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Transmission Removal/Replacement Tips


Old 07-31-2014, 08:57 AM
ewing111's Avatar
ewing111 is offline
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Location: Dublin, OH
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Default Transmission Removal/Replacement Tips

As some of you may have read in my previous post, my transmission bit the dust and I decided to replace it myself with a used one from a junkyard. I found one with 60k on it with a 30 day warranty, so that's what i went with. This post is meant to shed some light on the transmission removal process for others who would like to save themselves some money by removing the transmission for themselves, and taking it to a shop for rebuild or so they can put a used one in. This applies to my 2005 ram 1500 4x4 and was performed in my driveway.

Most used sockets: 10mm,14mm,15mm,16mm,18mm

First of all, I used oldirtyjohn's DIY for torque converter replacement found here
and followed the steps there for transmission removal. They are pretty complete, but I wanted to add some things that I learned in my process.

General steps are:

1. Removing front and rear driveshafts. These are held in with threadlocked bolts which come out easier with some PB blaster and heat. A wobble extension may also come in handy throughout this process. I was able to loosen the seal going into the transfer case from the front with a flat screw driver, and push it down to get the front driveshaft out. The rear required a little hammer persuasion and some prying with a big screwdriver to knock the rust loose.

2. Removing starter. You have to remove the starter to access the flywheel to rotate the torque converter to remove all the bolts (4) securing the flywheel to the torque converter. This is pretty easy. You can either completely remove it, or it sits nicely on the motor mount bracket that is directly below it.

3. Remove dust cover. Easy, just remove bolts.

4. Take out bolts from torque converter to flywheel. A bit of a pain to rotate the flywheel, but can be done with a big screw driver or a tire iron. These are 14 mm and you can get at them with a socket if you rotate the flywheel to the proper spot past the oil pan.

5. Removal of transmission support bracket. Easy to do, bolts may be pretty rusty. Make sure you are providing some kind of support on the trans after you remove this bracket.

6. Unbolt bellhousing from engine. Not particularly hard. The two top bolts are a little hard to get to, particularly the passenger side one. If you unbolt the bracket holding in the fill tube into the trans (10mm), you can move it up and out of the way, making the top bolt on the passenger side much easier to get to.

7. Unhook all sensors, again, not hard, just be thorough. Make sure you get all the little push plugs that hook the various lines into the trans.

8. Remove cooler lines, removal and return. Takes a 24mm wrench, which I had to buy. Not hard to remove, the return line on the bottom will leak a little.

10. Actual trans removal. You need to decide whether you want to remove the transfer case first or not. It will certainly be easier to get the trans out without the transfer case, but removing the transfer case while the trans is on the vehicle is not a piece of cake either. If you lower the trans down slightly to make it easier to access the bolts on the top of the transfer case, you can probably get it off without too much difficulty. I removed the trans and transfer case together without removing the exhaust. I pushed the transfer case up and over the y pipe and support cross member until the trans cleared the motor mount bracket on the driver side of the trans, then tilted the belhousing forward and down until the transfer case cleared the ypipe and support member. Then just slid it out.


1. Make sure your torque converter is seated properly on the trans. Look at the splines, there are two sets after the guide portion of the shaft. Slide it on, then it should clunk down twice more before fully seated. There should be about 1/2" distance between the top of the little flanges on the torque converter and the front of the bellhousing.

2. I reinstalled the used trans without the transfer case attached, because the used one didn't come with a new transfer case. This made the transmission installation much much easier than removal. We started lining up the motor mount studs, then gradually got all the bellhousing bolts in. One tip, there are 2 bolts that are bigger than the others, one for the passanger and one for the driver sides. If you keep track of those so you don't try to put the wrong size in those threads, you will be a step ahead.

3. Once all the bolts were secure, I put the transfer case back on. This was a bit of a pain, but just took some effort, nothing special. After that, I reinstalled the trans support bracket so I could get my jack out of there.

4. re bolting torque converter to flywheel. I ended up doing this twice, and both times, I wasn't able to get all 4 bolts started tightening them down all the way to start with. I had to just barely snug them so there was still a bit of play between the torque converter and the flywheel, then once they were all in, go back around and tighten them up. You may have better luck than me, but that's what I had to do. If you tighten three down and can't get the fourth, then you have to go back around, loosen them up, then back around and tighten again, making you turn the flywheel an extra time, which is a freakin bear to do.

5. Hook up all sensors, reinstall the starter. Again, easy to do, just be thorough.

6. Reinstall dustplate. Easy, just a lot of bolts.

7. Reinstall driveshafts. I reused the same bolts, put a couple dabs of threadlock on em.

8. New fluids and filters. I followed the DIY for transmission flush here to refill my new trans with fresh fluid once it was back on. I ordered a mopar filter set off of amazon that came with RTV. Make sure any spin on filter you get doesnt have a part number ending in AB, apparently that is the bad one. I unhooked my return line (put a bucket underneath) and ran the truck until the fluid sputtered. This pretty well empties your trans pan. You still have to be a bit careful when removing the pan, there will be a little fluid left. I scraped the old rtv off and ended up carefully using a wire brush and some gasoline to remove all the little bits and pieces. I would recommend getting the rubber gasket from the parts store that you can reuse, rtv is a pain in the ***. When reinstalling the new filters, be careful with the spin on filter, its threads are plastic and easily crossthreaded. If you do cross thread it, you can unscrew that part from your old filter and put in on the new one for a second try. Don't ask me how i know that... . For the flat filter, just make sure you remove the old circular seal out of the trans and reinstall the new one before seating the flat filter. Removal of the seal isn't bad, just grab some pliers and yank it out of there. Seat the new seal with a 3/4" socket, a 3" extension stuck into it and a hammer. Its at an angle when seated fully, so be sure you are flush all around. The flat filter reinstalls with a torque screw.

I think that pretty much covers it, but if anyone has any questions, I would be glad to help. Hope this information can be useful to some other thrifty diy'er like myself
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Old 07-31-2014, 09:12 AM
Buggsy is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Eau Claire, WI
Posts: 214

Hopefully I'll never use these tips, but thanks a lot for laying them out.
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:37 AM
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abarmby is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: North Eastern England
Posts: 2,875

Nice write up and cheers for the effort.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:12 AM
ewing111's Avatar
ewing111 is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Dublin, OH
Posts: 721

Thanks guys. Definitely one of those things you hope to never do, but I know I would have liked to find something like this while doing mine. Oldirtyjohn's torque converter swap DIY was really helpful too.
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