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Discussion Starter #1
What's the easiest way to access the transmission fluid drain plug? I was trying to do so today from inside my garage because, as is typical of Indiana in late April, it's 40 outside with 40 mph gusts. I'm limited in space in the garage, so I was hoping someone might have some suggestions on an easier way to access the plug than contorting myself to the confined space in the garage and then under the vehicle.
 

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Well, it's under the truck, so you either have to go under the truck, or you have to put it on a lift (so you can go under the truck standing up!).

It's really not that hard to do..... have fun.
 

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I just changed out the radiator, upper & lower hoses, D&F, the transmission, and gear oil. In the Garage with the door closed. I did also pick it up on all 4 corners and place it on jack stands about 1" of tire clearance to get the front tires off the ground while looking for the engine block drain. I had about 18"-2' infront of the truck and the garage door cleared the bumper by less than an 1". It can be done, if I did it again I'd probably put the truck up higher, because my breaker bar could only be used about 1/4 turn and was pretty useless, so I used a new 1/2" craftsman wrench and a bottle jack handle to break free the ATF & Gear oil drain plugs...
 

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Making some assumptions, I would suggest taking the extra time to jack up the truck, put it on stands, and remove at least one front wheel. This will give you some clearance to move around. under the front using the space under the wheel you removed for more clearance.

If you can get the entire truck off the ground, you can do a more thorough tranny DF and run the tranny through the gears while it is up on the stands. Remember all four wheels must be off the ground. You will also need more fluid as you will be draining and filling more than once. This way you can do a more proper DF at one time instead of trying to do it in multiple events and running into the space problem you are now having multiple times in the future.

Good time to do the VTM and an oil change too if the truck is in the air.
 

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I love being skinny. I just slide underneath on the creeper and do what needs to be done. The only routine maintenance that I have to lift the truck for is tire rotation. :)
 

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I love being skinny. I just slide underneath on the creeper and do what needs to be done. The only routine maintenance that I have to lift the truck for is tire rotation. :)
... and brake pad changes and brake fluid changes. ;)
 

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... and brake pad changes and brake fluid changes. ;)
Actually, as long as the bleed screws can be accessed without having to remove the wheels, which I think they can, then you don't have to lift the vehicle. I can't remember ever owning any vehicle long enough to actually wear out a set of brakes. I've replaced brakes prematurely, but never out of necessity. Along similar lines, I never change brake fluid - that's the ONE maintenance item that I pretend doesn't exist. *halo* :)
 

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I put my truck up about a foot or so to get my not skinny frame under the frame ;) that also gave more clearance to get good leverage on ratchet to break the plug loose. By the 3rd drain & fill, I only lifted it about 6 inches again, just for leveraging. ( I have a front mounted hitch that gets in my way a bit if I left it on the ground.)
 

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Actually, as long as the bleed screws can be accessed without having to remove the wheels, which I think they can, then you don't have to lift the vehicle. I can't remember ever owning any vehicle long enough to actually wear out a set of brakes. I've replaced brakes prematurely, but never out of necessity. Along similar lines, I never change brake fluid - that's the ONE maintenance item that I pretend doesn't exist. *halo* :)
The bleed screws may be accessible through the wheels, but it looks like it would be somewhat of a challenge. I typically rotate the tires anyway so it's no big deal and is much easier to work the bleeder screw with the wheels off.
 

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I roll the front of mine up on 2x6s since I am a bigger guy and I clear just fine. Now getting those dang hoses out of the way of the fill cap...thats the problem. The drain couldn't be much more accessable honestly.
 

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A long skinny funnel works well for me to refill the tranny fluid via the tranny fill hole:


I think this is the one I use:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the advice. Rolling in a 2 x 6 could be the easiest and quickest way to get enough lift to waddle my fat self underneath it. As far as the fill plug, it looks like a pretty straight-forward reach from the top of the engine, but I can see how the hoses will definitely be a pain to navigate around.
 

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Thanks for the advice. Rolling in a 2 x 6 could be the easiest and quickest way to get enough lift to waddle my fat self underneath it. As far as the fill plug, it looks like a pretty straight-forward reach from the top of the engine, but I can see how the hoses will definitely be a pain to navigate around.
Yeah, pulling the fill plug out of the way, without dropping it, and putting it back in when hot, are the worst part. Funnel makes filling easy. I actually use 2-2x6s. 1 is cut 3 in shorter than the other and then the fronts are chopped at 45deg angle. I screwed them together so the 45s line up to make a ramp with plenty of space on the run out for the tire to rest. Cheaper and less intimidating than driving up real car ramps.
 

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Make a matching pair for the back wheels so the RL will be level when you drain the fluid. Alternatively, those with a 2 inch lift already have the equivalent of a 2x6 lift. ;)
 

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I have the same one too, I modified my funnel by cutting one side and then placing a hose clamp on it to tighten it down on the tranny dip stick hole.
Why the heck are you filling via the dipstick??? I didn't see a smiley face, so I presume you are not joking. The fill hole is just down left of the battery & back towards the cab a bit. Pull that fill bolt, stuff your funnel in & pour away! I can't imagine trying to fill via a dipstick! :( :act039:
 

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Yeah, pulling the fill plug out of the way, without dropping it, and putting it back in when hot, are the worst part. Funnel makes filling easy. I actually use 2-2x6s. 1 is cut 3 in shorter than the other and then the fronts are chopped at 45deg angle. I screwed them together so the 45s line up to make a ramp with plenty of space on the run out for the tire to rest. Cheaper and less intimidating than driving up real car ramps.
Try putting some masking tape (or similar) on your wrench to make the fill plug snug on the tool, so as not to fall off when you're lifting it out. :)

Alternately, you could always use a telescoping stick magnet? Putting it in 'hot' is another story, but I don't recall too much difficulty with either, but I do remember using a long string of socket extensions.
 

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Why the heck are you filling via the dipstick??? I didn't see a smiley face, so I presume you are not joking. The fill hole is just down left of the battery & back towards the cab a bit. Pull that fill bolt, stuff your funnel in & pour away! I can't imagine trying to fill via a dipstick! :( :act039:
Well I'm not speaking for the others, but,
It's easier, no mess, no dropping fill plug bolt, no crush washer purchase, can just wrap a shop towel around vs funnel in the side of the transmission.


Try putting some masking tape (or similar) on your wrench to make the fill plug snug on the tool, so as not to fall off when you're lifting it out. :).
None of this is required with the funnel method.

Alternately, you could always use a telescoping stick magnet? Putting it in 'hot' is another story, but I don't recall too much difficulty with either, but I do remember using a long string of socket extensions.
Do I need to repeat myself here?
 
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