Story time. Listen up. I don't have any in-real-life friends to talk to so I'm talking to you guys (and girls).
So the issue my car [2008 Milan, 2.3, 5ATX] had been having was that after driving more than 40 minutes or so, I'd experience a rather rough shift between third and fourth gear, right around 45mph. No check engine light, no powertrain light, no codes, nothing. I had tried a transmission fluid/filter change by my dealership at 75,000 miles, didn't help. I later found my motor mounts to be destroyed. Replacing them didn't help. Eventually my favorite dealership was bought out by one of those big dealers that take up ten square miles. Took my car there, and the quote was $7,300. They don't investigate, they just replace the transmission.
Later on, I'm using my ELM327 bluetooth adapter on a coworker's car, monitoring the temperature after bypassing her heater core. Just for shits and giggles, I put it in my car and I get back
P0841 Trans Fluid Press Sensor/Switch A
. So I started checking on eBay, and spoke to the seller of this FNR5 solenoid kit.
He mentioned that this transmission is a relative of the 4F27E transmission, and that 90% of the time an entire valve body replacement isn't necessary, just the solenoids -- he even went one step further and said that if I bought the solenoids and ended up needing a valve body, he'd discount the price of the solenoids from the price of the valve body for me. Ten minutes later, I purchased the solenoid kit.
Once they came in, I looked for whoever could install them for a reasonable price, since my experience with transmissions was limited to frying the paper-and-glass Dodge 46RE [Dodge truck transmissions weren't really known for their durability in the 90s], so I was gonna leave it to the professionals. Unfortunantly, everyone pulled up their labor sheets and saw
Transmission: Removal/Replacement: 10.5 hours
Add Valve Body Service: 1.4 hours
Add Torque Converter Service: 2 hours
So they'd all say "12 hours, $1200." Even though removal of the transmission is entirely unnecessary, even by the guide. They just weren't gonna put the valve body service on its own sheet, they just tacked it on the bottom of the generic Transmission sheet. Talked to the local custom shop who did my tint. He normally doesn't do transmissions but this was relatively simple and I had all the instructions, so he said "Drop it off Saturday before noon, I should have it done by 5". He ends up not being able to work on my car, putting priority on the building remodel.
Take it back home, buy a new oil pan and some ultra black RTV silicone, and set to work to do it myself. The job was even easier than I expected.
First off, I jacked the car as high as I could. The rear tires were tucked like nobody's business. I drained the transmission fluid into the brand new pan so it couldn't be contaminated (That stuff is $12 a quart!). I started loosening the pan bolts, but ran into a couple that I just couldn't quite reach with any of my combination of nut drivers, wrenches, sockets, etc... so I disconnected the lower "dogbone" torque strut mount and the single 21mm bolt on the passenger side engine mount, then jacked up the engine oil pan until it just about reached the A/C lines on top. This tipped the powertrain enough to get my socket wrench in there. Dropped the pan and surprise, I don't even need to remove the valve body! The two smaller solenoids and the pressure control switch each have a single bolt holding them in. The three larger shift solenoids have a bracket that is held in by four bolts. It takes a little strength to remove the solenoids, so be careful not to hit your knuckles when they pop free.
Put in the new solenoids, sealed the pan with the silicone, and bolted everything up!
At this moment, I do not know if it fixed my problem. I drove it for half an hour in hilly roads and it stayed smooth, but that's not the same conditions as normal. I won't truly know until Tuesday, and I will be shitting bricks the second I get on Grandview Road and reach 45mph to feel that shift. Will I have pissed away $200? Will I be happy* with the change? Won't know until then.
Donk-tastic way of hogging his only lift.
My car, jacked up. Once both sides are lifted it has a strange 4x4 stance
The pan. Damn siderail getting in the way
For clearance, remove the lower torque strut mount and this 21mm bolt on the passenger side, then raise the engine...
...giving you just enough clearance to fit a socket wrench. It worked perfectly for me using a 10mm 1/4" drive with a 3/8" adapter.
The solenoids are all readily accessible. Three on the right have a 4-bolt bracket, three on the left are individually bolted.
Pan was pretty good. No severe metal particles.
My overall workstation.
[size=3pt]*relatively speaking. overall happiness has been near zero since the 7th. again, nobody IRL to talk to, whining like an emo bitch to you guys.[/size]