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4L60E tranny oil filter change

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by Boo, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Boo

    Boo New Member

    Hey all, I'm new to the site and it seems to be quite active, which is good cause I need some tech knowledge.
    I'm attempting to chage the oil and filter in my 04 ,5.3L 4x4 and am having problems dropping the pan. The manual says I may have to remove the range cable mounting bracket[ shift linkage] hell I can;t even see how that is mounted. So old wise ones, is there a trick to getting that pan to drop with 5qts. of oil still in it? Thanks in advance for your assistance.
    Bob
  2. ibmoses

    ibmoses New Member

    I was going to change mine...the first thing that :eek:ut:happened was a the drain plug rounded off.

    You really need a lift or a rack so you can get under there standing up.

    I would carry it to a trusted shop or a dealer, not a quick lube. I also would not let them flush it, just my opinion.

    Bert
  3. Boo

    Boo New Member

    Thanks for your response Bert.I would like to do this myself, to know in fact that the filter is being replaced.
  4. mjalstad

    mjalstad New Member

    I don't remember if I ever dropped the pan on a full size chevy truck, but I remember the blazer has that bracket mounted on there and it made it a big pain in the ass. From what I remember, I think it was just mounted with 2 bolts, but they were hard to get at because the cable/linkage was in the way. A full size may be different, but that's my 2 cents. I think you can disconnect the linkage from it too which may make it a little easier
  5. Boo

    Boo New Member

    Thanks mjalstad for your response, I did remove the cable from the bracket but it was still hard getting at those two Torx mounting bolts. Will give it a try again.
  6. IrishBrewer

    IrishBrewer New Member

    I did mine ('02 Suburban) several months ago and ran into the linkage bracket issue as well. I also tried unsucessfully to remove the drain plug (with an impact wrench). I later read that it is some sort of tapered hex head bolt so normal sockets don't grip it well. Nice design GM!! I wasn't too discouraged by that since most vehicles don't even have a drain plug and the standard method is to remove the pan, douse yourself in ATF fluid, shower and proceed.

    Using a piece of modelling clay, I was able to determine that the shift bracket was held on by a couple of very inaccessible torx head bolts. I had the right torx head socket but even so, was not able to remove the bolts due to their location. Some have had luck bending the bracket out of the way. I ended up leaving it in place and dropping the pan. However, between the bracket and the exhaust crossover piece, you can't take the pan all the way down but I was still able to tilt the pan enough to get "all" the fluid out of the pan. I was still able to slip in a new filter but I had to leave the existing gasket in place. It was in good shape so I didn't mind this.

    I resolved that next time I do the job, I'll try to either bend the bracket and/or remove the exhaust crossover piece from the get-go.

    Now here's the rub. When you drain the fluid in this manner, you are really only getting about 40% of the fluid in the system so after topping off with new fluid, you still have more old than new fluid in your transmission. My standard practice is to drain the pan, replace the filter and gasket, bolt up the pan and fill with new fluid. Then, remove the line going out of the transmission and into the transmission cooler in the radiatior. Hook up some vinyl tubing to that line and rout it into a bucket. Then, with a helper, start the vehicle and at the same time the helper starts pouring fluid into the transmission dip tube (through a funnel) at the same rate it is coming out - pretty much as fast as you can pour. Make sure to have all of the cans of ATF open and ready to pour. Keep adding until between what you initially added to fill the pan and what you added with the engine running adds up to the capacity of the system.

    To use this method, note that you need to disconnect the line going INTO the transmission cooler (radiator), not the line going out. On my Suburban, this was the line at the BOTTOMof the radiator. These lines have special e-clip type retainers that look like a bent wire. Remove them with a pick but be careful as they are bound to zing off into space when you remove them and they can't be found at the local parts store. To replace the line, put the metal eclip back onto the fitting BEFORE snapping the metal line back in place - seems counterintuitive but it works.

    This extra step may seem like a lot of trouble but it is pretty simple to do (much easier than dealing with the pan issue) and you end up with an entire system of clean fluid. I think it is better than a flush you would get from a dealer because you are also replacing the filter.
  7. cascott325

    cascott325 New Member 1000 Posts

    ok, i have heard alor of horror stories about changing the tranny filter and fluid. most of them bein of the sort that your sh** will be fu**ed up if you do it and it will never run right again... i have a 2000 silverado, how true is this? is it just on older vehicles, did it stop after a certain year, does it applt to all vehicles?
  8. IrishBrewer

    IrishBrewer New Member


    I've heard this too but I think this is a largely a generalization that was based on some transmissions that require a very specific type of transmission fluid. Chrylsler transmissions come to mind. They typically require ATF+3/+4 fluid. However some people (including professionals) would frequently use the wrong type of fluid, sometimes with an additive that is supposed to make it act like the ATF+3/+4 or some general purpose or "universal" fluid. The Chrysler transmissions would often fail after a fluid change due to this and it probably happened a lot more than the mechanics would admit. On my Dodge Grand Caravan (a vehicle known for requiring new transmissions about every 80K miles), I've changed the fluid twice using the method described above. Prior to doing this service (both times), I was having problems with the transmission slipping or not shifting at all. After a good fluid change the problems went away and it still shifts like new with 170K on the clock (its a '96).

    I remember a guy whose Dad took his van to a quick lube shop and they convinced him that he needed to do a tranny fluid change. They put in the wrong stuff but told him what they put in and insisted it would be ok. The driver related this story on the fourm and everyone told him to have the fluid changed out with the right stuff ASAP or else he was asking for trouble. He did not and sure enough a couple months later he was back on the forum asking for advice on replacing a transmission. Expensive lesson.

    In my opinion, if you use the correct fluid, there is very little chance you can make things worse. A fluid change won't fix a bad tranny. If you take it to a shop its hard to tell for certain that they put in the right fluid.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  9. Boo

    Boo New Member


    Thanks IrishBrewer for the tips. My Silverado only has 35k on it and the fluid smells and looks like new, Gm says the oil doesn't need changing till 100K, but I'm not buying it. My concern is that on previous vehicles the first tranny oil change I found aluminum pieces and abrasive black grit in the bottom of the pan and in the filter. After the first change none of these elements were present. So I would feel a lot better knowing that I did this first change of filter and oil.
    Of course GM in their infinite wisdom had to use Torx screws with the head facing up so they can get sand and etc in them to make it even more difficult on the cable bracket. On my 94 I had to slide the rear cross member aside in order to drop the pan and I griped about that also.I will try and loosen those cable bracket mounting screws again and maybe it will be enough to let it slip by, I also want the pan off so I will know where to install an aftermarket drain plug which GM was so considerate in not putting in. Thanks again for your time in responding.
    Bob
  10. IrishBrewer

    IrishBrewer New Member

    Boo,

    Sounds like a good plan. If I had been able to get the pan off and in my shop vice I was planning on replacing the plug too. If you get if off the vehicle, it's a lot easier to put the torch to it or whatever it takes to get the thing off. I didn't know there were aftermarket versions of the plug available so I was planning on just welding a real hex head nut to the end of the existing plug.

    Next time I do it, the pan's coming off!

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