It is not recommended to drop the pan and remove the filter to do this because you will actually only be able to remove and replace less than half the fluid. What you are supposed to do is go to a lube place and have them hook the trans cooling lines up to a machine that filters, and cleans the fluid. The job usually cleans the fluid and filter and they charge you about a hundred-dollars
The above is a great idea if you trust a minimum wage talking ape. First make sure you can remove the shift linkage from the side of the transmission. It is held from above by two torx head cap screws. When you get them out, match them with a proper size hex head bolt. Unscrew the plug if equipped and let the fluid drain out. Then, remove the pan. You do not need to get all of the fluid. You are getting about half. You can drain the torque converter by turning the engine on for about three seconds. No more than that! This is not required. If you replentish the additives by replacing 50% of the fluid, you are further ahead. Remove the filter and the seal, that will require a small prybar to pop seal out of the bottom of the housing. Careful not to scar any of the surfaces while you do this. Install the new seal, filter and replace the pan when it is completely done draining. If you trap fluid with the gasket, you will have a leak that can only be fixed by dropping the pan again. Reinstall the bolts and torque to 12-14 ft/lbs in a criss cross pattern. Refill with fluid. (Hint, the amount that comes out is pretty close to what you'll need to put back in.) Don't overfill! As soon as it stays on the stick as you are filling, start the engine, shift from "D" to "R" a few times check again. When it is holding to the bottom of the hot range as it approaches operating temperature, take it for a spin. Minimum throttle and let it shift through all ranges. Check fluid again and top off as necessary. Again, do not overfill.
I just changed the oil/filter in my 2002 Tahoe automatic transmission. These instructions were helpful. In addition to the above: I couldn't gain access to the Torx bolts securing the cable bracket. I had to remove the drive shaft on my 4-wheel drive and grasped the screw heads using a vise grip. I also had to remove the neutral switch assembly in which I broke trying to unplug the wiring harness. All-in-all, I should have taken it in to a shop but I wanted to see first hand what was in the pan. I took the Tahoe in a few months ago for this service but they talked me into a flush. I felt the transmission slip a couple of times so I figured the filter might need changing. A two hour job turned into 8 hours plus 4 trips to a parts store for tools and parts. My Tahoe has a deep pan which required a different filter. Also, I reused the old filter seal as access to the old seal might have involved removing some of the transmission components. Yuk!
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