Well, I could not come up with any more excuses as to why I should not get this project done (None that my wife would believe!)
Since I could not locate any detailed info on the net, I would like to share my experience. Just for the record, I am a simple home mechanic with average tools and an above average mechanical aptitude. I have diagnosed my problem to be the Pressure Control Solenoid, but since there are four solenoids in there, I decided to change all four at the same time (PCS, TCC, Shift1-2, Shift2-3)
- Time to Complete: 12 Hours (2 hours wasted trying to re-compress the suspension spring, 1 Hour for lunch)
- Estimate from GM Dealer to fix: $1200.00
- My Cost to Repair: $297.31 plus tax (All parts purchased from GM dealer)
GM Parts List:
- VALVE SO - 24225825 - $70.37 - Pressure Control Solenoid
- VALVE - 24227747 - $52.87 - TCC Solenoid
- VALVE AS - 24219819 - $26.34 - Shift Solenoid
- VALVE AS - 24219819 - $26.34 - Shift Solenoid
- GASKET K - 24206959 - $94.79 - Side Cover Gasket Kit
- ATF - QT - 12346143 - $26.60 - 7 Quarts Transmission Fluid
- Disconnect the battery.
- Loosen the wheel lug nuts.
- Jack up the car, block the rear wheels, and place sturdy jack stands under the car just behind the sub frame.
- Remove the wheel, the brake caliper assembly, and the rotor.
- Use a small phillips screwdriver to remove the three small expanding fasteners that hold the black plastic mud flap from the front of the wheel well.
- Remove two bolts that hold the shift cable bracket to the top of the transmission case. You will not need to disconnect the cable from the shift lever.
- Disconnect the steering Tie Rod from the wheel assembly. Note: When the nut was nearly off of the threads, the entire ball joint began spinning. So use a C clamp to apply pressure on the ball and the nut will come off.
- Use a 34mm axle nut socket to remove the axle nut. Note: I had to make a trip to Advance Auto to find this socket. It was 14.99.
- Remove three bolts from the backside of the wheel bearing assembly. Use a small hammer to knock the assembly out and off of the drive shaft.
- Remove two lower bolts from the suspension strut/spring. Remove the top three bolts from the strut/spring assembly. Note: I made the mistake of removing the single large nut from the strut itself, which caused the spring to uncompress !!! If you want to same a lot of time and keep from having to rent a spring compression tool, and also prevent possible bodily harm then I suggest that you simply remove the three nuts that attach the entire spring/strut assembly to the vehicle. This way, the spring stays compressed and you won't have to waste two hours trying to reassemble it.
- You can now flex and then push the outer drive shaft back into and through the frame that holds the wheel bearing assembly (I do not know the correct name for this piece).
- Use a small prybar that has a 90 degree bend on one end. Place this bent end between the drive shaft and the transmission case and press firmly. The drive shaft will pop out.
- Attach a cherry picker (engine lift) to the lift lugs on the engine and take the slack out of the chain.
- Remove the four bolts from the sub frame.
- Remove the two upper engine mount bolts.
- Remove the cold air intake tube and the front cover of the air filter box from the vehicle. There was two or three electrical connectors and one vacuum line.
- Disconnect the large electrical connector from the transmission
- There is a wire loom that is fastened to the front crossmember of the subframe (It travels clear across the subframe. Unclip the fastener that holds the loom to the subframe and is closest to the passenger side.
- Looking through the wheel well, you will see a motor mount that connects the transmission to the subframe. Remove the four bolts that attach the bracket to the transmission side cover. Remove the two nuts from the bottom of the motor mount. The bracket can now be removed. Note: If you do not have tension on the cherry picker, the engine will drop about 4 or 5 inches.
- Begin removing the side cover bolts that you can reach from the top. Leave one single top bolt loose but in place to prevent the pan from falling when the other bolts are removed. All of the bolts are the same except for the 5 bottom bolts. They have a T40 Torx head. You may need to manipulate the height of the engine several times to get all of the case bolts out.
- Attach a come-along from the diagonal support tube on the passenger side to the right side engine hoist point. This will pull the engine towards the passenger side. (I pulled until the engine would not move any further)
- Use your foot to step on the A-arm of the drivers side. This will pull down the sub frame from the engine.
- Begin lowering the cherry picker until the side case will clear the wheel well opening. You made need to put some pressure on the sub frame to get the cover to fall out.
- Remove the old case gasket and the round rubber gasket that seals around the drive shaft output. Clean the mating surfaces.
- Three solenoids (PCS, TCC, Shift) can now be seen on the left and a single solenoid (Shift) on the right. Make a note as to the electrical connector locations and then disconnect the harness from the solenoids and move it out of the way.
- All of the solenoids have a small clip that retains them. This clip looks like a hairpin and can be removed with a small pair of needle nose, or in my case I used a dental pick to pull them. The solenoids are removed easily once the clips are pulled. (The solenoid will break if these clips are not removed first, don't ask how I know)
- Re-insert the new solenoids and re-attach the electrical connectors.
- Now reverse the procedure to re-assemble and you're done!
The rubber boot that surrounds the bottom of the steering shaft will separate when the subframe is lowered, be sure to re-seat it after you raise the subframe!
All wrenches/sockets used were metric! A large breaker bar comes in handy as well as an Impact wrench and an air ratchet.
I chose not to drop the pan and drain the fluid until after the solenoid job was complete. This allowed for a small amount of fluid to leak onto the floor after I removed the driveshaft. It could have easily been done before I started the removal process. I just did not want to go to all that trouble until I had a chance to evaluate the solenoid situation.
After the job is complete, you may need to have your wheel alignment checked, but mine appears to be OK.
Please note, I have a 2003 Impala 3.4 - 6 cylinder with 80k miles. This worked for me and may not work for you.
I have attached some photos: