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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #1
The day has come. The week, anyway. The Imperial is about to get a replacement rebuilt transmission from a 1991 Fifth Avenue parts car. I've already gotten started on the parts car... battery, air intake hose and filter box, battery tray, and cruise servo have all been removed to enable access to the bell housing bolts. Crank sensor is out. Haven't removed the starter yet - not sure it's necessary. I will if I have to.

The real heavy work is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. I bought a brand new transmission jack in Regina for the job. However, I was not able to get myself an engine support bar. The store was sold out, and with it being 400km away I had no choice but to come home without one. I have zero options for renting or buying one around here. So, I'm fixing to make one out of 2x4's.

That said, does anyone have any tips on removing these transmissions without pulling the engine too that may make life a bit easier? I've never done this before, and am just a little nervous. Also trying to figure out what I need to get to make this support bar in terms of hardware. Do I need to provide a way to raise and lower the engine via the bar? Aside from the transmission jack, I have access to the two scissor jacks from both cars, a trolley jack, and three good (plus one bent) jack stands.

Also, I've decided to keep the old transmission from the Imperial and scrap the parts Fifth. I'm assuming I'll need to make some kind of permanent support bar for that car to keep the engine off the ground when I'm done with it.

There will be pictures later, once the real fun gets started.
 

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Fleet Owner
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You can use a 4x4 with a couple blocks under each end (on cowl and rad support) to support the engine. Just get a piece of heavy chain and bolt it to the block in 2 good places. You can put a jack under the chain if you want a little more adjustability. It also may help to have a scissor jack behind the motor to push it forward. The 3.3/3.8 transmissions are definitely a tight fit and you have to find the sweet spot that they drop out at. I ended up having to jack the motor forward and drop it a bit to swing the trans out. It'll drop to a certain point and the differential gets in the way, thats when the jacking forward comes in handy. Also, if yours still has the ABS pump bracket on the trans, it may get in the way. I'd take it off before dropping the trans if possible.

While the trans is out is a good time to clean and paint the brake lines that run through that area, you can get your head (and spray can) right in to see and spray them.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, sounds good. Thanks. The ABS parts are long gone on my car, so no worries there. I'll look for the bracket on the Imperial's end anyway. The good thing is I can sort of practice this on the parts car before I do it on the Imperial. I already learned that the directions from Mitchell Ondemand are incomplete... said nothing about removing the crank sensor, but I took one look at it and decided that was asking for trouble. I think I'll go ahead and pull the starter too. Going to use the crank sensor from the Fifth - it's still so new it still has remnants of the spacer on it.

Looking forward to getting a look at the flexplate on the Fifth. It's never run right, even when one of the rocker pedestals wasn't broken. I suspect it may have the wrong ECM in it (I know it was replaced, but it may not be a 3.8 ECM), but maybe the plate's broken too.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #4
Got this for the job today:



That eyebolt is 3/4 in diameter and 8" long - should give me some up/down flexibility. Chain's rated to 1300lbs. All I need to do now is go build the bracket, and we have plenty of pressure treated 2x4's for that.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #5
Some pictures of the engine support bar going together. Not doing anything else today - too high a threat of severe weather.









 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #6
That was so not the funnest thing I've ever done. Got the Fifth's transmission pulled, and that's it. I must not have gotten it down and forward far enough, because the next thing I knew the thing slipped on the jack and the torque converter fell out onto the concrete. Fortunately, the jack was all the way down at the time - I don't think the fall hurt it. Hope not - it's the only good TC I have. Speaking of the jack, I had the tranny on there wrong, I'm sure.

Will be in search of a helper for the installation. I am just not going to be able to do this myself, I think, unless the Imperial's tranny extraction goes a lot smoother than this.

On the plus side, the pan had the cleanest magnet I've ever seen in an A604. Already worth the trouble, I think. Also, the Fifth's good struts are now on the Imperial - that's made a big difference already.

Pics to come when I've rested a bit.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #7
Pictures from today:



Ready to go this morning. About all I got done before lunch was the strut swap between the cars.



First things first - drop the pan, drain the oil, install new filter, clean the barely dirty magnet.



Halfshafts out. I now loathe intermediary shafts. Glad the Imperial doesn't have one. That axle nut was a real bear - never had one fight me that hard. Was worried the breaker bar would snap the end off or wreck the socket. Already destroyed a 13/16" socket on the strut bolts on this side. Rusty. Extremely.



Decided to leave the struts out for the transmission removal. Will be doing the same thing on the Imperial later. Much later. Like in two weeks.



Slow progress being made.



Ready for the transmission jack. I had it set to grip the oil pan. That didn't work out so well. However, I get the feeling that a two jack approach may be easier - scissor jack under the differential with the tranny jack lifting the front up and into place.



Trying to figure out where to put the safety chain. Too short for where I wanted to run it.



Aside from the transmission jack, that adjustable wobble extension is now my favorite tool. Using it here to adjust the jack under the engine while getting the chain squared away (before removing the driver's side motor mount).



Where'd it go? It was in there a second ago...



Ah, there it is. Big as life and twice as heavy. I barely got that thing off the ground to put it on the furniture dolly, as tired as I was. Must weigh a good 200 lbs.
 

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it would really be nice to have an engine hoist to manipulate the transmission from above in addition to the transmission jack below. it gives you a little more control over the heavy transmission.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah - as it is, I could have gone a bit lower via my adjustable engine support bar, but I really thought it was down far enough.
 

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Fleet Owner
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I forgot that bit of info, we strap the trans to the jack. Get a cheap little ratchet strap, set the jack up to cradle the pan and strap over the trans to hold it down to the jack.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #11
That's probably what I'll end up doing. Was not impressed with that safety chain.

Also, I'll have to remember to get the jack set up after dropping the engine and moving it forward, not before. Makes it hard to get things squared up, otherwise.

Ended up having to use the scissor jack on three blocks of wood to get the tranny out the side of the car. Had to lift it way above the highest point on the jackstands. By that point, that whole side of the car was off the ground. As soon as the tranny cleared the side, I jacked it back down onto the stand immediately.

Can't express my fondness for that wobble extension enough. It extends long enough to get to the bellhousing bolts from outside the fender.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #12
Minor update today. Started on the Imperial side of things, finally. Did not get the exhaust bolts out - can't get a wrench on them (rounded off), so I'll have to leave them alone like the Fifth's.

The passenger side axle nut was overtorqued. Broke a breaker bar on that thing... fortunately breaker bar #2 and a cheater pipe did the job. Had to put my entire 260 lbs on it while hammering on the breaker bar to crack that nut loose. Took almost 2 hours. Used the crowbar on the studs approach - ended up loosening all the studs before that nut moved. I may have to replace the studs before re-assembling, but hoping to get them re-seated and re-threaded with a lug nut. If that doesn't work, I'll get what I need off the parts car.

Driver's side axle nut was loose. I'm not kidding.

Discovered in the process the passenger side axle's been replaced before (explains no intermediary shaft), and the starter is a Mopar reman unit.

Tomorrow, the swap goes ahead, providing the exhaust doesn't get in the way. Got as far as removal of the front motor mount today... all I have to do is pull the driver's side mount bolts, lower the engine, move it forward a bit, and out the tranny comes. I hope.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #13
Today's pictures.



Last time the old transmission gets drained. There was already a lot of junk on the magnet, and I last did the fluid 2 months ago.



I really hope I can swap studs without swapping the hub assembly. I'm out of money. Those studs got messed up, bad. You can see how much force I used by the deformed center part.



The destroyed breaker bar. I'm surprised my other 18" lived to tell the tale after this. The big 24" breaker bar was too big at the end to get the cheater pipe over, or I would have had that nut off sooner. It's crazy - normally that bar alone will get any axle nut off when I start really cranking on it. Not this time.



Done for today. More aggrivation tomorrow.
 

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Fleet Owner
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Exhaust shouldn't be a problem, never had to take it off for any trans swaps.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #15
It was a bit of a problem, but I still got the job done. Part of it was the old transmission having two 1" long bolts sticking out of the diff cover. Those got hung up on the crossmember, requiring some very creative jacking to get the transmission out. Also almost had a problem with the PS pump pulley getting too close to the frame - had to do some more creative jacking around that issue. Ended up having to move the engine forward until the AC lines were pressing against the rad fan motor on that side.

That said, the new one, lacking those long bolts, only took 20 minutes to get in place and lined up. I'm taking a day off, then will get it all finished on Monday. Hoping the centering is ok - with the old transmission, it was already adjusted as far left as it went.

No problems with the TC falling out, no real problems bolting anything back into place except for a sore arm. Couldn't torque the flexplate bolts, but they're threadlocked and as tight as I can make them.

More pics to come.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #16
Today's pictures. Not a lot of them, because it was raining on and off throughout the job.



Starter removed, about to start on pulling the TC bolts.



Support bar in place. Ended up being not that useful - the catcon got hung up on the crossmember and would only let the engine drop so far. I'm glad it turned out to be far enough. I really need to replace the catcon - it's probably out of position due to the emergency repair I had done a while ago when it pulled right off the pipe.



The old guy coming down. No issues with the TC dropping out this time. Figures it would only happen to the good newer one, not the old shot one. Incidentally, I checked the old tranny's oil pump bolts - they were plenty tight. It's just at the end of the line, the old transmission.



Another angle. About to jack the car up to clear the way for it to come out the side.



Found out the hard way you need ballast on the end of this transmission jack if you don't want your old A604 to fall forward.



One of the new axle seals on the rebuilt tranny. The old seals looked factory original. No wonder they leaked - I don't believe the rebuilders replaced them. Gave me a bit of a scare - I destroyed the old ones getting them off. The left side one was so much trouble I worried I wouldn't be able to get it off. But I bought the $20 seal puller set, and they took care of me. Used a 2" metal pipe adapter to install them. A 32mm socket is not big enough to install axle seals, I discovered.



These are the diff bolts I now love to hate. Would have cut them off if I'd had an angle grinder.
 

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If you have steel wheels it's easiest to loosen the axle nut while the tires are on the car on the ground, it's also much easier to tighten them to the proper torque.

You just leave it in park chocking the wheels is optional :D
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #18
Can't use that method on this car due to the wheel cover mounts :(

I'm going to have a helper stand on the brakes while I tighten the nuts this time. Provided I can find a helper, that is.
 

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What sanity?
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Discussion Starter #19
All done, and I'm happy to report what looks to be a complete success so far. Even though the TCM needs to learn the new guy, it's already shifting much smoother than it ever has. I think the car's very happy with me.

Still need to align the wheels due to the new struts.

Also, I may have a problem with the engine centering. I measured 180mm on the left axle and 450mm on the right. Problem is, I don't have any factory specs for the unequal length passenger shaft. Info I have says both axles in the AY body should be between 189-197mm. I went by the 3.0 specifications, but still something's off: it says 196-204 on the left and 453-461 on the right. I have a feeling the car's been like this since that passenger axle was replaced.

The car seems to drive ok right now except for the alignment issues, but I thought I'd try for a second opinion. Should I leave it as it is, or try and get at least the left side back to factory AY body specs?
 

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What I find in my haynes is this
Right side 452-460mm
Left side 188-196mm
that's for a 93 model with 3.3 or 3.8
the left side measurement is the same from 91 to 93
apparently in 93 they went back to a long axle on the right side
according to haynes you are supposed to measure from the inboard lip of the inner boot to the inboard lip of the outer boot

I hope this helps you out
 
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