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I can unhook the speedometer cable from the transmission and spin it with my cordless drill the and speedometer works. The gear I can pull out of the side of the tail housing isn't broken or missing any teeth, so I believe the problem is the internal drive gear.
It’s simply easier to stand under the vehicle to work rather than lying under it with the vehicle raised by a floor jack and supported on jack stands or on a set of car ramps. Even so, for most of my adult life I did not have a lift in my garage or shop.
I have removed more transmissions the hard way rather than the easy way. Shown here is a 4-post lift. Having the vehicle on a lift makes transmission removal and installation much easier.
The lift provides a stable support and you can stand under it. I still remember the days of doing these jobs on my back in my driveway! The lift was one of the best purchases I ever made; I can’t believe that I worked for so many years without one. I have raised the vehicle slightly and lowered the engine oil pan onto a couple of blocks of wood.
This supports the engine when the transmission is removed. In most cases the vehicle’s exhaust system effectively supports the engine, but it can still tilt back a little. Some applications also require that the exhaust system behind the manifold or headers be removed to have sufficient clearance. This necessitates some support for the engine. Another option is to make an engine support from a piece of 4 x 4 and use a floor jack to raise or lower it. Although it appears a bit crude, it is an excellent engine support. If a suitable engine support that goes across the shock towers is not available, this is a nice option for front-wheel-drive transmissions.
The wood 4 x 4 is actually attached to the flat plate on the floor jack with 1/4-inch lag bolts so it does not slip. A screw jack can be used as an engine support if your shop’s lift has a movable center-jacking beam. Screw jacks are in the spare tire area of nearly every car sold in the past several decades, which makes them readily available at most salvage yards.
They require much less clearance than a hydraulic bottle jack and have plenty of capacity to hold an engine in place while the transmission is removed. Here’s a common problem with some vehicles that have a rearlocated distributor. If the engine isn’t effectively supported, it can lean back and break the distributor cap; in extreme cases it will bend or break the housing! A transmission jack is essential when using a lift. The jack holds it in place for hours and allows the transmission to be lowered slowly to get past obstacles.
It takes a lot of clearance to lift up large trucks and SUVs. I had to modify one truss in the shop for cab clearance when lifting larger vehicles, even though I had 131⁄2 feet of clearance under the trusses.
If the transmission is not equipped with a drain plug, just remove the transmission pan to drain it. It is best to leave two bolts in place on one end of the pan or the other, and allow it to tilt downward to drain most of the fluid from it. Large trucks and four-wheel-drive vehicles with additional ground clearance may require more height capabilities.
Accordingly, I added an extension to the transmission jack. Even if a lift is not available, you can still do some things to make the job easier and safer.
Always support the vehicle with a good set of floor jacks once it is raised into position for transmission removal. There is no such thing as too much support. Large oak or hardwood blocks also make excellent support fixtures.
Whether using jack stands or blocks, make sure that the vehicle is supported well forward of center and on the vehicle’s frame or main crossmember. You cannot have too much support and you can never be too safe when it comes to supporting a vehicle under which you are working. For example, a truck with a solid front axle is a great place for support.
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With few exceptions, the engine also needs to be supported; the transmission and rear transmission mount generally help to support the engine. When the transmission is removed, the engine is not free to pivot forward or backward on its engine mounts. Few engines have mounts positioned in the middle; they are more typically toward the front. Unless you take steps to provide it with additional support, the engine’s heavy weight tilts it backward when the transmission is removed. The engine’s exhaust system supports it to some degree, but it should not be trusted by itself to keep the engine from tilting backward when the transmission is unbolted from it.