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'02 Impala 3.4L 196.8k: Transmission Fluid/Filter Change

Just replacing the fluid in the pan. Got it all drained and cleaned up. Reusing the factory, rigid pan gasket. It’s a little rough around the edges here and there, but the parallel seal lines down the middle look OK, so I’m thinking it’s still good (for a 2nd time). A floppy rubber pan gasket came with the filter, but I’d rather not use it.

Anyway, I bought the filter at Advance (CarQuest) and it came with the new seal, but the one in there looks OK (I put it in @ 78.4k miles back in Jun 2006 … I know - it’s been a while …). So I pushed the filter up into the seal and it doesn’t fall back out, but it seems to be kind of floppy (it’s only held in by that single point). I remember it being this way last time, but I’m wondering if the new seal will make it feel firmer. Problem is - I’m hesitant to pull out the seal that’s in there because I remember the seal puller scratching the cylindrical sidewall as it pulled the original factory seal out. I think if I try to replace that seal again, I might just end up opening a can of worms.

The filter also has a couple of tiny metal protrusions that may act like legs against the inner face of the pan. Do you think the pan gets close enough to the filter that those legs would keep the it from dislodging and ending up loose in the pan? That’s my concern…

Well, I got out my double-claw seal puller, but when I tried to pull the filter back down it seemed to want to stay there, so I just left it, put the pan back up, and re-filled the fluid.

Really wish they’d design those filters so they’d lock in place. Really lousy how it sits in there like that, kinda loose …

Trust me, you’ll be fine on both counts

If you think there’s any chance you’ll gouge the transmission case by trying to remove that seal, then leave it in place and reuse it. I’ve done that numerous times and no problems. Gently tap the filter with your hand, make sure it goes all the way inside the seal. You should be able to hear it “thunk” when it bottoms out

I agree that the GM reusable rigid pan gasket is better quality than most of the aftermarket flimsy cork or rubber pan gaskets

Make sure the pan’s sealing surface is clean and flat. If there are any distortions, carefully use a small ball peen hammer to straighten it out. No big deal

Stop worrying and crack open a 6 pack of beer already


Sorry, but I can’t help but see all the potential failure possibilities. Since I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m always looking for ways that I might be screwing something up !

On the bright side - I did clean the pan meticulously. No distortions with the sealing surface (that I could tell). I was pretty amazed, after 120,000 + miles without a fluid change, how clean the pan was: nothing on the magnet that could be seen with the naked eye, and if the residue that was wiped off the bottom was ‘metal fragments’, it was so minute you’d need a microscope to tell.

“Sorry, but I can’t help but see all the potential failure possibilities.”

That’s why you don’t crack open the 6 pack of beer until AFTER you’re done working on the car, and everything went well


I’m glad everything seems to going well, so far :thumbsup: