and the van is back in action. Will drive it a while, drain the pan again, add new fluid and repeat again. Thereby replacing/replenishing the fluid.

Thanks for all the help...such a great forum! :D
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby sadglad » September 10th 2015, 10:40pm

I believe your shift linkage arm is on backwards. The ball and socket should be facing away from the pan. At least that's the way mine is and there is no need to remove it to get the pan off.
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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Lumpy » September 10th 2015, 10:58pm

sadglad wrote:I believe your shift linkage arm is on backwards. The ball and socket should be facing away from the pan. At least that's the way mine is and there is no need to remove it to get the pan off.


I don't know Gen IIs. But if it were on my Gen I it would be backwards as well. But that one looks pretty different from mine. Just a mechanical rod and lever thing in a Gen I clamping to a lever on the side of the transmission. None of that electronics and no accordion boot.


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Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 10th 2015, 11:36pm

sadglad wrote:I believe your shift linkage arm is on backwards. The ball and socket should be facing away from the pan. At least that's the way mine is and there is no need to remove it to get the pan off.


That is exactly as it was before I took it off. The rear two bolts on linkage highlighted in picture are holding pan on. The linkage has a bracket there which is attached to the pan with the extra long rear bolts. It is then extremely tight to remove pan without undoing the front nut and taking off the linkage as it catches on pan.

Linkage.jpg


Anyone got a picture of their's?

Also just want to confirm I'm checking trans fluid level corectly:
1) Drive around get engine up to speed (normal operating temperature - did some highway driving).
2) Let stand for 30 minutes.
3) Engine idling, move gear selector through all the gears.
4) Check level

Correct?
Last edited by Astroecho on September 11th 2015, 12:06am, edited 1 time in total.
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Astroecho
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: Astroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full years
Posts: 172
Topics: 21
Joined: June 2014
Location: Alberta, Canada
Gender: Male
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Van Model Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L V6 RWD

Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby Astroecho [OP] » September 11th 2015, 12:03am

Here's some better pictures of the linkage. It was the same before I took it off and the van is changing gears correctly.

Linkage 1.JPG


The ball restricts removing the pan

Linkage 2a.jpg


Bracket holding linkage in place is bolted through the transmission pan, so has to be removed to get pan off.

Linkage 3.JPG


Is this what you mean about facing away from the pan? Because the linkage won't fit onto the bolt that way. It also twists the cable badly.

Could this have been altered previously by a mechanic/previous owner. It seems factory as there are recesses in the moulding of trans body to accept the long bolts holding the linkage bracket on.
Original Poster [OP]
User avatar
Astroecho
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Firing on 1 Cylinder (L1)
Years of Membership: Astroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full yearsAstroecho has been a member for 6 full years
Posts: 172
Topics: 21
Joined: June 2014
Location: Alberta, Canada
Gender: Male
Alias (AKA):
Van Model Year: 1998
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 4.3L V6 RWD

Re: Popping My Cherry - Trans Fluid / Filter + Drain Plug He

Postby sadglad » September 11th 2015, 3:55am

Sorry, going from memory I got it wrong. My link faces the pan like yours. My arm is different though, just a straight arm, not a dogleg toward the pan. Maybe that's why my pan comes off with no interference from the link.
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Firing on 3 Cylinders (L1)
Firing on 3 Cylinders (L1)
Years of Membership: sadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full yearssadglad has been a member for 9 full years
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Van Model Year: 2002
Van Make/Model: Chevrolet Astro
Extra Info: 2002 AWD Cargo

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