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Old 09-09-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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Transmission fluid change is easy

I did a transmission service on my 2007 HHR today for the first time. 85,000 miles, and as far as I know this is the first maintenance. I bought the car with 41K, and have never had a problem with anything. It's a great car!
First, buy a filter and 7 quarts of Dexron VI. Wal-Mart has the best price on all oil, not just transmission fluid.
Jack up the front, place a drain pan under the transmission, and start loosening bolts (8mm) towards the front and let it start to drain. Remove the pan and clean it up. Save the gasket, you will re-use it.
Replace the filter, there are no holding screws or bolts.
Replace the pan and torque the bolts to spec. It doesn't take much!
The fill plug is under the hood, to the left of the relay box. Look under the harness. Removing the air intake make it easier. The fill plug is just a black plastic cap that is on finger tight, you don't need tools. Don't confuse this with the inspection plug, which is further to the left. It is NOT threaded.
Insert a funnel with a long tube into the fill hole. Add 6 3/4 quarts.
Jack up the rear of the car so it is level. Start it up and run it through the gears with your foot on the brake at all times, idle speed. Leave in park with the funnel still in the hole.
Idle until the temp is at normal, around 187. Run through the gears several times, and leave in park. Leave the engine running.
Jack stands must be under all 4 corners of the car!
With an 11mm wrench, remove the plug that is on the passenger side of the transmission near the output shaft. It is about 3" above the pan, and is by itself. It is obviously the plug where you check the fluid level.
Wear safety glasses, and remove the plug (engine running). If no oil comes out, add more until oil comes out. Reinstall the plug with the engine still running (if you shut off the engine you will lose a lot of fluid!).
Once the plug is back in you can shut the engine off and replace the fill plug. Check for leaks. Lower the car and drive it a mile or two to see if it shifts OK. Have a beer. Nothing to it!
I plan to add a transmission oil cooler in the near future, I'll post something on that. I plan to use hoses with the correct factory fittings so it looks and function like GM designed it.
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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What do you do about the old fluid that's left in the torque converter? I have a fluid exchange machine though I've yet to use it on the HHR. The manual calls for that service at 100K for normal use. We won't still have ours at that point.
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:03 PM   #3
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Nice write up. One part I don't agree with is reusing the pan gasket. You've got the pan off, so why not replace the gasket? Don't they sell a filter kit that has the gasket included? Better safe than sorry.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:21 PM   #4
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The gasket is rubber with a metal core, so it is THEORETICALLY reusable. However, you should check it very carefully for breaks. The compelling reason to reuse is the cost, a new gasket costs about as much as a new pan.

The sure way to cause a leak is to over tighten the pan bolts.

I want to know the parts you use when you do the cooler, I can't find a good reference.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:43 PM   #5
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donbrew. I looked up a trans.filter kit for a 2007. $20-$30 range for filter and gasket. Not seeing a high cost issue here,but correct me if I'm wrong.

I still say I would use a new gasket. A 5-6 year old car with 85k miles,that old gasket needs to be replaced.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:24 PM   #6
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When I had my mech. change I bought A new pan with the drain plug, pan and gasket from Napa about $6o.oo.
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:27 AM   #7
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Great right up desertrat
Thanks for taking the time to write that up.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firemangeorge View Post
donbrew. I looked up a trans.filter kit for a 2007. $20-$30 range for filter and gasket. Not seeing a high cost issue here,but correct me if I'm wrong.

I still say I would use a new gasket. A 5-6 year old car with 85k miles,that old gasket needs to be replaced.
Yep, once again we are disagreeing to agree. THEORETICALLY means most shops don't bother (but, may charge anyway). It is just one of those parts that us "old guys" think needs replacing, but may not really need it. The gasket really is pretty robust and no sealant is used, seems the only way to mess it up is to over torque the bolts, and then it's really the pan that gets messed up (from experience). I did change mine, but after it had been R&R'd twice and over 200,000 miles.

I got a new pan with a drain for around $25 + new gasket for around $17, eBayed the old pan & gasket for around $20 + shipping. Point being: there is a market for used gaskets!

BTW, if you replace the pan with one with a drain put some teflon tape or thread sealer on the drain threads. From experience.
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Old 09-10-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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No disagreeing here donbrew. You and I are just sharing thoughts,ideas,opinions,beliefs,experiences, etc.etc.etc.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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I didn't drain the torque converter. I'm not sure how to do that, or if the changed fluid eventually mixes with that which is in the converter.
The old pan gasket is the reusable type. It does not leak, I checked it again today. You can replace with the OEM type for about $20. The big preventative is even torquing if you don't want a leak.
So far the transmission shifts perfectly. I plan to add a cooler later, and when I do I will post it under a new thread.
Anybody can do a transmission service on an HHR, it really is a no-brainer.
Google "HHR cooler lines" and you can find diagrams and parts.
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