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Transmission Pan

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5-Step Guide for Replacing the Old Transmission Pan

If you have a lowered vehicle, the chassis and the transmission are more prone to scraping and denting since they are closer to the ground. The transmission pan is in charge of keeping your transmission from damage. It also keeps the transmission fluid from leaking. So once you've noticed that your transmission slips when you shift into gear, or there is a constant pool of transmission fluid whenever you park your car, then your transmission pan might be leaking due to a crack or a worn-out gasket. Replacing the pan, however, is an easy task. Here's a guide on how to install a new transmission pan.

Required skill level: Intermediate

Needed tools and materials

  • Razor scraper
  • Socket wrench
  • Socket set
  • Transmission fluid
  • Clean cloth
  • Funnel
  • Replacement transmission pan
  • Removing the old transmission pan

    Drain the transmission fluid from the pan. Remove the pan from the transmission by unscrewing the gaskets. Keep the screws in a safe place for reassembly later.

    Preparing to install the pan

    Scrape the surface of the pan using a razor scraper. Make sure that there is no gasket material. Apply a thin bead of oil soluble grease around the top of the pan to prevent the gasket from moving once you install the pan.

    Installing the transmission pan

    Place the replacement pan to the transmission and bolt them into place using your hands. This is to prevent the bolts to be loose or overly tightened, which may result in leaks. You may retighten them using a socket wrench to seal the pan entirely.

    Putting transmission fluid

    At the engine compartment, look for the transmission fluid dipstick. It is usually labeled or red in color, and is located at the back portion of the compartment. Pull it out of the tube and then use a funnel to pour the required amount of transmission fluid into it. Now, clean the dipstick with a cloth and replace it into the tube.

    Testing the car

    Now that your transmission pan is replaced, start the car and keep it on for five to ten minutes. Shift the car from "Park" to the "Low 1" position and back. Check the transmission fluid if it needs to be refilled.

    Tips and warnings

    • Replace the gaskets or o-rings once you've noticed cracks or other signs of wearing out. This will prevent leaking and loosening of the pan.
    • Dispose the old transmission fluid carefully.

    Transmission Pan Articles

    • AC Delco vs. B&M: The Clash of the Transmission Pans 11 January 2013

      More than serving as a reservoir for the transmission fluid, your car's transmission pan also contributes to the overall efficiency and performance of your car. That is, if you have a pan with a larger fluid capacity for better transmission cooling. But if your pan is already leaking due to cracks or a worn-out gasket, then it should be replaced immediately. Several OE replacement brands promise that their products are durable and of high quality. We put into test two brands that offer OE replacement transmission pans: AC Delco and B&M.

      Material

      B&M offers three material types for transmission pans: steel, cast aluminum, and aluminum. AC Delco, on the other hand, manufactures only steel transmission pans. Clearly, B&M has the advantage for car owners who are particular with the materials of replacement car parts.

      WINNER: B&M


      Design

      B&M transmission pans have a deeper and larger reservoir, providing about four quarts of increased fluid capacity, compared to AC Delco pans. This means that B&M pans can offer more cooling effect to the transmission due to their deep style.

      WINNER: B&M


      Ease of Installation

      We installed AC Delco and B&M pans to two Chevrolet Cavalier vehicles to know which of the pans is easier to install. Since the two pans are direct-fit products, we didn't have a hard time installing them. The B&M transmission pan, however, didn't require modifying the dipstick, but the AC Delco pan did.

      WINNER: B&M


      Price

      We compared the prices of the steel transmission pans of AC Delco and B&M. B&M steel pans cost from $50 to $60, while AC Delco offers pans as low as $18 up to $90. So if you have a tight budget when buying a replacement transmission pan, you should go for AC Delco.

      WINNER: AC Delco


      Warranty

      An affordable AC Delco steel transmission pan is backed by a one-year or 12,000-mile limited warranty. Unfortunately, a B&M steel pan is not covered by any warranty by the manufacturer. The brand offers the warranty to their cast aluminum and aluminum transmission pans only.

      WINNER: AC Delco


      The verdict

      If you are looking for an affordable transmission pan that comes with a warranty of up to one year, then an AC Delco steel pan is your bet. But if you are willing to spend for a durable and more efficient transmission pan for your car, then you should go for a B&M aluminum or cast aluminum pan.