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555ctsv 10-24-2010 05:43 PM

Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
So after having my transmission rebuilt 3 times in a row 10 months ago, its gone bad again. Last week 4th and 5th gear started slipping, so i dropped the pan and was quite surprised to find 2 long valve body screws stuck to the magnet. I put the screws back in, did new fluid and filters, and the problem remains. So now i plan to pick up a used working 545rfe tranny from Cleveland Pick-a-Part and swapping them out.

I'd really like to do this swap myself as having 2 transmissions and the ability to swap them could be very useful. Im guessing i could do it on ramps or jack stands. Pull the drive shafts and transfer case. Use a transmission jack, unbolt the old one, disconnect wires etc.. and lower it out. Is it that simple? When installing the replacement tranny how hard is it to get it all lined up, torque converter etc? I'd imagine with the transmission jack and the dowels on the bell housing it shouldnt be too hard.

Also anything else i should upgrade while im at it? OEM Torque converters arent much cheaper than upgraded ones, would it be worth it to increase the stall speed?

Currently it shifts fine 1st-3rd, so im thankful i at least have something to drive for now. I'd like to pull one tranny out, put in the replacement one. And then take my time getting the damaged one rebuilt, or try rebuilding it myself.

Also i went to the Cleveland Piston Power Show this weekend and found a new to me local speed shop. RDP Performance, they have a dyno set up at the show and had about 10 cars there. I watched as they dyno'd a 426 Twin Turbo SRT8 Challenger and it hit 1,358 rwhp. It was really cool! They do transmission work, so im waiting for a quote on beefing up my 545rfe from them, ive also been in talks with Denny at Sharadon Performance again and their Stage II 545RFE looks like a good one but he only warranties it if he installs and he is 12 hours away....

Scottina06 10-24-2010 05:49 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
this is something Ive been researching for quite awhile now...just had some things come up personally. Ive came to the realization that Sharadon is the best and most knowledgable when it comes to these trannies. I just havent had time to talk with them YET.

555ctsv 10-24-2010 06:02 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
Yea i went the cheap route last time and i guess i got what i paid for. I'd love to get it up to Minnesota but it's a 12 hour drive about about $2,500 installed. Plus i'd imagine it'd take him a couple days to install? Or maybe he could build it in advance, i drive out and he can swap it in a day? I just dont want to take a week of vacation for a transmission! lol Plus the cost of fuel driving and then a flight to/from if needed... It could get really pricey. I guess the easiest solution would be to just have him ship it and either install it myself or have a local shop do it.

Im about to experience my first northern winter and the last thing i want is to be stranded in a freaking blizzard! Man i miss manual transmissions, i wonder how much a swap to a manual tranny would cost?! lol

jeepgcoman 10-25-2010 06:23 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
Sorry to hear you're having trouble again. Have you checked out Cleveland Pick a Part yet? You're lucky to be near them, but not lucky to be facing your first winter in Cleveland. It'll sure be different than Texas, LOL. Anyway, years ago I used to work for B & M Automotive (Bob Spar and Mort Schuman) and back then we used to do transmission changes like you'd do today under the shade tree in your yard. We also never did a 4X4...almost unheard of then. No modern hoists/lifts, etc. Just floor jacks, jack stands and a transmission jack. First, you'll need to get the old WK about 2 1/2-3 ft. off the ground. Make sure it's secure and fairly level on all four corners. We used to use a bottle jack (with a short 2x4 between it and the engine pan) on top of a home built (2x4's or 2x6's) stand off so we could support and adjust the engine height after the rear crossmember was removed. We made sure it was wide enough to allow us to get the tranny jack under the tranny and not interfere with the bottle jack when removing/installing the tranny. You have to have the WK that high to get the tranny in and out from under the vehicle while on the jack....unless you want to muscle it around. Once the rear crossmember is out, you can lower the engine (be sure nothing hits/binds/breaks as you lower) a little so you can easily get to the top bell housing bolts. The rest is basic R and R. We also used to jam a slip yolk in the back to keep the fluid from pouring out the tail shaft as it was being removed. You'll probably have to find another way to prevent that...maybe stick the driveshaft back in until it's down and back to level. Hope these hints are useful, since you're doing it at home. Good luck and keep us posted.
---------------------X--- X
---------------------X--- X
---------------------XXXXX ---Engine Pan
----------------------XXX ---2X4
-----------------------X ---Bottle Jack
-------------XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX ---Stand off
------------ XXXX-------------XXXX
------------ XXXX--- Tranny-- XXXX
------------ XXXX-- Jack goes XXXX
------------ XXXX--Under Here XXXX

Sorry for all the dashes, but it kept reformatting my stupid diagram. If you can't figure this mess out, PM me and I'll figure out a different way to describe it.

555ctsv 10-25-2010 07:23 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
I havent been to Cleveland pick a part yet but i have contacted them. They're only open 8-5 Mon-Fri so i'd have to take some time from work to check it out. They do have a tranny from a 4.7L Commander with 45k on it for $650. I found a tranny in Canton, OH with 18k on it for $700 though. $50 more for much less miles seems worth it to me.

But then again "buy a Sharadon Stage II" keeps playing in the back of my mind. But $700 vs $2100 is a huge difference. I guess i have some time to decide but im just ready to have a solid running vehicle before winter gets here

555ctsv 10-26-2010 12:17 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
Well i went by RDP today and man they have some cool cars there. Hopefully I can get a price from them soon

SvenskaJeepGuy 10-26-2010 12:31 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?

GR33N D3M0N 10-26-2010 12:33 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
is that BDKARMA?

555ctsv 10-26-2010 12:36 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
Yes, is he a member on here? I edited the post, wasn't sure if RDP would mind me posting pics

555ctsv 10-26-2010 12:58 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
If he is a member here I'd love to pm him about his experience with the shop so far. The seem top notch from all I've seen so far

GR33N D3M0N 10-26-2010 03:02 PM

Yea his username is BJB

555ctsv 10-31-2010 07:53 PM

Re: Anyone done DYI Transmission Swap?
Well operation backup tranny has begun. I found a transmission from a junkyard 100 miles away and picked it up Saturday. It came from a 2006 5.7L 4x4 Commander with 8,000 miles on it. They said it had been sitting for a couple years so they dropped the price to $700. I have it up on some saw horses in my extra bedroom and started taking it apart just to check it out and make sure it doesnt have any water in it. I pulled the pan and the magnet had very little debris on it and the fluid looked almost new. I pulled the valve body and filters. All i need to do now is get the pump cover off so it can sit for a few days and any moisture can dry out. I also picked up some dark blue engine paint to help protect it from the Cleveland winter coming up

I wanted to get an upgraded pan for it but they seem to be $200-300 and i dont want a new pan that bad! I have been researching upgraded torque converters. TCI has one called the "Breakaway" that seems alright. Does anyone know much about torque converters? If i increase the stall speed it's just in 1st gear right?

I have to fly to Aspen again for work for a week, so im thinking i'll put this tranny back together and have the shop swap them out while im away. Then i may try to rebuild my current tranny myself just in case i end up needing it in the future.

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