Got the new solenoid and shift kit installed last night! Special thanks to my Dad, I would have been in trouble without him (and his much more complete tool set
Took a few pics of the progress, but spent most of the evening covered in transmission fluid. Here's a pic of the parts etc, layed out:
Here's the bottom of the transmission after the pan and sump filter are off. I was surprised how clean it was inside, especially given the way I drive...
Just a light coat on the magnet otherwise the pan was clean.
Next we pulled the valve body. Of 6 8mm hex bolts, 5 broke loose pretty easy, but one rounded... F*ck! So we had to carefully grind the head a bit, and then my Dad used a flat bit on his air impact and was able to break it loose. Turned out much better than I first hoped, and the local hardware store and an exact mach bolt!
Here is the valve body off on the bench. The solenoid is held on from the bottom by 15 torx screws, which all came out nicely.
Once that was off we swapped out the old shift plate for the new one, as highlighted by the circle:
After that, everything was bolted and torqued back together, and the accumulator plate came off to install the upgraded rings and springs from the Transgo kit. Very straight forward to install, just follow the instructions that come with it! I was happy to see that the pistons and cylinders in the valve body all looked almost brand new, no scoring or anything!
No more pics at this point, I was getting too excited to get everything back together. Valve body bolted right back into the transmission, new filters installed, gasket and pan installed, and then 6 fresh quarts of amsoil ATF dumped in! She shifts beautifully now! No chance I will end up lying in a ditch now Dave! The first few seemed a little rough but she settled in pretty quickly and I'm an extremely happy camper. Took about 3.5 hours total so not too bad for 2 guys who had never gone this far into an automatic transmission before. Now I just have to check if my backup light circuit is working again! Thanks to Dave for recommending the Transgo kit, and Frank for a source on the solenoid. Ordered everything Monday afternoon and it all arrived by Thursday morning, very prompt. What would I do without this place?!