How do I remove a transmission from a car?

I recently retired, and my wife and three daughters surprised me with a vintage car. The idea is that we’ll restore the whole thing together as a family on the weekends. We need to swap out the old transmission, but we don’t know how to remove the transmission. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

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Answer provided by
Matt Terzi
Answered on Jul 19, 2022
This will be a difficult project and you’ll want all hands on deck for it: Here’s how to remove a transmission:
  • With the parking brake engaged and wheel chocks in place jack up the car and set it on jack stands.
  • Disconnect the negative cable from the battery.
  • Under the car, mark off the alignments of the driveshaft both to the transmission and the differential yoke. Make sure these markings are highly visible.
  • Set a drain pan under the rear of the suspension.
  • Remove the differential yolk’s fasteners—they should be bolts and retainers—and then carefully remove the drive shaft. It should slide out of the transmission.
  • Plug up the opening in the old transmission with rags so you don’t get transmission fluid everywhere.
Disconnect everything connected to the old transmission. Be careful not to damage anything during this step. This will include the following:
  • Modulator vacuum line
  • Speedometer cable
  • Wires or wiring harness
  • Coolant line
  • Oil filler tube
  • Exhaust tube.
Next carefully remove:
  • The rear transmission mount
  • The bell housing
  • Bolts holding the torque converter in place
  • The cover sitting between the engine and the transmission to get to the torque converter
Using a transmission jack, hold the transmission in place, and then remove the final bolts holding the transmission in place. You can then lower the old transmission out of the car and move it away.
Removing a transmission isn’t easy, so take your time. This is one of the most delicate operations in a car’s restoration, so if anyone starts getting frustrated, take a break and come back to it refreshed.
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