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Discussion Starter #1
I have had the "opportunity' to pull the transmission pan on vehicles I have owned a couple of times in the past. I was careful when replacing the pan; new gasket, cross pattern tightening the bolts, all bolts torqued to spec. And both times they leaked!

I am now looking to pull the transmission pan on my RAV4 to do a filter change. At 200k, I think it is time. I have had the fluid changed out a few times at the dealer ship, but this time, I want a new filter in there.

I would really appreciate tips / instructions on how it is done so it does not leak afterwards.

Thanks,
Jeff
 

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If you live in an area that uses salt in the winter there will a fair amount of rust around the pan bolts. Do not use any impact drill or driver to remove this otherwise it may snap.
Also when installing the pan bolts you should clean the pan bolts thread of thread locker and put new thread locker on. Also use a nut driver to prevent over torquing. You should check the bolt again the next day if you are not using a torque wrench. As for the the pan gasket I would flatten it with some books and a hair blower so it is not mangled. One other thing is you should take the frame bracket out so you have more room to take a few of the pan bolts that does not have much room to remove.
 

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For the last 30 years when changing gaskets , I always add a light smear of silicone gasket maker to the pan and the gasket to help make a good seal. Torque the bolts evenly and you should be good....good luck
 

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For the last 30 years when changing gaskets , I always add a light smear of silicone gasket maker to the pan and the gasket to help make a good seal. Torque the bolts evenly and you should be good....good luck
I agree torque the gasket evenly is the key. Over tightening the bolt unevenly will cause a leak. Never had a problem doing mine and I did it without using a torque wrench. Just used a nut driver since there is only a certain limited amount of torque you can apply by hand. I used the ATP filter from Rockauto which came with a drain bolt washer and felt gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies.

My next question was going to be about gasket material. I am familiar with cork and rubber. Felt gaskets are a new one for me. Maybe I have seen them, and just not realizing it.
 

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I didn't see you mention cleaning off the pan surface and transmission surface where they mate. If there's old gasket material or corrosion there, it can cause a leak. But don't scratch the metal when you clean it or that can leak also. When tightening bolts you can lightly tighten them using the cross pattern, then once all done go back over again and tighten to torque in cross pattern. When it leaks, are any of the bolts loose?
 

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Dropping the pan is a good idea because there are magnets on the inside that collect metal. Just be aware to get to the pan you'll have to move a big piece of metal (possibly a subframe) to get access to some of the bolts, it's not too difficult.
I bought a kit at autozone that had the filter and gasket. I cleaned the metal on the trans and pan with some brake parts cleaner and a scotch pad to get all the gunk off. Then I put everything together and slowly tightened all the bolts. Afterwards filled with maxlife atf and it's been running great (currently at 146k)
 

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You have to have CLEAN surfaces and clean hands when installing gaskets. This is number one.
I have seen "professional mechanics" install gaskets with greasy/dirty hands. That will set me off as fast as anything else. Wash your hands, keep them clean. Keep the surfaces clean and NEVER set a gasket down once it's out of the packaging. The pan stays right side up. Wipe the mounting surface with alcohol or other prep solvent immediately before installing.

I have been moving away from gaskets lately and have been using "right stuff" where possible. No leaks and it's easy too.
 

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Dropping the pan is a good idea because there are magnets on the inside that collect metal. Just be aware to get to the pan you'll have to move a big piece of metal (possibly a subframe) to get access to some of the bolts, it's not too difficult.
I bought a kit at autozone that had the filter and gasket. I cleaned the metal on the trans and pan with some brake parts cleaner and a scotch pad to get all the gunk off. Then I put everything together and slowly tightened all the bolts. Afterwards filled with maxlife atf and it's been running great (currently at 146k)
Supposedly you can remove the pan without removing that subframe/cross brace thing. Just use a open/box end wrench. I removed the cross brace when I did our pan. About to go in there an do it again.
 

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Removing the support to get access to the pan bolts is worth the 30 seconds it takes.
Especially if you use an impact. It was just that I recently read someone's how to and they did not removed the x-brace. And it did not even sound that bad; I have ratcheting box wrenches so it would have been pretty easy. However I did not even consider trying when I did my pan drop.
 

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It's too easy to back out a bolt with a wrench and get it stuck against the support member. Did that once with a ratcheting wrench while working by feel and almost had to take drastic measures.
 
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