Sign in to follow this  
ol' yeller

90 tranny Leak

Recommended Posts

I did a search and found some interesting reading. My transmission is leaking on the passenger side and it appears to be from the pan gasket. It has 92K miles. It has been weeping for the last year where it would leave red dots on the floor. It is now crying and I guess I'd better fix it before it starts bawling! It looks pretty straightforward. My search revealed the need for locktite on the bolts. I plan to order the AC Delco set from Ronnie's site. I figure it would be smart to replace the filter as long as I have the pan off. I am having no operational problems and I am keeping the fluid level up. The fluid is bright and smells fine. Any idea on how much fluid I will be draining by removing just the pan? I don't want to crack a line or install a cooler at this point. The job looks like it could be done by a 1 and 1/2 armed (bad shoulder) man with a half a heart so I should be able to manage it. For me, the hardest part appears to be jacking the car up and securing it on jackstands. Any further advice would be appreciated. Thanks guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The ACDelco 8678681 is a little more expensive but it is the best gasket. You have to order a filter for it separately. There is an ACDelco gasket that comes with a filter but it is not the premium ACDelco 8678681 gasket. Before installing the bolts clean the bolts and bolt holes with an oil free spray cleaner. I use contact cleaner that evaporates quickly. Install bolts using blue loctite. Inch pound torque wrench works best for getting proper torque on the bolts. It's easy to over tighten them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

do not let it get to a point where your tranny fluid looks like this!: post-73703-143142188035_thumb.jpg that's what mine looked like last year - a couple of months after i purchased my Reatta. i had several other things to do first to get her running...

i replaced the gasket, filter and cleaned the pan. probably should have done a full flush, but it's still running fine and the fluid looks ok after over a year. the PITA is that is there no drain plug (although some folks have put one in) and will make a mess unless you have a very big pan - i did follow the FSM on bolt loosening, etc...

from what i recall, it was around 6 or 7 pints that came out. i did start a thread on the ROJ forum about it. don't know if it's still there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks Ronnie, i did find it - i should have looked 1st before sending the post:o. busy off & on the 'puter and some work on a possible "flipper" pick-up to fund more work on the Reatta & '51 Stude...:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a nasty job best left to an expert. When I have this job done, my guy (Harrington) will open a cooling line and pump out the remaining dirty fluid and I have him add a trans cooler while the car is in the shop. Remember the old fluid is hazmat and needs to be disposed of properly. This is not a job to do on your back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a tip for those of you who don't have the luxury of going to an expert to get the pan gasket and/or fluid replaced in your Reatta.

To prevent removing the pan from being such a messy job I use a small hand operated siphon pump to remove most of the fluid from the pan before I jack up the car. You just insert a small hose down through the dipstick tube and pump out the fluid. It takes a little time but is it will reduce the amount of fluid you have to deal with when you pull the pan.

I added a pump like the one I use to the Hand Tools category of The Reatta Store but you can probably find them locally at Harbor Freight or an auto parts store.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing that I have run religiously over the years in my trannys that seems to have not only kept them clean and shifting well but also keeps the gaskets pliable is Trans-X. You always need to ensure that adding it will NOT overfill the transmission as foaming from overfilling is a death sentence to an automatic tranny (suction sufficient to allow the addition of the Trans-X.

I concur that replacing the tranny fluid is a pita. If you have it done professionally where they flush the ENTIRE contents of the tranny and the torque converter, that is a much better solution. Granted it costs $100-$150 or more for the service, but that is cheap compared to a rebuild. As my Dad taught me early on, maintenance is cheap, engines/transmissions are NOT.

As a tip, after running the tranny to full temp, pull the tranny dipstick and put a drop on a WHITE coffee filter. Look to see if you see a darker ring develop as the oil spreads out. If you see a darker ring it is TIME to get the tranny serviced. Also it is a good time to smell the fluid. There should NOT be any scorched odor and the color should not be off (ie tending toward the brown side of pink). Again, either of these observations are signs that it is time to service the tranny.

David T.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greg,

My 2 cents.

I take all of my used fluids to a local oil change outfit named *Oil and Go* They will accept all fluids and have them picked up for recycling. This includes Tx fluid as well as oil and anti-freeze. I'm almost sure your local oil change place will do the same.

Re. the pan. The reason the pans were designed w/o a drain is that the engineers who designed the Tx wanted to encourage filter replacement when changing the fluid. This also gives an opportunity for the service tech. to check the pan magnet for particles as well. If a drain were included, these items wouldn't get the attention they require.

I believe this is also the reason that the cam magnet was designed the way it is. Normally the timing cover would be removed to replace the magnet. This would give the tech. an opportunity to periodically check the timing chain/sprocket and tensioner assembly.

One more thing, the pan bolts should be tightened in a criss-cross pattern. To keep the sequence in order, I number the bolt holes in the pan with a Sharpie.

John F.

Edited by Machiner 55 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I may be getting smarter as I get older. I did a plus and minuses thing about this. Minuses include my physical limitations, the lack of a good drain pan, I don't have an inch pound torque wrench, and the possible mess. Plusses include cost and fun of doing it myself. The costs were offset for the need to buy the tools for the job although I am always looking for an excuse to buy tools. Then I called my mechanic and said he'd do the whole job for $130 parts included. He will evacuate the entire system, change the filter, as well as replace the leaky gasket. I made the appointment for Tuesday. I really appreciate everyone's input.

On a positive note, I did successfully troubleshoot and repair the AC problem I was having after the AC guy couldn't figure it out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bravo! The most important aspect of DIY is picking your battles. Opting to have a messy job like this done by a pro that has the tools and facilities is just plain smart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's why I HATE taking my car in for work. Disclaimer, THIS IS NOT MY MECHANIC'S FAULT.

I brought my AC Delco Filter and upgraded AC Delco Gasket and he did all the work for a tax included total of $114. The downside, he discovered that my freeze plugs are starting to leak and my left front strut was dripping with fluid. I knew my struts were suspect but the freeze plugs were a total blindside. The only bright lining is that the easy to get to plugs are the ones that are leaking. He figured the ones on the backside weren't far behind but why pull an engine or transmission until you have to. He is replacing the freeze plugs next week. I have to save up for the struts as we should replace both.

On the plus side, the transmission service went really well! His loaner car was a '96 LeSabre Limited which was a dream to drive. These old Buicks ride really great when they have good struts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what is there here to hate?

You found out about problems before they became emergencies and can plan for their repair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, you're right. I guess I was living under the "Ignorance Is Bliss" theory. It is part of the joy of owning a 23 year old car with 92K miles on it. By the way, my front brake pads are also due for replacement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Reatta is 25 years old and has 114k. I think it is in good enough condition to be driven anywhere but you never know about a car this old. Cellphone is always in the car when we leave. We also carry a small tool kit for working on the car, two chairs in a bag in case we need to sit in the shade on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck, and a small suitcase with clothes, medicine and other things we would need in case we get stranded overnight in a motel. Never hurts to be prepared. It's a good thing for us that the Reatta has a large trunk. lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this