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Trouble Removing Manual Transmission


90SoCalRanger

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1990 Ranger XLT 4x4 2.9L Manual 5 speed

Hello my fight post here and I am looking for some help. I recently bought a 90 ranger from BAT and about 1000 miles in the transmission seized up on the freeway and shredded itself. Seemed to stem from leaking fluid and maybe I was just sold a bunk trans. Whatever. I have since bought a replacement transmission and undergone the task of replacing the transmission myself.

I am finding it is a nearly impossible task to get the old transmission out as the top two bolts that are connected to the engine are very hard to touch and even hard to get a tool to. The haynes manual says I should be able to reach from up top via the hood but there's not enough space to do that. Any advice or tricks?

Thanks ahead of time and glad a group like this exists.
 


Shran

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Jack under the trans or t-case, jack upwards to take the pressure off the transmission crossmember, remove the transmission crossmember, then let the jack down which will lower the trans/t-case and tilt the engine backwards quite a bit. Then use a long extension and a 13mm swivel socket to get the top two bolts out. That's how I do it.

You can do them from up top pretty easily as well but you will definitely need either a 13mm flexible GearWrench or a flex head ratchet with a shallow socket. Normal non-flex head tools do not work well in that spot.
 

RobbieD

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Welcome to TRS.

Jack under the trans or t-case, jack upwards to take the pressure off the transmission crossmember, remove the transmission crossmember, then let the jack down which will lower the trans/t-case and tilt the engine backwards quite a bit. Then use a long extension and a 13mm swivel socket to get the top two bolts out. That's how I do it.
Same here, and I've done it both ways. The caution is to not let the tranny drop completely, or in other words let it get too low. Keep an eye on the distributor hitting the firewall, and the fan hitting the shroud. The good part is, it doesn't take much lowering to give you a good open path to the upper two bolts.

Before putting in your replacement trans, check the plugs to the rear of the shifter. If they're still rubber, replace them with metal core plugs; there is a write-up on doing this in the site's tech section. That may be why your old tranny failed.
 

alwaysFlOoReD

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I use flex head wrench.
 

sgtsandman

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I used the transmission tilt method mentioned above for my 2011. It helps that I have small hands too.

If you don't have one already, make yourself a cradle to hold the transmission upright. I had one hell of a time getting the transmission back in without one since the plate on the transmission jack is flat and the transmission is oval shaped. I eventually got it back in after a lot of work and cussing. I had no way to get anywhere at that point. So, the stuggle bus ride was in full swing.
 

maddyn

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I have used the extra long extension setup from the back end of the transmission before, have also cut/bent a 13mm wrench to fit from the top as well
 

polymetric

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Another vote for the long extension here. Harbor freight has some extensions that are like 2 or 3 feet, I just used a u joint with some tape to limit articulation and an impact. they were actually only the second hardest bolts for me, the hardest were the two below them.
 

19Walt93

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Don't buy a cheap long extension. I had a 2 foot long Mac extension when I started doing automatic transmissions years ago. It would twist and then snap when the 7/16 bell housing bolts finally let go. After smashing my hands a few times I bought one from Snap On that is rigid.
One thing to keep in mind if you lower the transmission for access- make sure the fan blade isn't jammed against the shroud. You can unbolt the shorud and hook it out of the way pretty easy.
 

polymetric

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Fair! I guess if you don't have one already, get the good one. I've gotten by with this cheap one for now, but if I use it enough that breaks I'll definitely get a good one. That's kind of been my method for justifying expensive tools. That or if they're just a nightmare to use. This very transmission job actually made me get an electric ratchet for the bolts that are facing the engine and have no side clearance so you can't get an impact in there and your ratchet has like half a degree of room to swing.
 

SenorNoob

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It's been awhile since I took the 2.9 out, but the easiest way for me to reach the top 2 bolts with the 4.0 is from the top with a ratchet wrench. Unbolt the transmission from the crossmember and jack the rear up a couple inches. It gives you soo much more room there. Having the hoof off makes it easier too. It's the middle ones that I have more trouble with.
 

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