Ok what you will need for this relatively simple job is:
1. A set of car ramps.
2. A socket set including an extension bar and a 13 mm socket. Torque wrench is good too.
3. 5 litres of Dexron III, check that this is still the specified fluid for much older models.
4. A transmission service kit, I get mine from Repco. $30- $50, depends if on sale. Check if you have a deep pan or shallow pan by looking on your dipstick. My VY has a deep pan.
5. A heap of rags, including some clean, lint free ones.
6. A large container to catch the old fluid.
7. A CLEAN work area such as a concrete driveway, don't even think about doing this on grass or gravel!
8. Small funnel.
8. One can degreaser.
Now drive your car forwards up onto the set of ramps and put selector in park and apply handbrake firmly. I like to do this job while the vehicle is cold, as there are a lot of things to burn yourself on under there!
Now slide underneath and look for this
Get your ratchet and ext bar with 13 mm socket and begin loosening the bolts around the outside of the pan, not too much, but you want to take the rear ones all the way out and some of the side ones so that the back of the pan can be lowered down to start draining the fluid into your container.
Why didn't Holden put a drain plug in?
Support the pan with your free hand to avoid the weight of pan and fluid bending the front of the pan that still has some of the bolts left in. By the way, as soon as you start to loosen any of the bolts, fluid will start dripping from all around the pan, so watch your eyes!
When you have a fair bit of fluid out, support the pan with one hand and remove the remaining bolts, then carefully lower the pan to the ground.
Looks pretty intricate up in there doesn't it?
It is, there are lots of wires and solonoids and stuff that you don't want to damage so try not to touch the components that are now exposed. You'll see the filter, it will either be metal or black plastic. Grab hold of this and gently twist as you pull down until it comes off, discard it.
Take the pan and tip the remaining fluid somewhere like into a container, then remove the magnet. Clean the magnet with a rag until all the black crap is off, this black crap is tiny metal particles.
Next wipe out the pan with a cleanish rag until all the old fluid is gone, I then take the garden hose to it and wash it thoroughly with water, making sure to completely dry it with a clean rag and leave it in the sun.
Remove the old gasket from the transmission and make sure none of it is left on there, if it is then very carefully scrape it off with a butter knife or the like. (Same goes for the pan)
Now, where you removed the filter from, there is an 'o' ring, pain in ass to get out, I have always just left the same one in there, as long as the new filter is firm as you push it in then there's no need to fit the new 'o' ring, you'll see what I'm talking about in the service kit you bought. Ok, so you have put the new filter in? Good. Now it's time to wipe around the underside of the tranny where the gasket sits with a very clean rag. Repeat this process until there is no fluid on it, I believe cork gaskets seal better if applied to a dry surface, but I may be wrong.
Next place your clean magnet in the pan, you'll notice a little square box-type mark indicating exactly where the magnet sits. Make sure no dust or crap has got into the pan while it was sitting in the sun by wiping it out again with a CLEAN rag.
Grab your new gasket and place it on the pan, lining the gasket holes up with the bolt holes on the pan. It can only go on one way, as the holes won't line up if it's wrong.
Slide under the car with the pan and re-wipe the underside of tranny again, then lift the pan up into place, again it can only go on one way as bolt holes won't line up if wrong.
Next get a bolt and screw it into a corner hole, followed by three more bolts in the other corners, then add the rest of the bolts, doing them up firmly with your fingers. Now if you have a torque wrench, set it to 11Nm, (thanks Brett_jjj for these specs) and go around the bolts over and over until they are all torqued up. If you don't have a torque wrench, then do them up firmly, but watch the gasket doesn't start squeezing out of the sides! Make sure to go over and over the bolts, so that they are all nice and firm. Remember it is a cork gasket, so not too tight!!!!
Now get some degreaser and spray the pan, and surrounding area, leave a few minutes, then hose off.
Go and have a shower! Unless you don't care about getting in your car covered in tranny fluid.
From under the bonnet, insert a small funnel into the filler tube and add four litres of fluid. (Check what your owner's book states the capacity is) Mine is 4.8 litres.
Now start the car and reverse off the ramps onto flat ground, gradually add more fluid until the level is at the lower end of the cross hatches. Start the car and run it through the gears, let settle then recheck. Go for a drive, around 15-20 mins should do until the vehicle is well up to operating temp then, park on flat ground with motor idling and selector in Park, add fluid until it is at the full line.
Recheck the level over the next few days and park somewhere that you can see any leaks to make sure the pan gasket is sealed.
If you have overfilled it, then don't panic, just get a squirty bottle and some fish tank air hose or similar, stick it down the filler tube and pump out the excess fluid. Like this one.
I stuck my finger up into it yesterday and tried to pull it out. It isn't a normal 'o' ring, but that's what it's called in the service kit. looks like this:
Aparently it can be removed with long pointy-nose pliers, but I can't see how.
When you're under there and have the filter out, you'll be able to tell if the new filter feels firm when pushed into place.
Like I said, I have still got the original 'o' ring in and it seems fine.
It is a rubber object with a metal band around the outside, about 20mm in diameter and 10mm long.
BTW, I put all the photos on the How-to as attachments, so if you click on them, they will show up larger and clearer.
Mate an excellent how to.Servicing the auto trans is just as important as changing the engine oil and filter..A lot of people dont realise this.With the metal filter seal,all I do to remove the old one is, I very carefully crush it inwards with a long screwdriver and then use pliers to grab it and pull it out,if you have a good look at the new seal,then you will see that the sides of the seal are made of very thin soft metal,this is what I crush inwards so I can then grab it with the pliers,it cant harm anything else if your careful..I wouldnt use the same seal for too long,the rubber part of the seal will eventually go hard and brittle.Anyway, once youve removed the filter seal once,you will find its not as hard as you first thought.I gotta say that I also baulked at it a bit the first time I did one.Also,I forgot to mention,when replacing the new seal,put clean trans fluid all over the new seal,put the new seal onto the filter,push it on firmly,then firmly push both the filter and seal up into the filter hole together until it wont go in any more,this will seat the new seal,just double check that its in there properly by very gently pulling the filter back outwards,it shouldnt move or pull back out easily..it should feel firm..Cheers,hope this helps..
Thanks Brett, great info. Now next time I do a service on the tranny, I'll definately change that 'o' ring. I never thought of doing it that way! That must be what I'd heard the pointy nose pliers were for- after bending it in with a screwdriver, the pointys would grab the seal and pull it out. Cheers.
Thanks,yeah this method works well,Ive never been able to get one of them out otherwise,they certainly get stuck in there tight.The main thing is just take your time with it and be careful..Look at the new seal and use it as a guide so you know where you need to collapse the old one inwards,it doesnt take a lot of pressure to bend it in...The only real thing you need to watch out for is to make sure you dont scratch the outside of the hole where the trans seal seals against the hole,if your careful,this is almost impossible to do....
Just an update on the removal of the filter retainer: We pulled the engine and tranny out of my son's VT last weekend and while it was out, decided to service the transmission. After removing the pan, we saw that the filter was very loose, just about "floating" there. Don't know when this was last serviced as my son has only had the car for a few months.
So... we decided to change the retainer, which comes in the service kit. I followed Brett's instructions and I found that carefully hand driving a small screwdriver that has been filed down to a sharp point between the retainer and the side of the retainer hole worked. I was then able to "lever" the old retainer off on one side, allowing enough room to get a pair of pointy noses in, grab hold of it and pull it out.
To fit the new one, make sure you've got it the right way round, duh! And push it in slightly. Then get an appropriate sized socket and use this to tap the new one in gently with a hammer.
Note: Don't damage the alloy where the retainer sits against.
Note 2: Will be a little more difficult to do this when the tranny is still in the car.