Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible
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Cadillac STS Forum - 2005 through 2012 Discussion, Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible in Past Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Sure, it's a Torx T40 bit, and you can turn one of those with a 1/4" boxed-end wrench, with an ...
  1. #1
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Sure, it's a Torx T40 bit, and you can turn one of those with a 1/4" boxed-end wrench, with an extension of choice on the end of it, but after the bit popped out the third time, after me putting at least 80 lbs. of torque on it...and bending said small wrench...I give up.

    The placement of the fill port could not be in a worse place, yet still be considered "accessible".

    Grrrrr!

    For grins, I backed off the drain plug, 'broke' it, in somewhat dated terms, and it too MUCH more force than it should have, IMO.

    Looks like I'll take it down the street to the lube place, which does some surprisingly in-depth work...the owner is a gearhead...and see if they have a machine to swap fluid...fluid I bring in, and if they can put the filter I have in, too.

    I hate it when I am effectively not allowed to do stuff to my own vehicle.

    "Lifetime" fluid BS. Yeah, if you never change it, the lifetime will likely be remarkably short.

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    orange57's Avatar
    orange57 is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    With the fill port, the car is suppose to be running and fluid level just to the bottom of the port. Super fun to work around with a scorching hot exhaust pipe right in the way.

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    1BadCadSTS's Avatar
    1BadCadSTS is online now Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Fill plug in the same spot between the 5 and 6 speed?

  5. #4
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    If you want to do this, yourself, I found the trick.

    A short T40 bit, like what goes into a drill. You may even need to shorten the chuck end of it a little to get it between the transmission and the tunnel.

    The longest 1/4"-5/16" box end wrench Sears (Craftsman) sells.

    A bit of duct tape, though I like gaffer's tape. Wrap the bit a couple of times with a very narrow piece.

    Put the bit in the wrench, 1/4" end, with the wrench's angle toward you. It'll take some patient finagling, but eventually, you'll get it to seat. Make certain it's square in the fill cap, then pull on that sucker.

    Caution. I had two quarts come out of the fill port, and a total of about 4.75 after draining. Still trying to figure out how best to get the additional 1 qt back in, even with the driver's side tires a solid foot off the ground with the passenger's side sitting on the wheels/tires.

    Don't do this without a seriously beefy floor jack and similarly well-built stands. It'd be a bad, though quick, way to die, should it fall.

    I see you can't remove the cooler lines at the radiator. Thanks, GM, I appreciate that. They look relatively easy to access on the transmission, but I'm a bit paranoid about going that route.

  6. #5
    EChas3's Avatar
    EChas3 is offline Cadillac Owners Master
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Was the engine/trans at operating temperature and running? If so, your desciption suggests it was overfilled.

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    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Nope, it was cold and off, so this was expected...kind of. I knew it was a possibility, hence the four gallon bucket to catch anything, but it still surprised me a bit. I expected maybe a stream, not a gusher.

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    EChas3's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    I'd pay a shop to do a job right before I'd knowingly do it wrong.

    Good luck.

  9. #8
    dkozloski's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    A while back, after having my poor old Ford Ranger serviced I noticed a sizable trans fluid spot in the driveway. A quick check of the trans dipsick showed it way over full. I had to pump about a quart and a half of fluid out of the dip stick tube to get the level down to the correct mark hot and running. GM removed the dipstick and sealed the transmission on the CTS after many years experience showed that the major source of transmission trouble was maladroits either overfilling, introducing dirt and abrasives, or both in misguided attempts at DIY service.
    Don't mess with Binky Bear!


  10. #9
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    How am I doing it "wrong", EChas3?

    This used to be a quite simple procedure, which GM has intentionally made difficult. So difficult, almost nobody will attempt it, yet "lifetime" fluid is a horribly misleading claim.

    Life of the transmission, maybe...so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    You merely measure how much drained out, put back the same amount, done. I'm going a step further, adding a fitting to the transmission's pan, which I've done on several other vehicles, none of which ever required transmission work, so I can do this more easily in the future.

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    EChas3's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    By changing the fluid in a cold tranmission, you're leaving the vast majority of contaminents in your transmission. Service manual procedures exist for a reason. By not following published procedures, you're not really completing scheduled service.

    Hey, do what you want. It's your car. But you posted a 'trick' that I consider bad advice. Opinions vary.

  12. #11
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    True, however, I'm also changing it multiple times, and in a couple of weeks, I'm going to add a proper drain/refill plug on the rear of the pan, so I can drain it hot.

    I don't think the 'change it hot' mantra is as strong for transmissions as it is engines. This said, I've had more than one engine be effectively as new at 200K miles, changing (Mobil 1) at room temperature. Some vehicles make it effectively impossible to do, hot, based on filter location.

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    Charles Warren's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    how much is this service at dealer??? i want to do my own but might let them do this

  14. #13
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Local dealer, who is about as trustworthy as a kleptomaniac, wanted $375, but I just called, again, and they've lowered it to $160. This is for a flush, including fluid, though they would not confirm it is Dexron VI.

    I'd still rather do it myself, so I can see what comes out and the like.

  15. #14
    Ludacrisvp's Avatar
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Service manual says _not_ to do a 'flush'
    mckellyb likes this.

  16. #15
    mckellyb is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Getting the transmission fill plug off is just about impossible

    Yeah, I know, but that's the only way they'll do it. IIRC, this was the other reason I didn't want them to touch it.

    "You need to get all the fluid out..."

    Um, if you change it every 30K, that's about 1/3 of the fluid every time, should be fine, and this leaves sleeping particles where they found a nice, comfy home.

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