How to Replace a Shift Solenoid in a Chevrolet Silverado

by Dan Ferrell

The shift solenoids on your Chevrolet Silverado control fluid flow and transmission shift. Years of service take a toll on these solenoids, interfering with proper shifting or even preventing the transmission from shifting. Your Silverado pickup model may have two or more shift solenoids installed on the valve body, under the oil pan. Once you identify the correct unit you want to replace, remove the oil pan to install the new one.

Remove the Shift Solenoid

Park your pickup on a level surface and set the transmission to neutral.

Raise the front of your vehicle using a floor jack, and support it on two jack stands.

Install a chock behind each of the rear wheels to keep it from rolling, and apply the parking brake.

Place a catch pan under the transmission pan, and use a wrench to remove the drain plug to drain the oil. If your Silverado model is not equipped with this plug, continue with the steps to remove the pan and the oil.

Unscrew the range selector bracket from the side of the transmission if you need more clearance to remove the pan. Use a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Remove the catalytic converter from the front and rear exhaust pipes or the transmission cross member for pan removal, depending on your pickup model. If you must remove the cross member, firmly support the transmission with the floor jack first. Use a breaker bar, a ratchet extension and socket.

Remove the front and side mounting bolts from the transmission using a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Loosen the pan rear mounting bolts four turns.

Tap at the front of the oil pan with a rubber mallet to separate the front of the pan from the transmission to let the oil start draining.

Hold the bottom of the pan with a shop rag, and finish removing the rear bolts using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Tilt the pan over the catch pan to drain the rest of the oil. Then remove the pan from the vehicle.

Find the shift solenoid you must remove on the valve body underneath the transmission.

Detach the electrical wires from the shift solenoid using a Phillips screwdriver.

Remove the solenoid using a ratchet and socket.

Install the Shift Solenoid

Install the new shift solenoid, and tighten the mounting bolts using the ratchet and socket.

Attach the electrical wires to the shift solenoid using the Phillips screwdriver.

Clean the gasket-mating surface on the transmission from oil, grease and any other contaminates, using a soft wire brush and clean shop rag.

Clean the pan of any oil, grease and other contaminants, using the brush and a clean rag.

Set the oil pan and a new gasket in place. Start the pan mounting bolts by hand, then use the ratchet extension and socket.

Tighten the pan mounting bolts in three or four steps, following a crisscross pattern. Make sure not to over-tighten the bolts, warns James E. Duffy in "Modern Automotive Technology," or you will damage the gasket and cause oil leaks.

Install the catalytic converter or transmission cross member, if you had to remove either component. Use the breaker bar, ratchet extension and socket. Then remove the floor jack if you had to support the transmission.

Install the range selector bracket to the side of the transmission, if you had to remove it. Use the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

Lower your pickup and remove the chocks from the rear wheels.

Refill the transmission with the correct amount and type of transmission oil recommended by your car manufacturer. If necessary, consult your car owner's manual.

Check the transmission oil pan for leaks.

Items you will need


About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.

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