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Discussion Starter #1
I have done almost all of the important easy services my car needs. But still need to change out the automatic transmission’s fluid and filter. Not a flush, but just a drain and refill. Using a flush machine on a transmission this old is usually not highly recommended due to it dislodging things. Although I’ve never experienced the problems people have had doing a flush. Usually when a problem comes after a flush, it’s usually due to the transmission already being worn so bad that it probably was just barely hanging on anyway.

I had a look at the fluid and it’s definitely past due. I’ve got about 130,000 miles on the car. I can tell that it’s never had the pan removed. I would have probably been on the third service if I had owned it originally. The pan is scratched up and dented on the front facing edge. So I think I’m going to replace it. It really couldn’t hurt except that I’ve got to spend the money on it.

I had looked to see what I could find as far as a decent filter and gasket. Almost every filter I find that comes with a gasket has a very cheap flat rubber gasket. And if you have ever used them in place of the reusable style ones the car comes with, you’ll have experienced a leak at some point. I hate trying to use those. They often times work fine at first, but will start to seap fluid as they age. The factory style gasket has metal embedded inside and does not suffer from crushing. Also it goes around each bolt so it doesn’t push out between the pan while tightening. I wish all oil pan gaskets were like these. And while I usually don’t see these leak, even on high mileage vehicles, I’m not going to reuse the original one.

I found a filter and gasket kit that has the correct gasket in it. Even the premium Wix filter kit comes with the crappy gasket. The brand I bought is Raybestos. It was the same price as the Wix. I could have bought an AC Delco filter and gasket, but it was going to be about $75 locally. So the one I got was the best one for the money at $30.

As far as the pan I’m not sure what I’ll do about that yet. I have considered the Dorman pan with drain plug, although I’m not a big fan of their stuff. I have seen a lot of crappy products that they make and really prefer not to use most things they make. But the pan looks solid. Really how could they screw that up? It’s powder coated, the oem looks like it is probably galvanized or something similar. Anyways, I have noticed there’s a TSB about the original pan magnet being too weak and is supposed to have been replaced with two larger round magnets. The original is a small rectangular flat magnet. Not sure if the new pan comes with new magnets. I may have to buy them separately.

I’m able to get the fluid for $4.30 per quart and it is actually real GM Dexron-VI which I was surprised. Most retailers have the fluid prices from $8-$10. The place I get it from has all kinds of oil and fluids, along with auto parts.

Here’s the filter kit. You can find these in stock at Autozone for $29.99 and it does have the proper gasket. Raybestos 997129. Maybe I’ll get around to it this weekend if I can find a new pan.

19593
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Well as luck would have it, I’ve been too busy at work to get around to my own car. I finally bought the new fluid pan. But it didn’t come with the updated magnets. Instead it has the old flat rectangular magnet. So I’ve ordered two of them since there is a tsb about needing to upgrade to two larger magnets. I’m hoping to get it all done during the week. But now there is a large storm coming this way. So hopefully that won’t screw up anything. Hope my car doesn’t get flooded or anything.
 

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While your thinking about magnets, I found a magnetic oil drain plug, I haven't seen much on mine but might be worth thinking about.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
While I wanted the trans pan with the drain plug, I went with a sealed pan. I was concerned after reading various reviews saying the pan would not seal and would leak. For $28 I got a original style pan. Hopefully the magnets I ordered will be here in the morning. I had thought about getting a magnetic engine oil pan drain plug though. I just haven’t really looked for one yet. I know they make them since I used to sell them occasionally when I sold parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Below is the pan I picked up at the transmission supply shop. Also the magnets I ordered.

You can see the pan comes standard with a flat square magnet. I found a TSB that recommends replacing the one weak magnet with two fairly strong magnets. I have placed them in the recommended places in the pan.

They actually write Made in China on the magnets, so don’t be alarmed. It’s genuine AC Delco. I’ll add some pics when I do the service.

TSB # 08-07-30-040C


Original pan setup
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Updated pan setup
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AC Delco/GM part # 29535617
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Discussion Starter #6
I got the transmission service done. The fluid really wasn’t too bad considering the mileage. But it was definitely time to change it. Surprisingly it was still red and not burned brown.

I had bought 7 quarts and I knew it was supposed to fill up with a little less. I put all 7 in and let the excess drain out. Not sure exactly how much drained out, but it had to have been about 3-6 ounces or so.

I would say by the looks of it, this may be the first transmission service the car has had. At least going off of how much ferrous material was gathered on the magnet.

I would say if you are considering doing a fluid and filter change, it’s worth it. I swear I was starting to feel the torque converter starting to shudder the last couple of weeks. It seems to have gone away now. I know when I did the transmission service on my old Lincoln Town Car it made a huge difference in the shifting smoothness. It seems to have worked out well on the Cobalt. I spent about $90 on the filter kit, new pan, and 7 quarts of Dexron VI.

You can see the fluid came out fairly clean looking. The towel shows how dark the old fluid shows up compared to the new stuff. I wiped the magnet to show how much metal was stuck to it. This is normal

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