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The Trick to Removing a Stuck Transmission Pan

by Justin Cupler

There are several reasons you would need to remove the transmission pan on your vehicle, the most common being repair, maintenance or inspection. No matter the reason, if it has been several years since the pan has been removed, it may be stuck to the transmission. This is typically due to the sealant or gasket on the pan creating a bond between the transmission and pan. Fortunately, there is a trick to getting the pan unstuck.

Raise the front of the vehicle with a jack and support it on jack stands.

Locate the transmission pan -- a large, metal pan on the bottom of the transmission.

Place a drain pan directly under the transmission pan.

Put on a pair of safety glasses to prevent debris from entering your eyes.

Spray the base of the transmission and the transmission pan with de-greasing chemical. Wipe the excess grease and debris from the transmission and transmission pan with a shop rag.

Examine the outer edge of the transmission pan and locate the transmission pan bolts. The number of bolts will vary, depending on the vehicle.

Loosen and remove all but two transmission pan bolts with a ratchet and socket. Loosen the two remaining transmission bolts until they are about halfway out; this prevents the transmission pan from falling when it breaks free.

Examine the area where the pan and the transmission meet and locate the seam where the pan ends and the transmission begins.

Place the head of a flat head screwdriver -- horizontally -- into the seam and lightly tap the handle of the screwdriver with the rubber mallet until the head of the screwdriver penetrates the seam. Lightly pry downward to break the bond between the transmission and transmission pan.

Repeat Step 9 on each side of the pan until it is free from the transmission.

Allow the transmission fluid to flow into the drain pan, remove the last two transmission pan bolts then lower the transmission pan.

Warning

  • Do not reuse the transmission fluid in the drain pan as it may be contaminated by the de-greasing chemical. Do not reuse the transmission pan gasket as it will be damaged by this process.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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